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Portland transportation isn’t ‘stagnating’ after all, city director says

Posted by on November 27th, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Ride-along SW Broadway-5-3
Riding on SW Broadway in downtown Portland.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Four months after taking charge of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, Leah Treat is walking back an idea she shared in her job interview: the notion that the city’s bike infrastructure is “stagnating.”

“If I had to go through the interview process again, I would change that to say it’s more of a marketing issue,” Treat said, according to the edited Q&A on OregonLive.com. “We’re still way ahead of the country in the transportation arena, it’s just getting lost in the messaging somewhere. So we need to be talking more about the really exciting things that we’re doing.”

She described TriMet’s new light rail bridge, which will carry people in trains, streetcars, buses, ambulances and on bikes, skates or foot, but no private cars, as both “insane” and “really really cool.”


Here’s the quoted exchange:

Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-23
Leah Treat during a ride back in August.

A: Here’s something I’ve kind of changed my mind on, I said in my interview that I felt like Portland had stagnated. What Portland had done was so progressive at the time, and was seen as a national leader and other cities looked to Portland and said, ‘Wow, that’s really cool.’ They picked up what Portland was doing and took it home.”

Q: You’re talking about light rail?

A: “Streetcars, light rail, even bicycling infrastructure, pedestrian infrastructure the way that we build our streets. All of that stuff. (Other cities) went gangbusters with it and started beating us at our own game, so I said that Portland was stagnating. And that was a little bit of perception, I think. So since I’ve been here now for 4 months, if I had to go through the interview process again, I would change that to say it’s more of a marketing issue. We’re still way ahead of the country in the transportation arena, it’s just getting lost in the messaging somewhere. So we need to be talking more about the really exciting things that we’re doing. Like the Portland-Milwaukie light rail bridge. That is really cool. To our knowledge it’s the first bridge in North America that’s built to handle car capacity and won’t handle cars. That’s insane. That’s really, really cool.

About 6 percent of Portlanders currently bike to work year-round, and they use bikes for about 4 percent of all trips. In 2010, the city made a plan to increase that ratio to at least 25 percent by 2030 by making biking “more attractive than driving for trips of three miles or less.”

The city released a one-year progress report in 2011 and hasn’t released any related documents since.

The share of Portlanders using bicycles, meanwhile, has been essentially unchanged since 2008. In August we reported that the City’s own report shows a “stubborn plateau” in bike use and the most recent U.S. Census numbers show a clear slow down in the growth of biking in Portland. The share of Portlanders who use public transit to get to work, meanwhile, is down from 12 percent in 2010 to 10 percent, and the percentage who drive alone to work has risen from 62 percent to 64 percent.

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  • Dave November 27, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Everyone except people who ride bicycles in Portland sees Portland as a bike infrastructure leader. What does that say about our actual efforts in contrast to our marketing?

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  • Indy November 27, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    The bridge is, well, I guess nice? It’s not like you can’t ride 1/4 mile more and take another great bike bridge. I wouldn’t call it this icon of bike mecca or anything. The sad part is this bridge will lay pretty dormant most of the time in terms of actually transporting people. The Steele, wow, now that’s an awe-inspiring bridge. All modes of transport and in such a unique fashion. But I digress.

    Commuting from almost anywhere on the West side is pretty bad. We have Barbur death/crash stories near monthly now.

    Connecting with other outer Portland Burbs is risky at best, deadly at worst. I’d like to see metro *much* more coordinated. There’s a difference between riding in a bike lane in Beaverton versus Portland, it’s like night and day. If you don’t get our arterials fixed, you won’t see us grow.

    We’re nowhere on a path towards 25% ridership. Pretty much the only way you’ll get that is to mirror other European cities and use dedicated pathways to help newbie and casual bikers feel absolutely safe. Once they are feeling safe, they vest more time into it to commute. Not LED lights in a street. Not adding a single leaf-cleaner for bike lanes. Dedicated pathways and infrastructure for all 5 areas of the city. Period. Because a single bridge between a Science Museum and Research hospital ain’t really going to change that much.

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    • davemess November 27, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      Do we really need to revisit the 200+ comments about Hawthorne NOT being a great bike bridge…..

      I’m curious how the new bridge will lay dormant? I think most believe that at least half of the Hawthorne bike traffic will shift to it.

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      • Todd Hudson November 27, 2013 at 2:55 pm

        I am wary of crossing the Hawthorne when there are a lot of pedestrians. All it takes is one unattentive walker and *bam* you’re spilling off that steep curb and onto the grating…

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    • spare_wheel November 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      you confuse cause and effect. both amsterdam and copenhagen had high mode share prior to the installation of the majority of the expensive infrastructure you pine for. imo, we won’t see high cycling mode share in pdx until we make motoring more inconvenient than cycling. infrastructure can play a role but it’s not enough.

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      • Dave November 27, 2013 at 3:18 pm

        Infrastructure is a big part of why driving is less convenient than cycling in the Netherlands. Bikes get all the direct routes, while cars often have to circle around or take circuitous routes to the same places. Speeds are also limited by infrastructure, so that the average speed of bicycle traffic in Amsterdam, for instance, is basically the same as the average speed of auto traffic.

        Both the Netherlands and Denmark saw huge drops in the number of people cycling during the 1950′s-1970′s as automobile traffic was prioritized, and it was only after that, after massive citizen protests, that they made the enormous effort to redesign their public space to prioritize non-auto-traffic.

        Of course, what also often gets left out in discussions of infrastructure, is that education and law also play huge roles in this – legal code in those countries favors vulnerable people first and actually has reasonable penalties for harming other people, and people in those countries receive education from an early age on what their rights and responsibilities in traffic are, for each main mode of travel (walking, cycling, and driving).

        All of that put together makes a system that actually favors cycling over driving.

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        • spare_wheel November 27, 2013 at 4:55 pm

          mode share in the netherlands started to increase in the late 60s — ~20 years prior to the multi-billion dutch infrastructure build out.

          http://www.international.fhwa.dot.gov/pubs/pl10010/images/figure4.jpg

          “Of course, what also often gets left out in discussions of infrastructure”

          i think what also gets left out of discussions of mode share is that the dutch made a conscious decision to suppress vehicle use by reducing road construction, eliminating freeways (ring roads), reducing traffic speeds, eliminating parking, and making large swathes of their cities car free/light. even more importantly they made a conscious decision to hit motorists where it counts the most by implementing penurious excise and gas taxes.

          as the german cycling revolution illustrates dutch-style infrastructure is not required for massive increases in mode share. imo, the common denominator in amsterdam, berlin, and copenhagen was not infrastructure but rather the willingness to make driving a complete pain the in ass.

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        • was carless November 27, 2013 at 6:02 pm

          I think that we also forget that culture played a huge part in Amsterdam: before the automobile, it was a bicycle crazy city. This was Amsterdam in 1961:
          http://www.flickr.com/photos/letterlust/5021258152/

          Portland in 1961 was VERY different. Portland had a very fleeting affair with the bicycle. Cars, streetcars, and buses have had a larger cultural impact than cycling.

          In these pics of PDX in the 60s, I don’t see a single bicycle:
          http://vintageportland.wordpress.com/category/1960s/

          Therefore, there has never been a citizen revolt demanding cycling infrastructure. Very simple!

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          • wsbob November 27, 2013 at 10:54 pm

            “…after massive citizen protests, that they made the enormous effort to redesign their public space to prioritize non-auto-traffic. …” Dave

            “…there has never been a citizen revolt demanding cycling infrastructure. Very simple!” was carless

            Excellent point. If in Portland, there were a massive or strong citizen demand for and commitment to practical, 8-80 bike infrastructure of the type people from eight years of age to eighty years of age, as the abbreviation implies…could ride…that would be like a mandate to build that officials would jump to get on board with. No such demand exists yet. Situation is worse in Beaverton. It can be exasperating.

            Possibly, the kind of person that transportation bureau director Leah Treat is, will come up with some ideas that turn this situation around. Treat has a youthful perspective, enthusiasm…bold…experience working in the Chicago system. Those are good things. It’s a challenging situation to be in. Maybe on the other hand, are things like wanting to hire an assistant for…something like $140,000 a year.

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    • was carless November 27, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      Ah, but our transport department wants to keep bikes off of the arterials and move them all onto side streets. According to the meeting I attended with AROW and the project leader for the 28th ave bike project, bike lanes and cycle tracks make cars drive faster and make streets more dangerous!

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  • Emily G November 27, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Marketing isn’t going to prevent right hooks. Well-designed infrastructure will.

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    • spare_wheel November 27, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      not passing on the right also prevents right hooks.

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      • Craig Harlow November 27, 2013 at 3:18 pm

        You might be confused. The term “right hook” is generally used when a car turns right over a bike lane, not when a bike rider attempts to pass an auto on the right. Continuing straight in one’s designated lane is not “passing”.

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        • spare_wheel November 27, 2013 at 4:29 pm

          the term right hook applies regardless of the presence or absence of a bike lane. i also stand by my statement that the best way to avoid a right hook is to avoid passing a potentially right turning vehicle on the right.

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          • Dan November 27, 2013 at 6:26 pm

            With our current bike lane roads, I totally agree. A driver cannot avoid right hooks in all scenarios — cyclists must exercise caution as well. If a car is already starting to turn and you ride up on their right, you should be aware that their right-hand mirror is no longer aimed in the bike lane and just stay back until they have turned.

            When I’m in my car stopped at an intersection during the daytime, I can generally see back over my shoulder and in my right-hand mirror maybe 50 feet. Once I’ve started turning even slightly, my mirror is no longer pointed at the bike lane and my focus changes to my direction of travel, not bikes coming into that path from behind my shoulder.

            That’s pretty much the standard best-case scenario. It’s worse than that if the car behind me is stopped further to the right than I am, or it’s nighttime, or there’s a truck behind me with its headlights shining in my right mirror.

            You really need to be aware that a bike lane only affords limited safety, and numerous hazards.

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            • Emily G November 28, 2013 at 1:22 am

              Right, and that’s why a standard bike lane next to a busy car lane isn’t well-designed infrastructure- like you said, there are just too many hazards. Street design that actually takes all travel modes and their needs seriously, rather than prioritizing car travel, is what we need, not more marketing. The very real safety problems she brought up at the end-well, marketing isn’t going to fix any of them.

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              • wsbob November 30, 2013 at 12:48 am

                “Right, and that’s why a standard bike lane next to a busy car lane isn’t well-designed infrastructure- like you said, there are just too many hazards. …” Emily G

                Perhaps you have a better alternative design in mind…if so, tell readers here about it.

                Standard bike lanes of 4′-5′ wide next to busy car lanes, are better than no bike supportive infrastructure at all, in situations that don’t allow a better design. The ability of people that bike to safely use this type of bike lane, does depend on their having sufficient knowledge of hazards inherent to such bike lanes, and what to do to avoid their happening.

                The ‘Sustainable Safety’ concept of transportation infrastructure, is a great one. Here in the U.S., or locally, I expect relatively few people know or understand what type infrastructure design that term refers to. Even if it was a rather commonly known about and understood concept, locally…it could be years yet, before sufficient public demand that money be committed and spent on it, happens.

                For now, people that bike, knowing about and being very familiar in practice, with how to position themselves relative to motor vehicles approaching, and intersections, driveways, etc, is the quickest, easiest, most effective way of avoiding right hooks.

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                • Emily G December 2, 2013 at 4:42 pm

                  A nice wide protected lane with good intersection design seems like it would be the best, if the road has lots of car/truck traffic. Or else make the road more of a secondary route and discourage through car traffic so it’s not so busy. Those are two designs I’d be way more comfortable using.

                  wsbob, I agree that bike lanes are better than nothing, people should be taught proper positioning, we’re unlikely to get anything better soon, etc but I think it’s important to aim for higher standards like Sustainable Safety in our infrastructure.

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                • wsbob December 2, 2013 at 11:59 pm

                  Emily G
                  A nice wide protected lane with good intersection design seems like it would be the best, if the road has lots of car/truck traffic. Or else make the road more of a secondary route and discourage through car traffic so it’s not so busy. Those are two designs I’d be way more comfortable using.
                  wsbob, I agree that bike lanes are better than nothing, people should be taught proper positioning, we’re unlikely to get anything better soon, etc but I think it’s important to aim for higher standards like Sustainable Safety in our infrastructure.
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                  Emily… good ideas, worthy objective. Bike lanes wider than 5′ would be helpful in some places. Protected bike lanes? Who’s going to want to ride there, depends on what the protection is. Cycle tracks could be a great component of new community development. How it’s possible to get people fired up to ask for it, enough to make it happen…I don’t know.

                  Sustainable safety infrastructure could have been incorporated into developments like Damascus (east side rural), Bethany, or the ‘in planning stage’, South Cooper Mtn, Sunset Station (west side). Chances of that happening? You tell me. Consistent with Sustainable Safety principles, for places in my area, I’ve had some ideas…rather grand and bold, I suppose, compared to the standard way things seem to be planned and done around here…that would let walking and biking be far more practical and appealing than it is currently. May as well be talking about building the Eiffel Tower II on Mars.

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          • wsbob November 27, 2013 at 6:34 pm

            People on bikes, not passing motor vehicles on the right at, or approaching an intersection or driveway, can go a long way to help avoid being the victim of a right hook.

            People without experience riding, or sound knowledge of how to ride cautiously, may be at extra risk of falling victim to right hooks.

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        • davemess November 29, 2013 at 6:27 pm

          Craig, I would still call someone getting hit while passing on the right a “right hook”.

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  • Anne Hawley November 27, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    I read the interview and thought, “Nice try, Leah, but you were right the first time.”

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  • Humongous Ed November 27, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    At this point they’re stagnating with the worst possible level of bike infrastructure. They’ve put in skinny, dangerous-but-mandatory bike lanes on streets that dont need them (like the sw broadway one pictured above) while ignoring fast, dangerous streets like barbur blvd that actually need bike infrastucture to make them safe. They still haven’t found a way to make streetcar tracks safe for bikes, but they’re building more of them anyway. Bike theft and right hooks are rampant, but the police don’t care.

    The message from the city seems to be “we’re happy to support bikes, as long as it doesn’t cost money or impact cars in any way.”

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    • was carless November 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      That is actually exactly what the city is saying:

      ‘Portland’s City Traffic Engineer states that “Bicycling infrastructure is relatively easy to implement and low cost compared to other modes. It is by far the most cost-effective way to provide for personal mobility in an urban transportation system”’

      source:
      http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/370893

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    • jimbobpdx November 28, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      “the worst possible level of bike infrastructure…” Hyperbole much? I’d be curious to learn what of our peer cities has any acceptable bike infrastructure. In your opinion.

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      • Humongous Ed November 28, 2013 at 10:03 pm

        OK, I admit that was a bit hyperbolic. But I really do think that Portland is showing a bad trend of putting in badly designed bike infrastructure just because it’s cheap, while ignoring places where bike infrastructure could really help but would be expensive.

        Eugene, OR is an example of a city with great biking (and a higher bike mode share than Portland) with less bike infrastructure.

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        • davemess November 29, 2013 at 6:30 pm

          So is “badly designed” (but vastly cheaper) better than no infrastructure?

          I think that’s one of the biggest problems right now with Portland, it’s finding the will and money to get anything “better”. I am a fan of bike lanes, I’ll admit it, and I still appreciate how nicely we have it here.

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          • Humongous Ed November 30, 2013 at 8:54 pm

            No. Badly designed infrastructure is often much worse than no infrastructure at all.

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  • Craig Harlow November 27, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    So, in terms of cool projects we’re doing fine, but in terms of actual measures over time…what, no comment or something?

    Am I alone in thinking that “marketing” as demonstrated in this instance amounts to misdirection? Or did the interview not address statistical measurements?

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  • Terry D November 27, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    She is playing politics since she is going to ask the voters for money. Let us hold off on judgement until we see a funding proposel and what it is going to be used for. What active transportation % split sounds good?
    since there would need to be a preservation, modernization and road paving componant as well.

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  • Puddlecycle November 27, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    The marketing we really need is outreach that encourages people to ride. The new bridge will *allow* for biking, but doesn’t *invite* people to do so. Sunday Parkways is a huge hit – we need more stuff like that, all year long. A city-wide treasure-hunt league would not be expensive. Getting some Trail Blazers and city officials on bikes would not be expensive. A year-round bike commute challenge would not be expensive. Lawn signs on greenways reminding people how much money biking saves you would not be expensive. Social outreach is the missing ingredient.

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  • Daniel L November 27, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Keep in mind that when people say Portland is a leader in transportation that the bar is incredibly low in the US. Portland may be doing a pretty poor job of it and still be among the best out there.

    Personally I think Portland’s main problem is just moving glacially slow. We have big aspirations, like the 2030 plan, but can’t seem to actually implement anything when it gets down to specific projects.

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    • Eli November 27, 2013 at 4:11 pm

      Exactly. This summer I was visiting a friend in the Netherlands (a Dutch transportation planner who’d spent significant time in Portland).

      He gently described Portland as an “aspirational bicycling city”, but one that he would never consider being a serious world-class bicycling city — yet.

      For Portland to be effective at attracting people on the basis of its livability and bike infrastructure, it needs to be not just *incrementally* better. It needs to be *substantially* better. As in, I should be able to bike to work downtown using all ages & abilities facilities the entire way and be able to use a bicycle for transportation as a normal adult.

      I don’t live in Portland. But I have a job interview for a role in Portland on Monday. Taking the job would probably mean a 30+% pay cut from Seattle, and the risk of living in a place without a robust job market in my field if they crater.

      I can conceivably justify that steep pay cut and security risk to live in a city that’s on track to remain 10 years ahead of every other American city in bike infrastructure. Just 3-5 years ahead? Probably not.

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      • wsbob November 27, 2013 at 6:47 pm

        “…I should be able to bike to work downtown using all ages & abilities facilities the entire way and be able to use a bicycle for transportation as a normal adult. …” Eli

        ‘normal adult’ is a fair way to describe the type person that basic, connecting bike route infrastructure should be built for, if intention to draw substantial numbers of people riding for practical purposes, becomes a serious intention.

        It should be doable too, since accomplishing this shouldn’t require a cycle track or humongous wide bike lane on every street in the city…but definitely so on certain strategic routes throughout the city for connection within neighborhoods, between neighborhoods, and from neighborhoods to downtown.

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        • Opus the Poet November 27, 2013 at 9:46 pm

          The Dutch standard is 8-80, facilities capable of being used by young and old alike. The current standard in the US is somewhat(!) less than that.

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          • Eli November 27, 2013 at 10:12 pm

            I’ve actually been reading the CROW (Dutch bike standards) this week.

            It’s really amazing how we often say ’8-80′ as a proxy for more like ’16-65′, but here, they really do mean 8-80. Even their 2007 standards talk repeatedly about how specifically to address needs of senior citizens and elementary school kids through addressing physiological needs and social safety needs.

            Admittedly, it shouldn’t be a surprise personally. (ik ben vroeger in nederland gewoont en gestudeerd, daar heb ik ook familieleden, enz.) But it’s still cool to read.

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          • wsbob November 27, 2013 at 10:29 pm

            8-80 is good. Common familiarity with what that means may be some way off. Often, ‘normal adult’ may get the point across more readily.

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            • 9watts November 28, 2013 at 6:35 am

              How do you mean that, wsbob? ’8-80′ and ‘normal adult’ are not even close to the same thing.

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              • wsbob November 29, 2013 at 1:41 am

                Only that, relating to usability of bike infrastructure, what the words ‘normal adult’ mean, is something people here in the metro area are more likely to be familiar with, than they would be with what 8-80 means in the Netherlands.

                If here, a time arrives that 8-80, becomes more commonly familiar as implying bike infrastructure that people of that range of ages can ride, referring to it as 8-80 may be more effective then, than it probably is at present.

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                • 9watts November 29, 2013 at 7:40 am

                  “If here, a time arrives that 8-80, becomes more commonly familiar as implying bike infrastructure that people of that range of ages can ride, referring to it as 8-80 may be more effective then, than it probably is at present.”

                  wsbob,
                  I think this sums up our differences that have a way of surfacing here from time to time. I would assume that the best way to bring about that familiarity is to *use the phrase* – alot. How else would you propose to familiarize people with it?

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                • wsbob November 29, 2013 at 10:05 am

                  “…I would assume that the best way to bring about that familiarity is to *use the phrase* – alot. How else would you propose to familiarize people with it?” 9watts

                  For 8-80, not sure. Various forms of marketing on a wide level, seems to be what really gets people familiar with new lingo, jargon, etc. Used in television commercials or print ads with broad coverage, associated with products or activities people either think, or are persuaded they’ve just got to have, can bring new words into common parlance.

                  Portland, Beaverton or Hillsboro actually committing to building at least one or two examples of an 8-80 bike use supportive type of infrastructure could go a long way to spreading familiarity with what those numerals used together mean; just as people generally know that simple words such as MAX and WES refer to public rail transportation.

                  Effectively getting the word around wouldn’t even necessarily require actually building an example. In a high profile way, just proposing to build an example could get the word into common familiarity; So it is that locally, what CRC refers to is fairly well understood by the general public.

                  Without though, some rather broad public support for an example of 8-80 type infrastructure, getting something like that built, and used widely, probably is a long shot.

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      • GlowBoy December 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm

        Eli, 15 years ago I left Seattle for Portland, taking a significant pay cut and the knowledge that I would be in a less robust job market in my field, and I haven’t regretted it for a second.

        Remember, the cost of housing in Portland is much lower than in Seattle. Since most people’s largest expense is housing, that difference alone may make up for much of the cut in pay.

        And think how much time you spend sitting in traffic in Seattle. (Not even taking into account that commutes tend to be longer in distance). What’s your time worth? Not that we don’t have traffic jams here, but they’re a lesser order of magnitude, and our smaller scale makes the alternatives (especially cycling) a lot more feasible.

        As someone who likes to go to the mountains, in Seattle I often found myself debating whether to go out of town for the weekend (especially holiday weekends, but even on normal summer weekends) because of the traffic I’d have to fight getting in and out of town. I remember on multiple occasions finding myself at the end of a holiday weekend crawling in stop-and-go traffic on I-90 in Cle Elum — 100 miles from home! Just last night, as my family was returning to Portland from a weekend on the Sound, we watched the solid mass of cars returning north on I-5: northbound was slow and go all the way up from milepost 60, more than 100 miles from Seattle. Meanwhile, returning south to Portland last night we had minimal traffic hassles other than of course the heavy rain. You will sometimes encounter traffic jams headed in and out of Portland on weekends, but it’s not even in the same ballpark as what the Seattle area experiences.

        Don’t get me wrong. I still dearly love Seattle (and my wife’s from there). It’s so beautiful (both in terms of mountain views, and the gentle tidal waters of the Sound). But we realized we were paying a serious “scenery tax” living there, disturbingly like the outrageous “weather tax” Californians pay.

        Overall, Portland has been so off-the-charts better in terms of livability that I can’t imagine us ever moving back. We have a very long way to go before we’ll even approach Danish or Dutch levels of bike friendliness (and we also have a long running anti-bike “backlash” in the media similar to what’s been credited with throwing out your incumbent mayor), but I think we’re still making progress.

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        • Paul in the 'couve December 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm

          As a lover of Seattle and one who believes that the best of Seattle is head and shoulders over Portland and a 2 time former Seattlite, I agree with this absolutely. Portland / Vancouver is just so much easier to live in day to day that the water, views of the Olympics and larger city advantages of Seattle just aren’t worth the day to day hassle of living in Seattle for a middle middle class lifestyle and that was true even when I was single and when I was married without children.

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        • wsbob December 2, 2013 at 1:21 pm

          Avoiding the unwitting creation of Seattle and L.A. type traffic congestion problems, is what people in the Portland Metro area should be actively doing more of.

          Some people in the metro area understand this is important, but most likely, not enough do…or maybe they do, and just don’t have a sufficiently clear idea of good ways to go about keeping massive transportation congestion problems from happening.

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  • Hart Noecker November 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    There’s only one way Portland gets to 25% cycling. “Show me the money”.

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  • Alan Love November 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Oh the irony! The photo in this article is nearby where Ms. Treat was right hooked while riding.

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  • BURR November 27, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    We’re not going to move forward with either marketing or new infrastructure when what we really need is a massive motorist re-education campaign.

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    • Opus the Poet November 27, 2013 at 9:56 pm

      Oh! Oh! I want to help run the “re-education camps” for unrepentant motorists. Daily 3 mile walks, with a few century rides on busy streets… Actually getting people out of their cars and moving their butts while using their butts…

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  • wsbob November 27, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    “…There’s a difference between riding in a bike lane in Beaverton versus Portland, it’s like night and day. …” Indy

    Neither city has ‘in the city’ bike infrastructure that would likely be considered supportive of people, ages ranging from 8 yr old kids, to 80 yr old persons…normal persons rather than gonzo athletic road warriors…for practical, transportation type riding.

    Utilitarian bike-pedestrian esplanades, or cycle tracks, is something people in either city could benefit from. What’s Treat’s thought on rallying wide public interest and support to build an example of one of those in Portland? Types of bike-pedestrian infrastructure such as the Springwater Corridor route, Eastside Esplanade, and similar types in Beaverton, are fine for what they are, but neither really are cut out to support bikes as a practical way to get around.

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  • Trek 3900 November 27, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    We don’t wanna be a bunch o’ liars like the POTUS. According to a Nov. 21, 2013 article in the Oregonian, cycling makes up 2% of commuters. You can’t make this stuff up:
    http://www.oregonlive.com/commuting/index.ssf/2013/11/despite_bicycling_reputation_v.html

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    • davemess November 29, 2013 at 6:36 pm

      Did you read the article? A few paragraphs down he states: “nearly 60 percent of commuters in Oregon’s largest city still drive alone. But more than 12 percent take transit. And the share of those who walk and bike to work – about 6 percent in both categories – far exceeds that in the suburbs.”

      I think the 2 percent was regarding the ENTIRE state (it is just worded poorly and not very clear).
      The 6% stat has been around for a while and from numerous sources. I don’t think anyone is lying about it.

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      • davemess November 29, 2013 at 6:37 pm

        Sorry Michael, missed your response below.

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  • 9watts November 28, 2013 at 6:42 am

    Speed limits & enforcement.
    If the PPB would demonstrate a commitment to apply the law(s) fairly, and prosecute distracted and speeding drivers aggressively (I would consider that a fair balance to the well-publicized stings in Ladd’s and other places given the relative danger posed by both groups) that would go some way toward making those on bikes or those who would like to bike (more) not only feel safe but actually be a little less likely to be run over.

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  • Puddlecyle...get involved! November 28, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Emily G
    Marketing isn’t going to prevent right hooks. Well-designed infrastructure will.
    Recommended 13

    How do we get more infrastructure? People need to demand it. How do we get people to demand it? Outreach.

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    • wsbob November 30, 2013 at 11:32 pm

      Yes…and “…Outreach…”, is what marketing can be. Through marketing of the appeal and benefits of biking infrastructure that support biking by a wide range of people, a sense can be gained about whether there may the potential for broad support of better biking infrastructure in Portland or elsewhere in the Metro Area.

      Link to Emily G’s comment/http://bikeportland.org/2013/11/27/portland-transportation-isnt-stagnating-after-all-city-director-says-97872#comment-4480159

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  • Trek 3900 November 28, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    According to the Oregonian, only 2% of Portlanders commute on bikes:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/commuting/index.ssf/2013/11/despite_bicycling_reputation_v.html

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor) November 28, 2013 at 2:16 pm

      Yeah, that piece is referring to the Portland “area” – everyone who lives in Multnomah, Washington, Clark and Clackamas counties. The 6 percent figure refers to Portland city limits. If you measure people whose jobs are in Portland city limits, it splits the difference: 4 percent bike.

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  • Jayson November 29, 2013 at 9:46 am

    This is not a marketing issue, it’s an infrastructure issue. Portland has not made any attempts to beef up transportation spending. All the City does is shift money around from one place to another. Other cities around the country have sales tax and/or increased gas taxes to help maintain and improve infrastructure. The City continues to push basic improvements in bike and pedestrian facilities off to grant applications. What we really need is a utility fee for transportation purposes that all ratepayers contribute to. Otherwise, we will continue to stagnate and fall behind. Not to mention all the transportation goals we will fail to achieve.

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  • Ty December 3, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    “Marketing” here probably means two things: first, they aren’t getting any serious money for serious infrastructure, so she is looking to lower expectations of the existing bike community, and, second, they plan to spend what money they have more on trying to convince more people to bike and less on actual infrastructure. This is probably reasonable to do given the current will to take bike transport to the next level. Portland has done a great job of providing infrastructure to get the “low hanging fruit” – that is, the braver, hard-core riders that would ride with little or no infrastructure. Problem is, low hanging fruit for cycling looks to be about 4% of the population – the extreme edge of the bell curve. They need a new paradigm (and the will to spend on it) to get the mainstream population, and skinny little bike lanes on busy roads don’t cut it (even the mythical 5ft isn’t enough). I hope they eventually come up with a plan and funding that makes bicycling so attractive that the infrastructure markets itself with all the benefits it provides, but I think the existing strategy isn’t going to take us much further. Although, after spending an unbelievable $305 mill on stuff that doesn’t work, it’s hard to imagine Oregon/Portland ever coming up with a plan we can stomach.

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    • 9watts December 3, 2013 at 6:36 pm

      “after spending an unbelievable $305 mill on stuff that doesn’t work”

      Did you mean $305 million? And on what stuff? I missed the reference.

      Thanks.

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    • wsbob December 4, 2013 at 10:44 am

      Ty…what good, creative marketing could possibly do, is help bring about awareness locally, of better, new types (for our area.) of bike use supportive infrastructure that, as a result, would have more people begin to request officials to prioritize their departments budget to build.

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