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Petition launched to strip Portland of ‘Platinum’ bike-friendly status

Posted by on April 13th, 2015 at 12:08 pm

vanluelead2
Petition at Change.org.

It’s been nearly seven years since the League of American Bicyclists bestowed Portland with its highest honor; a Platinum-level bicycle-friendly community designation.

Now there’s an effort to strip Portland of that award.

Platinum is the highest ranking possible in the League’s widely-respected program that judges cities with a combination of technical analysis, local expert interviews, and an application process. Portland is the only large city to reach this status — the other cities are Fort Collins and Boulder in Colorado and Davis, California.

31-year old Portland resident Will Vanlue has launched a petition on Change.org to encourage the League to downgrade our status. Vanlue told us via phone this morning that he’s “fed up” with the lack of progress being made to improve access for bicycles in Portland and he hopes his effort will “light a fire” under Portland policy makers, elected leaders, and advocates.

Vanlue is a former volunteer and was communications director for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) before taking a job as a delivery rider for SoupCycle. Riding around Portland streets all day has given Vanlue a discouraging view of just how bad Portland streets are for biking. Back in January we profiled his crusade to report bike access shortcomings to the City of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation.

This petition, he says, is the “logical extension of the traffic hazard reporting I’ve been doing.”

“No one seems to be pushing the City to generally improve the streets that are being built and policies that are being implemented,” said Vanlue. “I’d like to talk about more positive things; but I just haven’t had a lot of positive experiences to talk about. When I’m out riding around I’m always watching my back to not get run over… I’m just fed up.”


Last week Cedar Knoll, a co-worker of Vanlue’s, was hit by a truck while crossing Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Knoll says the police failed to make an official report of his collision and he had to take the law into his own hands just to get justice.

That was the last straw for Vanlue.

“Seeing somebody I know get hit and not seeing anyone take action is ridiculous,” he said.

Part of Vanlue’s increased urgency around bike safety comes from the fact that he is about to become a father in August. “I’m going to have a kid that’s going to be riding around these streets and most of the place I ride in Portland feel like they’re getting worse, not better.”

Vanlue hopes to spur attention for his cause on social media via photos and messages tagged with #downgradePortland.

For their part, the League has already openly questioned Portland’s Platinum status after the city’s controversial decision to ban bicycling at River View Natural Area.

It would be an unprecedented move for the League to downgrade a city from Platinum. According to the League’s process, Portland’s status wouldn’t come up for possible changes until the renewal period in 2017 (the reward was last renewed in 2013).

Below is the text of Vanlue’s petition as posted at Change.org:

Introduction

We are asking the League of American Bicyclists to downgrade Portland’s ranking in their Bicycle Friendly Communities program.

Below are a number of ways that we, as people who want to ride bicycles in Portland, believe we have fallen short of the specific A​ttributes of a Bicycle Friendly Community ​(sometimes known as the “5 E’s”) outlined in the League of American Bicyclists’ B​icycle Friendly Communities​ program.

We are not bringing these issues to light to criticize people who drive or ride bicycles, nor indict specific people or organizations. We are outlining our concerns here because Portland should not be held up as an example for other cities to follow.

We hope that Portland, one day soon, will become a “Platinum” city, but our current status as a “Platinum” community is odds with the reality of our streets. If other communities follow our lead they too will end up constructing roads & policies that increase traffic conflict, risk, and stress.

Engineering
There are many instances when, even after someone dies while riding a bicycle, when the City puts the onus for safety on people who ride bicycles despite their having no legal obligation to yield to other people’s travel.
Warning signs targeting people choosing to ride a bicycle are readily applied, but rarely are people warned to drive safely through the installation of traffic signs.

Many streets are built using outdated design standards, or standards that do not adequately protect Portlanders in the context ­ volume and speed ­ of traffic on a particular street. Some of the few facilities “for bicycles” are not well maintained and often slow or restrict the travel of people on bicycles. Facilities on the street also frequently drop out or degrade at intersections, specifically where there are the most opportunities for conflict.
Many non­arterial streets have speed limits set at 30 MPH or above, which aren’t even enforced on a regular basis. Many streets with high speed traffic have no facilities for people on bicycles, at all.

The network of neighborhood greenways has been determined to be deficient in many ways, including being pockmarked with areas of high­speed, over­capacity traffic.

Traffic facilities do not connect well with transit hubs, and vice versa.

There is no convenient way to provide feedback about engineering of on­-street facilities, and feedback is often spread across different City departments that do not actively coordinate.

The City continues to actively restrict off­-road bicycle access.

Education
Neighborhood greenways are not designed in a way to clearly illustrate their low­-stress intent, nor is there a public campaign aimed to curb reckless behavior which degrades their practicality.

Public campaigns are often aimed at the victims of traffic violence, not the behaviors that cause crashes and fatalities.

No robust adult education program exists outside of the diversion program.

Encouragement
Sunday Parkways is a terrific, popular activity but it is chronically underfunded and is on a scant few weekends each year. The lack of a regular, perhaps weekly, program causes confusion on the part of people trying to drive around the event. Sunday Parkways routes are significantly constricted around motorways.

Tourism campaigns often over­sell the promise of a safe, comfortable experience, setting up visitors for a shock when they try to travel by bicycle in Portland.

Portland continues to lack a public bike share system.

There are no themed loop rides, as are suggested by the League of American Bicyclists, despite this being an easy activity that could be developed around our existing Neighborhood Greenways.

Enforcement
Traffic laws are regularly ignored in Portland. Basic laws governing safety ­ like the speed limit, prohibition of parking on sidewalks and in bike lanes, stopping for people in crosswalks and at stop signs ­ are rarely if ever enforced by the authorities

The City of Portland lacks effective tools for reporting dangerous behavior. The City’s official reporting app lacks a reporting category specifically for hazards or superfluous closures impacting bicycle traffic. The behavior of officers and dispatch operators discourages people who ride bikes from reporting traffic crashes.

Portland Police Bureau officers, as a matter of policy, do not report or cite people in motor vehicle crashes that result in minor injuries. However, PPB officers also stage enforcement stings on popular bicycle routes, targeting common behaviors that do not pose a significant safety risk, and pushing the action to local media which creates the appearance of a publicity stunt.

Our regional trail network, intended as a destination for families, is not consistently patrolled by law enforcement and many trails have history of violent, threatening, or illegal behavior.

Evaluation & Planning
Little progress has been made on the City’s Bicycle Master Plan. Responses to Portlanders’ concerns are recorded and acted upon inconsistently.

Traffic crashes are studied and some changes are implemented, but dangerous conflict points and chronically unsafe behavior is often ignored unless it causes a fatality or serious injury.

Data is not collected before and after enforcement actions to evaluate their long­-term impacts.

City officials frequently adapt street designs to fit pro-­motor vehicle, anti­-bike opinions. Suggestions from pro­bicycle grassroots advocacy organizations and other community groups are not equally represented in street design. Compounding this disparity, the largest local bicycle advocacy organization has, as a matter of strategy, shifted away from actively working in Portland and rarely speaks out regarding potential changes to Portland’s streets. These forces create situations where the concerns of large groups of residents are subjugated to the whims of a small number of wealthy, well-­connected interests.

NOTE: At BikePortland, we love your comments. We love them so much that we devote many hours every week to read them and make sure they are productive, inclusive, and supportive. That doesn't mean you can't disagree with someone. It means you must do it with tact and respect. If you see an inconsiderate or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan and Michael

130 Comments
  • CaptainKarma April 13, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    I would add hostile news media coverage of bicycling, emphasizing us vs them thinking. A few extra mouse clicks or raggedy newspaper ad revenue gets paid for by endangering those who use bicycles for transportation or fun.

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    • A portland resident April 13, 2015 at 5:17 pm

      you mean like this article – http://bikeportland.org/2015/04/07/guest-article-popping-trail-poaching-cherry-forest-park-139034 -and “Portland Hates Me” shirts, that use that kind of us verses them media coverage and community talking points?

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      • Alex April 13, 2015 at 6:15 pm

        While I agree with your point to a certain degree, you seem to really be missing the point. That is the response to us vs. them – they are making the point that we aren’t that different by making a very pointed remark. To a certain degree, I think you are victim blaming.

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        • A portland resident April 14, 2015 at 10:07 am

          What? “Victim blaming”….you mean the democratic process to better preserved a natural/wild life area means some people cannot enjoy their hobby as much as they would like…sure, I did not get your point at all unless it is that you feel justified using the us verse them language for one group but no other groups….isn’t that the me, me, me group

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          • VTRC April 14, 2015 at 1:46 pm

            I really think you’d get a lot out of reading up on some of the history of the the MTB community’s interactions with the city. Mountainbikers have been absolutely working with and within the public process in good faith only to have the city halt the processes over and over.

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            • A portland resident April 14, 2015 at 4:01 pm

              Maybe you can then read about the history of Forest Park and how long it took community members to establish and build it up. The MTB community has seen nothing compared to what it took to get the park to where it is today…sometimes the democratic process takes awhile, and it leaves some user groups dissatisfied, but this is definitely a first, or developed, world problem that does not warrant the negative us and them language referenced above.

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              • TrailLover April 14, 2015 at 4:40 pm

                A portland resident – I’ve got to push back on a couple of fundamental things in your post. First, when you suggest that the “mountain bike community” is perhaps uninformed of what it took to establish Forest Park (that’s classic “us vs. them” rhetoric by the way), just who do you think is better informed? The non-mountain bike community? If you think mountain bikers are somehow new, you’re wrong. It’s the bicycles that are new (well, 30-40 years new, I suppose.). The point is that the people who make up the “mountain bike community” are just the same people that make up the rest of the community. I’m a family man, a business person, a neighborhood volunteer, a hiker and a mountain biker. So if you think I lack an appreciation for what it took to create Forest Park then I guess you can also point the finger at the “family man community,” the “business community,” the “neighborhood volunteer community” and the “hiker community” as well. Those are silly and inflammatory ways to frame the issue.

                And this gets to my second point: The “us vs. them” dynamic is entirely the product of the anti-sharing people. It’s the anti-sharing voices who have an incentive to create that tension because their agenda is to alienate and demonize cyclists in order to preserve exclusive access to public trails. Sorry but you can’t point the finger of division at the guys who are saying, “Let’s all share and get along.”

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                • A portland resident April 15, 2015 at 11:33 am

                  My comments that you are referring to were in reply to your earlier statement that I read up on the “MTB Community’s interactions with the city.” I am aware of the history of Forest Park and think that the process to build it was much more difficult that the one the MTB Community as you refer it is going through now. To your suggestion that this was a characterization of a community when responding to your individual’s comment, that is very out of place and unwarranted.

                  For your second point of language, this is basically like one little kid saying I can cut in line and use bad language if another little kid is seen to be getting away this it. Clearly many members of the MTB community are using this us verse them language. So what if someone else is using it, it is still wrong and I can point out clear instances were this is happening.

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                • TrailLover April 15, 2015 at 12:00 pm

                  A portland resident – I’m still not tracking your argument here. If you were not asserting that cyclists don’t have an appreciation for Forest Park and its history, then what’s your point? To say one thing took longer than another is meaningless apples and oranges. Why should it possibly take as long or as much effort for the city to accommodate a legitimate user group as it took to establish an entire, massive public park in the first place? It’s like saying that recent restroom improvements in the park should have taken 50 years.

                  Second, maybe I wasn’t clear in my initial comment. The entire blame for the “us vs. them” rhetoric sits squarely on the opponents of trail sharing. If you think the rhetoric is bad, please complain to the source and you can watch the whole discussion return to the way the cyclists started it, which goes something like, “We don’t believe it’s fair for some groups to be excluded from the public trails for baseless reasons so may we please have some sharing just like they do in other cities?” If that sounds to your ear like “us vs. them” then you’re even more cynical than I am.

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              • Alex April 14, 2015 at 7:32 pm

                I have lived across the street from Forest Park, hiked/biked/ran pretty much every trail there and have spent much time volunteering to help repair it. I am very aware of what it takes to help take care of that park. Mountain bikers have played a very active role in the development of it, we know what it takes and we do it. Please do not turn this into an us vs them, we are the very same people with the very same concerns for the park. Please do not forget that. We want to help preserve it and be more active than we have been, but we keep getting excluded by a powerful political minority.

                A city-wide vote is a straw man and not the way decisions like this are made. It will never happen and for good reason. Did we have a city wide vote to allow bikes on roads? Did we have a city wide vote to allow hikers in Forest Park? Did we have a city wide vote to allow dogs in FP (the number one complaint in FP)? You can set up straw men arguments all you want, but it is not us who are making it an us vs them – it is people like you as you have demonstrated quite clearly.

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            • A portland resident April 14, 2015 at 4:04 pm

              does that working with and in good faith include the rouge trails that have been built by some mountain bikers? While definitely not indicative of all mountain bikers, it does lend some pause for consideration

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              • Bill Walters April 14, 2015 at 4:28 pm

                Um, simply by definition, rogue trails would not be included. But it’s hard to imagine you didn’t already know that.

                Or maybe you really did mean “rouge” trails? I know of some pink trails, but they are Utah desert sandstone. And they represent good faith with the BLM.

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              • TrailLover April 14, 2015 at 4:47 pm

                Yes, rogue trail construction by mountain bikers is definitely something that should “lend some pause for consideration,” just like rogue trail construction by hikers has been cause for concern and action for hundreds of years. Yet, strangely, “Ban them from all trails!” has rarely been the remedy in the case of hikers. Why do we treat cyclists differently?

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                • A portland resident April 15, 2015 at 11:38 am

                  My comment, and misspelling, was to say that as a whole not all MTB actions have been good and the bad actions can logically lead to an extended process. Forest Park is also a very complicated ecological area that receives maintenance funds and support from a variety of users who also must be heard. There views are important too.

                  Referencing my earlier comment about the history of the park, many organizations have put in time and effort that have even gone beyond what MTB have done to change policies and have received little change. MTB’s are not alone in this wanting to change government policy. So I especially see no justification in using the negative language

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                • Bill Walters April 15, 2015 at 12:10 pm

                  “As a whole,” _no group in history’s_ actions have been good — even, say, the actions of all hikers. But it’s hard to imagine you didn’t already know this.

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          • Alex April 14, 2015 at 2:11 pm

            The funny/ironic part is that the democratic part of the process resulted in favor of increasing mountain bike access in the city.

            Or perhaps you could elaborate what you meant by the democratic process?

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            • A portland resident April 14, 2015 at 4:21 pm

              I have yet to see a city wide vote on MTB in forest park. As for the democratic process, I will let you ask a civics teach on that one for specifics, but it is pretty easy to research it on your own.

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              • TrailLover April 14, 2015 at 4:52 pm

                I have yet to see a city wide vote on tennis courts, baseball diamonds, jungle gyms and tether ball polls. How did they sneak through the process? Let’s ban them!

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              • Alex April 14, 2015 at 7:25 pm

                There was one! During the single track advisory committee. The whole city was invited. I am surprised you were unaware of it based on how passionate you are on the topic.

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  • Charley April 13, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Signed.

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    • WD April 13, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      Thanks Charley!

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  • Brian April 13, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Signed, and spread the link to interested mountain bike social media outlets.

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    • WD April 13, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      Thanks Brian!

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  • Bill Walters April 13, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Signed.

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  • Christophe April 13, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    I am all for making a good place better and I appreciate bike advocacy. But actively seeking a national, public down grade of your home town seems counterproductive.

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    • Charley April 13, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      Carrot and stick. It’s what brought Iran to the table. Maybe it’ll work with our City government, too.

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  • Trail Rat April 13, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Signed. I moved here from Vegas in 2007. After arriving here I realized that the bike lanes are far superior in Vegas, and the trail (mtb) riding is far better and way more accessible from the city. I was confused by what all of the hype in portland was all about. Now I get it, it was just “hype” with no substance.

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    • Chris I April 13, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      Oh ya, that’s why I saw so many cyclists riding for transportation when I visited Vegas last year…

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    • David Hampsten April 13, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      I worked for a community in the Midwest/Great Plains. “Hype” in fact is the greatest criteria for LAB or any other organization to rate any community as “Platinum”, Gold, Silver, or Bronze (as my community got), not the application itself. But the “Hype” is from regional and national news outlets, like the Seattle Times, Vancouver Sun, etc., not from local rags like the Oregonian, Willyweek, or even BikePortland. It’s your “reputation” that counts.

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      • nuovorecord April 13, 2015 at 6:57 pm

        Love your bikes, David!!!

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        • David Hampsten April 13, 2015 at 7:59 pm

          FYI, I don’t make bikes, but my brother Steve does, in Seattle, hampsten.com

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      • James Thompson April 13, 2015 at 7:25 pm

        Historically you probably have a point about hype as a criteria, but as data, standards, and expertise evolved, so has the LAB. Thus their own questioning of Portland platinum. Our experience with the LAB in Gainesville FL last year during their visit was that they told us some hard facts about the imperfect outcome of our good intentions, and they were highly aware of micropolitics and local infrastructure issues that were holding us back from gold. We are choosing to accept the challenge and have, I believe, made strides toward a gold star with the rise of a young advocacy org called GCAT and some mainstreaming events like ciclovias and trail christening parties. But truth be told: Slow and painful strides. Portland is in a different space obviously. From my down south perspective, I wish we had a platinum star to give back, so it pains me to see this petition. But I also know you all have the most experience politically with bike advocacy at the local level. I pray a downgrade doesnt have the effect of discouraging advocacy. It is a wierd approach but hey, let one thousand flowers bloom. Whatever you do I promise we will watch and learn and apply.

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    • lil'stink April 13, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      Telling the mayor and city council that we are lagging behind cities like Las Vegas when it comes to cycling could be what spurs them into action… sadly I don’t think they would do it simply because it is the right thing to do.

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      • Chris I April 13, 2015 at 6:30 pm

        Telling the mayor and city council that we are lagging behind Las Vegas would be a horrible lie.

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    • Huey Lewis April 13, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      Vegas would gladly welcome you back.

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    • rain waters April 13, 2015 at 7:07 pm

      I grudgingly must agree,

      Henderson NV tries hard to appear bike friendly but comes up short on usable routes with flow. I have to say though, riding my mountain bike here is so much easier and better than anything Portland had in ’05 when I moved away. That also goes for Austin and even Garland TEXAS.

      Again, Austin TEXAS and Henderson NEVADA are far superior places to ride without driving than Poortland. How can this be?

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      • Trail Rat April 13, 2015 at 7:29 pm

        I’ve lived in both Henderson and Summerlin, going for a trail ride or even a longish road ride after work was a pretty normal and relatively easy part of life. You are spot on about the flow, you kind of had to piece routes together but it seemed to work just fine. I’ve lived and ridden all over the country and have a hard time seeing why portland is any better than another place for riding. In fact for recreation riding it is pretty frustrating.

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        • davemess April 13, 2015 at 10:35 pm

          Except recreation and definitely trail riding is just a small piece of their rating pie.
          Comparing Portland to other smaller cities is not really useful though.

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  • kiel johnson
    kiel johnson April 13, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    How about a petition to make city leaders delivery soup by bike once a week so they can experience what it is like to ride a bike in PDX?

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    • Indy April 13, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      How about soap, and help fix the homeless cleanliness issue at the same time?

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      • J_R April 13, 2015 at 1:22 pm

        Indy. Indy. We’ve adopted the kinder, gentler descriptor on this site: it’s not the “homeless, it’s the “houseless” population.

        Besides that you must not jump to the conclusion that they actually do have a “cleanliness issue” just as you should recognize that they have mobile bicycle repair shops that are sometimes mistaken for chop shops and covered bicycle valet parking that can sometimes be mistaken for a stash of stolen bikes.

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      • Granpa April 13, 2015 at 4:30 pm

        And Indy, it is not soap, but non-antibacterial cleansing foam, It is not fix, but inspire, and it is not issue, but concern.

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        • Kevin Love April 14, 2015 at 2:07 pm

          And it is not “dead,” but “metabolically challenged.”

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    • nuovorecord April 13, 2015 at 7:04 pm

      Or how about a petition to make Bike Portland commenters ride in, say Dallas, so they can understand how good they have it?

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      • rain waters April 13, 2015 at 7:16 pm

        Just avoid the White rock trail or fail.

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      • Huey Lewis April 13, 2015 at 8:30 pm

        I’m with you completely. For me it’s less that I think other cities are better places to ride, in my experiences they are not. But it has more to do with the city/pbot/whoever sitting on their asses for too long now and not making smart transportation choices like we elect/pay them to do.

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      • davemess April 13, 2015 at 10:40 pm

        I completely agree with you (esp. after a recent trip to where I grew up in Ohio!!!!).
        I moved to Portland from one of the other Platinum city (Fort Collins), and I would agree that Fort Collins is better on many levels (probably not road rage against cyclists though, I’d say that is better here). But that’s comparing apples to oranges.

        Portland can definitely be better. But people here can ride on almost any street in Portland, and that is a pretty rare thing in the US.

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  • Dan April 13, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Couldn’t sign it quick enough.

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  • Indy April 13, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Yeah maybe just keep NE/SE Portland on the list. Because NW/SW Portland aren’t anywhere near the infrastructure/improvements that would necessitate this label.

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    • Lester Burnham April 13, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      NE/SE…even that is questionable. East of I-205 is no cycling picnic.

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      • naess April 14, 2015 at 10:27 am

        i thought ne/se portland ended at 82nd?

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  • Dave April 13, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Should the L.A.B. take local media into account when designating cities? I really believe they should–the presence of Pampliln and the Whoregonian should have been automatic bars to Platinum status.

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  • spencer April 13, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    done and signed!

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  • Chris Wallace April 13, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Your quote: “When I’m out riding around I’m always watching my back to not get run over” is EXACTLY what you should be doing, riding defensively.

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    • Chris I April 13, 2015 at 2:03 pm

      And something that you rarely have to do when riding in The Netherlands.

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    • Spiffy April 13, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      I’d rather be run down than live my life in constant fear… that’s not living…

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      • Scott H April 13, 2015 at 11:29 pm

        Or, you could find a happy medium between being fearful, and getting killed.

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        • Mike April 14, 2015 at 9:34 am

          THERE IS NO HAPPY MEDIUM!!
          Either you ride completely oblivious to your surroundings or you are living your life in a state of constant, nearly paralyzing, cold sweat inducing fear!

          I’ll ride defensively when they pry my handlebars from my cold, dead hands. – C. Heston ….or something like that.

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  • mran1984 April 13, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Platinum? What a joke! We have zero single track. Tin would be more applicable. I will sign after work.

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    • Wondering April 13, 2015 at 5:14 pm

      Who needs single track? Not the 8-80 demo. We need protected riding zones where the sense of safety among riders is always high.

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      • Dan April 13, 2015 at 5:51 pm

        I’d like to ride some trails with my 6 & 9 year old. That’s a good 90 minutes of driving though. Yuck.

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      • Psyfalcon April 13, 2015 at 5:51 pm

        The 4- something demo needs singletrack. Since you can still say biking isn’t the easiest way to get around town we need to inspire people to love (or even like) bikes. Off road cycling can get kids on bikes, and help them develop skills for later street riding. Balance, shifting, turning…. all things I’ve had trouble teaching new adult riders.

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      • Charley April 14, 2015 at 7:05 am

        What’s more protected than riding in a forest with no cars in it?? I don’t get this us-vs-them, zero sum attitude that I’ve heard a few times in the last month: “until every street is safe for children to ride by themselves, legal singletrack is an inappropriate luxury.” That kind of thinking will never get us to 25%. You would have us split up the bike community and fight over table scraps. We are stronger together with the simple message that bikes belong.

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  • Justin Carinci April 13, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    I’d rather be cast iron. Strong, dependable, classic world-changing metal, but one that needs regular care and attention.

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    • J_R April 13, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      When struck hard, cast iron shatters and cannot be repaired. An apt description.

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      • Justin Carinci April 13, 2015 at 3:08 pm

        Nothing can strike us that hard! It’s just rust and carbon. We’ll work through it.

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    • was carless April 13, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      I’d vote for “rusty metal.” It works, but needs a lot of work to keep running and needs a lot of fixing.

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  • Pete April 13, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    If anyone is interested in seeing what the application criteria actually consists of, I have an older worksheet that may be viewed here:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8eq4s7ekKWlQmpMcW1IdVlGZnc/view

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  • Terry D-M April 13, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    Platinum should be relegated to cities that have BIG ideas and are working on them. We are standing on our Tilikum laurels right now and building the legacies of the last administration’s applications and projects…..with not much in the pipeline….lots of plans…little leadership from city hall on funding them.

    Signed.

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  • Dan April 13, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Our Parks department is fighting against us, rather than advocating for us.

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    • Tony T
      Tony T April 13, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      Yup. It seems very obvious that they view us as a nuisance, and the “MTBers are dangerous Mountain Dew extreme dudes who scare people!” crowd (I’m looking at you Amanda Fritz) as their constituency.

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    • Wondering April 13, 2015 at 5:17 pm

      I missed our parks department working against physically separated street infrastructure for bikes. Gotta link or nah?

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      • Alex April 13, 2015 at 6:18 pm

        What does parks have to do with that?

        p.s. – I am pretty sure he isn’t referring to that issue, but rather the anti-mtb history. If you want to do a search for some bike hate by the current PP&R commissioner, that sure isn’t hard to find – so the link is there!

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      • Panda April 14, 2015 at 7:18 am

        The pp&r led np greenway study is a great example of the not understanding ( and dismissing) bikes. They dismissed and refused to include comments that pushed for safer, more pleasant routes, bolder ideas, or even keeping within their work scope! They put a route along Greely, on Interstate, and behind the Moda Center. There were suggestions for route alternatives that they ignored or would not address at each public meeting and conspicuously left out of the comment summaries despite being submitted by multiple people in person, in writing and via email!

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  • TrailLover April 13, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    It’s an unfortunate omission that the petition doesn’t explicitly include references to the dismal state of bicycle access to singletrack trails in city parks. Maybe a separate petition is needed? Either way, a demotion is long overdue.

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    • davemess April 13, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      Yes that’s why I would sign this.

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    • Charley April 13, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      It does. It’s just buried down in one of the paragraphs.

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      • TrailLover April 13, 2015 at 3:18 pm

        Aha, thanks, now I see the sentence that says, “The City continues to actively restrict off-road bicycle access.” But I do wish that were more prominent. Either way, good petition.

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    • Carl April 13, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      I’m imagine “The City continues to actively restrict off­-road bicycle access.” is supposed to be about.

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  • Aixe Djelal April 13, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Signed. Portland is a wonderful city, better than others for cycling, but it needs to get off its laurels and make progress on its bicycle friendliness. Thanks for starting this petition, Will.

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    • WD April 13, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      Thanks Aixe!

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  • Matt April 13, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Signed. The Enforcement category alone is enough to get us kicked off the list. Oregon traffic laws are a joke.

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  • pixelgate April 13, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    It’s one of the reasons I quit riding entirely. I don’t want to belittle the efforts of activists over the last 8-10 years, but from my eyes it looks like virtually all progress has come to a halt. All I see are tons of close calls and near misses, streets overrun with cars and bicyclists (braver than I) left to fend for themselves. There’s no way you can call Portland a platinum bike city. To even suggest otherwise is highly disingenuous.

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    • Cheif April 13, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      You don’t ride because “they” aren’t out there making it easy enough for you? Hm.

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      • Charley April 13, 2015 at 3:52 pm

        You’re willfully misreading the comment, Cheif. Pixelgate is talking about safety, not about easiness. And “they” are our elected political leaders, whose job is to represent our interests and work for a better, safer city. So, what was it you meant, exactly???

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    • Dave Thomson April 13, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      You don’t see close calls and near misses. You read about self-described close calls and near misses on BP from people who have the expectation that no one should come within a block of them on their bike.

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      • Dan April 13, 2015 at 9:28 pm

        Not sure I understand your point. I’ve seen lots of close calls and near misses, sometimes more than once during a single commute. You don’t have this experience? Where do you ride?

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  • Dwaine Dibbly April 13, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Signed, using my real name.

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  • Andyc of Linnton April 13, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    2017? I’m afraid that we’ll start implementing major changes to our streets and implement bike share by that time….BWAAAAHH HA HA HA HA HA! Just kidding, I’m signing.

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  • GlowBoy April 13, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Portland should have lost its Platinum status a long time ago. Mode share and construction have both stagnated. From what I can tell there are bits and pieces of projects in the works – which ARE important, closing up the little infrastructure gaps here and there – but SO much more is needed. Cycling isn’t too bad in the center of the city, but get out into Southwest, or up into the West Hills, or out into East Portland, and it still sucks. I spent 14 of my 18 years in Portland working east of I-205 and out in Beaverton. The commute to both places from central Portland sucked.

    After 4 months in Minneapolis, I can honestly say things are better here. First the bad: the bike lanes aren’t as extensive, and the quality of the pavement (thanks to road salt and brutal winters) is atrocious in the city and the suburbs alike. But the good: a half-decent network of bike lanes (many of which are new enough not to show up on Google Maps yet), a staggering network of MUPs that often actually GO somewhere, dozens of miles of real cycletrack, far better connectivity in most of the suburban areas, over a dozen trail systems to go mountain biking (so you can ride your BIKE to the mountain bike trails!), and … get this … LESS HOSTILE DRIVERS! No kidding: when I’m driving I find the drivers considerably more aggressive here than in Portland, but when I’m on a bike EVERYONE is nice. I’ve clocked over 600 miles so far this year, probably more in the suburbs than the city, yet I’ve had no close calls, no hostility from anyone. NOTHING. I think it’s because a lot more people actually ride bikes here (#1 state for bicycling). So even though fewer people commute by bike, cycling is viewed as less of a fringe activity.

    But more than anything, where MSP totally outshines PDX is the current level of effort to improve the bike infrastructure. Minneapolis is committed to adding dozens of new miles of bikeways this year, St. Paul is adopting a radical new bike plan, suburbs like Edina and Richfield are making a BIG DEAL out of making their infrastructure friendlier to attract millennials, and major regional trail work is going on over the place (Nine Mile Creek and Intercity trails near me, some great new stuff in South St. Paul and Inver Grove Heights, and others I can’t remember off the top of my head). All told, I’m sure the amount being spent this year alone in the region is well over $10 million.

    And this is where Portland is failing right now: everyone is fighting over scraps, with a minor trail connection here, a neighborhood greenway there and an intersection over there.

    Don’t get me wrong: NO CITY in America deserves Platinum yet IMO. There is nowhere in the USA that bike infrastructure is adequate. I could go on about Minneapolis’ deficiencies too. But the case for downgrading Portland is especially strong.

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    • David Lewis April 13, 2015 at 10:21 pm

      When I was growing up in New York State, I had never even heard of bike lanes. I had no fear of automobiles; I rode everywhere and I conquered. My hometown would not qualify for any status, alchemy aside, even today.

      Then I joined the Army and lived in Germany, and I could ride my bicycle from the Alps to the North Sea on paved cycle tracks with little to no interaction with automobiles at all. It woke me up.

      Two years ago I moved to Portland – as soon as I got out of the Army – to go to UBI to learn to make bicycles, because I decided to make it my profession. After two years, I can report that I don’t see the bicycle infrastructure that I kept hearing about. What I do see is hardy bicycle subculture coexisting with a lot of other subcultures that Portland shelters. It’s just a pineapple chunk in the fruit salad known as Portland.

      I want to do something about it, and I am trying with Veteran Bicycle Co. to start an industry in this country that transforms the bicycle into a viable transportation option of the people, by the people and for the people. Access to viable transportation can turn the reality of urban sprawl into a non-issue, and I think the LAB status was a relic from a time when things were far worse than they are today. It’s not so much that Portland should have it revoked as much as it’s just not a relevant metric anymore. No city should have the status.

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    • Todd Boulanger April 14, 2015 at 9:48 am

      Yes good point about any US City being truely platinum. We in the biz were mystified when the LAB went platinum so soon with any US city years ago. Its like handing new students their diploma after their freshmen year.

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  • what April 13, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    “Victim blaming”….you mean the democratic process better preserved a natural/wild life area means some people cannot enjoy their hobby as much as they would like…sure, I did not get your point at all unless it is that you feel justified using the us verse them language that have therefore opened that door for all.

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  • Keith April 13, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    I fully support Will’s petition to the LAB. SW cyclists have never felt part of a “Platinum” city, and they have recognized this for a long time (link below). With SW having only one complete bike route without gaps (Multnomah Blvd.), “close enough” often considered as an acceptable design standard, and SW Sunday Parkways being an afterthought, the city should be demoted. Platinum shouldn’t simply go to the best of the worst.

    http://bikeportland.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/swbicyclefacilitiesstrategylowres110308.pdf

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  • jeg April 13, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    This is a political misstep that will be used to say biking isn’t important. You’re playing into the trap.

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    • Alex April 13, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      You mean other than the statistics that actually say it is important.

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    • Bill Walters April 14, 2015 at 12:25 am

      But if a trap really has been set, then we do indeed have a platinum-prohibitive problem — don’t we?

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      • Jeg April 14, 2015 at 4:58 am

        Negative activism isn’t the solution.

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        • Dan April 14, 2015 at 7:28 am

          This isn’t a tactic. This is too many failures on the part of the city to live up to the status with new development, or to even maintain what we do have.

          Greenways without diverters. The compromised plans for Foster and 28th Ave. The constant prioritization of parking vs people. The selective ban on cyclists from our trail network. The police policy that allows someone to blow a red light while driving a large box truck and nearly destroy another human, and to walk away without even a CITATION. Too many roads with unnecessarily high speeds. Too little enforcement of those speeds. Pretty much zero enforcement of distracted driving. A knowledgeable cycling advocate is killed at NOON by a distracted professional driver – will anything come of that? No bike share. No fixing the Naito Gap, I mean, c’mon. On and on. If these are Platinum decisions, something is wrong with the designation.

          The singletrack issue is a big one. This is like having the parks department say, “The biggest users of our fields are soccer players, so we are converting all of our fields to soccer fields. If you want to play baseball, you can use our worst soccer fields for that.” And then we call ourselves a Platinum Baseball City.

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          • Jeg April 14, 2015 at 9:27 am

            Actually, in a country that barely had bike infrastructure, one must think politically. We are damaging the cause nationwide by not focusing on convincing our elected officials. Not only is it declaring bike planning a failure, it’s declaring democracy a failure. I disagree with both, but let’s see how this negative advocacy affects the national scale.

            Hint: it’ll be a fox news bonanza against planning.

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            • Dan April 14, 2015 at 10:40 am

              Fine, our city democracy is failing.

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              • soren April 14, 2015 at 8:35 pm

                Au contraire. Our city’s democracy is working very well indeed for our LLC and corporate citizens.

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  • Eric April 13, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Portland’s drivers, city council, police, and bureau of transportation need to work together to earn and maintain any reputation as a bicycle-friendly city. Simply painting an appropriate lane width (8ft for cars, 8 for buffer+bikes instead of 11/5) on our 20-25mph streets would help, but trimet can’t be troubled to run buses at less than 10mph over the speed limit. Simply enforcing the laws would make a huge difference to our shared infrastructure, but nobody’s pal gets to pour any concrete doing that. Simply riding a bike for short trips would change everything, but half of our land is parking lots and biking is a hassle while gasoline is so cheap and easy to burn (and the drivers are too distracted, incompetent, aggressive, and rude to share the road.)

    Maybe a trail of flaming gasoline behind my bike would buy me 1s+ following distances from these drivers with a “share the road” plate? I need to burn my fair share, right?

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  • Zimmerman April 13, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    Signed, with great joy.

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  • Scott H April 13, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    2008 felt like such a great year. It felt like we were making real progress. Now city leadership is trying to ride that wave without contributing.

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  • stephen salter April 14, 2015 at 12:07 am

    signed

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  • Andrew N April 14, 2015 at 3:36 am

    I will be impressed if LAB makes a move right now (or even in 2017, though it’s possible with enough public advocacy) because I think they’re too cozy with city officials. It’s hard to avoid the fact that city governments and LAB have a symbiotic relationship, with each group at the end of the day reliant on the other for maintaining an aura of legitimacy. No one wants to rock the boat too much — but the River View decision looks so openly hostile/dismissive that LAB risks losing too much legitimacy with the public. The validity of the rating itself gets corroded if they allow us to continue to drift from the published standards. That’s my 2 cents, anyway. A few years ago I got added to the local review group for the previous re-Platinum-ing of Portland (2013?) and argued strenuously for a downgrading. Maybe more of us should ask to be local reviewers? I have no idea what the process is for vetting members, or even how big the group is (or could/should be), but if enough of us get involved the pendulum may swing in such a way that downgrading our status becomes politically palatable.

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  • Seth Alford April 14, 2015 at 6:11 am

    LAB Life Member. Signed.

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  • Andy K April 14, 2015 at 7:56 am

    This is all because that guy ran over the duck, isn’t it?

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    • Racer X April 14, 2015 at 9:52 am

      Everyone has a coworker they love. They are called work spouses. I am sure there is a park ranger out there missing his work duck…now that you bring it up.

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  • Rick April 14, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Nearly 13 % of the entire comments for the online 2035 Comprehensive plans for transportation was about SW Hamilton Street which lacks sidewalks and bikelanes for over 80 % of that big east/west corridor. However, the city denied those pleas for help recently. Another kick to the creek for the Bridlemile neighborhood.

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  • gutterbunnybikes April 14, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Really does this rating matter?

    What’s the LoAB done recently other this? Oh yeah a trade show.

    I mean come on, the title isn’t worth anything – I’d get it if there was funding or something on the line.

    All the title is is city hired wonk bragging rights. Don’t know how to break it to you all, but other than a few of us geeks, hardly anyone knows about the rating, and even fewer care about it.

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    • Scott H April 14, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      Obviously we’re all aware that there are no monetary or physical benefits of a LAB designation. Just because you can’t literally monetize an award doesn’t mean not a big deal, look at the Grammys. It is a big deal, it’s prestigious, Portland worked hard for it and we were the first major city to win Platinum. That’s why watching Fritz and Hales squander it is all the more frustrating.

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      • gutterbunnybikes April 14, 2015 at 2:42 pm

        Comparing this to the Grammys is a stretch. There is money to be made with Grammy awards, more box office/streaming/DVD sales for winning titles, actors and actresses get more money in future contracts, designers get to advertise their wares. And everyone on the streets is aware of the Grammy’s – it’s front page news- for days before and after.

        Most people don’t know who the LoAB is. Or that they even have this designation for cities, and most people if they found out would likely respond “oh that’s nice – so”.

        As for Pete below, this program is relevant because it gives us (for the sake of brevity) intangible stuff. But if that’s the case, why such an outcrying for the downgrade? obviously that title didn’t bring us enough of the “stuff”. If it did then we wouldn’t be all up at arms about it…right?

        Besides there are better conversation starters that are relevant. Return on the infrastructure investments, increases commercial sales, decrease in public funding for health related issues, lower congestions, and the list goes on.

        Pick one, any of them is better than “Hey, You ever hear of the LoAB? You know they can rank your city!” – Just like half a million other web sites, organizations, and periodicals already do.

        Besides most that “stuff” (safe route, master plans, bike shops) you mention was happening long before the LoAB started this rating system.

        From where I’m sitting, this whole rating system is designed not so much for the cities benefit, but designed in an effort to keep the LoAB relevant.

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        • Pete April 14, 2015 at 6:19 pm

          As a BPAC, we use it not as a measuring stick (or ‘carrot’), but as a checklist to hold staff accountable when setting agendas, and on revisiting our Master Plan. Staff is otherwise reactive on its own, as they’re really just involved to check a bi-monthly box, for the most part. I don’t know of any other comprehensive collection of criteria available, at least not based on just infrastructure alone.

          It can guide a BPAC (and other activists) with specific demands. It forces a characterization – for instance, our engineering staff would not be inquiring about crash statistics from the police if it weren’t for our recent Bronze renewal, nor would the police have even bothered to replace our retired liaison if we hadn’t personally pointed out to the Chief and our Administrative Manager that they signed up for that when they were awarded the renewal.

          Do we share your frustration here? Absolutely. Even with our recently-acquired statistics and lists of hot spots and Master Plan to point to, the $400K we recently got will stripe lanes on a wide roadway that’s already well-traveled by experienced bike commuters with no incidents to speak of, whereas we still have two schools with no bike lanes, poor roadway control, and increasing incidents with the same repeated patterns. People – kids – are still getting hurt. The consensus? Well, we can’t get the funds to fix the real problems, so I guess this is better than nothing (yes, these funds have expiration dates).

          Honestly, I’ve entertained/weighed this action (and harsher) myself, but a) my personal relationship with staff is currently more helpful to the community as a whole (for now anyway), and b) it can go either way. For you, PBOT may not be so excited about reaching the Platinum Carrot as the bike community has been, and a downgrade may come as a big relief to some there. Whether the outcome of this move is increased action and cooperation on the part of city staff remains to be seen – but believe me, I’m hoping for the best and watching closely.

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          • gutterbunnybikes April 14, 2015 at 11:51 pm

            So basically, the PDOT is either

            1)being held somewhat hostage to the LoAB?
            2) are too lazy to figure this stuff out themselves?

            Somewhat simplistic to look at it this way, I admit- but hey lets call a spade a spade.

            By the way, what kids are getting hurt? Last year by your own records, Portland had one bicycle fatality (and if it’s the one I’m thinking of it was the bicycle riders fault) and 23 serious injuries.

            Bicycle safety isn’t nearly as dire as anyone makes sound like in this city. On an average day (sure that changes slightly day to day) the Hawthorne Bridge sees more bicycle traffic in 1 hour in 16 minutes than there have been fatalities or serious injuries in the last decade in Portland.

            That bridge sees more traffic on average than suffer serious or fatal injuries in 2013 for the ENTIRE country in 18 days. Feel free to check my math if you like

            http://www.gutterbunnybikes.com/2015/03/29/the-hawthorne-bridge-vs-the-cdcs-wisqars/

            And your comments are a perfect example of how the good intentions of the bicycle advocacy movement are actually making it suffer. At what point is it safe – if not now? People on the fence are looking at you all asking if it’s safe now, and all everyone ever says is “no not yet, let us build you another fence.

            The more I hear and study this stuff the more it looks like Waiting for Godot.

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            • Pete April 15, 2015 at 9:56 am

              I should disclaim; I live in Santa Clara, CA now and no longer Portland area so am talking about my involvement here.

              “…perfect example of how the good intentions of the bicycle advocacy movement are actually making it suffer.”

              How do you mean? And what’s your definition of “advocacy movement”?

              If not for organized advocacy groups, I think we’d have mandatory helmet laws, white taillights, and day-glo bikewear here in California. It’s bad enough that’s still a threat, let alone that most drivers don’t know that we can “take a lane used by cars.” I personally want my money that goes to organized advocacy groups to go to education (starting with the DMVs) and not necessarily infrastructure, but it sounds like other people are banding together for trail use, protected bike lanes, etc. Yes, I’ve actually written to the CA DMV office with explicit proposals about the bicycling section in their Driver’s Manual, but it’s done no good, though I’m hoping it coming from

              My approach is to build a personal relationship with people who get checks written and then point out to them specifically what needs to be fixed. I’m a pragmatist, so when I say “pointing” I mean literally, as we’ve taken city councilors, police chiefs, and traffic engineers out for ride-alongs or met them on street corners to show them potholes, worn paint (or lack of any), and sections where bike lanes dump you into intersections or put you into cross-traffic. Is that considered advocacy? (I honestly don’t know).

              I totally agree with your value proposition about bicycling above (health, commerce, environment, etc.), but when we’ve tried to start conversations with that it’s been as useful as a rubber crowbar. When city staff is approved to get paid overtime to meet with local ‘advocates’ to fill out the renewal for their LAB status, that’s when we can point to the police liaison box, for instance, and say “No, you can’t check that anymore because the officer who showed up to one BPAC meeting last year to talk about the grant they got to hand out free helmets to kids has retired… so by the way, who’s his replacement?”. It’s a slow, stepwise process, but we finally have a police contact again and are now working with them on the educational campaigns they just got a grant for. They thought the first one went well, but we had feedback otherwise, and we’re helping them promote the next one better by working with Silicon Valley Bike Coalition (who the officer didn’t even know existed).

              My point is that starting the conversation properly is critical, but it’s how you move it along that creates the actual change.

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  • Pete April 14, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    I’ve seen a few comments about the BFC program being irrelevant anyway, and the status not really mattering. Valid opinions, indeed, but one thing I’ll say in favor of the program is that it is an excellent ‘conversation starter’ with city staff/councils and provides guidelines to inform those in charge how to start implementing a bike-friendliness program (and applies to corporations and universities too). Without sponsored programs, master plans, and stakeholders (project/bike managers, LEO, schools/SRTS, engineers and public works, bike shop owners, etc.) at the table you get nothing. Cities aren’t typically run by people who know bicycling, and grants don’t get written by themselves. When these awards come up for review, you then get to start the same conversation all over again with the new administration.

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  • Ted Buehler April 14, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Here’s Portland’s 2008 Platinum Level City application.

    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/194342

    If there are measures in the 2008 application that are no longer true, then that is fodder for the argument to downgrade Portland’s status. &, of course, there are positive changes, too (like the Morrison Bridge bike lanes, Stark and Oak wide bike lanes, upcoming Tilikum Bridge opening) that would need to be offset by more significant deterioration elsewhere in the system.

    If its quantifiable, its defensible. & can be used for specific requests to ensure that changes for the better are made to continue to support Platinum status, or to support a request to the LAB to downgrade status.

    If its qualifiable, it’s still useful.

    But without quantification or qualification and reference to Portland’s 2008 application, it’s an interesting discussion, but not really useful as a lever to create change.

    Ted Buehler

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    • Pete April 14, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      Well said. Very well said, Ted.

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  • TrailLover April 14, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    A lot of commenters are asserting that the LoAB ratings have no real value or benefits for the city beyond some low-visibility window dressing. But a little sprucing up can go a long way. I’m virtually certain that when the city is wooing private business to locate here or is applying for certain types of public or private grant monies, the city is all too happy to tout a positive LoAB rating and the quality of life benefits that it implies. And if the other party doesn’t know what LoAB is, I’m sure the city is happy to explain the significance. Sure, it’s just one of many tools in the toolbox but I doubt the mayor and the commissioners would like to see it disappear so they might be willing to make changes to retain or restore a positive rating.

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  • SD April 14, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    I agree with and completely feel the sentiment of the petition, but I can’t help thinking that this is simply thrashing around in frustration, in the darkness, affecting nothing. It is unfocused and it does not place pressure on anyone.
    If the city administrators acknowledge that this petition even exists or is significant, they will easily shift blame elsewhere. If you want to channel your discontent, pick a real target, call Charlie Hales out for his failure to advocate for cycling. Pressure him to take a stand.
    Maybe he is a cycling advocate, but is too timid to admit it.

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  • Adam April 14, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Signed.

    Sick and tired of constantly being made to feel like I am “in the way” of car traffic when biking on bike boulevards.

    They are not supposed to be two auxiliary lanes of auto capacity for whatever godawful arterial they happen to parallel.

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    • gutterbunnybikes April 15, 2015 at 11:54 am

      For me advocacy is pretty much defined by people trying to actively increase bike share -be it individual, organization, government agency – regardless of the method to do so.

      My problems with things like this rating system for cities, some infrastructure improvements, data collection and delivery systems is that they affect the perception of the public that riding a bicycle is a dangerous activity.

      What do the “interested and concerned” actually see by always focusing on safety, be it personal or infrastructure? The real message getting out there to the public (who frankly get most their information from headlines and 144 word blurps on line) is that riding a bicycle is not safe. If it was why is all this (be it helmets, planters, a stripe of paint) necessary?

      And this rating system is perhaps one of the worse offenders. It doesn’t just rank a single street, it ranks an entire metropolitan region. How many people on the fence are going to use any information like this as an excuse? How many look at this rating system say in Oklahoma City or Dallas (don’t know their ratings and don’t care) and say. Hey even the League of American Bicyclists – nationally acclaimed experts on the subject- only give us a copper rating, if those experts don’t think it’s safe for them to ride here, why the hell should I!

      Then of course we have the flip side, where advocates are pushing to make the city look worse by filing petitions to downgrade Portland on this silly system. A year ago everyone was, hey look bikes here are awesome, now the public sees that even the people riding bicycles don’t think it’s so great. And again, I ask – if those of us that ride give the appearance that riding a bicycle is a bad or dangerous experience – how does that motivate the outsiders that only give the idea a passing glance?

      I’m not questioning most peoples intent, I honestly believe most the people are excited about bicycles and want more people riding. But this whole thing isn’t a mirror, it’s a two way mirror – and there is a whole world of people watching – perhaps just glancing at us, on one side – while we pick our noses and comb our hair in the mirror, seemingly unaware that we are being watched.

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      • gutterbunnybikes April 15, 2015 at 11:55 am

        don’t know what going on lately, the reply should went up a few to my conversation with Pete. Sorry

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      • Pete April 15, 2015 at 3:58 pm

        Yeah, we need Disqus… ;-)

        Just wanna say I really appreciate your viewpoints, because they’re a little different from my own so I can learn from them, thank you. I can’t argue with what you’re saying, mainly because even the parts I may try to disagree with illustrate this Catch-22, or double-edged sword. We know that bike lanes get more people riding – or at least that was shown in years past. But at the same time they did two things: 1) create demand for more bike lanes, and even more separated or protected bike lanes, and even a movement for national standards on bike lane separations… and 2) create the perception among drivers that they’re the only place on the road where bicyclists are legally allowed to ride.

        So what to do? Stop putting in more bike lanes when you get the table scraps (like in our specific example) to add bike lanes where they’re “better than nothing”, while schools down the street still have kids getting hit from all the drivers who think bicycling is unsafe for their kids and that cars are dangerous (irony?)? I don’t know the answer (though I do know that whatever it is likely requires “more funding”… ;).

        What I do stand by is that this rating system at least encapsulates that there are multi-faceted aspects that need to be addressed, and it tries to enumerate as much of them as possible in one place. The importance of that I think is summed up quite well by Ted Buehler’s comment http://bikeportland.org/2015/04/13/petition-launched-strip-portland-platinum-bike-friendly-status-139289#comment-6338574.

        And, like you say, it definitely puts them out there for everyone to see!!

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        • gutterbunnybikes April 16, 2015 at 6:43 am

          I know mine isn’t a popular opinion as of late, but I really don’t think that the Greenways/sharrows method has seen much investment in time or money or data.

          Locally here at least people were all up at arms over increased auto traffic on most of ours here in Portland, but interestingly enough, bike traffic was up on those roads by a larger margin.

          And even though the auto traffic counts were often above the “line” for a greenway, despite all the complaints by riders there hasn’t been any evidence of an increase in collisions.

          So while everyone else was hey, we need to do something about this, I saw this as an opportunity to explore how much shared traffic in a 20 MPH zone is possible? How about commercial possibilities?

          I know that they aren’t in style, but statistically they’re just as safe as any other system. So I don’t understand the hate. Because like those numbers suggest, even the Greenways of SE Clinton and Lincoln the bicycles keep coming along with the cars.

          Like everything else it’s all about perspective, and the ability to look at things from multiple angles and opinions.

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          • Pete April 16, 2015 at 9:15 am

            Great point! Personally I’m all about getting bikes out into the streets with cars, but I know that’s not for everyone. We have 25 MPH sharrowed roads here where people regularly do 35 MPH, and we have 35 MPH sharrowed roads here that even the most hardened of us have problems with (partly due to sharrow positioning). Portland is certainly welcome to demand greater (I applaud that), but they should appreciate that they have a city that would even entertain a 20 MPH speed limit, much less augment it with Greenway signs.

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  • Gerik April 15, 2015 at 10:52 am

    I think the important decisions about biking in Portland are not being made in Washington DC. The complaints in the change.org petition point to real problems on our streets, I’ll be curious to hear substantive responses from the City. In my experience many of the challenges we face making our streets safe for everyone boil down to a lack of funding at PBOT and a lack of political support for in City Hall. …

    https://btaoregon.org/2015/04/personal-reflections-on-portland-and-platinum/

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