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Bikes should rank beneath mass transit in city hierarchy, says Commissioner Fritz

Posted by on February 23rd, 2016 at 3:05 pm

Commissioner Amanda Fritz.

Saying that “not everybody can cycle,” Commissioner Amanda Fritz Tuesday urged the city to switch the order of its “green transportation hierarchy” to prioritize public transit above biking.

“Everybody can use the bus,” Fritz, who a city staffer mentioned was supported by written testimony from advocacy group Elders in Action, said at a council work session on the city’s new comprehensive plan. “And our transit system is not good.”

Fritz’s comments drew disagreement from her counterpart Steve Novick, who said the city’s plan already calls for big upgrades to transit and that “historically we’ve spent a hell of a lot more on things other than biking and walking.”

green hierarchy
The original hierarchy was created in 2009 for
the city’s Climate Action Plan.

“The strategy is about the system working together as a whole, and I feel strongly that the best way for that to happen is to design the streets for walking and biking,” Novick said. “The streets will be better for pedestrians and people on bicycles when they’re getting to transit.”

Novick also argued that it’s not true that a vast number of people can ride buses but are unable to bike.

“In places like the Netherlands and Denmark that have made it truly safe to ride bicycles, people of all ages ride bicycles,” Novick said.

You can view their exchange below starting at the 51 minute mark, or click here to jump straight to it on YouTube.com.

Planning Commissioner Chris Smith, who sits on the board of Portland Streetcar and has been deeply involved in both biking and transit advocacy for years, also attended Tuesday’s work session to defend the existing hierarchy.

“Absolutely people need to have transit as a choice,” he said. “Amsterdam and Copenhagen can only have a 40 to 50 percent bicycle mode share because they also have a 30 percent transit mode share.”

But though he said he very much supports more money for transit, there are various ways biking should be a generally higher priority.

“For the distance that can be covered, it’s probably the least expensive form of mobility,” Smith said. “A transit trip costs us up to several dollars; bicycle trips cost the government pennies.”

Smith noted that the city’s transportation plans are built around the assumption that 25 percent of trips will happen by bike in 15 years and 25 percent on transit.

“If it’s 30 percent transit and 20 percent bike, it’ll probably still be a great city, but it’ll cost us a lot more to operate it,” Smith said.

In practice, the city rarely faces direct tradeoffs between biking and transit. A more detailed version of its policy is that transit should be the most desirable mode for trips of three miles or more; biking, for trips of one to three miles; and walking, for trips of up to one mile.

But Smith said the city’s transportation hierarchy would prevent the city from making errors like the one he said it committed when it added a streetcar line on the central eastside’s MLK/Grand couplet without adding bike lanes.

“That is still a black hole for cyclists,” Smith said. “We would not be able to do that in the future under this policy.”

The debate also comes at a crucial time for regional spending. The Metro Council is right now weighing competing pressure from TriMet, freight advocates and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance over whether to send flexible federal dollars to high-capacity bus or rail lines on Southwest Barbur and Powell-Division; to freight access projects; or to biking and walking improvements around schools.

“The deck is stacked in favor of transit right now,” Smith said. “Transit has a multi-billion dollar federal program that this region and this city has shown great enthusiasm for providing local match for. We have the occasional TIGER grant for cycling that’s a couple orders of magnitude smaller than the federal trough for transit. And transit enjoys a regional tax base and an agency that spends that tax base. We have none of those advantages for cycling.”

Cycling has received a pittance of investment compared to both transit and driving.
(Chart: “Federal and state capital transportation investments in the Porltand region, 1995-2010” – Metro)

Fritz replied that much of that federal money for transit goes to capital projects in the central city, which is of little use to many Portlanders, and that even in the central city, frequent bus service ends after 9 p.m.

She mentioned that she’d recently driven on North Williams Avenue for the first time since it was restriped to add a left-side buffered bike lane and remove an auto passing lane. In the future, she said, she will drive on “side streets” rather than ever driving on Williams again during rush hour.

“There are places and times that people cannot and will not cycle,” she said. “When I got off work at OHSU at 11:30 at night on a weekend night or any other night, I was not going to get on a bike and ride seven miles uphill to get home. I would probably never have gotten home.”

Correction 10:20 p.m.: An earlier version of this post quoted Fritz as saying she will from now on drive on side streets rather than on Williams. She said she will do so from now on during rush hour.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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  • Coldswim February 23, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    I don’t understand this paragraph:

    “She said she’d recently driven on North Williams Avenue for the first time since it was restriped to add a left-side buffered bike lane and remove an auto passing lane. In the future, she said, she will drive on “side streets” rather than ever driving on Williams again.”

    Why would she not drive on North Williams again? Is that meant to say rode/ride?

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) February 23, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      No – it was the driving experience on Williams that she was unhappy with. I think she was using this as an example of a time when the city’s transportation system had failed her in general: too late to ride the bus, too dark and rainy to bike, too unpleasant to drive.

      I’ve added a sentence to try to explain this better.

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      • B. Carfree February 23, 2016 at 6:23 pm

        What is “too dark and rainy to ride”? There are ways to illuminate the bike, the cyclist and the roadway so that one can see and be seen, and many people do just that. The Willamette Valley simply does not have conditions that are not suitable for riding a bike more than once a year or so.

        I find it frustrating that even self-described cycling advocates fall for the motorhead notion that cycling is best confined to dry pleasant days. Actually, since motorists tend to drive less on rainy days, I have much nicer rides when it’s raining because of the decreased number of cars on the road.

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        • Eric Leifsdad February 23, 2016 at 8:47 pm

          It’s much easier to see when you’re not behind a windshield covered with water.

          Do we need to buy Amanda a hat? Or an electric velomobile — not everyone can “bicycle”, but not every legal bicycle is a fenderless fixie.

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      • Jill February 24, 2016 at 9:49 am

        Too late? The 4 is one of the latest running routes in the area and it even runs frequently.

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    • J_R February 23, 2016 at 3:35 pm

      I’ve tended to give Fritz the benefit of the doubt in the past, but this comment on her part solidifies my opinion of her. Her choice of “side streets” over Williams is a really stupid decision as a driver.

      No rational driver would opt for a side street where one must stop every few blocks for a stop sign and must occasionally yield to on-coming motorists in the shared, bi-directional travel lane that is created when parking is allowed on both sides of a 30-foot wide street in preference to a free-flowing, one-way street with occasional traffic signals, which are often timed for reasonable progression. The only “downside” to Williams that would be experienced by a driver is the presence of a bicycle lane allowing bicyclists to travel in the same direction at nearly the same speed as a cautious motorist.

      On the basis of travel time or safety, Williams is a much better choice for motorists than the “side street.” Fritz has clearly lost her ability to apply logic or is pandering to the anti-bike crowd.

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      • Buzz February 23, 2016 at 4:31 pm

        Not that I agree with Fritz, but I often avoid major arterials when I drive, and opt instead for the same alternate routes I typically cycle on.

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      • 9watts February 23, 2016 at 5:24 pm

        “Fritz has clearly lost her ability to apply logic or is pandering to the anti-bike crowd.”

        Amanda Fritz IS the anti-bike crowd.
        What a disaster she is.

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        • Middle of the Road guy February 23, 2016 at 7:53 pm

          She’s a disaster, but just because you don’t agree with her 100% does not mean she is the anti-bike crowd.

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          • 9watts February 24, 2016 at 7:11 am

            I think Amanda Fritz is a disaster not because I don’t agree with her 100% (that would probably include most of the world, btw) but because her reasoning, her logic, the way she chooses to maker her case, is so poor.

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            • Brian February 24, 2016 at 7:34 am


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    • Adam H. February 23, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      It sounds like she’s making the same argument as the people who drive down Clinton Street to avoid traffic on Division… Hopefully a city Commissioner has better sense than to use a Greenway as a cut-through.

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    • daisy February 23, 2016 at 4:41 pm

      See, this is why we got that diverter on Rodney — so Amanda Fritz won’t take Rodney instead of Williams!

      I’d be glad for Fritz to take MLK instead of Williams. Much better for bikes. In fact, hasn’t this been what many of us have hoped for, that Williams would not be a through-street?

      I see her comment about Williams as reflecting success!

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      • Matt S. February 24, 2016 at 12:34 pm

        People just drive over the barrier at Rodney or go around at Freemont, I suppose it works, but not all the time. And as far was driving side streets. It’s unhealthy for the neighborhood, but it is much faster than driving Vancouver or Williams during rush hour. I work at the Rose Quarter, and yes, I drive from time to time. I live off of Mallory and Alberta. It is always faster to take the side streets. I have one route where I only have four lights, when I drive the main arterials, I have many more and I usually have to wait at them more than once.

        The best solution is to ride, walk, or run. No lights, traffic or anything. Much nicer. Not always the most convenient though…

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  • Adam H. February 23, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Not everyone can drive. So let’s stop prioritizing driving.

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    • 9watts February 23, 2016 at 5:25 pm


      Good one, Adam.

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    • wsbob February 23, 2016 at 6:34 pm

      “Not everyone can drive. So let’s stop prioritizing driving.” adam

      Many people that can’t drive, ride a bike, or walk sufficient distances, have somebody drive for them. to meet their travel needs, whether they’re being transported in a private car, or public transit buses and special mobility services like Trimet’s Lift.

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      • 9watts February 23, 2016 at 6:54 pm

        Right. a century of cheap fossil fuels have successfully demoted all other ways of getting around to the point where the car and all its permutations is the default. But how interesting an insight is this? Not very.

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        • wsbob February 24, 2016 at 9:32 am

          If it were a viable form of travel service for people that needed transport because they’re unable to drive, there might be great business potential for people prepared to offer such a service using bikes. Other than pedicabs used to offer tourists a fun, recreational ride, such a service doesn’t seem to be at all viable for the many different travel needs of many people that can’t drive.

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          • 9watts February 24, 2016 at 10:53 am

            You’re right. But we also need a public attuned to this, ready and willing to recognize it as a thing.

            It works in most of the (less motorized) world. They’re often called rickshaws.

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      • mran1984 February 23, 2016 at 9:27 pm

        Oh my, I agree with you. Amanda should be aware that I cannot take Tri Met.

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  • Steve February 23, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Oh Amanda, just getting further and further out of touch with the cycling community…

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    • Eric Leifsdad February 26, 2016 at 7:41 am

      “cycling reality” — we don’t all know each other

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  • mh February 23, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    “‘There are places and times that people cannot and will not cycle,’ (Fritz) said.”

    And that’s precisely what we need – and are trying – to change.

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  • peejay February 23, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    But Fritz is the darling of the left, for some reason. She talks the affordability talk, but then undermines the issues she pushes with her utter wrongness about density and parking.

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    • Adam H. February 23, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      Remember that she favors the height limit downtown to preserve her views of Mount Hood, rather than allowing higher housing densities downtown. She also prefers housing for cars over people, when it comes to ADUs. And don’t forget her now famous rant about dangerous cycling downtown being a reason to block bike share.

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    • JeffS February 23, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      She is the epitome of a theoretical liberal, graciously offering up anything that does not negatively affect her. Typically, we call those people conservatives.

      She would have gained more traction if she had said we should change the pyramid since we have no political will to follow it. Instead, she said… let’s change it because bike lanes annoy me.

      A person who says there are places you should not ride a bike is about the worst kind of advocate you could locate.

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      • BeavertonCommuter February 23, 2016 at 9:04 pm

        What a foolish attack on conservatives. Really? I mean, this is the level of discourse here at bikeportland?

        Readers here don’t agree with conservatives so conservatives are mentally deficient, selfish, etc.?

        Stay classy.

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        • Alex February 24, 2016 at 8:19 am

          To be fair, one of the conservatives favorite “philosophers” wrote a book called “The Virtue of Selfishness”.

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        • Adam H. February 24, 2016 at 8:35 am

          The American conservative platform is one of selfishness, yes. They tend to be anti welfare, anti universal health care, anti social services, etc. Not to mention the racism and anti women’s health BS the Republican candidates are currently spewing. If the Republicans didn’t consistently take a “fend for yourself” attitude about everything, perhaps we wouldn’t think they are selfish.

          It should also be noted that in nearly any European country, Canada, Australia, etc., our Democrats would be considered conservative. A point which I tend to agree with.

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    • soren February 23, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      Fritz on housing affordability:

      I think that there’s a definite need to look at preservation of affordable housing. <We shouldn’t be looking to build more because new stuff is more expensive than preserving old stuff in many ways.

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      • maccoinnich February 23, 2016 at 6:11 pm

        I couldn’t believe that was an actual quote, and assumed you were paraphrasing, so I googled it. Sure enough, she actually said that. The following quote from the same interview isn’t much better:

        ” I opposed the Oregon Sustainability Center because it’s proposing to change land that is zoned residential for commercial and office spaces, and, as you say, we have a no net loss of housing policy. There’s no indication of how that’s going to be met.”

        5 years later, that parcel of land is still zoned residential and yet has no housing on it despite a boom in the market. If the goal is to get more residential development, single use residential zoning isn’t a very effective tool to get achieve it. As an example, there’s not a single parcel zoned residential in the Pearl, and yet it’s gone from a population of 1,760 in 2000 to 6,938 in 2016. That’s not in spite of the mixed use zoning; it’s because of it. The large employment base there helps ensure the viability of the many retail and food business located in the neighborhood. This then makes it a more desirable area to live in, spurring demand for more housing.

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        • BeavertonCommuter February 23, 2016 at 9:06 pm

          This should be a lesson to progressives and liberals who have blind faith in the power of bureaucrats and technocrats to do good regulations and planning.

          Instead, this example just provides more wood to the “just-do-something” fire that will, ultimately, fail to achieve the intended result.

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  • Todd Hudson February 23, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Thankfully this city is a functional democracy and we can choose to vote for Amanda’s opponent in the upcoming election.

    Oh wait, nevermind. I guess I’m voting for the candidate whom goes by the name Write In.

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    • paikiala February 24, 2016 at 10:56 am

      Write in Terry D-M!!

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      • Alex Reed February 26, 2016 at 11:39 pm

        No – Terry has repeatedly said that being an elected politician would be bad for his health, to the point of being terminal. Write in Chris Smith, Cora Potter, or Jesse Cornett!

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  • GlowBoy February 23, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Ugh. Still not getting it.

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  • Bjorn February 23, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    I’ve been saying she was anti-bike from day one, people are finally starting to see through her b.s. From this it seems like her goal is to pit transit and bikes against each other so she can continue to prioritize SOV driving on williams.

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  • CycleDad February 23, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Why does this surprise anyone? There is no tax money in bike lanes or union lobbyist. Trimet is a big money suck and they are not going to go away anytime soon. Follow the tax money allocation.

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  • David February 23, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Let’s keep in mind that ODOT is financing her campaign. I’ve never ever heard of a government agency paying money out without a court order or a court settlement. Something is fishy here.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) February 23, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      I could be missing something, but I think the government very frequently settles legal issues out of court in order to save legal costs.

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    • J_R February 23, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      Government agencies very often settle out of court. They’ve found from experience that there is a huge anti-government crowd who will always give big settlements to the “little people” who are “wronged” by the evil government even though it’s their tax money.

      Just today there’s a story in the O about the state paying to settle a suit brought by the family of a 10-year old who broke a railing at a state park and broke his neck. Settlements are very common.

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      • bjcefola February 24, 2016 at 8:23 am

        I think such judgments are driven less by anti-government bias than by insurance limits. The same thing absolutely happens to businesses if they are even tangentially involved in an accident.

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  • Tom Hardy February 23, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Amanda must have been driving the blacked out SUV on Williams and Vancouver that I was following on the bike. It went through 3 stop lights and drove in the bike lane for 4 blocks. It also almost took out 3 diverters. No police in sight.
    Also PeeJay! Amanda is not a darling of the left. she is a staunch right winger that talks out of both sides of her mouth.

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    • peejay February 24, 2016 at 5:00 pm

      I said she was a darling of the left, not that she WAS on the left. I know many people who support equity and affordability and other progressive causes who just LOVE Amanda. There is nothing I can say to change their minds.

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  • m February 23, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    The article actually misquotes Ms. Fritz. She said she wouldn’t ride Williams ever again DURING RUSH HOUR. Her point seems to be that if you reduce car capacity on a road there is going to be increased traffic on that road coupled with bikes riding on the left side (many of which have no lights) separated only by paint. When the traffic backs up, people aren’t going to miraculously abandon their cars. It’s a GRID system (on the eastside; they are simply going to take the parallel side streets.

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    • 9watts February 23, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      “When the traffic backs up, people aren’t going to miraculously abandon their cars.”

      Not even close to the whole story. Induced demand runs both ways. Take away a lane for cars, and the sky does not fall. Look at any of the road diets we’ve seen implemented around here.

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      • m February 23, 2016 at 5:42 pm

        Completely agree. But where do those cars go? They start cutting through neighborhood side streets. And then a never ending game of whack-a-mole starts. Arterial roads were designed to avoid that issue.

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        • 9watts February 23, 2016 at 5:45 pm

          I think we’re about to find out if you’re right. The neighbors just South of Clinton in the thirties were convinced that the sky would fall once the diverter at 32nd & Clinton went in, certain that exactly what you describe would come to pass, ruining their street (Woodward). I look forward to the numbers, whenever PBOT reveals what they’ve learned.

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          • paikiala February 24, 2016 at 10:58 am

            The earliest counts occur is 3 months after diverter install, and 6 months is the standard for evaluation.

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        • SD February 24, 2016 at 8:19 am

          Many of “those cars” went back to the I-5 for the commute home to Vancouver where they should have been in the first place. This is the success of the road diet. Don’t forget that there was gridlock on Williams before the bike lane change, with much more dangerous car speeds and behavior.
          BTW, I am unimpressed by a council member who experiences some thing once and makes broad conclusions based on that one experience, and who criticizes a change in infrastructure from a narrow self-centered perspective and ignores all of the issues that those changes have successfully addressed.

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          • 9watts February 24, 2016 at 8:27 am

            “from a narrow self-centered perspective”

            Of course, Amanda Fritz would argue that she is not, but is channeling all those others who ‘can’t bike.’
            The question in my mind isn’t whether there are a few demographic groups who can’t bike, but what conclusions you draw from that. Those groups surely also exist in other countries, but I doubt you’d find anyone there in a position of power drawing such an absurd set of inferences.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) February 23, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      You’re right! Sorry about that. I will fix.

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    • wsbob February 24, 2016 at 9:42 am

      I’m guessing that what she may have been referring to, was the complexity and difficulty of driving safely with regards to other road users on Williams Ave during rush hour.

      Too many people using side streets through neighborhoods, to avoid heavy traffic on major thoroughfares, is a common problem. In that respect, the distinction Williams Ave has, is that its bike lane is configured into the street’s design in a kind of unusual way, and also by the street having gradually become one used by a far greater than average number of people biking during rush hour.

      Most people driving or biking the street regularly, probably get used to the pattern and routine of how all the different modes of travel flow. If Fritz happens to be someone that doesn’t drive the street regularly, she may be an example of someone that would find the experience very challenging and stressful.

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      • 9watts February 24, 2016 at 12:12 pm

        Except if she bothered to learn a little bit about PBOT’s intentions for Williams, she’d learn two things:

        (1) it isn’t designed for people in cars to be immediately at ease/able to drop into auto pilot right away, and
        (2) all those people around her on bikes… who are they?! Could they be my constituents?!

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  • Mick O February 23, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    ……so, if we mock up some MTB with TRIMET stickers, they’ll be allowed in RVNA!

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  • soren February 23, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    But if she’d chosen a bike for the trip, she said, she “might never have gotten home.”

    Anti-bike fear mongering worthy of the Trollogonian.

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  • John Lascurettes February 23, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Okay, let’s extend the Ms. Fritz’s logic of “not everyone can ride a bike” … Not everyone can walk. So let’s de-priortize pedestrian projects.

    And the bus doesn’t go everywhere people need, so they’re not always going to do that. So let’s de-priortize that too.

    Oh, hey, look at that. Cars allow 100% freedom of movement, namely because parking is free just about everywhere and we already prioritize cars over people. Let’s continue that.

    How am I doing, Ms. Fritz?

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  • Geoff Grummon-Beale February 23, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    While I find Fritz’s comments infuriating, I don’t think it makes any practical difference whether transit or cycling is ranked higher. Portland’s “Green Hierarchy” is basically meaningless. We have seen time and time again that when projects are actually implemented, single occupancy vehicle convenience and parking is prioritized over all other modes.

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    • Gary B February 24, 2016 at 8:41 am

      I can’t believe I made it this far down the comments before someone brought that up. Exactly what my immediate reaction to the headline was–meh, who even cares?

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    • MaxD February 24, 2016 at 11:03 am

      Agreed! Look at last week’s story about 18th-1th and Burnside: pedestrians at the bottom of priority list!

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      • maccoinnich February 24, 2016 at 11:09 am

        Do you care to explain that? The West Burnside safety project is adding new sidewalks between NW 24th and Uptown Terrace, as well as adding new crossings of Burnside at 18th and 19th.

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        • MaxD February 24, 2016 at 1:48 pm

          Look a the ped route on the south side of Burnside- it is atrocious!

          18th could be closed, and 1th south of Burnside could be 2-way. The slip lane at Alder should be closed with access to Alder from 17th or 15th. Keeping that slip lane and those concrete islands encourage high-speed, dangerous turns.

          Furthermore, Burnside could be one motorist lane, one bike lane each direction with a center turn lane between NW 24th and 9th. That project is designed for cars first, transit 2nd, bikes 3rd and pedestrians last by a long shot.

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  • RushHourAlleycat February 23, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    I agree with her statement. We are privileged to be able to use vehicles powered by our bodies for long range transportation. I’m happy to see my friends in wheelchairs have more resources to keep their body powered trips as short and convenient for them as possible.

    They are a priority in my book.

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    • Chris Smith February 23, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      We are indeed privileged. In the same meeting today we talked about Comp Plan support for transportation for folks covered by ADA. We absolutely need to prioritize resources for people of all abilities and needs.

      The rationale to prioritize cycling is that:

      1) Next to pedestrians, cyclists are the most vulnerable users in the system and deserver safer facilities.
      2) Cycle trips are the LEAST EXPENSIVE to provide. Getting as many trips occurring by people cycling actually frees up resources to provide transportation for folks with different needs.

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  • Stephen Keller February 23, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    In response to observation about Williams, I have to agree. Ever since the change, I avoid riding or driving there except when my destination forces it. It’s just too uncomfortable.

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    • Mao February 25, 2016 at 9:21 pm

      I like it more than trying to climb up Lombard

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  • Ian February 23, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Ok, I’ll bite and throw myself on the mercy of the mob mentality: I think prioritizing mass transit over cycling infrastructure makes a lot of sense.

    Of course we should work toward changing the fact that “there are places and times that people cannot and will not cycle,” but I think the fact remains that mass transit is inherently more accessible, regardless of the level of cycling infrastructure. Riding a bus doesn’t require purchasing specialized equipment (whose safety is at least somewhat proportional to its cost), and is equally convenient regardless of weather conditions.

    I think those of us who commute to work exclusively by bike need to be mindful of the set of privileges that allow us to do so — living within five miles of one’s workplace is often (and increasingly) cost-prohibitive; having the physical fitness to make a potentially lengthy and hilly bike commute isn’t a given; and neither are the ability/facilities to change clothes at your destination if you get sweaty or if the weather is imperfect.

    For those of us who are lucky enough to lead lives that are conducive to a bike-heavy lifestyle, of course we should continue to advocate for safer and more effective cycling infrastructure. But what about the single mother who has to get her three kids to daycare on her way to work, 10 miles from her apartment, on a rainy day? Even if our streets were lined with protected bike lanes and our drivers were all perfectly enlightened, should we just tell her, “Well, the Danish make it work, so figure it out”? Or should we instead recognize that public transportation is inherently the most equitable of the sustainable solutions; that no amount of money is going turn Portland into Europe; that we should prioritize using our limited resources in ways that benefit the most residents?

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    • 9watts February 23, 2016 at 5:34 pm

      “the fact remains that mass transit is inherently more accessible, regardless of the level of cycling infrastructure.”
      You, my friend, would find Ivan Illich to be full of surprises. I recommend anything by him.

      “Riding a bus doesn’t require purchasing specialized equipment (whose safety is at least somewhat proportional to its cost)…”

      That is hilarious. A bus IS specialized and very expensive equipment if there ever was such a thing. About 10,000x more expensive than a bike.

      “…and is equally convenient regardless of weather conditions.”

      Walking in and then standing in the rain waiting for the bus, and being splashed by automobilists who race by is at least as dreary as—and sometimes worse than—biking in the rain in my experience.

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      • Ian February 23, 2016 at 6:03 pm

        I find your comments here inane enough; you’ll have to forgive me if I pass on taking more reading assignments from you.

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        • 9watts February 23, 2016 at 6:09 pm

          Your loss.
          Illich is a wise one.

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    • 9watts February 23, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      “But what about the single mother who has to get her three kids to daycare on her way to work, 10 miles from her apartment, on a rainy day?”

      That is an impressively layered set of stereotypes you’ve lined up to show that biking isn’t feasible. I bet I could make exactly the same argument about the bus-that-doesn’t-run-from-her-apartment-to-the-daycare (10 miles?!)-away.

      Bikes are cheaper, easier, quicker, more reliable, & give the rider generous helpings of autonomy when compared to the bus, and government doesn’t need to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on bikes because bikes don’t need any infrastructure. They just need cars to give them a wide berth, not run them over, buzz them, turn into them.

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      • Ian February 23, 2016 at 6:09 pm

        Do you really think it’s “impressively” contrived to assume that there are more than a few workers in Portland who face a commute of upwards of 10 miles and who have to take kids to daycare? (For the sake of argument, I’m suggesting the daycare is reasonably on the way to work.) And if you decided to make the bus-that-doesn’t-run-from-her-apartment-to-the-daycare argument, I’d counter that that’s exactly why prioritizing public transit makes sense.

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        • 9watts February 23, 2016 at 6:10 pm

          “that’s exactly why prioritizing public transit makes sense.”

          A losing proposition. Transit cannot ever catch up to our poor land use and inequality.

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        • Chris Smith February 23, 2016 at 8:36 pm

          And the Comp Plan does just that. If you look at the full set of policies, you’ll see that the Comp Plan:

          – Prioritizes walking for trips of up to 1 mile
          – Prioritizes cycling for trips of up the 3 miles
          – Prioritizes transit for longer trips.

          But keep in mind that most trips in the system are actually pretty short. The 10-mile commute is a the minority use case. It’s still a vital one to cover, but we don’t want to design the whole system for that use case.

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    • B. Carfree February 23, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Five miles is some sort of distance limit for commuting by bicycle? Since when? Sure, there are people who, likely owing to a lifetime of sedentary transportation habits, would find that a limit (for a time), but it’s hardly a reasonable limit for a healthy person.

      Motorists routinely spend 45-75 minutes each way on their total commute (door to door). An hour by bicycle is about 15 miles, which covers a lot larger area than your five mile limit. Many a co-worker of mine has happily managed twenty-five mile one-way commutes. They were not exactly great athletes, just young women, mothers and old men trying to sneak in the hour or more of exercise that the human body needs on a daily basis for good health.

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      • Ian February 23, 2016 at 7:20 pm

        I didn’t intend for the five mile figure to represent some sort of “distance limit.” Certainly, considerably longer bike commutes are the norm for many people. I just mean to say that, unlike public transit, the practicality of commuting by bike generally scales inversely with the length of the commute, due to variables like fitness level, weather conditions, sweat accumulation, etc.

        Therefore, I think it makes sense to talk about some sort of threshold distance above which the average commuter would decide biking is more trouble than it’s worth. For the sake of argument, I chose five miles as a nice round number. If you have other ideas about what that threshold should be, that’s fine — obviously, it varies quite a bit from person to person depending on their personal circumstances. But as a point of reference, as I described in an earlier comment, it sounds like the average commute distance for people who bike to work in Portland is something like 3.8 miles. Why do you suppose that number isn’t higher?

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      • greg byshenk February 24, 2016 at 11:13 am

        Actually five miles probably IS a pretty reasonable limit as a general rule. If you check the data for places with lots of bicycle usage (I think I recall seeing the figures for the Netherlands posted on this site within the last year) you will find that even here, use of bicycles starts to drop off pretty quickly for distances over about 5km.

        Yes, a cyclist might think nothing of commuting ten miles (or more!) on a bike. But most people aren’t cyclists. That’s true even here in the Netherlands, where lots of people ride bikes because it is convenient. Most people are not interested in biking at more than about 10 mph, nor in biking for more than half an hour to get to their destination. And that’s not even something specific to Portland or the USA.

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        • 9watts February 24, 2016 at 11:18 am

          I don’t disagree with anything you wrote, but, again, this is in no small part a function of the fact that we’ve had (and the Dutch have had) a century plus of cheap fossil fuels. That is coming to an end, and when it does, all those rules of thumb about distance and mode choice are likely to go out the window.

          The infrastructure we are building now, the priorities Amanda Fritz is floating, are going to carry us beyond automobility, beyond this present, familiar set of assumptions. We should be mindful of this transitional moment we’re in and not make any decisions related to transportation or infrastructure without asking first how the proposals fare in light of the sunsetting of the personal motor car.

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          • greg byshenk February 24, 2016 at 2:00 pm

            We have among the highest gasoline prices in the world, so car use is low compared to most of the developed world, but for longer distances, people tend to use public transport, not bicycles.

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    • wsbob February 23, 2016 at 7:17 pm

      It seems there’s quite a number of people that take for granted, their ability to ride a bike…as if their thinking is that if they can do it, anyone can. Lots of people can’t ride a bike, whether it be because of disabilities or practical limitations. For many people, riding a bike is something they can only wish they could do. Mass transit may become increasingly important to them as a way to meet their travel needs.

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      • 9watts February 23, 2016 at 9:02 pm

        “Lots of people can’t ride a bike”

        I have disagreed with you over this before and will again.

        Many people (the majority?) have little or perhaps no exposure to riding a bike; have no idea what it would be like, but this tells us exactly nothing about whether they could. I, for instance, have no experience skateboarding. I think it sounds kind of scary, and would take me a while to get comfortable, but does that mean I can’t? Of course not.

        Yes, there are old people and infirm people and ill people who are unlikely to take up biking if they’ve no experience with it—just as there are old and infirm and ill people who do bike—but why is this even interesting or noteworthy? The folks who ‘can’t bike’ probably don’t walk much either. Yet in other times and in other societies these activities – walking and bicycling – are much more widely distributed. Why is that I wonder?

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    • SD February 24, 2016 at 8:33 am

      Ian, from the article it appears that mass transit is already prioritized. Fritz is proposing decreasing the small amount of support that goes toward cycling infrastructure and putting it towards mass transit.

      As for the access issue, there are instances where mass transit is more effective than cycling, however when shifting away from SOV travel, cycling is clearly superior to mass transit and has a much higher return on investment.

      Fritz’s lack of fluency and familiarity with transit in Portland is shocking given her lengthy tenure as a council member.

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    • Gary B February 24, 2016 at 8:50 am

      I don’t see your argument as a case for prioritizing transit over bicycles. First off, it’s a green hierarchy. Regardless of a small portion of the population that physically can’t bike (and should be accommodated), transit is less green than bikes.

      But forget that. The larger point is that yes–we should provide good transit for all folks that prefer it, and doubly so for folks that need it. But the vast majority of people can bike for most trips, and the level of investment in biking is disproportionately small compared to the people who benefit from it. Therefore, it makes sense to rank biking ahead (by just one notch!) of transit. In theory, if this pyramid meant a damn thing, biking would get just a little bit of help “catching up” to the incredible amounts of money we put into transit. But transit still gets a high rank, and in the end peds/bikes/transit are all doing better (on prioritization) than SOVs.

      In sum: I’m looking at the priority in light of where we stand right now. You seem to be looking at it as all modes are starting from the same point.

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  • Gasper Johnson February 23, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    she does seem to be pitting two disenfranchised groups against each other. ugly tactic for someone elected on community support

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  • soren February 23, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    I think those of us who commute to work exclusively by bike need to be mindful of the set of privileges that allow us to do so


    The Census report shows that low-income people bike and walk to work the most, hands down…

    Workers with no available vehicle walked four times more and biked three-and-a-half times more than workers with one available vehicle. Rates of active transportation decline with each additional vehicle.

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    • 9watts February 23, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      Thanks, soren.

      I get so tired of this bikes=privilege talk. What a bunch of baloney.

      Sure there are plenty of privileged people who bike, but as you note, the same is true, and even more so, of people who by any yardstick we might choose are not privileged, and they are almost certainly, on average, using their bikes more for transportation than for recreation, which always ranks a bit higher in my book when we’re talking about who is going to get the short end of the investment stick.

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    • Ian February 23, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      That strikes me as a pretty coarse-grained result that washes out a lot of the individual factors at play. For example, I’d be interested to see how income and transportation mode correlate with commute distance.

      In fact, a BikePortland post from two years ago (http://bikeportland.org/2014/01/24/surprise-typical-portland-bike-commute-is-shorter-than-driving-100350) provides an interesting data point: Of the Portland commuters who walk to work, the median commute time is about 12 minutes, which (if you believe Google Maps) corresponds to a commute distance of about 1 km. I don’t know about you, but if I lived within a kilometer of work, I’d never dream of taking the bus to work if I were physically capable of walking or riding a bike. Anyway, how many people do you think are making less than $25K and living within even 5 km from downtown Portland?

      The same report lists the median bike commute time as 23 minutes. Let’s be generous and assume an average speed of 10 mph, including stop signs and such; that works out to about 3.8 miles. Keep in mind that this is an average commute distance for people who already commute by bike — I couldn’t find a statistic regarding a median commute distance for all workers in Portland, but I’m willing to bet it’s comfortably higher than 3.8 miles.

      Additionally, the report you linked to also notes:

      “Workers in households without their own children are more likely to walk and ride a bicycle to work than those in households with children. Workers in households without children biked to work at a rate of 0.7 percent, followed by those in households with children under 6 years old at 0.5 percent. The rate of walking to work was highest for workers in households with no children at 2.8 percent, about a percentage point higher than each category of workers in households with children.”

      I guess my point is that I’m not convinced the report you’re pointing to is relevant to the question at hand. It’s true that lower incomes are correlated to higher rates of walking/cycling to work nationally, and it’s true that Portland boasts an unusually high bike commute rate — but I’d bet that the economics and geography of Portland are such that Portland residents who make less than $25K would generally have a hard time biking or walking to work, even if they don’t have children to take care of.

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      • 9watts February 23, 2016 at 6:08 pm

        “the economics and geography of Portland are such that Portland residents who make less than $25K would generally have a hard time biking or walking to work, even if they don’t have children to take care of.”

        Can you elaborate? I realize this is your hunch, but why do you think Portland is special in this way?

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        • Ian February 23, 2016 at 6:28 pm

          Sure: For biking or walking to work to be feasible for the average commuter, I’d suggest that their commute would need to be less than about 5 miles or about 2 miles (respectively) — surely, longer commutes are very doable, but these would require increased time commitments, and when it’s particularly rainy or hot (as are known to happen in Portland), may require taking a shower upon getting to work. Again, I’d argue that these are luxuries that not everybody enjoys — especially when children are added into the mix.

          Regarding Portland’s economics: As you may have noticed, rent is kind of out of control here, and I’d bet that somebody making less than (say) $25K is going to have a hard time affording a lease/mortgage within five miles of downtown, where many people work. This is admittedly based on some assumptions, but I’d still bet it’s fairly accurate to say that low-income workers have longer commutes (at least, probably longer than a couple miles).

          Regarding Portland’s geography: Between the hills and the river, there aren’t many flat routes into downtown Portland from the West, which limits the bike-commuting abilities of people living in that half of the map.

          The upshot is that it’s my “hunch” that low-income workers are generally not lucky enough to live within a few miles of their jobs. Lacking any statistics correlating income with commute distance (or about commute distances generally), I’m supporting this hunch with reasoning that is admittedly broad, but I think generally valid — and certainly more applicable to Portland than a graph comparing income levels to transportation modes nation-wide.

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      • wsbob February 23, 2016 at 7:32 pm

        People whose work is too far from home to realistically walk or bike the commute, logically will have to get to work by mass transit or private car. Living close enough to work to be able to bike or walk the commute, definitely is kind of a luxury.

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        • Eric Leifsdad February 23, 2016 at 8:57 pm

          An electric bike is kind of a $1000 luxury, but a transit pass is $1100 and only lasts one year, where yearly battery replacement costs might be as high as $400 for a 10 mile commute with lithium-ion. This, with no subsidies and ignoring any health benefits to biking every day.

          If you dig a bit, “not everyone can bike” is a pretty thin excuse.

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          • wsbob February 24, 2016 at 10:31 am

            With steady improvements, electric bikes are becoming a better and better idea. They’ll be able to help some people meet travel needs they can’t meet with a bike that doesn’t have electric power. Electric bikes likely won’t be able to meet the travel needs of the many more people obliged to use personal cars and mass transit.

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  • bikeninja February 23, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    I think that Amanda didn’t like one of two things when driving on Williams at rush hour. First, is that the cyclists were probably passing her, and the darn islands kept her from racing past traffic in the left lane

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    • Mao February 25, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      Not gonna lie, my favorite part about biking is when I casually pass by tens of bumper to bumper cars. Just taking it easy in a t-shirt and short, sometimes while eating a small snack.

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  • bikeninja February 23, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    I don’t understand the dislike of Williams, I rode on it 5 days a week before it was changed and 5 days a week after it was changed and I like it better now. Cars turning left are much less common than cars turning right, we don’t have to leapfrog the bus, and the seperation Islands are wonderfull. I sometimes even drive on Williams at rush hour and I don’t find it difficult either. I think some people find the constant stream of bike traffic passing them on the left disconcerting, but it makes me happy. Get used to it car folks, your time is up, we are the future.

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    • John Lascurettes February 23, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      For me, I don’t like it because I’m not on it very long, and now I have to cut across two lanes of traffic to make my right (because I turn right on Knott), OR, I have to take the lane before the lane splits into two lanes and “block” cars for a block and half just to make my right turn sanely from the right lane. When I’ve done that, I’ve had cars lay on the horn at me. I’ve opted for cutting across Williams and going up Rodney for the few short blocks I would have been on Williams.

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  • maccoinnich February 23, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    As infuriating as Amanda Fritz’s comments were, Chris Smith’s answers were excellent. I don’t know how much he knows about topics other than transportation and land use, but on those issues he’s incredibly smart. If he ever gets tired of serving on the Planning & Sustainability Commission and wants to run for elected office I would love to have the chance to vote for him.

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    • bjorn February 23, 2016 at 6:26 pm

      Seriously I wish Chris was running against Amanda! Unfortunately we don’t have publically funded elections anymore making it much harder for the average person to unseat someone with a lot of money and name recognition like Fritz.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) February 23, 2016 at 6:47 pm

      He was actually the candidate she beat in her first successful run for office. (Which was publicly funded, as was his.)

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      • maccoinnich February 23, 2016 at 6:55 pm

        I had no idea (clearly). What a shame.

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      • Chris Smith February 23, 2016 at 8:39 pm

        I was one of five she beat in that campaign. I have tremendous respect for her, she was a much better campaigner than I was 🙂

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  • Terry D-M February 23, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    This is why we needed a progressive opponent. This
    Coronation happening in May disturbs me. She is consistently the conservative bullwark to progress. Novick is much more progressive on almost every issue.

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    • Eric Leifsdad February 23, 2016 at 8:47 pm

      Write-in Terry for council!

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    • Todd Hudson February 24, 2016 at 7:24 am

      She doesn’t come off as right-wing, she comes off as someone who knows how to divide and rule. She identifies with a large segment of motorists who are irritated sharing the road, sides with NIMBYs who claim to support density as long is it’s not in her neighborhood, sympathizes with homeless advocates, and she champions mass transit (at the expense of other modes of transit).

      It’s actually a quite shrewd triangulation – win support through populist messaging and champion feel-good measures.

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      • 9watts February 24, 2016 at 7:29 am

        “she comes off as someone who knows how to divide and rule.”

        Isn’t that another way of saying “Fritz […] is pandering to the anti-bike crowd.” ?

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  • Alex February 23, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    The exchange at council and the comments here show the severe limitations of the “hierarchy” model. Why is it even necessary? I assume that originating out of a climate action plan it is ranking its hierarchy based on carbon emissions, but being applied to a comp plan there are many other factors to consider. Frankly, a comp plan that would so strictly rank different modes and apply them to all situations is a very bad comp plan. More appropriate would be a rubric that considers the diversity of goals in the plan and prioritizes a mode or modes for each. I’m confident that a progressive comp plan would generally weight biking, walking, and transit over driving in general using such a method and avoid ugly, unproductive infighting like that in evidence on this article.

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    • Chris Smith February 23, 2016 at 8:41 pm

      Read ALL of chapter 9. It’s in there. The main point of the hierarchy is to reprioritize resources away from single occupancy cars.

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      • Alex February 24, 2016 at 9:17 pm

        Am I missing something? The version of Chapter 9 on the city’s main comp plan page (https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/541601) doesn’t have a hierarchy as it’s presented here. There are, however, some good policies that would prioritize non-SOV modes as I suggested in my comment.

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  • BJCefola February 23, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    If Fritz genuinely cares about public transit, there are more effective ways of promoting it than trying to put biking in the shade.

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  • Joseph E February 23, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    So what is Fritz going to do for Transit?
    The biggest currently feasible improvements for transit, which the City of Portland can actually do something about:

    1) a) Bus-only lanes on all major city-controlled routes: Eg Sandy, Powell, MLK, Broadway, 82nd, 122nd. This could be repainted NOW by the city, and later upgraded to real BRT by Trimet (with center/left running, bigger buses, off-board payment, all-doors boarding and so on).
    b) Re-time stop lights and add signals that change the light to green when a bus approaches

    2) Pay operating funds to Trimet to increase frequent service. She mentions the lack of frequent service outside of the core (In SW and East Portland?) and after 9 pm; the city could fund this. Also the improved bus speed from #1 could fund more frequent service.

    3) Lobby ODOT, Metro and the State to provide HOV/Bus lanes on the freeways for express buses and on “State highways” (eg Barbur) for BRT (eg Barbur, outer Powell, Lombard, etc). Support Trimet in applying for federal grants for new BRT and light rail routes.

    4) Change zoning near transit routes to allow higher density. Allow building to be constructed without parking. This will lead to more people using transit, increasing Trimet ticket revenue and increasing the political constituency for better transit service.
    – Fritz has opposed this in the past.

    I haven’t heard about Fritz supporting #1,2,3 and she has opposed higher density development (#4)

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    • BeavertonCommuter February 23, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      None of this will result in more people riding transit, period. It will result in transit being more convenient for the minority of people utilizing it.

      This social engineering approach is a mystery to me. These incremental steps to increase transit availability and affordability does not encourage or incentivize higher rates of ridership. It’s really just tossing more money after bad.

      It’s much this “affordable housing” nonsense…for three decades or more big cities have done the same affordable housing routine over and over, just throwing more and more money down the drain and for what? We’re still in crisis mode. Meanwhile, we see the City destroying any chance at higher densities and lower prices with dumb zoning requirements which were, in the first place, intended to solve a problem that no one now can remember.

      This is what dysfunctional government is. This is what happens when government does too much, intervenes into too many spaces of our private lives rather than focusing on core governmental activities like pubic safety, public works, transportation, and education. But we have tennis bubbles. We have zoning requirements that restrict how high a building can be.

      Hope this can be posted.

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      • Robert Burchett February 24, 2016 at 8:59 pm

        A bus-only lane on every arterial is certainly not “incremental.” Combined with truly frequent service, 7 minutes or less, and signal preference for buses, it would make a radical change in level of service. Passengers on the main lines would have a much smoother trip, and passengers on cross-town lines would have much shorter transfer times.

        Any one of those changes would have a measurable effect in the number of people served by transit.

        See also: Induced demand

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  • Ted Timmons (Contributor) February 23, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    So, we have pedestrians > transit > bikes > cars, right?

    Can we get Amanda to vote towards spending money in that way? I figure for every $100 in ped funding we can afford $90 for transit, $80 for bikes, and $70 for cars. Or we could go logarithmic.

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  • Jeremy February 23, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    I have been bothered by Fritz for a long time. I recall having to explain to my then 6 year old why I got so mad riding the Hawthorne bridge with Fritz supporters campaigning in the bike lane. True supporters of cycling don’t demonize downtown riders as if we are all barreling down the sidewalks. I used to get great joy yelling at the campaigners “Amanda Fritz hates bikes–get out of my lane!!!” on the bridge. Ugh. Can’t stand her.

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  • Ryan Francesconi February 24, 2016 at 1:00 am

    Does Fritz actually use the bus system?

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  • rick February 24, 2016 at 6:40 am

    So how about that Red Electric Trail in SW Portland?

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  • rick February 24, 2016 at 7:20 am

    Also, where is the bus service for the 56 bus line on upper SW Scholls Ferry to Sylvan? That part of Scholls has mostly zero sidewalks, no bike lanes, and not even a ditch.

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  • 9watts February 24, 2016 at 8:05 am

    I recommend watching the exchange on youtube.
    Amanda’s perspective emerges quite clearly around 1:07: People (like her) right now have only one option: to drive; if we want them to get out of their cars we have to improve transit, since nothing is going to persuade them to ever bike.

    And the only comeback she had for why we can’t be like Amsterdam or Copenhagen is that we have hills. Maybe someone should introduce her to gears, a derailleur.

    Where to begin?
    While everyone can take the bus, not everyone lives or works anywhere near a frequent service bus line, and there is no feasible way to expand our bus or transit services to the point where that situation obtained. It is IMPOSSIBLE. However it is not only POSSIBLE but SALUTARY to seek to make bicycling feasible for everyone in the metro area. Amanda’s problem is that she clearly has no familiarity with bicycling-as-transport, has gotten it into her head that biking is for other people who are not like me or my constituents. Where she got that idea – who knows?

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    • Eric Leifsdad February 24, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      I’ll guess she got it in SW, where it’s hard not to encounter a hill that puts you completely off of biking on the first attempt — you’re walking up the hill and pushing a bike, sweating, sore, etc. Meanwhile, the traffic is speeding recklessly wherever it’s not stopped at a bottleneck. Sure, biking gets easier but how many people go through that experience once and just get back in the car? Many of her “constituents”, I’m sure (nevermind the “at-large” nonsense.)

      My response to that first ride on a killer hill (SW Corbett or LaView) was to “cheat” and get an electric motor. Unfortunately, for many people the $1k “leap of faith” is too big — I suspect because they’re looking at it in terms of their recreational budget instead of their transportation budget. What’s the cost of 1000 miles of car wear and fuel in 1-2 mile trips on steep hills? At what mpg?

      After a month of daily riding, it was easy to push myself a bit and just ride my fixed-gear bike for some trips (granted, not toting a kid). Are there cases where electric bikes don’t make daily riders?

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    • El Biciclero February 25, 2016 at 10:59 am

      “…if we want them to get out of their cars we have to improve transit, since nothing is going to persuade them to ever bike.”

      I don’t understand how improving the experience of one mode (transit) will get people out of their cars by enticing them to use it, but improving the experience of a different mode (bicycling) will never persuade anyone to use it.

      As long as driving is cheap and convenient, with wide streets, no speed enforcement, and cheap parking everywhere, nothing is going to persuade people to ever take transit.

      My personal example is that if I take transit to work, I have to walk 3/4 mile to a non-sheltered bus stop (10 – 15 minutes) ride 20 minutes to the nearest MAX stop, ride MAX for 35 minutes, then transfer to another MAX train for another 10-minute ride (plus usually a 5-minute wait), then walk 3/4 mile to my office (10 – 15 minutes again). This takes me, let’s see…10 + 20 + 35 + 10 + 5 + 10 = 90 minutes one-way, on average. If I ride, it generally takes me 60 minutes one-way, and if I drive, it usually takes me 30-40 minutes in and 20-30 minutes home, for an average of 25-35 minutes one-way. My employer pays for either parking or transit, but not both, so on days I don’t ride to work, guess what I choose? I’ve thought of trying bike + MAX, but by the time I ride to the nearest MAX and wait for a train that has room for my bike, I might as well ride all the way.

      The unfortunate reality is that transit and [longish-distance] bicycling will almost certainly never be perceived as being as convenient as driving. If you want to get people out of their cars, a certain amount of “social engineering” to make driving as inconvenient as other modes will be necessary. If level of convenience is equal across the board (at least at peak times) then people have an actual choice to make. As long as one mode is vastly—and I mean vastly—more convenient than all others, it will continue to be the default “choice”.

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  • rick February 24, 2016 at 8:10 am

    Why flood the sidestreets with Prius and minivans?

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  • Dan A February 24, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Looking at that spending graph, it’s pretty laughable the way transit & bikes are frequently lumped together as “wasteful boondoggles” in social media. As far as spending goes, they clearly have very little in common.

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  • mikeybikey February 24, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Cycling makes perfect sense in the green transportation hierarchy when you just think about it in practical terms as fast walking. Cycling is competitive for the trips that are too far or time prohibitive to walk but are still close enough that it is competitive with walking and then waiting for transit. My morning commute with the kids is a good example. We go from The Pearl over to inner NE for daycare drop off and then I come back into downtown for work. It is under 4 miles for the whole trip. When we take transit it means walking to the streetcar and taking it to inner NE, walking to the daycare, walking back to the streetcar and then walking to work when I arrive back downtown. Even if we spend zero time waiting for the streetcar, biking is faster and I have the flexibility of being able to stop for coffee, etc if I feel like it. No one that is advocating for better cycling is suggesting that everyone must bike all the time for all things. Fritz’s opinion in this regard seems quite provincial IMO.

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    • 9watts February 24, 2016 at 11:03 am

      Well said.
      Thank you!

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    • BeavertonCommuter February 24, 2016 at 11:52 am

      “No one that is advocating for better cycling is suggesting that everyone must bike all the time for all things.”

      Not yet, anyway.

      But that is the implicit end result is it not? To reduce available infrastructure to private cars in order to reduce the use of private cars?

      Here at bikeportland.org there’s a very strong bubble within which anyone who prefers driving is an “other”, someone who is selfish, someone who is not sane, etc.

      Ordinary peoole reading this blog very quickly learn that car ownership and use is evil and that as drivers they intend to hurt people with their cars. Ordinary people also quickly recognize the inherent deceit here – many of the posters here pretend that things like the green hierarchy is really just a tool to motivate people to make different transpo decisions when, in fact, things like the greej hierarchy are inherently designed to starve the private vehicle beast.

      Hope this view will be allowed to be posted.

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      • 9watts March 3, 2016 at 12:15 pm

        “Ordinary peoole reading this blog very quickly learn that car ownership and use is evil and that as drivers they intend to hurt people with their cars.”

        That is rather hyperbolic, don’t you think? intend to hurt people?! The fact is people [not in cars] are hurt every day by [people piloting cars], without, by and large, anything more than some combination of distraction and speed entitlement, reified by the kind of justice system that apparently let Frank Bohannon off the hook entirely after (not just hurting, but) killing Kerry Kunsman. We don’t need and I don’t think we generally see intent in order to have an untenable situation.
        As for whether car ownership is evil, I don’t know. It certainly isn’t long for this world, and is (directly) implicated in most of the problems we talk about here on bikeportland. I would think Highly Problematic Despite Being Nearly Ubiquitous would be more apt.

        “…things like the greej hierarchy are inherently designed to starve the private vehicle beast.”

        Oh I see that everywhere. The future of the car is threatened because the big bad government is diverting all the funds. Hahaha.

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      • El Biciclero March 3, 2016 at 5:17 pm

        I would hope “ordinary people” would think about whether they overuse the cars they own, and would further think about the hidden costs that they impose on everyone around them every time they use their cars. Those costs—including the occasional injury or death—are real, whether intentional or not. I would hope “ordinary people” would realize that traffic problems, e.g. “congestion” is not a result of roads that are too small, but a result of too many cars. I would hope that “ordinary people” would realize the true magnitude of the destructive capability they wield every time they leave the driveway in a car, and let that inspire them to drive with increased caution and awareness—or even drive less.

        There is no need to condemn car ownership and use as “evil”, all we need to do is point out the factual problems and negative outcomes it produces and let people decide for themselves. However, most “ordinary people” aren’t going to believe they are part of the problem and won’t feel any need to change anything. They’ll tell themselves that “everybody else does it”, or “I have to drive absolutely everywhere”, or “I’m not one of those ‘car-free’ hippie weirdos”, or any of a thousand excuses to convince themselves that they have no choice. And as long as we design cities and roads and parking and laws the way we tend to, we really don’t have has much choice as we all should.

        So is car use “evil”? All we can really say is that it does indeed injure and kill people—even if those people don’t necessarily get run over; they can die of inactivity, pollution-related diseases, and such. What we might be able to call “evil” to some extent is the level to which we have elevated and promoted and facilitated excessive car use to the detriment of all other transportation modes.

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  • D February 24, 2016 at 11:54 am

    I think the important thing that we are all missing here is the real motive behind this view. It is strictly a way to control the mobility of low income segments of the population. The real translation is “We don’t want low income residents to have transportation options that aren’t controlled by us.”

    By forcing people onto transit, then controlling transit, you can control where low-income residents live, work and travel. Bikes allow people to go wherever they want cheaply and easily so are obviously a threat to this goal. Since you can’t (easily) outlaw bikes in Portland, the only option is to prioritize transit and marginalize bikes as transportation.

    When you combine this with Tri-Met’s new fare/tracking system (HOP), it starts looking a little unsettling. Someone should remind Ms. Fritz that 1984 was not supposed to be an instruction manual.

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    • Matt S. February 24, 2016 at 3:49 pm

      This is a very interesting comment, especially when you couple it with the cities failed attempt at passing inclusionary zones.

      Although, can’t you say the same for bicycle infrastructure? If far east Portland isn’t seeing the same type of development as the city core, aren’t we affectively doing the same thing? If we apply the logic that not so well of folk live further out?

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      • Matt S. February 24, 2016 at 3:49 pm

        of = off, typo…

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  • hotrodder February 24, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    I, too no longer use Williams on my {bike} commute. After a couple of months of the “new” Williams, I decided that Weidler, in spite of all it’s right hook and car door opportunities, was a better route for me.

    So, in that regard, Ms. Fritz and I have a little something in common.

    (And, as an added bonus, I can take my pick of any number of short, steep hill climbs once I get close to my neighborhood for a little extra cardio! Rev the ol’ heart up to 200!)

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  • Tyler February 25, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    Fritz said transit should get higher priority than bicycles. Since only a few percent of people ride bikes, that makes some sense.

    Then Novick said we haven’t spent much money on walking and biking.

    Walking is not biking. She commented on apples. He replied about apples and oranges. Makes no sense.

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    • Alex Reed February 26, 2016 at 11:46 pm

      Uh… Transit is at 11% and falling, while biking is at 7% and rising. These numbers are just work trips but I think that might actually favor transit over biking as work trips tend to be longer and at times when transit runs frequently.

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