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Big changes in store as BTA sets to launch new ‘Bike More Challenge’ in May

by on April 7th, 2016 at 2:43 pm

BTA staff promoting Bike Commute Challenge-2
A rainy day for the commute challenge in September 2014.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s popular and friendly competition among Oregon and Southwest Washington workplaces is shifting to springtime and making some big changes.

It’s now called the “Bike More Challenge” and it starts next month instead of in September.

Other big changes for 2016: The BTA now invites participants to log all bike trips, not just work commutes; the entire contest runs on a new software platform, and you can get extra points for encouraging someone else to sign up.

“You can log your ride to the grocery store, your recreational ride, whatever,” BTA spokeswoman Sarah Newsum said Thursday. “Sometimes the bike commute is a big leap for some people, having to show up for work after biking.”

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Metro proposal rejects Safe Routes to School, spends more on freight routes

by on March 31st, 2016 at 10:53 am

A Safe Routes to School event in 2010. The Metro regional government is proposing to start supporting the program in suburban schools, but not to increase funding for accompanying street improvements near those schools.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

A two-year campaign for regional funding of better biking and walking near schools, backed by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and other advocacy groups, is in tatters.

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#WorkZoneWTF: Advocates want city ordinance to ensure safe passage through work zones

by on March 18th, 2016 at 1:22 pm

workzonelead
This work zone on North Williams Avenue forced bicycle traffic into the adjacent lane.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon Walks and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance have had enough. The two Portland-based nonprofits are calling on the City of Portland to pass a new ordinance that would require all city bureaus, contractors and private parties to maintain work zones that do not interrupt cycling and walking routes. And if they do, an adequate detour must be created.
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Counting votes at Metro: Will the region invest in walking and biking near schools?

by on March 9th, 2016 at 10:53 am

Beach Elem. School encourages biking and walking-2
Biking to school in North Portland.
(All photos by Jonathan Maus unless otherwise noted)

With Portland’s locally funded Safe Routes to School program seeming to pay clear dividends — biking, walking and rolling to primary school became more popular than driving in 2010 and have kept rising — the case for bringing the idea to other cities may seem strong.

But the For Every Kid Coalition that’s been lobbying the regional government Metro to put $15 million into a regional Safe Routes to Schools program is competing for cash with two major forces: public transit and private freight. As Metro continues to accept public comments on the subject, we wanted to share what its councilors are thinking.

So we called all of them.

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2016 Active Transportation Summit will tackle freight, housing, the Gorge and more

by on February 22nd, 2016 at 4:28 pm

OR Active Transpo Summit-35
A plenary session at the 2013 Active
Transportation Summit.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Once a year, Portland’s biking, walking, transit and public-space wonks gather to share what they’ve been learning and thinking lately.

The Oregon Active Transportation Summit, which runs March 13-15 at the Sentinel Hotel in downtown Portland, isn’t cheap to attend, unless you compare it to almost any other conference. But it’s a feast for the brain, and this year’s agenda has quite a few interesting sessions.

This year’s keynote speakers will be Lynn Peterson, Washington’s recently ousted state transportation secretary; Seleta Reynolds, general manager of Los Angeles’ transportation department; and Jim Sayer, executive director of the Adventure Cycling Association.

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BTA and environmental groups line up against bill that could boost bus service 42%

by on February 10th, 2016 at 2:08 pm

First snow day of 2014-1
The proposed tax hike would be enough to upgrade
20 bus lines to frequent service.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

A coalition of transportation and environmental groups is opposing a payroll tax that would create a massive boost to TriMet bus service.

As reported Wednesday by The Oregonian, they’re doing so because the tax would fall flatly on both rich and poor workers, like TriMet’s existing payroll tax does.

The main differences: unlike TriMet’s employer-side payroll tax of 0.7337 percent, which is invisible to employees, this tax of 0.185 percent would appear on paychecks alongside Social Security and Medicare; and the revenue could be spent only on bus service, unlike other payroll taxes that have been earmarked for new rail service, bus service or construction projects.

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Guest post: Advocate and bike scene veteran Carl Larson says goodbye

by on January 15th, 2016 at 3:23 pm

2014 Bike Fair-10
Carl Larson at the 2014 Multnomah County Bike Fair.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

This is a guest post from Carl Larson, a Portland bike advocate and all-around bicycle culture Renaissance man. Amid many other bike-related activities including bike polo, World Naked Bike Ride, Mini Bike Winter, Zoobomb and Pedalpalooza, he’s worked for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance since 2008, currently as its engagement manager. The BTA is eliminating the job on Jan. 31.

“I feel sheepish about suggesting anyone would care about my memories but they’re not just mine,” Larson writes. “These highlights remind me of what a ride so many of us have been on and it’s been really fun to look back at some of them. It has helped me, and will hopefully help others, recognize the BTA at its best.”

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As a big election year looms, Bike Walk Vote PAC is looking for new leaders

by on December 24th, 2015 at 11:54 am

Bike Walk Vote candidate party-11
Future Portland Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick speaks at a 2012 event for Bike Walk Vote-endorsed candidates.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

In 2016, Portlanders will vote on a local gas tax, a new mayor, a transportation commissioner, a regional council and a governor.

If you make between approximately $7,000 and $100,000 a year, you’ve probably got $50 in free money from the State of Oregon to spend in 2015 on a candidate or political committee of your choice.

That’s the fact of Oregon’s unusual but underused political tax credit system.

But for people who believe that Oregon should be reducing its dependence on cars, the odd complication is that no political committee active on those issues seems to be asking for that money — even as Portland heads into an election year that will shape transportation issues for years to come.

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New BTA policy looks to make its biking advocacy more racially equitable

by on November 12th, 2015 at 9:08 am

diego hernandez
Diego Hernandez, a Reynolds School District board member running for the state legislature, speaks at a BTA event Tuesday advocating for Metro to fund safer streets in East Multnomah County through a regional Safe Routes to School program.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Portland’s largest biking advocacy group has, for the first time, created a written policy to help it fight racial disparities in transportation.

“The reality of Portland is that while we are one of the whitest cities in America, it’s not going to be a white city forever.”
— Rob Sadowsky, BTA

As the most bikeable areas of Portland grow even whiter and many less bikeable areas grow even more diverse, the group says it needs to focus more on building “a community where everyone from all racial backgrounds has access to safe, healthy, and affordable transportation options.”

“The reality of Portland is that while we are one of the whitest cities in America, it’s not going to be a white city forever,” Executive Director Rob Sadowsky said Wednesday. “Over half of Portland Public Schools students already are students of color.”

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Legislators’ letter urges Metro to fund regional Safe Routes to School program

by on October 8th, 2015 at 3:58 pm

saferoutes
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Eight state legislators are chiming in their support of regional government Metro creating a regional Safe Routes to School program.

The proposal, which comes from a coalition of local transportation, health and justice advocacy groups, already has formal backing from the cities of Beaverton, Tigard, Milwaukie and Forest Grove, as well as the Beaverton School Board. It’s currently on track to become a major public issue next spring.

The idea is to dedicate some of the increasingly flexible federal transportation money that flows through Metro to giving elementary schools throughout the region an option to get a few classes in safe biking and walking, and to focus money for better crosswalks, sidewalks and bikeways around the same schools.

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