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BTA-led coalition seeks to restore active transportation cuts in City budget

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
BTA’s Gerik Kransky (L) and freight
advocate Corky Collier after the PBOT Budget BAC
meeting yesterday.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

In the face of severe cuts to active transportation in the PBOT budget that came to light last month, a coalition led by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) presented a proposal yesterday to restore nearly half of them.

With dwindling revenue forecasts, PBOT has had cut their budget for several years now. This year’s gap was estimated to be $4.4 million. Of that, PBOT proposed $1.5 million in cuts to active transportation — $1 million from projects and $500,000 to programs and staffing. The cuts would impact programs like Sunday Parkways, Safe Routes to School, neighborhood greenway projects, and more. (more…)

What projects matter to you? The BTA wants to know

Thursday, November 15th, 2012
Get Together - Pearl District-3-2
Time to roll out the maps!
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

In case you haven’t heard, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance is working on an update to their Blueprint for Better Bicycling. The last one was published in 2005, and the map of potential projects they can put on the list has changed considerably since then. The problem is, they don’t know everything you know — so they need help prioritizing which projects should be included this time around.

The BTA has announced three “input sessions” that will take place early next month across the tri-county region: (more…)

BTA adds five board members to “move beyond ‘preaching to the choir’”

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Earlier this month, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) welcomed five new members to their Board of Directors. This brings the total up to 22 people on this important advisory body. You may not realize it, but the BTA Board has a major influence on the organization’s tone, focus, and direction.

As the BTA gears up for the upcoming legislative session and a possible transportation funding measure in 2016, their board’s decisions could have a huge impact on bicycling in Portland and throughout the state.

The new board members are: Lanny Gower, licensing and operating tax manager for Con-way Freight, Inc.; Valerie Hoyle, formerly with Burley Design, now an Oregon State legislator representing west Eugene; Lois Moss, a former bike shop owner who founded and directed Walk+Roll Cleveland; Dennis Mulvihill, a retired government relations manager for Washington County; and Justin Yuen, President of local software company FMYI (For My Innovation).

BTA hears top project ideas for ‘Blueprint’ effort

Friday, October 19th, 2012
BTA Blueprint meeting at City Hall-3
Steve Hoyt-McBeth jots down his group’s ideas
at yesterday’s event in City Hall.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

At City Hall during the lunch hour yesterday, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) enlisted the help of Portland’s brightest biking minds to prioritize the “world-class bikeways” that will act as the organization’s ‘Blueprint‘ for the future.

The event was hosted by the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) as part of their monthly “Bicycle Brown Bag” discussion series. Around 40 people showed up for the participatory discussion (10 of which were women, if you’re counting). BTA Executive Director Rob Sadowsky and Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky opened the event by offering some historical context.

BTA celebrates 1.25 million miles logged in ‘Commute Challenge’

Friday, October 12th, 2012
Jeff Capizzi (L) — shown here with BTA Director
Rob Sadowsky — logged 1,524 miles during September.
(Photo: Will Vanlue/BTA)

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) hosted a party in the Rose Quarter Wednesday night to congratulate riders and celebrate another successful Bike Commute Challenge. In the month of September, the event’s 11,745 participants (split into 1,395 teams) logged 1,278,343 miles while riding their bikes to and from work (those numbers are down slightly from 2011, see all results here).

At the party Wednesday night, participants were treated to free pizza, beer, and a big prize raffle. The BTA also awarded individuals for exemplary commuting and teams got to see where they stacked up against the competition. Teams are made up of employees from businesses and organizations across Oregon (split into three categories and then separated by number of employees). The challenge is to get the highest percentage of employees logging trips (it’s not based on total miles). (more…)

The BTA releases status report on ’05 ‘Blueprint’; launches new effort

Friday, August 10th, 2012
BTA Annual meeting-1
BTA Board Chair Stephen Gomez at
their annual member meeting
Wednesday night.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

At their annual meeting Wednesday night, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) launched an effort to identify and prioritize a list of projects that will update their ‘Blueprint for Better Bicycling.’ The BTA’s first Blueprint, a report that identified a list of their top 40 infrastructure projects around the region, was released nearly seven years ago.

Along with announcing the start of a process to develop a new Blueprint report, the BTA offered an update on how those projects have fared since 2005. Addressing the crowd of members as they milled around the Portland Art Museum Sculpture Garden dining on tacos and beer (served by bike by Taco Pedaler and the Hopworks Beer Bike), BTA Board Director Stephen Gomez reflected on the 2005 project list. “I can’t say we’ve had success with everything on this list. But the list, it really matters.” (more…)

Major changes to Sellwood Bridge design: BTA urges county to delay final vote

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Last minute cost-cutting has resulted in proposed design changes to the $268 million Sellwood Bridge project that could have significant impacts on bicycling. With a key vote on the final design set for this coming Monday (7/16) and a decision on the plans set for Thursday (7/19), the Bicycle Transportation Alliance is concerned that there’s not enough time to consider the changes and they are urging the county to delay the vote.

Citing rising costs, the County has proposed $3.2 million in project cutbacks. The biggest ticket item on the chopping block is a $2 million multi-use path bridge. Another $81,000 proposed cutback will shelve plans for “surface treatments” on the bike/walk lanes.

The BTA has been tracking this project closely and has a volunteer on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee. Here’s more from a BTA blog post yesterday: (more…)

Criticisms leveled at the BTA: Their leader responds

Friday, March 9th, 2012

“We believe we can catch more flies with honey than we can with vinegar… I don’t think direct action will turn around city council or businesses.”
— Rob Sadowsky, BTA executive director

Back in January, Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder took to a public forum and dropped a pretty hefty insult on the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA). The comment left by Burkholder on a widely read urban planning blog was notable, not just because the level of candor was rare for an elected official (especially in always-nice Portland), but because Burkholder is one of the BTA’s founders.

Burkholder’s opinion came out in the form of a comment on the popular Sightline blog. The blog post was a top ten list of the best things European cities are doing to improve bicycling conditions.

Here are some snips from Burkholder’s comment (emphasis mine): (more…)

Sign of the times? BTA using Groupon to fund kids education program

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

A recent flap over Sunday Parkways funding at City Council underscores what seems to be a growing reality for people who run active transportation programs: You better start looking for private funds because city/state/federal budgets are shrinking fast.

Portland would not be getting a bike-sharing system (at least right now) if it weren’t for the fact that all of its ongoing operations costs will be privately funded. Sunday Parkways will only get one-third of its total operating budget from the City this year — the rest will come from private sponsorships.

Now the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) is adding to its traditional funding sources for its youth education programs — state and federal grants — by turning to popular discount site Groupon. (more…)

Responding to feedback, BTA clarifies and modifies helmet policy

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011
Rabbit on his tall bike-1
BTA says they’ll oppose
mandatory helmet laws “if
a bill does not advance cycling
in Oregon.”
(Photo © J. Maus)

In an email to members this morning, Bicycle Transportation Alliance Board President Stephen Gomez wrote a letter offering, “Clarity on the BTA’s helmet stance.”

The letter comes in response to a new helmet policy released by the BTA back in October. That policy, which came after tallying results from a member survey on the issue, rubbed many in the community the wrong way.

The key part of the policy some people expressed disappoint in was this: “If confronted with a proposed mandatory helmet law, the BTA will not stand in opposition to the law. Neither will we devote resources to passing such a law.” While subtle, the new policy marked a shift toward a more pro-helmet stance than they’d had in the past. The BTA had previously been opposed — both philosophically and in practice — to laws that would make helmets mandatory for adults. (more…)

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