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City Club works to make bike report recommendations a reality

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Following an overwhelming vote of support from their membership, the City Club of Portland is wasting no time in getting to work on implementing the recommendations in their report on bicycling in Portland.

On June 13th, City Club members voted 254 to 31 in favor of the report which recommended that local elected leaders and policy makers make a much stronger commitment to cycling because it is, "an affordable and efficient means of transportation that is essential to continued growth in the local economy and overall quality of life for Portland residents." The report recommended a stronger focus on bicycling in local and regional transportation plans, more physically separated bicycle infrastructure, more bicycle counters to help with data collection, more funding set-asides for bicycle infrastructure, a 4% excise tax on new bicycles, and more. (See all the recommendations here.)
(more...)

The vote is in: Over 80% of City Club membership supports bicycle research report

Thursday, June 13th, 2013
bike barometer
One of the recommendations
in the report is a 4% excise tax
on new bike sales that would fund
safety programs and more bike counters
throughout the city.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

BikePortland has learned that the City Club of Portland will announce tomorrow that their membership has officially voted to support their research report on bicycling. No Turning Back: A City Club Report on Bicycle Transportation in Portland is an 83-page report that delves deeply into the bicycle issue in Portland and tackles everything from politics to projects and funding. The report was released on May 29th and some of City Club's estimated 1,500 members voted on it in person at a "Friday Forum" event on June 7th.

However, this is the first report that City Club opened up to a new process of online voting. In February of this year, City Club's Board of Governor's voted to amend the organization's bylaws to allow online voting as a way to increase the number of members who vote. Given that the report strongly endorses bicycling and calls on the city to do more to advance it, there was some nervousness among local advocates that the electronic vote might be close and/or even reject the research. (more...)

Three City Club ideas that aren't about bike taxes

Friday, May 31st, 2013
Cully Boulevard cycle track
A City Club committee found that separated cycle tracks connecting neighborhoods,
like this one on NE Cully Boulevard, should be the city's priority for bike
infrastructure even if it means eliminating painted bike lanes on other streets.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

At its regular Friday Forum today at noon, the Portland City Club will hear from a panel of bike experts and vote on the big report about biking in Portland released Wednesday.

If you've only heard one thing about the report, it's probably that it was the latest venue for a group of bike supporters to endorse a dedicated tax on retail bike sales.

But that was far from the only idea in the 83-page report. For example, here are three more interesting conclusions about how to improve biking in Portland from the report, which was a year in the making:

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Report reignites talk of bike excise tax - but advocates aren't howling

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
North Portland Bikeworks new location-11-10
Would you like tax with that? Maybe you would, actually.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Today's Portland City Club report that gave a big bear hug to biking also said buyers of new bikes should pay a special tax: 4 percent on each new bike purchase in Oregon, or $20 for a $500 bike.

The report recommended that the money -- it'd be about $840,000 annually for the State of Oregon -- go to programs that support and educate road users about bikes.

The city's bicycle advocates aren't exactly thrilled. But perhaps surprisingly, they aren't gasping in horror, either.

"Generally speaking, the BTA is opposed to any new barrier between people and biking," Bicycle Transportation Alliance advocacy director Gerik Kransky said today. "That being said, we're open to the conversation. ... It looks like their ideas about how to spend the money are pointed in the right direction."

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City Club research report strongly endorses bicycling

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
Read the report here.

After a year of research, a 12-member committee of the Portland City Club released a report today titled, No Turning Back: A City Club Report on Bicycle Transportation in Portland. The 83-page report tackled nearly every major bicycling issue that Portland faces: From quantifying just how many people are riding, to making recommendations on how to raise money to pay for bike-specific infrastructure. They also looked into many of the negative narratives around bicycling to determine if they had any merit (spoiler alert: they don't).

And, just as I suspected when I shared an update on this project earlier this month, the report is extremely favorable to bicycling. Here's an excerpt from the Executive Summary: (more...)

City Club to release major report on bicycling May 31st

Friday, May 17th, 2013

The City Club of Portland, a respected local civic institution founded in 1916, will release their comprehensive research study on bicycling in Portland on May 31st. On that same day, bicycling will be the subject of their Friday Forum speaking series (speaker TBD) which will be attended by Portland's movers and shakers at the Governor Hotel in downtown Portland.

"With the release of City Club’s report on bicycle transportation in Portland," says a description of the event on their website, "we’ll answer the question: 'How should we improve our transportation system to optimize choice, efficiency and safety for all modes of transportation?'"
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City Club of Portland announces 'Civic Salon' on The Future of Biking

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
Screen grab of City Club website.

The City Club of Portland has just announced their next crop of 'Civic Salons' and I'm excited to share that — along with news, sports, schools, books, and food — bicycling is among the topics they've chosen to focus on. Not only that, but guess who they asked to lead The Future of Biking discussion? That's right: I hope you'll consider joining me and other bike-curious Portlanders on May 15th for this event.

I've never attended a Civic Salon, but the basic idea is right up my alley: "Bring people together for great discussion and good food in intimate settings." Here's more from the City Club website: (more...)

Sam Adams as leader of City Club: Good news for bicycling?

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
Adams sticking around policy debates.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Former mayor Sam Adams hasn't taken much of a vacation after his four tumultuous years leading the city. Today the City Club of Portland named Adams their new executive director. He starts next week.

If you feel (as I do) that Sam Adams understands (and cares about) the issue of transportation — and specifically the role bicycles should play in a healthy transportation network — than this should be seen as good news.

City Club of Portland is a non-profit, member-supported organization that works to promote civic literacy (their motto is, "Good citizens are the riches of the city"). Governors and members of Congress speak at their "Friday Forums" luncheons, which are held in a large ballroom of a stuffy downtown hotel. By way of their history and membership base, City Club has significant political heft and respect among electeds and policymakers. They use that respect to elevate and take positions on important issues through the publication of policy and research papers.
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City Club of Portland will embark on 'comprehensive study' of bicycling

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

The central question for study is the role bicycling should play in Portland’s overall transportation system.
— City Club of Portland, from the Comprehensive Study Charge

The City Club of Portland is embarking on a "comprehensive study" of bicycling.

For those of you not familiar with this organization, it's a respected, local non-profit institution with 1,500 members and a history dating back nearly 100 years. Their primary mission is to "inform its members and the community in public matters." They hold weekly forums at the elegant Governor Hotel downtown (this Wednesday they host, "A conversation with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.")

In a nutshell, when City Club talks, many people in Portland listen: Especially elected officials, lobbyists, policymakers and other local power-brokers. Back in May of 2010, the release of a City Club report on Forest Park had a significant influence on the debate over whether or not to improve bicycling access in the park. (Note: Off road cycling advocates were not happy with how City Club framed the issue.)

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Bikes will take center stage at City Club

Monday, March 23rd, 2009
Tony Pereira's new singlespeeds-23.jpg
New bikes await customers in
Tony Pereira's SE Portland shop.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The City Club of Portland is set to host a special edition of their Friday Forums series entitled, "It's All About the Bike".

The City Club is a Portland institution that began nearly 100 years ago and whose members read like a who's-who of social and political power brokers in the city. It's where Mayor Sam Adams gave his first "State of the City" and it's a common forum for Governors, statesmen, and titans of local industry. (more...)

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