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Comment of the Week

Comment of the Week: The five-ingredient recipe for a great bike city

Friday, April 24th, 2015
Mia Birk at Powell's Books-3
Birk at Powell’s Books in 2011.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

If anyone in the country knows what it takes for a city to improve its bike transportation, it’s a woman whose entire business depends on cities doing so: Mia Birk.

Birk, the former Portland bicycle coordinator and senior local principal of Alta Planning + Design, was indirectly quoted in a comment this week from BikePortland reader Matt, who said he’d heard Birk’s theory about this in a conversation once.

Matt seems to have remembered it. It’s a memorably simple formula.

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Comment of the Week: When ‘bike culture’ bites back

Friday, April 17th, 2015
Priceless branding.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Biking has been a big part of the brand identity that has made Portland a come-from-behind economic success over the last 20 years.

But now that prosperity has arrived, at least for some Portlanders, where’s the love? And if it’s missing, do people who function as “props” in Portland’s triumphant narrative have an option to pull back?

That’s the question that BikePortland reader Kevin explored in a comment beneath our post Tuesday about a pair of Portlanders’ high-profile campaign to rescind the city’s “platinum” status with the League of American Bicyclists.

Here’s how Kevin put it, with a bit of emphasis added:

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Comment of the Week: The case for organized running advocacy in Portland

Friday, April 10th, 2015
I'm too clean-cut to be here in Portland with all these hippies. I think I should be in Kansas. Or maybe Salt Lake City.
Shared interests.
(Photo: Ed Yourdon)

Here on BikePortland, we love to switch focus around the many ways to enjoy bikes, from dirt-trails or the daily commute. And if you ask me, Jonathan’s inspired combination of sport, fun and policy is the special recipe that has made this site a viable business as well as a work of love for everyone involved.

So as reader Adam wrote this week, isn’t it time for someone to apply a similar approach to athleticism on foot?

Here’s what Adam wrote this afternoon beneath our post about the appeal of gravel paths to people running:

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Comment of the Week: Does Vision Zero require gravel freeways?

Friday, April 3rd, 2015
speed of light
A freeway outside Delft, Netherlands.
(Photo: Edwin van Buuringen)

The most important concept in American streets advocacy right now seems to suggest that all rapid car travel should be abolished.

That’s the perspective of BikePortland reader Tait, who argued semi-satirically this week that if preventing one person’s death is truly more important than fulfilling everyone else’s desires, maybe we should cut freeway speeds to 35 mph, or even lower.

In a comment beneath our post Tuesday about some Oregon legislators’ effort to raise cars’ freeway speed limit from 65 to 75 mph, Tait had this to say:

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Comments of the Week: Two readers’ concepts for fixing SE Ankeny at 11th

Friday, March 27th, 2015
ankeny 11th sandy DUAL MINI RAB_zpsoy5utvec
Full size below the jump.
(Image by reader Paikiala)

One of the great joys of BikePortland comments is that they make very clear how rich and deep our city’s transportation expertise has become over the last decade.

After we wrote on Thursday about a small tweak the city made recently to the strange six-way intersection of SE Ankeny, 11th and Sandy, not one but two readers created full-color overhead mockups of alternative ways to design this awkward interchange.

The first, by reader sean, is a sort of linear park that would remove auto access for one block (immediately south of what is today a billboard) in order to reimagine “Ankeny as a destination”:

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Comment of the Week: A pro-bike case for the Portland that was

Friday, March 20th, 2015
Sprockettes at 2008 Tour de Fat-40.jpg
The Sprockettes perform at the 2008 Tour de Fat.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Total comments this week: 883

We can see change happening. We can accept that change has to happen. We can even appreciate parts of it.

But that doesn’t always make change feel good, and it doesn’t mean that change is good.

Responding to other readers’ pro-housing-supply comments beneath Tuesday’s post about low-impact infill projects, BikePortland reader rachel b (who is, according to other posts, a Portlander since childhood) shared a take on the city’s development that was deeply personal, charmingly self-deprecating and a little bit heartbreaking, too.

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Comment of the Week: Bicycling and the future ‘Golden Age’ of Portland

Friday, March 13th, 2015
Cherry blossoms in Waterfront Park-18-17
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

“In a city where two-thirds of people surveyed support safer bike routes, we aren’t falling behind because of opposition, we are falling behind due to a failure to execute.”

Reading my share of the hundreds of terrific comments here over the last week, I’ve noticed a few assuming that because someone is advocating for biking improvements, it must be because those improvements would directly improve their own lives.

It’s hard to dispute that most of us here are motivated in part by self-interest. But this afternoon, reader Chris Anderson made an eloquent case for two big ideas:

  • that bicycling investments are and should be popular because making bicycling fully mainstream actually has the potential to help create a generations-long era of success and prosperity here in Portland for riders and nonriders alike.
  • that bicycling basically doesn’t have any organized enemies to speak of.

It’s a bold couple of claims, but I was inspired. See what you think.

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Comment of the Week: The hidden political cost of neighborhood greenways

Friday, March 6th, 2015
Eleni rides home alone-7
Michigan Avenue in North Portland.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

In the parts of Portland where neighborhood greenways exist, they’re the most pleasant way to get around. Installing them is cheap, fast and politically popular because (other than the occasional traffic diverter) they basically bother nobody.

After its biking advocates spent much of the 2000s trying and failing to build meaningful networks of protected bike lanes on commercial streets, Portland rolled out 40 miles of comfortable connected neighborhood greenways and (as we shared in Monday’s roundup) rightly earned them a spot among Streetfilms’ 10 global best practices for street design.

But, as reader CarsAreFunToo showed in a comment on Thursday’s post about speed enforcement on high-crash corridors, they also seem to come with a big indirect political cost.

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Comment of the Week: The case against a bike path alongside I-84

Friday, February 27th, 2015
A rendering of a possible Sullivan’s Gulch Corridor.
(Rendering: Nick Falbo, Alta Planning + Design)

Biking on a flat off-road path is terrific. But biking on many first-rate streets might be better.

That’s the argument made on Wednesday by reader Terry D-M, at least. In the midst of the heated discussion over whether the Portland Bureau of Transportation needs an equity and inclusion manager, Terry offered a comment that seemed a little off-topic at first but eventually circled directly on point.

The job of an equity manager, Terry argued, would be to help people such as the members of the city’s volunteer Bicycle Advisory Committee escape the involuntary blinders that he thinks caused them to neglect infrastructure outside the central city in favor of (in his view) expensive luxuries like the long-planned Sullivan’s Gulch Corridor between the Rose Quarter and NE 21st.

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Comment of the Week: A definitive wishlist for Portland’s bridges

Friday, February 20th, 2015
Last (and cold) sunrise of 2010-5
The Burnside’s bike lanes are OK;
it’s the landings that hold it back.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

From afar, Portland’s bridges are civic treasures. Up close, they’re little slices of rural highway in the middle of the most beautiful part of the city.

To its credit, Multnomah County asked for ways to change this, and this week BikePortland readers certainly delivered — none more comprehensively and persuasively than reader MaxD, whose Tuesday morning comment on the subject picked up on points raised by many other readers.

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