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Comment of the Week

Comment of the Week: Commissioner Steve Novick on the virtues of taxes

Friday, January 16th, 2015
Bike Walk Vote candidate party-10
Steve Novick at a Bike Walk Vote
candidate party in 2012.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

With friends like Joe Cortright, Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick doesn’t need enemies.

That’s the case Novick made this morning in a sharp response in the comments beneath a widely circulated column we published by Cortright, a local urban economist.

Cortright, who like Novick comes from a generally leftish perspective, had made eight arguments about transportation revenue in the context of Portland’s effort to create a new, local street fund. In the comment below, Novick raises thoughtful objections to two of them.

I have two main problems with what my friend Joe Cortright said in his recent column. First, he’s using generic arguments against a specific proposal while largely ignoring what the proposal actually is. Second, he’s adopting the rhetoric of his political opponents to attack spending on projects that he actually isn’t opposed to.

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Comment of the Week: The end of errands and driving’s decline

Friday, January 9th, 2015
DSC_4271
A truckful of outsourced errands.
(Photo: nshepard)

Say what you will about Amazon — they might have done as much as any private company to make low-car life convenient in the United States.

That seems to be the experience of BikePortland reader Chris, who wrote in a comment on our post about the federal government’s acknowledgement that per-capita driving has plateaued that e-commerce and doorside delivery have had a huge impact on his or her travel habits.

It’s not clear whether Chris has any kids, who are definitely a common cause of errand-running. Still, the personal examples here resonated with my life, too:

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Comment of the Week: Thinking globally, denying climate change locally

Friday, January 2nd, 2015
Oregonian front page day 2
Well, at least that much is true.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

People who don’t know BikePortland well, especially those who don’t bike much themselves, are sometimes surprised to learn that we don’t see ourselves as an environmentalist website.

Cutting your carbon is a great reason to ride a bike, but there are plenty of others.

Even so, most bike users have probably spent some time thinking about the relationship between small-scale and large-scale environmental action. Maybe that’s why so many readers’ nerves were touched by the link in this week’s Monday Roundup to the Oregonian editorial writers’ odd editorial explaining that they wouldn’t be editorializing about climate change this year because climate change is a national and international issue.

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Comment of the Week: Lawsuits, the quiet pressure behind city decisions

Friday, December 19th, 2014
clinton speed
Traffic on SE Clinton.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

As we wrote beneath the last Comment of the Week post, BikePortland has decided to be the only blog we’re aware of that pays for great comments. The person whose thoughts we select for this feature gets a crisp $5 bill in the mail, as a way for us to appreciate the site’s amazing discussion community. So watch your email — we might be in touch.

Street safety matters to cities. So does street comfort. But only one of those issues will land you in court.

That’s the insight shared this week by BikePortland reader paikiala, responding to the discussion on Wednesday’s post about a guerrilla traffic diverter installed on Clinton by anonymous activists.

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Comment of the Week: Nike’s self-inflicted recruitment challenge

Friday, December 5th, 2014
Nike World Campus
Gilded cage? Inside the berm of Nike World
Headquarters near Beaverton.
(Photo: Tracy Lee Carroll)

Is one of the region’s most important companies turning its back on talent by locking its campus off from biking and transit?

It’s hard not to feel that way after reading a series of comments this week from reader s30t. Here’s what s30t wrote in response to last week’s post about the potential for Nike’s planned expansion to finally upgrade nearby bikeways:

Interesting reading through all the comments here. I recently joined Nike, despite having heavy concerns about the commute. One year in I can say my concerns are justified. I try my best to commute by bike (or at least a bike/max combo) – but the time investment is huge. I’ve tried multiple different routes, but I live in NE Portland and it is almost impossible to keep the round trip commute less than 2-2.5 hours via bike or combo bike/public transit combo. if you work with Asia and Europe (which I do) you end up with many early a.m/late calls…that means hopping on my bike at 5 am and not getting back home until 7pm or later. I can see why commuting by bike is not an option for anyone with children (or even a dog for that matter!)

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Comment of the Week: Teaching your kid to be a millionaire

Friday, November 21st, 2014
piggyback ride
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

We didn’t all love math when we were 15, but most of us probably liked buying stuff.

In a comment Wednesday evening on our post about how much money bikes can save a city, reader Gutterbunnybikes shared a story about helping his teenage son understand how big a difference bikes can make to one’s personal finances.

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Comment of the Week: The secret to becoming a total badass

Friday, November 14th, 2014
Riders in the storm-17
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Steep hills and chilly mornings started hard for every single one of us. But life offers few clearer examples than biking that what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

That’s the wisdom reader Lyle W shared beneath our post about Wednesday night’s wild windstorm:

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Comment of the week: Courts, not cops, as the core of bike theft neglect

Friday, October 31st, 2014
A police raid on allegedly stolen bikes in Old Town in July 2012.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

It’s one of the maddening paradoxes of the bike world: biking is so cheap and efficient that it’s a blip on almost every chart.

Biking infrastructure is so easy to build that there’s no army of contractors to lobby for it. Biking education is difficult because it’s so easy to just buy a bike and start riding. And bike theft doesn’t get penalized because a bike can be the most important object in someone’s life even though it’s only worth $50.

Reader Todd Hudson captured an aspect of this problem in a comment beneath this week’s post about a Portland cop who’s leading the fight against bike theft from the front lines.

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Comment of the Week: The slow, possible work of progress

Friday, October 24th, 2014
Morrison Bridge bike-walk path dedication event-24
Ahh – can you feel that? That’s a successful
postcard campaign from 15 years ago.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

There’s nothing new under the sun, but effective political tactics have a way of staying effective.

That’s what reader and legendary bike advocate Phil Goff observed this week in a comment beneath Tuesday’s post about a series of postcard campaigns by activist group Bike Loud PDX:

This is exactly what I did 15-16 years ago to create the political pressure to bring in funding for the Morrison Bridge sidepath project. On two occasions, I had 300-400 signed postcards mailed to Multnomah County Chair Bev Stein (to get the County’s attention) and then 6 mo later to Metro Council chair Rod Monroe during the MTIP process. In the age of e-mail, Twitter and FB, a simple postcard campaign can pack a lot of punch. Its great to hear that advocates are reviving the tactic for other projects. Good luck BikeLoudPDX!

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Comment of the Week: The decline of ageism in biking

Friday, October 17th, 2014
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-6
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

It was once true that people who bike and like bikes were mostly young. News flash: this is no longer true.

That was the message of reader Anne Hawley, responding this week to our coverage of a Northwest Examiner newspaper article about a white-haired auto repair shop owner named Frank Warrens who sees a bike lane on Northwest Everett as part of a campaign to ban cars from downtown Portland.

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