Comment of the Week

Comment of the Week: ‘When I was broke, I barely rode my bike’

by on January 29th, 2016 at 4:47 pm

I often wonder how many activists have ever really struggled with poverty or even personally know anyone who has.

We talk a lot about infrastructure at BikePortland, because it matters to people who bike. But it’s very far from the only thing that matters.

In a comment beneath Monday’s post about the driving habits of rich and poor people, BikePortland reader Ellie wrote about a time in her life when she was too poor to drive but when her life was too fragmented and unpredictable for her to bike.

Both the argument against gas taxes and increased parking fees use the added burden on poor people as a reason not to increase associated costs, but it is mostly a red herring, an excuse to avoid extra taxes and fees for higher income earners. However, bike activist and urban planning activists due similar things. I often wonder how many activists have ever really struggled with poverty or even personally know anyone who has. One of my biggest frustrations with a certain sort of bicyclist is that they seem to think that since they do not find public transit useful, it isn’t important.


Comment of the Week: A map should not be an important safety tool

by on December 18th, 2015 at 2:19 pm


If you haven’t read Jonathan’s haunting, exclusive report that Martin Greenough seems to have been killed on his very first bike commute, two weeks after moving to Portland, it’s not one to miss.

Part of the story is that the city’s official bike map inaccurately suggests that Lombard is a fine place to bike. But as BikePortland reader El Biciclero pointed out in a must-read response, the problem here is not really with the map.

The problem is that the only way to bike around Portland without near-death experiences is to use a map.


Comment of the Week: Eight simple tips for wet riding

by on December 11th, 2015 at 5:47 pm

Riders in the storm-13
Savor it.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

For those of you who’ve moved to Oregon in the last year: yes, every winter is like this.

Just kidding. But this soggy, blustery week has certainly given us a reminder of what we do to pay for those long summer evenings. In Monday’s open thread about riding through the day’s downpour, BikePortland reader Pedal PT offered a list of simple suggestions for rainy riding. They’re a perfect introduction to a commute that can be surprisingly fun.


The case against using gas taxes for bike infrastructure

by on December 4th, 2015 at 4:09 pm

A gas station on W Burnside.
(Photo: C.M. Keiner)

Editor’s note: We’re highlighting this (lightly edited) BikePortlander post as a comment of the week. It’s a doozy, but it’s provocative. The author, A.J. Zelada, is a past contributor who has volunteered as a transportation advisor for Oregon and others.

Now that Black Friday came and went, I want you to rethink the gas-tax approach to boosting active transportation revenue.

I think the gas tax is a snake eating its own tail. It undermines the serious effort we need.


Comment of the Week: South Dakota’s official road fatality markers

by on November 20th, 2015 at 3:38 pm

think sign
An idea from another state.
(Photo: GasFoodNoLodging.com)

I’ve rarely seen BikePortland readers as frustrated as many seemed to be beneath Wednesday’s post about the state of Oregon’s decision to remove temporary memorials to people killed on state roads because they (the memorials, not the people who were killed) might cause people to slow down or stop while driving.

A huge wave of upvotes backed many of the black-humor responses that followed.

But amid the well-written venting was an interestingly constructive suggestion: if Oregon feels that handmade memorials are distracting, maybe it should create its own official memorials instead — just like South Dakota does.

That was the comment from BikePortland reader GlowBoy, who (if I’ve been following his comments correctly) recently relocated from Portland to Minneapolis:

I think we should have a monument to remember every single person who’s been killed by (or on) a road facility.

Oregon ought to enact the same law requiring signs like those in South Dakota, marking EVERY SINGLE SPOT where a person has died on their roads. SD may not be considered a very progressive state, but I think it’s a brilliant idea and should be copied everywhere.


Comment of the Week: A better way from Clinton to Tilikum

by on October 30th, 2015 at 4:46 pm

clinton tilikum map
Here’s another way to go.
(Map by Google)

Sometimes, you just have to stop reading the signs.

That’s the advice from BikePortland reader axoplasm, who responded to Tuesday’s post about the hassles of navigating to the east landing of Tilikum Crossing with a homemade route of his own that he said is “slightly longer” but “much faster, with simpler crossings and saner stoplights.”


What do you tell out of town drivers about Portland?

by on October 16th, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Howdy, stranger.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Editor’s note: Welcome to the first of a new occasional Friday tradition: a BikePortlander Post of the week. BP Posts is our new section where subscribers can write and publish their own posts (that everyone can comment on). We’ll be highlighting these on the Front Page every once in a while in lieu of comments of the week.

via BikePortlander “Carsharing Dave”

I recently returned from a trip where I’d rented a car. As I passed thru PDX I asked myself: what would I tell someone from out of town who was driving in Portland to pay special attention to?

The list needs to be short enough that people can remember it.


Comment of the Week: Portland, the city that can reinvent itself

by on September 25th, 2015 at 5:38 pm

Ride Along with the Stedman Family-27
Portland bike lover Helena Stedman in 2012.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Well, we sort of hate to give this recognition to the same person twice — let alone twice in a row. But amid all the amazingly insightful comments beneath Jonathan’s piece Wednesday about coming to terms with Portland’s big changes, one stood out as both accepting of Portland’s serious problems and focused on its enduring strengths.

It came from reader GutterBunnyBikes, who wrote, Thursday evening, about our city’s consistent ability to be “an active agent in its own evolution.”


Comment of the Week: One more Portland bike user for better pavement

by on August 21st, 2015 at 4:25 pm

Neighborhood greenway conditions-1
North Michigan Avenue: tighten your bolts.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

This time last year, it looked as if Portland’s city council was about to grit its teeth and start addressing two problems that Mayor Charlie Hales rode into office pledging to fix: the twin facts that our roads are both consistently unsafe and disintegrating beneath us.

Now, as Portland’s leaders get ready to file back in from vacation, all available signs point to both of those cans being kicked further down the road.

Meanwhile, as BikePortland reader Alex wrote in a comment on Tuesday, bike trips through this town keep getting bumpier.


Comment of the Week: SE Foster, the heart of Portland’s coming bike grid

by on August 7th, 2015 at 2:19 pm

SE Foster Road-4
Not currently a spot for
low-stress rolls.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Southeast Foster Road feels a long way from the heart of Portland’s transportation conversation at the moment. But that’s not going to last long.

Next year, right in the middle of Portland’s mayoral election, Foster is scheduled to be the site of the city’s most ambitious road diet yet, a conversion of passing lanes to bike and turn lanes that’s widely expected to create auto spillover onto other streets even as it dramatically improves the safety of driving or crossing Foster, which is currently one of the city’s 10 high-crash corridors.

The new bike lanes will be nothing more than paint, but six-foot-wide or buffered. And in a comment beneath Tuesday’s story exploring how to divvy up Portland’s bike-infrastructure budgets, BikePortland reader Gutterbunnybikes made an interesting case that those bike lanes will be more important than you think.

Why? Because unlike almost every other bike lane in Portland, they’re going to run right through commercial districts.