With almost every street project that isn’t happening in Portland, the city’s stated reason is that it doesn’t have the money. A long-discussed couplet of north/south protected bike lanes through downtown is the exception.
As I write this, Portland police have just started a one-day enforcement of the city’s law against biking on downtown sidewalks north of Jefferson and south of Hoyt.
Here’s what a reader had to say about this on Facebook today:
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)
With today’s police enforcement action targeting bicycling on downtown sidewalks, I took a few minutes to check out the action for myself.
Here are some of my thoughts… (more…)
(Photo by M.Andersen/BikePortland)
A city whose sign code is intended to prevent advertising eyesores and a local shop owner who’s developed “mixed feelings” about his project have settled on the removal, this Thursday, of one of downtown Portland’s newest icons.
That’s when workers are scheduled to remove the two-year-old, 45-foot-tall declaration that the city is “America’s bicycle capital.” Pedal Bike Tours, the local rental and tour company that painted the mural in 2012 based on one of their T-shirt designs, hired them after conceding a compromise in a long negotiation with the city’s code enforcement office.
“Photograph it while you can,” Pedal Bike Tours owner Todd Roll said in an interview Tuesday. “It’s out of here.”
(Photo: Matt Haughey/Flickr)
It was a strong claim and a proud one — though, at the time, it hardly even seemed controversial.
But two years later, the Pedal Bike Tours mural that welcomes Portland visitors to “America’s Bicycle Capital” strikes one visitor as a sign of something else: the paralyzing complacency of a city that has ridden its bike-friendly reputation to nationwide fame, wave after wave of highly educated young people and, within a few years, surging central-city job growth.
The problem, as Vancouver BC-based writer Chris Bruntlett describes it in a piece published this afternoon, isn’t that Portland doesn’t like bikes any more. It’s that the city doesn’t seem to feel that being bike-friendly requires any “difficult decisions.”
Lots of people know you can go to Copenhagen or Manhattan to see grids of protected bike lanes in action. But there’s another set of them 300 miles north of Portland — and they run right through a city so similar to Portland that they could be siblings.
Green Lane Project event earlier this week.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
The ways people talk about active transportation seems to be changing in Portland, both inside and outside of government.
At a unanimous City Council vote Wednesday in favor of $20.7 million in federally backed walking and biking improvements throughout the city, including $9.1 million to enact parts of the East Portland in Motion plan and $6.6 million for what promises to be a historic upgrade of central Portland bike facilities, people on both sides of the council dais were repeating an idea that isn’t always common: Improving biking improves the city for people who don’t.
Leading the shift: new Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick, who echoed and rephrased some of the observations we shared from his speech two nights before.
“It should be obvious to everybody that the freight improvements are connected to economic development,” Novick said Wednesday, referring to $4.1 million dedicated to efficient truck movement. “But the things that make it easier to walk and bike are economic investments. … There’s a couple of ways to improve your family’s economic position. One is to make more money, and one is to reduce your expenses. Active transportation investments help people reduce their expenses.”
could benefit from these grants.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)
A fleet of major projects to improve bike and foot travel in downtown Portland, East Portland, SE Foster Road, SW Barbur Boulevard and Southwest Portland’s neighborhoods will be competing for dollars and attention with
freight projects each other at an open house next week.
The five projects are among many jostling for $95 million from Metro’s regional flexible fund allocation, one of the few channels of federal support for bike and walking transportation.
“Your feedback can help decide which projects get recommended to receive funding,” Metro says on its website. The open house is 6-8 pm on Aug. 15, one week from tonight, in the Portland Building at 1120 SW 5th Ave (PDF).