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The Oregonian Editorial Board on Portland's "risky bike share venture"

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

"Bike sharing isn’t essential, and a bike-sharing system with unexpected complications requiring city subsidies would undermine the public’s confidence in the city’s ability to set priorities and manage money."
— Oregonian Editorial Board, December 21st, 2013.

With a big announcement about the Portland Bike Share system likely to come this month, The Oregonian Editorial Board is making it clear where they stand. Portland's risky bike-share venture is the title of their editorial that ran on the front page of the opinion section on December 21st.

The piece reflects the opinion of the members of the O's editorial board: Mark Hester, Erik Lukens, Susan Nielsen, Len Reed and David Sarasohn. As our bike share system gets closer to reality, we'll be watching closely how the local media tries to frame the narrative around the project. After all, the project has all the components of a media freakout: the concept (at least on this scale) is unprecedented in Portland, bike share is usually misunderstood by people that haven't used it (just like cycling in general), it's an idea first championed by former Mayor Sam Adams, and it involves bicycling. (more...)

Portland's 'pedal powered' talk show rolls into its third season

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
Two of the stars of the Pedal-Powered Talk Show:
host Boaz Frankel and his portable interview desk.
(Photo: Pedal-Powered Talk Show)

Wielding what claims to be "the only talk show desk bicycle in the world," the Portland-based Pedal-Powered Talk Show is about to launch its third season of using a desk mounted on a Metrofiets cargo bike to conduct video interviews about a variety of subjects in weird and wonderful places. (more...)

Scion apologizes, pulls insensitive ad

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
Scion has apologized.

Scion has pulled an ad that referred to people riding bicycles as "obstacles." The ad, which we highlighted on July 11th, had a fighting theme and the "King of the road" was its tC model sportscar.

Over the weekend, a reader pointed us to a blog post on Scion.com (which seems to be incorrectly dated to July 2nd), where the company addressed the concerns about the ad and announced its removal: (more...)

In new ad, Scion sees bike riders as obstacles in a fight

Thursday, July 11th, 2013
Humans on bikes are just obstacles
in a fight you must win, says a Scion ad.

Toyota-owned car brand Scion has unveiled a new commercial for their latest model. In an urban setting, they equate driving with a boxing match where the car is dubbed "King" of the road. Unfortunately, Scion includes a scene with people riding bicycles and refers to them as "obstacles" and then shows the cars zoom by them dangerously — all in an effort to "roll on to victory with the path of least resistance."
(more...)

East Portland and cycling's "downtown culture"

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
SE 136th Press Conference-7
Oregon State Rep. Shemia Fagan.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon Public Broadcasting's Think out Loud radio show hosted a conversation about "the future of bicycling" yesterday. The show was set up to discuss the recent release of reports by the City Club of Portland and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Leaders from both groups were in studio and the host also welcomed Oregon State Representative Shemia Fagan onto the show via telephone. Rep. Fagan — whose district stretches east from SE 122nd Ave through Clackamas County all the way to Highway 26 — was asked how she felt upon hearing about all the talk of bicycle funding and projects.

I think Fagan's answers deserve a wider audience so I've shared the entire exchange below (you can also listen to the whole show here):

Think out Loud Host David Miller:

"When you hear people like Craig [Beebe, from City Club] and Rob [Sadowsky, from the BTA] talking about increasing bicycle-friendly infrastructure as a way to have pedestrians and cars and bikers all play well together, what goes through your mind?"

(more...)

Survey: Majority of Seattleites like bikes, ride bikes, want more bikes

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013
Scenes from the streets in Seattle-2.jpg
Seattle wants more of them.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

An ongoing "bike backlash" and "war on cars" pushed by the local media, biking as a wedge-issue in political campaigns, fear from politicians about doing "too much" for bikes — sounds like Portland right? Well, Seattle (not to mention New York City and many others) suffers from the same illusion. Now, a new survey commissioned by Seattle's Cascade Bicycle Club could help tamp down this pervasive — yet false — narrative.

According to a memo (PDF) about the survey from public opinion research firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, the results provide, "absolutely no evidence of widespread anti-cycling sentiment in Seattle." The memo goes on to explain that (among other things) 78% of those surveyed ride a bike at least once a year, 45% ride monthly, and 60% say they'd like to ride more*.

While the perception of people who ride bikes has become the butt of jokes, the Seattle survey found that people, "overwhelmingly report positive feelings towards the City’s bicyclists." 78% say they have a "favorable opinion" of people who ride bikes, including 38% who said "very favorable" (just 19% said their opinions of people who ride are "unfavorable"). (more...)

My opinion: KATU is misrepresenting Hales' transportation plans

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
Expect fewer protected bike lanes from
Charlie Hales says KATU's Bob Heye.
(Screen grab - Watch video below)

KATU News ran a segment on their newscast and website tonight that made shocking pronouncements about how mayor-elect Charlie Hales' transportation plans would impact bicycling.

"Charlie Hales said he plans to shift the focus of Portland's transportation budget from bike projects to road repairs," reads a caption to a video of the segment (watch it below).

"One big change Portlanders can expect," continues the story, "Bike projects will take a back seat to road repairs in Hales’ administration. Hales said bike projects are important, but the city has ignored road maintenance for too long."

(more...)

USA Today declares: "Bikes rule the road" in Portland

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Portland is once again received major national press coverage for being bike-friendly. A 'Cover Story' (front page, below-the-fold) in yesterday's edition of USA Today — the paper with the second largest circulation in America — gave major props to Portland as a place where "bikes rule the road." The story has also been picked up in smaller papers nationwide. On USAToday.com, the story was accompanied by a video that features the head of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) Rob Sadowsky and Portland State University researcher Jennifer Dill.

The framing of the story is that Portland is on the leading edge of a push across the country to "rethink... the automobile". This story comes just a day after The Economist magazine proclaimed, "A cycling renaissance is taking place in America." While this coverage is exciting, it comes with pitfalls we should be aware of.

Here's the lede from the USA Today...

America spent 50 years and billions of dollars after World War II redesigning itself so that cars could move people across this vast country more quickly.

Now, with many cities in gridlock, one-third of the population obese and climate change forcing innovators to look beyond the internal combustion engine, cities are beginning to rethink that push toward the automobile.

Perhaps no place has thought about it more than Portland,

(more...)

Portland Biz Journal editorial: "Bicycling serves as economic tool"

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

A reader just made me aware of a recent editorial in the Portland Business Journal that deserves wider attention.

Given the fact that there remain some powerful business interests who feel that Portland's inevitable march toward better bike access on our roads is at odds with their bottom lines, the PBJ editorial board stood up and blew that idea out of the water. (This is especially great to see from the PBJ because when the Bike Plan for 2030 passed in February 2010, I called them out for a misleading poll.)

In a piece titled "Bicycling serves as economic tool" that appeared in the July 6th edition, the paper makes a compelling argument for why bikes are not only good for business, they're key to Portland's economic future. The article is behind a paywall, but a reader was nice enough to send me the hard copy so I can share more of it with you. (more...)

The Oregonian editorial board weighs in on bike sharing

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
Bike share ride with Oregon team-1
Bike share is a runaway success
in Washington D.C.

We knew this was coming.

With bike share finally moving forward in Portland, we could count on The Oregonian to do their best undermine it before it even hits the street. Why? Because it's about bikes, it's new — and most importantly — because it is something championed by Mayor Sam Adams.

Before sharing some snippets of The O piece, let's do a reality check: Bike share is becoming like bus service in cities across America. It's a reliable, affordable, popular, easily-accessible system that opens up bicycling to new audiences in new places. Even before trying a modern system out for myself in Washington D.C. last week, I was generally positive about bike share. After trying it out, I'm convinced. It's a game-changer and the early wrinkles have been ironed out. Sure, D.C. is not Portland, but we will have a right-sized system and I'm confident the people who put ours together will be the best and brightest in the field. (more...)

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