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Guest article: ODOT bike/walk committee seeks new student member

Monday, September 16th, 2013
Daniel Ronan, outgoing student
member of the Oregon
Bicycle and Pedestrian
Advisory Committee.
(Photo courtesy Daniel Ronan)

This article was written by contributor Daniel Ronan

Over the past four years, substantive changes have happened at the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). Through the pages of BikePortland, active transportation advocates have had the opportunity to view larger organizational changes such as the creation of ODOT’s Active Transportation Section and, more recently, the agency’s response to pavement on the shoulders of Highway 101. From my vantage point as the student member of the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (OBPAC), I’ve witnessed these changes as the committee’s youngest member.

While this transition is far from complete, ODOT has made bold steps as it seeks to reshape its identity from “the highway department” to a truly multi-modal agency. To continue this momentum, it’s vital that OBPAC has the perspective of a young, student member — and as I leave my position there’s a great opportunity for a new student to step up. (more…)

New leadership, membership for ODOT’s bicycle advisory committee

Monday, July 29th, 2013
Bike Summit Lobby Day-13
Jenna Stanke is now
chair of the committee.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Department of Transportation’s eight member, governor-appointed Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (OBPAC) has four new members and a new leader at its helm. ODOT put out the call for new members back in January and announced their selections today.

The four new members are: Susan Peithman, formerly an advocate for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) who now works as research and program administrator for the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC) at Portland State University; Evan MacKenzie, a city planner from Pendleton who is also an avid bike racer; Jeff Monson the executive director of Commute Options, an organization that promotes biking, walking and transit in Bend; and Salem resident Kenji Sugahara, executive director of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA). (more…)

A letter from the former Chair of ODOT’s Bike and Ped Advisory Committee

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

“When I came to the committee, the glass ceiling was low; there were few listening within ODOT and bike lanes were pesky mosquitoes to be patronized.”
— AJ Zelada

ODOT made a big announcement today that has been circulating in the bike advocacy sphere for a while: the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (OBPAC) is seeking new members. What the official announcement doesn’t say is that they need to fill five vacancies out of eight total seats on the committee. This is a big deal. If you’re not familiar with OBPAC, they are a governor-appointed group that “acts as a liaison between the public and ODOT.” They also play a key advisory role within ODOT and act as experts on biking and walking laws, projects, and so on (not to be confused with the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC), which actually sets ODOT policy). The OBPAC also reviews grant applications and award millions of dollars in project funding.

Northeast Portland resident AJ Zelada has served on the committee for eight years and spent the last two as its Chair. He feels these vacancies at OBPAC are, “an incredible opportunity to make a big difference.” He wrote me a letter on January 22nd outlining the history of the committee, of ODOT’s relationship to bicycling, why now is such a crucial moment for active transportation at the agency, and how the OBPAC will play a vital role in the future.

He gave me permission to share his letter. It offers valuable, behind-the-scenes context and a poignant call to action. I’ve posted it below (nearly verbatim, with minor edits for clarity and brevity): (more…)

Read the letter to TriMet about naming new bridge after Don Stathos

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Last week we broke the news that the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (a governor-appointed committee that advises ODOT on biking and walking issues and projects) planned to make an official request to TriMet that the new Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge be named after Don Stathos, father of the 1971 Oregon Bike Bill. Today the OBPAC released their letter. Read it below…

Neil McFarlane
TriMet General Manager
4012 SE 17th Ave.
Portland, OR 97202

RE: Naming the Portland–Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge over the Willamette River

Dear Neil,

The Portland-Milwaukie light-rail line embodies the philosophy of active transportation. With that in mind, we would like to propose that the project’s new bridge spanning the Willamette River be named the (Don) Stathos Bridge as a fitting memorial to an Oregon pioneer and trailblazer in the field of active transportation.

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Oregon’s original Bicycle and Pedestrian Bill during 2011, it is fitting that we pay tribute to a man who brought awareness of and support to active transportation for our state, region and local communities.

In 1971, Don Stathos, a Republican state representative and avid bicyclist from Jacksonville, Oregon, sponsored House Bill 1700. Only nine representatives and one state senator originally backed the Bicycle Bill. At each stage of the legislative process, the bill passed by just one vote. Initially, Governor Tom McCall didn’t favor the bill, but he changed his mind as he came to believe it was a good thing for Oregon and Oregonians. The governor signed the bill into law on the steps of the state capitol using the seat of Stathos’ Schwinn Paramount as a table.

The bill allowed for the creation of the present-day Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, a governor-appointed committee that the Oregon Department of Transportation on bicycling and walking. (The Oregon Bicycle Advisory Committee (OBAC) was formed by ORS 366.112, a bill passed in 1973. In 1995, the Oregon Transportation Commission officially recognized the OBAC’s role in pedestrian issues; the committee became the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (OBPAC)). In 2010 the committee awarded grants for approximately $5 million for the design and construction of bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

We realize this request comes very early in the project process. Nevertheless, please allow our collective wishes to be considered when the project moves toward choosing a name for the bridge. We can think of no better choice than to honor Don Stathos. We all stand on his shoulders as we make active transportation a real part of public policy and public works for our society.

Sincerely,

Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

ODOT committee recommends new TriMet bridge be named after father of Bicycle Bill

Friday, February 18th, 2011
Father of the Bicycle Bill, Don Stathos, would
be fitting tribute for new TriMet bridge.
(Graphic: TriMet).

Don Stathos is the father of Oregon’s Bicycle Bill, which he introduced and pushed through the state legislature in 1971. The bill (which became ORS 366.514) mandated that state highway projects spend a minimum of one percent on “footpaths and bicycle trails.” Stathos’ forward-thinking commitment to bicycling and walking has led to millions of dollars of investment throughout the state.

Now, on the 40th anniversary of the bill, the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (OBPAC, which advises ODOT), is recommending that TriMet’s new Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail bridge over the Willamette River be named in his honor. (more…)

Oregon’s bicycle and pedestrian committee says ‘think big’

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

[This article was written by Daniel Ronan, the student representative on the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.]

Legislator bike ride at the Oregon Bike Summit-5
Jerry Norquist is Chair of the Oregon
Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory
Committee.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The City of Portland’s Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) is mentioned frequently here on BikePortland, but did you know that the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) also has an advisory committee that deals with bicycling projects and issues?

The Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (OBPAC) is an eight member, governor appointed committee that serves as the intermediary body between the public and ODOT, via the Oregon Transportation Commission. The group meets quarterly in communities statewide. (more…)

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