(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)
Tuesday night I took part in the annual bike facility tour led by Portland Bureau of Transportation bike coordinator Roger Geller. Once a year, instead of sitting around a table on the second floor of City Hall discussing projects and policies, members of PBOT’s Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) get on their bikes. The goal of the tours is to see the good, the bad, and the ugly of current conditions and discuss how things might look in the future.
(Graphic by Roger Geller, Portland Bureau of Transportation)
Roger Geller, one of the most respected bicycle professionals in North America, was not having a terrific afternoon. His baritone had slid up to a tenor.
“This is beneficial,” he said to the roomful of owners of retail businesses along 28th Avenue near Burnside, gathered at Coalition Brewing Wednesday afternoon. “This is a good thing for your business district.”
Portland’s bicycle coordinator for the last 14 years — a confident and amiable man, but always known more for his groundbreaking analyses and head for numbers than for a silver tongue — was pitching the benefits of replacing auto parking on one side of the street (including a couple blocks in each direction, it’s maybe one-eighth of the district’s auto parking) with a buffered bike lane. Geller made one argument after another as to why there was no reason to think the district would suffer. But for each fact he cited, someone had an immediate rebuttal.
“While business and political support is strong it could be stronger, especially in key constituent groups.”
— Roger Geller, PBOT Bicycle Coordinator in a League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Community award application
Back in 2008 Portland became the first major U.S. city to be given a “Platinum” level Bicycle Friendly Community award by the League of American Bicyclists. Now, as per League policy, the Portland Bureau of Transportation must re-apply every 2-3 years in order keep its Platinum designation. (If you’re wondering, the League says the Diamond-level designation isn’t available yet.)
I recently got a glimpse of the current application and two questions stood out: “What are the three primary reasons your community deserves to be designated a Bicycle Friendly Community?” and “What are the three aspects of your community most in need of improvement in order to accommodate bicyclists?”
It’s been six-and-a-half years since Portland Bureau of Transportation bicycle coordinator Roger Geller first defined the “Four types of cyclists”. Geller’s insights proved to be groundbreaking and his definitions have stood the test of time. I frequently hear references about the need to attract more “Interested but concerned” riders at conferences all over the country and I read about them in articles in media large and small.
Now a noted bicycle researcher at Portland State University, Jennifer Dill, is working to learn more about the various types of riders. At the recent Velo-City conference in Vancouver B.C., she shared her research, Categorizing Cyclists: What Do We Know? Insights from Portland, OR (PDF). Now her work has been made public.
like this one in concept stage for
SE 53rd and Stark.
Crosswalks are standard engineering treatments designed to help people get across streets with a bit more safety; now the City of Portland is looking to do something similar for bike traffic with bicycle crosswalk markings, a.k.a. the “cross-bike”.
The concept itself has been floating around PBOT since about 2007, but the idea has yet to gain real traction. The other night, while looking over plans for an upcoming road project, I was surprised to see them as prominent features. Turns out that PBOT hasn’t forgotten about them.
PBOT bicycle coordinator Roger Geller shared a bit more about bicycle crosswalks via email today. Check out the Q & A below for more… (more…)
Science Oregon show.
The 10-minute segment (watch it below) is a good primer on the current state of Portland’s bike network. It’s also a window into where Portland is heading in the future and how the city plans to reach their goal of 25% bike mode share by 2030. (more…)
The City of Portland’s Bicycle Coordinator, Roger Geller, is in Melbourne this week to deliver the keynote speech at the 2010 Bike Futures conference. Armed with Portland’s biking success story, he’s making headlines and spreading the gospel of separated bikeways.
In a story published this morning in the Sydney Morning Herald, Geller told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) that Sydney could follow Portland’s path to becoming a more bike friendly city.
Sydney does not have a highly developed, on-street bike network, but according to the AAP, “Geller believes Sydney can be saved.” How? “The key is building more and more dedicated bikeways.” (more…)
Bikes do a lot of great things for our city. We often hear about the environmental benefits, the health benefits, and so on. But what about the reduced impact on our road network and congestion? What if more Portlanders drove cars into the city instead of bikes? (more…)
Thanks to everyone who packed into Plan B tonight to listen to my interview with City of Portland Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller. As a special bonus, we also streamed the event live right here on BikePortland thanks to the technological magic of Dan Kaufman from Crank My Chain CycleTV. What a thrill to know folks from all over were tuning in via the web!
After some mingling and ordering of food and drink, we settled in for about a one-hour interview and conversation followed by an open Q & A session. We even took a few questions from the Internet audience.