Oregonian says we need more bike lanes

Cycling has reached a fever pitch here in Portland.

We’re in the midst of the largest and craziest Pedalpalooza ever, we’re now a legit part of the economy, it’s the eve of our first-ever Bike Summit (with over 300 registered so far), and today the Oregonian is chock-full of bike coverage.

The one article that really stands out is the editorial, “Bike advocates aim for political staying power.” Check out the last sentence of this paragraph:

“Which is not to say that Portland’s bike advocates have been ineffective in the past. They’ve been doing something right or Portland wouldn’t already have 30 miles of developed, lower-traffic bike “boulevards,” 67 miles of off-street biking paths and 170 miles of bike lanes. That’s 267 miles in all, but we need more.”

I love it, even the Oregonian is on board. Can you say momentum?

But the ever-vigilant Jessica Roberts of the BTA wisely warns us that today’s trio of bike articles is sure to rally those less bike-friendly segments of the population (I know it’s hard to believe, but they’re out there). She says they’re sure to swamp the Oregonian with anti-bike rhetoric (yawn) so she’s urging us to stave off their negativity with some letters of our own.

Here are some letter writing tips from Jessica (who’s had many of them published over the years):

Letters should be no longer than 150 words (they’re ruthless), and should be sent to letters@news.oregonian.com. You have to include your name, address and daytime phone number (for verification; they don’t print it). In my experience, letters that are funny, paint a picture, or state just one or two points really clearly are more likely to get printed.

Thanks for the advice Jessica…now start writing folks!

By the way, as a contrast to today’s bike-loving articles in the O, I talked to Bike Summit maven Linda Ginenthal last night and she’s dug up some classic not-so-friendly bike headlines from decades past. They really show how far biking has come in Portland. She plans on sharing them at the Summit tomorrow.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Evan Manvel
17 years ago

Lest anyone not realize it, The Oregonian editorial came about thanks to a lot of work behind the scenes. We at the BTA are thrilled that they wrote it, and will continue to work to ensure their editorial board is knowledgable and supportive.

17 years ago

Great job, Evan! I can’t wait to turn my radio on at 11:00 to hear Lars Larson savage “the daily dead fish wrap” for siding with us two wheeled moonbats who don’t pay gas taxes and therefore shouldn’t have any right to use public streets much less get infrastructure built for bikes.

It will get very laughable when some 85 year old guy from Seaside who hasn’t been on bike since before World War II will call to agree with Lars and rail against the cyclists who cause “traffic jams” there every summer.

Jenni Simonis
17 years ago

I’ve been a bit worried about bike lanes out here in Gresham.

They’re tearing up Powell and putting in medians all along the road, which I’m assuming is to stop the large number of illegal u-turns made right in front of other vehicles.

However, those medians are so wide that the road is no longer in its old lane, but over the old bike lane and shoulder. With new curbs poured all along the way, the road isn’t getting any wider.

I’m worried that in several places along Powell that there is no longer room for a bike lane. And that’s too bad, because it’s used quite often.

17 years ago

I agree with the Oregonian article. It has been my experience that speed is the greatest enemy of safe biking. Putting a striped bike lane on a high-speed arterial often makes our situation worse, not better (as recent events attest). By instead creating bike boulevards where car speeds and access are limited, we all win. The only downside is that if I’m looking for a store which is located on a major road, I can’t ride along that road to look for it, I must know the cross street and ride a parallel street. Anyway, we’re makin progress

17 years ago

I’m trying to think of streets in Gresham and East County that would make good bicycle boulevards. Besides Market, nothing’s coming to mind. Anyone else?

Jessica Roberts
17 years ago

Donna, I’m glad to hear you’re thinking about streets that already have boulevard-like qualities; those are usually the ones that it makes the most sense to improve.

We aren’t yet ready to start putting lines on maps, but we are planning to work on specific projects over the next few years. Our proactive first focus will be North & Northeast Portland, but our goal is to bring bicycle boulevard advocacy to the entire Metro region, and then the state, as we refine the designs, figure out funding, and learn how to be effective advocates.

Jessica Roberts
Metro-Area Advocate
Bicycle Transportation Alliance

Lovely Terra
5 months ago

I’m concerned about the state of bike lanes in Gresham, particularly along Powell. The construction work on Powell includes the installation of medians, likely aimed at curbing the frequent illegal U-turns. However, these medians are so broad that they’ve shifted the road, encroaching upon the space previously occupied by the bike lane and shoulder. New curbs have been constructed along the route, but the road hasn’t been widened to accommodate these changes. This leads to my worry that there might not be sufficient space for bike lanes in various sections of Powell, which is unfortunate as these lanes are frequently used.