Splendid Cycles

Velodrome bill moves forward, with amendment

Posted by on March 29th, 2007 at 4:41 pm

Great news from Salem. I just got out of a hearing for Senate Bill 926.

The big news is that not only did the bill moved forward with a unanimous recommendation from this committee, but Senator Floyd Prozanski proposed an amendment to build a third velodrome in the Eugene area.

This is great news because now our coalition will grow and it is now truly a statewide effort. Momentum is definitely in our favor and spirits are high. Senator Atkinson continues to grow support for this bill among Democrats whom he says, “not only like the bill, they love it.”

Testifying were Steve Brown, myself, Senator Atkinson, Scott Bricker (BTA) and Peggy Lynch from the Oregon League of Woman Voters. She urged the committee to not support the bill because it would divert funds away from their primary goal of acquiring park lands.

From here, the challenge begins. The bill will move to Ways and Means and must get through that committee before it gets a vote on the Senate floor.

More detailed coverage, photos and audio clips of the testimony coming soon.

UPDATE: I just published the full recap of the hearing, with photos and an audio clip of Steve Brown’s testimony.

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  • Raspy7 March 29, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    Do velodromes not count as parks?

    Do women not ride bikes?

    Some people are out of touch.

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  • Phil March 29, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    Lynch’s point is quite valid- to build and operate a couple of velodromes, you have either take money from something else or raise taxes. They money has to come from somewhere. I’d rather see funds appropriated for this instead go to better bike commuting facilities and general bike use trails (like Springwater) before going to specialized facilities that only a small number of people will use.

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  • Raspy7 March 29, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    If the idea behind government spending was to spend money on what gets most use, the gov’t shouldn’t spend any money on bike trails or lanes. We’re an tiny minority compared to cars.

    To me, an ideal world would require federal, state and local authorities to butt out completely of park building and everything. Public schools and health care too.

    But as it is, I’m spending tons on public education that I never attended nor will my children. Might as well hope for SOME of my money to go to something I’d use and enjoy!

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  • Bill March 29, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    This seems funny that we get an ok for funding on building a velodrome at a time when federal/state funding is being cut back for bicycle-related issues at large. Youd think transportation causes would trump recreational causes. Lets put the money into improving commuting and ways in which we get away from oil-based vehicles. It seems like a velodrome will add to the idea of driving since youd typically have to load your bike on the back of your car so you could drive a fair distance to ride the bike. The number of people using the velodrome would be rather small (percentage wise), the cost HIGH and most that go to the velodrome drive there. Is this really a good use of tax payers’ money? Statistically (the percentage of the community using it vs the cost to procure) it sounds like a private funded project if you ask me.

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  • flowb33 March 29, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    @Phil: A velodrome isn’t just for the “small number of people” who will ride in it. It’s a great spot for all people who love biking to get together, imbibe and watch some racing. I see it as equal to a park not in terms of publicly ridable acreage, but in the way it could further engage the bike community.

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  • dabby March 29, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    Actually, I have experienced quite a diffrent fact than stated above, in regards to velodrome usage in a public park….

    I love riding the track.. let me start by stating that….

    In Indianapolis, I used to go to the skatepark at Major Taylor Park, which, of course as you all well know is the home of the Major Taylor velodrome…

    There were also a full course of basebal fields, and basketball courts…..
    Yet, everything sat empty most days out of the week, while there would be 250 kids a day at the skatepark….

    I lived in Florida, and used to go skate at Brian Piccolo park, where, right next to the skatepark, which cost a whopping Ten Dollars a session (2 hours), was a velodrome, which sat empty half of the week.

    Neither of these velodromes were rideable at anytime unless you had paid, and gone through the steps…ie: licensing, waivers, the obvious…

    My point is that while velodromes are fun, and fast, and do only cater to a select few…….

    Skateparks such as St. John’s, which also attracts at least 250 people a day…
    They cater to so much more… To the kid down the street….

    Who is gonna buy him a track bike?

    I am simply suggesting that maybe the money could be better spent…

    One velodrome is a good goal, then build 5 skateparks…. Oh. and one BMX park….

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  • Jonathan Maus March 29, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    “My point is that while velodromes are fun, and fast, and do only cater to a select few.”

    I disagree Dabby. At most tracks around the country, youth programs are the primary user group.

    And have you ever been to beginners night at Alpenrose? tons of people show up to those.

    And it is not expensive at all to get started. Bikes are available to rent for a few bucks.

    And Alpenrose is always open. All you need is a bike. no waivers, licenses, etc…

    I encourage everyone to look at the big picture with this bill.

    We have an opportunity to become the #1 state for cycling and racing in the country hands down, to build three velodromes that would offer an affordable, healthy, safe recreational opportunity to thousands of kids each year, that could host national caliber events and bring in thousands of visitors (and millions of dollars in tourism revenue) to our state, etc…

    and remember, the money for this would come from a completely separate pot than money for bike lanes and other bike infrastructure improvements. It’s not an either/or proposition!

    stay tuned for the audio of Steve Brown’s testimony and more from today’s hearing…

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  • Disco D March 29, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    I am all for a velodrome in portland or eugene, but the southern oregon thing sounds a bit odd. I know ashland has a big cycling community but its a tiny place. Eugene would make sense, but would it be overkill to have two velodromes so close? Portland to eugene is only 100 miles.

    I guess what I am saying is that if they can get the money for all three velodromes great, but I hope the bill doesnt get shot down due to the high price tag of building three when there realistacally probably only needs to be one built.

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  • Bjorn March 29, 2007 at 11:59 pm

    The beauty of all public parks is that they allow people to do things they enjoy for free. Too often recently we have seen our parks (yes we the people who live here own them) become pay to play because east coasters don’t understand the concept of a real park as they don’t have the wide open spaces we have here. At a local level we need to retake control over our public spaces whether they be beaches, forests, or city parks. There should never be a user fee or cost associated with using a park, public lands are for public use. I have never used a skate park but I think they are great because when I ride my bike past them I see people using and enjoying them. When I go to alberta park and play polo I see people exercising their dogs, playing kickball, softball, basketball, and even pretending to fight with swords like they lived in the year 1200, I only use the park for one thing, polo. Just because you won’t use the velodrome doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have one in the metro area, we should have one of everything that will get a decent amount of use because parks are here to improve the life of everyone in portland, not to be a profitable business. There isn’t a single activity in this city that more than 50% of people do, except maybe driving so lets quit using that as a bar for what we fund.


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  • JeremyE March 30, 2007 at 12:00 am

    Don’t dismiss the southern Oregon set. Ashland is a bronze-level bike friendly community and the Ashland-Medford area is much easier to ride than our own state capital. The off-road paths and trails and the striped bike paths make getting from place to place a joy. At 3.7 percent mode share and supporting 5 bike shops, Ashland certainly deserves a bit more than “sounds odd.” Not too shabby for a really hilly town of 20,000.

    Compare that to say, Salem, where we can barely support 4 bike shops in a town of 147,000 and bike lanes seem to be removed more often than installed. It’s all relative. I say give them a little of the love so we can ride on the track down there while it’s still peeing rain up here.

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  • Jonathan Maus March 30, 2007 at 12:45 am

    fyi, I just published the full recap from the hearing along with photos and audio of Steve Brown’s testimony.

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  • Disco D March 30, 2007 at 1:04 am

    I gave Ashland love (had to live in the medford/ashland area for a couple years for work) but overall it is still a pretty small population base. I say if they can get the money go for it…hell build one in portland, eugene, salem, ashlan, hood river, bend, and anywhere else they want. I guess in my head I am just thinking it would be sad if the bill had problems due to the high price tag when the portland velodrome should probably be the priority (based on estimated usage, etc etc).

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  • Dabby March 30, 2007 at 10:36 am

    Alpenrose is a free Velodrome because it is privately owned…

    This will hardly be the case in the parks system, as Bjorn points out above, most places now are becoming pay to play…..

    I would be highly surprised if we have acess to these velodromes any time that there is not an event……

    Most Velodromes in public parks in any other city I have been are locked and gated….

    I have been to beginner’s night at Alpenrose……..In fact I have ridden at begginer’s night there. Kinda scary actually, I just stayed out in front of the swervers……

    I have been to many events at Alpenrose…

    I fully understand what goes on there.

    Beyond my earlier comments, I also echo the sentiments above about the usefulness of one in Ashland, and one in Eugene……..and then one in Portland…..


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  • Steve Brown April 3, 2007 at 8:32 am

    Try to think of a velodrome as public art. It serves no other use than to inspire. Olympic sport has no practical use other than to inspire. SB 926 is a practical way to. When I hear an arguement that explains why we should not reach high and create something that has broad community value, I will cease my support for the bill.
    Yes, track cyclists will benefit from the bill. But with this money, they will be able to us their sport for the greater community good.

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