With funding secured, the City of Portland Office of Transportation (soon to be “Bureau” of Transportation) and Transportation Commissioner Sam Adams are shifting their Platinum Bicycle Master Plan Update process into high gear.
Next week at the East Portland Community Center (740 SE 106th) they will host the first of three open houses that will bring the public face-to-face with a golden opportunity to improve cycling that only comes around once a decade.
Since the first open house takes place in outer southeast Portland I asked city bike coordinator Roger Geller for his thoughts on the bikeway network in that part of the city.
He said that while outer east Portland may have many miles of official bikeways, that doesn’t tell the whole story,
“What’s interesting about outer east is that if you look at pure miles of bikeways, it’s got more than any other. But when you compare that with the low amount of ridership (relative to other parts of the city), there’s clearly a disconnect.”
Geller realizes that not all bikeway miles are created equally and that a traffic-calmed bike boulevard is a far cry from a bike lane painted on a six-lane thoroughfare where cars speed by at 45 mph,
“We’ve got to take a look at our design guidelines and what type of facilities we are offering people. I believe a big reason a lot of people ride or don’t ride has to do with the quality of their experience.”
Here are some of the questions Geller hopes to discuss at the open house on Tuesday,
- How do we design bike facilities that make people feel comfortable?
- Given that there’s only so much right-of-way (to build on) and only so much money to go around, what kind of trade-offs are we willing to accept?
- If we give up something on major streets, what opportunities do we have to carve out facilities on lower volume streets?
- How can we best work with TriMet to make new light rail transit stations into functioning and attractive bike-and-ride destinations for cyclists?
He also touched on barriers for outer east Portland…
“One reason many of the bikeway miles in outer east are on major arterial roads is because they’re the only road that go through. We don’t have the luxury of a grid network out there. Back in ’96 (when PDOT last updated the Master Plan) our criteria for bikeways was that they be direct as possible, serve popular locations, and that they don’t jog all around the map.”
“The good news is that it’s flat, and with I-205 light rail coming, we have an opportunity to work with TriMet for great bike-and-ride facilities… turning transit stops into destinations, like many European cities have done. Is there a way to orient our network in east Portland so that it focuses on getting to these new light rail stations (like at Gateway and Lents)?”
If you ride a bike in outer southeast, or if you just want to help create safer and healthier transportation options for your community, you don’t want to miss this open house. Here are the details:
Tuesday, June 5
Doors open at 5:00, facilitated discussion from 6-8:00
East Portland Community Center
740 SE 106th – Portland, OR 97216 (Google Map)
For more information on the Bicycle Master Plan, visit the city’s webpage and/or browse my archives for previous coverage.
Also, if you can’t make the open house, Geller encourages you to leave comments on this site with your feedback, experiences and input about riding in southeast Portland.