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Bikes at bottom of funding priorities in Town Hall surveys

Posted by on July 10th, 2007 at 6:01 pm

City of Portland Transportation Commissioner Sam Adams recently concluded a series of Town Hall meetings to figure out a new way fund our transportation system.

As part of the Town Halls, attendees (around 600 total) were asked to fill out a survey to gauge their priorities on a variety of transportation-related issues.

Adams’ transportation staffer Roland Chlapowski just published some initial results from the 250 completed surveys and “Improving Bicycle Services and Infrastructure” came in near the bottom.

When asked about their top transportation priorities, respondents answered:

    1. Improving Safety At Intersections
    2. Pedestrian Safety/Crosswalks
    3. Basic Road Maintenance
    3. Paving Safety Near Schools (TIE)
    5. Improving Public Transit Services
    6. Environment/Reducing Pollution
    7. Reducing Traffic Congestion
    8. Improving Bicycle Services and Infrastructure
    9. Constructing Sidewalks Where They Do Not Exist
    10. Improving Unpaved/Gravel Roads

View the complete initial survey results on Commissioner Sam’s blog.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • SKiDmark July 10, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    6 and 7 would improve if if 8 was more important. It\’s common sense to me, anyways…

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  • Jean Reinhardt July 10, 2007 at 6:41 pm

    Basic road maintainance IS a cycling enhancement.

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  • AllOver July 10, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    7. Reducing Traffic Congestion

    That came in at number 7? Just exactly who were these people taking the surveys??

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  • rixtir July 10, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    Just exactly who were these people taking the surveys??

    Well, that\’s the problem with a survey like this, it only indicates the preferences of the people– whoever they are– who were motivated to attend the meeting.

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  • Michelle July 10, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    I consider #1 (Improving Safety at Intersections) a big boon for bikes, if done right. I\’m surprised to not see \”Reducing Speeding on Neighborhood Streets\” on this list, since I know that\’s a big concern of Portlanders all over. And that, of course, is a concern for bicyclists too, since our preferred routes are often neighborhood streets.

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  • Martha S. July 10, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    I think 3, 6, and 7 would all be helped by 8. Also, I now feel like a bit of an ass for not going to this.

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  • Dan Kaufman July 10, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    C\’mon guys! You are looking at this all wrong.

    Bikes made the TOP TEN list of transportation priorities from engaged Portlanders.

    Don\’t forget that cyclists currently account for a small fraction of road users (even in Portland). There is room for improvement, but I\’d say we\’re representing pretty darn well.

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  • Todd B July 10, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    #7 = wider new arterials or road pricing?

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  • Julian Chadwick July 10, 2007 at 11:23 pm

    Well, the priorities \”above\” it are understandable and normal. I wouldn\’t consider this a knock on bikes at all.

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  • rainperimeter July 11, 2007 at 2:22 am

    that\’s great to see these comments cuz the first thing i thought of was that more bikes on the road would help with issues 1-3 and 5-7.

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  • ack July 11, 2007 at 8:24 am

    Oh! It\’s not too late to add your two cents. Take the survey:


    There is a link that says \”Take the Survey\”

    It takes about 5 minutes.

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  • jc July 11, 2007 at 10:32 am

    With only 5% (or less?) of Portland trips currently made by bike, it\’s not surprising that bike services and infrastructure didn\’t rank more highly. If you don\’t ride, it\’s not likely important to you (at least on the surface). I think the point is however, should the city put their resources into maintaining and increasing the current car only culture, even though the future for that mode is dimming, or put more toward encouraging desired transportation choices for a better future? I think that the city needs to balance their investments, and while listening to it\’s citizens, also take a leadership role by putting more resources into encouraging environmentally positive transportation choices (which does of course also help with congestion and a number of other priorities on the list.

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  • N.I.K. July 11, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    There is a link that says \”Take the Survey\”

    And while you\’re at it, ad your two cents in the comments to help slap down the points that the likes of Jim Karlock, Terry Parker, and other self-centered motorists keep making about this \”user pays\” rhetoric when they themselves are not interested in assuming responsibility for the consequences of their mode of transportation. Remember, folks: these problems are ALL of ours, not ones to be pushed off onto every class of road user but ourselves, and it\’s important to stress that in our approach. Mutual benefits = a cooperative approach, not an exclusive one.

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  • May Parker July 11, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Bicyclists should pay a $10/mile road toll to pay for the free ride they get by not paying for road maintenance. Either that or a $100 per year separate bicycle license.

    Bicyclists are destroying Portland.

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  • N.I.K. July 11, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    May wants us not only to pay in for road maintenance (something that most folks already do, as most cyclists DO own cars; plenty those who don\’t, like myself, are willing to pay an even-keel across-the-board road maintenance fee, but not for the unnecessary expense of a licensing program when there aren\’t enough of us to warrant its existence).

    May doesn\’t want to assume responsibility for the fact that her multi-ton vehicle causes damage to shared infrastructure and even bike-specific infrastructure (glass! debris! spreading cracks in asphalt!), makes the air less breathable, requires high-cost traffic control devices to keep its speed even remotely reasonable for shared infrastructure, and endangers the lives of all non-drivers in a very severe way due to the long-standing precedent of leniency of enforcement of posted speed limits.

    This is exactly the \”blame the other fellow\” foolishness I referred to in my previous post. We ALL need to contribute and we ALL need to assume responsibility. Some folks aren\’t pleased unless others have to assume responsibilities greater than the consequences of their choice of transit mode dictates. These people are irresponsible and are not to be taken seriously, except as maybe infectiously dangerous to the uninformed.

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  • rixtir July 11, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    Bicyclists should pay a $10/mile road toll to pay for the free ride they get by not paying for road maintenance. Either that or a $100 per year separate bicycle license.

    Bicyclists are destroying Portland.

    Because of all that wear and tear they place on the roads, presumably.

    Good one May. LOL

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  • rixtir July 11, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    May, let me ask your opinion. If everybody in Portland stopped driving, and there were ONLY bicycles on the roads, how often would the roads need to be repaired?

    Once per year? Once per decade? Once per century?

    What do you think, May?

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  • Matt Picio July 11, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    Dan (#7), I would be happy except the survey only allows 10 canned responses, and bikes placed 8 out of 10.

    May (assuming you\’re a real person, #14), I would be more than happy to pay my \”fair share\” for road use. I own a car, which I don\’t drive. I am employed, and am at the high end of middle class. I rent an apartment. I am currently paying auto registration, gas tax when used, state and federal taxes on my wages, and property taxes in the form of rent. By most calculations, since I produce little to no wear to the roads, my \”fair share\” amounts to less than half of what I actually pay. Please encourage the state and the feds to refund me the difference – thanks!

    Yes, I *can* provide numbers, but that response will take a little longer.

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  • bicycledave July 12, 2007 at 8:06 am

    The great thing about our cause is that our goals line up well with the goals of other groups. For the anti-tax/smaller government crowd: more people on bikes equals less road maintenance and hence lower taxes and fees (or smaller increases). Peaceniks: more bikes = less gas = less war to protect oil resources. Environmentalists: less pollution and so on.

    Our job is to educate non-bicyclists how funding bicycle infrastructure is in their own best interest even if they\’ll never get on a bike.

    I\’m going to start putting some simple signs on my bike so people can read them as I commute. Here are some ideas:

    Bike = Fun

    Bike = Peace

    One Less Car

    Save Tax $ Bike

    Any other ideas?

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  • Matt Picio July 12, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    Also, more bikes means less traffic. 12,000 bikes cross the bridges each day. Can you imagine what commuting hours would be like trying to cram an additional 12,000 *cars* across those bridges?

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  • Matthew August 23, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    I should admit, I put \”Environment/Reducing Pollution\” and \”Improving Safety At Intersections\” above bicycles in that poll. I\’m curious what the actual numbers were, not just a ranked list: I suspect that everyone thought that Safety and Environment were important, and so the only thing that we really \”lost\” to was Traffic Congestion… Considering the group in the back of my townhall that were shooting down Sam to complain about everything that didn\’t allow them to drive faster, I don\’t see this as a real loss.

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  • 007 August 27, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    I wonder how the respondents would like it if all of us cyclists drove to work?

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  • 007 August 27, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    #14 Sure it\’s not supposed to be Ma Barker?

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