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Tour of Tomorrow will put policymakers in the saddle

Posted by on July 11th, 2007 at 10:50 am

Roll On Columbia! ride

Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard and
Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder
on last year’s ride.
(File photo)

For the third year, a who’s-who list of regional bigwigs and policy makers from Portland and Vancouver will escape from their cubicles for an up-close look at the highs-and-lows of our regional bikeway network.

The “Visionaries Voyage” was the brainchild of Cycle Oregon founder Jonathan Nicholas and Mike Houck of the Urban Greenspaces Institute.

I was lucky enough to be invited last year and it was a memorable experience (read my report and see photos here). Highlights included riding across the I-5 bridge with Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard, and getting to know a whole host of planners and politicians.

This year’s 40-mile route (dubbed the “Tour of Tomorrow, a Bi-State Bicycle Ride”) is expected to attract over 100 riders and will go from the Sellwood Bridge and north well into Vancouver. According to ride organizers, the goal this year is to,

“… explore ways to connect the bi-state metropolitan region with the emerging network of state-sponsored trails in Oregon and Washington. The ride is about creating a shared vision for a regional bicycle route network that is a part of the Portland-Vancouver parks and trails system.”

We’ll have lunch at the Pearson Airfield museum in Washington and other highlights will be the Burnt Creek Bridge, the Peninsula Crossing Trail, and the South Waterfront. Word has it that organizers have arranged for a full police escort over the Sellwood Bridge…just to be safe.

I’m really looking forward to this ride (it happens next Friday) and stay tuned for photos and a full report.

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    Carl July 11, 2007 at 10:54 am

    How public is the ride?

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    jereemy July 11, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    can Scott Whitehead join?

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    Jonathan Maus (Editor) July 11, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    \”How public is the ride?\”

    It happens on public streets but it\’s not intended to have \”the public\” show up.

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    Jeff July 11, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    Heh, it sounds like they may not get to experience all the \”lows\” of the Portland bicycling experience with the Sellwood Bridge escort. Does it include simulated police traffic stops in Ladd\’s Addition?

    Just kidding — I think it\’s great to get local politicos out on bikes… I just worry that they see cycling as an occasional, fun event, rather than a daily part of life (i.e., equivalent to driving).

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    Martha S. July 11, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    Yay! I\’ve always felt that getting someone out of their car and onto a bike, even for a short period of time, makes them look at the road and the people they share it with in a whole new way.

    It\’s great to know that policy makers are taking the time to see what these facilities are like for us.

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    Bradly Fletchall July 11, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    This ride is such a great idea and I\’m glad it is becoming a yearly event. I think if more city and state officials and administrators all across the country had the opportunity to ride in an event like this it could do a lot of good for the cycling community everywhere

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    Todd Boulanger July 11, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    Yes during our planning of this event there is always the balancing act of making the ride uneventful (safe enough for participants to network while on bike per transportation issues) and yet real enough for them to [pedal] a mile in our shoes with traffic.

    During my involvement for the planning of the last 2 annual rides our goal has been to experience up close a mix of facilities…\’the good, the bad, and the ugly\’…vs. just posing on a bike for a ribbon cutting event. Last year\’s ugly beast was the path on the Interstate Bridge (a return favorite this year). This year it will be the Sellwood Bridge.

    Once the Sellwood Bridge made the list … the next issue was how to safely cross it en mass (100+ riders total). There was some debate on just \’critical massing\’ with guerilla corking for two groups or using a police escort. Even with the police on the bridge crossing, it should still be real enough for them to see the \’bad\’ Sellwood as bike/ pedestrian facility.

    So far…the ride last year has led to bi-state discussions on the Interstate Bridge and tax issues to fund projects.

    Todd Boulanger
    Senior Transportation Planner
    City of Vancouver

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    Jack July 11, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    I just have a random comment.

    The \”Possibly related posts\” section should not feature \”Stolen Jamis\” , \”stolen blah blah blah\” they really don\’t fit with this story! (or any of the others, that are not explicity about stolen bikes) I\’d turn that feature off, Jonathan, unless it actually provides related stories, else it seems like a retarded HAL 9000 singing Daisy. xD 8 )

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