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Oregonian admits mistake, calls for more bike/ped paths

Posted by on August 6th, 2007 at 10:32 am

Tour of Tomorrow

Cyclists on the Eastbank Esplanade.
(File photo)

A week after they published a story about the Sullivan’s Gulch Trail gaining steam, the Oregonian has written yet another pro-bike editorial.

In today’s issue (also, don’t miss the Mia Birk profile on the front page), the Oregonian admits that their “snide and snarky” comments about the Eastbank Esplanade back in 2001 were wrong.

Back then, when the Esplanade was just unveiled, the Oregonian commented unflatteringly at the path’s $419 per inch cost.

Today’s article not only admits they were wrong, but now they’re asking for more.

Here’s how the Oregonian describes the Esplanade:

“Why, with what it contributes to everything from our air quality to our daily smile quotient, many have come to think of the esplanade as Portland’s quality-of-life spine. Now it’s time to connect some ribs.”

The last line of the editorial puts the cost of — and their position on — bike/ped infrastructure into perspective:

“Amsterdam spends about $36 per citizen a year on its bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure. Portland spends about $2 a person, per year. We have, in other words, only just begun.”

Support and understanding from the local media outlet will be a key component as we rise to the challenge of being a world-class bicycling city.

(FYI, I tag all bike-related articles from the local media. They run in my sidebar and you can see an archived list of them on this page.)

Please support BikePortland.

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

14 Comments
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    a.O August 6, 2007 at 10:56 am

    This just goes to prove the point that we visionaries cannot be daunted when traditionalists and conservatives decry bold (or even basic) moves toward the sustainable society we must inevitably create.

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    Donald August 6, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    First step: Improve the interchange from the Eastside Esplanade/Steel Bridge to Vancouver/Williams corridor.

    I ride that every day now and find something different to get mad about each trip.

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    xb August 6, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    amen, donald. while they are working on \”the big pipe\” cant they dig us a tunnel that re-emerges somewhere around, i dont know, fremont and williams? heh

    that maddening chunk of the ride has ruined many an otherwise wonderful N/S trip or trip downtown.

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    Richard S August 6, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    Well, I think they should build the tunnel for cars. They don\’t need fresh air!

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    DK August 6, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    Williams can get freakin\’ dangerous during p.m. rush hour. The drivers taking this route are sooo bad, and lack any span of attention when bikes are around. I don\’t know what it is!!!

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    aaa August 6, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    Here, here Donald! It\’s taken me months to finally figure out a route (albeit a somewhat circuitous-feeling one) that I\’m comfortable with for navigating Vancouver-to-Steel Bridge, and Steel Bridge-to-Williams.

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    Troy August 6, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Speaking of a bad connection, it only gets worse since there is a dangerous (illegal?) storm drain on the corner of Vancouver and Weidler. Just last week I rolled up the LH side and almost endoed while I was scoping out traffic. Fortunately I was going slow enough to not ruin my wheel or head. Who needs to be alerted to change these? I\’m pretty sure it\’s not a legal drain since it\’s not bike friendly. It\’s right here (huge link alert)…
    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=116960586891209892150.0004370ea7526935c756a&t=h&z=19&om=1

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    Jessica Roberts August 6, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    Troy, call 503-823-SAFE.

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    vic August 6, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    The welcome turn of the Oregonian\’s editorial attention to bike issues can perhaps be attributed to the recent addition of Jonathan Nicholas to the staff of the Editorial Page. Thanks Jonathan!

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    rixtir August 6, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    They\’ve still got it wrong. MUPs are not the way to improve the cycling infrastructure. Cyclists need separate paths– bike highways, if you will– so they can travel at appropriate bicycling speeds without hitting pedestrians, kids, and dogs.

    Pedestrians, kids and dogs need trails they can walk without worrying about getting clipped by a passing cyclist.

    Rarely, if ever, should the two be combined.

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    Martha S. August 6, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    I agree with rixtir to an extent. I absolutely agree that we need a network of bike specific paths, but I think the multi-us paths do a lot for us too IF they\’re designed in such a way as to allow easier interaction between bicycle and pedestrian traffic. I\’m also a huge fan of making the roads them selves safer, in large part because that\’s the part of Portland\’s cycling infrastructure that potential cyclists see first.

    I am very happy to see the Oregonian coming around. They are, after all, a primary news source not only for many Portlanders but also Oregonians throughout the state (to a lesser extent). I feel that part of the reason pushing Portland further and making it more and more bike friendly is so important is that we set an example. I imagine that people may come to Portland and see how great it is to ride here and want to have that in their own communities.

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    rixtir August 6, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    I totally agree with you Martha.

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    2ndaveflyer August 7, 2007 at 10:13 am

    I think Brad Perkins has hit the nail on the head; there are many people who will not ride cycles to work or commerce if they have to interact with cars.

    I used to work in the Lloyd tower and there were many workers who expressed this sentiment. Most the people who write/read this site, or call themselves bikers, will ride whenever they can and put up with whatever grating circumstances they encounter. Guess what? We are outnumbered about 10:1 by people who would like to ride a bike if they didn\’t have to duck through fences, cross tracks, weave through intersections with cars and light rail, and otherwise battle their way about town.

    The real growth in urban cycling will come when these people are given an opportunity to ride safely about town on bike trails completely separated from motor vehicles. At the very minimum, Portland needs a major north/south route and a major east/west route. The Sullivan\’s Gulch route could be a vital piece of this network.

    When 100\’s of people a day are enjoying Sullivan\’s Gulch you still are going to find 100\’s bombing through the intersections on Hawthorne Boulevard leading to the city. The more the merrier.

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    Simon August 7, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    During sunny days in summer I feel more in danger on the Esplanade than on many busy streets.

    Perhaps Ped/cyclist education is in order?

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