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Council hears Safe and Sound Streets proposal

Posted by on January 9th, 2008 at 4:35 pm

Portland City Council hears from a packed house.
(Photos © Jonathan Maus)

City Council chambers is packed tonight for the first official hearing of the Safe, Sound, and Green Streets transportation funding proposal. I’m sitting up in the balcony because the lower level is completely full.

At stake is a historic plan that will look to raise over $460 million of transportation funds by establishing new fees on Portland residents and businesses (households will pay $4.54 a month and 85% of all businesses will pay an average of $33 per month).

Well over 30 people have signed up to speak and we’re just now getting into that public testimony after Commissioner of Transportation Sam Adams presented the proposal and welcomed his “invited panel” of speakers.

Police Chief Rosie Sizer
(R) and Susie Kubota (L).

Those speakers included PDOT Director Sue Kiel, city accountant John Rist, PDOT traffic safety guru Mark Lear, Portland Audubon director Bob Salinger, BTA director Scott Bricker, Bike Gallery owner Jay Graves, Portland Business Alliance head Sandra McDonough, Police Chief Rosie Sizer, Legacy Emanuel trauma nurse Mike Morrison, Tracey Sparling’s aunt Susie Kubota (she delivered another emotional speech — I’ll paste it below in a few minutes), and several others.

Many neighborhood, business, and transportation activists are here to testify on the proposal. Most will lend their full support but there are others in the room who plan to testify against the proposal.

“We have an opportunity now to make a change…no more families should pay the ultimate price of the senseless loss of their loved ones due to unsafe streets.”
–Susie Kubota

Among them will be noted alcohol and petroleum industry lobbyist Paul Romain (I saw his name on the sign-in sheet), who is here representing the Oregon Petroleum Association and a coalition of convenience stores, gasoline dealers, and others who hope to stop this proposal. It was confirmed yesterday that Romain’s group, led by his daughter Danelle, will attempt to refer the proposal to Portland voters.

They’re likely to argue that the proposal is an unfair hardship to their business-owning clients. To refer the proposal, they’ll have to gather 18,000 signatures in the 30 days after it is passed by City Council next Wednesday. I plan to cover more about their efforts in the days and weeks to come.

Oregon Petroleum Association
lobbyist Paul Romain spoke
against the proposal.

For more on why the Romains (and several other corporate lobbyists) have a beef with this proposal, check out the Willamette Week story that hit the streets today.

As a side note, Danelle Romain’s godmother is married to Len Bergstein, campaign manager for Sho Dozono, who is running against Sam Adams in the mayoral race.

UPDATE: Mr. Romain and Leonard had an interesting exchange after Romain’s testimony. I still have to go through the audio but I should have something up by late tomorrow (1/10) morning.

The most memorable quote of the hearing so far is from noted anti-bike blog commenter Terry Parker (see his daily rantings on Adams’ blog). He is adamantly opposed to the proposal and said, “The city should not be a sugar daddy for cyclists.”

For ongoing coverage of this hearing, check out Amy Ruiz’s detailed report over on the Portland Mercury blog.

Also check Jim Mayer’s story about the hearing in today’s Oregonian, New fee would repave Portland.


Here is the full text of Susie Kubota’s moving testimony (which, in a surreal twist, she delivered while sitting right next to Police Chief Rosie Sizer):

I am Dr. Susan Kubota. I am here to speak to you today on behalf of my niece, Tracey Sparling, my sister’s only daughter.

Tracey was killed last October while riding her bike from her apartment to class at Pacific Northwest College of Art. She was legally in the bike lane on 14th and Burnside, stopped at the light. When the light turned green, a cement truck to her left turned right, crushing her beneath its wheels.

Tracey was just 19 years old. She was starting her second year in college. She transferred from Syracuse University in New York State to the Pacific Northwest College of Art to concentrate on her career goal of communication design, and to be closer to us, her family. She was a full time student and held part-time jobs at PDX Design and St Cupcake. She was an intelligent, creative, industrious, gifted, beautiful, kind and compassionate young lady and she was ripped from our family and the world just because she opted to ride her bike to class rather than drive her car.

She was not a dedicated or recreational cyclist; she used her bicycle to get around downtown, and she followed the rules of our public roads.

Her loss is devastating to our family. My sister, Sophie, would be speaking to you, herself, but her sorrow is still too overwhelming. She’s asked me to speak and try to reach out to you in the hope that something positive can be made from this tragedy.

The media coverage of her death compounded our grief. If this had been your daughter or your sister or your wife, you too would have been appalled by what you read. The Portland police in public statements suggested her death was a consequence of her behavior, and implied that it was not reasonable to expect motorists to comply with the law. While this callous and indifferent attitude outrages us, it reflects the common public attitude toward pedestrians and cyclists. Law enforcements apparent inability to protect the vulnerable, like this beautiful young woman, should alarm every member of this community.

The wrong message has been sent. Instead, We need to do everything we can to make the streets safe for all.

We need to remind the population that driving is a privilege, not a right. Along with that privilege, comes responsibility. That responsibility is to share the roads with vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists.

Otherwise there will be more families that will experience the same nightmare currently suffered by my sister, Sophie, her husband Lee, and my nephew Kenny.

I am a cyclist; my husband is a cyclist and commutes 30 miles a day to OHSU. I worry everyday my nightmare could become even worse. We have an opportunity now to make a change. It can’t just be warning cyclist and pedestrians to be more aware. It must come from you, our civic leaders and from our law enforcement leadership. No more families should pay the ultimate price of the senseless loss of their loved one due to unsafe streets.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

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P Finn
Guest

sugar daddy…gimmee a friggin\’ break over heah…

[Jon: I think the L and R in your photo caption should be swapped…yah?]

bikieboy
Guest
bikieboy

Randy Leonard\’s exchange with Paul Romain was worth the price of admission. It was instructive on how to call someone a disingenuous liar in a not-too-nasty way.

Can Randy be mayor after Sam?

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Randy Leonard\’s exchange with Paul Romain was worth the price of admission. It was instructive on how to call someone a disingenuous liar in a not-too-nasty way.

Details, we need details. 🙂

a.O
Guest
a.O

Terry Parker is anti-safety. And if \”sugar daddy\” is the best he can do, I think we\’re going to be just fine.

Mark Lear
Guest
Mark Lear

Jonathan,

I appreciate your help in summarizing where we are in this process. The following is a brief summary of why it is important that this effort be successful:

Without this funding we may never provide Safer Routes to School services in all of Portland\’s elementary and middle schools (currently the Safer Routes to School Program is only in 25 of Portland\’s over 150 elementary and middle schools) — with this funding we will have services in every school within the next decade.

Without this funding we will be lucky to add a couple of miles of \”low-cost\” bicycle boulevards every couple of years — with this funding we will add 114 miles of world class bicycle boulevard over the next decade, more than ten miles per year.

Without this funding we will be lucky to add a couple pedestrian islands every couple years to our most dangerous unsignalized crossings of multilane arterials at bus stops — with this funding we will add 47 pedestrian islands at these types of locations over the next decade.

Without this funding the City\’s Smart Trips program (that has repeatedly reduced auto trips by over 9%) will reach every neighborhood once every ten years — with this funding this program will touch every neighborhood once every five years.

Without this funding we will struggle to match federally funded and SDC funded sidewalk projects on arterial streets — with this funding we will likely provide over 20 miles of these type improvements including bicycle facilities.

These are not incremental differences — these are transformational differences in our transportation system.

Over the last few months, the City and the 89-person stakeholder committee has done its best to communicate the potential benefits of this program. We need your help.

Each of us in an expert on our own neighborhood. We are each uniquely qualified to describe the benefits of the proposed safety improvements in a way that is meaningful to our neighbors. Please talk with your friends about the proposal, provide your feedback on blogs discussing the issue, express your support to city council, or write a letter to the your local neighborhood newspaper.

Additional information about the program is available at http://www.safeandsoundstreets.com. If I can be of any help please give me a call.

Mark Lear
Safe, Sound and Green Streets
(503) 823-7604

Former 49er..
Guest
Former 49er..

Finally, a government official doing his job… I wish there were more Sam Adams out there and less Terry Parkers. We need action, not excuses.

BURR
Guest
BURR

I just wish all the designs PDOT promotes as \’safe\’ actually were.

Russell
Guest
Russell

Whenever these sort of contentious tax issues come up, I\’m always reminded of the Upton Sinclair quote that \”it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.\”

That goes on both sides of this issue.

While I don\’t think anyone has been literally \”taxed to death\” in Portland; before the government takes new chunks of our money, it should be the very last option to an intractable problem or a resounding need that only the city can address.

Also, while there should be oversight, 10% of the money they are going to take from us going to billing and oversight seems unduly high to me.

Why should twice as much money go to \”city billing and customer service costs/program oversight and accounting\” than to bicycle infrastructure?

I do think that the city ought to spend much more money on bikes, but we shouldn\’t get on board with a $463 million dollar tax increase just because they offered us 5% of it. This is real money coming out of real people\’s pockets and the entire package needs to be sound.

Here\’s one alternate idea: Fire Sizemore and have the mayor insist that her replacement hire someone in the traffic division who isn\’t an apologist for those who run us down and kill us. It\’ll do more good than this proposal and will cost far less than $463 million dollars.

Matt Picio
Guest

This was my testimony before the council:

My name is Matthew Picio, and I am a Portland resident. Mister mayor, commissioners, thank you for this opportunity to address you today.

I moved to Portland from Detroit, Michigan in March of 2000, but I first visited Portland in 1987. I was immediately impressed with the city’s livability and transportation options. I have many options here that I wouldn’t have in Detroit. Furthermore, Detroit’s transportation decisions caused irreparable damage to many of its neighborhoods.

The decisions of far-sighted planners in Portland prevented the relocation or destruction of communities that occurred over the past 40 years in many other cities where mobility took precedence over community. Their decisions also facilitated the wonderful multi-modal transportation system we have here today.

Safe, Sound & Green Streets addresses the very real need to maintain our existing transportation infrastructure. More importantly, however, it addresses the need to maintain and enhance community by providing families with safe means to get to work, go to school, patronize local businesses, or enjoy a weekend in the park. People want safe neighborhoods. We want to know that the City is interested in preserving the character of our neighborhoods, and the livability of those neighborhoods.

Part of that process is maintaining the current network, and ensuring the efficient movement of people and goods throughout the city. Another part is ensuring that children, the elderly, the disabled – ALL citizens can safely negotiate that network without fear, whether on foot, by bike, or on Tri-Met. Safe, Sound & Green Streets will go a long way towards addressing both these issues.

Some may balk at the cost. This proposal has a hefty price tag, but what is the cost of doing nothing? Poor roads increase congestion, increasing travel time and costs for businesses and residents. Collisions increase health costs. Inefficient use of our network increases noise and air pollution. We don’t see these costs as easily as we can see a line item on a budget sheet, but they are there. Given the option, I would rather part with a few more dollars and continue to enjoy the wonderful community and wonderful mobility I enjoy today. I hope that you feel the same, and I encourage and request that you support and approve this proposal. Thank you.

Hopefully, they got something from that. I was very encouraged by Randy Leonard\’s \”dressing down\” of Paul Romain, and look forward to helping remind Mr. Romain of his support for a 14% gas tax hike at the next Oregon legislative session. (he stated that his organization fully supports a gas tax hike. They do not support the utility fee surcharge)

Matt Picio
Guest

Thanks, Jonathan for covering this!

a.O
Guest
a.O

Great job, Matt! Great job (as always), Jonathan!

Jean Reinhardt
Guest
Jean Reinhardt

We need to start characterising anti-cyclist speakers as \”filthy, rotten, America-hating traitors who can\’t wait to send OPEC our last dollar and don\’t think to many brave American soldiers can die in defense of cheap gasoline.\”

Brian E
Guest

Dr. Susan Kubota testimony, wow.

Tomas Quinones
Guest

I\’m a bit irritated that some people view filling of pot-holes, fixing roads, bridges, and extra striping and light synchronization as \”Catering to Bicyclists\”

Just remember whom we are catering to when your car needs new tie rods, suspension, alignments, tires, or falls into the river.

Bicycledave
Guest

Thank God for Susan Kubota!

So, the Romains oppose safe, sound and green streets? I have just one question for them. How can you sleep at night?

Mike Perrault
Guest
Mike Perrault

#14

Please don\’t start up with accusing someone of not liking whatever the name of the law/tax etc implies. I totally agree with this initiative but that is just silly partisan bullshit. There are plenty of truly unacceptable things the Romains and all their nasty cohorts have done. Why don\’t we reprimand them for those actions rather than assumed thought crimes.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

Bicycledave,

They sleep at night believing that the all-powerful \”invisible hand\” of Ayn Rand is guiding us in the safety and benevolence of the free-market*.

All hail the invisible hand!

*except when the oil industry needs our military, then of course we all need to be patriotic and shut up

zilfondel
Guest
zilfondel

Terry Parker is a nut. From his comments on portlandtransport.com (Chris Smith\’s blog), he continually calls for paving over the MAX and turning it into a bus-only lane, as well as increasing transit fares to $10-$12 for a single ticket.

So yeah, he\’s a nut.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Is the bicycling community ever going to push for a seperate Bike infrastructure? As a motorist, I would much rather see that happen than any of these other changes that have been talking about, and I\’d be much more willing to pay for it even though it\’d be loads more expensive.

Pedestrians have their own infrastructure, as does light rail. I cannot understand why cars and bikes should have to share an infrastructure.

Bikes and Cars don\’t get along. In an ideal world, everyone would follow the rules and things may work out fine. But I don\’t see cars following the rules, and I certainly don\’t see cyclists following the rules.

Could you imagine if there were no sidewalks for pedestrians and they had to walk in the street? We would be horrified at that idea – why would we then do it to cyclists?

As a motorist, I hate having cyclists in the street – not because I\’m not happy for what they do for the environment, but because visibility is severely underestimated and with the lack of signaling, I can never tell what they\’re going to do.

That doesn\’t mean that I think cyclists should go away – I just think we need to think more clearly about how to really handle their positive existence in this city. Why shouldn\’t they have their own infrastructure?

Furthermore, if cyclists had their own infrastructure, I believe it would get alot more people out of their cars and onto bikes.

BURR
Guest
BURR

As far as Terry Parker goes, if you\’ve ever listened to the vehicular cycling argument as presented by John Forester, you would know that Mr. Forester considers all bike infrastructure an anathema to cyclists, deviously devised by motorists to get cyclists out of the motorists\’ way.

In other words, according to the vehicular cycling school of thought, bike infrastructure benefits motorists as much as if not more than cyclists.

Mmann
Guest
Mmann

to anonymous #19

Simply put, bikes are traffic, just not the traffic you want. Bikes and cars can coexist, and motorists who are aware and careful around bikes are better motorist around everyone.

BURR
Guest
BURR

In other words, according to the vehicular cycling school of thought, bike infrastructure benefits motorists as much as if not more than cyclists.

anonymous post #19 demonstrates this argument from the motorists perspective very well.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

In other words, according to the vehicular cycling school of thought, bike infrastructure benefits motorists as much as if not more than cyclists.

anonymous post #19 demonstrates this argument from the motorists perspective very well.

Alright – let\’s see if I got the italics to work correctly!

What is wrong with something that would benefit both motorists and cyclists?

Cyclists aren\’t going to make motorists go away.

I understand that Cyclists are traffic – just as I understand pedestrians are traffic – light rail is traffic – etc.

I get cut off daily by cyclists, just as I\’m sure you get cut off daily by motorists.

Bikes and cars can coexist, and motorists who are aware and careful around bikes are better motorist around everyone.

I don\’t know why I\’m bothering, but I have to ask, why don\’t cyclists have to be aware and careful and around motorists too?

If we are truly sharing the road, that means that it\’s not okay for a car to not signal, and it\’s not okay for a cyclist to not signal. In the last 6 months I have been watching extremely carefully, and I have noticed exactly 4 cyclists that have signaled a turn, or a lane change. How is that sharing the road? How is that being part of a positive transportation experience for everyone?

I AM NOT SAYING that motorists are angels and cyclists are demons.

I am so incredibly frustrated with this community. I\’m sure you would all rather I just went away. But I am trying to make things in this city better. Saying that something shouldn\’t be done even though it might be good for cyclists, just because it might also be good for motorists is ridiculous.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

And to 21, I never once said that cyclists weren\’t traffic.

Matt Picio
Guest

Anonymous (#19) – your argument about pedestrians is somewhat weakened by the fact that 50% of the city has NO sidewalks – so in fact, the pedestrians ARE sharing the road with motorists.

Anonymous (#23) – You ask why don\’t cyclists have to be aware and careful – well, frankly by and large we ARE, and to a much greater extent than motorists, because we have to be – our lives literally depend on it. The reason so many cyclists emphasize the need for motorists to be aware is because by and large they are not – they\’re preoccupied with other things, or the luxuries inside their car. Sure, there are exceptions.

Oh, and I don\’t want you to go away at all – the only way any real change happens is through constructive dialogue. Your arguments and points help frame the debate, help clarfiy our arguments AND yours, and inform both sides as the issues and concerns of the other – that\’s a valuable contribution. We may agree to disagree, and both \”sides\” (a misnomer, since so many bikers drive and so many drivers bike) may have differing goals, but few of us are actively working to completely eliminate the other \”side\”.

I completely relate to the signalling frustrations – it\’s my pet peeve: how the hell do you have any idea what ANYONE is going to do on the road if they don\’t signal? And you\’re totally right – it\’s not ok, nor legal, nor polite for anyone to fail to signal, and all road user groups need to get better about it.

Matt Picio
Guest

Oh, and 2 more points on post #19.

First – a separate infrastructure is not practical because at any reasonable cost it would never afford the level of access that the current road network does. Bikes have as much of a right to mobility as automobiles, and you can\’t discriminate against people who choose not to use a car (which is a privilege, not a right).

Second – Peak Oil is a reality, and the likelihood that Detroit (or Nagoya) will build an entire alternate automotive infrastructure in time to avoid its effects is very small. Sometime in the next decade, we\’re going to see a lot of people move from cars to carpooling, transit, bikes, and walking, just as we did in the 1970s. Our road network will need to handle that shift in modes, and possibly allocate less of the current infrastructure to personal autos and more to transit, bikes, and yes, possibly the return of the carpool lane and expanded carpool parking. We can\’t stick our heads in the sand and ignore the problem, we need to plan for it now. The recent massive increase in bikers in the last few years is not wholly unrelated to the 900% increase in oil prices and 200% increase in gas prices since 1999.

Garlynn -- undergroundscience.blogspot.com
Guest

To number 23, I\’d have to agree at least in part. I always try to signal for every turn when I\’m riding my bicycle, just as a matter of habit.

However, I must point out that sometimes it\’s a bit more difficult to simultaneously apply both brakes, signal, and remain in control of my steed while navigating a corner at speed over pot-holes. If something has to give, it\’s going to be the signal — but only if I know I can execute the maneuver without adversely impacting another road user (i.e. making them hit their brakes to avoid a collision).

In general, however, my ideal is to signal for every turn or lane change, no matter if I\’m driving or on the bicycle. I wish this were true for all users of the road.

Matt Picio
Guest

Amen to that Garlynn.

The law provides for failing to signal if it\’s unsafe to do so – I still wouldn\’t mind turn signals for bikes, though I wouldn\’t want it to be mandatory. I\’d like to have the option, though. (I\’m sure someone will point me to a vendor who makes something that does this)

Dag
Guest
Dag

I can\’t believe that cyclists are arguing against cycle track. I\’d much rather have a separate track where I don\’t have to worry about cars or pedestrians. I rode a bike in the Netherlands a couple years back, where cycle track is the norm, and it was amazing how pleasant and relaxing it was.

Mmann
Guest
Mmann

Anonymous,

I\’m really not trying to be antagonistic – I agree with many of your points. Anyone (motorist or cyclist) who fails to signal, etc, has, to my mind, created a hazard and is in violation of the law and liable to a citation – though I agree with #27 that there are times (downhill in the rain) that I can\’t safely take my hand off the brake and signal.

I certainly don\’t think I implied that I believe cyclists would make motorists go away, though I do agree with MP (#25) that peak oil demands we shift our transportation priorities towards alternatives to one car/one driver/even for short trips road use. I try to resist the \”cyclist vs motorist\” thinking as much as possible, whether riding or driving. The logical extension of those thoughts is that the car or bike then becomes a weapon and we\’ve got way too many of those already.

And by \”traffic\” I meant those who have a legal right to use the roadway. That includes cyclist and motorist but in most cases not pedestrians.

BURR
Guest
BURR

I can\’t believe that cyclists are arguing against cycle track. I\’d much rather have a separate track where I don\’t have to worry about cars or pedestrians. I rode a bike in the Netherlands a couple years back, where cycle track is the norm, and it was amazing how pleasant and relaxing it was.

You are correct, not all cyclists are interested in cycle tracks, there is a perfectly functional road system that goes to more places in Portland than cycle tracks ever can or will.

The city itself is working against the development of a cycle track network by reducing road width and preserving curbside parking through the installation of curb extensions at many intersections on arterial streets – exactly the space that would be needed to construct a cycle track in.

Garlynn -- undergroundscience.blogspot.com
Guest

#29-

I can\’t speak for all cyclists, but personally, I\’m completely in favor of more \”cycle track,\” which I take to mean some sort of either Class 1 facility or other facility separated from traffic by a small curb, as seen in the Netherlands and Copenhagen.

However, installation of such facilities is probably going to be a long-term process, and they will never serve every destination.

So, while that might be a worthwhile planning goal, we also need to all share the road, because for most destinations, there is only one road, and we all have to use it. And if there\’s room in the R.O.W., sure, let\’s carve out the best separate bicycle infrastructure that our engineers can design.

Matt Picio
Guest

Dag (#29) – who\’s arguing against cycle track? If you\’re referring to my post (#26), I never argued agaginst it (I am in fact in favor of it, as long as cyclists can still use the roadways), I merely stated the fact that there is no practical way to build a separate system that serves as many destinations as the current road network.

Just because a comprehensive separated system is impractical doesn\’t mean I don\’t support it. The current road network is also impractical, because it was built at low cost, and the replacement cost will be many times the original construction cost. We\’ve built an unsustainable network of pavement, and unless we can develop a cheap substitute for asphalt and concrete, we\’ll either need to reduce that infrastructure in the future or deal with a reduced level of road repair.

Dag
Guest
Dag

Sure, even in the Netherlands, bicycles share minor streets with cars. The cycle tracks generally run along arterial streets and highways. I think bicycle boulevards are an acceptable and cheaper alternative to cycle track where space is limited, especially if they include measures to make them less convenient for cars to use. I think we should try to keep the main routes for cars and bikes as separate as possible.

BURR
Guest
BURR

Dag #34. The problem lies in the fact that bicycle boulevards may be pleasant for recreational riding or commuting (up to a point), but for cycling to be a truly viable alternative cyclists need direct and safe access to the same commercial and other destinations motorists do, and most of those destinations are on arterial streets.

In a city like Portland, the best solution is to make all streets safe and accessible for bikes, including the arterial streets. Bicycle boulevards are at best indirect and inconvenient routes to most commercial destinations.

Dag
Guest
Dag

It\’s true. I hope that the city seriously considers installing cycle track on arterial streets, particularly those that are major commercial destinations.

I am personally a skilled vehicular cyclist, but I think it is unreasonable to expect those new to cycling to be able to comfortably navigate a street with heavy car traffic, or even a bike lane between heavy traffic and parked cars.

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

#9 \”look forward to helping remind Mr. Romain of his support for a 14% gas tax hike at the next Oregon legislative session.\”

It isn\’t 14%, it is 14 cents, or about 60%…

I\’m all for Cycletracks, but keep in mind the last mile of many trips is still going to be on shared roadways. There isn\’t Light Rail to my front door, I have to walk 2 blocks, (most of it has sidewalks,) get on a bus (on a shared roadway,) for 2 miles, and then get on the light rail. If there was a cycletrack along 84, (much like there is a special car only road there, and a light rail line there,) I think it would be very popular, but people still need to get to it… And some of that \”getting to it\” might involve bike lanes.

Matt Picio
Guest

Thanks for the correction, Matthew – I screwed that up, I should have said $0.14. It\’ll be interesting to see if Romain\’s \”coalition\” (he named a number of groups) continues to support said increase during the next legislative session.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

From the WW article:

\”The tax will be complicated: Romain’s clients dislike the proposed schedule, which would charge them based on number of trips their businesses generate, because they claim consumers typically visit their stores as an afterthought.\”

The WW article describes those clients as \”…a coalition of convenience stores, gas stations and fast-food restaurants…\” Romain may be partly right about the nature of business his clients do, being an afterthought on the part of their customers, but what is his objection? The point of the number of trips generated equation is to fairly tax those businesses for the wear and tear they represent to the street infrastructure. Simple driveway counters stretched across the roadway could accomplish a sufficiently accurate count, couldn\’t they?

Those businesses, at least in the example of fast food restaurants and convenience stores probably do generate far more trips for the average purchase made than do full service grocery stores and full service restaurants. The \’more trips\’ part is exactly why some neighborhoods don\’t exactly greet those kinds of businesses…plagues on society to some extent, with open arms.

5 percent/$24.2 million(of a $463 million 15 year proposal to fix city streets), to build 112 miles of new bike boulevards seems to me like a relatively modest and prudent expenditure of public money that\’s consistent with the terms of the proposal.

Maybe Romain\’s client\’s secretly object to the proposal because they fear encouraging more people to commute on bikes on bike boulevards, away from the main thoroughfares where all the convenience stores, gas stations and fast-food restaurants are located, will produce a loss in business for them. What if bike boulevards helped to cultivate an entirely new class of business alongside those boulevards; bike repair shops, tea/coffee shops, grocery stores, child care centers particularly catering to the bicycle commuter/recreational trade?

true
Guest
true

wsbob – \”The point of the number of trips generated equation is to fairly tax those businesses for the wear and tear they represent to the street infrastructure. Simple driveway counters stretched across the roadway could accomplish a sufficiently accurate count, couldn\’t they?\”

Perhaps, if the city did something like this with weight sensitive counters, the businesses in question could get discounts or reductions for every vehicular visit that registers under 500lbs. Then those businesses could encourage bicycle traffic for reductions in the tax they pay. Could that work at all?