Magazine: In Portland, ‘motorists are Second-class citizens’

Posted by on April 14th, 2008 at 10:08 am

From Hemispheres Magazine

Hemispheres Magazine, the in-flight publication of United Airlines, features an article this month on the growing attraction and popularity of bike trails, greenways and cycling in general in cities throughout the United States.

The piece notes trends from usual suspects in the bike-friendly race (like Minneapolis, Boulder and Davis) and even mentions places you might not always hear about — like Southwest Missouri and North Carolina.

Here’s what the author, David Butwin, had to say about Portland,

Bike-thru window at Black Sheep Bakery!

The bike-thru window at
Black Sheep.
(Photo © J. Maus()

“In bike-mad Portland, Oregon, an outfit called Shift [shifttobikes.org] runs an informal moving service not with fume-belching vans but with trailers pedaled by human beings. Once a month, volunteers serve breakfast to commuting cyclists on bridges over the Willamette River [Breakfast on the Bridges].”

Then, and I’m not sure where Mr. Butwin got this idea, he writes,

“Motorists in bike-loving Portland, Oregon, are no more than second-class citizens…Bike-through windows are a staple of Portland coffee bars, and one of the tastiest is the Black Sheep Bakery Cawffeeshop, by the Hawthorne Bridge [more on that here].”

Imagine, an inflight magazine writing that “an international car-free revolution is under way.” It’s just the latest sign that things are changing, not just around here, but around the world.

More validation for my newest mantra — cars are the new smoking.

_______

Read the article here.

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Steve
Guest
Steve

Jonathan,

\”Cars are the new smoking\” is a great bike sticker idea !!

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Creative writer, that. The Butwin family has someone to be proud of. Silly statement, but no harm done probably. Cars still rule. Drivers know that.

Dave
Guest
Dave

It would be a tremendously good thing if indeed that were true! 40K deaths a year, smog, obesity, too much money going to very bad people who sell us oil, it\’d be a truly great thing if motorists were second-class citizens everywhere.

DJ Hurricane
Guest
DJ Hurricane

Yes, it\’s true – The Revolution Will Not Be Motorized!!

David Feldman
Guest
David Feldman

It would be nice if it were true–better than an un-stolen Alex Singer for fifty bucks at a garage sale!

Donna
Guest
Donna

a) How many bike-through windows do we have besides Black Sheep\’s?

b) I sure am looking forward to the backlash that statement about motorists being second-class citizens will create if the press around here gets wind of it.

c) Does Mr. Butwin ride a bike in this city?

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

c) Does Mr. Butwin ride a bike in this city?

Byline:

David Butwin, a longtime contributor to Hemispheres and a resident of Leonia, New Jersey, has cycled or hiked in all sorts of high places and even in some low-down ones.

Ron
Guest
Ron

Yeah, I am an avid cyclist, but I am not real happy with that statement. I drive once a week to get groceries, and of course drive for vacations, etc — so perhaps I am lacking the holier than thou attitude required.

Would I like to see 10x more bike than car traffic in PDX? Definitely.

I\’d prefer to couch our community in a positive light, rather than the cars in a negative. Lure people over with positive talk, and the innate feeling that it\’s better by bike than car will grow organically, without alienating a bunch of people who might otherwise participate over time.

Carissa
Guest
Carissa

\”Cars are the new smoking\” also to be banned in public spaces in 2009, I hope!

Steven J
Guest
Steven J

heh..Legends are born this way…

I shan\’t hold my breath for \”truck Boxes\”
with green paint anytime soon.

E
Guest
E

There is a bike-thru window at the aptly named Red Bicycle Cafe in NoPo. Its hours are limited at the moment but rumor is they plan to expand them.

\”Cars are the new smoking\” – I love it! It took years for the general public to get just how bad smoking is – and still some people won\’t quit. The same may be true of driving. It\’s addictive, unattractive, and dangerous, and it has a powerful lobby. But we can be inspired by those brave souls who spoke out against public smoking back in the day, and follow their example opposing cars today.
😀

BikeBillboards dot blogspot com
Guest

Tulsa\’s on a ROLL. Be AFRAID, very AFRAID, PDX!

I walk or Drive
Guest
I walk or Drive

Some of us actually do have legitimate reasons to drive a car.

There is more than one way to show concern and care for the environment.

I will not be strapping my elderly grandfather to a bike, or to public transportation when I take him for his weekly cancer treatments. I will not feel like a second class citizen for driving him there.

SkidMark
Guest
SkidMark

When they get through reading the inflight magazine they can view the Handmade Bike Exhibit at PDX.

Phillip
Guest
Phillip

yeah get real, unfortunatly the auto will not be the new smoking…..it will only get reserved for the rich and privleged….which is exactly what they want….getting traffic out of their way
so they can have the freeways and roads to themselfs

BikeBillboards dot blogspot com
Guest

#12, Phillip, why let class warfare get in the way of a good thing? If the rich and privileged pays for street maintenance, I don\’t have a problem with a FREE ride.

Try losing your inner Che Guevera and the world won\’t be that bad after all.

steve
Guest

I get it! If we just pretend something is true, it is the same as if it actually were true!

Thanks, I was wondering how you all stay so calm.

Torfinn
Guest
Torfinn

Steve, welcome to the initiated.

Matt Picio
Guest

Well, Phillip – since \”the rich\” comprise 1% of the population, I have to say I\’m not entirely against it. 1% of current traffic leaves a lot of room for cyclists, and if the remaining 1% don\’t want to give up some road real estate for us, well, that\’s what revolutions are for.

Viva la velorution!

steve, if you can\’t visualize it, it\’s hard to attain it. Just because it doesn\’t always work doesn\’t make it worthless.

Remember also all, inflight magazines are supposed to make you want to go places – they almost ALWAYS make somewhere seem to be more SOMETHING than it actually is. I don\’t know about all of you, but I have no problem with United Airlines customers coming here expecting a bike utopia – you tend to notice what you\’re already looking for.

QUICK! Don\’t think of an elephant!

Hope everyone enjoyed the weather this weekend!

Elly Blue (Columnist)
Member

Cars are the new smoking…huh.

Cars are a bit worse than that, though. Smoking is something you can choose quite a bit more freely to do or not do. Difficult though quitting nicotene may be, it\’s about overcoming your own bodily responses (with a dose of peer pressure thrown in).

There\’s only so far you can take that with transportation. Quitting cars entails a lot of changes to infrastructure and neighborhood fabric that can\’t be brought about purely by individual willpower and choice. We\’re physically locked into driving a lot of the time. The cancer clinic is a pretty powerful example.

Opus the Poet
Guest

I wonder how long it will take until someone starts offering \”Cars are the new smoking\” bike stickers (like bumper stickers, but 1/2 size) over on Cafe Press?

Opus

livermore
Guest
livermore

get off your pedastal dudes, if we get rid of the cars whose gonna pay for our roads? then they come after us for license fees and bike taxes. get over it.

DJ Hurricane
Guest
DJ Hurricane

\”get off your pedastal dudes, if we get rid of the cars whose gonna pay for our roads?\”

Just another misinformed citizen with no knowledge of how taxes work. Too bad.

joel
Guest

heh. \”cars are the new smoking\”

cars have been the REAL smoking the whole time. as far as im concerned, all the fuss about secondhand smoke has been a giant distraction from the true particulate matter offenders.

for better or for worse, cars are tools, and useful ones, in the proper scenarios. as elly mentions, infrastructure issues designed into the very fabric of this country make getting rid of them all but impossible.

as for the silly \”second-class citizens\” comment… argh. just plain silly. if only the bit about the prevalance of bike-through windows was true…

Martha R
Guest
Martha R

livermore (@22) if we get rid of cars, we\’ll probably keep paying for our roads like we do now: mostly with our tax dollars (income tax, that is). Without cars, we wouldn\’t need to spend millions on interchange improvements, highway widening projects, and other extremely expensive transportation enhancements that are made necessary by excessive automobile congestion. The result? More money in the transportation budget. Car-related taxes and fees don\’t begin to cover the cost of the roads.

It\’s a fact: the gas tax that Oregonians pay only covers 22 cents for every transportation dollar spent. The other 78 cents come from income taxes and other non-automobile specific sources. I promise to \”get over it\” if you promise to learn more about transportation funding. Until then, I\’ll keep on riding my bike and give everyone a nice smile from my pedestal.

Hillsdale
Guest
Hillsdale

Run the lifecycle cost/benefit analysis on infrastructure for bike/ped versus motor vehicle. Show me a bikeway that\’s been worn out by bikes and in need of repair. Install the Sauvie at Flanders and the surface will be in serviceable shape for 200 years.

Joe
Guest
Joe

\”cars are the new smoking\” true! hehe

Joe

anonymous driver
Guest
anonymous driver

\”Cars are the new smoking.\”

Hmmm… except for the fact that there are perfectly legitimate reasons to be driving and there aren\’t, as yet, adequate alternatives. Not quite like smoking which only ever was for enjoyment. Just be careful how sweeping you all get with your generalizations. YOu can begin to marginalize people who have little control over the reasons they can\’t bike. I do agree that it would be wonderful to see more bikes and fewer cars and wouldn\’t it be great if people only drove when they had to?

turtle
Guest
turtle

I only smoke when I have to!

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Don\’t worry, driver. Cars and the internal combustion engine are a great idea, that in terms of conditioned sense of need instilled in consumers, got completely blown out of proportion to the actual, practical need that existed.

They\’re likely always to be here until some sort of apocalypse occurs, but hopefully, their predominance can be brought within a level of usage that\’s far more compatible with the kind of conditions necessary for a healthy place to live.

Cars have become something like those \’invasive species\’ in nature. In some places, they\’ve been allowed to take over and destroy. With all due respect to those that must rely on cars for transportation, it\’s time to start arresting that destruction.

Max
Guest
Max

While I don\’t disagree that getting health-imppaired people to the doctor is important and may require car service, it doesn\’t mean we can\’t live without owning 3 cars per household.

When I ride the bus, especially in other cities, there\’s a huge amount of elderly people. The car addiction seems to something a lot of healthy people could live without.

And by the way, I used to drive everywhere for 10 years. When I moved to Portland I sold my car. Ride a bike everywhere now and I\’ve lost 30 lbs.

Steven J
Guest
Steven J

Waiting for the \”Jetsons\” era..

Cars will fly and wont bother with the roads.

SkidMark
Guest
SkidMark

Being anti-car does NOTHING to get people on bikes.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

Hmmm, not according to the law. Mandatory bike lane law, far right rule and mandatory (depending on jurisdiction) sidepath law. I guess motorists are prohibited from driving in bike lanes, but that just means they sweep all the road trash, broken glass and gravel into the bike lane and turn across bike lanes such that they frequently almost right-hook me.

I agree with Donna, the anti-cyclist bigotry may soon erupt on the oregonlive.com forums when they get wind of this. I for one can\’t wait for anti-car ideology to divorce itself from cycling. Promote cycling for what it is (it\’s freaking fun), stop this car vs. bike mentality, it only damages cycling.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

\”Being anti-car does NOTHING to get people on bikes.\”

Just for the record, I\’m not anti-car, or anti-smoking for that matter.

I drive on occasion and I\’m not against having a cigarette now and again.

\”Cars are the new smoking\” is just a concept I\’ve been thinking about lately.

Walk more than I drive
Guest
Walk more than I drive

@35 –

Well, if you want to keep up with this lame battle between motorists and cyclists, that concept is certainly one way to do that.

chris
Guest
chris

Heh.. here\’s another funny quote:

\”Fundamentalist \’anti-car at all costs\’ bicycle advocacy is the new Nazism.\”

You know… some of us are trying with hybrid/biodiesel/EV cars.

I love you all, but the world isn\’t going to go 100% pedal power.

SkidMark
Guest
SkidMark

Yeah Jonathan, I know you are not anti-car. I know you have the sense to know that cycling is not for everyone, and being a family man you know sometimes there are not enough hours in the day to do everything by bike.

What does make sense it to minimise car use, and if you live close to the store, to walk there (or ride a bike if so inclined) rather that wasting the gas starting up your car, idling at intersections and parking, just to go a block or two. Using public transit even for part of a commute often takes the same amount of time as driving (and parking) from the suburbs to downtown.

Hybrids are really only accessible to those who can afford them. They are the \”boutique bikes\” of the car world.

I hear a lot of anti-car rhetoric coming out of the more zealous cyclists\’ mouths (some are my friends) and I always point out that having a negative attitude towards people who drive cars is not going to get them them out of their cars and onto bikes.

SkidMark
Guest
SkidMark

Cars, like alcohol, should only be used in moderation.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Slightly off-topic, but have you checked out John McCain\’s solution to all our problems: suspend the gas tax! The man is perhaps dumber than Bush, but the press loves him, so we may have to live with one of the worst transportation policy ideas imaginable, along with whatever other kinds of stupid he can come up with in eight years.

Yipeee!

John Reinhold
Guest
John Reinhold

It should not be about getting rid of automobiles.

We should be focusing on a few key points:

1. How to encourage people to make better choices in transportation? Some times a bicycle makes sense. Some times transit makes sense. Some times a car or even a truck makes sense. What we would like people to have are options that are viable, to enable them to make better decisions.

2. How can we keep automobiles around while minimizing their impact on our communities, society, environment, and health? How can we move away from the single occupancy vehicle trend? How can we discourage inappropriate vehicle use while still allowing freedoms of choice and lifestyle?

3. Understanding that we are not going to get rid of automobiles what is the best way to increase the compatibility with pedestrians and bicycles? Is it infrastructure? Education? Technological advances?

4. How can we remove barriers to bicycling to bring the masses into the fold? What are the \”low hanging fruits\” and what can we do to make all modes of transportation more compatible with bicycles?

Anyone who is completely anti car is delusional. But there is value to a much more balanced approach to transportation. Cars should not get 90% of the attention. When automobile advocates claim that more people drive and thus deserve more attention, I would counter that it is the fact that more people drive which gives them more attention by default. Everything seems to have auto planning built in. It is a constant struggle to include our most basic rights of mobility, human power!