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Mr. Wiewel’s inaugural ride, and what it could mean for PSU

Posted by on August 25th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

PSU Pres. Wim Wievel's first day-6.jpg

PSU Pres. Wim Wievel (L) and Commissioner
Sam Adams after their ride into work this
morning.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Newly hired Portland State University President Wim Wievel (say “Vim Vee-vul”) got an up-close look at what 2,000 of PSU’s students, faculty and staff experience every morning — a commute by bike.

Wievel, 57, rode approximately seven miles from his presidential residence (his house is owned by PSU) on SW Military Road (near Tryon Creek State Park) down into the South Park Blocks. Accompanied by Commissioner and Mayor-elect Sam Adams, the pair pedaled down Terwilliger, onto SW Barbur and eventually into downtown via SW 6th Ave.

PSU Pres. Wim Wievel's first day-5.jpg

Take a close look at that fork.

At a press conference following the ride, I got a look at Wievel’s bike and riding attire. The bespectacled native of Amsterdam rolled in on a Gary Fisher Tiburon hybrid bike (probably 1-2 years old and with a front fork that was installed backwards) and he wore standard slacks, a polo shirt, and a long-sleeved PSU Cycling Team jersey.

Addressing a crowd of media and onlookers, Wiewel said, “It makes a difference what this university does and how we do it.” He and Adams spoke of having a close partnership in the months and years to come.

Reflecting on the ride in, Wievel said, “It’s a nice ride down, but getting back would have some challenges.” Wievel was being realistic about a ride home that would entail not just long sections of high-speed roads with only a bike lane, but some serious climbs that would be reason for pause for all but the strongest riders.

“It’s a nice ride down, but getting back would have some challenges.”
–Wim Wievel

When I asked them specifically about this morning’s ride, Wiewel mentioned a few instances where the bike lane “just disappeared… like when we rode under a bridge.” Adams said it has been “a few years” since he rode down Barbur Blvd. and he apologized to Wiewel for the overgrown brush in the bike lane. “We need to do something about that,” he said.

I asked them to elaborate on how their partnership might play out.

Adams said PSU’s Institute for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI) will be important as PDOT looks to “establish” their bike boulevard program. “They’ll be great,” he said, “to make sure we get all the details right.”

[The IBPI is a transportation think tank whose mission to, “Enhance policies, programs, and projects that promote pedestrian and bicycle travel through research, education, and outreach.”]

PSU Pres. Wim Wievel's first day-7.jpg

Mr. Adams

Adams also mentioned that he’ll “rely on PSU” to be a major partner in the City’s “roll-out of a bike-sharing system next summer”.

Wiewel spoke about the construction of the new “bike center” (as part of the new campus Rec Center) and said he’s planning a symposium this spring on land-use and sustainability. He also added that he sees PSU’s role as being able to “further the knowledge” about transportation issues — and not only about bikes, but about other modes as well.

PSU Pres. Wim Wievel's first day-3.jpg

Wiewel wore a PSU Cycling
Team jersey.

According to Wiewel, thinking beyond just bikes is important because, “Biking is a great solution, but it doesn’t work for everybody all the time.” Perhaps he was thinking of himself (and his daunting daily biking route) when he said that.

After the press conference, I pulled aside Ian Stude. Ian is the leader of PSU’s Transportation Options effort (he’s moved up a lot since his days as manager of PSU’s Bike Co-op). I asked him to tell me how Wiewel’s presidency might impact biking at the school.

“What we’ve seen at other universities is that when you have a strong influence at the top, that message trickles down pretty fast. I think we’re going to have a broad level of support both for the student and administrative initiatives we have coming up.”

According to Ian, the key focus areas are on-campus bike infrastructure, and the infrastructure that leads to campus.

On campus, Ian says, “we’re part of the way there”. He points to their new bike co-op that is set to expand into a full-service, Bikestation-esque facility and a secondary bike parking garage that’s in the works. “Between those two projects, we’ll have over 200 indoor bike parking spaces…I think that’s going to be a big leap forward and be a model for the city.”

But they’re not built yet, and Ian says Wiewel is, “the kind of influence we need to make sure those projects don’t find themselves facing a series of setbacks or delays.”

Oregon Bike Summit afternoon sessions-21.jpg

Ian Stude at the Oregon
Bike Summit in April 2008.

He cautions that, “Bicycles still have a history here at PSU of being value-engineered out when it comes to the cost for new buildings and facilities…so I think that we’re starting to see a change in that behavior.”

As as for off-campus bike infrastructure, Ian is happy that Wiewel’s ride this morning “might have showcased those challenges.” Largely a commuter school with many of their students coming from a five mile radius, Stude explained that they rely on PDOT’s bikeway system to, “tie into the university as much as possible… and I think we have some improvements to make there.”

Among those improvements? Ian thinks it’s time for a bicycle boulevard along the Park Blocks and an enhanced connection from the Hawthorne Bridge to the university. He also thinks improvements are needed for folks biking from the West Hills into campus, especially along Terwilliger and Barbur Boulevards and from the new built South Waterfront community.

“We’re going to have to work with our city partners to put the pressure on and make sure those improvements are made,” Ian said, “because that’s what’s really going to help us increase the amount of people coming to campus by bike.”

It will be interesting to watch how Wiewel’s tenure impacts bike conditions at PSU and downtown. He’s got the credentials, and soon, he and Mayor-to-be Sam Adams will be poised to be a dynamic duo. The emergence of these two leaders taking the helm as transportation becomes a key issue for our region (and our country), presents a lot of reasons for hope.

Now, let’s make sure that hope is realized.

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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a.O
Guest

Maybe I missed it, but I believe it is never explicitly stated above – or in the Oregonlive article – that Wievel will not be returning home this evening by bicycle. So, how will he be returning? Bus? Cab? PSU-owned car? Is his wife picking him up?

In the Oregonlive article, Wievel is quoted as saying, \”What better way to symbolize sustainability than traveling by bike.\” And that\’s all this is, a symbolic gesture.

I don\’t mean to suggest it isn\’t a positive thing and – perhaps most importantly – that Wievel and Adams didn\’t learn something important about the actual conditions that exist for riding through Portland. It sounds like they did. Memo to Adams: There are *lots* of spots where foliage is preventing use of bike lanes in Portland.

But this is more of the same: Community and political leaders take credit for doing something good without really doing much. File this in the \”hold a press conference\” category of advocacy.

If he\’s going to just ride for publicity, I\’d prefer that Wievel drive to work and spent the time he saved getting there working to do something that actually improves biking conditions in Portland.

miguelaron
Guest

i bet if he tried riding 2x a day for a month he might like it.

anybody want to donate some time to turn the new president\’s fork rightways?

miguelaron
Guest

er, 2x a week for a month

and i\’ll donate time and tools to do the fixing.

Le-oh!
Guest
Le-oh!

I agree with the post above. The biggest issue, in my opinion, is that a lot of the bike infrastructure dilemmas have been focused on the east side of the Willamette, largely ignoring a lot of the problems here on the west side, which has thus caused many people to give up or be reluctant to use a bike. It\’s also much, much, much hillier on this side, so that already presents a big obstacle for folks wanting to get into commuting by bike.

Paul Souders
Guest

Wievel rode pretty much my daily commute for the last five years. Can I hold a press conference now? 🙂

I don\’t care so much about the downed foliage as I do the psychotic lane crossing at SW Naito.

This morning on my way in I noticed a small troupe of cyclists in the Barbur Shops parking lot with a PPD car in tow. I thought: \”well that\’s a weird scene.\” I wonder if it wasn\’t Wiewel, Adams and crew.

jeff
Guest
jeff

\”a symbolic gesture\”

If he only does it once, I\’d argue that it\’s not even that. Or maybe a symbolic gesture of exactly the wrong sort.

BURR
Guest
BURR

Wiewel mentioned a few instances where the bike lane “just disappeared… like when we rode under a bridge.”

Bike lanes that disappear right where you need them the most…

…and turn up here:
https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/shift/2008-08/msg00212.html

Arem
Guest
Arem

Couldn\’t help but notice, because it made me laugh a bit to myself, that in the first photo Sam Adams kind of looks like he\’s doing an impression of Slingblade.

SWbikecommuter
Guest
SWbikecommuter

Commuting to/from SW can be a real challenge. My friends think I\’m nuts.
The \”psychotic lane crossing at Naito\” is only one of many assorted challenges (changing lanes on Capitol Hwy. in Hillsdale, the ramp from Hell going from B-H to Barbur–Sam promised a \”sharrow\” ages ago but I digress, bike lanes and pavement that disappear and reappear without reason or warning, potholes and no shoulders, etc.). And with a cacaphony of latte-suckin\’, cell-phone yakkin\’, SUV drivin\’ suburbanites who have the nerve to yell at you that you\’re supposed to use the crosswalk and get outta their way, you gotta be on top of it at all times.

I\’m so happy that there are more bicycles out there on the SW roads this year!!! There might not necessarily be safety in numbers but at least they notice bicycles more and are getting a little more accustomed to sharing the road. Because I\’m not hopeful that they\’re going to give us any real infrastructure improvments any time soon. (Does anyone recall the ill-fated \”halo LID\” that they tried to use to make ped/bike improvements on Vermont that they have been promising for 20 years?)

Bob
Guest
Bob

The main takeaway from all this is that Portland State has a leader who realizes the role that biking can play in building a great community. Whether or not commutes by bike one way or every day is irrelevant to me as a future graduate student there. What is more important is that the university is investing in biking infrastructure for a university in the heart of the city and in helping to produce the brainpower that will guide future transportation planning in this city. I am encouraged that someone with his background and academic field is at the helm of Oregon\’s largest university.

FredLf
Guest
FredLf

I could be mistaken, but isn\’t Sam\’s helmet a 10+ year old Skid Lid? Dude needs a gear upgrade. The styrofoam in there must be like oatmeal.

Cøyøte
Guest
Cøyøte

Wait till his bike gets ripped, then we might see some better facilities at PSU.

BTW, I am totally on board with a.O\’s comment. Riding to work one day, (with a police escort), and then jumping around like you da man, is less than credible. I thought the Dutch were more reserved than that.

BURR
Guest
BURR

I could be mistaken, but isn\’t Sam\’s helmet a 10+ year old Skid Lid?

U R mistaken.

joel
Guest
joel

Hey lots of Vim haters here huh. I think its great for anyone to try riding their bike to work, regardless of how often and even if they want to take the bus home. Paul, the reason Vim had a press conference is that he is the the PSU President, you can have one too when you become PSU president.Read Bob\’s comment if you have not already, right on the money Bob! One other short point if you have to write that you \”aren\’t trying to be negative\” or something to that effect in your post you probably are.

KT
Guest
KT

I think it\’s great that he rode his bike to work; and yeah, if you\’re not in good shape, getting up over Terwilliger is a hard feat.

But let\’s give him a chance to do it more often, eh? What, it\’s like his first day.

Did anyone point him to bikely or bycycle.com for better routes? I\’d ride with him, but it\’s really out of my way, and I don\’t work in Portland.

Spork
Guest
Spork

I agree that Adams needs a better helmet. Maybe one that is mildly up to date and doesn\’t look like it\’s on backwards. lol

Icarus Falling
Guest
Icarus Falling

It appears KT that they did indeed ride the best route, by the way.

And I do agree with others frustrations that one ride does not a commuter/cyclist make.

I am also equally tired of the \”Jump on the bike band wagon\” approach that somehow calls for a press conference, or/and big, gratuitous pats on the back for all involved.

I do however entirely welcome him to town, and also offer to fix that messed up bike of his, free of charge of course.

I may even show up for my congratulatory \”fixed the bike\” press conference afterwards.

Icarus Falling
Guest
Icarus Falling

And the helmet Sam is wearing is obviously the Bridge Pedal helmet from 2 or 3 years ago, so still within it\’s shelf life.

Lynne
Guest
Lynne

Not only did he ride to work, but he is a person that those who fix things listen to (unlike many of us 🙂 )

He may ride again, which would be great. SW Portland certainly needs some bicycle facilities love.

Zaphod
Guest
Zaphod

Not to focus on the tech/geek side of it but for [expletive]\’s sake, please get that bike built up properly. A fork mounted the wrong way does interesting (read dangerous) things to the handling of the bike. And if his brake pads are of the cartridge variety, there\’s only a tiny pin keeping the pads from doing a jumper and disaster awaits.

If that\’s off, I wonder about the state of the other components. Any competent mechanic could dial in the bike for not a lot of money. I\’ll do it for free.

kiwimunki
Guest
kiwimunki

Did they take Terwilliger all the way past OHSU into the city? That\’s one hell of a downhill sail to start out the day. If he liked that, maybe he\’d be interested in a Zoobomb?

I like that Vim wore casual, regular clothes for the ride – hesitant bikers may take note that you don\’t need full-on spandex and clip-in shoes to get where you want to go. Commuting can be as simple as hopping on your bike – thanks, Vim, and good luck.

SkidMark
Guest
SkidMark

You usually only see the backwards fork thing on department store bikes. It happens because bikes come packed in their boxes with the fork turned 180, allowing the box to be a little shorter. For some reason some bike assemblers will take the bike out of the box and assemble it that way. Somehow it is never noticed that every single bike on the planet has some forward fork offset, and that the bike handles like a shopping cart. I don\’t get it.

solid gold
Guest
solid gold

yeah, it\’s funny, i\’m a student at PSU, and they are searching a place for me to intern at. when i mentioned i was car free, and as such, needed a place accessibile by bike or public transit, their reaction was \”well, you should get a car\”. like most of the greenwashing craze, the talk is a lot easier to do than the walk (or bus or bike).

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I\’ll give the new pres points for his honesty about the difficulties and adversity of the route for someone of his age and conditioning. Still, he might find it well worth his while in a number of important ways if he\’d toughen up just a little so he could climb the hill once in awhile.

I question whether the route they took today was the best. Continuing on Terwilliger rather than turning down Barbur would have been more scenic and seemingly a more enjoyable ride. There would of course, have been more a climb. Or, they could have went down Barbur just a short distance and wound around to get on Corbett. A really great route but with some pavement challenges and climbs, but away from some of the heavier traffic, showing one of Portland\’s really interesting older neighborhoods.

PSU\’s new plans for bike supportive features and his interest in them offers the possibility that some really good change could come from this important part of the city. Prez, so far, you\’re doing fine.

Jen
Guest
Jen

So get the guy an Xtracycle and a stoke monkey, or some other power assist for the ride home. Heresy, I know, but bike commuting up and out (especially up) is not like commuting in the Dutch flatlands. Cut the guy a break.

RonC
Guest
RonC

I think it\’s very useful for Wim and Sam to get some first-hand experience with the realities of West-side bike commuting, even if they don\’t intend to ride on a regular basis. I\’m sure some would argue that an advocate for cycling who does not ride regularly is just a poser. But conversely, an advocate for cycling that uses the cycling infrastructure on a regular basis could also be criticized as having a self-serving special interest. Is it fair? Of course not. But you know it could happen.

I like Wim\’s pragmatic statement regarding the fact that \”Biking is a great solution, but it doesn’t work for everybody all the time.\” We all know or have known people that aren\’t physically able to pedal themselves around the city, or who\’s type of work simply does not accommodate cycling as a transportation option. But improving infrastructure for those that can cycle is a responsible component of modern-day urban transportation planning. And PSU seems to be at least trying to make that work. It\’s good that Wim seems to understand and support that.

That said, I hope he is able to try this ride more than once (and hopefully both ways) after his bike is properly set-up. If a hill is too steep, it\’s OK to take a breather or walk for a while. There is no shame in doing so. And there is great satisfaction to be had in getting around efficiently under one\’s own power.

\”A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.\” (Lao-tzu)

Oh Word?
Guest
Oh Word?

so wai…did we ever find out why his forks were installed backwords?

peejay
Guest
peejay

I think we can both congratulate Mr Wiewel, and hold his and CRC Sam\’s feet to the flame for making actual improvements to the city\’s and the University\’s bike infrastructure.

Maybe if we could convince CRC Sam that television cameras are a form of bicycle, he\’d actually follow through with his promises and make it easier for them to get around in this town.

Martha R.
Guest
Martha R.

I don\’t see the problem: Terwilliger Blvd. has bike lanes and a posted 25 mph speed limit; it offers lovely views and has lots of shade for those hot summer climbs…

Wait a minute…has anyone ever witnessed a motorist obeying the speed limit on Terwilliger? Has anyone ever seen a police car enforcing that 25 mph speed limit? Can you imagine how pleasant Terwilliger could be if cars actually kept speeds at or below 25 mph? (after all, that\’s the MAXIMUM, not the minimum…)

Eileen
Guest
Eileen

Wow, you guys are harsh! Give the guy a break, he looks like he\’s pushing 70. I think sometimes those who live under the Portland bike bubble forget that a bicycle is not an option for everyone. You are never going to see my 67 year old un-athletic mother, my father with bad knees and a paralyzed diaphragm, my friend whose hips are going out, etc.. doing a bike commute. These people all look normal and healthy but you can\’t know everyone\’s reasons for all that they do, nor are they obliged to share it with you to justify their actions. For all we know the guy has a heart condition and the downhill was all his dr. would let him do. Or maybe he is out of shape and needs to work his way up to it. Maybe the poor man is overwhelmed with a new job and should get a chance to sort things out.

And I am laughing at Sam Adams taking personal responsibility for the foliage. I\’m not sure why that rubs me the wrong way – maybe because he\’s not even mayor yet and he is not personally responsible, so it sounds self-important and also deceptive. And also, what is he going to do? Go back to city hall and make some phone calls to divert crews to work on this section of Barbur Blvd on his whim? Is it possible that there just isn\’t budget right now to maintain everything that needs maintained to everyone\’s standards? And is it fair to randomly decide that road should jump up in the queue because it bothered Prince Mayor-elect on his way into town this morning? He is a glad-hander and just rubs me the wrong way. I hope I am wrong about him.

Eileen
Guest
Eileen

before anyone responds I already see that I got on everyone\’s case for being overly judgmental without knowing all the facts about the PSU president and then in the second paragraph I did the same to Sam Adams. I guess I am a hypocrite, what can I say? Sorry Sam. I am trying very hard to give you the benefit of the doubt and I truly hope you are the Mayor that Portland needs you to be. I think you need to relax, listen more, talk less and make decisions that you think are right, not what you think people want you to do. Know thyself and proceed with integrity. It\’s very hard to knock over a man whose feet are firmly planted, very easy when he is lunging and dodging.

jd
Guest
jd

I\’ll agree that Barbur is less than pleasant for a bike commute. Much like anywhere else in Portland, there is a better street for bikes only a short distance away. Having to hump it up the Lake-O side of Terwilliger would take it out of you in the morning, though.

I don\’t see much improving on the west side for a while though. Everyone thinks we\’re cell-phone yakkin\’, latte swillin\’, SUV drivin\’, lycra wearin\’ roadies.

Zaphod
Guest
Zaphod

Hey Solid Gold #23,

Your comment is *very* insightful on the issues many of us face when dealing with the cultural shift necessary to give us the freedom to choose. Surely the counselor thought they were giving you sound advice like, \”you should get a car, buy a tie and show up on time.\” It\’s our collective job to stand up and explain why we choose what we choose.

The symbolic bike ride surely helps this shift in culture.

Brad
Guest
Brad

Will Sam actually have time to govern in between his seemingly endless photo-ops? I wouldn\’t be surprised to see him showing up in every wedding album and Little League team photo before long.

a.O
Guest

\”The symbolic bike ride surely helps this shift in culture.\”

Does it? Or does it just create the perception that our leaders are facilitating the culture shift without actually *doing* anything to facilitate it?

Because – let\’s face it – if it\’s all press conferenes and no specific changes to laws and policies and facilities that actually improve conditions on the roadways, they\’re just telling you what you want to hear but really preserving the status quo.

I think with both Wievel and Adams this remains to be seen.

Brad
Guest
Brad

\”Mission Accomplished\”

Metal Cowboy
Guest

It\’s been the summer of the press conference!
More riding, fewer press conferences. Or what about this, every time someone in a position of power gets the urge to hold another press conference to synbolize, advertise, or otherwise spend time and resources to make everyone more \”aware\” of something, they should ride their bike for seven days ( just like a waiting period for buying a gun) to think about tangible, community altering improvements they would like to fund, enforce, alter and add. Make those improvements – then, and only then, resist the urge to hold that press conference. PS. I do think Vim will be good for PSU\’s biking situation… but i hope he waits until he has something to show in that regard before the next press conference.

beth h
Guest

I think there\’s nothing wrong with going multi-modal, especially if your route is very hilly. On tired days I do it myself.
(And you thought I was some kinda bike goddess…)

I hope Mr. Wiewel will see this as an invitation to ride more, and not just to and from work. Welcome to PDX!

RonC
Guest
RonC

Any time a public figure that commands respect wants to hold a press conference and laud the benefits of cycling, I encourage them to do so. It\’s a two-headed dragon that we are fighting; one being a 1980\’s mind-set that bikes are toys and do not belong on the road, and the other being the need for tangible improvements in infrastructure that support cycling as a component of the urban transit mix. I think it\’s easy to forget, especially as citizens of an active cycling community, that both of these battles are worthy of our attention, in spite of recent gains on both fronts.

girl on a bike
Guest
girl on a bike

Wow. Some of you guys are really hard to please … not that a simple act of public outreach should be seen as a fix-all to what ails the transportation structure of Portland. But this event is just a couple of figureheads making a statement to the public that says \”hey, we support this, and we\’re going to try to make good on our promises to make biking better and more viable for students at PSU.\” Neither Vim nor Sam are the people who are REALLY going to make that happen … which is probably why Jonathan spent so much time talking to Ian, who actually works in the PSU transportation department. It\’s people like him — the worker bees who don\’t get press conferences for all the good work they do — who are working behind the scenes to change things. And when people like that are doing their jobs right, they get the attention of their higher-ups … and so it goes that we get a lot of pictures of the suits riding their bikes to work, while the people toiling against the red tape and the \”bottom-liners\” and all that stuff answer all the tough questions and keep working to make the changes happen that all of us want to see. So when someone here complains that this was just \”symbolic\” … it\’s not symbolic of an empty promise. It\’s symbolic of all the work that\’s being done out of the view of the camera by a lot of people who are dedicated to bringing about real change.

FredLf
Guest
FredLf

Okay, I stand corrected on the helmet. But that\’s still a dorky lid! is it trying to ironically look like a 10 year-old Skid Lid?

My guess on the fork is that the bike was shipped to him boxed and someone less than fully qualified re-assembled it. Just a wild guess. It is an accident waiting to happen, though. Good point on the cartridge type canti pads. Yikes!

pauo
Guest
pauo

I think it\’s great he at least rode one way. Put some big hills and take away their cycle paths in Amsterdam and I bet there would be a lot less riders.

brettoo
Guest
brettoo

I don\’t understand the hostility. Both Adams and Wiewel have throughout their careers demonstrated a commitment to biking, pedestrian safety, alternative transport, livable cities, and all the other things we bike types supposedly favor. And then they get slagged here on the city\’s primary bike list for … riding bikes, and using the natural press interest as an opportunity to tell people it\’s a good idea to ride bikes.

You\’d prefer that the mayor elect had said, \”oh, sorry about the dangerous foliage in the lanes, but I\’m not gonna do anything about it\”? Maybe there\’s some self-serving motivation, but the overall effect of this move on most people is to reinforce the idea that maybe it is possible to bike to work.

These are the kind of leaders we want. Of course they\’re not perfect and should be held accountable when they slip, but what\’s the incentive for them to do pro-bike stuff if they\’re just gonna get slammed for it by their supposed supporters as well as the knee-jerk car heads? I\’m all for being skeptical of any politicians, but geez, with friends like these….

By all means, criticize them when they fail, but when they do good things, just share the frickin\’ joy, people.

BURR
Guest
BURR

they are getting slagged because the city is lagging behind the growth in cycling, in both the quantity and the quality of the infrastructure they are providing. and there is a general \’do as we say not as we do\’ attitude in the press conference approach to traffic management.

Jen
Guest
Jen

@ Eileen (# 30): according to this article in the Portland Tribune, Wiewel is 57. This does not change the validity of your point. I just thought he didn\’t look as old as you thought he did, so I looked it up.
http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/story.php?story_id=121641122217357500

matt picio
Guest

I don\’t understand the verbal slagging going on here either. BURR (#44), the city has lagged behind the growth in cycling for at least 5 years. I don\’t think Adams, Geller, et. al. are at fault for that – the low hanging fruit is picked, we\’re going to have to start rolling up our sleeves and doing the hard work to keep expanding the bike infrastructure.

Really, Sam\’s been supportive of cycling while he\’s been a city commissioner. We can\’t judge him yet as mayor, he hasn\’t even held the office yet. Ditto for Mr. Wiewel. We as a community need to give these guys a chance to shine (or flop) before we start crucifying them.

Leat
Guest
Leat

I work at PSU and I commute daily by bike. I have also been a bike advocate in Portland for years. I just want to say that I am really stunned by the petulant, self righteous negativity of many of the posters here. I really wonder about how insulated people are, thinking it is hip to throw verbal rocks at others who are trying to make a difference, but who are also in positions of leadership. This was where we were wanting to get to, wasn\’t it? Having our civic leaders advocating for a bike-friendly culture? And now that we are finally getting there, this is the best you can do, complain and make snide comments?

The press conference wasn\’t because the new PSU President rode his bike, it was because it was his first day on the job – and he rode his bike! Yea!!!

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

\”…this is the best you can do, complain and make snide comments?\”

Leat,

here are my thoughts…

i think much of the negativity is due to a growing frustration with some in the community at the pace of change toward a more balanced transportation system.

the manifestation of that frustration is negativity and criticisms toward leaders who talk about bike issues… but then don\’t seem to follow that up with large-scale, on-the-ground changes.

I think a growing number of people in the community have moved beyond getting excited about photo-ops, press conferences, and plans and they want to see results. now.

Leat
Guest
Leat

Jonathan,

I have the greatest respect for you and the work you do. BikePortland.org would be a fave website even if I was not into biking. However, I have to take issue with your perception that all that has been happening in Portland are photo-ops and press conferences.

I know you and many here have rode with Roger Geller on his monthly tours of Portland\’s new and planned bicycle improvements. I\’m sure many here have attended planning meetings like the new Powell Blvd re-design for pedestrians and bicyclists. The changes ARE happening.

The reality is that our civic leaders have to deal with the fact that most people, over 95% here in Portland, still use cars as their primary mode of travel. And car drivers have their advocates, also.

And so we tear into each other, fellow bicyclists and those working for a sustainable future, because we focus on our differences in bike helmets and photo ops?

If we loose the next presidential election it will be because of this phenomenon.

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

\” I have to take issue with your perception that all that has been happening in Portland are photo-ops and press conferences.\”

Leat,

please realize my comment was my perception of what other people might be feeling. I tried to make it clear that it wasn\’t my personal view.

However, I will say that part of me is also frustrated with the rate of change.

And trust me, I, perhaps more than any non-paid city employee or bike advocate in this town, realize the challenges our politicians and bureaucrats face. I have sat in many many meetings and I know about much of the plans and progress that have been made. Also, I know how the system works.

However the fact remains that we\’re still fighting for funding scraps and there are still many many unsafe bike connections that are yet to be fixed.

I agree with you that there are many exciting things happening at PDOT for bikes and pedestrians. I celebrate those at every opportunity… however I think it\’s healthy for our community to make it known that it\’s not enough and that it\’s time for more forward-thinking and bold transportation leadership that is not content to tiptoe around the \”95%\” of Portlanders who drive.

The reality is that Portland is lacking a strong voice to push for a more balanced transportation system.

The BTA is doing awesome work, but they are much more conservative in strategy and tone than they used to be.

Shift focuses on the fun side of things.

I guess that leaves the frustrated commenters on BikePortland to remind folks that what we\’re doing is great, but that we cannot rest and become complacent and that we need to not just keep up with the growing number of non-motor vehicle trips being made … but we need to be proactive in accommodating the trend so that more people feel that biking is a viable option.

this is getting long. back to other work.

i appreciate your comments and feedback.