Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Portlanders get Copenhagenized

Posted by on October 15th, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Mikael Colville-Andersen leading a group
of Portlanders on a tour of Copenhagen
last week.
(Photo: Jay Graves.

The recent, Metro-sponsored field trip to Copenhagen and Amsterdam concluded last week. The trip was intended as an inspirational master class on how those two cities have created a safe, efficient, and comfortable bike network that’s used by well over 30% of their residents (of all ages) on a daily basis.

During their stint in Copenhagen, the Portland delegation (which included an array of folks from PDOT’s head traffic engineer Rob Burchfield to local architect Rick Potestio) got a bike tour by Mikael Colville-Andersen.

Colville-Andersen is the man behind Copenhangenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic — two blogs that give readers an insider look at the policies, fashion, and trends of the world’s most bike friendly city.

In a blog post about their tour he posted yesterday, Colville-Andersen described the group as “an impressive army of dedicated and eager Portlanders”. He also wrote,

“I find it amazing and impressive that such a group made the trip to Europe in order to exchange ideas and to find inspiration. Portlanders should be proud that they have such dedicated citizens working for a better bicycle future.”

One of those “dedicated citizens” is Bike Gallery owner Jay Graves. Jay posted several stories from the road on the shop’s blog. Graves cited a few fun stats he learned from Colville-Andersen:

  • Copenhageners ride 1.2 million kilometers everyday.
  • There are 130,000 daily bike commuters in Copenhagen.
  • Only 35% of the population owns a car (Danish residents have to pay a 100% tax on auto purchases).
  • The town of Friedrichsburg has a Bicycle Counter on one of their popular trails with daily and yearly totals.

Read Portlanders on Tour on Copenhagenize.

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. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Stripes October 15, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    This is awesome!

    There is nothing like this sort of trip to get key people who make a lot of the important transportation-related decisions inspired & excited about bicycling.

    I hope this will lead to some great innovation in Portland’s bikeways designs in the months/years to come!

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  • mmann October 15, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Danes pay a 100% tax on autos. Wow – that would really make you think about whether you actually needed a car or not. Where does the money go? I dare say, in this country that money could actually make a dent in the health and infrastructure expense of all the driving people do.

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  • Carl October 15, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Jonathan, the tax on cars actually varies and it’s not uncommon for it to be OVER 100%!

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  • Stripes October 15, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    In some parts of Europe, the tax can be like, 170% or 180% on cars!

    That would inspire me to ride a bike instead, for sure!

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  • Krampus October 15, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    I spy Mikael’s Velorbis Scrap Deluxe

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  • Loose Nut October 16, 2008 at 1:42 am

    i get teary thinking about what this trip could mean for Portland.

    i guess its about PR and convincing naysayers that separated travelways are worth the investment.

    Visualize 30% of Portland on their bikes.

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  • Todd Boulanger October 16, 2008 at 4:51 am

    I am glad they have been able to make this trip.

    It is often a very valuable design tool to experience successful traffic facilities in other places when considering all design options. (Though with design changes one must also make sure policy and enforcement follow in support.)

    Will there be a public presentation of their ‘findings’ and experience? I would like to attend.

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  • kirk October 16, 2008 at 8:36 am


    Rumor has it that the metro blue-ribbon committee for trails will submit their findings, recommendations and powerpoint presentation to the full committee on Nov. 10th (monday) held at Metro offices.

    The meeting is open to the public. Fingers crossed for positive developments anead based on this delegations trip & report out.


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  • Kristin October 16, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Todd is correct, the findings and recommendations will be presented at Blue Ribbon Committee for Trails meeting November 10th, 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Metro, 600 NE Grand Ave. The meeting is public and will be immediately followed by a reception that all are invited to attend. For additional information and past agendas and minutes you can check out the Blue Ribbon Committee for Trails webpage http://www.oregonmetro.gov/index.cfm/go/by.web/id=27329.

    Hope to see you there

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