Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 21st, 2009 at 2:55 pm
On May 26th, less than one week from today, Mayor Adams will have been in office for 100 business days. Shortly after taking office he released his “100 Day Action Plan” which contained a range of promised accomplishments from many different bureaus within the city.
Among the promises was an entire section devoted to bike-related projects and policies. It contained five separate promises and was labeled: “Enhance the safety and accessibility of bicycling for everyone.” He also promised a “world-class” bike facility on the new I-5 bridge (if and when it’s ever built).
Below, we take a closer look at each promise and whether or not Adams has made good.
Announce the release of an updated Bicycle Master Plan for the city
The Bureau of Transportation has just wrapped up a series of public open houses for their updated Bike Master Plan and work on the plan has ramped up considerably since Ellen Vanderslice became the project manager back in December. According to her, the plan is set to be in front of City Council on October 21st. From what I can tell, the update is moving along nicely and it seems the schedule will pan out.
Will Adams “Announce the release” of the plan by this coming Tuesday? No. It’s not a done deal when exactly it will be released (it could still hit some unforeseeable snag). This plan update is way overdue, but it’s not for lack of trying (it had been woefully understaffed before Vanderslice came on board and before Adams was Mayor).
Unveil the City’s first Cycle Track in a high-visibility, high-use location to promote safety and increase bicycle use
cycletrack on Broadway.
If “unveil” means simply to share plans (versus actually build it), than Mayor Adams has fulfilled this promise. Adams’ office originally picked to locate the cycletrack in the North Park Blocks, but after the Fire Department objected, they then decided on SW Broadway (which they claim they were considering all along).
Is the Broadway location “high visibility” and “high use”? Well, given that it’s adjacent to the most popular bike destination in downtown (Portland State University) and that it’s a major thoroughfare street, I would say yes. Will it “promote safety and increase bicycle use”? That depends on who you ask. Ask me and I’d say yes.
Identify 15 miles of Bicycle Boulevards for implementation in 2009
PBOT has put a lot of work into their bike boulevard push and they have definitely identified 15 miles of boulevards. Right now, their top projects are: SE Spokane from 20th to the river; Wabash/Hamlin from Willamette to Columbia; and N Going Street from Concord to NE 74th (thanks to a big assist by the BTA). They’ve also identified boulevards on Bryant (from Wabash to Interstate), SE Mill (from 60th to I-205), and others.
But how about the “implementation” part? PBOT traffic safety staffer Mark Lear says they’ve already “programmed” over 15 miles of boulevard work with their Maintenance Operations Group (which means they’ve budgeted staff time and put the projects on the official radar).
Complete the next link in the Bike Boulevard network on N Wabash, connecting N Willamette Blvd to the bike path along the Columbia River
installed by PBOT in April.
This promise has only been partially fulfilled. I spoke with Mark Lear about it to learn more. He informed me that they’ve already completed two projects on Wabash and that a third will get underway in June. PBOT has widened a path through an existing diverter median (making it much nicer for bikes and pedestrians) and installed bollards so cars won’t be tempted to use it. They’ve also installed a new curb ramp to create a nicer connection between Hamlin and the Columbia Blvd. multi-use path.
The final piece of “completing the link” will be to address a speeding problem on Wabash from Lombard to Willamette, says Lear. On June 4th he and other PBOT staff will hold a public meeting to discuss the installation of speed bumps between Lombard and Willamette Blvd, the crossing treatment at Willis, and stop sign changes (more on all this in a separate post).
Deliver on-street bike parking corrals in four or more high-demand locations
PBOT and the Mayor’s Office have delivered on this promise. In March they significantly expanded the corral near the Pacific Northwest College of Art and just last week they put in three more: one in Northwest, one in St. Johns, and one in Northeast. These installations followed the installation of four corrals downtown back in November.
PBOT planned to have a corral installed in front of Widmer Brewing on N. Russell at Interstate (along with the three installed last week), but an ongoing sidewalk project has stalled that installation. I also learned from PBOT that they plan to roll out 30 more on-street bike parking corrals over the summer.
Secure world-class bicycle and pedestrian accommodations on (and accessing) the Columbia River Crossing
favored bike/ped facility
design on the CRC.
(Below motorized traffic)
Adams has not made good on this promise. He has been vocal and engaged with this issue (he delivered a strongly worded letter to the Urban Design Advisory Group about it), but so far he has not “secured” anything in writing from project staff. Adams’ transportation policy director Catherine Ciarlo puts it this way: “[This promise] is not secure but Mayor Adams has been very vocal within the context of the UDAG [Urban Design Advisory Group] about the need to hear input from the bike/ped communities and he’s been very strong in pushing back or being spoon-fed any particular design.”
For what it’s worth (and I say that because the CRC project itself seems to be on life-support politically right now), the current design for the bike/ped facility favored by project staff — a “stacked bridge” design that would put it under the motor-vehicle lanes — is not facing any serious objections from local bike advocates and insiders. At a recent meeting of the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, the BTA’s Michelle Poyourow said she could support an below-the-deck bike/ped path as long as she got a commitment that it would be maintained and secured 24/7.
Given the circumstances that have clouded his administration — and his perhaps compromised ability to advocate for something that some in our city feel is just a fringe activity (read the comments on bike stories at KPTV or OregonLive lately?) — Adams has made very admirable progress in fulfilling bike-related promises during his first 100 days.
It might also be worth noting that tonight the community will weigh in on his proposed budget, which includes $4.8 million dollars for bike projects and programs.