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What would you ask PBOT’s #1 bike guy?

Posted by on November 17th, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Legislator bike ride at the Oregon Bike Summit-46

What makes Mr. Geller tick?
Find out tomorrow night.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Whether he’s dancing in the streets, rallying troops for a ride, or looking for money on Capitol Hill, Roger Geller has been on the front lines of bicycle issues in Portland for 15 years.

Tomorrow night I’ll sit down for a one-on-one conversation with Mr. Geller and I’d like to hear what you want to know from the City of Portland’s top two-wheeled mastermind (a.k.a. Bicycle Coordinator in the Office of the Director).

Geller has been at PBOT since 1994. In Portland biking terms, that’s an eternity. We’ve come a long way since then. What has he learned? What hasn’t he learned? What keeps him motivated after all these years? What’s holding us back from being truly “world class”? Where does Roger Geller see us going next?

What do you think we should talk about? We’re on the precipice of an exciting era for bikes in Portland and Roger Geller will be a key player in our future.

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At tomorrow night’s event, I’d like to ask Roger a few questions culled from the audience and from comments left here. Chime in if you have something you’d like for me to either work into the interview or to ask him specifically.

I hope you can join us.

    An Evening With Roger Geller
    Weds., 11/18 from 6 to 8:00pm
    Plan B (1305 SE 8th Ave, map)
    Doors at 6:00, conversation begins at 6:30
    View the event on Facebook

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BURRdavid....no the other oneSteve B.Peter WStripes Recent comment authors
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ScottG
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ScottG

What is the most important thing I as an individual living in Portland do to help support efforts to improving bike infrastructure?

Another thing I’d like to know is what Roger’s ideas are on how to combat misinformation and anti-bicycling attitudes.

matt picio
Guest

Roger worked on the previous Bike Master Plan that the city published. How has the political environment changed both inside and outside PDOT since then?

Also, how does it feel being the top dog in the bike world in the wake of Mia Burk’s accomplishments? Is there pressure to live up to the legacy of that era? (obviously Roger was present for most of that as a staffer)

Those questions aren’t meant to minimize Roger’s accomplishments – he’s done a helluva lot for the community and it’s much appreciated. But many of us are curious – what’s it like when you work in an office where “guerilla bike infrastructure” and bending the rules are routinely practiced to get things done however one can with no resources and no funding, and then are routinely compared with those times by people who weren’t part of the process then OR now?

I’d like some insight into the challenges involved in building on the past and leaving a legacy that not only stands on the shoulders of prior success but also stands proud on it’s own.

Nick V
Guest
Nick V

I’d like to know if he sends out a newsletter or how/if I could get on his email list. He probably knows where and when regular Joe Sixpacks like me can have an opportunity to have our voices heard regarding transportations issues.

I’ve volunteered in the past for the CCC and BTA, but time constraints usually limit me to parking bikes and handing out info at booths for festivals, etc. That helps, I guess, but it’s not proactive enough for my taste.

Ayleen
Guest

I want to know about the end of an era: the removal of the infamous Roger Geller Signal and Weidler and Williams (due to a reconfiguration of that area). That always seemed like a bit of a sneaky piece of bike infrastructure, whereas now the projects are more bold, aiming for putting bikes on the minds of all road users. I like it, I’m all for that, but I miss the Roger Geller Signal! Are there plans to do something else at that intersection?

Okay, this is all a minor point, I’ll admit it. I really think there are much more important questions to be asking Mr. Geller.

Andrew Holtz
Guest
Andrew Holtz

As Portland develops its bicycle infrastructure, should the emphasis be on enhancing what’s available in the areas where there are already a lot of people cycling (like close-in east side)… or should there also be a push to create at least a minimum level of connectivity in areas where there is little or none now (such as SW, outside the central city)?

Also, it planning for future projects, how do you coordinate the Bicycle Master Plan update with the pipeline of capital investments being prepared as part of Metro’s Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and other projects that are not just for bikes? The draft bike plan has many mismatches… where top bike priorities are not RTP priorities and project that are very likely to be built under the RTP (and include bike facilities) are listed as low priorities in the bike plan.

What are you doing to better coordinate with other bureaus (such as Water) that do construction affecting streets and trails? Recently, a water project on SW Patton was used to add some biking space… but that sort of coordination is the exception rather than the rule.

Breesa
Guest
Breesa

Why are bicycle lanes not classified as “travel lanes”?

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

what’s up with sharrows, why the interminable delay in wider implementation?

BURR
Guest
BURR

what’s up with sharrows? Why the interminable delay in implementation while the city ‘experiments’ with other non-MUTCD treatments?

eric
Guest
eric

When is something going to be done so that the Broadway bike lane is not a total and complete death trap, with right-turns, parking swervers, school buses blocking bike lane, and hotel dooring?

Can we have a full traffic lane?

driving that train
Guest
driving that train

Why do traffic planners in Portland refuse to use SHARROWS and YIELD signs?

They seem like a simple solution to a lot of complicated problems.

Bonnie
Guest
Bonnie

What advice can he give to those who want to expand bike infrastructure and awareness to the suburbs? Particularly in working with their local city/county governing bodies?

kww
Guest
kww

Here’s one, why is the through traffic (bicycles) transitioning from Springwater Corridor to SE 4th Ave required to Stop? Shouldn’t the through traffic have right of way?

Jonathan Maus (Editor-in-Chief)
Guest

Thanks everyone for the input. definitely some questions here that i will try to work into the conversation (many of them i already had in mind!).

just want to remind folks that tomorrow night’s event isn’t intended to ask Roger about specific intersections/nitpicks and such… but to try and get to the bigger picture issues (and nitpicks)… and remember that we have a room of people we want to keep interested. nothing against some of the concerns aired here… but i want to keep the questions more in-depth if possible.

BURR
Guest
BURR

when are the south park blocks going to be closed to cars?

BURR
Guest
BURR

when are cyclists going to get their own lane in each direction on the Hawthorne Bridge, or for that matter, on Hawthorne Blvd.?

Tall Mike
Guest
Tall Mike

What is PBOT doing about bike lanes and car door conflicts with existing bike lanes and future bike lanes? Many of the bike lane designs force me to ride the line or be partially in the car lane. If I must use the bike lane when present, how can I be safe? (car doors really hurt).

Nick V
Guest
Nick V

BURR #15,

Even if Hawthorne Blvd. had bike lanes, I’d stick with SE Salmon and Lincoln. Each are within 4 or 5 blocks of Hawthorne and have far fewer cars and wandering/distracted pedestrians.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

Nick, Why should I use less convenient side streets when Hawthorne is my destination? IMO, major commercial destinations should be just as bike friendly as bike boulevards.

gus
Guest
gus

When is PBOT going to start using bollards (cheap to install) to re-route auto through traffic on “bike boulevards” (like Salmon and Lincoln) to more appropriate roadways? This would maintain through-ways for cyclists and pedestrians while ensuring auto traffic is lower speed local traffic only.

When is PBOT going to add infrastructure (calming and slowing) devices to major thoroughfares so one can ride while vehicles drive at more appropriate speeds (cf., Willamette Blvd, Lombard, Hawthorne, etc.). Bike lanes (if present) are not sufficient in places where cars drive well above posted speed limits (and enforcement is limited).

When is PBOT going to get serious about dealing with the leaf piles that irresponsible homeowners remove from their lawns onto the roadway? That is, when are they going to implement punitive actions against those responsible?

gus
Guest
gus

Heck, When is PBOT going to tell ODOT to go stuff itself and start changing the speed limits to more appropriate ones and tell the engineers to catch up later?

JR
Guest
JR

We can take car parking for bike parking. We already take car parking for car travel during peak periods on many major streets. Why not take car parking for bike travel?

Woodstock Bike/Transit Junkie
Guest
Woodstock Bike/Transit Junkie

When is the highly anticipated 50s Bikeway project going to to be underway? We bought our house in anticipation of the promised world class bicycle facilities.

Stripes
Guest
Stripes

I would like to ask about whether diversion on bike boulevards is a tool in the planning toolbox that we can expect to see more of?

I would love to get Roger’s opinion on on-street diverters and semi-diverters.
It seems everybody in PBOT waxes lyrical about them in theory, and they are absolutely the best way to traffic-calm our bike boulevards. Yet we haven’t seen one installed in about 15 years!

Peter W
Guest

I’m curious what Roger thinks about the Suburbs and “what to do about them”.

Let me explain…

A couple years ago I found out that 30% of Portland’s traffic comes from outside Portland. By my calculations, that means that 1 out of 3 cars on the streets in Portland isn’t going to go away regardless of how great Portland’s bike infrastructure becomes. Furthermore, as more Portlanders start biking, it is conceivable that suburbanites could mode-shift from transit to cars and then more than 30% of Portland’s traffic would originate outside of Portland.

The only two solutions I see to this are:

1) Portland needs to push for better biking infrastructure region-wide, or
2) Portland needs to implement traffic congestion pricing, to charge people for driving into downtown.

But I’d like to hear Roger’s take on this.

Steve B.
Guest

What exactly is going on with the connection between NE Weidler and N Williams? This is such an important yet confusing connection, and is currently in limbo.

Why don’t we use sharrows more often to help drivers understand when cyclists must take the lane?

Thanks!

david....no the other one
Guest
david....no the other one

What are the issues stopping more people from bicycling, addressed in the bicycling master plan. And when will they be implemented. What are the issues that were not addressed in the plan, and how as a group that moves, can we act to bring a resolution.

BURR
Guest
BURR

@ Nick V #17, that’s your choice to make, but some cyclists would like a more direct route to and through the Hawthorne commercial district. Hawthorne Blvd. is designated as a bike route in the city’s existing bike master plan, 13 years later it still has no facilities for cyclists above SE 12th.