Posted by Elly Blue (Columnist) on January 5th, 2010 at 5:06 pm
For a variety of reasons, activist rumblings have been surfacing recently around Portland’s bike and transportation advocacy scene.
The city’s main advocacy group, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, is without an executive director and seeking a new direction at the same time as the City’s Bicycle Plan for 2030 readies for adoption.
Last month, about 40 people turned up at our impromptu town hall for a lively discussion on the future of bike advocacy in Portland. The feeling in the room was strongly in favor of turning up the heat in the effort to make Portland a better place to get around by bike, and for adding more variables to the local bike activism ecosystem (like walking and transit).
From this context comes TransCon PDX, a new “transportation conversation” which began as one meeting called by two fixtures on Portland’s bike fun scene: Ben Foote and Ted Buehler. Foote is the creator of web directory PDXStump, and Buehler studied bicycle planning at UC Davis and is involved with the Bike Temple (among other things). Both of them recently completed PSU’s widely reputed Traffic and Transportation course.
Four lively meetings later, the group now boasts a Google Group with 25 members, a temporary name — TransCon PDX — and some concrete plans for action.
Most notably — and immediately — the group will work along with other local bike groups to pack City Hall for the Bike Plan 2030 hearing on February 4th at 2pm. There’s a meeting tonight from 7pm to 9pm at ON Gallery in Old Town (321 NW 6th Between Everett and Flanders). Everyone is welcome.
The group is currently considering its focus, but it looks like that will extend well beyond bicycling. At the second meeting, there was discussion of lofty goals such as “making Portland the best city in the world to live without a car.”
Other action ideas that initial meeting attendees voted to consider included items such as closing a street to create a car-free plaza downtown and starting a Car-Free Fridays campaign to encourage Portlanders to leave their cars at home one day each week.
For more information, or to stay abreast of the conversation, check out the TransCon PDX Google Group.
Elly Blue has been writing about bicycling and carfree issues for BikePortland.org since 2006. Find her at http://takingthelane.com