Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 21st, 2010 at 12:14 pm
Michelle Poyouorow at the
(Photo © J. Maus)
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) has launched a new campaign to hasten progress on the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030. The campaign is called “Build It,” and with an emphasis on social media and a new blog at PortlandBikeNetwork.org, the BTA hopes it will put pressure on city leaders to build out the bike plan once it’s adopted on February 4th.
Speaking at a press conference this morning, BTA Advocacy Director Michelle Poyourow said,
“This plan can make Portland America’s most healthy city, but only if it is adopted and built… Most plans sit on a shelf… But this plan will be different; it will be built and it will be built quickly. This plan will not sit on the shelf…
So today, the BTA is calling on the City of Portland to take the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 and build it!”
Mel Rader, the Co-Director of Upstream Public Health also spoke at the event:
“We are coming behind this plan because by investing in a more safe and efficient system for getting place-to-place through biking and walking we provide healthier options for Portlanders. Research shows that commuting by bicycle or walking can add several years to your life… That’s why we’re supporting the plan. We’re asking it to be built, because it’s a win-win for promoting healthier options for Portland, for addressing greenhouse gas emissions, and for creating jobs in a hard economy.”
In the Q and A session at the press conference this morning, the BTA’s Poyourow was asked by a local TV reporter, “How do you propose to that the bike community pay for the bike lanes? There’s no tax generation from bike lanes…that comes from the gas tax. And money is tight, how to you get bicyclists to pay for this?”
In response, Poyouorow said,
“Many of the proposals in the plan are very affordable. Biking is one of the most affordable investments we can make. All people need to feel comfortable bicycling is smooth pavement and a backstreet.”
She also pointed out that there are many sources of funding for transportation projects besides the gas tax:
“There are also development charges, property taxes, regional funds, and federal funds. All of these funds can be directed to bicycle transportation — if we have the right plans in place and if we get serious about building bicycle infrastructure. In addition, because bicycle infrastructure is so inexpensive compared to auto-oriented infrastructure — and even transit infrastructure — we get a really good bang for the buck.”
I asked Poyourow how “Build it” translates into specific actions they’re calling on the city to take. Here is her response:
“We’re calling on Portland City Council to not just adopt this plan, but to take first steps right away toward getting it built. That means building new bike boulevards, new safe crossings, and new safe routes to schools in the first year. That means developing new sources of funding and re-allocating funding to the very efficient investment that is bicycle transportation. We cannot wait until year 5 or year 10 to know whether we’re succeeding in making Portland America’s healthiest city or not. We’ll need to start right away.”
The BTA has launched a new blog at PortlandBikeNetwork.org as the campaign’s online headquarters. The focus of the viral aspect of the campaign is to have people take their photo with the “Build It” logo and upload the photo to the site and/or Twitter, etc… They’ve got a “Twitter toolkit” page on the campaign website with instructions.
As people upload photos, they are featured in a gallery with different sections for “Ambassadors,” “Supporters,” and “Businesses.”
Once the plan is adopted by City Council, the BTA will use the site to track progress on bike infrastructure projects. Check out PortlandBikeNetwork.org for more and spread the word.