The big news from today is that there’s no big news. City Council, expected to vote to adopt the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 at a public hearing today, postponed the vote until next week.
Council heard over two hours of public testimony about the plan today. The testimony was overwhelmingly positive, but there were a few people who showed up to express concerns. Representatives of the freight community expressed concern that some routes proposed as “City Bikeways” are on priority truck routes. One St. Johns residents made a strong point about how people on bicycles do not pass people walking with enough care and consideration. “Until more education and enforcement is done, I don’t support this plan.”
Of course there was also immense praise for the plan. Read more of today’s testimony on my previous story.
There was also a lot of discussion about funding today. Commissioner Saltzman was very engaged and put forth an idea to use sewer and water utility fees paid to the city and put them into a bike infrastructure fund. He wanted to make it an amendment and vote today, but that didn’t end up happening. It will be among the items discussed this week and we’ll see what comes of up. (UPDATE: More on Saltzman’s amendment from the Willamette Week).
That idea, as well as a host of others (I’ll try to share a full list) will be discussed by commissioners more thoroughly before they vote on the plan next week.
Another item of note today was the impact of the Build It campaign. Signs were everywhere in council chambers and, as directed by BTA Advocacy Manager Michelle Poyourow, whenever a testifier said “Build it,” the signs were to be raised. And they were. The signs — and more importantly the message — was heard loud and clear. The best part is that the signs in the air were usually followed by smiles from commissioners.
This delay will likely do nothing to prevent a 5-0 vote next week. But it does give the commissioners time to absorb media coverage, take another look at the plan, read over leave-behinds and written testimony they got tonight, read the Portland Business Alliance’s long and late letter, and who knows what else.
Before the gavel dropped to close tonight’s hearing, Adams addressed the pro-bike crowd:
“Don’t worry, it’s going pass… You want your city council invested in the details… taking another week to get these questions answered is really worth the cause … thanks for your patience.”