The City of Portland’s Bicycle Advisory Committee — a 13 member group that advises the City on “bicycle-related matters” — has released their letter in response to Commissioner Dan Saltzman’s Bike Plan funding proposal.
The BAC initially intended to draft a letter in support of Saltzman’s idea (after he pitched it to them in person at their monthly meeting on Tuesday), but now they have put some conditions on that support.
The letter states that the BAC will only back Saltzman’s proposal if it could, “… on its merits, enjoy the full support of the entire council.”
Given that I’ve heard from Commissioner Randy Leonard that he won’t vote for the proposal, it seems as though Saltzman no longer has support from the BAC.
Here’s how the BAC explains their two specific “reservations” about the proposal:
- This is a big moment for bicycling in Portland. The Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 is bold, visionary, far- reaching, and enjoys broad support. Our concern is that if this funding measure does not have the full support of all five commissioners, it may unnecessarily detract from the plan and its power at this crucial juncture.
- There is no rush on this particular amendment. While the BAC would love to see adequate funding dedicated to the plan’s implementation immediately, we recognize that some careful strategizing has yet to be done….
….So while we recognize the symbolic value of having funding attached to the plan on the day of its adoption, and while we stress that there is an urgent need to provide bike funding generally, we feel that the City has the time to develop a more prudent, comprehensive approach to funding the Bike Plan for 2030.
This letter by the BAC is significant beyond its face value. The Committee has been going through an internal discussion of late about what type of role it should play in local bike issues. Historically, they have not questioned local electeds (the term rubber-stamp committee comes to mind) and have tended to be more reactive in their positions. By saying essentially, “Thanks, but no thanks,” to a Commissioner who wants to raise money for bike projects, the BAC is showing that they aren’t simply going to sign-off on every pro-bike idea that comes their way.