NE neighborhood coalition to host “sharing the road” roundtable

Riding on Alberta-1

Riding on NE Alberta.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (NECN, one of several umbrella groups for Portland’s 95 neighborhood associations) will host an event on January 31st billed as, “Sharing the Road: People on the Move.”

The event, which will include speakers from the BTA, the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition, and the City’s Bureau of Transportation, looks to be sort of a town hall on traffic safety. Here’s a snip from the event announcement:

“Speakers… will address safety strategies for people who walk, bike and drive… Underlying cultural tensions exist in conversations about transportation and the profiles of different types of commuters. This event provides a forum for neighbors to hear perspectives from multi-modal transit users, researchers and city planners and discuss the ways in which our City’s different transportation needs connect.”

I really like the sound of this and I hope it’s a productive discussion. There are already tensions that exist between people just based on which mode their using, and we know from past experience that bicycling (and the people who do it) can represent quite a culture clash for some people. I’ve found that education and conversation (not knee-jerk anger) are the best ways to get people to start seeing eye-to-eye.

Last year, the ideas of equity and communities of color really came to the fore around Portland’s bicycle transportation planning table. As PBOT pushes projects into parts of the city where these “underlying tensions” exist, being mindful of them is extremely important. Perhaps insights gleaned from this event will help inform the process for the upcoming bikeway project on N Williams.

Here’s the list of folks that will speak at the event:

  • Carl “Super-Commuter” Larson from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance will provide perspective as someone who uses multiple modes of transportation on a daily basis
  • Steph Routh from the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition discusses a recently published report on the main safety issues facing pedestrians and what can be done to make walking safe for everyone
  • Greg Raisman from Portland’s Office of Transportation discusses the City’s plans to combine safety with community development through a series of transportation “Greenways”

Event details are below…

    Sharing the Road: People on the Move
    January 31st 7-9pm
    Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (NECN)/King Facility (4815 NE 7th Ave.)
    RSVPs are encouraged. Call (503) 823-4135 or email katy[at]necoalition[dot]org
Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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spare_wheel
spare_wheel
13 years ago

i’ve noticed an increasingly apathetic response by local politicians to anti-bike sentiment (prejudice). i think that worrying too much about “underlying tensions” and a “culture clash” can turn into appeasement (e.g. rolling over an begging for more).

Joe
Joe
13 years ago

such a hard balance for me, when someone almost mows me down and keeps pushing. auto culture is
a way diffrent ” life style ” I run into issues with the
rail service and ppl not sharing with bike traffic.

or some just yelling thats why we hate you cyclists
wild vibes. hope one day we can have peace.

I say this is the year of peace 🙂

Whyat
Whyat
13 years ago

It seems like a lot of cyclists in town equate ‘sharing the road’ with everybody getting out of my way ALL the time regardless of the situation. Sharing truly means making sure all forms of transportation (including cars) are able to exist safely on our roads. If you haven’t tried seeing another person’s point of view then you aren’t looking very hard. This goes for all road users.

are
are
13 years ago
Reply to  Whyat

do they? i have not seen much or any of this. i do see a fair amount of it among motorists, some of whom will throw the “share the road” slogan at me if they have had to wait three extra seconds to pass.

jason
jason
13 years ago
Reply to  Whyat

I’ve actually given up on sharing the road in certain situations. For example: When I’m passing parked cars on Killingsworth, I take up the whole lane and won’t apologize for it. I got fed up with leaving room for cars to pass safely only to have them come within inches of clipping me with their mirrors, which was a weekly occurrence.

El Biciclero
El Biciclero
13 years ago
Reply to  jason

You haven’t “given up” on sharing, you are just sharing in a different way; it’s called “taking turns” (see my other comment below). Just like going through the checkout line at the grocery store: some folks have a cart-load, others have one item–checkout lines are still first-come, first-served. You, with your one bag of Doritos(tm) don’t think you have a right to push your way past the mom with a heaping cartfull, do you? No, you wait your turn, or else find another check-out line. The problem on the road is that this model doesn’t seem tolerable by anyone; the only model that people will deal with calmly is simultaneous usage, where it’s my turn all the time.

At the risk of too much digression, I think the reason most folks (esp. drivers) have a problem with the “taking turns” model is the same reason that drivers will yell at me if I am “taking the lane” while stopped at a stop light. I am not holding them up in the slightest (the stop light is), yet their anticipation of being delayed by me is causing them anxiety and anger toward me. In the same way, drivers “stuck” behind some road-hogging cyclist anticipate (fear) being stuck there for hours, rather than for the (usually) seconds they will actually be slowed down. But then most road rage is a product of people’s imaginations.

craig
craig
13 years ago
Reply to  El Biciclero

Hear, hear. Sharing the road does NOT mean sharing the lane.

Steve B
Steve B
13 years ago
Reply to  jason

This is how I ride too Jason. I think this is safest for me, and thankfully most drivers in Portland understand how to be patient and wait for a safe time to pass, or to sit back and get there at the same time. Thank you amazing Portland drivers, you know who you are!

It’s the 5% of drivers who honk and lose it when they have to wait behind a bike that keeps a lot of people off of bikes in the first place.

Mabsf
Mabsf
13 years ago

My take away from the se/ne bikeway meeting was talk, talk and talk some more… I had a real aha moment talking with a lady about cars being parked too close to corners! She’s never going to be my bfe, but perhaps I could sift her persecutive a little bit.

resopmok
resopmok
13 years ago

If you were to say the phrase “car culture,” I would generally think of people who are totally into cars – as a hobby, point of interest, history, etc. But the idea of owning and driving (daily) an automobile is simply part of American culture in general, and has been for decade upon decade. Despite how normalized and Portlandesque riding a bike may seem to some of us, our population at large is still, like most of American culture, committed to driving regularly for nearly all transportation needs. Perhaps at some point economics will force a paradigm shift that moves away from cars, but until then we are stuck with a population resistant to change.

I think it’s unfortunate the comments I read which deny the “bike vs car” debate because so many cyclists are also drivers. The fact that you also drive (and the manner in which you drive) makes no difference while you are riding a bike. While you are on your bike as a member of traffic you will be identified as a cyclist and a member of a minority people who are not like the rest of American culture. A minority in a position of no real power is quite the pickle to be in.

El Biciclero
El Biciclero
13 years ago

“Sharing” takes many different forms. For most folks it seems like the “simultaneous usage” model is the only one they will tolerate, which means that when drivers can’t immediately pass a cyclist, they believe the cyclist isn’t “sharing”.

I would like to remind everyone that the “taking turns” model is an equally valid way of “sharing”. It’s how we share intersections, after all.