The popular Oregon Public Broadcasting radio show, Think Out Loud, will tackle PBOT’s North Williams Traffic Safety Project tomorrow.
Here’s how OPB sets up tomorrow’s one-hour discussion:
“North Williams Avenue in Portland has become a controversial street in the last few months. Currently, on the one way street, there are two lanes for cars plus a bike lane, but the bike lane often overflows as cyclists leave downtown at rush hour. The Portland Bureau of Transportation planned on transforming one of the two car lanes into a wider bike lane, but the project has been delayed. That’s because some in the historically African-American neighborhood felt that the project didn’t adequately address important issues like gentrification, equity and race.”
The show plans on tackling a “perception in some quarters that the City of Portland is more concerned with increasing bicycling than it is with helping minorities.”
Unfortunately, in their blog post, OPB includes a myth about bicycling that continues to perpetuate and poison discussions citywide. They refer to a recent Skanner article where an African-American man said, “…bike lanes will get $600 million over the next 20 years, but there is half a million for gang outreach for the next two years.”
As I hope we all know by now, it is factually incorrect to say that the City is spending $600 million on “bike lanes.” That number is simply the sum total of the wish list of projects included in the 2030 Bike Plan and no such funding commitment has ever been made. (Unfortunately, The Skanner isn’t the only local paper to allow this falsehood to perpetuate.)
That quibble aside, I’m glad that OPB is taking on this sensitive and complex topic.
I’ve accepted an invitation to be in-studio for the show and I look forward to the discussion. To weigh in and be a part of the conversation, chime in over on the Think out Loud blog.