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Commissioner Fritz: No to bike share until “dangerous” bicycling subsides

Posted by on August 16th, 2011 at 1:26 pm

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Commissioner Amanda Fritz
(Photo © J. Maus)

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz plans to vote against a PBOT request for federal funds that includes a bike share system when it comes in front of Council tomorrow.

Since her winning campaign back in 2008, Fritz has championed “basic services for all 95 neighborhoods” as the pillar of her policy making. Given that, when it was reported yesterday that she would vote no on bike share, I wasn’t completely surprised.

What I am surprised about is that the “basic services first” mantra isn’t the only reason she objects to the bike share project.

In an email to a constituent who urged Fritz to support bike share, the Commissioner said she won’t support it because she sees too much bad bicycling behavior already downtown and she’s concerned bike share will just make it worse. In the email, she also accuses “the cycling community” of not doing enough to curb what she calls “dangerous behaviors.”

See Commissioner Fritz’s email below (emphasis mine)…

“… My choice is basic infrastructure to make streets safer for all, before a bike rental program to encourage people to cycle in an unsafe environment.

I may support a bike sharing program downtown when I see bike riders using downtown streets and sidewalks in a safe manner. Daily, I see cyclists in the Light rail and bus lanes in front of my office. I see cyclists riding on the sidewalks, endangering and harassing pedestrians. I see cyclists running red lights and making illegal turns off the bus mall. And these are presumably experienced cyclists. I believe a bike rental program downtown would only add to these unsafe behaviors. The behaviors are unsafe for cyclists as well as pedestrians and drivers. The cycling community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate riders or reduce these dangerous behaviors.

Until downtown streets and sidewalks are safe for all modes of users, I will not support using scarce transportation dollars for projects that would exacerbate problems rather than providing basic services that enhance safety for all modes.”

When I emailed Fritz asking to share reasons for her opposition, she replied that, “I would rather spend $2 million on structural improvements for cyclists and pedestrians on Barbur, or elsewhere in neighborhoods outside of downtown.” She also added the sentiment about bicycling behavior:

“I am also concerned about behavior I see every day downtown, with cyclists riding on the sidewalks, bus and light rail lanes. Since even cyclists who are experienced riding downtown endanger themselves and other users of the right-of-way, I can’t support a program encouraging additional, occasional cyclists downtown without a proactive education campaign first.”

Fritz hasn’t shared details of a plan that would adequately educate people about how to operate bicycles in traffic and she hasn’t provided any benchmark for how much good behavior she’d like to see before she’d feel comfortable spending money on bike projects downtown.

Perhaps she’ll flesh out her objections during testimony at City Council tomorrow morning. Stay tuned for a full report.

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Jim F
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Jim F

Nothing Amanda Fritz does or says could surprise me.

Bill Michtom
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Bill Michtom

Way to criticize with no support for your statement.

John Mulvey
Guest
John Mulvey

This is an incredibly short-sighted position for Amanda to take. I’ve been a big booster for the Foster improvements and have been disappointed with the BTA’s approach to this round of Flex Funds –they’ve burned more bridges than they realize, I think.

That said, Amanda is on the verge of ensuring herself a quick exit from the council. This is an incredibly stupid position to take.

Andrew Seger
Guest
Andrew Seger

This is all so correct. Especially since the main criticism against Frtiz is she lacks vision. Hopefully with Sam Adams and Randy Leonard not running again it can still garner the votes. Can’t wait to vote against her.

Bill Michtom
Guest
Bill Michtom

Please provide a long-sighted position. Thanks.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Interesting. Perhaps we should not allow any additional cars into the CBD until the existing cars, experienced drivers, show that they can be responsbile, not drive in the bus lane, respect speed limits, red lights and crosswalks.

Seth Alford
Guest
Seth Alford

Taken to its logical conclusion, Fritz’s logic would have us not spend any transportation dollars on any project. Ever. Mark made the argument about the car driving community. But he neglected to mention that bus drivers sometimes make mistakes, so we can’t spend anything on buses until the bus driving community gets all of its members to not ever make a mistake. I’m sure that street-car and Max motormen sometimes neglect to blow the horn for a grade crossing, overshoot a station, close the doors too soon so that parents and children are separated, etc. So we can’t spend any more money on rail based transit until the rail based transit community gets all of their members to never do anything wrong, etc.

Colin
Guest
Colin

Turn Signals!!!!!!!! I live downtown and ride every day of the year and hardly a single day passes where I don’t have a driver turn right in front of me without signaling. If following all the rules is a prerequisite for using the roads then there are plenty of drivers that shouldn’t be allowed and money for roads should be cut off.

007
Guest
007

…and not drive in the bike lane, the green place, make right hooks, talk on the phone, text. If any group needs to be educated it is the drivers. How many people will have to be maimed and killed before the law “yield to cyclists in the bike lane ” is lodged in their thick skulls?
Otherwise, I really admire Amanda. She is hard-working and dedicated.

Michweek
Guest
Michweek

Don’t forget those aggressive pedestrians! All over the place, jay walking, walking against the lights, darting out in front of people, opening/closing car doors, texting while not looking where they are walking. Man, we need high school Ped Ed!

Dave
Guest

I appreciate her concern about prioritizing projects like Barbur, I understand that many areas of Portland, particularly SW and far East Portland are still lacking things we consider basic amenities, like sidewalks and such.

The safe riding argument is just a red herring. If we used that same argument for automotive programs, there would be no rental cars or car-share programs, because people driving behave in the same manner. All of the arguments she lists there (except riding on the sidewalks) I see daily from people driving as well. It’s not the mode of transportation that makes the person irresponsible.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

I see plenty of motorcycles driving on the sidewalk…

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Yes, quite the red herring. And particularly deceiving, because it holds a specific user-group hostage to a unrealistically high bar to reach, therefore making it easy for her to *never* have to approve it. Very sneaky.

This part was particularly annoying:

“The cycling community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate riders or reduce these dangerous behaviors.”

You know, that’s not my job. I can try and influence my friends and family, but I have little influence on what strangers do. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the job of PDOT and the Portland Police. The last time I tried to “chastise” a guy on a fixie who ran some stop signs and flipped off a van, all I got was a look over the shoulder as he rode away, and I sort of felt like a douche. Besides potentially provoking a fight, there is little I can do to hold a stranger accountable.

And I sort of hate the term “cycling community” like we’re some sort of cohesive group, with a secret meeting every Monday night at the local grange hall. We are as diverse as any other “community”, and

When drivers are required to start holding each other accountable before road improvements are made, I’ll listen to what Amanda has to say. Until then, I can’t wait to vote her out of office. She obviously has no use there.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

When was the last time you saw a government subsidized car rental program. Otherwise, your argument is silly.

Richard Masoner
Guest

@Kevin: The city of San Jose recently completed a shiny, brand new consolidated rental car facility at the airport for $270 million. I’m pretty sure that counts as a subsidy.

007
Guest
007

It wouldn’t surprise me if the government is subsidizing Hertz, Budget, National, etc. We taxpayers are always subsidizing business and industry, the latest being poultry factory “farmers”. Frankly, I don’t think my taxpayer dollars should subsidize the torture of a billion chickens. Off topic, I know.

jay jay mack
Guest
jay jay mack

Exactly – we don’t even have sidewalks in half the east side and they want to spend millions on these give-away bikes.

I’m pretty sure most of the people who like to bike in this town already own bikes. If there is any demand for temporary rental bikes I’m sure there are bike places that rent them.

The meth heads will dig up copper pipes out of the payment, how do you plan on keeping them from just stealing all the bikes?

More bike infrastructure is what we need, not a bunch of free bikes laying around.

peejay
Guest
peejay

I hope she’s holding up any road resurfacing or other improvements that might benefit motorists until such time as 18-year olds don’t drive their SUVs into cyclists in the bike lane.

What a piece of work.

Allison
Guest
Allison

Ok, so let me get this straight, bike-sharing (whose chief customers are likely to be out-of-towners and commuters) is a bad idea because people who probably aren’t likely to be using the bike-share (obviously, they own their own bikes currently) aren’t cycling safely downtown?

Obviously there’s are problems with her the premise, that a) it’s dangerous to cycle downtown. Unless I’ve missed the coverage, all the most recent dangerous bike/car interactions have been in much more suburban areas – places where arterial traffic can reach speeds of above 35 miles an hour. b) that it’s cyclists creating the danger – I suppose it’s Commissioner Fritz making the very human mistake we all do – mistaking her personal witness (colored by a pre-developed narrative) as actual, you know, evidence. But my personal witness, colored by a pre-developed narrative says that’s malarky.

But it also assumes something rather strange – that it’s people who ride bicycles (or maybe people who want to make it safer for people to ride bicycles, or maybe people who like to talk about bicycle safety) who are responsible for educating other people who happen to ride bicycles in the rules of the road. Because I’m pretty sure absolutely no assumption like that is made for operators of motor vehicles…I’m pretty sure that’s the government’s job, rather than say, AAA’s job.

I say we stop all highway construction funding until all speeding is stopped. We should stop all new road building until people stop running red lights. And we should stop issuing new vehicle licensing until motorists stop getting confused by the new highly restrictive and rather byzantine Portland Transit Mall.

Nik
Guest
Nik

I follow all the rules on my bicycle. What exactly am I supposed to do about somebody who isn’t me?

If people are doing riding in a bad way it reflects the degree to which bicycles are treated like 2nd (or 3rd) class road users. It is intimidating riding around downtown, and I feel lucky that my commute schedule allows me to go uphill for 20 blocks through downtown before 7am when the traffic is light and that I can go downhill on my way home and keep up with the traffic flow.

Accommodate cyclists with useful infrastructure and compliance with laws will increase. Hold infrastructure hostage to playing somebody else’s game with a stacked deck and some will comply, some will continue going where they need to go the best way they know how, rules-be-damned, and some will give up entirely.

Every time I’m downtown I see people on foot jaywalking and crossing the street against the lights. I say no more sidewalks until the pedestrian community ceases their rude and unsafe behavior.

(I tend to agree with Fritz on this one from a policy standpoint, but the “oh yeah and cyclists are law-breaking-jerks too” argument doesn’t make me want to)

Allison
Guest
Allison

Certainly, her position of, “Let’s spend money to keep people from getting killed on Barbur before we spend money to make things more convenient downtown for business travelers and lunch time commute trips” is valid. Limited funding and all that…but she’s not saying “If we had all the money in the world we’d do both” she’s punishing bike advocates because she has some idea that people ride their bikes on the sidewalk downtown.

tim
Guest
tim

Which is where people have been getting killed.

Matthew
Guest

I would like nothing more than for the cyclists downtown (and elsewhere in the city) to start behaving like responsible members of society — except, perhaps, for the drivers downtown and elsewhere in the city to start behaving like responsible members of society — but I agree this is a somewhat bizarre reaction.

Maybe she’s just trying to use this project to get a dialogue started?

Allan
Guest
Allan

I worry that politicians are coming to the conclusion that throwing up completely unrelated anti-bike arguments like this are a way to win votes. Certainly not mine

Joe Rowe
Guest
Joe Rowe

Time for the city to stop funding car projects with general fund money. That is until cars behave better…. stop killing pedestrians and bikes, driving on the rails in the bus mall, making illegal turns. etc, etc.

Time to audit how much general fund money goes to car projects, land for parking lots, etc etc. Amanda has some valid points about all the bad behavior on 2 and 4 wheels.

P Finn
Guest
P Finn

Booooooo. Red herring indeed. The best way to “educate” the ignorant is to get more people cycling. We all know that the more cyclists, the safer it becomes. That means more motorists off the road. You know, the ones behind the wheel of a two-ton deadly weapon.

Who’s unsafe?

Ethan
Guest
Ethan

Sometimes I think she’s crazy as a bedbug. Seriously though, when an elected official falls prey to the nonsense that cyclists’ behavior patterns are different than drivers or even pedestrians, we have a big problem. If anyone should be able to parse the relative R.O.I. of bike investment, and the inequities of a system that essentially subsidizes motor vehicle use, it should be our elected officials.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I’m only downtown around night class time at PSU (5pm and then 9pm) at the southern end, but I can’t recall seeing higher levels of lawlessness among cyclists compared with other modes. I have seen all modes conducting their fair share of illegal activities around the bus mall. Cyclists probably run red lights at a higher rate, but cars undoubtedly exceed the speed limits at a higher rate. If cars could fit on the sidewalks, people would probably use them to harass pedestrians as well. They already do that at crosswalks.

Allison
Guest
Allison

I <3 the north-south LRT corridor through downtown, but the way it was designed is almost *impossible* to understand and use legally if you're not on the MAX. I don't blame cyclists and drivers from not always getting it. I think it'd be easier on everyone if it was entirely transit only rather than mostly almost always transit only except here and then there you have to turn again….

Ross Williams
Guest

What Amanda seems to be saying is that she opposes this bike sharing project because it will encourage cycling. Given the misbehavior she sees, she is opposed to anything that encourages more people to bicycle. At least downtown. At least people know where she stands.

jay jay mack
Guest
jay jay mack

That’s crazy.

All she is saying is that there is a problem downtown – and that having hundreds of drunks and tweakers flying everywhere on their new free bikes will make it worse.

As a cyclist do you want to share the road with the type of people who are going to be using these free bikes? All the normal non-druggie people that like to bike already have bikes.

But the problem will take care of itself as these same people will also promptly steal all the bike.

k.
Guest
k.

Yeah. And Sidewalks too. We shouldn’t fund any more sidewalk construction until we put an end to all that dangerous jay walking.

LDA
Guest
LDA

These are all good comments, perhaps they should be mailed to Amanda?

Amanda@portlandoregon.gov

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

Thanks for posting the nudge! It caused me to email my thoughts to Commissioner Fritz! 🙂

Alex
Guest
Alex

Why doesn’t she propose outlawing the bike rentals too? That’s the same kind of clientele that would be using the bike share program. Her 99% chance of being a single-term commissioner just went up to 100%. Most of us don’t need to be “educated” because we already know better. It’s all about enforcement. She could apply the same perspective to the Max. No new Max expansions until there’s no more fare evasion, darn it! Oh wait, fair inspections almost never happen. So much for that.

John Mulvey
Guest
John Mulvey

I’ll disagree with you about Amanda’s chances. I think the conventional wisdom in City Hall and among political types was that she had a very slim chance. But her base of support isn’t among those folks. Out in the hinterlands I think she was actually about 50/50.

Trouble is, public financing is gone, she has no money, so she has no polls and no way of gauging her support or identifying the right message.

So apparently she’s going by her gut, which in this case was a really bad idea.

Kurt Kemmerer
Guest
Kurt Kemmerer

She is not proposing to outlaw anything.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

I intend to only use the bike sharing system to harass pedestrians.

But on a serious note, it looks like she’s starting to take tougher stands because she’s not running for reelection. Wait…what? She is running? How?

mabsf
Guest
mabsf

Oh, how nice, so Ms Fritz is supporting radical driver’s ed about save behavior and basic traffic rules? How nice and progressive of her!
(drip, sarcasm, drip)

cyclist
Guest
cyclist

Amanda Fritz is the worst type of politician, she’s unable to build coalitions to pass legislation that matters to her, so her only real role is to make symbolic “no” votes, since votes like this one pass without her support anyway.

Nice work Amanda, I’m looking forward to booting you from the City Council at my first available opportunity.

mabsf
Guest
mabsf

So in Ms. Fritz’ mind, our down town belongs to cars? How peculiar…

Lance P.
Guest
Lance P.

Does she realize who voted her into office? With this short sited and misguided position I for one am excited to vote her out of office.

Brad
Guest
Brad

Brilliant political move! Since cyclists comprise less than 10% of the city electorate, she can alienate the most passionate and vocal bike advocates while postioning herself as the candidate who will hold bicyclists accountable. Yet, she can also claim that she is not anti-bike but pro-responsibility and pro-safety.

Commissioner Fritz will not pass the BikePortland purity test but she just picked up a ton of votes outside our relatively small echo chamber.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Brad,

You are making a common error in thinking that the mode split numbers are somehow representative of the amount of people in Portland who care about bicycling and the benefits it brings to our city.

I’d be will to bet that a majority of Portlanders feel that our city needs to do all it can to promote safer, more efficient, affordable, healthier, and more environmentally responsible ways of getting around.

Yes, if you asked everyone.. “Are you a cyclist?” Maybe a small percentage would answer “yes!”… But if you asked people whether or not they care about building a transportation system that makes it easier to ride a bicycle, you’d get well over 50%.

You’re also making the mistake of thinking this site is a “relatively small echo chamber.” BikePortland has probably the largest audience of any citizen-run site in the region and there are very diverse opinions expressed here on a daily basis.

Thanks for your comment.

John Mulvey
Guest
John Mulvey

I think there are a strident group of anti-bike people, though they were unlikely to have voted for Amanda Fritz anyway.

The more significant group, in terms of votes, is the people in the center who have started to perceive that bike projects hold some kind of special place in this city compared to other needs.

Because of the heat that the Oregonian and others have generated with their “bike war” rhetoric and awful, divisive coverage of every traffic story, there are a growing number of “difference splitters” –they generally support alternative transportation but think the balance has tipped too far, and draw the conclusion that this side’s a little bit right and the other side’s a little bit right. This middle group is a significant number of voters in this city.

I think there are good arguments to be made to answer their concerns. It’s really sad that the Mayor and the BTA have done such a rotten job of reaching out to them and making the arguments that might pursuade them. I can guarantee it will turn out to have been a serious error in strategy.

As for Amanda, she is making a cynical attempt to grab the anti-bike constituency (which, as I said, won’t vote for her anyway) and her strident black-and-white view on the issue won’t win her any of the difference-splitters either.

Until this morning I was a big Amanda Fritz supporter, and I’ve communicated with her on many issues over the last several years. I really wish she’d have talked to me (or someone) within the biking community before deciding to stake out such an asinine position. Something more nuanced would have put her in a good spot. This puts her halfway out the door.

-John

Allan
Guest
Allan

very good + interesting analysis

007
Guest
007

Disagree with you about Amanda pandering to anti-cyclists. She has integrity, actually.

Brad
Guest
Brad

I would counter that you make the common error that the majority of Portlanders really care about bike infrastructure and that you overestimate our political clout.

Everyone says they want… That is, until they are told the money will be at the expense of another nice program they like, or from a tax hike, overpayment of their sewer bill, etc. If bikes and their fans were really that powerful and popular, then why not put a levy out there to build the 2030 plan in its entirety? But would a majority property owners in Portland go for that? How about channeling 10% of PBOT’s annual budget towards bike infrastructure and safety? Or would that piss off the business interests and choke off the supply of campaign cash?

I agree with most here that Fritz’s posturing is both silly and cynical but I also firmly believe that it will appeal to voters that think that Portland should be spening more effort on things like schools, public safety, and social concerns before giving more to bikes. Think back to the recent Metro race where Tom Hughes rather cynically embraced the CRC and scored a narrow victory. Where was the mighty pro-bike / safe transportation vote? Why has Sam Adams time and again walked back from his big bike talk and waffled on CRC? Why have no other prominent Portland civic electeds really ever stuck their necks out on truly bold bike initiatives? Where is “The Bike Candidate” with broad appeal rather than “that bike guy” that cannot get enough signatures to qualify for public campaign financing? Why isn’t the BTA getting the nation’s toughest cyclist protections in Salem simply because they represent the region’s bicyclists and no politician dares offend that constituency?

Because the pro-bike vote doesn’t hold a candle to the combined forces of business, the motor carrier industry, and regular people looking after their own financial self interests.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

I actually agree with almost everything in your comment Brad.

My main point was that it’s a mistake to think that the opinion about bicycling is the same as the mode split.

But on your other points, you are taking words almost completely out of my mouth! I too am frustrated at the lack of bold politics and advocacy in our region around bicycling.

I think we missed opportunities to put out an active transportation bond measure, I think the repeated PR debacles from City Hall have hurt bicycling in this city, I think we need someone (BTA? our next Mayor?) to announce a bold and very public vision for bicycling to get us way beyond the low-hanging fruit.

But I digress. Thanks for your comment.

Otto
Guest
Otto

This goes back to “what is the bicycle community”? I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a bicycle, but most are not regular riders… whatever that means. But that doesn’t mean that the so-called irregular riders don’t want safe cycling infrastructure or wouldn’t care if someone like Fritz condescended to them about riding “responsibly”.

Otto
Guest
Otto

Just want to add that I’m skeptical on bike sharing too, but I’m not using anonymous and exaggerated tales of the “irresponsible cyclist” as a cop out.

I wish bicycles weren’t politicized.

007
Guest
007

Tom Hughes won only because Bob Stacey turned out to be a flawed candidate. If you were paying attention you know why.

John
Guest
John

Brad gets more right with his comment than he gets wrong. Most of the comments here are criticizing Fritz for being illogical. But politics aren’t logical. Fritz is voicing a common criticism of cyclists — “they don’t obey the rules!” We see it every day. We all know that annoying, irritated feeling when you see some cycling dude blow through a red light. Now you can add to it that cycling is redirecting transportation funds that should be used for safety improvements in neighborhoods where people live. Fritz is a good politician and she is wrapping up a bunch of votes with her opposition and her statements. More importantly, this is the nucleus of a political backlash against cycling. Before it grows into something real, we need to take her seriously and try to meet her halfway. She wants to see the cycling community in Portland do a little more education and self-policing on following the traffic rules. That isn’t unreasonable, and it is a small price to pay if we want cycling to have continued political support in Portland.

JF
Guest
JF

I would have respected her more if she just indicated the money should be spent on other higher priority projects. Bringning up her general thought on bicyclist behaviors she happens to observe/remember is a poor strategy on her part.

I only remember all the autos that run read lights. I don’t remember all the autos that stop/yield.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“I don’t remember all the autos that stop/yield.”

I do, since I can count them on two fingers. Drivers following the rules related to yielding to peds/cyclists is the exception. Heck, drivers even knowing the rules is the exception.

whiney
Guest
whiney

Hey… still true, even with my changes.

“… My choice is basic infrastructure to make streets safer for all, before a car rental program to encourage people to drive in an unsafe environment.

I may support a car sharing program downtown when I see drivers using downtown streets in a safe manner. Daily, I see drivers in the Light rail and bus lanes in front of my office. I see drivers endangering and harassing pedestrians. I see drivers running red lights and making illegal turns off the bus mall. And these are presumably experienced drivers. I believe a car rental program downtown would only add to these unsafe behaviors. The behaviors are unsafe for drivers as well as pedestrians and cyclists. The driving community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate drivers or reduce these dangerous behaviors.

Until downtown streets and sidewalks are safe for all modes of users, I will not support using scarce transportation dollars for projects that would exacerbate problems rather than providing basic services that enhance safety for all modes.”

John Lascurettes
Guest

Can we use Fritz’s own logic to forbid any highway or CRC funding until motor vehicle operators start operating safely too? I mean, they actually kill people.

Charley
Guest
Charley

I’m with the others: no new automobile funding until drivers learn how to drive sober, and not kill cyclists and pedestrians. That would be the logical conclusion of Fritz’s reasoning.

thefuture
Guest
thefuture

I formally retract my previous endorsement of Amanda Fritz’s position on the bike share issue in light of this new evidence. I think most people on bikes want to operate safely and within the law but the infrastructure is not always clear or safe causing them to do things like ride on the sidewalk (which to some seems safer even though its not). I think everyone agrees the transit mall is just straight up weird and not intuitive for any mode of transportation.

I do still think funds should go to outer neighborhoods before bike share though.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Now if she had simply said the part about outer east needing more bike funding more than downtown without the nonsensical correlation with bicyclist behavior, she would’ve come off as much more convincing and more pro bike.
Didn’t she vote in favor of the latest CRC mess? She must think that all the daily car drivers have eaten their vegetables…..

Evan Manvel
Guest
Evan Manvel

FYI, Amanda Fritz has been one of the few public officials to speak at rallies against the CRC mega-highway boondoggle.

Rol
Guest

Makes sense… it’s in keeping with her position of being against everything.

007
Guest
007

B.S.!

NW Biker
Guest
NW Biker

No more treats for you until all of other kids clean up their rooms.

I mean, seriously.

I also noted the repeated use of “cycling community,” as if everyone who ever rode a bike carried some kind of membership card.

Matt
Guest
Matt

I just sent her the following email:

I may support car rentals downtown when I see motorists using downtown streets in a safe manner. Daily, I see motorists in the light rail and bus lanes. I see motorists endangering and harassing pedestrians. I see motorists running red lights and making illegal turns off the bus mall. And these are presumably experienced motorists. I believe a car rental program downtown would only add to these unsafe behaviors. The behaviors are unsafe for motorists as well as pedestrians and cyclists. The motoring community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate motorists or reduce these dangerous behaviors.

I’ll add that daily I see motorists run stop signs and proceed through crosswalks and endangering pedestrians. I see motorists speeding in residential neighborhoods and school zones. I regularly have motorists use my neighborhood as a cut-through during rush hour. The list goes on and on.

Your argument is profoundly illogical. If it’s not, let’s then seriously consider eliminating automobiles from the downtown area.

anonymous
Guest
anonymous

I have personally broke all the laws available on the way to delivering a package to many, many different offices at city hall in 15 minutes or less.

scott
Guest
scott

When is she planning on having her community police itself for bad behaviors. There are probably less politicians out for the benefit of their constituents than there are cyclists who foot-down at stop signs.

David M
Guest

I certainly think the ‘people operating bicycles dangerously’ is a silly argument, but I really can’t help but feel that money would be better spent increasing access and safely in parts of the city that are sorely lacking bike infrastructure.

Jason Skelton
Guest
Jason Skelton

As an FYI, Mary Nolan is running against Amanda for her seat on the council. Mary would likely be quite an improvement over Amanda.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Between this and Fritz’s position on SW Ankeny, I’m becoming much more interested in Nolan as a possible replacement. Is there somewhere to find out more about her views on issues like these?

007
Guest
007

I’m voting for Amanda. I’m a 365 bike commuter. Amanda is honest. At least you know where she stands. You may not agree with her but at least she’s not a liar like most politicians.

are
Guest

Allison
pretty sure that’s the government’s job, rather than say, AAA’s job.
until you said that, i wasn’t clicking on what fritz could possibly mean by the “bicycling community,” for reasons others have cited.

but i actually do think triple A has a role to fill in educating motorists, so maybe fritz means the BTA and/or possibly LAB.

while BTA does have some educational programming for schoolchildren, and they have ray thomas giving his little seminar practically every month, they don’t have a lot of hands-on direct commuter education. in theory, LAB does, through their LCIs, but i am not aware that any local LCIs are particularly active. (disclaimer: i am an LCI and i do not teach LAB’s curriculum.)

but (again as others have noted) the people fritz would want BTA or LAB to reach aren’t really listening to those sources because they do not see themselves as part of that “community.”

so who do these scofflaws listen to? allison suggests the government, which i guess is the “community” writ large. do they listen to commercial radio, do they watch television, do they read the mercury? these would be channels for this kind of messaging.

much as i kinda like fritz, this not a dime until the sidewalk surfers clean up their act thing is pandering, pure and simple, because there is no way to meet her criterion.

poncho
Guest
poncho

You barely need to spend money on bike improvements on Barbur and East Portland or any location for that matter if you just LOWER the speed limit to a safe speed so that all users can use the road in safety.

Anyone notice how bike infrastructure is almost entirely about protecting cyclists from the dangers and general impacts of automobiles? If there were no automobiles you would not need bike lanes, cycle tracks, HAWK signals, bike blvds, etc. You would just use the street. Better yet, there wouldnt even be stop signs or traffic signals, every intersection would function like a tiny traffic circle like you see on Sunday Parkways.

Therefore bike infrastructure funding should be coming entirely from automobile users who are the sole reason for the need for bike infrastructure in the first place.

erik
Guest
erik

Amanda is going to be @ Friends of Mt. Tabor Park Annual Picnic tonight 5 – 8pm.
Why don’t we stop by and talk to her about it.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Yeah, because the Friends of MT Tabor themselves are such a level headed nice group..lol

We should go say hi..

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

I know how to balance the federal and all states budgets:
CANCEL ALL FUNDING FOR AUTOMOBILE BASED PROJECTS!

I may support an AUTO sharing program downtown when I see automobile drivers using downtown streets and crosswalks in a safe manner. Daily, I see automobile drivers in the Light rail and bus lanes in front of my office. I see automobile drivers drivers on the bike lanes, endangering and harassing cyclists. I see automobile drivers running red lights and making illegal turns off the bus mall. And these are presumably experienced government licensed automobile drivers. I believe an automobile parking systemdowntown would only add to these unsafe behaviors. The behaviors are unsafe for automobile driversas well as pedestrians and cyclists. The automobile driving community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate drivers or reduce these dangerous behaviors.

There, I fixed that for you.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

This kind of parental attitude steams me to no end. In no other public context do we hear about making allocation of resources contingent on some ambiguous standard of good behavior, as though cyclists (and potential bike users(!)) are puppies in training that have to sleep in the garage until they stop peeing on the carpet.

At the same time, we’ve got rabid dogs crapping on the carpet, attacking visitors, and destroying the furniture–practically tearing the house down–yet we have no compunction about spending the money to replace the carpet, buy better furniture and supply doggy treats for them!

poncho
Guest
poncho

portland’s very own michele bachmann

she’s coo coo for cocoa puffs

007
Guest
007

Rude.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Funny how she demanded that there’d be tables for public use on the car-free block of Ankeney St, but did not put conditions of behavior on those members of the public who would use them, like no public consumption of drugs, no panhandling, etc.

Ben
Guest

I think Fritz is right on about unsafe bicyclists. It PISSES ME OFF when I see terribly unsafe, stupid cyclists just making a bad name for themselves and the rest of us. Running red lights is only going to make cycling more unsafe for everyone.

are
Guest

and what do you personally do about it. fritz is holding you responsible.

scott
Guest
scott

Or more fun.

dwainedibbly
Guest
dwainedibbly

I wish the “driving community” would do more to discourage dangerous behavior in their ranks. No more funding for automotive infrastructure!

dwainedibbly
Guest
dwainedibbly

Apologies to everyone who posted the same sentiment prior to me. I was so livid when I saw this story that I posted before reading comments.

Can we get a comment about ZipCar? How do they feel now that it’s clear that they aren’t welcome in downtown Portland?

jim
Guest
jim

There is no law that says somebody like Hertz or Budget cant rent out bikes. Why do we need govt to run this? It would be just one more thing that will lose more money than it takes in. Amanda is right that this is not the highest thing on the priority list. There are a lot of other things we should take care of first.
Remeber Sam Adams vision of creating jobs in Portland? Make the city real nice and jobs will just come here. That was a failed plan, and this seems to be just more spending money in a foolish fashion. Kudos to Amanda for sticking to her guns.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

” There is no law that says somebody like Hertz or Budget cant rent out bikes. Why do we need govt to run this? …” jim

Good question. Probably because it’s a tough business to make pay off, and the execs and stockholders of those companies know this.

“Amanda’s on the Fritz. I can’t believe nobody’s made that joke yet. …” Rol August 16, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Rol …I’m sure lots of people have been thinking that very same bad joke, but not wanting to post it, even though it’s kind of silly fun to think it.

It’s anyone’s guess why Fritz would introduce road user bad behavior by people that ride bikes in traffic, as one of her reasons to withhold support for a bike share program, because it seems there’s no small number of drawbacks a bike share system would face in Portland in order to be successful. Maybe Fritz was just having a bad day.

At any rate, a lot of the comments to this story suggest people certainly have been having a ton of fun giving Fritz the ol’ jab. So now…having done that, I hope people will return to coming up with ideas about how a bike share system in Portland could actually work.

Though vastly different in concept and execution they’d be, when the idea of bike share systems come up, I can’t help recalling Portland’s experiment more than once with the ‘yellow bike program’, which seems to have been an almost complete program. Better name for that one might have been ‘Portland’s Program for Vanishing Yellow Bikes’.

Joe C
Guest
Joe C

The ‘yellow bikes’ program is in no way comparable to city-wide bike sharing programs as exemplified by DC, Toronto, Paris, Amsterdam, Hangzhou and the like. The Twin Cities bikeshare program experienced only 1 bike theft in its first year of operation.

Just food for thought.

Eli
Guest

This thread is fascinating, from a social justice and white privilege point of view.

Like white people in America, motorists get the privilege that nobody is judging the motoring class based on their individual actions — nobody is going threaten banning cars from downtown because a minority of people drive dangerously.

But like non-white people, bicyclists are put on the spot to justify the behaviors and actions of other people in our class, and to have our right to safe infrastructure be made contingent upon each member of our minority group meeting the expectations of a member of the dominant, privileged group that takes their safe road access for granted.

P.S. Amanda, in the unlikely event you’re reading this, I live in Seattle but visit Portland monthly to bike on your much more bike-friendly roads. The only place I bike on the sidewalk is downtown — and that’s because there’s nowhere that ordinary, everyday people who fall into Roger Geller’s “interested but concerned” bucket have to ride. I have no desire to ride on the sidewalk (it kinda sucks, even on my tiny folding bike)– I just don’t have a viable alternative. If you built a cycle track downtown, I promise I’d never ride on your sidewalks again.

are
Guest

downtown is the safest place in portland to bike in the streets.

bsped
Guest
bsped

You choose to ride a bike. People don’t choose to be non-white. Please stop with the “riding a bike is equal to being a minority” mentality. There is no spot to check off on your taxes or on a census form to say you ride a bike. There are tons of minorities out there that can’t stop being who they are to end the harassment that they get. You can always just off a bike.
Please think of another way to get your message across without comparing bikes to being a minority.

are
Guest

the point is that the dominant culture views the cyclist as “the other,” and that rather than trying to change this way of thinking the cyclist is asked to take responsibility for the actions of a few who are grouped with her. and even if it were possible for the cyclist to accept this responsibility (which of course as a practical matter it is not), nothing would change anyway. the cyclist would still be “the other” and would still be on the receiving end of abuse. yes, i can get off the bike and start watching television and shopping at wal*mart and voting for sarah palin, but there is some level at which this is not a true choice.

bsped
Guest
bsped

Just because you don’t use a bike as your main form transportation does not mean you shop at Wal*Mart, watch tv, and vote for Sarah Palin. Is that how you think of anyone who is incapable of riding a bike? DOoyou feel that way about anyone one who can’t use their legs or is blind?
I guess I just don’t understand how hard it is to be white, straight, and to ride a bike in Portland.

All I ask is to not take the mentality of thinking that riding a bike is equal to being a minority. Use an other analogy that makes more sense. I’m just trying to make a point but instead I get harassed by another entitled cyclist on this site.

For the record, I would feel safer riding my bike downtown than I would holding my boyfriend’s hand downtown.

are
Guest

your closing note about holding hands suggests that you actually do get my argument about the cyclist as “other.” i do not feel that i am entitled, and i did not mean my comment as harassment, sorry it came across that way. my point was, and is, that there are some choices we kind of “must” make, or surrender our claim to being sentient creatures. i “must” use a bicycle as my primary transportation (if we are talking about short trips in a motor vehicle as the alternative), and thus i do not really see my choosing to do so as exercising a “choice.”

David Smith
Guest

Who & what’s unsafe? Depends on how you’re thinking, because that is the best predictor of the facts you choose.

BicycleDriver.Com deals with both, safety and the diifferent ways of thinking and compares them. And check out the free report there on The Six Biggest Myths that Steer Bicyclists in the Wrong Direction…Are You at Risk? where opposite ways of thinking are compared. Even if you disagree with me about safety you can learn more about why people believe and behave differently so you’ll understand them better.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

I agree that we should say no to bike share until the streets are safer. Actually I believe we should say no to it in it’s entirety.

But NOT for the reasons Amanda does.

I do not believe our streets are safe enough to invite tourists/et all on barely capable rental bikes onto our streets.
And this is not because of the actions of cyclists.
Certainly not.

On a side note,

Is Amanda Fritz insane or what?

I have not heard much good from her at all.

Is obviously losing your facilities grounds for replacement?

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…Is obviously losing your facilities grounds for replacement?” Dabby

Uh-oh …did Ms Fritz also lose access to the ladies room? This is getting serious.

Rol
Guest

Amanda’s on the Fritz. I can’t believe nobody’s made that joke yet. Seriously though, if she’s going to vote no on everything, why not just fill her council seat with a pumpkin? (Oh but first write “NO” on it with a Sharpie.)

007
Guest
007

Here’s an idea. Write in magic marker above the push button on the hand dryer in the restroom, “For a message from Rol, press the button below.”
I can’t believe nobody’s made that joke yet. LOL.

Ian
Guest
Ian

I fully support investing in Bike Sharing for Portland. That said, I also fully support making ALL of our city safer for walking and biking.
The problem here is not Bike Sharing. The problem is not being given enough funding to create the city we want: one where biking and walking are easy, safe, and attractive. I firmly believe that Bike Sharing is a game changer that will enable our city to see more people adopt the bicycle for more trips, which is never a bad thing.
As advocates and supporters of bicycling, we need to stop fighting amongst ourselves for the scraps we’re being handed when it comes to transportation dollars and start demanding that ALL of our needs are met. If we fall victim to fighting over what we’re given, then we give way to comments like those from Commissioner Fritz that delegitimize our movement as a whole.
From here forward, I am committing to supporting ANYTHING that’s good for bicycling and I refuse to shout down one bike project in favor of another. I sincerely hope you’ll join me.

Joe Adamski
Guest
Joe Adamski

So Amanda is one vote against. What about the Mayor and other Council members? You just have to count to three.
FWIW, I question the bike sharing idea for many reasons. But not one of my reasons is remotely comparable to Amandas objection to ‘the bike community needing to police our behaviours”.I suggest we don’t build the Max bridge while there is a lot of fare evaders. And stop any new road construction projects until everybody stops talking on their cells while driving. Preposterous? Across the board, yes.
While I genuinely like Amanda and believe she is a pretty good Commissioner, and I respect the path she took to office, I disagree on this one issues reasoning.
Which, in the long run, isn’t too bad a record.