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Biking wins big in Metro’s $2.1 million in ‘Regional Travel Options’ grants

Posted by on April 10th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Harrison St Bike Garage at PSU

Portland State University won $150,000 to help build
a Central Campus Cycle Station that will be
even bigger and better than their Harrison
St Bike Garage shown here.

Metro just announced their grant awards for the Regional Travel Options program. The program, which funds, “projects to reduce the number of people driving alone, improve air quality and address community health issues,” doled out $2.1 million to 14 projects throughout the region. Portland won big with several important local (and bike-related) projects getting a slice of the pie. Check out some of the winners below…

Swan Island TMA – Grant award: $123,316
Go Swan Island! is a combination of programs tailored to Swan Island’s four largest employer sites and to Portland Community College’s new Swan Island Workforce Training Center. The project will use marketing strategies and new technologies to increase carpooling and capitalize on anticipated Swan Island business investments. These approaches will promote new travel options programs and $5 million in new bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

Bicycle Transportation Alliance – Grant award: $87,137
The Bike Commute Challenge is a fun, effective program targeting the Metro region that uses friendly competition, educational workshops, business outreach and events to create new bike commuters and to increase the cycling frequency of current riders. The BTA’s Bike Commute Challenge: the Next 3 Million Miles will grow the program in 2013-2015 with a geographic focus on East Portland/Gresham and Washington County and by implementing new strategies to make the program more accessible and appealing beyond white collar workplaces.

Lloyd Transportation Management Association – Grant award: $108,800
The Lloyd District Transportation Options Outreach and Infrastructure program will continue to leverage the Lloyd TMA’s successful commuter programs to a growing employee population, and build program expansion to the growing Lloyd District residential population, which is expected to double with planned developments between now and 2015. The program will also partner with the Lloyd EcoDistrict to achieve shared goals, and support the neighborhood as Oregon’s first established and fully functioning EcoDistrict.

Verde – Grant award: $130,000
Living Cully Walks will be an integrated series of activities that increase travel options, reduce pollution and improve mobility, including culturally-specific marketing to underserved communities, capacity building, efficient living, and data collection. This project will be a component of Living Cully: A Cully Ecodistrict, an equity-based strategy by Verde, Hacienda CDC and NAYA to introduce environmental assets into Cully in response to community needs, and to connect underserved residents to the design, construction and use of these assets.

Community Cycling Center – Grant award: $96,386
The Building Momentum: Empowering People, Connecting Communities program will increase healthy, active living by promoting bicycle ridership in socio-economically isolated and ethnically diverse communities in North and Northeast Portland. This project will increase and maintain mobility for vulnerable populations by working in collaboration with community partners to remove barriers to bicycling, applying culturally-relevant methods that develop community capacity for leadership and economic opportunity and advance effective transportation equity strategies.

Drive Oregon – Grant award: $148,158
In partnership with Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium at Portland State University and Kaiser Permanente, Drive Oregon will acquire, deploy and study the usage patterns of 30 folding electric-assist bicycles (e-bikes) distributed to 180 Kaiser employees at three designated work sites. The pilot project and study will test user acceptance of e-bikes as a first/last mile commuting solution to help reduce single occupancy vehicle use, and create a replicable model for deployment within Kaiser as well as other area employers.

Portland Community College – Grant award: $66,894
Modeling the success of PCC Cascade’s Bike Program, the college will create the district-wide PCC Bike program serving students, and staff in Portland and Washington County. Bike rental programs for students will be at two locations, while self-repair vending machines, fix-it stations, events/workshops, bike commuting and safety information will be district-wide. PCC’s Bike program will increase access to transportation options leading to improved health, reduced financial strain, and increased use of sustainable practices.

City of Portland – Grant award: $400,000
Portland 20 for ‘20 is a multi‐faceted demand management project that will maximize area investments in active transportation and propel Portland to a 20 percent bicycling and walking mode split by 2020. The project includes targeted individualized marketing; comprehensive transportation demand management for new capital projects; support for events that encourage greater use of bicycling and walking; and performance measurement. This comprehensive approach will address the region’s triple‐bottom line by increasing active transportation use in Portland and improving health, safety, mobility, and quality of life.

Portland State University – Grant award: $153,316
The PSU Central Campus Cycle Station will provide 136 secure, sheltered bicycle parking spaces and commuter amenities at the core of the university campus. The goal of this facility is to induce more trips by bicycle to Oregon’s largest university, which has a significant impact on travel behavior both locally and regionally. Surveys of PSU students and employees consistently rank this type of facility as the most desirable benefit for new and emerging bicycle commuters.

This is very exciting news! We’ll keep you posted with details on these projects as they get rolling. Read about the full list of RTO grant recipients on Metro’s website.

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  • Anne Hawley April 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    I’m especially pleased for the CCC. I trust them to make great use of that nice chunk of money, and continue their great work expanding bicycling to everyone.

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  • Craig Harlow April 10, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    In light of the CRC proposal, it will be quite something to see–a supernatural feath, really–for the Swan Island TMA to use their grant to “reduce the number of people driving alone, improve air quality and address community health issues.” Hi David. Haaaaaave ya met GOLIATH?

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  • Dan V April 10, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Want to increase the mode share of non-motorized means? Ban cars from the central city (voila!)…

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    • Craig Harlow April 10, 2013 at 4:27 pm
    • Reza April 11, 2013 at 10:59 am

      Don’t need that. Just put up a cordon for congestion pricing between I-405 and the river. Put tolling gantries on the Willamette River Bridges between Broadway and Hawthorne, and at every I-405 overpass/underpass/on-ramp on the west side (including SW Moody which technically goes under I-5).

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  • Rebecca April 11, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Very happy to hear of Verde’s award! They are already doing amazing work with Cully Park and I can’t wait to see what they are able to do with this grant.

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    • Todd Hudson April 11, 2013 at 11:44 am

      Yes, they are, Rebecca! I can’t wait to see Cully Park built!

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  • Charley April 12, 2013 at 12:03 am

    $2.1 million and the only infrastructure on the ground is covered bike parking at PSU? Seems to me like some, much, or all of this money could have gone to making streets safer, rather than paying the salaries of marketers and mid level bureaucrats.

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    • longgone April 12, 2013 at 9:31 am

      Charley,…It feels as if your blanket statement is lacking a specific observation on how better the funds could be allocated. PSU is getting a mere 150 grand to improve and accentuate a rather large bike freindly environment. This aminity for people in the period between youth and adulthood, keys cycling as a primary mode of transportation in their DNA ,and hopefully they will use it all their lives. I have no issue of funds for CCC, dispite my ill guided thoghts years ago that they were mearly a tax write-off for Bike Gallery. They play a key role in the community, and have proven over time to be wonderful. I see many things here that in the long run will improve safety on the street. What to you see that is truly missing in any of these grants?

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  • Charley April 12, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    I want to see exactly what is lacking: infrastructure on the ground. (That would mean cycletracks, bike lanes, MUPs. . . etc).

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  • Charley April 12, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    And, in case the anyone missed my implied positive response to the PSU grant: I’m glad that at least some of this money is going to an actual physical project. In fact, if it’s near my building (I’m on the faculty there) I’ll even get to use the covered parking!

    Why not spend *even more* of this this $2.1 million on infrastructure that makes life better and safer for riders, rather than marketing? I’m really asking, here. If anyone has an answer as to why a project as worthy as the NoPo Greenway, N. Williams, or the Cully cycletrack should be passed over in favor of marketing to the middle class, please share!

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    • Ian Stude April 16, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      My understanding is that the RTO program is very specifically limited to non-“infrastructure” projects, with the exception of “end-of-trip” facilities. Metro has other funds that are specifically directed at infrastructure projects (such as the Region Flexible Funds).
      Why? Here’s my best guess: RTO/non-infrastructure money is placed in its own silo as a way of protecting these types of projects from competing with infrastructure projects, which naturally rise to the top of most people’s concerns (as reflected in your comments). It’s widely held that marketing/promotion of non-SOV modes is a critical component of actually shifting peoples’ trips from one mode to another. Put another way, you can build it, and they will come… eventually… maybe. RTO is how Metro helps hasten the process and ensure that our bike/walk/transit infrastructure investments actually get used.
      Thanks for sharing your support for the PSU Cycle Station project. We’re extremely excited about this grant and the opportunity to bring a top-notch end-of-trip facility to the center of campus. I hope you’re first in line when we throw open the doors!

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