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27 questions about local biking this year (and only one is fake)

Posted by on January 3rd, 2014 at 1:02 am

Bullshit 100 ride-24

Fun on Washington County’s back roads in August.
(Photos by J.Maus/BikePortland)

Predictions are for suckers. The trick to understanding the future isn’t trying to guess the answers, it’s knowing which questions to ask.

If only we always did. But for the last of this week’s new-year posts, let’s try.

Here’s a list of questions about Portland biking that will (we think) be answered by the year to come.

Bike sharing

An Alta Bicycle Share rendering of a Portland station.

1) Will the city’s bikesharing sponsor get to pick the system’s name, or just put their logo on everything?

2) How many retailers will panic about bikesharing stations removing nearby parking spaces — and how much will the city be willing to negotiate with them?

3) Will bikesharing launch in time for the World Naked Bike Ride, and if so, how many bottles of bleach spray will be deployed the next morning?

Big projects

<A Sunday ride-6

Traffic on the route of the planned 50s bikeway.

4) Will Portland find a bidder for the delayed 50s bikeway this winter? If it doesn’t, will it put more money into the job, or scale the plan back?

5) Will the city’s preferred option for the 20s bikeway focus on calming traffic, on separating lanes, or on diverting bikes?

6) How much money will Portland be willing to dedicate to a new downtown protected bike lane network? Will the city council be willing to improve biking on streets that actually access popular destinations? Which bridge landings will be improved, and which won’t?

7) Which will Portland decide is more important: allowing a continuous bike lane on Foster Road, or preserving one block of auto parking?

Really big projects

John Kitzhaber acceptance speech-4

The CRC might be a rare defeat for John Kitzhaber.

7) Will Gov. Kitzhaber and Speaker Kotek successfully push an Oregon-only Columbia River Crossing freeway-rail project through the February 2014 legislative session?

8) Will Tigard voters throw a wrench in Metro’s plan to rebuild Barbur Boulevard by passing an anti-transit ballot issue in March? In either case, will the City of Portland push ODOT to look more closely at ways to make the street safer sooner?

9) What will TriMet decide, in late spring, to call its new bridge? (Simpson? Toulan?)

City politics

Ventura Park Pump Track grand opening-8

City Commissioner Nick Fish, up for reelection in May.

10) Will the Portland Bureau of Transportation get the Portland Business Alliance (the regional chamber of commerce) to sign off on a plan for a per-month street fee to improve local transportation?

11) Which big projects will the Bicycle Transportation Alliance ask for in exchange for their support of a street fee — and will they get what they want?

12) Will Commissioner Amanda Fritz act to adjust bike access to Forest Park?

13) What positions will Commissioners Nick Fish and Dan Saltzman take on transportation and land use during their reelection campaigns? Will they get challengers?

The burbs

Helvetia Study Tour Ride-12

Third-generation farmer Matt Furrow.

14) Will enough Tillamook and western Washington County residents get excited this spring about a Salmonberry Corridor path through the coast range to convince their politicians to prioritize it in Salem in 2015?

15) Will enough Washington County residents urge the county to stop paving itself over for leaders to think beyond the car with their new transportation plan?

16) Will the state legislators decide to jump into the local land-use business and expand Washington County’s urban growth boundary?

17) Who will Clark County’s new set of radically car-oriented commissioners hire to run their roads department, and how will the new hire change the county’s priorities?

Local bike business and culture

ebike store sign

The eBike Store will test a new location in 2014.

18) Will Portland bike component builders follow their congressman’s cue and take a new pass at creating a local trade association?

19) Will Alta Bicycle Share’s new management team keep scoring more big municipal contracts (Philadelphia, Atlanta, maybe even Toronto) or shift gears toward maintaining and expanding the systems they already have? Will their equipment supplier, PBSC, stay in business?

20) Will the city’s bike shop growth resume, or stay flat?

21) Will new volunteers join Pedalpalooza’s old guard of organizers? If they do, will they try any big new ideas?

22) Will the Rev. Phil Sano’s wang once again make it onto the front page of BikePortland? (Just kidding.)

Trends and milestones

Hawthorne Bridge scenes-4

Beneath the Hawthorne Bridge, September 2013.

23) Will Bicycling Magazine’s biannual rankings tap Portland as the country’s best bike city, as usual, this spring, or give the honor to a new upstart like Seattle or New York?

24) Will the no-auto-parking apartments now opening in Portland’s central city actually fill up? If they do, how many of their residents will own cars?

25) When new city and Census estimates come out in the fall, will the city’s bike commuting ratio start to climb again?

26) Will Multnomah County’s job growth rate exceed Washington County’s for the first time in forever?

27) Will this be the first time since 1999 when Portland goes two straight years without a single bike-related fatality?

Think you know some of the answers — or some better questions? Give it a shot, sucker.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Bill StitesSilkySlimPete9wattsSho Recent comment authors
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I think a compelling question might be:
in a bid to make our roads safer, will the city or state do anything to ban the use of electronic devices while driving? Will local authorities enforce such a law?


I have to ask about your #11 (or perhaps this was the joker)?

11) Which big projects will the Bicycle Transportation Alliance ask for in exchange for their support of a street fee — and will they get what they want?

Is this really true?! If so can we learn more about their thinking?


Regarding #12, I am not feeling very optimistic that things will improve in the Portland metro area with regards to off-road riding. Mountain bikers (including our children) will continue to have to get into cars to ride their bikes on good trails/dirt jumps. It blows me away that there isn’t a single legal dirt jump in the entire area. We need as many people as possible to show up at the Parks Budget Dialogue. The meeting is on Wednesday, January 8th from 6-8pm at St. Philip Neri Church, Carvlin Hall, 2408 SE 16th St. I recommend that we all wear or carry our helmets so our numbers are recognized.


will the Oregonian, when breathlessly reporting the huge expense of a non-motorized transit project, put the cost in context with all transit projects?


“…15) Will enough Washington County residents urge the county to stop paving itself over for leaders to consider the notion with their new transportation plan? …” andersen/bikeportland

You may want to rephrase the question. Could just be me, but I’m having difficulty understanding exactly what’s being asked.

As far as the talked about Westside Bypass proposal is concerned, construction of it would be a countryside killer, detrimental to quality of life derived from the relatively rural setting that still makes up much of Washington County. People that want to continue to reside where the countryside is close at hand, or relatively so, should resist temptation to approve construction of another asphalt gash through the land.

In conceiving or co-ordinating land and community development with an efficient transportation plan, the county’s efforts have much to be desired. The currently in planning phase, South Cooper Mtn development, is an example. In consuming presently undeveloped countryside, it’s location will be farther from employment such as Intel and Nike, than most people would ever consider biking, let alone walking. Roads adjoining the development site, are insufficient for current levels of traffic, so there’s no way they’ll be able to handle traffic arising from travel needs of residents of the new development.

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger

As for your Clark County new item…the replacement for Pete Capell, the long time Public Works Director, will likely not make or break bike and ped projects here…assuming the County Commissioners utilize a nationwide hiring process through HR or a private head hunter.

The County, as most counties do, gets a lot of its road funds from state gas taxes (vs. Cities) and very heavily relies on residential development to arterialize its rural roadway network. These projects are effected by state concurrency rules and so there will be basic half street improvements…so on a project by project basis things will be the same…unless the street standards are radically changed or the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals changes its view of the ADA. Though the land use and regional multimodal network may suffer in the long term…only time will tell.

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger

Your Clark County news item did miss a potentially more important job change…

Matt Ransom, former Transportation Planning Manager at the City of Vancouver, will be the new Executive Director at the SW Washington Regional Transportation Council. RTC is our federally mandated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the 3 counties of Clark, Skamania and Klickitat. Same basic role as METRO but with a lot narrower…traditional scope. Matt’s RTC may grow into a more multi modally balanced MPO…with CTR, bike, ped and transit taking on more key role vs. RTCs past 1990 flavour…this assumes the RTC Board allows this course to be charted and implemented effectively over the long term within its mission statement. The RTC board has many of the same players as the CTRAN Board.

Evan Manvel
Evan Manvel

I’d rephrase this: “How many retailers will panic about bikesharing stations removing nearby parking spaces”? as those are still parking spaces. Folks are just parking something other than a car.

“How many retailers will panic about replacing car parking spaces with much higher capacity bike parking spaces?”