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.
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?
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
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?
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?
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
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?
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
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.
Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.