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Magazine demotes Portland to nation’s #4 bike city

Posted by on August 28th, 2014 at 4:49 pm

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Traffic on Portland’s 122nd Avenue in June 2014.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Ouch.

Dirk VanderHart of the Portland Mercury broke the news this afternoon after checking his mailbox: in Bicycling magazine’s periodic ranking of the country’s best bike cities, Portland has tumbled from first to fourth since 2012.

It’s our lowest ranking in 20 years. Bicycling named Portland as the nation’s best bike city in 1999, 2001, 2006, 2008 and 2012. In 2010, when Minneapolis edged Portland into second place, Jonathan wrote that we “usually don’t make much out of the various rankings that come out, but Bicycling has been doing theirs for longer than anyone else and Portland’s #1 ranking has become a cornerstone of our reputation.”

Here’s the magazine’s new top 10, as reported by VanderHart:

1. New York
2. Chicago
3. Minneapolis
4. Portland
5. Washington
6. Boulder, Colo.
7. San Francisco
8. Seattle
9. Fort Collins, Colo.
10. Cambridge, Mass.

Here’s the previous Bicycling ranking, from 2012:

1. Portland
2. Minneapolis
3. Boulder, Colo.
4. Washington
5. Chicago
6. Madison
7. New York City
8. San Francisco
9. Eugene
10. Seattle

This year’s ranking hasn’t been published on Bicycling’s website yet.

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Among major U.S. cities, Portland is still a head above its closest competitor, Minneapolis, when it comes to the percentage of residents who bike to work. According to the U.S. Census, the bike-commute rate is about 6.1 percent in Portland, 4.5 percent in Minneapolis. In New York it’s 1 percent; in Chicago, 1.6 percent.

But as we wrote last month, that ratio is actually a pretty dumb way to compare one city to another, because it depends so completely on where a city’s borders happen to fall. If Portland suddenly de-annexed the area east of Interstate 205, its borders would shrink to the size of Minneapolis or Washington DC and its bike-commuting ratio would shoot up to 10 percent — but nothing would have changed for the better.

What the Census figure is good at is measuring whether any given city is changing year by year. Since 2009, Portland is not. (Neither, for the record, is Minneapolis.) Most other major U.S. cities have been.

Source: Census American Community Survey. Image by BikePortland.

So in some ways, an arbitrary and subjective ranking methodology like Bicycling’s is more appropriate than the Census method. And maybe that’s why people pay so much attention to it even though it’s mostly silly. Whatever you think of the merits of the ranking, expect to hear a lot about it from many news outlets — not to mention any friends you might have in New York, Chicago and Minneapolis — for the next few years.

Why did Portland’s biking progress stall — and more importantly, what will bring it back? Since this May, when we used the city’s decision to erase a mural declaring itself as “America’s Bicycle Capital” as a way to write about this problem, we’ve been hosting a community conversation about how Portland will return to the place we all know it can become: an example to the country and, eventually, to the whole world.

Stay tuned for the next installment in that series — and consider getting in touch to contribute your own thoughts, or adding them below. I’m michael@bikeportland.org, and Portland’s next No. 1 ranking is ahead of us.

A new bike in the family-15

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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Owen Walz
Guest

This is ridiculous. I just spent the last year living in New York, and it has a LONG ways to go before it’s anywhere near as comfortable to cycle there as Portland.

Matt M.
Guest
Matt M.

Is it me or is the guy in the photo going the wrong way?

9watts
Guest
9watts

An overdue kick in the pants? From Platinum to Particleboard!

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

I am going to ride across the WIllamette, down Front>Kittredge>30> Saltzman where I will ride through the lovely, cool Forest Park to Skyline, descend Germantown, back over the Willamette with views of Mt Hood and Mt St Helens, and home via Willamette Blvd enjoying views of the river and the west hills. I would not rather be riding in New York, Chicago, or Minneapolis, despite the ranking.

Dwaine Dibbly
Guest
Dwaine Dibbly

Bicycling magazine is in no way an authority when it comes to any sort of cycling besides road riding for sport. Having said that, it’s clear that we suck and should immediately go out & crash on a streetcar track.

Champs
Guest
Champs

Welp, that’s it. I’m packing up for New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, and/or DC. Portland is just too affordable and/or moderate.

EngineerScotty
Guest
EngineerScotty

Elect a new mayor in 2016?

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

Seriously Portland, what happened? I mean I know PDOT has lost its marbles and wouldn’t hesitate to route major arterial automobile traffic onto a greenway, but what was the turning point? Was it under Adams? Or Fritz? Was it that the BTA stopped trying?

davemess
Guest
davemess

What do most of the other cities on that list have (including every other city in the top 5) that we don’t have?

Bike Share.

Still can’t figure out why we have been so far behind everyone else with bike share.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin

Ha! This is hilarious. I am out on a road trip with the family. All I can say now is that Bicycling rankings are more about publicity and page views than any real, rigorous analysis. — Jonathan, from the Gorge

Cops in Bike Lanes
Guest

Can I respectfully beg to differ?

Babygorilla
Guest
Babygorilla

davemess
What do most of the other cities on that list have (including every other city in the top 5) that we don’t have?
Bike Share.
Still can’t figure out why we have been so far behind everyone else with bike share.
Recommended 2

Fraudulent grant applications from PBOT regarding the status of bike share funding and inappropriate payments to contractors who haven’t performed to contract specifications are part of the reason bike share hasn’t been launched. It’s a PR mess to anyone who pays attention and cares about government integrity.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

The rankings aren’t just based on what it’s like to ride in a city, but on the energy and progress in each place. No secret Portland has stagnated in a number of different ways, and although the graph above shows the stagnation may not be unique to Portland, there’s no question the top 3 cities have more momentum right now. Everyone’s heard about the great strides being made in NYC and Chicago, and Minneapolis is about to embark on a major building spree of protected bikeways (as if 70 miles of real-deal cycletrack isn’t enough!)

Can’t disagree with MaxD about the views, and the bike lane network is better in central Portland (for those fortunate enough to do all their riding there), but overall things still aren’t that great here. As one who works in Beaverton and has to cross the West Hills every night, I’d take biking in the Minneapolis suburbs over biking in the Portland suburbs (west, south, north, or east) any day. And I’d take the Twin Cities’ bike boulevards over the car-clogged powder keg that is Clinton Street any damn day too.

I think Justin’s right that there’s serious opposition to improving cycling here (and everywhere – the “bikelash” is not unique to Portland). Given the consistency of the anti-bike memes going around, I’ve been starting to suspect the opposition is more (covertly) organized than we know so far.

That shouldn’t be such a surprise, really: a serious increase in cycling poses a major threat to a whole bunch of vested interests, from automakers and oil companies all the way down to body shops and car washes. We’re going to have to fight harder. Bike Loud PDX may be a good start.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Free Forest Park.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Oh yeah, and Bike Share. It’s transforming how people get around in the cities where it’s been deployed. I used to be opposed to spending public money on these privately run systems, but after using the Nice Ride system several times in the last couple of years I’m sold.

Look at it this way: we’re still the #1 bike city … without a bike share system!

Ted Buehler
Guest

All along, Portland has had unusually high commute ridership percentages in a city with merely decent infrastructure.

Now, other cities are catching up in both bicycle infrastructure and participation.

It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Bicycling in Portland has had a tough go of it politically since about 2011. And, key bicycle facilities are at capacity during peak period at our present levels. Which happen to be the 2008 levels as well. Projects like Tillicum, NW Everett, N Williams and others will add capacity to downtown, but only incrementally. What we need is a another doubling of bicycle route capacity, like Portland did in 1995 – 2005.

While plenty of improvements have been made to infrastructure, you can’t discount the culling effect of the eastside streetcar line. 100s of people break collarbones, crack skulls, or acquire large amounts of road rash because all over the system there are now streetcar tracks on high-speed, hilly streets that don’t have decent alternative routes. With rail construction without bicycle facility mitigation, Portland shot itself in the foot for quality of bicycling by ensuring that 100s of people every year would have a life-altering injury while simply riding a bike on city streets.

You can’t cut funding, slow improvements and trash key components of your existing system without some negative results. 0% appears have been designed into our present ridership by decisions made between 2008 and the present.

At least we’re not falling in mode share percentages. Like some falling stars have done.
http://daviswiki.org/Bicycle_History_Presentation?action=Files&do=view&target=33.JPG

Cheers to New York, Chicago and Minneapolis for rolling ahead and setting the bar higher.

And may the competition spur Portland’s civic leaders into increasing the rate of development and quality of new infrastructure.

Ted Buehler

Ted Buehler
Guest

The Mercury’s has a June 2014 story on how Portland last its bicycling mojo. An excellent read.

http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/slow-leak/Content?oid=12634954

F.W. de Klerk
Guest
F.W. de Klerk

Hey, those rich white men really have ruined our bike scene after all.

Doug G.
Guest

If you see NYC’s ranking as a “Most Improved” award, it makes sense. Looking back to the years before Janette Sadik-Khan, the DOT under was, at best, ambivalent about bikes and, at worst, openly hostile. But then JSK is appointed and things start to take root: protected bike lanes on 8th and 9th Avenues, improvements to the Brooklyn waterfront, and the first set of on-street bike corrals, etc. This all builds to a crescendo with the launch of Citi Bike in 2013, which – despite its problems – is a hit in terms of membership, trips, and how it changes the image of cycling as a means of transportation.

So, on the institutional level, this feels sort of like a lifetime achievement award given to a Hollywood star whom everyone loves but who never gave a single performance that was quite worthy of an Oscar.

On the individual level, however, I’d say there’s no way anyone could call NYC the best bike city in the U.S. How do most people experience biking in NYC? Not as a series of institutional accomplishments that look good in DOT Power Point presentations or on the pages of a magazine but as blocked bike lanes, faded paint, terrible pavement, a completely antagonistic police department, angry drivers, and more.

I think what you’ll see in NYC is the mayor’s office touting this recognition but then doing little to follow through or build on the momentum. Meanwhile, individual riders will still contend with the NYPD and a current DOT that is, for the most part, leaving bikes out of the Vision Zero discussion to avoid the political confrontations that JSK faced head on.

Oh, and as Jonathan noted, Bicycling magazine will get a lot of page views.

Jacob
Guest
Jacob

I lived in NYC for a LONG time, and they’ve done a LOT to improve bicycling, especially with protected lanes and CitiBike. HOWEVER, the network of protected lanes and greenways there is still patchy at best and poorly enforced, and the rollout of new facilities has stalled. Portland is far and away a better place to ride a bike, mainly due to the extensive network of greenways and neighborhood greenways and the sheer number/visibility of cyclists. Drivers in Portland are also highly aware of cyclists, yielding and giving way in ways that would never ever occur in NYC.

I’ve said a number of times that a lot of other cities are quickly gaining on Portland, which has stalled on increasing bike infrastructure, but that is not to say that those cities are currently better places to ride a bicycle, cause they are almost certainly not.

Sue
Guest
Sue

I think this sentence says it all- “If Portland suddenly de-annexed the area east of Interstate 205, its borders would shrink to the size of Minneapolis or Washington DC and its bike-commuting ratio would shoot up to 10 percent — but nothing would have changed for the better.” I ride east of 205 daily and there are not many cyclists because it’s dangerous and it’s clear that the money for improvements have been spent elsewhere. I’m quickly becoming an east Portland alternative transportation advocate.

JJJJ
Guest
JJJJ

Don’t expect NYC to stay up there. Under the new mayor, any progress on bike infrastructure has come to a complete stop. The only projects with bike stuff going through are projects that were planned in the past.

The most recent road change announcements include 15-foot lanes….explicitly for double parking. Like, to the point that the rends show double parking. No bike facilities, at all.

They made huge progress in 5 years, it’s a huge shame to see the new mayor end it immediately.

On the other hand, expect Cambridge, Mass to keep moving up. Every road projects of theirs involves a cycle track. problem is, stuff is super slow there, so plans finalized in 2006 don’t actually get built until 2016.

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

Ted, to blame Portland’s bike use stagnation on Streetcar is absurd. Few ever biked on Grand & MLK before the CL line, and on Broadway/Weidler and & 7th the two options are well separated. By helping to spur close in housing, jobs and retail, Streetcar is making getting around by bike that much more attractive an option. Yes, you do need to cross tracks…MAX, Streetcar, freight at as close to 90 degrees as possible. Note that I am on the Streetcar CAC and a big fan, and have been riding bikes in Portland since about 1952.

Jayson
Guest
Jayson

On the surface, I’d say Portland bike infrastructure and culture has stagnated. However, there’s so many projects in the pipeline and/or under construction… Tilikum Crossing, new path between South Waterfront and downtown, 50’s bikeway about to open, 20’s bikeway in development, Vancouver/Williams “improvements” under construction, downtown and NE Broadway separated bike facilities in planning, great new bike parking facilities in most new buildings, and numerous bike parking corrals throughout neighborhood main streets. Despite all those improvements I still feel like bicycle infrastructure is stagnate here… Perhaps it’s because there was too much compromise and we ended up with less than “world class” facilities in just about all of these projects.

Evan
Guest
Evan

Hey, how about rather than bitch and moan about how we are no longer #1 on somebody’s list, we give kudos to the other cities for all the progress they have made? Let’s look at it this way: if Portland had not done all the work it has, many other cities probably would not have been encouraged to do the same. Bravo, New York and Chicago, for getting aggressive about creating a transportation system that respects and serves more than just drivers. And hats off to our compatriots in Minneapolis – I hope we have a friendly rivalry for years to come.

scott
Guest
scott

100% of the people that subscribe to that magazine live in Boulder, CO and we still beat them.

That means a lot to me.

Dan
Guest
Dan

I think a lower ranking will be good for us.

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

Who cares how some website arbitrarily ranks cities?

Anecdotally, when I lived in Chicago, I got honked at nearly every day, and on a few occasions was run off the road. People almost always passed too closely. I don’t experience that here – even on streets without bike infrastructure, people driving still pass with enough room 99% of the time.

Chicago has a LONG way to go to being as friendly to riding a bike as Portland. In a completely backwards move, Chicago recently banned pedicabs from the downtown area. They also ban bikes on trains during rush hour periods, and at all times during festivals. There is far less on-street bike parking as compared to Portland. I am not sure what metrics Bicycling Magazine is using, but they clearly have not taken the aforementioned reasons into account.

My guess is that people are dropping Portland in the ranks because it’s the new cool thing to do and it makes for good headlines.

Beth
Guest

I divide my time profreeionally between Portland, where I can ride to my students homes for tutoring, and coties like Kansas City and niw phoenix, where so far the bicycling has been prett lackluster and even unsafe. And yet, my new friends in these cities are intrigued by my carfree life in PDX and want to accommodate my requests for homestay hospitality within biking distance of the schools. My KC gig is letting me ship a bike there to keep for me for my repeat visits. So I like to think that those of us from Portland can do a lot to teach folks elsewherre about why biking everywhere is so great. SO what if Portland isn’t at the top os the ranking of some bike magazine? BuyCycling doesn’t speak for or about me anyway. Better to ride my own ride. Cheers.

TK
Guest
TK

I prefer to see this as a positive for biking as a whole, and for Portland in particular. As long as Portland is synonymous with “the biking city,” people will think of biking as a “Portlandia” quirk rather than an integral part of any modern urban transportation infrastructure. I actually hope the number one slot changes every time they do the ranking to reflect that it is a distinction that every city should want.

This also deflects the criticism that Portland is so far out in front that we shouldn’t be investing any more into biking infrastructure. If New York, Chicago, and Minneapolis show interest in improving their cycling experience, then why shouldn’t we?

Finally, let’s all be a little humble with these national rankings and recognize we have a long ways to go to match our neighbors north of the 49th parallel, let alone across the Atlantic. It’s good to be #1, but far better to be striving to improve.

Cory Poole
Guest

Look at the bright side. We are still the #1 skateboard city!

Kimberly Kinchen
Guest
Kimberly Kinchen

If NYC is top of the list they can only mean “most improved”. Cycling in near-Brooklyn seems to get more and more PDX every time I’m over there, but the rest of the city, despite strides, has a loooong way to go before it’s anywhere near as welcoming as PDX and Seattle, both of which I find about 5000% better for everyday riding than NYC.

NYC does have many awesome rail trails in the region easily accessible by public transit and so IMO its competitive “in the recreational biking space.”

Cynergy E-Bikes
Guest
Rich Fein

The more telling story in all of this is that what have typically been considered the top two major cities for bike commuting – Portland and Minneapolis – have had no real growth in cycling. The rankings due appear to reflect “improvement”, rather than actual bike friendliness.

Are we at a point where, without a paradigm shift – caused by either a critical market or environmental dynamic, or perhaps a groundbreaking technology or program – we are approaching a saturation point?

This goes back to the studies by Roger Geller with PBOT and Jennifer Dill with OTREC in which there is evidence that something drastic needs to take place to shift people from being “Interested but Concerned” riders to those that are “Enthused and Confident”. Being completely transparent, I have a bias as owner of an electric bicycle specialty store. I believe that an extremely critical aspect of the shift for a substantial share of the “Interested but Concerned” riders is to make cycling a little easier for climbing hills, for getting you places quicker and going farther (which is related extensively to quicker).

It would be great if we were all fit enough to tackle Portland’s hills, maintain high speeds and/or budget our time to take showers when we get to work. But these are the obstacles (or excuses) for a large portion of the population that improvements to biking infrastructure won’t conquer.

This is not to say that we have reached our limit in getting people to use traditional bicycles as transportation. Improved infrastructure will increase usage. But incremental growth appears to be getting more difficult.

puddlecycle
Guest

Hanging tough, staying hungry:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btPJPFnesV4

Daniel Ronan
Guest
Daniel Ronan

I’m sorry, but these ratings ARE. A. JOKE. Keep your head down Portland. As a native Portlander now living in Chicago, this city doesn’t come close. Greenways are almost non-existent, road conditions – the actual pavement – drivers, culture… in any area, Chicago has work to do, not unlike Portland. A little humility brings us all further.

Jim Wilcox
Guest
Jim Wilcox

Your bicycle master plan calls for making cycling easier than driving for distances of three miles or less. Work BOTH side of that equation and you’ll have more mode share.

Randy
Guest
Randy

It’s also about one less car. Who is going to start giving bikes to employees or those in need ~ Chris King or Vanilla Bike perhaps ?

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

The east side section is completely different. Tracks weaving between lanes. Steep hills with fast traffic. Tracks entering and exiting streets on steep hills. Checkmate situations galore.

But, it’s been going on for four years now, it will likely take a fatality before any more mitigation is done.

I really hope I’m wrong about that.
Ted, Steve, et. al.,
My late mother crashed on the tram tracks of Edinburgh in the 30’s, and that ended her interest in riding. And during my years on Swan Island several of our strongest bike commuters ate it on the tracks of the Ash Grove Cement Road. So, I have seen first hand the nasty results of rail crashes. All members of the Streetcar CAC are anxious to minimize bike crashes on its tracks; we have urged staff to pursue solutions, particularly where busy bike routes cross Streetcar tracks.
re the Eastside, while there are crossing points, as there must be, note that Broadway/Weidler has tracks and bike lanes of opposite sides of the street; NE 7th Avenue has wide and separated bike lanes in both directions; and Grand/MLK are not primary bike routes…though I recognize its a necessary options for some (I ride it to Burnside on occasion), rather they are freight routes with tons of motorized traffic.
Let’s get the 7th Avenue Bridge built, and give bikers a good connection over I-84 that all our own!
To say that Streetcar is a cause or even a contributor to the plateauing of biking in Portland stretches way beyond the plausible. To the extent that Streetcar has catalyzed close in development, it has helped to create numerous Os & Ds that fit bicycling perfectly. In Lloyd hundreds of apartments are under construction on three blocks worth of former parking lots that will have tons of bike parking, etc. Note that this land has sat underused for 30 years next to the MAX 7th Avenue Station, but within a year of the eastside Streetcar opening, construction began.
It pains me to hear voices from the bike community whom I respect lining up with the mindless opponents of rail transit, MAX or Streetcar, in the two “C” counties to our north and south. Streetcar and bike commuting are complementary modes, at least for myself and many others, and both are key to building a livable and sustainable city.
Don’t forget that Streetcar was not the brainchild of the 8th floor of the Portland building, but came from the streets via the Central City Plan, neighborhood transportation activists and business advocates. Only when the initial project has traction did the city step up. The same model can apply to biking and bike infrastructure. Why not a LID led by New Seasons, the Blazers, Legacy and PCC to fund a real world class bikeway on Williams/Vancouver? A demonstration project showing the value of Bike Oriented Development.
Finally, thousands of Portlanders bike, and we hope that thousands more will in the years to come, but note that at last count more than 18 thousand ride Streetcar every day. With completion of the Loop, that number will no doubt exceed 20K.
Ride safely and please cross tracks…MAX, Streetcar and freight…at as close to 90 degrees as you can!

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

NOTE: the first lines of my post are quotes from Ted’s earlier comment!

Ted Buehler
Guest

Just a couple replies — not trying to get in an argument, just iron out some facts.

“To the extent that Streetcar has catalyzed close in development, it has helped to create numerous Os & Ds that fit bicycling perfectly.”

Except if the rails make riding unacceptably dangerous, then its not a perfect fit. I sat at the corner of NW Lovejoy and 10th the other day, for 10 minutes, on a sunny afternoon. I saw exactly 4 bicyclists. 2 of whom could easily crashed on the tracks based on their novice riding abilities. Pretty much any other intersection in town would have more bike traffic than this.

“at last count more than 18 thousand ride Streetcar every day.”

18000 boardings = 9000 people making a round trip. And not all of those are trips to work. There’s 18000 people who bicycle round trip to work. Just clarifying.

Ted Buehler

Joe Adamski
Guest
Joe Adamski

don’t mourn. organize.

Mary Arneson
Guest
Mary Arneson

The census questionnaire asks what mode of transportation you used for traveling to work (not school, not for any other purpose) most days in the week before the questionnaire was received. I was one of the data points one cold Minneapolis winter — when I did bike to work more days than not — but I don’t think that question really captures a city’s cycling activity.

grimm
Guest
grimm

Seems pretty obvious to me, follow the money…
Bicycling Magazine needs to sell more subscriptions amd more ad space. And who has a lot more disposable income than Portland? NYC. Who is the biggest fan base of NYC? NYC. I saw so many fancy plastic bikes going slow on bike paths and parks there. People have an inverse of excess money and good places to ride compared to Portland. IMO this ranking is more a publicity stunt than based in facts. I left NYC largely because I knew it was simply a matter of time before a cab or NJ driver creamed me. It sucks to ride there unless you are young, fearless and love to pretend you are in MASH.

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

We spiked from 4 to 6% in one year (07-08) due to high gas prices.
While prices are almost to that peak, it hasn’t come up in such a singular price shock.

I’m more surprised that we didn’t crater back to 4% when the recession hit and gas prices fell back to 2004 levels. http://www.oregongasprices.com/Retail_Price_Chart.aspx

jim
Guest
jim

Maybe we would have had a better rating if people like the guy in the picture would ride in the right direction.

Joe
Guest
Joe

NY is integrated much more urban based, and if you don’t wanna ride the city they have paths. It’s different…. huge family of all rider types.

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

Biking has always been pretty easy in most of Portland, especially the old east side streetcar neighborhoods with their good street grid. And the geography is pretty forgiving. In the 90’s the City began to formalize a back street network, but it was always there. Even in SW where I grew up, as kids we found the less busy connections between destinations, for me Multnomah, Hillsdale, and Lewis & Clark College.

I think having a mayor, Bud Clark, between ’84 and ’92 who actually rode from NW to City Hall got things going a bit. BPOT’s Bike Program in the 90’s put bike lanes on wide streets (where they weren’t really necessary), and that gave more legitimacy to the cycling option (Thank you Mia and Charlie). ODOT put their, for me meaningless, bike lanes on state highways, which at least made the system mile numbers look good.

Subtract the ODOT lanes, the bike lanes on wide streets, the neighborhood routes, and there is not much for public agencies to brag about, and one can only be amazed at the vigor and energy of Portland’s biking universe.
That it has flattened out, should not come as a great surprise. I am sure it will catch its breath and take off again!

Yet in fairness to those at PBOT, BES and ODOT who worked so hard to help get more and better bike access to Swan Island over the last dozen years, I must give a bow. Compelling projects can be realized, and what the agencies need is strong and determined direction from citizens and businesses to get what needs to be done done! Like the 7th Avenue bridge.

And a final word on Portland Streetcar from an unabashed fan…I hope it expands (Broadway to Hollywood!), I hope bikers learn to better negotiate the tracks, and I guarantee that the next line will be designed, built and operated to keep such mishaps to a minimum.

D'Arcy
Guest
D'Arcy

I wish Portland were like the 50th best bike city. What a great country that would be.