Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Panel ponders Portland’s slide from cycling superstardom

Posted by on September 23rd, 2014 at 1:34 pm

PBOT Lunch and Learn panel-1

Moderator Michael Andersen (on the left) and panelists Rob Sadowsky, Roger Geller, and Jessica Roberts.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

What happened to Portland? Did we really deserve to lose our spot atop the podium of America’s best bike cities? Is this whole stagnation thing for real?

“… the city is not stagnating in our efforts, the numbers are stagnating.”
— Roger Geller, PBOT

Those were the questions on everyone’s mind as the Portland Bureau of Transportation hosted a panel discussion titled, Are we really #4 last week as part of their monthly Lunch and Learn series. The panel featured three of the city’s smartest bike thinkers: PBOT Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller, BTA Executive Director Rob Sadowsky, and Alta Planning Principal and Programs Manager Jessica Roberts. Moderator duties were put in the able hands of BikePortland News Editor Michael Andersen.

The event came on the heels of a one-two punch to the gut of PBOT: the #4 ranking from Bicycling Magazine and new U.S. Census numbers (revealed the morning of the panel) that showed a continued flatlining of Portland’s bike-to-work rate.

Timo Forsberg with PBOT’s Active Transportation Division opened the event by acknowledging that, “The Census numbers were not as good as we’d like.”

Forsberg was addressing a packed City Hall conference room. There were so many people the panelists had to give up their seats and stand. A quick scan of faces showed the room was full of influencers, from a Travel Portland staff member to neighborhood bike activists, to what looked like the entire staff of PBOT’s Active Transportation Division.

Advertise with BikePortland.

Before the real discussion started, Andersen had the panelists and the audience do a quick hand-raising exercise in response to several questions. “Will Portland reach its 25 percent mode split goal by 2030?” he asked, to which only two (non-panelist) hands went up — and one of them was Forsberg.

As for the #4 ranking, it was generally agreed that it doesn’t amount to much, technically speaking. But it does matter. Even PBOT’s Geller, who’s worked on bike planning at the City since the early 1990s, said it hurts our civic brand. “I can assure you that Travel Portland cares,” he said, “Losing that ranking will probably have an economic impact on the city.”

PBOT Lunch and Learn panel-2

Sadowsky and Geller listen while
Roberts makes a point.

Roberts said the ranking is all about clicks, controversy and subscriptions for Bicycling Magazine. But she admitted that being #4 will hurt Portland’s ability to lead the national movement for better bicycling. Roberts also credited the magazine for “picking up on the collective awareness that other cities are gunning for our title.”

Given the lack of bold steps to improve bicycling in Portland in the past few years, it’s not hard to understand why we fell to #4. When Andersen asked the panel why Portland is no longer considered the cycling superpower it once was, the responses varied.

Sadowsky from the BTA pointed out that of the five top-ranked cities, Portland is the only one without a bike share system (bike share, he said, will cause a 3-4 percent jump in bike use within its first year of operation). Sadowsky also said our lack of a connected pathway system and a lack of protected bike lanes on major streets are other ways we lag behind New York City, Chicago, and Minneapolis.

For Geller, our slide is simply because we’re “Not showing the level of commitment and investment other cities are showing.” He echoed Sadowsky’s sentiments about the lack of high-quality protected bikeways through the central city by sharing the story of how pleasant it was to pedal all the way through Manhattan and Chicago’s downtown loop while conversing with a colleague.

“What we took 15 years to build, we saw that compressed to just a few years in New York and Chicago… They’re doing things faster, better, and with more fearlessness.”
— Jessica Roberts, Alta Planning and Design

“If we had developed some of the things we hoped to develop with our central city project,” Geller said, “we’d still be #1.” (Geller was referring to a $6.6 million Metro grant for downtown bikeways that is sitting on a shelf at PBOT.)

That being said, Geller pointed out that it’s much easier for New York City and Chicago to create protected bikeways because they have very wide streets. “We have harder decisions to make,” he said, referring to our narrow streets, “But we also have experienced the benefits of bicycling for a longer time, so we know better.”

Roberts said Portland is just too slow and cautious. “What we took 15 years to build, we saw that compressed to just a few years in New York and Chicago,” she said. Thanks in large part to strong-willed mayors (and a form of city government — unlike ours — that allows for it), Roberts said those cities are doing things “Faster, better, and with more fearlessness.”

Moving past the #4 ranking, the discussion then turned to Portland’s stubborn cycling statistics. “Why are we stagnating?” Andersen asked.

Both Roberts and Geller said it has a lot to do with infrastructure. We’ve attracted most of the riders, their thinking goes, who are fearless enough to use our current bikeways. “The next group of people that will get on bikes need more than we are offering them today,” is how Geller put it.

Then Geller laid out a new message from PBOT to counter the stagnation narrative. “I want to draw a distinction,” he said, “the city is not stagnating in our efforts, the numbers are stagnating.”

Ride-along SW Broadway-8-5

Maybe people need more than this
if we expect biking rates to go up?

One of Sadowsky’s ideas about Portland’s ridership plateau supports Geller’s position. “Follow the jobs and the follow the housing,” he said. “Our economy changed rapidly in ’07 and ’08 and we’re still coming to terms with that.” (Learn more about how rental rates and housing have impacted cycling rates in our latest Real Estate Beat story.)

One culprit all three panelists pointed the finger at was the allure of single-occupancy vehicles, a.k.a. cars. Geller said the City hasn’t made good on promises in its Bike Plan for 2030 that passed four years ago. “Our policy says that we need to make bicycling more attractive than driving for trips three miles or less. We haven’t really done that yet,” he acknowledged. “It’s really easy to drive a car in this city.”

And Sadowsky concurred: “It’s not only easy to drive, it’s cheap. Parking rates are minimal here compared to other cities.”

“Our policy says that we need to make bicycling more attractive than driving… We haven’t really done that yet.”
— Roger Geller, PBOT

Surprisingly, there was no real discussion of how Portland’s current political dynamic at City Hall figures into our stagnation equation (it does). Nor was there any talk of a related issue: the gap that exists in the local advocacy/activism ecosystem (a topic that we’ve discussed at length here on the Front Page).

In the end, I don’t think anyone walked away from this event feeling like everything had been figured out. The event did however mark an important moment: I think it’s safe to say that Portlanders (its city staff, its advocates, and so on) have admitted we have a problem. That’s the first step toward recovery.

And Roberts, a former advocate with the BTA before finding success at Alta, said what really matters now are the next steps we choose to take. “Everyone hates the incumbent and everyone is sick of hearing about Portland,” she said, “This inspires us to push harder and get our edge back. If we turn it around with humility and energy, that will be a way bigger story than going from #1 to #4.”

— Read more about Portland’s cycling stagnation in our archives.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you.

  • Alex Reed September 23, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    BikeLoudPDX is trying to fill that advocacy gap! http://www.bikeloudpdx.org/

    Check out our “Rolling into Action” ride at 7pm on this Monday, the 29th, investigating Clinton, the 50’s Bikeway, and the 20’s Bikeway! And our next general meeting, 3pm on Sunday Oct. 5th at Velo Cult.

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  • Patrick Barber September 23, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    In paragraph #12 I assume you mean $6.6 _million_ is the amount of the Metro grant that is “sitting on a shelf.” And by the way, was there any discussion as to why it was sitting on a shelf or why we can’t make use of that grant for the purpose for which it was intended?

    Unless it really is for six dollars and sixty cents, in which case, it’s easy to see why we slipped.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 23, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      yep. left off the “million.” Thanks for the heads up Patrick.

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    • maccoinnich September 23, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      It most likely would have been funded by using Tax Increment Financing, bonded against the future property taxes Nike would have been paying. As Nike never bit on the deal, there’s no money sitting on the shelf.

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    • Jayson September 24, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      I presume it’s sitting on the shelf because we need two years of outreach and public engagement, which will whittle it down to an insignificant project.

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  • 9watts September 23, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Geller the defensive:
    “the city is not stagnating in our efforts, the numbers are stagnating.”

    Geller the contrite:
    “Our policy says that we need to make bicycling more attractive than driving for trips three miles or less. We haven’t really done that yet.” “It’s really easy to drive a car in this city.”

    Which is it?

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  • spare_wheel September 23, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    “before finding success at Alta

    This company stands to profit from PBOT’s funding decisions and PBOT invites a corporate officer (principal) to speak at a citizen-driven public forum?

    Who exactly runs PBOT? Novick or <b<Alta Planning + Design ©?

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    • nuovorecord September 23, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      Despite its hiccups with their bikeshare business, Alta is one of the leaders in bicycle planning. Just because they could potentially gain business from Portland’s continued investment in bicycling is not enough of a reason to exclude them from a high-level, conceptual conversation such as the one Jessica was involved in.

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      • spare_wheel September 23, 2014 at 4:38 pm

        So when we have a public panel discussing future freeway development we should invite a construction firm executive? It’s naive to believe that Alta’s profit motive is not going to impact the designs they advocate for.

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        • maccoinnich September 23, 2014 at 6:22 pm

          Yes, if we really wanted to expand freeway capacity, then getting someone from a civil engineering firm to talk about it would be a really good idea. The idea that we should exclude people because they know something about the topic is silly.

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        • nuovorecord September 24, 2014 at 9:22 am

          False equivalency, much? There were NO designs being discussed or proposed at this meeting. This wasn’t a project development effort. It was entirely appropriate for a consulting firm to lend their expertise to the discussion.

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    • Psyfalcon September 23, 2014 at 6:33 pm

      Alta must be, PBOT isn’t making any difficult decisions to increase bike ridership.

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      • spare_wheel September 23, 2014 at 8:24 pm

        you comment cracked me up because despite my comment above i’d vote for birk over hales/novick without hesitation.

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    • Standard858 September 24, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      Not sure why that quote was phrased the way it was, but it’s sad and absurd. Roberts is easily one of the most forward-thinking, dedicated and accomplished bike advocates AND planning professionals around. You want to talk about action? She’s been working to make this community a better place to bike and walk since before she went to alta, before bike portland, and long before blog randoms who think they know things about things they know little about decided to mash buttons on they keyboard. Anyone involved in the work here or across the country could tell you that. Discrediting her contributions to this discussion based on your perception of Alta and the City is not only shamelessly ignorant, but a detriment to the ideas of progress you’re mouthing. So much hate, so little credit where it’s due.

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      • Jim Labbe September 25, 2014 at 3:57 pm

        Very well said.

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  • Tyler September 23, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Did you know that Copenhagen has minimum parking requirement for new development projects AND what equates to a no net loss policy for parking? Their parking strategy is much more market driven in pricing and utilization is extremely high. Gas taxes are higher and there is a motor vehicle purchase tax that is almost twice the purchase price of the vehicle.

    Oh, and they invest a ton of resources to capture the economic value of active transportation investments.

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  • PJ Souders September 23, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    “We’ve attracted most of the riders, their thinking goes, who are fearless enough to use our current bikeways. “The next group of people that will get on bikes need more than we are offering them today,” is how Geller put it.”

    I think a big part of our stagnation is the current crop of “strong and fearless” riders who grew up with/clamoured for the current infrastructure. (I include myself in this group!) We remember how rough it was in I dunno 1997, so what we have in 2014 seems like a beautiful dream.

    But when someone suggests something radical like “a six-year-old should be able to cross downtown on a bike” (referring again to myself here…) all the warriors pooh pooh this as wimpily idyllic.

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    • Roger Geller September 23, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      How about a 12-year old?

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    • Roger Geller September 23, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Let’s try that 12 year old again

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      • spare_wheel September 24, 2014 at 8:14 am

        geller’s 2007 guesstimate: <1%

        dill's 2013 survey: 6%.

        geller and andersen 2014: <1%

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        • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
          Michael Andersen (News Editor) September 24, 2014 at 10:26 am

          Thanks to you I try to use the Dill findings rather than the Geller guesstimates when I can, and always note the Dill findings when I do use Geller’s numbers. If I had my druthers, our infographics would use the Portland-metro-wide 4/9/56/31 rather than Geller’s 1/7/60/33 estimate for folks inside the city.

          IMO, Geller’s guesses were still remarkably solid.

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      • Chris Anderson September 24, 2014 at 11:19 am

        I’m pretty sure the 1% of drivers who think it’s reasonable to pass bicyclists on Greenways play a major role in keeping Isabella in her parent’s car.

        If we want subjective safety on Greenways we need to restrict automobiles to local-access only. If there’s a way to do this besides extensive diversion, please tell me.

        Personally I don’t just want Isabelle comfortable on Greenways, she should be comfortable on all neighborhood streets. 25 mph is an INSANE speed limit if you want eight year olds mixing it up with cars.

        The cognitive dissonance boggles the mind.

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        • paikiala September 24, 2014 at 11:43 am

          Agreed. The neighborhood greenway goal is two fold: A) not more than 1,000 autos per day, and B) no increase in autos from pre-project counts. Regular diversion is the only way to get there. Bumps only slow the remaining vehicles, while turning stop signs only attracts users. Opposing one-way shared streets with contra-flow bike lanes would be a low-cost way to create a defacto bike centric street without elmininating local access.
          A typical 36 ft street could be re-tasked to 8′ parking/10′ shared lane/8′ parking/3′ buffer/7′ contra-flow bike lane. This would be ideal on Clinton where maintenance of access to local retail is desired, and at 17th, where northbound auto traffic should be going all the way to Division.

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        • davemess September 24, 2014 at 12:16 pm

          We don’t have a lot of large arterials or highways in Portland though. An alternative way to keep cars off would be to provide them efficient, direct routes, so they wouldn’t even be tempted with the slower neighborhood streets.

          I’m not saying I’m in support of this (and past actions would show that most of Portland isn’t either), but it is another solution.

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          • paikiala September 24, 2014 at 12:47 pm

            Most traffic engineers have come around to the idea that you can’t build out of congestion. No matter how wide you make the streets, they will just fill up again with single occupant vehicles. Adding lanes, and reducing delay are just more ways to make auto use more convenient. People go where they want to be, no matter how difficult the trip. NW 23rd is crowded because people like to be there, even with the traffic issues. Vancovuer, BC, is crowded, and getting denser, but commutes are improving. There is some freeway widening – they have more space to work with in many areas, but the also have the same topographic kinds of limits Portland faces. They have the mechanisms in place that considers all forms of transportation together. How we get around is just a tool for a larger goal of how we want to live.

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  • Ron G. September 23, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    More infrastructure would help encourage a few more timid riders out onto the streets, as they’ve done in New York and Chicago. But those sorts of promenades have limited potential for large-scale transportation mode shifts. People who don’t live or work along them will still fear venturing out.

    Sure, European cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen have more infrastructure and much higher participation rates. That’s an obvious correlation. What’s less apparent, but much more important, is the Dutch and Danish attitudes toward driving. They don’t take it as a given that a car is the default mode of transportation. Rather, they treat driving as strictly regulated special privilege.

    In the Netherlands, as most of you are probably aware, there are no get-out-of-jail-free cards like “The sun was in my eyes” or “He came out of nowhere” to excuse deadly behavior. As part of the special privilege of piloting a dangerous vehicle, the Dutch have to accept the responsibility to not hit anything.

    Meanwhile, in this country, we consider removing someone’s driving privilege akin to cruel and unusual punishment. Texting while driving? Pay your fine and drive yourself home. A judge would view taking your license away as sentencing you to the gulag.

    Unless we experience a major shift in consciousness, drivers will continue to aggressively assert their entitlement and bully vulnerable users off the road entirely.

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    • spare_wheel September 23, 2014 at 4:47 pm

      NYC’s bicycle mode share in 2013 was barely above 1%.


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    • paikiala September 24, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Cruel or unusual only because of the last 100 years of tax dollar investment in primarily a single mode of transportation. Where’s the politician that will promise no new road capacity until all homes are within 100 feet of a sidewalk?

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  • Chris Anderson September 23, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    When benefits of bike infrastructure are “10-25 times greater than costs” http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1307250/ It can’t be money that’s holding us back.

    To get to Dutch levels of cycling, we need to ditch the grid system (for cars). What I mean is that we need to put in thousands of diverters like the new one on NE Rodney: https://twitter.com/msfour/status/513466848499597312 The goal to make bike trips more direct than car trips. As inspired by the people who’ve done it: http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2011/03/cycling-vs-driving.html

    If we make it hard to drive automobiles through neighborhoods more than 2 or 3 blocks, but keep an open grid for bikes / peds / skateboards, then we have a shot at becoming the city we want.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) September 23, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      Well, the barrier might be money if we have a cash flow problem. Your city doesn’t get those huge long-term public health benefits until years after the infrastructure is in place. If only cities could bond against their future health-care savings…

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    • Dan Kaufman September 29, 2014 at 8:17 am

      Good posts all around, Chris Anderson.

      A very inexpensive way to deal with all this mayhem is to create an electronic governor/black box (paid for by automobile user) that allows sober and licensed drivers to travel no faster than 20mph in areas where vulnerable users are present in the urban setting, ie. cities, towns, neighborhoods, and commercial districts. If that were done, there would be no need for arterials nor diverters.

      Why should less-wealthy families be subjected to dangerously high speeds (>20mph) on their street while others get protection? That system is not fair or holistic.

      I understand this would be considered radical to most Americans but it is certainly less radical than allowing deadly and dangerous machinery to be allowed to run freely just a few feet from the young, elderly, disabled, and (currently) able bodied. http://www.20splentyforus.org.uk/

      It really is absurd the transportation system we have created but our grandparents didn’t know better and they were manipulated.

      PS – There is no way I will support any kind of street fee until it includes solutions to ending these carnage zones.

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  • Lisa Marie September 23, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    I was at this discussion, and I left feeling… disappointed. Denial is apparently a river in Portland.

    I love this city. I see amazing things being done. But I see us doing just enough to maintain – I don’t see real advancement towards goals we as a city have set for creating livable streets accessible to all. I would argue we aren’t 4th – we’re 5th. It was hard to let myself acknowledge it, but riding in D.C. was more pleasant and stress free than Portland. There was even a bollard protected bike lane (right side, to the RIGHT of parking) next to an extrawide sidewalk visible from my not-fancy-locationed hotel room…

    There are amazing people at PBOT, but the efforts aren’t leading to tangible results in safety and comfortable riding/walking improvement. There are good people at the BTA (and Rob had some great statements), too, but the organization has been absent from many issues that matter. I realize it’s sacrilegious to speak honestly about the failure of our primary bike advocacy group, but it’s the reality, and many agree. When Rob mentioned his happiness over the death of the CRC, I couldn’t help but note the hypocrisy. The BTA stepped away from that fight early on, and a recent Alice Awards were even sponsored by Fred Meyer – a vocal supporter of the CRC. There’s even a board member at the BTA from the all-parking-all-the-time PBA (and if you think that’s “building bridges” and conversation, you’re fooling yourself – that’s not how groups like the PBA work).

    How can you expect vocal advocacy for livable streets when large amounts of money and connections come from people affiliated with groups opposed to your mission? How can we expect the efforts of the great people at PBOT to go anywhere when our commissioners refuse to step up and push these citywide priorities forward – yet we keep reelecting them? Like Dan Saltzman, who pushed to eliminate the potential for any public funding for bike share (an equity and last-mile necessity), leaving it in limbo for the past handful of years.

    Children are being killed just walking in East Portland, my friend is still recovering from being run over while walking her bike across the street in a marked crosswalk on MLK, I’m still in pain every. single. day from the damage to my spine from a car hitting me years ago on Going St… I couldn’t even get away from the unnecessary tragedy by taking off into the wilderness this summer – even there I met a man during a summit hike who was climbing for his friend… who was just killed crossing the street near Portland.

    Change in our streets isn’t a frivolous accoutrement – it’s a necessity.

    I know it hurts to admit your failings, but nothing can change until we do. We should be turning this demotion into an opportunity to examine what hasn’t been working, what has been, and making changes and taking direct action to move us all forward.

    I believe in what this city can be – equitable, safe streets that bring the community together and give us real choice in how we get around. I hope those most able to get us there can wake up, stop making excuses, and start making it happen.

    :::end rant::

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    • 9watts September 23, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      I’d vote for you for Leah Treat’s job. I bet you’d actually pursue the Vision Zero thing, not just talk about it at the City Club.

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    • spare_wheel September 23, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      Comment of the week?

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    • paikiala September 24, 2014 at 10:31 am

      ‘One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result’ – attributed to Albert Einstein

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    • Steph Routh September 24, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      “I believe in what this city can be – equitable, safe streets that bring the community together and give us real choice in how we get around.”

      Amen. I believe in these goals, and frankly, I think they have about zero to do with rankings. Let’s focus on what matters. This is not about competition, it’s about access to opportunities and choice. Thanks, Lisa Marie!

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    • Bill September 27, 2014 at 4:23 pm

      So I moved from DC to Portland earlier this year and have mainly commuted by bike in both cities. My commute there was from Arlington into the McPherson Square (northeast of the White House), my commute here is through SE from Tabor-ish to the central Eastside.

      The bike commute here is much less stressful. Now, partially that’s because I don’t go through downtown here so that helps, but the blocks and stops downtown here are also shorter here than in DC and downtown traffic in Portland is generally slower and less crazy. The traffic, and especially cabs, around here are also more aware of bikers than in DC. On the flip side, DC’s light rail system is a subway, so you don’t have to worry about crossing MAX/streetcar tracks. There is one streetcar line being built in DC, but it’s outside of the downtown.

      The bollard-ed bike lanes in DC — where they exist — really do help make it easier to commute. But on at least half of my trips I would have to exit the bike lanes and go into the rest of traffic because of delivery trucks/garbage trucks/cops/other traffic parked in and taking up the entire bike lane in the mornings. I think that separated bike lanes like that are ideal if they’re enforced, but DC failed to enforce them when I was there.

      Honestly I felt safer on my ride home most of the time on a street that didn’t have a bollarded bike lane because it was easier for me to maneuver around stopped traffic. That was also partially because I commuted in during rush hour in the morning and generally went home after evening rush hour.

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  • Jim Lee September 23, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    I listened for 15 minutes then left.

    The usual gang of suspects–at least they stood up to be counted–are incompetent, leftovers from Mia’s mafia.

    Be fearless! Sack the lot!

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  • David Lewis September 23, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Personally, I feel that there is a lack of any real cycling constituency in any city in this country, which is why this conversation is happening in the first place. Advocacy organizations shouldn’t need to promote activities like cycling, because it should attract people based on its merits alone. The real question is why isn’t it?

    When the vast majority of bicycles sold in America are sold in places like Walmart, and have the durability of a paper clip, and any other choice is either prohibitively expensive or no more durable, imported from Asia and virtually devoid of necessities like bells, fenders or lights, what do we expect?

    I lived in Germany for several years until very recently, and they take the automobile very seriously there. People drive, despite the huge cost, but they also ride their bicycles because bicycles in Germany cannot be sold without all the necessary equipment needed to ride legally and safely, and so it’s easy to do. It also has to do with the way European cities are laid out, which is much more bicycle friendly than the post-war American landscape we have inherited here. Cycle routes generally co-exist with pedestrian routes, because people also walk there. They call it “trekking”.

    When I came to Portland, and I looked at the map of cycle routes that start and stop nowhere in particular, or have zones in the middle which are impassable, and other absurdities, I could see a pattern of piecemeal victories with little to no tangible benefit to the population at large, except for the people who specifically wanted to ride the route adopted. It’s kind of pathetic if you look at it objectively.

    The answer is to stop appealing to rich white people who bicycle recreationally, and look to providing transportation-disenfranchised populations with real transportation alternatives to driving. In time they will vote with their pedals.

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    • 9watts September 23, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      “The answer is to stop appealing to rich white people who bicycle recreationally, and look to providing transportation-disenfranchised populations with real transportation alternatives to driving.”

      Now we’re talking.

      You asked – “why isn’t it?”

      I think Geller’s second quote speaks to this: we still make it so easy to drive in this town–and this on top of all the gazillion subsidies that aren’t PBOT’s fault but that are real nonetheless.
      PBOT curtsies anytime anyone says boo! about imagined loss of car parking, about any tiny thing that someone who drives thinks would inconvenience them. The tortuous 20s bikeway route is absurd. So many jogs. That is all you really need to know about how the priorities trickle down, and how mode share doesn’t trickle up.

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    • F.W. de Klerk September 24, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      You lost me at “rich white people”. When did Al Sharpton get involved with this?

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      • jeff September 26, 2014 at 4:31 pm

        exactly. the classist stuff is pretty lame all around, but lives on strong here in Church of Jonathan Maus.

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        • 9watts September 26, 2014 at 4:36 pm

          Well, social class (and race) are real, help us understand and make sense of some of the stuff that goes on, so are you saying we shouldn’t talk about it?

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  • Dwaine Dibbly September 23, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    What about the budget surplus that the City is looking at for this year, something like $9 million. Even a small fraction of that could go a long, long way.

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  • Barney September 23, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    “Did we really deserve to lose our spot atop the podium of America’s best bike cities?”

    I think the question is; did we ever really deserve it? That Portland ever became a “bicycling city” really came from the bottom up, not from the top down. It wasn’t leadership that created large numbers of people riding their bikes, it was large numbers of people riding their bikes that displayed the need for better cycling infrastructure. The leadership followed, and then took credit for it!

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  • Joe Adamski September 23, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    painted lines on the street do not constitute ‘safe facilities’. well placed separated and safe,connected facilities will go further to reach the ridership goals than any other single thing. How to pay for it? Every dollar not spent on cars is a dollar staying in the local economy.

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    • spare_wheel September 23, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      portland’s bike lanes (e.g. mere “painted lines”) helped convince thousands of cyclists to start cycling when the economy was cratering and gas was $4 a gallon. moreover, bike lanes (e.g. mere painted lines on the street) helped propel german cities from 6% mode share to almost 20% mode cycling share.

      it really annoys me when people cr@# on one form of infrastructure because they are ideologically obsessed with another form of infrastructure. cyclists in many ‘murrican cities would be overjoyed to have portland’s bike lanes. i support a cycle track on foster but i also support buffered bike lanes in locations where we don’t have federal/state grants that provide the funds needed to build protected infrastructure. buffered or enhance “mere paint on the street: is heck of a lot better than the fracking *NOTHING* we have on many major arterials and commercial streets.

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      • John Liu
        John Liu September 24, 2014 at 6:33 am

        I ride every weekday on Portland bike lanes with just painted lines, and my last accident with a car was . . . never . . .

        Painted line bike lanes, properly designed with adequate width and sometimes buffering, are safe and effective in most cases. We should have “separated” cycle tracks in the few places where they are necessary, but to say that you want them everywhere is to say that you don’t want them anywhere – because, in the real world of Portland’s budget, that’s what you’ll get.

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        • Spiffy September 24, 2014 at 10:23 am

          “I ride every weekday on Portland bike lanes with just painted lines, and my last accident with a car was . . . never . . .”

          that’s not the bike lanes helping you out, that’s you avoiding the collision…

          every third time I ride in a Hawthorne bike lane commuting home (away from downtown) I have to avoid a collision with somebody right-hooking me…

          unfortunately I’m enabling these bad drivers to continue on their merry ignorant way and probably run somebody else over that isn’t paying as much attention, and hopefully will be healthy enough to recover…

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          • spare_wheel September 24, 2014 at 11:57 am

            right hooks are a serious issue for both protected bike lanes and “mere paint on the road” bike lanes. moreover, protected bike lane designs that hide cyclists behind a “wall of parked cars” exacerbate right hook risk.

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          • John Liu
            John Liu September 25, 2014 at 7:07 am

            Always going to have to ride defensively in the city.

            Have to drive defensively, even have to walk defensively, cycling is not the carefree exception.

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    • davemess September 24, 2014 at 9:02 am

      Joe, in reality how would you pay for this? Or how would it even work in our city with its small blocks (as we all know cycle paths can be quite dangerous at intersections)?

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  • Todd Hudson September 23, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Bike infrastructure costs money. Portland and Multco are forced to spend like red states because property tax rates are straitjacketed by the state, and if anyone talks about a street fee, income tax, sales tax, etc….people instantly balk because it’s taxing them and not someone else. It’s all about the benjamins.

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    • 9watts September 23, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      “if anyone talks about a street fee […] people instantly balk because it’s taxing them and not someone else.”

      Funny guy.

      I balk because them’s the ones saddling us with all the costs.

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  • Fred September 23, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Bicycling magazine is the US Weekly of sports related periodicals. We shouldn’t concern ourselves with their ranking system.

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    • Chris I September 24, 2014 at 6:10 am

      Bingo. Just read the past few days of BikeSnob to understand why ranking New York as #1 is absolutely absurd. Anyone that has ridden in NYC probably had a good laugh when they saw that.

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      • davemess September 24, 2014 at 9:05 am

        Yes, I find the whole thing comical. On average Portland has the safest most comfortable streets to bike on in the US (and again I’m comparing ALL the streets in a city, not just the few designated or separated routes that some other cities have). The drivers are more observant and respectful. There are so many cities in this country with hundreds of roads that I as a pretty fearless cyclist wouldn’t even dream of riding on.

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      • jeff September 26, 2014 at 4:32 pm

        Yep. the lack of real experience and perspective is pretty apparent. NYC is a frightening place to ride a bike.

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  • GlowBoy September 23, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    From what I’m hearing about other cities, we may actually be close to getting knocked off the top spot in terms of sheer infrastructure. And I think our just-okay infrastructure in the central city (not even counting our absolutely abysmal infrastructure in Southwest and East Portland) is the biggest thing holding us back right now. I know we’re still making progress in our infrastructure, but it feels like baby steps the last couple of years.

    One thing we could do, though, as David Lewis touched on, is to grow the constituency for cycling. Although (obviously) our goal is to improve conditions for transportation cycling, I think we would do well to broaden our focus to also promote the recreational benefits of improved bike facilities – not just for the fast roadies, but for families and everyone.

    I think this is an area where we could learn from Minneapolis, where the metro area is absolutely crisscrossed with bikeways, and I think there is broader support for them because so many non-cyclists use them recreationally: a pretty large share of the population in the 1st and 2nd ring suburbs lives within 1/2 mile of one of these paths. I believe that bike infrastructure as a whole (including the better stuff) is somewhat less controversial there as a result.

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  • jeff bernards September 24, 2014 at 1:13 am

    Just raise the gas tax closer to the true cost of driving and you’ll start seeing more bikes. Of course start using the “new” money for bike infrastructure. It’s one formula that is needed to cut down on our CO2. We need to look at the big picture of problems and solutions, no just one aspect.

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  • 9watts September 24, 2014 at 6:47 am

    Oregon Mamacita:
    “94% of people don’t want to bike commute and we live in a democracy.”

    And you know this, how? Because everyone only does what they want? People are able to choose among alternatives? That’s a good one, OM.
    You’ve suggested before that you think there’s a ceiling above which bicycling numbers won’t rise—you talk about it as if it were an iron law. I’m not sure why you see this as static. More people in lots of countries and increasingly in US cities are taking up bicycling. The trend is up pretty much everywhere. What do you make of that? I suspect you’d agree that more people in Portland bike commute (or just plain bike) today than ten or twenty years ago. How did this come to pass? How do people who, in your view, ‘don’t want to bike commute’ find themselves taking it up?

    By democracy I suspect you mean ‘can choose which mode to buy and use,’ yes? But that isn’t really the half of it. How do streetcar tracks, poor enforcement of traffic laws, variable infrastructure fit into this? Is our political system—I think you really mean consumer republic—all that we need to know about mode choice? We were, nominally, a democracy back in 1990 when almost no one in Portland bike commuted.

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    • Spiffy September 24, 2014 at 10:33 am

      I laugh every time somebody says that we live in a democracy… then I comment how I’m extremely glad that we don’t live in a democracy…

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  • Brian September 24, 2014 at 8:04 am

    Diverters, separated lanes, green boxes, Unobtanium magazine rankings, MUPs, etc are all important, but making them happen just isn’t for me.
    I’m a people person. So, I plan to improve the cycling scene in Portland by working with people, one person at a time. This past Monday I sent an email to the entire staff of my school asking if anyone would like to “bike pool” with me. I got two replies saying they would like to go for it, so I got to planning. I chose this Friday for a number of reasons (good weather, traffic sucks on Fridays, etc), and picked a location that works for the other two riders. I am looking forward to it.
    I have often thought a “bike buddy” system would make for a great non-profit idea. If I didn’t love teaching so much, I may have actually tried to start one myself. I believe some people just need someone they trust to guide and teach them in order to eliminate the barrier of fear. The goal would be simple: Show up at peoples’ homes and teach them how to ride to work/school/etc. in a positive and encouraging manner. Biking safely cannot be learned by reading a manual or an online website with “safety tips.” It has to be experienced.

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  • Spiffy September 24, 2014 at 10:51 am

    what happened to Portland? it stopped caring… and since it stopped caring I also care less… I don’t bicycle as much as I want because it’s a hassle… I’m in the “strong and fearless” crowd because I’ll take the lane on 82nd, Powell, or Sandy… but when drivers constantly oppress me and the city doesn’t care about it then I’m not that motivated to get out there on a bike… I’ve been doing a lot of walking and public transit this year… I miss bicycling…

    Division St traffic diverted to Clinton bikeway: you didn’t care enough to stop rush hour traffic from using a Greenway until advocates made a media circus out of it…

    50’s bikeway: you put green inside a huge pothole at Powell, you obviously don’t care about getting people to use the bike lane since you made it unsafe when you installed it…

    parking in bike lane is only a ticket: we call about parked cars blocking bike lanes and you give them tickets and leave the lane blocked… I guarantee that if I parked in the right lane of Powell there’d be a tow-truck there within 30 minutes… Portland Parking actively refuses to even ticket some cars parked on the sidewalk…

    no citizen citation without facial ID: how about you issue the ticket to the owner and they either finger somebody else or they pay the ticket… the citizen initiated citation process is a joke because we usually only see the offending driver’s rear of their motor vehicle as they speed away… make drivers responsible for their vehicles…

    so tell me Portland, why should I care when you don’t? what can I do about the problem when you won’t take any action after I report it?

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    • davemess September 24, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Did you call the pothole on 52nd in to the pothole line?

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      • Psyfalcon September 24, 2014 at 12:37 pm

        We have to call PBOT, to fix a problem that should have been 100% obvious while they were working on the intersection?

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        • Mindful Cyclist September 25, 2014 at 12:09 pm

          A guy with a can of green spray paint did not go install that bike lane. A big machine did it and the person driving this machine may not be able to see the pothole considering a lot of this stuff is done at night.

          Also consider that the city may hire out contractors to do one job and not the other.

          People need to call when there is an obvious thing like this!

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        • davemess September 25, 2014 at 1:26 pm

          This pothole is not in the intersection, so i don’t think it’s incredibly obvious (esp. now that it is in a bike lane and not the “car” lane.

          We shouldn’t have to, but I would hope commenters on here would have done a pretty easy thing like spent 2 minutes to call it in before posting a complaint about it.

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    • Andyc of Linnton September 24, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      A-frickin-men dude.
      Can we get a bunch of “GO BY CAR” billboards and signage posted throughout the city?

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  • Frank September 24, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I realize much of the debate on this forum is about infrastructure, but as someone who works in the white collar world, what I hear all the time is: “I would love to ride, but my building doesn’t have a shower”. I hear that far more than I hear “it looks dangerous”.

    Has anyone ever offered incentives to building owners to offer bike-friendly facilities? How about tax breaks or subsidies of some kind to landlords who install showers and a bike locker? Or how about rented locker/shower facilities built IN existing parking garages. I’m sure its not a new idea.

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    • F.W. de Klerk September 24, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      Judging by the smell of many of the riders I get stuck behind, we could use more of those showers NOW.

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    • Dan September 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      That’s just the first in a long list of excuses. Probe further & you’ll see.

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    • Chris I September 24, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      My facility in east Portland has lockers and showers, and we usually have a 1% commuting rate during the September challenge. Most people are just lazy.

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      • Frank September 25, 2014 at 7:57 am

        In my office, 20% ride.

        20% don’t and have no excuse beyond laziness, but at least most of them ride the bus.

        20% live within two miles and just walk.

        20% used to ride but now have small children and need to have access to a car for drop-off/pickup at daycare, random sudden needs to take kids to Dr., etc. They plan to ride (with kids) once kids are bigger.

        20% are older and have medical issues that limit their ability to ride. These folks also happen to live in the burbs, so commuting downtown on a bike, even using transit in conjunction, would add major time to their commutes. Some take TriMet, sometimes, but again: long commute compared to driving.

        Those percentages are approximate, but I suspect that’s typical (though 20% riding is still pretty good). I think the 25% goal may be unattainable and am wondering if that number was just dreamed up or if someone actually talked to people about the practicality of it, especially older people and people with families living in the burbs. 25% of people under 40 living close-in? Maybe.

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        • 9watts September 25, 2014 at 8:22 am

          “I think the 25% goal may be unattainable and am wondering if that number was just dreamed up or if someone actually talked to people about the practicality of it…”

          I’m unclear why you think it may be unattainable. Like most things, this strikes me as a dynamic problem, where a great many factors play a role. While it seems most here on bikeportland don’t share the sense that the cheap, readily burned, fossil fuels are soon going to be history, that is just one of many possible circumstances that could change people’s attitudes dramatically about how realistic it is to get to work without a car. In Cuba, which lost access to cheap oil during its Special Period, people also thought biking was not for them. Until it suddenly was.

          Constraints are of course just one track. Infrastructure improvements, rooting out some of the subsidies to driving would be another. Changing the pricing around car parking, etc.

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          • Frank September 25, 2014 at 10:52 am

            I agree its a very complex problem, but my own observation is that cycling is simply not practical for a large number of people because of where they live, their family obligations, and their physical condition. And then you throw in the people who just don’t want to ride a bicycle or are lazy. You can’t force people to like it, and there will always be alternatives to riding or driving a car.

            Getting people out of their cars should be easy enough as other options improve and the cost of driving goes up. But as much as I would like to see 25% on BIKES, specifically, that seems like a tough goal when the natural progression of things seems to be to get older, fatter and move to the burbs so your kids can have a yard while your health tanks. Bike lanes alone will not change that aspect of Americana.

            Now me personally… I would never dram of living in the burbs.

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            • 9watts September 25, 2014 at 11:02 am

              “is simply not practical for a large number of people because of where they live, their family obligations, and their physical condition. ”

              Right here, right now – no argument. And, as you say, extrapolating from the past doesn’t suggest we’re likely to hit that target anytime soon.
              BUT –
              I don’t think the future—even the near future—is going to be anything like the past. We’re so used to relying on fossil fuels for every little facet of our lives that this wholesale dependency has become invisible, and we focus instead on convenience and the like. I keep coming back to the fact that if Brian Willson (a semiregular commenter here) can bike, anyone can. Of course most people don’t (yet) have Brian’s dedication to avoiding fossil fuel use.
              I guess I’m trying to suggest that we have a much better chance of hitting this target for reasons entirely separate from those we might focus on if we extrapolated the past.

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              • GlowBoy September 25, 2014 at 12:17 pm

                FWIW I think the 25% goal (or at least 20%) is very attainable, but it will require a dramatic improvement in our infrastructure. Not only in the inner Portland core (which still isn’t quite there) but across the entire city, including Southwest and East Portland.

                Whether or not we will come up with the vision and political courage to make this happen remains to be seen.

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              • 9watts October 8, 2014 at 12:39 pm

                or no change to infrastructure (expensive) and a big change to what some are calling culture –

                I just returned from working in an Italian city where, except for a few cycletracks in some newer neighborhoods, bicycle infrastructure was entirely nonexistent. Yet there were way more people (of all ages) bicycling among tight and aggressive car, bus, and scooter traffic than I see here. It was on a minority that I saw a helmet on, and in fact saw more people riding without lights at night than I’ve seen anywhere before, yet somehow everyone seemed to get along with no particular discrimination as to transportation choice (not that they don’t have any problems…).
                My point: I think culture plays as significant a role as infrastructure, if not more.
                Recommended 4

                from here –

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  • KristenT September 24, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    If you make a fully connected, clear and easy system of bike lanes/MUPs/etc, that follow the most direct route to destinations, you’d probably find more people riding.

    Most of my co-workers, who live close enough to make riding feasible, won’t ride because they can’t figure out a route that doesn’t make them wind around from Beaverton/Hillsboro to Tigard/Durham. There’s no safe, direct, relatively clean route– Hall doesn’t count, you have to ride the edge of the car lane too often to make that palatable for the “concerned but interested”.

    I’ve even offered to ride with my co-workers, or help them plan out routes, but nope. We even have a shower, and indoor parking! All I hear is, “it’s too dangerous” “I could never do that”.

    Too many jogs in the route, bike lanes that disappear and reappear, routes with lots of debris in the bike lane– it’s all discouraging.

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    • howard draper September 24, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      Agreed. “Connected, Clear, and Easy” would make a great motto for what bike infrastructure (or any transit system) needs.

      A city department head once asked me “what is it that bike people will want here at this intersection?”

      I answered “What does any driver want? Clear instruction on what to do. Obvious cues that make sense and tell you where and when to go. A seamless route.”

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  • Mindful Cyclist September 25, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Why is it stagnating?

    1. Perhaps because (see previous post) the price of rent in the central city keeps rising and rising and more and more people are being forced to move to less bikeable areas?

    2. Perhaps because local media outlets (that includes BP) suggest to people that it is dangerous when there is evidence that proves otherwise.

    3. Perhaps because PBOT keeps trying to swing for the fences with putting “world-class” infrastructure and not ding simple things that will basically require no public meetings or lost parking. Last I checked, 28th speed limit has not been dropped to 20 or there are no sharrows. But, hey let’s just keep hammering and we will get what we want!

    4. Perhaps because the average person isn’t going to know how to do it. I am not talking safe bike routes. I mean the average person does not know what type of bike to get, what is good rain gear, lights, locks, all of that stuff that is standard on a car.

    5. Perhaps because Novick/Hales seem to have very little interest in even talking about building better bike ways. Notice how they intentionally do not talk about cycling when it comes to the street fee?

    6. Perhaps because we are focusing on the wrong age demographic. Is it safe for the 8-80 year olds? 80 year olds (make that 55, let’s be honest) are not going to start riding. And, the 8 year olds? You can line that bike lane up with big fluffy pillows and make it 50 feet away from the nearest automobile and parents are going to find that it is too dangerous!!

    So what do I propose instead?

    #1? I just don’t know. I am not convinced more and more available units are going to drive the cost down because developers are getting too much money and interest from high end apartment. But, some sort of rent controls could go a long way.

    #2? Quit focusing on the negative. Thousands of people ride daily here with little to no incident at all. Do you really think OHSU would be handing out financial incentives to ride your bike to work if riding was dangerous? and by all means, if you are currently riding, don’t let the handful of motorist that don’t want you on the road bully you off it! We all have the same right to be there as they do.

    #3? Don’t be afraid to keep it simple. I am not saying don’t strive for better things. Just quit this black and white thinking about how it has to be “world-class” or we may as well just not do it. That cognitive distortion will get us no where quickly.

    #4? Steer people in the direction if they seem interested. The average joe in PDX is not going to know that the Bike Gallery offers ‘learn to commute’ classes. Hand out those free “bike there” maps to people who seem to be at least contemplative about trying it. Or if you know yourself how to wrench, offer to tune up that thing in the basement that has collected dust for them.

    #5? Again, not sure how to work around this. They seem convinced that they want a street fee and they seem to be focused on that.

    #6? Let’s try to shift the focus to a more age appropriate bracket. People that will conceivably do it. Offer an incentive for high school kids to ride to school. Offer them parking. Make secure parking at some of the universities. How about 16-45 instead?

    Sometimes we are going to need to do a little leg work ourselves. Sometimes we need to call to have potholes fixed. Sometimes we will need to make PBOT aware that diverting traffic down Clinton is a bad idea. And, get out there and ride and have fun doing that. Having a positive mental attitude about it is going to rub off on others a lot more than talking about the negative.

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    • Chris Anderson September 25, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Great thoughts and I mostly agree. But I think you may underestimate the popularity of biking with the under-10 set.

      Here’s some free inspiration: http://kidicalmasspdx.org/gallery/

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      • Mindful Cyclist September 25, 2014 at 1:55 pm

        Sorry, meant to post below comment as a reply to you.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) September 26, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      Like Lisa Marie’s comment above, this is an awesome exploration and it killed me not to use one of these as Comment of the Week. The only reason I’m not is that we don’t want folks to overdose on stagnation talk.

      Anyway, on the rent issue: getting developers to build housing at the middle or low end of the price range would be awesome, but it’s really hard to do. But even if every additional unit that goes in is something that only a rich person can afford, I’d argue that that’s still a win for affordability because the rich person who moves into it isn’t bidding a middle-class family out of an older house in Kenton or whatever. And that middle-class person isn’t bidding a poor person out of a place in Cully. Etc.

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      • William Henderson September 26, 2014 at 10:14 pm

        I don’t see it working that way. The new development is mostly two kinds: mcmansions and high density apartments. The mcmansions happen everywhere, including in Kenton. They can be slowed greatly by improving our laws around tear down and noticing.

        High density is, as you say, a very tricky issue. Building more units counterintuitively raises the price in the neighborhood because the developers cater overwhelmingly to the high end of the market. But the folks moving into family houses in Kenton and Cully are not going to move into these high-rent, high-density apartment instead. They are two separate markets – young affluent folks without kids, and affluent families. So the high density stuff adds to the problem (by raising rents and real estate prices overall) without providing a whole lot of relief to folks in single family houses (because it caters to a different market).

        So what’s the way forward? Some ideas:
        – Portland can to do far more to get developers to build affordable housing. Look for win-wins like offering less parking in exchange for more affordable units.
        – One of the biggest drivers in gentrification is when the folks living there now don’t have access to capital. Hence, they go for the suitcase of money when the developer shows up, the developer flips it after doubling the price, and hence the whole social and economic fabric is broken. Why can’t Portland work with banks to provide access to mortgages and home improvement resources to home owners in gentrifying neighborhoods? That will help them stay in it longer, or at least avoid such a huge leap in value when they decide to leave.
        – Last but not least, we need to raise up East Portland and other areas that are relatively close by but completely lacking in infrastructure. It drives me a little crazy to see all the coverage of cars on Clinton st when most of the city would be THRILLED with the level of infrastructure already in that area. Of course, the folks living in Clinton are doing a great job advocating (as is their right and responsibility) for better streets in their neighborhood. How can we extend this to other areas, and bring new voices to the conversation? I really dug the coverage of East Portland by BP this summer, we need more of this!

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        • maccoinnich September 26, 2014 at 10:35 pm

          I don’t see how both of these things can be true: that there are two separate housing markets, with different people participating in each; and that the rents paid by people in one of these markets has an affect (whether negative or positive) on the other market.

          Also, Portland already has very low parking minimums (where they even occur, which isn’t citywide) so it’s not that easy to offer reduced parking as an incentive for affordable housing.

          Lastly, I don’t think that making it easier for people to take on additional debt as alternative to voluntary selling their homes to developers is a policy the City of Portland should be encouraging.

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  • Mindful Cyclist September 25, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Thanks for the link. And, I do not underestimate the popularity of bikes with young children. I am more concerned if the average helicopter parent would want to let there kids get out on one on their own.

    I loved my bike as a kid. Heck, I think when I was 12 years old, I think I may have been considered by some in the “strong and fearless” category. But, my parents let me go out and ride. They made me, actually if I wanted to go some place. I don’t think we live in that world any longer.

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  • mike September 30, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Ugh….having a meeting to discuss the back slide…barf. When I see a bunch of younger people wringing their hands over this I can’t help but think this article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2772396/Over-sensitive-desperate-I-feel-sorry-Bret-Easton-Ellis-gives-damning-analysis-Millennials-brands-Generation-Wuss.html WHO CARES how you rank, just go ride your bike! God, if I spent as much time worrying about BS like this I’d never find myself in the saddle.

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