BikePortland

Comment of the Week: The case for organized running advocacy in Portland


I'm too clean-cut to be here in Portland with all these hippies. I think I should be in Kansas. Or maybe Salt Lake City.
Shared interests.
(Photo: Ed Yourdon)

Here on BikePortland, we love to switch focus around the many ways to enjoy bikes, from dirt-trails or the daily commute. And if you ask me, Jonathan’s inspired combination of sport, fun and policy is the special recipe that has made this site a viable business as well as a work of love for everyone involved.

So as reader Adam wrote this week, isn’t it time for someone to apply a similar approach to athleticism on foot?

Here’s what Adam wrote this afternoon beneath our post about the appeal of gravel paths to people running:

The idea of a running “lobby” came to me a few years’ back. I was biking on SE Salmon (a bike boulevard or neighborhood Greenway, or whatever you want to call it). Ahead of me was a group of maybe twelve runners, running in the road. Instead of being all “get onto the sidewalk!!!”, I instead thought about how many runners run on roads, and how their runs could benefit too from diverters, speed bumps, and other traffic calming measures.

… runners choose to run on roads instead of sidewalks for very practical reasons. Sidewalks are often eneven, with big slabs at odd angles causing a major tripping hazard. They often don’t gave curb cuts, meaning you have to jump up and down curbs every 200 feet – another tripping hazard. And they are often blocked by overgrown vegetation, huge recycling bins, people parking on them etc.

I would guess out of my social circle, maybe twelve of them bike, and 40 of them run.

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Portland is a biking town, but there’s no question that it’s a running town, too. And it certainly seems to want to become a great walking town — but the constant obstacle for walking advocates is that so few people tend to identify strongly as walking lovers. Maybe a more organized sense of foot-based athleticism would do our city good.

Yes, we pay for good comments. We’ll be mailing a $5 bill to Adam in thanks for this great one. Watch your email!

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