Posted by Michael Andersen (Contributor) on April 21st, 2015 at 2:27 pm
Editor’s note: This post is from Gerik Kransky, advocacy director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.
Last week was a big week for conversations among people who ride bikes, advocates, activists, media, and the general public. Everyone is talking about the petition to rescind Portland’s Platinum bicycle-friendly status by the League of American Bicyclists.
So what’s next? How do we push today to improve conditions for bicycling tomorrow? Here are five ideas for immediate action.
Speak up for a fantastic Transportation System Plan in Portland.
The City of Portland’s upcoming Comprehensive Plan and Transportation System Plan represent the next 20 years of transportation in our city. It is a complicated effort. With multiple bureaus, dozens of staff, several elected leaders, and hundreds upon hundreds of pages of draft documents, no wonder it’s hard to see how to effectively speak up for bicycling in the process.
We’ve taken a stab at the right answers in our five page comment letter to the city, available here. After Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission finishes their work on the plan it goes to Portland City Council. Now is the time to meet, call, and email Portland City Commissioners and ask them to prioritize the projects, programs, and policies that will make bicycling better. Feel free to take any and all of the points from our letter and follow our easy advice for how to work with elected leaders.
Help win protected bike lanes downtown.
If you haven’t heard, the City of Portland is sitting on over $6 million in federal funding for their “Downtown Multimodal Safety Project.” The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is running a campaign to ensure that this project includes protected bike lanes running north and south through our central city, details here.
Now is the time to take action by asking City Hall and the Portland Bureau of Transportation to commit to building new, protected bike lanes with the money they have, and dedicate as much city revenue as is needed to ensure that they have enough to build world class bicycle facilities. Engage directly with our City’s leaders and tell them what you want. Join our efforts on this campaign and sign our petition here.
Push for bike share in Portland.
Through some cruel twist of fate Portland does not have a public bike share system. We won funding, awarded contracts, suffered media controversy, and lost precious years in pursuit of a new, healthy public transit option. To make matters worse, some leaders in City Hall continue to insist that no city revenue should be spent on bike share. We have been working on this issue for a long time and it is past time to act.
If you want to see publicly accessible bikes on our city streets, step up and tell City Hall why you think they are important. Express that you want to see the 2016 launch as soon as possible, with a robust system of bikes, and plenty of funding to make sure it is successful.
Demand safety on SW Barbur.
(Rendering: Owen Walz for the BTA.)
Someone is going to die riding their bicycle on SW Barbur and we have to get loud to make it safe. Sign our petition to the leadership of the Oregon Department of Transportation in this region and demand bike lanes over the Newberry and Vermont Bridges before it is too late.
Advocate for more funding for bicycling statewide.
Last but not least, we need more money to build all the improvements we want to see. Join the BTA as we push to ensure that bicycle and pedestrian projects remain eligible for new non-roadway funding in the ConnectOregon program. Every time we can make bike-specific money available it becomes easier for cities like Portland to win funding for new projects.
This is just a short list of some of the specific things you can do right now, today, to make bicycling better in Portland and change the political dynamics in our favor. Take 15 minutes, choose your favorite campaign, and speak up. If we all take the time to make our voices heard, it will make a difference.
We always welcome guest post submissions. Thanks to Gerik for putting this one together. Got ideas of your own? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.