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Portlanders plan safe streets rally at City Hall on Wednesday (6/24)

Posted by on June 19th, 2015 at 1:22 pm

Build It - Bike Plan Rally-23

A scene from the “Build It” rally at City Hall back in February 2010.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Saying Portland already knows how to increase safety on its streets and can get to work immediately without further study, the advocacy group BikeLoudPDX is organizing what looks like Portland City Hall’s first rally in five years on behalf of bicycling improvements.

“It doesn’t take money, it just takes political will. And the rally is to give them the political will to do it now.”
— Ted Buehler, BikeLoudPDX

So far, more than 100 people say they’re planning to attend the Wednesday morning event.

“There’s a real danger that Vision Zero can just be prolonged indefinitely if they keep on studying it,” BikeLoud organizer Ted Buehler said Friday. “But really, they have the tools in their toolbox to do it now. And it doesn’t take money, it just takes political will. And the rally is to give them the political will to do it now.”

Buehler said he thinks the city supports safer streets and other transportation improvements, but isn’t aware of how many Portlanders share those goals.

“There is a constituency out there that is supporting them in taking more substantive measures to improve safety,” Buehler said. “We are inviting the constituency and anybody that supports the cause to come between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. and show your support.”

“We want to make sure the rally is open to people who are on bicycles and people who are not on bicycles,” said Jessica Engelman, a rally organizer with BikeLoud. “It’s Pedalpalooza; we’re trying to make it a little more fun, so people can bring their kids, maybe bring costumes.”

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Buehler called the event “basic political theory.”

“They know they need to push City Hall, and they’re being heard at City Hall.”
— PBOT Manager Art Pearce in the Portland Tribune

“Whenever a constituency goes out and shows support for their cause, it’s always easier to get resources directed toward the cause,” he said. “Whenever people in Ladd’s Addition complain about stop-sign running at Ladd’s Circle, the police go out and do a sting. We want to show that there are other people in town that care about safety elsewhere, and we want better enforcement of those traffic safety codes as well.”

Buehler said BikeLoud is preparing a list of specific actions that the city could immediately pursue, such as installing interim traffic diverters on several neighborhood greenways and maintaining a plan to spend 52 percent of new revenue on safety-related measures.

“We’ve sent 400 postcards in from caring constituents asking for diverters on Clinton, and we’ve had the Buckman neighborhood association ask for a diverter on Ankeny, and the city is still not delivering on those,” Buehler said. “And in the meantime, they are taking away a diverter on Rodney. That’s fine if they want to spend money on studying things, but they already have the Portland Bicycle Master Plan on the books. And we’re asking them to implement these things much more aggressively. And that will support the cause of Vision Zero.”

Will Vanlue, a Portland resident who started a petition to downgrade Portland’s status as a Platinum Bicycle Friendly city said safety projects need to be a higher priority among city leaders.

“I don’t know why they’re talking a big game about Vision Zero and then repaving these unsafe streets without talking about changes,” he said. “We’re just restriping unsafe designs when we could be changing the street probably for low or no cost.”

20150613_TrainStation

A BikeLoud banner promoting next week’s event.
(Photo courtesy Ted Buehler)

Activism from BikeLoudPDX and others has been on a roll in Portland of late. For an article published today in the Portland Tribune, city transportation planning manager Art Pearce said “The advocacy we’re hearing from BikePortland, BikeLoudPDX and the BTA is very helpful to remind us we have to keep reaching to succeed. They know they need to push City Hall, and they’re being heard at City Hall.”

The rally is planned for 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Wednesday, at which point participants will head into City Hall in support of testimony from four BikeLoudPDX and Bike PSU biking advocates for rapid safety improvements in Portland.

The council’s discussion of bike-related issues is expected to wrap up by 10 a.m., at which point some rally participants are planning to join a day of further events to promote other city plans that have yet to be executed. Then at 4:30 p.m., there’s a Downgrade Portland ride linked to the morning rally.

BikeLoud is also organizing a sign-making party on Saturday afternoon, tomorrow, from 2-5 p.m. in Colonel Summers Park.

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Jeg
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Jeg

The commissioners support the monied land speculators. They perpetuate a housing shortage and don’t care about dying bicyclists. As long as they can keep kicking the can without a big political shake up, we will see no change. I think we should be threatening them with petitions for recalls. Even if just as a gesture to rally support behind alternatives to these farces.

Amy
Guest

This is why we created Vision Zero USA! To be the stick to the carrot of traditional, more entrenched advocacy.

Confucius
Guest
Confucius

Kicking the can. Who has been doing that for quite a while now? Central Banks around the world. I predict, in the near future we will witness one of the largest events in human history. Sure, go for safe streets, but cover your butts on the basics – no one else is going to do it for you:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-06-21/credit-market-warning

Hope I’m wrong!

Jeg
Guest
Jeg

I refuse to read an article that conflates all regulation for bad. There’s bad manipulation and good manipulation. Rent stabilization and inclusionary zoning with linkage fees are income inclusive policies meant to help people keep their housing, the ultimate basic.

Confucius
Guest
Confucius

The article didn’t say anything about zoning, regulation, or housing. Housing is not a basic during a stuff-hits-the-fan event – it is a nice-to-have. Basics are food, water, self-defense of you and your family, (and your home if you have one), etc. There will be no zoning, regulation, rent stabilization, etc when TSHF. Think, prepare. 😉

Jeg
Guest
Jeg

Oh, you’re a prepper. I see.

Janet
Guest
Janet

This article describes my opinion of zerohedge better than I ever could:

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Zero_Hedge

Fallaballa
Guest
Fallaballa

every time i see one of these rallies planned, i play a game. I guess when it’s going to be held. I usually guess “some weekday, during traditional working hours” and I am usually right. It’s hard to show my solidarity when i am actually commuting or sitting at my desk… sorry y’all… jealous of your work/life balance.

Spiffy
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Spiffy

I’m trying to figure out if I can go into work late that day so I can make it to the rally…

Dwaine Dibbly
Guest
Dwaine Dibbly

Call your boss & tell him that you were riding to work & got hit by a car.

soren
Guest
soren

We had no choice on the timing since the city scheduled our testimony (and we got one of the last slots). We are holding another ride that will start at 4:30 and finish with a rally at 5:00 at City Hall:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1145710295456747/

Ted Buehler
Guest

Falla — this is the first pro-bicycle rally at city hall since Feb 2010. We plan to have them more frequently now, and will have them at different times of day. Thanks for the feedback.

Not included in this article is the “Downgrade Portland” ride at 4:30 that same day, which will swing by city hall for another rally around 5:00pm. You can join us for that.

And we have had two other street safety rallies recently, the Die In at ODOT on May 13, and the memorial ride on the Burnside Bridge last week. They were both in the 5:00 – 6:00 time window.

http://bikeportland.org/2015/05/13/die-odot-says-already-best-improve-street-safety-143191
http://www.katu.com/news/local/Memorial-ride-planned-after-pedestrian-killed-on-Burnside-Bridge-307424871.html

Ted Buehler

Gerald Fittipaldi
Guest
Gerald Fittipaldi

Fallaballa, when I went to City Hall to sign up to testify, I was bummed to hear that the only time for public comment on a topic of one’s choosing is on Wednesday’s at 9:30am. I asked if there were any other opportunities outside of normal working hours and I was told “no”. This makes no sense to me. In other cities I’ve lived in, there were ample opportunities for the public to be heard at public meetings around 7:30pm or so. I recommend that you submit written testimony if you’d like to support the Safe Streets Rally cause, and mention that the City should offer more evening meetings. Thanks.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

I am pretty much retired at 71. My voice probably won’t be heard because I might be a loudmouth. I have been safely riding the streets of greater Portland since 1953 and have only been in a couple of life threatening accidents on bikes. Therefore what ever I said would be disregarded because it might be considered true.
One of the things that all young drivers should do before they are allowed to drive on the streets is to be restricted to bus or 2 wheeled non motorized transportation for 5 years after they pass their Motorized vehicle license written examination with at least a 90% score. Then they must pass another written before their learner’s permit is issued and pass with a 99%. learn for 1 more year then get an operator’s license for no more than 2 years at a time with written exams each time for renewal.

David
Guest
David

Make a new petition with a list of things you want with a signature line at the bottom for Hales. Print/write it out on a 10′ poster, bring it to the rally. Make a novelty sized sharpie out of a PVC pipe or something similar and also bring it to city hall. Everyone at the rally signs it. Almost everyone–still a blank line at the bottom.

You want vision zero? Take these 5 steps today and commit by signing it. Of course Hales won’t sign it, but it would at least be an entertaining photo opp, and show how ridiculous a petition is.

Jeg
Guest
Jeg

I think this rally should also advocate for renter’s rights and environmental rights. Vision zero should be presented within a platter of modern urbanism: ecodensity, multimodality, beefing up transit, pushing for inclusionary zoning for all new developments with linkage fees, taxing at a higher rate land that is being underutilized in terms of its density (this perpetuates shortage), every bike lane should be a protected lane, vertical farming/automation for food independence in metro, renewable energy for energy independence and deference to our web of life.

Gerald Fittipaldi
Guest
Gerald Fittipaldi

I love the idea! By any chance, are you available to attend the sign-making party this Saturday from 2-5pm at Colonel Summers Park? Join the Bikeloudpdx Community facebook group for details on coordinating who’s bringing what materials.

Lisa Marie
Guest

Please encourage Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPI) of 5-7 seconds for ALL signalized crossings in Portland, and consider creating allowance for bicycles to follow the walk signal timing (maybe a few signs above walk signals could be added to select intersections to instruct bicycle riders & stopped automobiles). Uses infrastructure we have, relatively low cost.

In Washington DC, a VERY pedestrian friendly city, I noticed that the timing leads helped create a general culture of respect for vulnerable road users – including me riding bike share. It helps reduce hook collisions and it gives visible priority to VRU’s, which helps us also get at the culture-based/respect issues we have on our roads.

Andrew Cecka
Guest
Andrew Cecka

Tonight I watched from Double Barrel on SE 20th & Division as a huge parade of bikes ran 3 cycles of red lights. Cars headed south were waiting at SE 21st, obeying the law. When they tried to go at their green light, multiple bikes lined up in front of the cars. When the driver in front asked them to move (maybe rudely, I don’t know, but he had the light) the bikes yelled back at him, antagonizing him. He gave the gas a short bump and braked. The bike in front slammed his hands down on the hood of the car, and more bikers began to yell at the driver, starting a sitting match. He’d waited through two light cycles at this point. Then I saw the banner pictured above come through behind a bike, running a red light.

I cycle to work every day. My life depends on good relationships with drivers. If you really want safe streets, then you know that breaking the law and antagonizing drivers who are following the law, just trying to get to their destination, is not the way.

Get your act together. Stop making the roads more dangerous for bikes by making more enemies for us while claiming to support safe streets. The hypocrisy I saw tonight was disgusting. I am reporting this to the city.

I do not support any vehicles or drivers that blatantly break the law, intimidate others on the road, and make life harder for me and others. It’s just heart breaking to see idiots undoing my hard work trying to get vehicles to recognized that bikers are respectful users of the road. As of right now, I am not on your side.

Jeg
Guest
Jeg

Because the dude using his car as a weapon of assault is ok? He revved at them. What if the accelerator had locked. Many people would be injured. That would not have been the fault of the bikers performing a disobedient form of 1st amendment rights to protest. I suggest you stop trying to victim shane. Drivers don’t have the right to murderous rage, sir. Waiting a couple of light cycles is not justification for that inordinate violent response.

Zimmerman
Guest
Zimmerman

What the driver did was uncalled for and dangerous. What the cyclists did was uncalled for and dangerous. Everyone sucks in this scenario.

Jeg
Guest
Jeg

The car could have killed people, in this scenario, not the cyclist.

Zimmerman
Guest
Zimmerman

Did I say the cyclists could have killed someone? No, I said their behavior sucked. I didn’t draw any moral equivalency conclusions.

J.E.
Guest
J.E.

I was on that ride (it was the Dropout Prom). This was the result of the unfortunate decision to ride down Division St., which has been road-dieted down to one lane each direction, with a huge group (hundreds of participants). As it was about 11pm at this point, there were not many vehicles on the road and I think the ride participants got used to being able to take over both lanes. There was definitely a sense of indigence toward vehicles trying to take up the ride’s “space.” While I do not condone the cyclists aggression toward vehicles in the oncoming lane (which resulted in some incredibly unsafe behavior from both a small handful of cyclists and drivers), Pedalpalooza is the one time cyclists can really dominate Portland’s streets. “We normally feel pushed out by cars, let cars feel pushed out by us”-type attitudes quickly emerge. There is safety in numbers, and when you’re part of a 100+ bike ride it’s easy to feel invincible.

I’m of the opinion that drivers who encounter Pedalpalooza rides should just chill, wait for the stream of cyclists to pass, and pretend they’re at a parade, else find an alternate route. Although there are hundreds of rides, the chances of encountering one (especially the big ones) more than once or twice over the course of the month are pretty slim, so it’s not like having your drive affected by a ride is a daily or even weekly occurrence. The sense of entitlement that would lead a driver to continue down a road clearly occupied by a group of cyclists instead of waiting or altering their route is exactly what cyclists (and pedestrians, and even other drivers) encounter every single day. If drivers don’t have the patience to wait out or detour around a once-in-a-blue-moon situation like a massive bike ride, how will they have the patience for everyday situations like a pedestrian at an unmarked crosswalk or a slow cyclist on a greenway?

(That said, leaders of future massive bike rides, please take the ride down streets with at least two lanes each direction, preferably couplet streets where there is no oncoming traffic, else stick to the side streets. Drivers, if you see a massive group ride, just find another route rather than trying to push your way through. Let’s all try to be harmonious here.)

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

Yes be Harmonious. On feeling invinceable, I know the feeling well. None of my bike accidents has meant lost time from work in 62 years of riding on Portland area streets and boulivards. Unfortunately some of the people I have ridden with have not been as lucky. 1 died from altitude sickness on Mt. Killimonjaro. He was my team captain and took a wrong turn. My medic didn’t dodge fast enough when following me and killed a Beamer but survived last Wednesday. This while following the speed limit in the middle of the traffic lane in the middle of the day.
should have been on the 4 lane boulivards like Powell or Morrison or Glisen.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I wasn’t on the ride, and I don’t support their actions, but I feel compelled to point out that “giving the gas a short bump” when you have people standing in front of your car is menacing with a deadly weapon. It’s no different than pointing a gun at someone.

Ted Buehler
Guest
Ted Buehler
Guest

We’re doing a warm-up event today (Tuesday), street theater in front of the Multnomah County Building. (the county controls the Burnside Bridge).

Facebook evite here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1860388990852818/

Verbal description here
https://www.facebook.com/bikeloud/videos/738977472877803/