Commissioner Novick responds to ‘Day of Protests’ with diverter promise

Posted by on June 25th, 2015 at 10:36 am

Safe Streets Rally Part 2 at City Hall -19.jpg

BikeLoudPDX volunteer Jessica Engelman
at a protest rally in front of City Hall
yesterday.
(Photos © J. Maus)

An unprecedented day of protests yesterday have yielded their first results.

BikeLoudPDX, Portland’s upstart bike advocacy group that has made lots of headlines in the past few months, started the day with a big rally in front of City Hall followed by several of the group’s leaders giving impassioned testimony in front of City Council. After that, they helped organize several rides and then held another rally on City Hall’s steps last night.

BikeLoud leaders and the people they have inspired to show up to these events share a similar feeling: frustration and anger that city leaders sit idly by while Portlanders risk their lives on unsafe streets. “It’s bullshit!” and “It’s unacceptable!” were just two of the phrases chanted at last night’s rally.

And now it appears those voices are having an impact on City Hall.

Last night City Commissioner Steve Novick, the man in charge of the Bureau of Transportation, penned a lengthy blog post in direct response to the protests. He titled it, “Working together to build safer streets.” (He also shared thoughts about biking and the Climate Action Plan in a separate post.)

Safe Streets Rally Part 2 at City Hall -26.jpg

Soren Impey with BikeLoudPDX being interviewed by KGW-TV.

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After sharing that recent tragedies weigh heavily on him personally and create an “emotional burden” on the entire city, Novick reviewed the city’s current work on speed limits and legislative efforts in Salem.

And then, the most important sentence in the entire statement:

In reference to Neighborhood Greenways, I hear you.

“I have asked PBOT work with the community and neighborhood businesses to test temporary diversions around Neighborhood Greenways this summer.”
— Commissioner Novick

This has to feel good for activists that have spent months riding and rallying to draw attention to the uncomfortable and dangerous conditions on many of Portland’s “bicycle boulevards” that have become cut-throughs for people seeking a faster way through neighborhoods.

Then Novick shared a specific action he will take to address the problem. “I have asked PBOT work with the community and neighborhood businesses to test temporary diversions around Neighborhood Greenways this summer.” This statement makes good on a promise Mayor Charlie Hales made following a meeting on street safety earlier this month.

Novick’s statement comes just a week after a senior PBOT planner told the Portland Tribune that “the advocacy we’re hearing… is very helpful” and that it’s “being heard at City Hall.”

And yesterday morning as he walked into his office, Mayor Charlie Hales grabbed the mic and addressed the rallying crowd: “We have the bike system we have because of activism out of the community,” he said, “Now we need more of that… So keep it up… When we feel the heat we see the light.”

Now that the lights are on and City Hall sees the problem, let’s hope there’s more concrete action to report soon.

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Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
Guest
kiel johnson

Does bikeloud have any paid staff yet? Love to see this momentum continue. It would be a real loss to see it fatigue out.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

Not yet Kiel.

All of the staff and members have been digging into their own pockets for their efforts, and diverting funds from their own families.

soren
Guest
soren

Kiel,
Thanks for your support. I’d also like to thank you for your years of advocacy and for working hard to provide thousands of OHSU bike commuters with incredibly convenient and safe bike parking.

We are currently seeking non-profit status and don’t yet have payed staff. BikeLoudPDX was formed ~9 months ago and grew slowly until 2015 (we now have 238 people signed up on our email list). If you want to see this momentum continue please get involved (however you can) and encourage others to do so. Our membership is open so anyone can attend our meetings (http://bikeloudpdx.org/index.php/Calendar).
Best,
Soren

Gerald Fittipaldi
Guest
Gerald Fittipaldi

Low key engagement:
-monthly newsletter. Email bikeloudpdx@gmail.com.
-Facebook: facebook.com/bikeloud

Mid-level engagement:
-Facebook private group: BikeLoudPDXcommunity
-Attend a monthly meeting (usually 2nd Sunday of ever month)

High-level engagement:
-BikeLoudPDX google group: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/bikeloudpdx
Some months the google group sees upwards of 300 messages. We highly recommend that you edit the settings to “daily digest”

ethan
Guest
ethan

Months of protests = “temporary diverters” at an unspecified time. And of course, PBOT will have to “work with the community and neighborhood businesses” so there’s a chance that these diverters won’t even be installed.

As we all know, businesses often derail bike projects or weaken them to the point of not even being bike projects anymore (28th Avenue).

Meanwhile, people driving get $100 million in “upgrades” for sitting on their asses and doing nothing. No protests, no activisism, etc.

The Bureaus and Departments of TRANSPORTATION should not treat driving like a god given right while making people walking and biking jump through so many hoops to get simple safety upgrades.

Patrick Barber
Guest

I agree. Until the city and state understand that bicycling is a form of public transportation, and treat it as such, it will never be treated as anything other than a special interest group.

ethan
Guest
ethan

I also hate the term “alternative transportation”

There are 3 forms of transportation: active (walking, biking, etc), public (trains and buses and stuff) and selfish (driving).

Eric
Guest
Eric

“Healthy Transportation” seems to be the phrase to use. At least, until it’s obvious to everyone that we should have called this status quo “wasteful nonsense”.

Chris Anderson
Guest

It’s an equity issue. The bike loud folks are privileged to be able to bring their voice to city hall. We need safety and a humane built environment city wide, not just where people can afford to be loud about it.

soren
Guest
soren

Hi Chris, Do you want to help with outreach to less-privileged areas…because we could use some help.
S

Chris Anderson
Guest

I don’t mean privilege as an insult. I’ve got heaps of it myself. I just think it’s important to recognize the voices that City Hall never gets a chance to hear.

While I think it would be rad to have more people from neighborhoods without sidewalks show up at City Hall, there are other ways of creating a political environment that gives their voices extra weight.

The Portland policy environment is friendly to neighborhood interventions, so the model that I’m interested in right now looks a little like Friends of Trees or City Repair, but with the urgency of Vision Zero.

soren
Guest
soren

I personally believe privilege is an insult.

soren
Guest
soren

Earlier this month, I asked PBOT staff to look into temporary diversions on some of our highest utilized Neighborhood Greenways. I have asked PBOT work with the community and neighborhood businesses to test temporary diversions around Neighborhood Greenways this summer.

We have the diverter pledge in writing. We need to hold Commissioner Novick and PBOT to that pledge. And while I’m encouraged that Novick took the time to write these blog posts….but we need action not words.

I think it’s time we saw the fight against climate disruption in similar terms. I want to get to the point where some people, when they see a bicyclist getting off their bike, say: “Thank you for your service.” I want to get to the point where people say at dinner parties: “So there’s a new apartment building going in next door, and the construction’s noisy and it’ll mess with my view and it might make it harder to find a parking space. But I’m not complaining. Anything for the cause.”

I could not agree more. And it’s great to see Novick take this stance publicly.

invisiblebikes
Guest
invisiblebikes

I couldn’t be more frustrated with Novick and his narrow minded way of thinking! That blog post on Climate change was complete garbage!

Every paragraph was anti social dribble that just ads to the anti-bike mentality that our city leaders and the media fan the flames of. This “us against them” attitude needs to stop and it needs to stop with our city leaders immediately!

“thank me for my service”?? “when they see me get off my bike”
Who thinks like that? People ride their bikes for many reasons but to be smug and patted on the back by a bunch of carhead Neanderthals is not one of them. That’s a good way to get a heaping earful of expletives!

Novick is so out of touch it’s laughable! And hopefully he’ll be Out Of Office soon if he doesn’t get his act together.

J.E.
Guest
J.E.

I think that’s humility he’s preaching, not smugness. I know I’m grateful there are people in the world more willing than I to live an inconvenient lifestyle for a greater cause. People who patiently put up with our unreliable and slow public transportation system, cyclists who do their Costco trips via cargo bike, parents who use washable diapers, etc. And they deserve accolades. It’s easy to get burned out especially when you start thinking it doesn’t matter that you’ve purposefully forgone having air conditioning in your home while your neighbor leaves his four window units on 24/7.

Chris Anderson
Guest

I don’t do my shopping by cargo bike to save the earth. Maybe I should add one of those “rolling coal” kits to my bike just to make that clear. The reason we bike is because it’s a more rewarding life.

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

When I take my cargo trailer to costco every other month or so it IS because I am a carbon counter, Though I found a new route back due to our Pedalpalooza ride, I still do not particualrly enjoy hailing a huge load across town.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Let’s hear it for a little pluralism. I don’t really see this as necessarily one or the other. I could probably list a dozen or more reasons why I like pulling a loaded bike trailer across town, many having to do with neither carbon nor personal rewards, though those are also on my list.
– People who didn’t think they were going to crack a smile often do
– It is sometimes a welcome physical challenge
– I need to subject a new hitch or trailer to some testing
– I don’t own a car and the load wouldn’t fit in it anyway
– Sometimes the use of a trailer for non-intuitive loads breaks down preconceptions about what people think possible
– For particularly heavy loads the bike trailer can be brought nearer or into close quarters better than a truck could have been
– I can store multiple trailers suited for different purposes in a much smaller space than a truck would require
…………..

9watts
Guest
9watts

“People ride their bikes for many reasons but to be smug and patted on the back by a bunch of carhead Neanderthals is not one of them.”

That is what you took away from his piece?

He wasn’t talking about why people bike, but suggesting those who drive take a deep breath and realize that (motives aside) those who bike are doing us all a favor, and that infrastructure that makes this possible is necessary *especially in light of where we’re all headed,* even if some (those to whom he is speaking) may feel it to be annoying right now.

invisiblebikes
Guest
invisiblebikes

Any writing that compares “the service” of an individual to a cause and in the same paragraph belittles those individuals based on their cause is garbage.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.

I will never agree with or accept a politician that belittles his constituents in the same sentence as he “pats them on the back”! it’s bureaucratic flippery at it’s finest.

invisiblebikes
Guest
invisiblebikes

So your telling me that your going to praise a politician that puts in writing that “We will do our best to crack down on rude bicyclists who break traffic laws”
along with a message that says “we know you the driving public don’t care about the environment and couldn’t be bothered with changing your lifestyle even in the slightest and that’s ok, but go ahead pat that cyclist on the back for doing everything (and I mean everything) your not! and we’ll still make it dangerous and burdensome for them so you can drive hassle free!”

When what he should have said is “cyclists (along with Pedestrian/public transit users) are leading by example, and if we crack down on people that break (traffic) laws that also put every road user at significant risk. We’ll see a much safer environment for more cyclists and pedestrians to lead by example. And while I’m on the subject You (the driving public) should try limiting your auto trips by walking, biking or using mass transit. Even a small change in Your lifestyle could decrease climate changes and teach future generations to do even more”

9watts
Guest
9watts

O.K. Mr. invisiblebikes, but I still think in this case Novick’s decision to walk before he runs salutary. Did he get all the phrasing just right? No. Would it have been better if he have said what you just said? Sure. But I can’t think of any other politician who’s stuck his or her neck out this far in a direction I’d think we generally appreciate. I’ve criticized Steve Novick here as much or more than the next guy in the past. But I feel that with that post he opened up a conversation that at least to me seems worth having.

invisiblebikes
Guest
invisiblebikes

Sorry I don’t mean to come off negative or angry towards you, and honestly it’s rare that I disagree with your input here on BP.

But I just don’t trust Novick any farther than I can throw him, and I think as a community we have to be vary wary of Novick, Hales and Fish n Chips (fish and Fritz) since they all flip flop a lot.

9watts
Guest
9watts

If the people lead, eventually the leaders will follow.

Hurrah for BikeloudPDX!

9watts
Guest
9watts

That piece by Novick about climate change and the city? Wow!
I hope everyone reads it.
http://www.portlandoregon.gov/novick/article/535389

I just became a fan and supporter of yours. Thanks, Steve Novick!

Now if we could convert the Street Fee debacle into something that meshes with your forward looking thoughts on climate change, we’ll start to make some headway.

John
Guest
John

I wish that the Steve Novick that wrote that post (who I suspect is the same Steve Novick that I voted for) was in fact the same guy who sits on the City Council. If I were cynical, I’d say that this blog post represents the fact that campaign season is underway.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I don’t think I’ve ever read a piece by a politician (elected or running) that is as clear and direct an account of (a) the tradeoffs we face if we want to continue living alongside each other or (b) the external threats we’re up against as in that post of his. It strikes me as pretty straight from the heart and even lucid. If this is a reflection of what Steve Novick thinks he should say to get reelected I like the directions in which these winds are blowing.

ethan
Guest
ethan

I just read and re-read it a few times. I’m actually pleasantly shocked by his words. It reminded me of some parts of what the pope said recently.

Here’s some of what the pope said, for reference: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/06/19/the-popes-wise-advise-on-traffic-parking-and-public-transit/

Eric
Guest
Eric

That’s told us, now the city needs to show us. If the mayor and council are having a hard time biking to work, they should be able to solve that. How about an electric velomobile as a city vehicle?

Adam
Guest
Adam

Please let’s get temp diverters on Clinton!!!

I would suggest SE 50th at Clinton; SE 21st at Clinton, and SE 12th at Clinton.

I would also LOVE to see diverters on Ankeny where it parallels the couplet.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Adam,
autos entering 12th westbound is a safety problem for the rail lines. Blocking westbound traffic at 13th, or 17th, is likely (17th has more opportunity to circumnavigate).
Eastbound at 26th there is a lot of extra road space, like SW 3rd, that could be converted to a non-auto and diversion space.
East of 26th, conversion of the traffic circles was discussed at the Bike Summit.
East of Chavez has no speed bumps yet and west of Chavez has an older bump design that needs to be tightened up.
17th to 26th is the conundrum. Trimet uses 21st to 26th. 21st is a commercial hub.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

One of the best arguments for diversion on Clinton is increased bike traffic. If you could drop the number of autos by 1,000 and increase the number of cyclist by 1,000, 20 mph posting can be done without ODOT approval and business complaints about ‘fewer patrons’ is muted.
This may be the solution for the commercial hub at 21st.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“If you could drop the number of autos by 1,000 and increase the number of cyclist by 1,000, 20 mph posting can be done without ODOT approval ”

chicken:egg?
Is there any great mystery about what diverters could accomplish w/r/t modal distribution in a situation like Clinton?
ODOT would be the last authority I’d think to consult when it comes to this sort of thing. I mean, they didn’t want to do anything but sit on their asses when we suggested bikes be accommodated on Barbur, because, well, you know, in an earthquake those poor auto-bound schmucks would need somewhere else to fill up….

Beeblebrox
Guest
Beeblebrox

ODOT has authority over speed limits by state law.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I am well aware of that.
One more thing that urgently needs to change.

Adam
Guest
Adam

I was stunned by how much traffic turns o to Clinton heading westbound from SE 50th. They’re all tri g to avoid the light at SE 50th and Division, do they take Clinton from 50rh to 39th. Then make a right to connext back up to Division.

I would say one out of every three cars makes the turn onto Clinton.

That’s BAD.

J.E.
Guest
J.E.

SE 12th? 12th-16th is probably one of the least stressful stretches of the greenway. What we do need, however, is a 2-way cycling track along 12th to connect the area SE of Division & 12th and NW of Division & 11th.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

Try it in the morning between 7:30 and 8:30. It’s not part of my normal commute and I was stunned by the auto volumes. I think it might be the most-trafficked section of Clinton for that hour because of people taking the 17th ave. exit off of Powell.

Adam
Guest
Adam

J.E. – Tell that to the people trying to avoid SE 12th & Division in their cars, and the people leaving/exiting New Seasons in their cars!!

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

The HAND neighborhood association board voted last week to support experimental diversion on Clinton.

Patrick Vinograd
HAND Board Secretary

Adam
Guest
Adam

Fantastic Patrick! Would love to hear more about how that decision was reached. Are you part if their NA Board? Either way, happy to hear it! 🙂

TJ
Guest
TJ

I’d love to see an enforcement promise. Cameras or whatever it takes, but lets get to a point where speeding and reckless driving equates to far higher odds of ticketing. If we can slow down the large arteries and main side streets the habits will spill over to the cross streets.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Vision Zero should include better enforcement, along with better roads and better road users.

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

Yes, we have done a good job…BikeloudPDX…we should be proud of our progress and the support the community has given us. Now, time to get into action.

Diversion on Clinton I think we have covered as we have some of the best minds in SE working on it as we speak…..you know who you are….but I am sure they could use all the help anyone would give them.

If you live in Buckman, Sunnyside, HAND, Richmond, Kerns, South-Mount or North Tabor…you should let THEM KNOW that you support diverters, ask for locations to be placed on July’s meeting. I am placing it on North Tabor’s agenda (big surprise)……

This would also be a good opportunity for the 28th avenue businesses to make up for their 28th street debacle.

North and NE peeps, who wants to take on Michigan and Going? Lots of work to do…lots of neighborhoods…LOTS of bikeportland readers.

Here are the neighborhood maps: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/oni/35788

Then go to your own neighborhood association website and ask to be placed on the July Agenda, or better yet… contact their transportation chair and chat!

9watts
Guest
9watts

Thank you, Terry!

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

You are welcome!

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

I live in Rochmond and I’d love to help.

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

Richmond*

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

http://richmondpdx.org/?page_id=22

or you can e-mail me and I can hook you up with whom.

terry.dublinski at gmail

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

Thanks for listening and committing to installing diverters! Let’s keep the pressure up on city hall until bike projects are no longer an afterthought!

Ted Buehler
Guest

Thanks Commissioner Novick,

That’s the quick response we were hoping for.

Now, let’s fast track these interim diverters to get them installed in a matter of days or weeks.

Ted Buehler
Co-Chair, BikeLoudPDX

Nicholas Caleb
Guest
Nicholas Caleb

Keep pushing, people. Great progress bubbling up from the community.

Ted Buehler
Guest

““It’s bullshit!” and “It’s unacceptable!” were just two of the phrases chanted at last night’s rally.”

Jonathan or others — did anyone note the other chants we came up with?

I thought they were pretty good — we’d have protest participants step forward and air their grievances with their bike routes, and then the group would boil down the grievance to a one or two phrase chant.

“Safe Streets — Political Will! — Act Now!” That sort of thing. I’m drawing a blank. Anyone?

Ted Buehler

PaulaF
Guest
PaulaF

Only one:
Make Trouble
Political Will
Have Fun

Gerald Fittipaldi
Guest
Gerald Fittipaldi

I am going to be brutally blunt here. I’m 100% positive that this comment is going to earn me some enemies, but my heart is set on achieving real change. I’ve been biting my tongue for the past several months, wanting to make this post.

I moved to Portland in the summer of 2014 to attend grad school at PSU, just before BikeLoudPDX formed. I had been reading BikePortland articles casually for several years while living on the East Coast. Based on the outpouring of reader comments and high number of “Recommended” thumbs ups in all of the articles, I fully expected Portland to have a strong showing of bicycle activists who are all over the politicians and who are ready to rally, testify, march, write editorials, and do whatever it takes to push through positive changes for biking.

It became immediately apparent to me that the vast majority of bicycle advocates in Portland throw all of their energies into preaching to the choir. “Likes” on BikePortland might as well be meth for *most* of Portland’s bike advocates. “Oooooh, let me log back on and see if my 10 thumbs ups has increased to 30! Maybe I’ll even get comment of the week! Time to bust out my bicycle meth pipe *rubs hands together*.”

It was no wonder to me why biking in Portland had remained stagnant for the past five years [hahmmm, yesterday’s rally was the first rally for biking in five years].

Yes, Portland has a handful of lone wolves who have, for years, been working diligently to report things to the mayors office, 823-SAFE, the PDX Reporter app, and do things like run for Neighborhood Associations and show up at public meetings on biking.

I’ve regularly attended BikeLoudPDX meetings from day one. It has been exciting to see the group grow exponentially in size in a short amount of time. For everyone who has contacted the mayor and done any number of other things to push for change, I thank you.

Even more exciting is seeing all of the bicycle advocates who have recently earned positions on Neighborhood Association boards. Good job!

For anyone who spends hours on Bike Portland, but has never emailed Hails or Novick, and doesn’t even know what 823-SAFE is, get your ass away from the comments section of bike portland and spend five minutes doing just one of the following:

-email mayorcharliehales@portlandoregon.gov
-email novick@portlandoregon.gov
-Call 503-823-SAFE and ask for a specific safety improvement in your neighborhood. Or email safe@portlandoregon.gov
-Write an editorial to the Oregonian or any other major publication
-Lastly, look at yourself in the mirror and ask why Portland should be downgraded from Platinum. Portland would long ago have been more bike-friendly if people like you had devoted your energies to worthwhile activism.

I refuse to read any responses to this post. I don’t want to know how many “likes” this gets, or how many people hate my guts for speaking the truth. Instead I’m going to keep pressuring the city to make Portland more bike-friendly. If you have a problem with my post you can speak to me face-to-face.

Gerald Fittipaldi
Bike PSU President

9watts
Guest
9watts

“I’ve been biting my tongue for the past several months, wanting to make this post.”
“I refuse to read any responses to this post.”

Are you the inverse of Rep Davis, who ‘wanted to start a conversation’ with his punitive bike-garb bill?

Spencer
Guest
Spencer

email them and ask for diverters NOW! this is asinine that we are still not diverting traffic off these greenways
Fish: nick@portlandoregon.gov
Fritz: amanda@portlandoregon.gov trick (she’s not reading emails since the death of her husband so go here to her support staff)
Jasmine.Wadsworth@portlandoregon.gov
Novick: novick@portlandoregon.gov
Saltzman: dan@portlandoregon.gov
Hales: mayorcharliehales@portlandoregon.gov

Bryan B
Guest
Bryan B

Not everyone is wired to be a “hardcore” activist — some people just don’t have the energy or personality that you do; but I’m sure they appreciate your efforts. Don’t ostracize potential allies for participating in different ways.

Bella Bici
Guest

One does not have to use hyperbole to minimize what efforts that you could put forth.

One does not need to be “hardcore” to email, or compose letters, to our Mayor and our four Commisioners. This can be done from the comfort of a coffee house, or even your own living room.

Imagine if we all put forth a minimal effort!!! We could move policies measurably.

PaulaF
Guest
PaulaF

The challenge with any group, any organization is that many want to follow, but only a few have the whatevers to lead. That is why strong leadership, energetic leadership is critical to a successful group, team, organization, project. This is also why, I believe, Portland has stagnated. We have council members who are probably better followers than leaders.

Do not dismay, but rather stay engergized, get those around you positively engergized, throw in some fun, and many will follow you to your goals.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“It became immediately apparent to me that the vast majority of bicycle advocates in Portland throw all of their energies into preaching to the choir.”

As a vocal member of the group you are disparaging I’ll say that the value to me of the wide-ranging conversations we have here on bikeportland have nothing to do with convincing the already convinced, and everything to do with learning together, seeing these issues through the each others’ eyes. This ongoing conversation is crucial to understanding what the issues are, what sorts of strategies and tactics make the most sense, to making any kind of progress, which your’ reluctant and conflicted participation only highlights.

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

I could not agree more. Sometimes, though reading ones comments, you can gain respect for them even if you disagree sometimes.

Working coalitions means dealing with people whom you do not agree with, but you need to refine your argument with those that do…….

This platform has been an invaluable networking tool in more ways than just preaching to the choir.

Scott Kocher
Guest

“Yes, Portland has a handful of lone wolves who have, for years, been working diligently to report things to… 823-SAFE, the PDX Reporter app…” and probably most helpful of all… safe{at]portlandoregon.gov.

Clark in Vancouver
Guest
Clark in Vancouver

>let’s hope there’s more concrete action to report soon.
…and concrete barriers to report on too.

Keep at them. I was once told by a civil servant that his job was to say “No.” Someone would ask him for something out of the ordinary and he would say no. Many would not come back but some would ask again and again and then after a few more times, he would say “Yes”.

Vancouver, BC has had diverters in a few of it’s neighbourhoods since the 1980s. There were controversial initially but after a short while everybody got used to them and now love them. People learned that for cost of a bit of inconvenience when driving to and from home is totally worth it as it makes their home area so much nicer.

David Lewis
Guest

Diverters are a band-aid to the real menace of arterials. Accepting that arterials are not going away, maybe diverters are an acceptable temporary solution until voters elect actual managers instead of politicians to run our government.

paul g.
Guest
paul g.

Gerald

I also appreciate your efforts but since you wanted to be blunt, I will reply with some similarly blunt advice, this from someone feels at arm’s length at points from the BikePortland community. I suspect (but don’t know) that I am very different from the typical commenter here (I’m over 50, five children, homeowner, until the past few years drove as much as I cycled). I’m a hard headed realist but pretty good at reading political tea leaves.

Thing one: you moved here one year ago. Welcome to Portland! But please try to keep in mind that some of us have lived here for decades and are sometimes, and I think justifiably, a bit skeptical of all the new arrivals who feel empowered to tell us what Portland is really all about or what Portland needs to be. How do you even know what Portland has been like for the past five years, for example, not to say the past twenty five years?

This is not meant to dissuade you from remaining active, but at least a recognition that folks who have lived here and been active here for a longer period of time may help.

Thing two: I don’t think it’s fair to criticize the bike community for being inactive for the past five years. There are an awful lot of new people in Portland and things were going pretty well. Under the previous mayor, it seemed at least on the surface that the bike community had an important seat at the table.

But the political situation has rapidly changed. The bike community is getting caught up in larger political and economic turbulence. We had a very powerful mayor (Vera Katz) who was able to muscle the City Council for over a decade. This was followed by two relatively ineffective mayors (Potter, then Adams) who for different reasons have not been able to muster strong and coherent Council majorities.

The point here is that when Katz wanted to promote infrastructure changes (Eastside Promenade for instance) she was able to get the Council behind her. Now we suffer badly (again in my view) from weak mayors, a political system almost designed to inhibit progress, and tremendous development pressures.

This may be precisely the time for street activism, but the time may not have been ripe five years ago.

Thing three, and I’d urge you to think about this–there is a much larger and more heterogeneous bike community than is reflected on BikePortland. This is an important outlet but not the only outlet. And in my own semi-outsider view, this community is not that representative of the broader bike community, nor very sensitive or responsive at times to older, more established residents, to lower income residents, to East Portland residents, etc.

This last comment will surely get people mad at me as well, and I have no breakdown of the demographics of the BP commenter community. That’s just my sense. It’s why a community like BP, and BikeLoud, is important, but larger and more heterogeneous associations like BTA are also important (and why they inevitably disappoint the more activist segments–that’s historically been the case in activist communities, going back as long as scholars have studied them).

Sorry if this seems like a lecture from a professor, but I am a professor! You can wake up from your nap now.

soren
Guest
soren

“And in my own semi-outsider view, this community is not that representative of the broader bike community, nor very sensitive or responsive at times to older, more established residents.”

Some more bluntness:

Portland has changed and is changing. It’s becoming denser and more urban and those who long for a return to some idealized vision of how it was “back then” are in denial. Many, many apartment buildings are going to be built. Parking is going to become far, far more scarce. Our roads will become even more full of people and traffic-flow will de-emphasized. These changes are inevitable. Trying to link these changes to “bike portland posters” or “young people who move to my city” is, IMO, just more of the same identity politics that has lead urban areas to deal with change in a divisive, dysfunctional and toxic manner.

“to lower income residents, to East Portland residents, etc.”

I find it very odd that someone who apparently lived in PDX during a period when large swathes of Portland were socio-economically “cleansed” is pointing the gentrification finger at a resident who moved here one year ago.

PS: I’m almost 50 and I’m also a professor but I don’t think my age or profession add anything to this conversation.

soren
Guest
soren

lead–>led

Tomas LaPalella
Guest
Tomas LaPalella

Yesterday I was treated to an aggro motorcyclist ignoring / driving around diverted on Lincoln, then in the afternoon a man was yelling and swearing at cyclists in the Ladd’s circle. Banner day for rage.