Leah Treat reflects on two years at the helm of PBOT

Posted by on November 12th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Leah Treat.jpg

Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat at the Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting last night.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

Many people move to Portland because it’s a place they can live with their family without having to use a car for every trip. For Leah Treat, that fact not only drew her here, it’s also part of her job description.

“I was told we would never get that past city council and was told we’d never get [Commissioners] Fritz or Saltzman on board. Guess what? We did.”
— Leah Treat, referring to the Portland bike share contract

Treat, 44, was the sole agenda item on last night’s monthly meeting of the City of Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee. She came to recap her first two years as leader of the Bureau of Transportation and get feedback from committee members.

Treat shared a bit of personal background, gave her impression of the PBOT she took over, outlined what she feels are her greatest accomplishments of the past 28 months, then asked the knowledgable minds around the table what big thing she should tackle next.

Treat’s journey in Portland started in the summer of 2013. After what she called “the most grueling and difficult interview process in my life,” Treat said she never thought she’d get the job. But now that she’s here Treat loves being in such a “wonky transportation town.” “Everyone is either a traffic engineer or a land-use planner, and I love it.”

Before Treat got here, PBOT wasn’t exactly a model of stability. Its last director was appointed by former Mayor Sam Adams — the man who current Mayor Charlie Hales promised Portlanders he’d be nothing like. Miller lasted just one year as director before Hales asked him to resign, telling The Oregonian that the bureau needed, “a fresh and fully qualified leader.” Hales hired Treat six months later.

At the BAC meeting last night, Treat said the transportation bureau was, “sort of rocked a little bit by the former administration.” She didn’t elaborate, but then added, “I think we’ve come away from some really difficult times.” It’s probably safe to say Treat was referring to PBOT’s double-whammy of controversial leadership followed by a period of stagnation in the area the bureau is perhaps best known for: cycling.

It must have been frustrating for Treat to be named leader of “America’s best cycling city,” and then be plunged right into pitching the “street fee” funding measure. That effort was so politically fraught that Treat (a “bike believer”), PBOT Commissioner Steve Novick, and Hales didn’t even talk about cycling for fear it would derail negotiations and give the fee’s detractors a convenient plank to stand on (a strategy Hales now admits was a miscalculation).

Advertisement

Last night Treat alluded to the street fee only tangentially and said, while Hales and PBOT Commissioner Steve Novick where taking the brunt of the battle, she spent that first year, “trying to build up organizational capacity.” She highlighted her completion of Portland Progress, a two-year work plan that outlines tangible short-term steps PBOT can take.

“I didn’t move to Portland to have to put my kids in the car all the time.”

With necessary politics and process behind her, Treat talks like she’s finally ready to break out of the pack. “Having built up the organization and gotten lot of foundational work done, we’ve now been able to start doing more outward facing work and start doing some amazing things.”

According to Treat, that list of amazing things includes: becoming a “Vision Zero city”; securing a bike share contract; adopting a neighborhood greenway report; improving relationships with the Oregon Department of Transportation; and requiring developers of new projects to pay for protected bike lanes.

Treat even showed a bit of swagger when she mentioned the bike share contract last night. “I was told we would never get that past city council and was told we’d never get [Commissioner Amanda] Fritz or [Commissioner Dan] Saltzman on board,” she said. “Well guess what? We did.”

Treat called the passage of the neighborhood greenway report “a huge step for us” because it allows PBOT to “protect” greenways against high auto volumes and speeds. She called the city’s relationship with ODOT “not perfect, but improved” citing the traditionally conservative agency’s endorsement of the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide. “That endorsement helps strengthen our conversations with engineers in Region 1,” Treat said.

Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-23

Treat riding in the Columbia
River Gorge in August 2013.

Then Treat shared details on what could be her boldest move yet: A new design standard that would require developers to pay for physically protected bike lanes on the street adjacent to their new projects (similar to existing policy that requires developers to pay for new sidewalks). Treat said she’s written an internal memo on the policy and she touted it in a presentation at a recent national bike planning conference in Austin.

Protected bike lanes are Treat’s “ideal” street treatment in part because she feels they’re the only way to provide the level of safey that will get more women and kids on bikes.

Treat called her new approach to protected bike lanes an effort to, “be a little more bold and try to build out the network.”

In explaining her stance on the new design standard, Treat acknowledged that it wouldn’t happen with every development. “But I’ve told our engineers,” she explained, “This is where we’re starting from, so you in the private sector have to back me down from there and you have to convince me otherwise.”

If Treat succeeds in making this stick, Portland would likely be the first city in the U.S. with such a strong policy for building protected bike lanes. That’s notable because right now Portland is falling way behind: According to an inventory by the Green Lane Project Portland has only 1.5 total miles of protected bike lanes.

To that point, Treat said, “I think it’s what this city needs in order to thrive and maintain its relevancy in the future.”

In the end, Treat’s push for protected bike lanes and her goals for PBOT in general come down to the same personal motivation that brought here to Portland in the first place: the safety of her four young children. With shifting school boundaries, Treat shared that they might get transferred to a school that’s “several high crash corridors away” (referring to PBOT’s safety program).

“I want them to live in a city where being outside and riding our bikes is easy to do. We couldn’t do that in Chicago. I didn’t move to Portland to have to put my kids in the car all the time.”

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

CORRECTION: The original version of this story stated that Treat was “given clear instructions” from Hales to not talk about cycling during the street fee effort. That wasn’t accurate. I’ve changed the story to reflect that not talking about cycling was a general strategy of the effort.

Please support BikePortland.

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

69 Comments
  • Adam Herstein
    Adam Herstein November 12, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Requiring developers of new projects to pay for protected bike lanes is a terrific idea, but would that result in only one block of cycle track, or would the city help complete the bike lane to connect to something else?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 12, 2015 at 10:03 am

      Treat is aware of that problem (because it is common with the sidewalk policy) and it came up at the meeting. She said she would try and find PBOT money to set aside in order to help connect the network when developers put in a piece of bike lane.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Adam Herstein
        Adam Herstein November 12, 2015 at 10:26 am

        Great idea. Or maybe the costs could be added to system development charges collected from the developer.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          BeavertonRider November 12, 2015 at 11:32 am

          ‘Cuz free money, right?

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            soren November 12, 2015 at 11:51 am

            Our cities are a mess and people are dying unnecessarily because people like me are not taxed enough.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              BeavertonRider November 12, 2015 at 2:52 pm

              Right, if we only taxed ourselves more, people would not die…

              Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          maccoinnich November 12, 2015 at 2:47 pm

          Or maybe the City Council could show more enthusiasm for using the SDCs it already receives for biking projects. Just today the City Council council authorized PBOT to apply for a bunch of grants, one of which would help fund a bridge over I-405 at Flanders as part of the broader plan for a Flanders Greenway through NW, the Pearl and Old Town. It’s a great project. Not only would it provide the only continuous east-west bike route in the area, but it would also likely to be the only bridge over I-405 standing after an earthquake (not unimportant given that Northwest has one of the City’s major hospitals in it).

          This would require a matching contribution of at least $2.5 million in SDCs. If that sounds like a lot of money, the City will generate that much (and more) just from the projects currently in for design review / building permit in the Northwest District and the Pearl. That’s not even counting projects currently under construction, from which the City has already received SDCs. Even still, Amanda Fritz made sure to note her concern over the cost and Dan Saltzman sounded pretty skeptical too.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • John Liu
      John Liu November 12, 2015 at 11:37 am

      I don’t see this as a good idea.

      Suppose the new project is on a street that does not need a protected bike lane, or where the roadway and/or traffic makes protected bike lanes impractical? E.g. the new projects on SE Ankeney, which is already a functioning greenway, and wouldn’t have room for protected bike lanes anyway. Or new projects on SE Division, where the priority should be getting the adjacent Clinton greenway fixed, and there also isn’t room for protected bike lanes.

      Suppose the new project is on a street that could use a protected bike lane, but other nearby streets would be much better locations for that protected bike lane. E.g. imagine a hypothetical project two blocks off NE Sandy, wouldn’t it be better to put the protected bike lane on Sandy rather than on the little side street that the project is on?

      Suppose the new project is an isolated development with no other new projects around it. What is the point of building one block of protected bike lane that doesn’t connect to anything?

      My feeling is this idea is simply trying to get some funding dedicated to bike infrastructure that isn’t part of the general PBOT budget and thus doesn’t have to compete with other priorities.

      That goal has merit, but frankly this seems a bad and unworkable approach.

      You could instead say that each new project has to pay into a fund for bike infrastructure, and those funds are then spent on protected lanes, painted/buffered lanes, or other bike infrastructure, where and how it makes the most sense – not necessarily right in front of that building.

      But then the risk is that other funding for bike infrastructure gets cut by the same amount as the new mechanism generates.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        BeavertonRider November 12, 2015 at 11:57 am

        “My feeling is this idea is simply trying to get some funding dedicated to bike infrastructure that isn’t part of the general PBOT budget and thus doesn’t have to compete with other priorities.”

        That’s likely the real basis for this proposal. PBOT prefers to fund other non-roadway priorities, eg, diversity and inclusion offices, streetcar operations, downtown marketing, and transit mall upkeep. This is reported by the City Auditor in a January 2013 report that reveals that while PBOT revenues were increasing, spending on core PBOT activities, like street mtc, safety, signaling, and structural mtc was going down.

        All this really amounts to is abusing governmental authority to shift core City costs and responsibilities on to private developers. Perhaps PBOT ought to get back to it’s primary functions and not be involved in marketing the downtown, hiring diversity staff, etc.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        wsbob November 12, 2015 at 12:31 pm

        “…You could instead say that each new project has to pay into a fund for bike infrastructure, and those funds are then spent on protected lanes, painted/buffered lanes, or other bike infrastructure, where and how it makes the most sense – not necessarily right in front of that building. …” liu

        If there were a master bikeway plan for such a fund to contribute to the construction of, that could make sense. Developments bring in more people, most having some need of the street for travel. Due to development, lots more people are brought in having need of use of the street for travel. Their use of it primarily with a motor vehicle, fills the street up fast, and often not very efficiently.

        If a strong bikeway system, connecting new developments with destinations throughout the city, can help enable more people get where they’re going, more efficiently, that would be a benefit to everyone, including the developers.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Daniel Costantino November 12, 2015 at 9:48 pm

          A master bikeway plan for the City of Portland? Funny you should mention that, I believe City Council passed one back in 2009…

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Anne Hawley
    Anne Hawley November 12, 2015 at 10:02 am

    This is where we’re starting from, so you in the private sector have to back me down from there and you have to convince me otherwise.

    Thing is, that’s just what they will do.

    Nothing against Leah. I think she came to Portland with some great ideas. But the private sector (funny, my autocorrect suggested pirate sector…) has sway over the electeds, and they, not bureau directors, make the big choices.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Jim Lee November 12, 2015 at 10:06 am

    Treat referred to “…our engineers…”

    Does PBOT actually employ any engineers trained, qualified, experienced in designing cycling infrastructure?

    I fear the answer is, “No,” because we have so many messed up attempts to create bicycle-specific rights-of-way.

    Judging by the magnum opus of all foul-ups, the east side approaches to the Tillikum, TriMet has none either. Did PBOT have anything to do with that monstrosity?

    Could you investigate this, JM? Talk to those who actually design such stuff?

    And ask Treat how she let the Tillikum bike-route fiasco get built. It happened on her watch and, at least partly, on her streets.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    BeavertonRider November 12, 2015 at 11:23 am

    “A new design standard that would require developers to pay for physically protected bike lanes on the street adjacent to their new project” and

    “This is where we’re starting from, so you in the private sector have to back me down from there and you have to convince me otherwise.”

    Wow.

    First, she has to persuade us that imposing such a requirement is even a legitimate exercise of governmental authority. Simply imposing such a requirement because it can is not a reasonable or logical argument from PBOT. It’s simply exercising raw government coercive power. Is this how we want our government to behave?

    Second, why stop at protected bike lanes then? Her argument is power without limits. So then it must follow that PBOT sees it as not just possible but reasonable to coerce developers into paying not just for protected bike lanes, but street maintenance as well, right?

    Third, the arrogance expressed here is just offensive. We have to talk her down from abusing governmental authority? She ought to be publicly reprimanded by her boss, at least, if not pushed out of her position. We should have no tolerance for this type of temperament no matter if we happen to agree with the intent behind such proposals.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      soren November 12, 2015 at 11:47 am

      “Second, why stop at protected bike lanes then?”

      A very good question. Based on the city-approved Climate Action Plan and Portland Plan, Leah should be arguing for congestion charging:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_congestion_charge

      Requiring developers to build protected bike-lanes is only a first step towards transforming Portland into a safe multimodal city.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        BeavertonRider November 12, 2015 at 12:01 pm

        Except that climate change will occur regardless of what we humans will do. Thr climate change action plan rests on false descriptions of what a future climate might look like. I used the word “description” rather than “prediction” because the scientists and policy folks that “force” these models to show something scary intentionally do not “predict” future climate conditions because to predict something requires some scientifically valid measures and outcomes which climate alarmists just cannot conjure up, yet.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Chris I November 12, 2015 at 12:12 pm

          Ugh.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Adam Herstein
          Adam Herstein November 12, 2015 at 12:58 pm

          Yep, there it is. Denying climate change is happening due to do human intervention doesn’t make it not true. There is a global scientific consensus that the planet is warming and it’s caused by human action. But why should we listen to a bunch of smart people who do this for a living, right? 😉

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            BeavertonRider November 12, 2015 at 2:44 pm

            Ah, yes… The appeal to consensus, as if scientific truth is determined by the number of raised hands.

            **Sentence deleted by moderator – BeavertonRider, please don’t insult other commenters. — Jonathan**

            Second, the “consensus” you believe exists does not. Sure, if you, like Oreskes (you know eho she is, right?), omit those those who express disagreement with the climate alarmism schtick. The “consensus” that Oreskes found never existed because her study intentionally surveyed only those studies that leaned toward or agreed with anthropogenic global warming.

            Roy Spencer, former senior climate studies scientist at NASAs Marshall Space Flight Center, has noted that shift that has occurred in the climate change debate: the lack of surface warming in the last 18 years has forced these consensus scientists to now invoke natural climate change cancels out the expected human-caused warming.

            Truth: there is no useful consensus at the level of detail relevant to assessing human influence on the climate. Sure, there’s consensus that the computer models roughly describe the shrinking extent of Artic sea ice, but they fail to describe the comparable growth of antarctic sea ice. There’s consensus that the computer models project warming that actually hasn’t happened; sea level rise that hasn’t happened; etc.

            So I don’t understand the invocation of consensus except to shut down discussion.

            Lastly, you seem to be under the impression that the earth is and has been warming and that is due to human activity. Upon what do you base this?

            2013 marked the 17th year of no warming on the planet. This is not my conclusion, but NASAs and they’re really smart, right? 😉

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              dan November 17, 2015 at 1:35 pm

              I’m not sure how you’re cherrypicking your statistics, but NASA recently declared that October 2015 was the warmest October in their database (since 1880). If you’re interested in facts (not a guarantee, I know), you can see more here: http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2015/11/16/nasa-reports-astonishing-uptick-in-surface-temperature/

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                9watts November 17, 2015 at 1:38 pm

                Thanks, dan.

                “2013 marked the 17th year of no warming on the planet.”
                has to be one of the funniest things I’ve read here in a long time. Now why is there a big meeting in Paris next month again? Oh right, our inability for over 20 years of these meetings to come up with anything resembling a strategy for averting disaster.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      wsbob November 12, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      “…Treat called her new approach to protected bike lanes an effort to, “be a little more bold and try to build out the network.” …”

      Hearing this from PBOT director Treat, is great. She may have some great ideas yet to be presented, if people will offer her the support necessary to get them rolling. If Portland is up for what it takes to be bold in terms of a dramatic improvement to its biking infrastructure.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        paikiala November 13, 2015 at 12:37 pm

        Well, east of 82nd there are lots of existing wide streets with four travel lanes, a center turn lane, two bike lanes and two parking lanes. Changing the parking lanes to bike lanes, the bike lanes to buffers and the outside travel lanes to parking lanes 6 PM to 7 AM would be much farther reaching, benefit many more people, could be accomplished much sooner, and be very cost effective. some might say, even, bolder.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          wsbob November 15, 2015 at 10:22 pm

          “…and the outside travel lanes to parking lanes 6 PM to 7 AM…” paikiala

          paikiala…has Portland ever tried this idea, anywhere in the city? It sounds radical to say the least, for a number of reasons. But it’s an interesting idea to toss around, and I wonder if it could work somewhere.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Adam Herstein
      Adam Herstein November 12, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      With that argument, are you opposed to the requirement of building new sidewalks with every new development?

      The government abolutely should use it’s power to improve services for everyone – that’s one of government’s primary functions. If PBOT isn’t granted the role of improving transportation options for everyone, then what is their role? You already pay taxes for transportation services; why is it unreasonable to also tax businesses for the same purpose?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        BeavertonRider November 12, 2015 at 2:51 pm

        Yes, I am. PBOTs mission is not and should not be to improve transportation options for all. That’s an ill-defined mission with zero parameters and no metric for success.

        Rather, PBOTs role should be to develop and operate transportation facilities and services; develop and maintain comprehensive transportation master plan; and administer a public transportation safety program. All the rest, inclusion, marketing, etc are distractions which keep PBOT from maintaining roads, building bike infrastructure, road safety, etc.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    9watts November 12, 2015 at 11:31 am

    I like the thrust of this view of things just fine, but

    “In the end, Treat’s push for protected bike lanes and her goals for PBOT in general come down to the same personal motivation that brought here to Portland in the first place: the safety of her four young children.”

    always rubs me the wrong way. Perhaps it does not capture her thinking in the way that I am reading it but I bristle when this is filtered through the lens of My Children. That, as I hear such a phrase, is a far cry from wanting these things for everyone, young or old because it is important to do whether I have children or Leah has children or not.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      BeavertonRider November 12, 2015 at 11:37 am

      I agree. Building protected bike lanes is a worthy objective and there are a number of legitimate reasons to fund these types of lanes. But, “for the children” is not one of them. That this is the motivation she expresses causes me to question her judgment. Seriously, why did she feel compelled to reach for the “children” rationale when there are more meaningful and reasonable arguments for protected bike lanes?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      daisy November 12, 2015 at 11:55 am

      Is that a quote or paraphrase from Treat? That seems like Maus’s comment about her motivations and not something she mentioned in this context.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 12, 2015 at 11:58 am

      9watts and BeavertonRider,

      I think you two are being too harsh. From what I’ve heard from her, Treat wants protected bike lanes for a bunch of reasons.. The safety of her kids is just one of them and it’s the one I happened to use as the pivot of this story. That’s all.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        9watts November 12, 2015 at 12:13 pm

        Whether it was you or Leah who chose that phrasing I think it is problematic. We live in a pronatalist society where fecundity (like the automobile) is the norm, the dominant way of conducting oneself, is rarely problematized or questioned, and phrases like the one I quoted are tossed out much too easily. I’m not faulting you or Leah personally, but because this framing of the issue frequently shines through, and we here try to be sensitive to the manner in which our society is hampered by this sort of lopsided thinking I thought it worth mentioning.
        OTOH, since BeavertonRider and I agree on this, perhaps there’s something to it. 🙂

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 12, 2015 at 12:21 pm

          Thanks 9watts. I just looked up “pronatalist” for the first time. Interesting. I hear where you are coming from I and I completely understand why that framing bothers you.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            9watts November 12, 2015 at 12:58 pm

            You’re a Class Act.
            Thanks.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Anne Hawley
          Anne Hawley November 12, 2015 at 2:07 pm

          While I think you and I are coming at this from different perspectives, 9watts, I agree with you in general about the framing. Yes, kids are our future, and yes, people should care about that, and what kind of a monster does a person have to be to think otherwise, etc., etc.

          But as the chief or only reason for changing things that affect every citizen, “family-friendly” and “For the Children” framing excludes a whole lot of people. Will “For the Children” bike facilities help me? Maybe. Does framing the issue that way invite my input? Decidedly not. I’m immediately excluded by this assumed norm, in very much the same way that I grew up excluded by the “he/him/his/mankind/all men” language for “people.”

          It’s not my biggest issue, but I don’t think I’m being “child-hating”, “abnormal” or “anti-kid” by pointing out that it is an issue.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Tom McTighe November 13, 2015 at 10:07 am

            When I read “children” I think “works for our most vulnerable road users” and “still works 50 years from now.” Seems like a good baseline.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        BeavertonRider November 12, 2015 at 12:18 pm

        Perhaps I am on this point. I want to claim that I can only react to ehat was presented and throw you under the bus, Jonathan, but that would be unfair. My ignorance is not your fault. I should probably find other sources to evaluate how Treat reasons out her support for protected bike infrastructure.

        On the other hand, I fund it quite repulsive to see a givernment official advocate the brute government force approach and then insist that people most adversely affected by itbhave to talk her down.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Alex Reed November 12, 2015 at 2:06 pm

          Wait, so asking developers to pay for bike infrastructure serving the properties they’re developing is “brute government force?” Do you think that having all the rest of us pay for building it (or pay in health, climate, and financial impacts from NOT building it) is somehow free-market awesomeness based on the mutual consent of all parties?

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      wsbob November 12, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      Quoted in this story, what the director said of her children, was:

      “…“I want them to live in a city where being outside and riding our bikes is easy to do. We couldn’t do that in Chicago. I didn’t move to Portland to have to put my kids in the car all the time.” …”

      And in doing so, good guess is she’s thinking of, in addition to her own, all the people in Portland that have kids and that also would like to not have to pile their kids in and out of the car for everywhere they need to go. She’s relating to people living in the city…and that’s a good thing.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Eric Leifsdad November 14, 2015 at 10:15 pm

        Not to mention: do you have any idea how much congestion and pollution is caused by all of the parents making two round-trips to school every day? Forget about how distracted the drivers are in many of those oversized SUVs rolling stop signs without a signal.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Adam Herstein
      Adam Herstein November 12, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      It’s the American Way™! Thinking about other people is what the commies do!

      In all seriousness, I hear this a bit too much. “I don’t want X on MY street”, “I don’t want MY tax money funding X”, etc. We need to focus on the common good, not just what is good for ourselves. However, most people can relate to the parent with kids story, so it’s likely a tactic to get on more common ground. I typically don’t agree with the “think of the children!” rhetoric, but in this case, the data back her claim up – car crashes are the leading cause of death in children aged 1-18.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        9watts November 12, 2015 at 1:11 pm

        “most people can relate to the parent with kids story”

        Sure.
        And “most people can relate to the I have to drive story” too. Where does this take us?

        The point is we should do this whether Leah has one kid or seven or none; whether she adores her kids or can’t wait for them to grow up and move out. Knowing that she has children and wishes they could live in a society that is less dependent on the automobile is delightful and all to the good, but if Steve Novick, who I believe has no children, had Leah Treat’s job and wanted to do this, would we expect (or permit) him to articulate a different rationale, one less beholden to the pronatalist framings?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Adam Herstein
          Adam Herstein November 12, 2015 at 1:36 pm

          Stating that kids should be safe on our streets is not “pronatalist”. It’s common sense. Steve Novick should make the same case because it’s a valid point.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            9watts November 12, 2015 at 3:58 pm

            But, with all due respect, Adam, that is not what Jonathan wrote.

            I wasn’t objecting to all kids should be safe – please re-read what I wrote above.
            I was and am objecting to this framing: “Treat’s push for protected bike lanes and her goals for PBOT in general come down to the same personal motivation that brought here to Portland in the first place: the safety of her four young children.”

            This line of reasoning (in contrast to what you wrote) would not work with or for Steve Novick, would it?

            Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Anne Hawley
        Anne Hawley November 12, 2015 at 2:10 pm

        However, most people can relate to the parent with kids story

        Most people (in Portland) can relate to the white privilege story too, but that doesn’t make it a great framework for fixing the city.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Buzz November 12, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Everybody knows that protected bike lanes are not really for the benefit of cyclists, right? They are for the benefit of motorists, so cyclists don’t get in their way.

    And everyone also knows that protected bike lanes aren’t really any safer for cyclists, right? Cyclists are still unprotected in intersections, where the most traffic conflicts typically occur.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Chris I November 12, 2015 at 12:13 pm

      That’s why you build protected intersections.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Buzz November 12, 2015 at 3:55 pm

        Good luck with that, we’ll all be old, wrinkled and/or dead before there is anything resembling a network of protected bike lanes and protected intersections throughout the City of Portland. Based on cost alone, they will be lucky to be able to build one protected intersection a year IF they can convince their engineers to actually design them properly; they can’t even clean the leaves and other crap out of the poorly designed bike lanes we’ve already got.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          paikiala November 13, 2015 at 12:42 pm

          If you convert the parking lane on those east Portland 5-lane sections to bike lane and the bike lanes to buffers, the protected intersection becomes much more feasible.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        B. Carfree November 12, 2015 at 8:26 pm

        The models I’ve seen don’t really qualify as protected. In fact, the primary incarnation that is given that name depends on things that would work fine as stand-alones, and in their absence it fails (even worse than nothing).

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      soren November 12, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      I don’t think people who cycle will gain a legal right to the road until we build more protected infrastructure and increase mode share. For example, the long-term German campaign against a mandatory sidepath law succeeded largely due to infrastructure-associated increases in mode share. I even recently learned that German cycling advocates and the “Left” opposition party have started a campaign for de facto legalization of signal running by cyclists and pedestrians.

      http://www.wsj.com/articles/would-germans-ever-cross-the-street-on-a-red-light-1445907439

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Buzz November 12, 2015 at 12:28 pm

        Cyclists already have a legal right to the road, that we lose whenever new cyclist-specific infrastructure is built, due to the mandatory sidepath law.

        I’m all for building whatever, as long as the mandatory sidepath law goes away FIRST.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          soren November 12, 2015 at 12:56 pm

          “Cyclists already have a legal right to the road”

          I guess the $260 ticket that Officer Balzer wrote me (and many others) was a one time aberration.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Buzz November 12, 2015 at 3:56 pm

            What did Balzer give you a ticket for again?

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              soren November 12, 2015 at 4:41 pm

              passing stationary traffic downtown on the left at 10 mph.

              some of his comments to me: you have to ride on the right. this is why you cyclists are being killed (complaint filed for that).

              i learned to my chagrin (via experienced bike lawyers) that no one ever gets ticket dismissed based on ORS statutory exceptions. i refused the “safety class” deal and payed the ticket, out of principle.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Buzz November 12, 2015 at 4:47 pm

                Well, from what I know of Balzer, he’s got a real thing about busting cyclists. OTOH, the law is clear on this, if it’s a one way street you are allowed to cycle on the left, and personally I wouldn’t call that a ‘statutory exception’. I hope you at least went to court and made Balzer uncomfortable for a bit before you paid the ticket.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Chris I November 12, 2015 at 2:04 pm

          We have a legal right, but in practice our rights are not equal. Laws have to be enforced by people, and biases create an environment where everyone is not equal.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            soren November 15, 2015 at 11:03 am

            The legal rights of people cycling are intentionally ambiguous and vague.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              wsbob November 15, 2015 at 11:45 am

              For people that bother to read and think about them, Oregon’s bike specific laws are fairly clear and easy to understand, and include some latitude for interpretation which everyone must make efforts to apply fairly according to specific situations people are riding.

              I think a big problem, is that many people don’t bother to read these laws, even though the laws are fairly simple to read and understand. They may more generally tend to get their understanding of what bike specific laws provide for, from rumor and unreliable word of mouth sources.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Eric Leifsdad November 14, 2015 at 10:49 am

          I think fixing stupid laws is what BTA is supposed to be working on. I would gladly donate toward getting rid of the sidepath law, fixing the stop laws, sidewalk/MUP crossing right-of-way ambiguity, as well as the helmet law and electric bike laws. How much is the fine for pushing your child down the sidewalk on a stroller if it has pedals? http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2015/09/make-america-grate-again.html

          Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        B. Carfree November 12, 2015 at 8:29 pm

        So we have to build more segregated stuff before we can get on to the standard bike lanes (full width, clear of door zones) that we know work in our context? I’m getting too old for this.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      BeavertonRider November 12, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      +1 for the humor… Props.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Buzz November 12, 2015 at 12:28 pm

        NOT humor; totally serious.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          BeavertonRider November 12, 2015 at 12:49 pm

          : o

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Kittens November 12, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    from an logistical standpoint it would be easier to the eliminate parking where bike lane conflicts exist, rather than try to force developers to build out segments of protected bike lanes. Also can’t really figure out how that works.

    Furthermore, I can’t see her agenda getting any traction until the city can demonstrate through its own projects the benefits of protected bike lanes. They have continuously punted this.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      AndyC of Linnton November 12, 2015 at 1:36 pm

      God, really. I just wish PBOT would continue the bike lanes the last little bit where so many in this city abruptly end.
      But then that means removing a couple parking spaces in a lot of cases, and we know that’s not in the cards. Oh well, thanks for trying Ms. Treat.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    TheRealisticOne November 12, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    I’m ignorant to this, but what influence does PBOT actually have? Who actually has the power? I know I’m not phrasing this correctly, but with the road blocks known as our City councilors, primarily Friske and Saltzman, can anything really be achieved? What about the faceless supporters behind these two “politicians”? I would appreciate if someone can educate me on the vertical structure of power and decision making. A chart showing the power structure would help my ignorance. My point being, Treat talks a good story but does it really mean anything? And, I apologize, I don’t trust much coming from politicians. I know, be positive right?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Buzz November 13, 2015 at 10:46 am

      Politically speaking, if it’s a matter for City Council, the magic number is three votes.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    mark November 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    You know…it seems far easier to put in a 10 foot sidwalk that lasts forever, stripe it for bikes/peds then it is to put in a sidewalk, plus parking, plus a “protected bike lane”….

    The whole protected bike thing is nice..but it isn’t really needed in new areas. Put in a secondary MUP and call it a day. Everyone hates narrow sidewalks but everyone loves really wide ones. Peds can’t use bike lanes (well, they shouldn’t) and bikes are criminalized from using sidewalks (I know…rarely enforced but always whined about).

    So, new standard for development, 10 foot MUP for sidewalks. Don’t call them sidewalks lest the walking brigade break out their ban hammer.

    See? We can all get along with a tool that’s been around since the Roman era.

    Or..should we continue to throw 11 year olds into the streets with rubber cones to “protect” them ?

    Recommended Thumb up 0