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BikeLoudPDX hits Active Transportation Summit with “not-so-cool infrastructure” flyer

Posted by on March 15th, 2016 at 11:42 am

oatslead

Bike Loud PDX co-chairs Emily Guise (L),
Jessica Engelman, and Ted Buehler.
(Photo: BikeLoudPDX)

Leaders of the all-volunteer transportation activist group Bike Loud PDX were at this week’s Oregon Active Transportation Summit with a message you don’t usually hear at those type of events: Portland ain’t all that.

Bike Loud PDX passed out a two-page flyer to summit attendees encouraging them to not only learn about Portland’s success but also “talk about the not-so-cool infrastructure we have too.”

Here’s the text from the flyer:

Welcome to Portland! A “platinum-level bicycle city”

We hope you’re enjoying the Oregon Active Transportation Summit so far. This is event is a great opportunity to hear about all the cool innovations in infrastructure and safety we have here in Portland.

But maybe we should talk about the not-so-cool infrastructure we have too. Cycling conditions in Portland far surpass those of most American cities. Unfortunately, America is a country that fell head-over-heels for the siren song of the motor vehicle almost a century ago, which means that even in Portland, “America’s Bike Capital,” our bicycle infrastructure pales on the international scale.

Portland is an amazing city of amazing people, and we know we have the potential to become an actual revolutionary force in cycling. But for those of us whose primary means of transportation is the bicycle, we who are out there experiencing our “platinum-level” infrastructure every day, it’s hard not to feel more copper than platinum. So what’s stopping us from reaching our cycling potential?

We’ve rested on our laurels long enough; it’s time for Portland to get out there and actually live up to its reputation as America’s cycling capital! BikeLoudPDX is calling upon the City of Portland to live up to the Portland Plan, Climate Action Plan, and 2030 Bike Plan by providing PBOT with the funding and political support necessary to expand and maintain our bicycle and other active transportation infrastructure.

We’re also calling on PBOT and ODOT to put all our world-famous wonky ideas and best practices to work, designing and building the ultimate active transportation system.

We know you can do it! We’re counting on you!

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And here’s the flyer:

oatsflyer1

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Three BikeLoudPDX co-chairs were at the event: Emily Guise, Ted Buehler, and Jessica Engelman. Guise told us via email that they created the flyer, “Because we wanted to remind the professionals at the summit that while Portland is a pretty good place to ride a bike for the U.S. (which is a low bar!), there are still lots of places our policies and infrastructure need improvement. We’re doing okay, but if we ever want to hit that 25% bike mode share, we need to do a lot better than okay. And also from a vision zero standpoint, “ok” is not acceptable.”

They hand-delivered the flyer to several senior employees of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, Metro councilors and staff from the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Overall, Guise says the message was well-received and it provoked some productive discussions.

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

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

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nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

Good work, BikeLoud! I think this is a very fair-minded recognition that while we’ve done a lot for cycling, we still have a lonnnnnng way to go.

Adam
Subscriber

Thanks for doing this, everyone! Every once in a while, it’s good to steer our city planners away from self-congratulatory back-patting and remind them that there’s still a LOT of important work to be done.

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

The first I saw of the flier was when I got to the lunch table. Good Work, it is important to remind them that we have a lot of work to do at all levels, from the leadership on down.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Not bad. Nice flyer, pictures depict some problems situations well, captions do a fairly good job of helping explain them.

Re; ‘Which lanes are the bike lanes?’ at Williams and Alberta; it’s clear enough that the area within the lines closest to the parked cars, is the bike lane…but what is the smaller area within the wider lines? A little too narrow to ride in for very long, but might work for a lane to lane transition.

Re; pics of disappearing bike lanes: I wonder if further back, behind the camera, those bike lanes are equipped with the MUTCD ‘bike lane ends’ sign. They should.

Maybe it would help move things along out here on the west side, if there were a flyer showing in pictures, a number of the difficult infrastructure situations people riding in Beaverton deal with.

Stephen Keller
Guest
Stephen Keller

I’ve ridden all of these. SW Fourth is by far the scariest, especially during traffic. You come down Barber with an okay bike lane. Barbur turns into Fourth and crosses over 405 and then the bike lane simply ends. It dumps you right in the middle of four lanes of traffic of merging traffic. That’ll get your heart pumping!

Hopeful
Guest

Is the BTA our Hilary, and Bike Loud PDX is our Bernie?

Social Engineer
Guest
Social Engineer

Hmm, let’s see the locations they show here….

East of the river.
East of the river.
East of the river.
East of the river.
East of the river.
East of the river.
East of the river.
East of the river.
East of the river.

But I’m glad BikeLoud was kind of enough to throw in a token example from the westside.

soren
Guest
soren

The flyer was also handed out to staff that work directly for the commissioners. And in many respects, they are the important targets because the mayor and commissioners were the ones who gutted Portland’s active transportation budget:

http://bikeportland.org/2014/02/28/special-report-how-portland-stopped-funding-neighborhood-greenways-102274

Adam
Guest
Adam

I think the text is incredibly tedious and to be honest, I barely read any of it. I doubt many summit attendees did either.

But the captioned photos accompanying the text are AWESOME and spot on!

Next time Bike Loud, just hand out large flyers that are less text heavy, and more photo heavy.

A photo really does speak a thousand words.

Melinda
Guest
Melinda

We need a group like this in Salem. They still consider sharrows the best thing going down here infrastructure wise – forget protected bike lanes here – that’s just a dream. One is considered “wild” or gasp “counter-cultural” if you take the lane when you’re downtown. My dream has been that in some way Portland or even the improvements in Corvallis will rub off on planners here in Salem. Oh and the recent idea for one of the busy main streets connecting the west Salem pedestrian bridge (used by bike commuters) and downtown – you guessed – sharrows.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

It’s easier to criticize than it is to take action- but I’ll add to the comments.

It felt like the fatalities and maimings were absent. A quick table of bicycle/pedestrian deaths/maimings and the outcome for the vehicle involved (no citation, etc) would have been compelling.

Love the message, the flyer, and the action. It’s a good reminder that perhaps Portland isn’t the example of what cities should strive to become.

Ted Buehler
Guest

What I heard over and over again at the Summit yesterday was “If you want city officials to do better than they’re doing now, you need to ask for it.”

Like it or not, this is the way the world works in the here and now.

If you want to help Portland live up to the ideals we asked for in the flyer —

“We’ve rested on our laurels long enough; it’s time for Portland to get out there and actually live up to its reputation as America’s cycling capital! … by providing PBOT with the funding and political support necessary to expand and maintain our bicycle and other active transportation infrastructure.”

&

“We’re also calling on PBOT and ODOT to put all our world-famous wonky ideas and best practices to work, designing and building the ultimate active transportation system.”

then send an email to Commissioner Steve Novick & let him know you’re position.
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/novick/59990
novick@portlandoregon.gov

(Thanks for running this story, Jonathan)

Ted Buehler
Co-Chair, BikeLoudPDX

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

Fun flyer that tickles my cynical bones in a good way. Nicely done. I’m also fed up with PR that doesn’t accurately reflect the facts on the ground. I greatly appreciate the efforts of those who pulled this off.

Tim Davis
Guest
Tim Davis

Hi Jonathan! You forgot to include THIS in your “Related Posts” 🙂
http://bikeportland.org/2016/02/24/serious-about-cycling-than-build-serious-cycling-infrastructure-175988

The article that you wrote (linked above) has WAY more (and usually way better, i.e., more graphic and depressing!) pictures of some truly horrible “cycling” infrastructure. And it doesn’t just cover a small area of Inner NE.

Plus, people should read the comments that you (Jonathan) wrote following the article; they really nail the issue!

So, hopefully Ted, Soren and the other great folks at BikeLoudPDX can add some or most of those images to the brochure at some point; I really don’t think that there’s a single elected official who has ANY idea how bad some of our infrastructure is (granted, almost none of them ever rides a bike, other than for publicity, which is quite depressing).

Also, like Ted said, it’s **crucial** to keep writing City Council! As always, be incredibly respectful and write with good grammar. 🙂 I would also love it if they heard from numerous possible that prioritizing transportation in the following order benefits everyone, including those who only drive: 1. walking 2. cycling 3. public transit 4. movement of freight 5. private auto use. This prioritization would also: a) save us hundreds of $millions in the long run, b) save many, many lives, c) lead to vastly improved quality of life for everyone, and d) make us much healthier, along with dozens of other benefits. What elected official wouldn’t go for that? 🙂

Our civic leaders love hearing positive suggestions that can be shown to lead to a “city that works” better for everyone.

Steve Novick: novick@portlandoregon.gov.
Amanda Fritz: amanda@portlandoregon.gov
Mayor Hales: mayorcharliehales@portlandoregon.gov

Anyway, I know that people complain a LOT in the comments (which is, fortunately, typically helpful; they usually contain new ideas and perspectives). However, the following is never mentioned enough: Thank you, Jonathan and Michael, SO very much for the incredible work you do; I don’t know when you guys find time to sleep. 🙂 And thanks SO much BikeLoudPDX; we clearly need you (and folks like Better Blocks PDX–and City Repair, etc…) more than ever!