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‘Portlanders for Central City Bikeways’ Facebook group will help advocates network online

Posted by on July 19th, 2016 at 8:24 am

centralcitygroup

Screen grab from the Facebook group.

Facebook is the most important organizing tool in the world right now — look at its success for everyone from Portland Tenants United to the president of Turkey — so it’s nice to see pro-biking volunteers putting it to strategic use.

As Portland gets ready to roll out a long-awaited network of protected bike lanes in its central city, there’s a new Facebook group for people in favor of biking improvements there.

Portlanders for Central City Bikeways was created Monday by Kiel Johnson, owner of the Go By Bike shop and valet in the South Waterfront. Here’s how he described his vision for the group in his first post:

I created this group so we can follow and mobilize support around the Central City Bikeway plan and implementation. Downtown Portland has the potential to become the best place in the United States to ride a bike to work, shopping, or home. Completing these bikeways will increase downtown livability, eyes on the street, and encourage people to ride bikes more which saves auto parking spaces for someone else.

It’s a public group, so anyone can easily join the conversation, post useful links or ideas, and suggest ways to make your voice heard by city leaders. Johnson kicked things off by posting the date, time and location of a city planning commission hearing next week that will discuss the long-term transportation plan for the central city. (This is related to, but not the same as, the short-term plan to spend $8.4 million on biking and walking improvements to central-city streets.) He also included the email to submit testimony.

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About 10 years ago, when a network of protected bike lanes in central Portland and shared public bikes to help people use them both started to seem like real possibilities, the Shift email list and the forums and comments here on BikePortland were the main places Portland biking advocates could go to find each other and directly exchange information.

It’s taken many years and many arguments (some important, some probably less so) to get those big ideas approved and funded. This morning, one of those things finally arrived. In the next few months, public meetings will begin for the other.

This is an exciting time to be a biking advocate in the country’s best big city for biking. Many streets in Portland need improving, and thanks in part to voters there’s now quite a bit of cash ready to spend in every quadrant. Hopefully this downtown campaign will be both a model and a springboard for all the advocacy that comes next.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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9 Comments
  • Avatar
    Evan Manvel July 19, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Go Kiel!

    “Endless pressure. Endlessly applied.” – Brock Evans

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    ethan July 19, 2016 at 9:11 am

    I wish that the 2035 bike network would be built out immediately. I really don’t see any point in waiting 20 years for some of this infrastructure.

    From my new place, I can drive about 8 blocks and then get onto a limited-access, grade-separated highway that would take me downtown, to the Western Suburbs, California, Washington, Canada, Mexico, etc.

    On my bike, I’m about 15 blocks away from a door-zone bike route that takes me into downtown and not much farther. I would love to have a completely separated path that I could take to any part of the metro area, but that’s not in the plans for at least another 20 years.

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    Adam July 19, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    I’m curious what they deem the boundaries for “central city”?

    Do they count the Pearl, and/or Nob Hill (essentially inner NW)?

    I feel that’s where change is really, really needed. It is very high-density residential, yet has beyond appalling bike infrastructure (for that, read NO bike infrastructure. And no, sharrows do not count. Don’t even get me started….)

    All of those people living in that quadrant should have the means to bike to work downtown should they choose. I suspect few of them do.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) July 19, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      Here’s the official map:
      https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/304042

      It’s basically everything inside the 5/405 loop plus South Waterfront, central eastside to 12th, the Lloyd to 16th and Goose Hollow.

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        Adam July 19, 2016 at 4:41 pm

        Thankyou! Glad to see the Pearl included. It’s hard to know where “downtown” ends in NW sometimes.

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        • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
          Michael Andersen (News Editor) July 21, 2016 at 11:46 am

          My personal favorite definition: Downtown is everywhere that you can’t ride a bike on the sidewalk. That’s 405 to Naito, Jefferson to Hoyt.

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          • Avatar
            Social Engineer July 21, 2016 at 1:14 pm

            Except downtown extends beyond that in both directions.

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            mh July 23, 2016 at 9:23 pm

            Never having seen a single sign to that effect, I wonder if more than a dozen of us even know that sidewalk riding is not allowed. The staple racks on sidewalks suggest the opposite.

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      Social Engineer July 19, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      If you are in these neighborhoods, get involved in the local neighborhood association. There are people trying to improve conditions and we could use more voices like yours.

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