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.
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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