If you want to make biking better in Portland, there’s a great opportunity to put your passion into action: The city’s official Bicycle Advisory Committee (a.k.a. “the BAC”) is currently recruiting new members.
The BAC is a citizen-led body that advises all city bureaus, council members, and the Mayor on matters relating to bicycling. When a construction project will impact a major bike route, the BAC is there to sort out the detour and make sure the work-zone is bike-friendly. When a big planning document is about to be updated, the BAC is there to tweak the language and add key provisions. Long before a big project breaks ground, the BAC is there to sweat the details before the design is finalized.
The BAC usually has 20 members who serve three-year terms (although many have been around longer than that). The PBOT staff liaison is Roger Geller, the current bicycle coordinator who’s worked in bike planning for the City of Portland since the 1990s. As liaison, Geller is in the room to offer his knowledgable insights on projects and policies and to glean valuable feedback from the community.
I’ve been going to these meetings pretty consistently for the past 12 years or so (never as a member, just a fly on the wall). While I often wish the BAC was a bit more forceful with its positions on important issues, I greatly respect its members for their dedication. Now, with so much change afoot in Portland, we need new energy and perspectives to help challenge the nefarious trifecta of politics, bureaucracy and complacency that too often attempt to snuff out cycling progress our city. As an official advisory body with a direct line to City Hall and the Portland Building, the BAC could play a crucial role in our local advocacy ecosystem.
I’d really like to see more “interested but concerned” riders on the BAC, as well as more people of color and people from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds.
BAC meetings happen in City Hall from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on the second Tuesday of every month (except this month the meeting is next Tuesday 10/17). Applications are being accepted from now until 5:00 pm on November 3rd. Everyone is welcome to apply. You can check out the application online and print out a hardcopy here. Good luck! And I hope to see you at the next meeting.
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