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PBOT “still committed” to Lincoln-Harrison project despite aggressive opposition at open house

Posted by on December 7th, 2017 at 12:31 pm

“We are still strongly committed to the project. But it is clear that some additional community engagement is necessary.”
— John Brady, PBOT director of communications

After what was described by readers as an “ugly scene” where some attendees acted with “strong hostility and aggression,” at an open house on Tuesday night, the Portland Bureau of Transportation said they now plan to extend the public process for their Lincoln-Harrison Neighborhood Greenway Enhancement Project.

The main sticking of the project are plans for semi-diverters that would prohibit people in cars from turning onto Lincoln from 50th. Dozens of readers who attended the open house said it was taken over by neighborhood residents who are vehemently opposed to the diverters. In comments (that are still coming in) they recount a “mob” scene where people where being shouted down, intimidated, and ultimately silenced by anti-diverter advocates who allegedly took over the meeting.

Asked today whether the project will continue as planned, PBOT Communications Director John Brady told us that, “We are still strongly committed to the project.” However, Brady added that opposition to the diverters means PBOT needs to make some course corrections. “But it is clear that some additional community engagement is necessary,” Brady added. “We believe we can do this engagement and still implement the project as planned by next summer.”

We’ve also come across an email written yesterday by PBOT Project Manager Sheila Parrott where she offers a bit more about what might come next, “In light of the open house event last night.” “We would like to take a step back,” she wrote, “and develop project alternatives that we can discuss going forward.”

From past experience, what will likely happen is PBOT will plan a few more meetings and/or open houses and they’ll be even more well-prepared than usual. They’ll be ready for organized opposition, and they’ll have more data and designs to share. I’ve seen PBOT in this mode before. They are amazingly adept at this sort of thing and many people on their staff have been around this block many times before.

While the project might ultimately end up with the desired result — fewer drivers and a more comfortable environment on Lincoln — we shouldn’t forget what just happened. How did we get here? Why did this blow up so royally in PBOT’s face? Should we simply dismiss what happened with the standard “Democracy is messy” excuse? Or was this meeting the canary in the coal mine of deeper problems at PBOT and Portland’s transportation politics more broadly?


The proposal people are hopping mad about.

As often happens, one of our commenters delivered a clear-eyed and accurate assessment of why that open house went sideways.

Someone named “Shoupian” wrote:

“There are a couple of reasons why we see public meetings like this.

One, the planning profession beholds public meetings as the surest way to guarantee that the planning process is democratic, open and equitable, which is not true. It has become an end rather than just a tool. What most planners don’t think about is that when public outreach is open to anyone and not targeted at underrepresented communities, those who show up and provide input are generally white, older, higher income, and more privileged.

Two, planners depend on public meetings especially when a project does not have strong political support. PBOT is not technically required to hold public meetings anytime they want to do a small scale bike improvement. These meetings occur because planners on the project don’t feel supported by the very top level of the agency and they are uncertain that if they face public push back, their agency leaders will stand behind them and push the project through.

Ultimately, it speaks to the political culture on active transportation investments. Our elected officials and top agency leaders still don’t feel confident directing their agency to make decisions to improve health and safety without knowing that neighbors won’t be upset.”

Tuesday night was shocking, but I think we consider it an outlier at our own peril.

Learn more about this project in our archives and on the official project website.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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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

  • Gary B December 7, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    I hope the opposition that espouses “this money could be better spent elsewhere” appreciates the hundreds of hours of staff time that will now be spent to make them feel better heard.

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    • Clicky Freewheel December 7, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      I’m sure they will because their goal is to infinitely delay this project because they don’t want it. The funding argument is a red herring, they likely don’t care how much it is costing the city as long as the project is delayed or dead.

      Wouldn’t it just be better for PBOT to double-down and just install the diverter ASAP? Once the thing is on the ground, after a few months I guarantee they won’t care anymore, and realize that it wasn’t as bad as they feared. i.e. The exact same outcome to every other time a diverter was installed.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty December 7, 2017 at 8:40 pm

        I said this before: PBOT should install the diverter, leave it in place for 6 months, remove it, and then do the open house. People, knowing it is temporary, will be less fearful upfront, and it will be clearer what the consequences will actually be after it has been working for a while.

        After that, a more meaningful conversation can take place.

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        • Clicky Freewheel December 8, 2017 at 9:18 am

          I’m with you there except I don’t like it when PBOT removes cycling infrastructure. Using Naito as an example – it was great riding in the summer and having something great given to you, then taken away feels pretty awful. And people not really following the cycling news are left wondering what happened to their bike lane.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty December 8, 2017 at 2:27 pm

            Right, but without the guaranteed removal, the whole concept doesn’t work. This idea would also make it easier for PBOT to try alternative solutions in case the first one doesn’t work as anticipated.

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        • Doug Hecker December 8, 2017 at 2:24 pm

          They could but I think people have a good idea of what diverters do. One doesn’t have to go very far to experience one.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty December 8, 2017 at 2:31 pm

            Sure, we all know what they do, but the impact in a particular location is highly variable. Would a diverter in this location divert traffic onto neighboring streets? Would it really impose a hardship on residents? Would it improve cycling as much as advocates hope?

            We all have our guesses, but a trial would let us know for sure.

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    • David Hampsten December 8, 2017 at 10:09 am

      I find that there’s something wrong with any public agency that spends as much time and effort as PBOT to implement diverters into a neighborhood that has expressed so much opposition, where across town in East Portland are several similar projects that are already funded, with neighbors who would be happy to have diverters, and yet PBOT has yet to do anything. I’d say the biggest issue right now is an extreme failure by PBOT upper management to properly distribute their human resources.

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  • m December 7, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    “What most planners don’t think about is that when public outreach is open to anyone and not targeted at underrepresented communities, those who show up and provide input are generally white, older, higher income, and more privileged.”

    And how is that different than most of the bike advocates on this board? PC run amok.

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    • billyjo December 7, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      the takeaway seems to be to pack the house with people that will agree with you so that you can drown out any other voices. Just wait til they decide to do this on the stuff that you don’t want……..

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      • m December 7, 2017 at 1:59 pm

        It’s ok for other white, older, higher income folks to advocate as long as they agree with us white, older, higher income folks.

        But if they disagree with us, let’s attack them as privileged! SMH

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        • billyjo December 7, 2017 at 2:04 pm

          it’s also concerning when the others are listed referred to as a “small group” last i checked, bikes fit that category. Bikers are a small group. They’re vocal, but they are a small group. If we take the underlying idea here and apply it to the project at the Rose Quarter…… let the bulldozers start. There is a way to get where this needs to bwe, but writing off the other side and deciding that it will just take longer to ignore them is not how I want to see my government treat anyone.

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          • Clicky Freewheel December 7, 2017 at 2:59 pm

            I would also have a problem if a group of bike advocates took over an open house meeting in an attempt to shut down the opposition.

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        • Mike Quigley December 8, 2017 at 5:50 am

          White and older? We need funerals. Lots and lots of funerals. Which may not be too far off if republicans go ahead with their plans to slash Social Security and Medicare after the tax cuts pass. Stay tuned!

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    • Anthony December 7, 2017 at 2:02 pm
    • Clicky Freewheel December 7, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      The difference is that the city has stated goals and policies of making Portland safer and more comfortable for cycling. Maintaining auto access is not one of PBOT’s goals for Vision Zero. (Though in practice this still holds weight).

      Again, the issue here is about context. Sometimes a vocal minority is important to implement positive change (think the Civil Rights movement) and sometimes that group is misguided in their goals. A group being a minority voice neither validates or invalidates their views, and it’s all about intent. I am of the opinion that we should be giving less weight to vocal minorities who want to preserve land value or maintain car access, in favor of minority groups who want safer streets or equal protection under the law.

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      • 9watts December 7, 2017 at 8:22 pm


        and great username, btw. 😉

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      • paikiala December 8, 2017 at 9:43 am

        Mode share has nothing to do with Vision Zero. VZ is agnostic regarding mode.

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        • Alex Reedin December 8, 2017 at 9:54 am

          …which is a big problem with Vision Zero IMO. It completely ignores the fitness/metabolic syndrome illness and local air pollution impacts of transportation, which the research I’ve seen leads me to believe are many times larger than the direct deaths and injuries from crashes.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty December 8, 2017 at 10:02 am

            I attended a hearing on air quality yesterday, and I agree with this point. Though I would point out that the vehicular pollution of greatest concern comes from large diesel engines, in trucks, construction machinery, and heavy equipment, not from private cars (though these do emit some particulates from brake linings and tire wear).

            To improve our air, we need to control emissions from heavy equipment, and stop burning wood in the city.

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          • Alex Reedin December 8, 2017 at 10:36 am

            Local air pollution cause = mostly diesel trucks (in the transportation space). Low fitness cause = mostly private cars (in the transportation space).

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty December 8, 2017 at 11:02 am

              I don’t believe either of those statements is true (though neither is fundamentally wrong). Trucks are not the leading threat to air quality (but they are significant), and cars are not the primary reason people lack fitness (though they clearly play a role).

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            • Alex Reedin December 8, 2017 at 11:13 am

              That’s why I qualified with “In the transportation space.” When PBOT tries to impact air quality, it should primarily be working on diesel trucks. When it tries to impact fitness and metabolic syndrome illnesses, it should primarily be working on private automobiles. Certainly, when Parks & Rec works on air quality or fitness, it would work on different things 🙂

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty December 8, 2017 at 11:28 am

                I guess I would question why PBOT should be working on fitness at all. Air quality, maybe, but they have very little power to influence it in any significant way, except perhaps as partners in a more comprehensive process.

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              • Alex Reedin December 8, 2017 at 11:47 am

                They can have a sizeable impact on fitness. If we actually achieve our mode goals which are in PBOT’s scope, that would greatly change about 30% of Portlanders’ daily activity levels. Large reductions in diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure would be the result, saving many millions on Portlanders’ health costs and providing longer, happier lives.

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              • 9watts December 8, 2017 at 12:30 pm

                You are both using a definition of air quality/health/morbidity that dates to the 1970s. Once we discovered the risks of emitting carbon dioxide, the *criteria pollutants* we used to be so concerned about must now be appreciated alongside the invisible, and not directly harmful emissions from internal combustion engines.

                Focusing on diesel trucks is all fine and good, except that it masks the problems of driving that register as climate change, which in the long run will ruin more people’s health than criteria pollutants.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty December 8, 2017 at 1:05 pm

                @Alex — They could also make bigger roads to make it easier to drive to the gym. But I don’t want to argue about that — I’m just saying that fitness has never been a core mission of PBOT.

                @9watts — You’re right, of course, but when people talk about “air quality” they mean pollutants in the conventional sense. And replacing dirty trucks will also make the more efficient, which will reduce CO2 emissions.

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              • Alex Reedin December 8, 2017 at 6:12 pm

                It’s never been a core mission of PBOT… but with metabolic syndrome illnesses (diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc.) accounting for a large and growing share of our mortality and morbidity, and with health care accounting for a large and growing share of our economy, and with the huge potential improvement in health outcomes and reduction in health spending that comes with active transportation, PBOT should absolutely get into the health business.

                In some cost/benefit studies of active transportation I’ve seen, health even outweighs climate (although I have to say, I think the $/ton currently used in mainstream carbon accounting is wildly out of date given the large increase in climate danger that recent science has found, so I’m skeptical of this finding).

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              • 9watts December 9, 2017 at 8:27 am

                “And replacing dirty trucks will also make the more efficient, which will reduce CO2 emissions.”

                More efficient, probably.

                And fewer CO2 emissions per mile but who cares? We’ve been pursuing the efficiency gods for decades, most of my lifetime, and emissions continue to rise. Our challenge is to leave the stuff in the ground, not use it up over more years.

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        • David Hampsten December 8, 2017 at 11:29 am

          Here I thought VZ was atheist. Silly me!

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    • Middle of the Road Guy December 7, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      It’s only unfair when the side I don’t agree with does it.

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    • soren December 7, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      volunteer bike advocates tend to be younger, tend to rent, and tend to be lower income.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty December 7, 2017 at 8:46 pm

        Only lower income because they’re younger. The cycling advocates I know are young (often), but also very smart, well educated, and hard working. As a group, I wouldn’t hold them up as representatives of the underclass.

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        • 9watts December 7, 2017 at 8:47 pm

          “As a group, I wouldn’t hold them up as representatives of the underclass.”

          inclined to agree with that.

          Certainly if there is some overlap with the commenters on bikeportland.

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  • Shoupian December 7, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    How PBOT responds to the opposition of a small group of neighbors over the diverter will set an important precedent for future greenway improvement projects. If the final project gets changed because of a small group of neighbors who don’t want change, that may set a trend for all future greenway projects. I hope the project gets implemented as planned without delay. Bike mode share is stagnant, traffic deaths have been increasing, if PBOT cannot overcome the opposition of a diverter, that’d be truly a troubling sign for any significant bike investment in the future.

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    • soren December 7, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      Bike mode share is stagnant

      that’s a positive spin on the data — bike mode share has dropped ~11% since 2014 and transit use has dropped sharply as well.

      my take on what is happening? the displacement of lower income folk is an incredibly strong demographic headwind against increased adoption of active/mass transit.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy December 7, 2017 at 3:13 pm

        Hmm…if there is less demand for things, it seems strange to be asking for more capacity.

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        • Clicky Freewheel December 7, 2017 at 3:22 pm

          Induced demand works for cycling too. Unlike building new highway capacity, we actually want more cycling.

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          • David Hampsten December 8, 2017 at 10:15 am

            If that’s true, why hasn’t PBOT implemented the bike projects they funded 5 years ago in East Portland? I bet you’d get much better growth in bike use there than you are apparently losing in inner portland.

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            • John Liu
              John Liu December 9, 2017 at 7:01 am

              In many aspects, PBOT included, this city ignores east of 205.

              If a street in the West side, or even in close in NE or SE, had half the fatality rate of the dangerous streets east of 205, everyone would be screaming, heads would be rolling, council persons would be losing their seats.

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        • 9watts December 7, 2017 at 8:31 pm

          “Hmm…if there is less demand for things, it seems strange to be asking for more capacity.”

          This is so problematic. MotRG.
          You love to (willfully?) omit the dynamic aspect of this.
          Clicky is right – PBOT and the City have committed to shifting people out of cars onto bikes. And the climate demands as much. If soren’s suspicions are right—and I imagine they are—then what of your wet blanket?

          Demand which you are (here) interested in is hardly the best metric of where we need to go. There is lots of demand (so called) for automobility. But we still need to scrap it. It is called principle, leadership, boldness.

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  • billyjo December 7, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    However you feel about the underlying project it is rather concerning that all they see is that they will need to take some extra steps to implement the project the way they want it.

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    • Anthony December 7, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      No, as mentioned elsewhere, the city isn’t actually required to ask the public for input on this. This street is designated as a neighborhood greenway, but the current amount of car traffic exceeds the maximum for that designation, so the diverters are just an attempt to bring it back to the lower traffic volume.

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      • billyjo December 7, 2017 at 2:54 pm

        At some point the show will be on the other foot and I don’t want to see that.

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        • 9watts December 7, 2017 at 8:36 pm

          climate change is going to screw up both ‘feet’.

          How about a litmus test? – if the proposed change can be assumed to have a climate-change-compatible effect it is worth pursuing. If it does not, then it isn’t.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty December 7, 2017 at 8:51 pm

        I want lots of public input on this because I also want lots of public input on the next highway expansion project.

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        • soren December 7, 2017 at 9:01 pm

          if only…

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        • billyjo December 8, 2017 at 8:02 am

          funny aint it? So many don’t get that.

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        • Alex Reedin December 8, 2017 at 9:27 am

          That is a patently ridiculous false equivalence. The budget for this project is less than 1/1000th of the budget for the the Rose Quarter freeway expansion. I don’t want PBOT asking for extensive input every time they do a tiny project that’s already been explicitly approved by policy, that’s a huge waste of time and money. The fact that they’re doing it in a way that’s guaranteed to get disproportionately older, whiter, wealthier, more homeowner voices than the population affected by the change is just the icing on the cake.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty December 8, 2017 at 9:56 am

            The point is not to draw an equivalency between those two projects, but rather to point out that if they skip process on “our” projects, they may well do so on “their” projects as well, to our overall detriment. It is true that this particular diverter is a pitifully small item financially, but it clearly looms larger in the eyes of many stakeholders.

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          • Alex Reedin December 8, 2017 at 10:27 am

            Welp, there are two different “Theys” there (ODOT and PBOT). And, it’s not “skipping” public process to not have public process on a tiny project that’s called for in the Greenway Report explicitly adopted by Council. I don’t want PBOT to waste time and money holding public meetings every time they repave a road, nor do I want them to waste time and money holding public meetings every time they add a diverter to a greenway that has gotten too much car traffic on it.

            I’m sure if you asked car commuters on Foster whether they wanted a concrete bus stop pad to be put in, creating multi-minute backups every day last week because of fewer lanes, they’d have lots of suggestions and ideas for how to be inconvenienced less (do it during Thanksgiving week, when there’s less traffic!). But, PBOT didn’t ask them, as well they shouldn’t have. Maintaining necessary infrastructure (roads, greenways) should be an unremarked-on, routine part of PBOT’s business.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty December 8, 2017 at 10:33 am

              That is also a false equivalency. Repaving a road is rarely controversial. Diverters are. Changing a neighborhood’s fundamental traffic patterns is not simply “maintaining infrastructure.”

              Do you think if PBOT just showed up one day an installed diverters without talking to residents that the prospects for future projects would improve?

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            • Alex Reedin December 8, 2017 at 11:08 am

              There’s a difference between controversial and rightfully controversial. In the 90’s, putting in a skatepark was controversial, but it wasn’t rightfully controversial. The popular idea that skaters were dangerous ruffians was not based in fact, and any rowdiness that could actually be expected based on facts was not big enough to warrant listening to the anti-skating crowd and never accommodating skaters in any way, shape, or form.

              Putting in a diverter (in locations where it’s justified, and where the spillover impacts are small) may be currently controversial, but it’s not rightfully controversial. Diverters provide huge comfort benefits for people biking, and if installed frequently citywide on greenways along with high-quality crossing treatments at arterials (and bona fide good wayfinding), would lead to sizeable increases in cycling for a relatively low cost, which would have large public benefits. The actual negatives of diverters are small, in comparison to the positives. Providing a forum for the disproportionately wealthy and comfortable to worry together about how horrible these small negatives could be is a waste of City time and money.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty December 8, 2017 at 11:23 am

                I happen to mostly agree to what you wrote, but I also don’t feel comfortable judging what is “rightfully” controversial, because I am not willing to let others close me out of a decisions I feel are important. I mean, why is improving the connection between I-5 and I-84 “rightfully” controversial? Arguably, it has less negative impact on people than a diverter would. But I still want to be able to oppose it.

                Making declarations about what opinions are “right” can backfire in a major way. I, for one, am confident we’ll get to the right decision, and by respecting democracy, we will be stronger for it.

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              • Alex Reedin December 8, 2017 at 11:49 am

                I’m fine with our elected officials and their representatives judging what is rightfully controversial. There is only so much time in the day, and they have a lot to get done to continue righting some of the many wrongs in the status quo.

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              • 9watts December 8, 2017 at 12:33 pm

                “why is improving the connection between I-5 and I-84 “rightfully” controversial?”

                Um, because the proposed improvement won’t actually improve anything;
                because it costs half a billion dollars, and
                because climate change.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty December 8, 2017 at 12:54 pm

                @Alex — I think that’s the rub: do you really trust elected officials to make decisions about what is important for you? As a cyclist in a world dominated by autos, that’s a very risky proposition.

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  • rick December 7, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    More beautiful street trees by the church on the hill.

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  • maxD December 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Does anyone know how many house away from the Harrison bikeway received notification of this project? A key instigator in the resistance owns some property at the north end of one of the long blocks north of Harrison between 50th an 60th.

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    • jeff December 7, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      willing to bet $$ the intersection at Lincoln is her chosen driving path home. The level of selfishness would be a strong indicator.

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      • Spencer Boomhower December 7, 2017 at 4:54 pm

        Having seen an email forwarded from a person who seems to be driving the anti- effort that included a home address, and assuming it’s the same person, I’d say you might be wrong on that front. Actually, this person has apparently had a hand in the creation of a lot of really high-quality traffic-calming infrastructure in the neighborhood. Much of their concern seems to be focused on traffic that currently goes onto Lincoln being diverted onto Hawthorne and Division. So more sincere concern for neighborhood safety than for their personal convenience.

        I just happen to disagree, and think the Lincoln diverters won’t bring trouble to the rest of the neighborhood. The 52nd diverter on Division was met with similar outrage when proposed and seems not to have caused the trouble opponents said it would.

        Personally, as someone living near Hawthorne between 50th and 60th, I’m fine with that stretch getting a bit more traffic if it means a passable bike boulevard on Lincoln in those same numbers. Traffic volume is actually pretty light on that stretch of Hawthorne, but it’s a problem in that it moves too fast, especially down the hill from the Seminary, making it a little sketchy to cross it along the 52nd greenway. So I’d love for the City to propose some simple calming measures along that stretch of Hawthorne to go along with the Lincoln diverters.

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        • maxD December 8, 2017 at 11:07 am

          I was referring to the person who authored the petition. Anyway, I love your suggestion to add calming measures to Hawthorne. I think a 4-way stop at 52nd would be a great start.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty December 8, 2017 at 11:34 am

            What if there were a solution where we built the diverter and added traffic calming to far-upper Hawthorne? I don’t know the situation enough to know if that would ease tensions, but from what you wrote here… maybe?

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  • Doug Hecker December 7, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    I was at the meeting and it people wanted answers. This seems true of the portland spirit. If there were more bike advocates there I wonder what the headline would have said? You may not think it’s the dramatic of a change but for the majority of the people who have lived in the neighborhood for decades it could seem that way. There weren’t any imposters… there was a man with a sign that brought his findings as well. Is there something inherently wrong with doing so? It seems like a responsible thing to do especially for the numbers that PBOT likes to present when telling us what they want. When he asked his question the sign was removed. Many different people were able to speak. Just because not everyone in a crowded room didn’t mean that some of the same kind weren’t able to. There was plenty of shouting from people from various perspectives.

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    • Doug Hecker December 7, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      And people wanted^*

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    • I'll Show Up December 7, 2017 at 3:15 pm

      I was there, Doug. When your advocate asked for people to raise hands about who supported and who didn’t, somewhere less than half but more than a third of the room raised in support. Yet, during the question period, she literally only called on opponents to ask questions. When supporters tried to get attention, we were literally shushed and moved out of the way.

      What explanation do you have for the fact that not one question was asked from someone trying to learn how to support the project? Not one.

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      • Doug Hecker December 8, 2017 at 2:02 pm

        I was neither with the “no 50” group or the pro bike group. I went to see what the city was proposing. I lived in the area for 3.5 years and have a good understanding of what sucks about transporting around the handful of streets that actually connect people to the outside world compared to the many that don’t.

        The doom and gloom proposed by both groups is rather interesting. When one group doesn’t get there way the first word they bring up is equity. I have a feeling PBOT will bring balance to the lack of perceived equity both sides champion.

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    • Clicky Freewheel December 7, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      When I arrived at the meeting, I was unsure of who was with the city and who was with the “no diverter” group. That led me to believe that the group was trying to deceive the public in order to get what they wanted, and that is not okay. There were plenty of bike advocates at the meeting, but none of us felt like it was necessary to take over this meeting, bring official-looking posterboards, and otherwise attempt to dupe the public into thinking we were city employees.

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      • Doug Hecker December 8, 2017 at 2:07 pm

        Does that mean that their were people acting like imposters? I think the stickers that all of them were wearing was a clear indication of where they stood. As for the chart that someone brought, his art project looked different then what PBOT normally brings to these types of gatherings. Was it a clustf*ck in general? By all means yes. But I think that shows the commitment of the neighborhood. I’m sure future efforts by bike advocacy groups will be greater. What will we report then?

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  • Spencer Boomhower December 7, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Glad to see they’ll be extending the public outreach process. I live in the Tabor neighborhood, use that greenway pretty frequently, and despite living near Hawthorne, a street that would receive some traffic diverted by the changes on Lincoln, I am generally in favor of the proposed changes. But I seemed to keep missing the news about meetings and presentations until after they had happened. Not pointing fingers – I’m busy to the point of being disengaged, so I probably was just not paying attention. But glad to still have the chance to have some say in all this.

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  • Spencer Boomhower December 7, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    BTW anyone at all interested in this kind of outreach should see what planner Andres Duany has to say about how we go about it here in the states compared to what he describes as the Australian approach:

    That should kick in at about 18:06.

    In this story he talks to a planner in Australia who managed to get schools located in the middle of neighborhoods, the way we apparently can’t manage to in the States, presumably because of NIMBYism. He asked her how she did it, and she said, “You Americans don’t know about democracy, what you do is incite mobs and you think that’s democracy.” He goes on to explain: “What Americans do is they alert the people in immediate proximity to the project … These people get alerted and they come in and they overwhelmingly participate and pressure tremendously the elected officials who see nothing but opposition.” Again quoting this Australian he continues: “What democracy requires is not a great number of people to participate in the vote, it requires a random sample.” So what Australians do is, while notifying the people in the immediate proximity, they also gather something like a jury pool, a random sampling of volunteers from the larger community, who are provided with information to make an informed opinion. Then this larger pool speaks for the community as a whole, while the people in proximity are also of course allowed to speak, but recognized for what they are, which is a vested interest.

    So maybe we put a bit too much weight on the voices of neighbors, especially angry neighbors who are most motivated to turn out and gang up, and less on input of the broader community.

    Or maybe in this particular case the broader community would be just as outraged by the city having the gall to in any way reduce auto access on a few hundred yards of a single street among Portland’s 5000 miles of streets, even when that street has been designated a quiet safe street, and is failing at that goal because of too many cars. Wouldn’t be surprised, actually.

    In which case I guess I’d just hope for the city to have trust in its own expertise when it comes to decisions that can affect the overall health, safety and livability of its streets and neighborhoods.

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    • Momo December 7, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      What you describe sounds sort of like a stakeholder advisory committee, which is standard practice for larger capital projects, but with the added wrinkle of being a bit more of a random sample. Not sure how realistic it is to get random people to spend a lot of time getting educated about the project enough to offer recommendations, but it’s an interesting idea. There’s also the issue of resources. A few open houses is far less time-and resource-intensive than a standing committee. On the other hand, it’s true that open houses tend to draw the immediate neighbors, leaving out the voices of people using the corridor who may not live in the area.

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      • soren December 7, 2017 at 9:11 pm

        stakeholder advisory groups are a random sample?


        the SAC/TAC schtick in portland is all about insiders who profit from city/state funding, the donor class, co-opted nonprofits, and ex-city employees.

        i’m very glad that comm. eudayly and fritz are going after these corrupt processes:

        full disclosure: i have been a member of stakeholder advisory committees and i was selected in a completely non-random and undemocratic fashion

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      • soren December 8, 2017 at 12:38 pm

        stakeholder advisory groups are a random sample?

        that’s funny.

        SACs/TACs are typically populated by insiders from nonprofits, business interests, and/or wealthier people who often have a (direct or indirect) financial interest in the policy items being discussed

        i’m very glad that comm eudayly and fritz are beginning to address these undemocratic and corrupt processes:

        full disclosure: i have been a member of stakeholder advisory committees and i was selected in a completely non-random fashion

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        • John Liu
          John Liu December 8, 2017 at 9:17 pm

          Unfortunately, you are correct.

          Look at all the SACs about urban planning, development, and zoning that are stacked with industry . . . developers, contractors, architects, and other who benefit financially from the activity in question, may have business relations with each other, sometimes do things like vote to make value-increasing changes on property that they or their employers or business partners own. Until recently, these SAC members didn’t even have to disclose their conflicts. Now they are supposed to disclose but they can still scratch their own and each other’s backs with impunity.

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    • 9watts December 7, 2017 at 8:44 pm


      thanks for that.

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    • David Hampsten December 8, 2017 at 10:29 am

      I too like the random sampling of opinion.

      About “schools being in the middle of residential neighborhoods”, such planning is still common in many places in the USA, but obviously not older Portland. Much of East Portland, before it was annexed by the city in the late 80s, was doing just that, as that was considered “best practices” for planning in the 1950s, 60s & 70s. Basically the elementary school and main park would be at the center of a super-block, the immediate area surrounded by dead-end and no-outlet street networks and the lowest housing densities, with sidewalks and bike paths connecting through the school and park, giving pedestrians and bicyclists the best local through access. Local residential car traffic was not allowed to circulate within the super-block, but was forced to the edge, to the collector and arterial streets, where businesses, buses, and larger apartments were.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu December 9, 2017 at 7:05 am

      I’ve asked a couple times in these discussions, if there is any reason PBOT couldn’t include a postage paid comment card with their mailings to the area residents.

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  • Aaron Brown December 7, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    I think this personally speaks to the need for more funding, resources, and volunteer support of groups like BikeLoud. (I say this in no way as a critique of BikeLoud; merely that existing neighborhood folks disinterested in the necessary proposed changes to our streets and housing have plenty of time, money, and political capital to spend on these opposition campaigns, and are no doubt capable of turning these institutional advantages into a organized front that will continue to challenge investments and policy directives designed to upend Portland’s status-quo trajectory towards automobile primacy and ubiquitous million dollar single family housing).

    I respect that groups like the Street Trust are prioritizing their resources towards working at the state level for funding, and groups like OPAL/Oregon Walks are rightly prioritizing investing their staff/attention in East Portland, and I am thrilled bikeloud and pals are putting volunteer elbow grease into showing up at these meetings and attempting to push the narrative in the right directions. Unfortunately, there are landed interests with a ton of resources to expend in building political roadblocks who don’t exactly share our collective urgency about the needs to address public health, congestion, climate, air quality, affordable housing, and mode share goals.

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    • Momo December 7, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      Agreed. I miss the days when BTA put out their Blueprint of projects they would focus their advocacy on, had reps on stakeholder advisory committees as a standard practice, and generally advocated at the local level. We do need a group like the Street Trust pushing for statewide funding, but we also need a group like the BTA used to be.

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      • soren December 7, 2017 at 8:16 pm

        bikeloudpdx members have applied to stakeholder groups multiple times over the years and have never once been selected by pbot.

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        • Momo December 8, 2017 at 8:58 am

          That’s probably because it’s part of their identity to be uncompromising, whereas BTA was always willing to work through issues and compromise with the rest of the committee. Being open-minded should always be a prerequisite for serving on a committee. BikeLoud is an activist group, not an advocacy group, in my opinion. At least so far. Maybe they could morph into that role, but that would probably take a change in name and leadership.

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          • Alex Reedin December 8, 2017 at 10:15 am

            To give another perspective – the proposed greenway improvements are huge “compromises” from what I (and I imagine many BikeLoudPDXers) really want, which is for someone riding a bike at any speed, including an 8-year-old’s 8mph, on a greenway brought up to (some imaginary future) City standards to have a reasonable expectation of not being passed by anyone driving a motor vehicle.

            Whether the most practical way to get there is diverters every two blocks, a legal, camera-enforced prohibition on cars passing bikes on greenways, or what, I don’t really know, haven’t thought it through much because the politics and policy clearly isn’t there right now. A few diverters here and there are a big improvement, though, and the people I’ve met in BikeLoudPDX are happy to work with the City and other stakeholders to find an improvement that works in the current political environment.

            Re: the composition of the BAC – is it more important for the meetings to involve little substantial disagreement or pushback, or more important for the committee to push the City towards actually meeting its stated goals with respect to getting people on bikes? I think the latter is more important, but the City has chosen the former with its choices of members. I think that speaks volumes as to PBOT upper management’s real (as opposed to stated) priorities.

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            • John Liu
              John Liu December 9, 2017 at 1:51 pm

              Wait a sec – is BikeLoud’s position that someone should be able to ride at 8 mph on a greenway and NOT be passed by cars?

              I haven’t heard this before. I mean, the commenter who went by “Adam” used to say it. But I’ve never heard that this was BikeLoud’s position as an advocacy group.

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              • Alex Reedin December 10, 2017 at 9:43 pm

                Certainly not an official position. But I’d guess most people who have mainstream opinions about the feeling of risk associated with bicycling and its importance in stopping people from biking would concede that essentially eliminating bike/car interactions is KEY to vastly increasing 8-year-old bike mode share. I know that you don’t at all believe this, which I find incredibly puzzling. When many people you know who doesn’t bike tells you to “ride safe” every time you depart by bike but rarely tell you to “drive safe”, do you just chalk this up to a quirk? When 50% of the conversations you have with non-cyclists are about them talking about how dangerous it is, do you think that has little impact on their choice or their diktat on mode choice for their children?

                In many areas of City policy, I think you are ignoring overwhelming evidence for reasons I can’t discern, and you’re clearly not going to change your mind, so I’m going to stop discussing them with you.

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          • David Hampsten December 8, 2017 at 10:43 am

            I disagree. When I started serving on the PBOT Bureau/Budget Advisory Committee in 2009, the BTA was at the time a very uncompromising group that often made more progress than they do now (sorry, Gerik, but it’s true!) And they weren’t the only ones. The truck lobby was always forceful, while the Portland Business Alliance is, was, and always has been a no-prisoners-taken type of group on that committee. I represented EPAP and we often also took a tough stance. But that was under 3 different directors before the current one, during years of deep budget cuts. I have no doubt that Bikeloud will be invited to join once the current director leaves, who’s all about conformity. (I last served in 2014-15 before moving to NC.)

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          • soren December 8, 2017 at 3:44 pm

            Have you met Emily, Catie, and Ted?

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          • soren December 9, 2017 at 9:51 am

            you clearly know very little about bikeloudpdx. it is and has been a compromise-oriented advocacy group from it’s inception. for example, the original ask for diversion on clinton was for 4 diverters. despite bikeloudpdx not getting what it wanted it, members worked hard to support the two diverters that served as test-case for the now ratified greenway report (city policy).

            i personally would prefer bikeloudpx to be much louder and to change it’s name to better reflect it’s bike and ped advocacy.

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    • Alex Reedin December 8, 2017 at 9:34 am

      Absolutely true. In my opinion, BikeLoudPDX desperately needs someone with the time, interest, and either some relevant background or a lot of curiosity and willingness to cold-call so that they can finally figure out the legalities around donations, bank accounts, and spending money. Readers, if that’s you, please get in touch with !

      I know that there’s some potential donations out there that are going un-donated and un-used because BikeLoudPDX is not set up to take and use them.

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  • Toadslick December 7, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    I wonder how many people are feeling the same way as me right now: I didn’t go to that open house, and I strongly regret it.

    I’ve been to some of the recent PBOT informational open houses, and they usually followed the same routine: look over some maps and brochures, add some notes to areas of concern, and maybe ask some questions of the officials present. The attendees would mostly be proponents of the particular project.

    Lesson learned. After the Lincoln/Harrison debacle, I plan to never miss another open house for walking, biking, or transit improvements. I suspect that this was the last time that opponents will be the majority in the room, and the last time that they’ll be able to successfully hijack an open house. The NIMBYs got a sucker punch in, but walking/biking/transit advocates are better practiced at organizing.

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    • Clark in Vancouver December 7, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      I learned a few years ago that you can’t take things for granted no matter how benign and good a proposal looks to you. Even in Vancouver which currently has an active transportation friendly council, there is still lots of opposition to any change that’s proposed. I now go to all of the open houses and give lots of feedback. Most are quiet friendly affairs but some of the open houses are just plain awful to go to. It makes you worry if you’ll get lynched or something. (I intentionally don’t wear anything cyclisty.) There have been times when I dreaded going to one but felt obliged to in order to provide some balance to the crazy busy bodies that will likely be there.

      Any “minority” like Jews, Gays or people cycling cannot afford to just lay low and mind their own business. They need to get involved in the process for their own survival because there’s always somebody out there who’s going to try to get some political gain by making life hell for a minority.

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      • David Hampsten December 8, 2017 at 10:55 am

        When I go to an open house, such as last night for a round-about and bikeway bridge crossing of the new freeway bypass (over a $1 Billion in sunk costs, never to be recovered), I talk with the engineers, who tend to be the quietest people at an open house, but are the most influential in design and project implementation, far more than the all-too-familiar planners. When you speak with them, you yourself need to act calm and very friendly. Listen very carefully to what they say, you’ll likely learn something, even when you disagree with them (and you likely will.) What I do is praise them for doing such a good job with the project on hand (lie if you have to), then comment about a project or improvement you’d like to see at a location miles from the project at hand. They’ll tell you they have no influence on that project, but they’ll mention it to the engineers who do. And funny thing is, they will. They really will.

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  • Ryan Janssen December 7, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    I regret it also, Toadslick. I’ll be attending the Richmond Neighborhood Association meeting on Monday, and all meetings going forward that impact our hood. I have a feeling the Tabor folks will make an appearance here and I won’t regret missing it this time.

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    • John December 8, 2017 at 9:08 am

      Thanks for this!!

      The Greenway is on the agenda for the Richmond meeting Monday (with presentation by PBOT).

      I’ll be there.

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      • paikiala December 8, 2017 at 9:50 am

        PBOT has cancelled that appearance as part of the step back/reset.

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  • Dawn December 8, 2017 at 9:59 am

    The RNA just announced that PBOT will not be at the Monday meeting. From the email I received:

    “…the [PBOT] are regrouping regarding the Lincoln NG project process due to several things… the most important is that we [PBOT] would like to take a step back and develop project alternatives that we [PBOT] can discuss going forward.”

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    • mark December 8, 2017 at 9:29 pm

      I just took a few minutes to email Sheila Parrott, PBOT’s project manager. I urged her to do the right thing for the community as a whole and not be swayed to water down the proposal to placate the whiny drivers who took over the open house.

      Motorists’ convenience does not trump safety for all other modes.

      I encourage all of you who feel that the diverters need to go in as planned to send her a polite email as well.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty December 9, 2017 at 8:18 pm

        This isn’t really about safety for “all other modes”. The diverters do nothing for transit riders, pedestrians, or really any other modes except cyclists and, perhaps, skateboarders. It probably actively hurts scooter/moped/small motorcycle riders by pushing them out to more major streets. Doing what’s right “for the community” would probably mean abandoning the diverters (though I’m sure someone will jump in and point out in the long run, reducing emissions is in everyone’s interest).

        It might be more effective to appeal to PBOT policy goals that this project helps further, perhaps commenting about how rapidly we’re falling behind meeting our objectives.

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  • Eric December 8, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Bicycling used to be my primary means of transportation. Now I can’t ride and don’t have a working bike due to accidents and injuries resulting from poor road conditions in Portland’s bike lanes. Yes, this money could be better spent. Let’s prioritize fixing potholes and surfaces in our ‘world-class’ biking system for a start.
    PBOT’s stated goal for this project is ‘to create a low stress environment’ for bicyclists. Operating any type of vehicle on city streets is not about having one’s stress reduced. Both riding and driving require preparation, training, vigilance, attentiveness, and adherence to the rules of the road. Every trip. Every ride. Trying to solve emotional and philosophical concerns with infrastructure only magnifies problems and leads to unintended consequences.
    The word ‘divert’ does not mean ‘to make something go away’. It means ‘to cause to change course’. The City has encouraged rampant growth around Lincoln and 50th, with thousands of new living units in a small stretch of blocks. More cars will continue to use Lincoln. They’ll just take the round-about way to get there, making smaller neighborhood streets more dangerous as well.
    Diverters at 50th and Lincoln carry the message: ‘Those who are physically able to ride bicycles are more important than those who cannot. The comfort of people who choose one means of transportation on one street is more important than the safety of those who depend on the many other streets that will bear additional traffic.’

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    • Alex Reedin December 8, 2017 at 11:44 am

      Here are some gaps in your logic.

      “Operating any type of vehicle on city streets is not about having one’s stress reduced.”
      You don’t mention that biking on city streets carries with it the ubiquitous, visceral, all-too-real feeling of danger of being killed or maimed by someone piloting a motor vehicle. (Though being killed or maimed while biking is quite rare and the positive health effects of biking FAR outweigh the potential for injury, the FEELING of danger is what keeps people off their bikes and makes biking far less pleasant). Driving and biking are not the same because of this (among other reasons), and should have different policies that aim for different changes in stress levels. False equivalence.

      “More cars will continue to use Lincoln.” Please present evidence for this. Our experience in Portland, as well as other cities around the world, is that LESS cars use streets that have motor vehicle diverters on them.

      “The comfort of people who choose one means of transportation on one street is more important than the safety of those who depend on the many other streets that will bear additional traffic.”
      You don’t consider the HUGE health impacts of more people biking and walking because they have a comfortable place to travel by those means. You don’t consider the fact that there are much higher traffic volumes on Lincoln currently than on those other streets, so it’s only fair to even it out a little bit. You don’t consider the fact that serious-injury accidents on quiet neighborhood streets, even those made slightly less quiet, are EXCEEDINGLY rare.

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      • Patrick December 8, 2017 at 3:25 pm

        I do not think the “FEELING” of danger is the major thing keeping people off bikes. The major thing is too uncomfortable weather conditions, too far of a commute, groceries to carry or children, pride, convenience and physical condition(s). All the diverters, bike lanes and comfort improvements will not change that or even make a meaningful dent in the ratio of car commuters bicycle commuters. Traffic will continue to worsen if auto capacity is not added. Additional bike capacity is not going to resolve the problem. If a lane of traffic is removed for a bike lane, sure it may take some cars off that street. But that auto lane will move more people as an auto lane than a bike lane any day..

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        • Alex Reedin December 8, 2017 at 3:38 pm

          Have you looked at data, or just generalized your experience and acquaintances to the entire population of Portland? The survey data I’ve seen says traffic safety is the #1 reason people in Portland don’t cycle more.

          % of All Respondents Citing Factor as Influential in Decision Not To Cycle
          Traffic Safety – 55%
          Adverse weather – 52%
          Inadequate Parking – 29%
          Too Slow – 35%
          Road Conditions – 36%

          p.21 from

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          • Dick Pilz December 8, 2017 at 4:33 pm

            Physical disability was too small a reason to be listed for not riding? It’s a major one for me. My spine and knees cannot handle the amount of riding I would need to do for a bike commute.

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          • Alex Reedin December 8, 2017 at 4:45 pm

            I think these were just a handful of the most-chosen reasons. However, it seems completely credible to me that physical disability would get a smaller percentage than the smallest category above (29%) – put another way, that more than 71% of adult Portlanders are physically capable of cycling more than they currently do. (Note: The question, and the whole idea of freeing people to ride their bikes more for transportation, is not confined to the trip to work. People take tons of other trips in their lives, and the majority of the common trips are shorter than the average trip to work.)

            Certainly, there are a large percentage of people who are physically disabled in some way, and some of those folks absolutely need to drive, or must use transit. I would like to see far more disabled parking spots in Portland than there currently are, and vastly improved transit and paratransit.

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          • John Liu
            John Liu December 9, 2017 at 6:51 am

            The survey you quoted is from the 1990s.

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        • 9watts December 9, 2017 at 8:34 am

          “But that auto lane will move more people as an auto lane than a bike lane any day.”

          Wow. Why so static? So rearview mirror?

          With this kind of thinking we’d never got to where we are today. The point is to smooth/hasten the transition away from automobiles, from internal combustion. It will happen whether we plan for it or not, so why argue about the arrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic instead of spending money on lifeboats?

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        • soren December 9, 2017 at 5:17 pm

          “I do not think the “FEELING” of danger is the major thing keeping people off bikes.”

          And you would be likely wrong (at least in the portland area):

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          • John Liu
            John Liu December 9, 2017 at 9:12 pm

            I’m glad you posted that link. This study has bizarre aspects and if you dig into it, you’d see that the methodology is such that the conclusions are both arbitrary and unrelated to actual behaviour. There is some interesting information on the differences between people who ride for utility vs only ride recreationally vs don’t ride at all, but the implications aren’t really what most bike infrastructure advocates want to hear.

            Notice that the “interested but concerned” (IC) group appears to ride bikes as much as the “enthused and confident” (CC) and “strong and fearless” (SF) groups?
            – IC group 73% are cyclists (actually ride bikes, either utility or recreational), 28% are non cyclists (do not ride at all)
            – CC group 77% are cyclists, 23% are non cyclists
            – SF group 63% are cyclists, 36% are non cyclists!

            Yes, that’s what the study says: of the supposedly “strong and fearless” group, 36% don’t even ride bikes, and of the supposedly “interested but concerned” group, 73% already ride for utility or recreation.

            Look further. In the summer, 24% of the “interested but concerned” group already ride bikes for utility reasons 21 to 30 days per month! 30% ride for utility reasons 19 to 20 days per month, while 46% ride 0 to 9 days per month. The “strong but fearless” group not only rides less than the other groups, but rides less frequently too!

            In other words, the supposedly “interested but concerned” group are actually riding bikes quite a lot. Someone who rides for utility >21 days/month is not exactly being kept off the bike.

            So these findings are bizarre. Let’s look further. How were these groups categorized?

            The study assigned people into these groups by how “comfortable” they self-reported feeling about various hypothetical road conditions. The people who said they’d ride anywhere regardless of traffic speed or bike facilities were classified as “strong and fearless”. The people who didn’t ride, didn’t know how to ride, or were very uncomfortable everywhere were classified as “no way no how”. The remaining people were classified as “enthused and confident” or “interested but concerned” based on if their self-reported comfort score was above or below a break point of 3.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 on “non-residential streets with bike lanes” but without separated cycling infrastructure.

            You can see the problem with this methodology, that may be leading to the bizarre results.

            1. The classifications are based on what people self-reported about their hypothetical comfort in hypothetical situations on a 1 to 5 scale, and the break point (3.5 on one hypothetical situation) is arbitrary – why wasn’t it 3.0, or 4.0? If the break point had been chosen differently, maybe the “enthused and confident” group would be larger and the “interested but concerned” group smaller. The narrative of Portland cycling advocacy would look different if “scientific research” shows that 2/3 of Portlanders are already “enthused and confident” even with current cycling infrastructure, wouldn’t it?

            2. Self-reported comfort is not the same as actual behaviour. The “strong and fearless” group actually rides less than the next two, and over a third of them don’t ride bikes at all. Maybe this group isn’t actually strong or fearless, but simply isn’t thoughtful or honest about hypothetical scenarios (blowhards). The “interested but concerned” group actually rides quite a lot, and not “significantly” less than the “enthused and confident” group. Maybe the difference is just that some people interpret “comfort” or a “1 to 5” scale differently. I used the word “significantly” because statistical analysis like this has a confidence range, which the presentation linked by Soren doesn’t report; with this sample size, it’s possible – I suspect probable – that the data can’t confidently tell you there is any difference at all between the actual behaviour of these two groups.

            3. The conclusion that bike advocates jump to is that the catchy names picked for these groups actually tells you what would get them to ride more. The group called “interested but concerned”, surely if they were less “concerned” then they’d ride more because they are “interested”, right? But the data, at least as described in the linked presentation, doesn’t show that. Of the “interested but concerned” group who are non cyclists vs recreational cyclists vs utility cyclists, look for the biggest differences in their answers to “perception” questions. The biggest (huge, actually) differences are for these questions:
            – feel a personal obligation to ride a bike
            – easy for me to get to work on a bike
            – my friends ride bikes on errands
            – my coworkers ride bike to work
            – the places I need to go are close enough to bike
            – I’m comfortable riding in the rain
            In other words, among the persons who have been rather arbitrarily classified in the “interested but concerned” group, the biggest differences between the ones who don’t ride at all, who ride recreationally, and who ride for utility (commute, etc) are social peer group factors, location/convenience, and perhaps tolerance for bad weather. Not their perception of the roads, traffic, at all.

            Bottom line, I think Roger Geller came up with a theory about four types of cyclists and cycling propensity that fit well with what the city and cycling advocates want to do (60% of Portlanders are interested in using bikes for transportation, but they are concerned about safety, if we can build more cycling infrastructure so they feel less concerned, then lots more Portlanders will ride to work etc). Then this study was done to “validate” the narrative. And it has been reported as doing so. But it doesn’t, actually.

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            • Alex Reedin December 11, 2017 at 10:46 am

              I think you’re coming at the study with overly simplistic expectations. Of course, it’s not the case that there are 2% of Portlanders who bike a lot solely they’re “Strong and Fearless” with respect to bike infrastructure, 4% who bike somewhat less because they’re just “Enthused and Confident”, 60% who don’t bike but might because they’re “Interested But Concerned” about our infrastructure and 34% who don’t bike and never will because they’re”No Way No How”. People are complex, and have many factors driving them to bike or not bike, as you note.


              But, out of the 70% of survey respondents who don’t currently bike for transportation, 32% are in the “Interested But Concerned” infrastructure preferences category and only 7% are in the “Enthused and Confident” or “Strong and Fearless” infrastructure preferences categories. That speaks volumes to me about what type of infrastructure PBOT should be setting as its goal given that it plans to vastly improve bike mode share.

              Also, look at p.18. There is a pretty dramatic difference in how often the “enthused and confident” “utilitarian cyclists” actually cycle per month compared to the “interested but concerned” “utilitarian cyclists.” With a sample size of 906, I’m guessing that it is in fact statistically significant.

              Also, your point 3. makes no sense. Of course there’s not much difference in infrastructure preferences among the “Interested But Concerned”; infrastructure preferences are the primary factor in the categorization.

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            • soren December 11, 2017 at 2:29 pm


              1) Classification of the “interested but concerned” was not assigned based on self-reported comfort ratings at all.

              I quote:

              Respondents were asked to agree or disagree (strongly or somewhat) to the
              statement “I would like to travel by bike more than I do now.” Those that agreed with this
              statement were put in the Interested but Concerned category, and those that disagreed were put in the No Way No How category

              2) The few percent who self-reported as “strong and fearless” were almost all males within the ages of 18-34. In this demographic, it’s not surprising that many who did not ride reported being unafraid to do so. Given prevailing attitude to risk this is exactly the result one would expect to see.

              3) Contrary to your claims, there was a large difference between the “interested but concerned” (1.6 days/month) and “enthused and confident” (4.2 days/month) when it came to work/school trips (presumably longer trips outside of the neighborhood). This is is consistent with the idea that the “interested but concerned” are, indeed, not comfortable riding in higher-traffic areas without decent bike infrastructure.

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  • Phil Richman December 8, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    PBOT does the entire City a disservice by giving into the tea-party tactics used by the highjacking mob. I was there and all of those yelling codgers should be ashamed of themselves.

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  • maxD December 8, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Hello, Kitty
    I happen to mostly agree to what you wrote, but I also don’t feel comfortable judging what is “rightfully” controversial, because I am not willing to let others close me out of a decisions I feel are important. I mean, why is improving the connection between I-5 and I-84 “rightfully” controversial? Arguably, it has less negative impact on people than a diverter would. But I still want to be able to oppose it.Making declarations about what opinions are “right” can backfire in a major way. I, for one, am confident we’ll get to the right decision, and by respecting democracy, we will be stronger for it.Recommended 3

    I think improving the connection between I-84 and I-5 is a good and laudable goal. The controversy comes with the cost/benefit. 450 million dollars for in increase in convenience and a decrease in fender benders while the high-crash corridors owned by ODOT remain unchanged/unimproved. ODOT has tried several strategies to sell this project: safety, connectivity, greenspace, reduced congestion- but they do not hold up under the slightest scrutiny.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty December 8, 2017 at 2:22 pm

      I agree. The point is that if you want to make sure you have a way to argue against that project, you need to either support a framework where any controversial project can be discussed or hope that those in power favor your perspective. Historically, this has been a bad bet.

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  • chris December 9, 2017 at 9:45 am

    I think the definition of vulnerable road user needs to be expanded to any 2 wheeled vehicle. Anyone from a tiny 49cc moped to the biggest of Harley Davidsons is just as likely to be turned into roadkill by an inattentive car/truck driver as a cyclist is. One could argue that motorcycles are more at risk than bicycles because they ride in the middle of the lane and not off to the side, especially in stop and go city traffic, all it takes is some dummy looking down at their phone for a second and bam! instant motorcycle sandwich. A leading cause of motorcycle deaths is getting hit while making a left turn, with the car driver usually saying “sorry, i just didn’t see them”. After 2 car vs motorbike wrecks, both not my fault, I decided I am more likely to not die on my way home if I use the side streets. If you are against motorbikes using the side streets you are essentially pro motorbiker death. And before someone complains about pollution, how many tri met buses go up and down greenways every day? How many people living on the greenways have fireplaces or old dirty wood burning stoves? How many people using the greenways eat meat and have more than 1 child per couple? I can play the “my carbon footprint is lower than yours” game all day long, if you are not doing everything humanly possible to reduce yours, you have no right to lecture others.

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    • soren December 9, 2017 at 5:14 pm

      i for one support all non-caged vulnerable traffic.

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      • chris December 10, 2017 at 12:05 pm

        thank you

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    • John Liu
      John Liu December 10, 2017 at 7:57 pm

      Motorcyclists are definitely VRUs. Way more at risk than cyclists.

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      • 9watts December 10, 2017 at 8:05 pm


        I guess that depends on the source of risk. My understanding is that unlike pedal-cyclists for motorcyclists a larger share of the risk (to them) emanates from them, rather than from other motorized participants in traffic. But perhaps I have that wrong.

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        • John Liu
          John Liu December 10, 2017 at 10:00 pm

          That’s partly correct. Too easy to twist that throttle. But motorcyclists also get left crossed, taken out by cars from side streets, and other accidents familiar to cyclists.

          By the way, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation class that many motorcyclists take to get their M endorsement is very much applicable to cyclists. The MSF class was very helpful to my education as a cyclist, anyway. It is too bad we don’t have training classes like that available to cyclists. My understanding is that in Denmark and some other European countries, cycling skills and safety are taught in schools.

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        • soren December 11, 2017 at 2:33 pm

          I don’t have time to look up the stats but, as I recall, violations of the motorcyclist’s right of way contributes to the majority of crashes.

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  • Howie December 13, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Oh, Jonathan, always with the hyperbole. Having attended hundreds of public meeting in Portland, my only shock was how poorly prepared PBOT was for the meeting. It’s terrific that people of all ages care about transportation, their homes and neighborhoods. Calling people old, white and rich is surely ageist. The two gentlemen in their 60’s in bike gear I talked to would be as offended as the young asian woman making a passionate equity argument. It was a very Portland sort of crowd. PBOT didn’t prepare for the meeting. They didn’t manage the room and were simply reacting all evening. I was especially discouraged that the Deputy Director of PBOT was in the room and didn’t bother to help manage the event or even identify himself. That is not what we should expect from our bureau leadership. The pause is recognition that PBOT blew the public outreach on this project. Good for them. The only real peril in Portland is when impassioned voices, with a variety of opinions, are silenced.

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