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Portland Business Alliance lays out stance on Central City in Motion plan

Posted by on October 23rd, 2018 at 4:46 pm

In a four-page letter (PDF) sent to Transportation Commmissioner Chloe Eudaly yesterday, Portland Business Alliance President and CEO Andrew Hoan offered carefully mixed doses of support and opposition to projects included in the City of Portland’s Central City in Motion (CCIM) plan.

And in a surprising show of dealmaking, Hoan offered up enthusiastic support for a carfree transit mall in exchange for the City’s proposal to add protected bike lanes to SW Broadway and 4th. And instead of using one lane of Naito Parkway for a protected bike lane, the PBA says they’ll support a new bike path that would bisect the iconic Waterfront Park. Neither of those ideas has been seriously considered in the past two years of discussions about this plan.

With less than a month before the groundbreaking investment in central city streets is scheduled for its first hearing at City Council, many project-watchers have been waiting to see where the PBA stands on the proposals. The organization represents 1,900 businesses and has a history of outsized influence at PBOT and City Hall.

“Broad concern is shared throughout our community that reducing auto capacity on major arterial roads will have significant economic impact to our downtown businesses.”

As we’ve been reporting, the Bureau of Transportation has whittled down 18 projects into two categories — one to be built in 1-5 years, the other for 6-10. In their letter, the PBA weighed in on six projects. They offered outright support for two of them, support “with some modifications” for two others, and proposed “alternatives” for the remaining two. The PBA also addressed the Better Naito project (under the heading #SaferNaito).

Before getting into their project analysis the PBA said as the “employer community” they have, “serious concerns with certain aspects of the proposed projects.”

Hoan writes that, in general, the PBA supports the walking and transit aspects of the CCIM projects; but that bicycling is not as viable, and as such it’s not as worthy of roadway real estate. He even uses the leveling-off of bike commuting rates as reason to not build more protected bike lanes:

For many residents that currently can you buy single occupancy vehicle, making the shift to public transit is the most logical transition… Public transit must be faster and more accessible. Further, we are not opposed to a more connected bicycle network throughout the central city, but broad concern is shared throughout our community that reducing auto capacity on major arterial roads will have significant economic impact to our downtown businesses. Careful consideration should be given to those trade-offs, especially considering that the percentage of Portlanders who commute by bicycle has plateaued in recent years.

Hoan doesn’t mention the fact that PBOT analysis shows the CCIM projects will vastly improve the capacity and efficiency of our streets or that PBOT planners count “person trips” and not just automobile volumes.

Let’s start with the projects the PBA supports without conditions: Project 1, which would create protected bike lanes, better crossings, and a bus-only lane on Burnside from W 10th to E 12th; and Project 7, which would add a bus-only on NW Everett from Broadway to the Steel Bridge. “Transit is one of the fastest-growing transportation modes (behind ride-sharing),” the letter states, “and is the most effective in terms of sustainable mass mobility.


The PBA cautions that SW Salmon is rife with conflicts and very valuable as a “portal” for drivers into downtown.

The PBA supports, but would like to modify two other projects: Project 5, which would add bus lanes and bike lanes to SW Jefferson/Columbia/Madison; and Project 8, which would create a protected bike lane couplet on SW Salmon and Taylor.

The PBA likes the transit elements of Project 5, but wants the bike lane axed because they claim it creates conflict near the Highway 26 “portal” and they feel “protection of portal capacity” is more important. “Businesses rely heavily on reliable access to downtown from the surrounding region,” the letter explains. The PBA also wants to keep a bike lane off Jefferson and Columbia because the streets, “provide critical access to several parking garages and numerous loading docks.”

When it comes to Project 8, the PBA’s main concern is that PBOT isn’t doing enough to restore planned reductions in auto parking capacity. PBOT wants to create a protected bike lane on both streets, in the space currently used to park cars. “While we are not opposed to protected bike lanes on these streets,” Hoan states, “it is important to recognize that they are major portals into and out of the central city.”

And this where the PBA unveils one of their core arguments against cycling. Their stance is more cycling space isn’t warranted because not enough people are cycling:

“It must be noted that most visitors to downtown are not taking their bicycles; rather, they are driving. A recent downtown shopper survey show that only 1 percent of retail shoppers use their bike to get to the destination downtown when not commuting for work. With that in mind, PBOT must take careful consideration when removing parking at auto capacity with in this area in favor of less popular transportation modes — especially considering the highway on street parking utilization rate of the downtown core.”

For the other two projects addressed in their letter, the PBA has proposed major changes.

We agree that the transit mall should be carfree!

Instead of a new, protected bike lane couplet that would run north-south on Broadway and Fourth (Project 2), the PBA surprisingly says they, “Support the removal of all auto capacity on the transit mall.” Here’s more of the PBA’s pitch for a carfree transit mall:

“Not only would this produce the same north-south connectivity, but drivers typically avoid these streets already or misuse the designated lanes…. turning the auto lane into a protected bike lane would have far less negative impacts on nearby businesses and the design logistics can be smoothed out as they will be for the rest of the projects.”

The PBA feels that putting a protected bike lane on Broadway and 4th, as currently proposed by PBOT, “Would have significant, unnecessary economic impacts on our downtown retail core,” and would “severely limit the capacity of our few remaining arterial routes through the city.” The PBA says carfree lanes on the transit mall would be a “plausible, exciting alternative,” and that offering it up should be a sign that, “supporting alternative transportation is indeed a top priority.”

The final project the PBA offers input on in this letter is Better Naito (Project 17).

While they support a protected bike lane on Naito in general, they don’t want it to constrain existing auto capacity. Back in May we covered an idea put forward by Mayor Ted Wheeler that considers creating a northbound protected bike lane in the existing tree line at the western edge of Waterfront Park. The PBA says losing 40 trees is a non-starter and they support building a bike lane through the center of the park. Not only would a center-running bike lane save the trees but it would also, “activate the park and protect bike commuters,” they say.

Read the entire letter for yourself.

UPDATE, 10/24: The PBA has just released their annual downtown census and survey. Given their views expressed in the CCIM letter, a few trends are worth noting: Compared to 2016 survey numbers, biking to downtown jobs is up 6 points to 11 percent; drive-alone trips are down to 41 percent, from 53 percent last year; and 42 percent of downtown workers live in Portland proper — way up from just 26 percent last year.

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

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  • 9watts October 23, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    “not enough people are cycling”

    Hopelessly static analysis. Not that different from PBOT.

    We are talking about infrastructure here, changes that I would hope would last decades.

    Hello? Climate Change?

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    • B. Carfree October 23, 2018 at 9:38 pm

      I was at the river today. There were only a handful of people swimming across, and only one of them brought his bike. Obviously, there is no need to build a bridge.

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  • bikeninja October 23, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    These guys seem to totally have their heads in the sand with regard to in any of the reasons that we must reduce auto traffic ,including resource depletion and climate change. To quote a bumper sticker I had back when I drove a car , ” There are no jobs on a dead planet.”

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  • SD October 23, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Wondering how many of the 1,900 businesses are actually PBA members or are represented by PBA? I remember when this issue came up before that the PBA lists businesses that no longer support (or are members) of the PBA. Also a reminder to ask businesses that are on the PBA’s list to stop their support or ask that their names be removed.

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  • maccoinnich October 23, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Ah, yes, the old “while we are not opposed…” argument that the PBA uses so frequently.

    It’s now 6 and a half years since the PBA lobbied to kill a bike lane on SW 12th Ave. From their letter, dated April 26th, 2012:

    “As a point of beginning, the Alliance is involved with the Central City 2035 process that will determine the land use and transportation plans for the central city for the next 25 years. We recognize and support the city’s efforts to develop a comprehensive, multi-modal transportation system, and we will continue to participate in the process of developing the strategies that will implement that goal.

    We are concerned that, while this planning process is underway, there are one-off programs that are being implemented outside a comprehensive land use and transportation strategy for the central city. The SW 12th Avenue Cycle Track proposal is an example of these one-off programs. While the Alliance supports the development of a multi-modal transportation system and creating innovative ways to promote trips to the central city, we are concerned that the process to develop the proposed SW 12th Avenue Cycle Track is moving too quickly and merits more discussion before more project planning moves forward. We request that the city engage with stakeholders to develop a comprehensive analysis of all the streets within the central city, and as part of the Central City 2035 Plan. That way, transportation investments such as Cycle Tracks will be located and designed with a broader land use, development and central city-wide access framework in mind. We look forward to working with you throughout this process.”

    PBOT has held off on making significant investments in downtown until the broader process the PBA asked for was complete. Now that Central City 2035 is adopted and Central City in Motion is ready to go to council, they’re again trying to stall progress.

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    • sikoler October 23, 2018 at 6:00 pm

      “It’s now 6 and a half years since the PBA lobbied to kill a bike lane on SW 12th Ave.”

      So what.

      You are typifying the overreactive melodramatic bike activist here.

      The use of language (“kill”!) the way you count time as if it is some national tragedy. The large blockquote.

      PBA clearly wants to try to find middle ground and workable solutions in this area and anyone here who denies it is not credible.

      We must work together not take a “bad for cars, good for bikes” mentality…it’s going to actually ruin our city because PBOT’s policies are influenced by the bike activist community, including this site.

      It’s foolish and counterproductive to pretend as if car commuter traffic and downtown parking aren’t relevant factors in the traffic system discussion.

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      • maccoinnich October 23, 2018 at 6:01 pm

        “The large block quote” ZOMG

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        • maccoinnich October 23, 2018 at 6:19 pm

          More seriously, what language would you prefer I use rather than “kill”? I think it’s an accurate description, given that PBOT had an active project to add a northbound bike lane on SW 12th Ave, and the PBA made sure it never happened.

          Your attempt to sound like the reasonable one in the room is a little over done. As one example, the PBA position is that we must not must not reduce any auto capacity on 4th or Broadway. If the CCIM recommendations go forward those streets would have four lanes dedicated to cars (2 through lanes and 2 parking or turn lanes) and one bike lane. That’s hardly a war on cars. It’s nowhere near pretending “as if car commuter traffic and downtown parking aren’t relevant factors in the traffic system”

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      • 9watts October 23, 2018 at 6:06 pm

        Hey, you’re back!

        PBA clearly wants to try to find middle ground and workable solutions in this area and anyone here who denies it is not credible.

        Can you elaborate? Support your statement?

        It’s foolish and counterproductive to pretend as if car commuter traffic and downtown parking aren’t relevant factors in the traffic system discussion.

        Did anyone suggest this? I agree that they are relevant factors; the question seems to be whether they should continue to trump other modes, equity, health, livability, not to mention looming threats (e.g., climate change) that will have profound repercussions on what we think of as transportation.

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      • SD October 23, 2018 at 6:10 pm

        Criticizing tone rather than addressing the substance of a comment -check
        Creating a straw man argument of all or nothing -check
        Referencing the bike lobby -check
        Demonstrating no working knowledge of the CCIM plan or the process leading up to it -check

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        • paikiala October 24, 2018 at 8:39 am

          Only counting people that come downtown to shop (not work), check.

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        • sikoler October 24, 2018 at 10:57 am

          The comment had no substance, it was pure melodramatic hyperbole….as I said in my original comment.

          It is trolling to argue using the tactics OP used, it’s also childish and counterproductive.

          If you are still confused, google “common internet troll tactics” and you’ll see OP was using many of them.

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          • 9watts October 24, 2018 at 11:38 am

            You still haven’t troubled yourself to show us how *you* are not a troll.

            And I did google the term 😉
            Wikipedia has an en excellent entry on the subject.

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          • maccoinnich October 24, 2018 at 11:48 am

            Ah yes, the common internet troll techniques of [checks notes] making a relevant argument, backed up with quotations linked to the original source.

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          • Dan A October 24, 2018 at 12:15 pm

            “The comment had no substance, it was pure melodramatic hyperbole…”

            Which of your previous comments are you referring to?

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      • Middle of The Road Guy October 24, 2018 at 8:50 am

        don’t forget “Death Machines”.

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        • soren October 24, 2018 at 9:15 am

          correction: “deathmobiles”

          40,100 deaths last year…

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          • Chris I October 24, 2018 at 9:54 am

            Hey, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, right?

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            • Ryan October 24, 2018 at 1:25 pm

              How big of a human omelette are you making, you cannibal!? ;-D

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      • SafeStreetsNow October 24, 2018 at 10:54 am

        Climate change is real. After the recent UN report, more than EVER we should be pushing for the removal of auto lanes in favor of bike and transit lanes at every opportunity. The City of Portland’s own research shows we will not hit our local climate targets in large part due to transportation emissions. This is the time for radical action, or future generations pay the price. It really IS that simple. The transit mall should be car free, AND those other proposed protected lanes should go in. We shouldn’t be negotiating with anyone who wants to keep the status quo, because the status quo is literally KILLING 99% of the species on our planet.

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        • 9watts October 24, 2018 at 10:56 am

          Wouldn’t it be interesting if those of us who feel this way would find a way to hold PBOT to account? Demand they show us what their contingency plans are for how they are anticipating the nonzero probability of automobility’s decline?

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      • 9watts October 24, 2018 at 11:46 am

        I missed this on the first go-through:

        “it’s going to actually ruin our city because PBOT’s policies are influenced by the bike activist community, including this site.”

        (a) you’ve just told us that you commute by bike daily;
        (b) you assert that the bike activist community has the ear of PBOT, implying that this would be to the detriment of … those in cars? others? (can you offer specifics?)
        (c) you claim bike activist community influence is ruining our city (examples?)

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        • mark October 24, 2018 at 6:08 pm

          I *wish* that PBOT’s policies were influenced by the bike activist community.

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          • David Hampsten October 24, 2018 at 6:59 pm

            Some personnel at PBOT are influenced by the bike community, however defined. Some are not. The trick is finding out who has power to actually decide and implement improvements.

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          • David Hampsten October 24, 2018 at 7:35 pm

            If PBA is as powerful and overwhelming in its influence with PBOT as people say, why not try to make them your allies? As we in East Portland discovered years ago, it’s not that hard. They want more people downtown. You want more people downtown. They want smoother streets, which I’d think you’d want too. Yeah, the car thing is an issue, true, but I’d encourage building a relationship on what you have in common rather than what divides you.

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            • Chris Anderson October 26, 2018 at 8:57 am

              I joined the PBA Transportation Committee for a couple of years. Ask anyone else who has been in that room if it’s possible to make PBA an ally… It’s not. They are beholden to parking lot stakeholders, and seem more interested in their own commutes even than freight movement. It’s not a credible group, and they do not represent Portland values.

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  • mark October 23, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    I don’t get the idea of a bike lane through the center of Waterfront Park. How would all the festivals operate? I feel like the PBA is really grasping at straws to avoid limiting automotive access even slightly.

    Their proposal to allow cycling on the Transit Mall is equally ridiculous. The public access lane on those roads only allows for turns in one direction, so that many cyclists will have to use other roads anyway to access their destinations.

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    • maccoinnich October 23, 2018 at 6:20 pm

      It wouldn’t work and Portland Parks and Recreation would never agree to it.

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      • mark October 23, 2018 at 9:08 pm

        Obviously. That’s what makes the PBA suggestion so offensive.

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        • Blake October 24, 2018 at 11:08 am

          And that’s why they suggested it in the first place. They want to claim to be “constructive” instead of the reality which is that they are a regressive, obstructionist group trying to take Portland back to the 1950s.

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        • David Hampsten October 24, 2018 at 7:02 pm

          Actually, from a budgetary point of view, PBA’s suggestion is not half bad. PBOT has no money, but Parks does. What you need to do is get Parks to pay for “Better Naito” to avoid having the path go through the waterfront park. Basically, play the two ends against the middle.

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          • David Hampsten October 24, 2018 at 7:24 pm

            What I mean is, the PBA letter can be viewed from several perspectives, depending how you read it. While I don’t necessarily disagree that they might be rather pro-car and anti-bike, and perhaps always have been, they do offer a few useful suggestions for the “bike lobby”:

            1. PBOT has no money to speak of. Every year, adjusted for inflation, they have declining gas tax revenue. But what they do have is great design and engineering expertise and the legal ability to regulate the public right-of-way, including parking, lane striping, etc. Going after PBOT for more money is a dumb idea, you should go after agencies that have larger or more flexible budgets, but still use PBOT for its strengths.

            2. TriMet resources are also limited, but they can be relatively plentiful on certain narrow corridors such as the bus mall, light rail, etc. If you are looking for an “easy win-win”, then making each of those corridors “car free” would I think be relatively easy fights with huge benefits, such as making East Burnside from 102nd to 162nd a 14mph street, or the downtown bus mall car-free.

            3. Parks has a budget worth raiding. Try to grab as much as you can. Redefine bicycling not as transportation but as recreation, and suddenly you have a lot more discretionary dollars available. Have Parks implement the downtown greenway, after all, it’s for tourism and recreation, right?

            4. Finally, start looking closely at all city budgets. Any department/bureau that gets a lot of money ought to be tapped for bike projects. Police? Bicycling is a security issue, eyes on the street, bike theft, bike racks, etc. Fire? If emergency services know where bicyclists are most likely to be ahead of time, then fire trucks can avoid those streets, so it’s in the Fire Bureau’s best interest to support protected bike lanes on certain arterial roads. Economic Development? Are not bicyclists typically among the best-educated innovative millennials in any community, what every city strives to attract?

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            • maxD October 25, 2018 at 9:33 am

              Parks is not bike-friendly. They just don’t get bikes. They failed at leading the NP Greenway planning project by not understanding either the value of a beautiful, peaceful route or the necessity of a safe and direct route. Also, see their history vis-a-vis mountain bikes and waterfront park. PBOT has its’ flaws, but I prefer their flaws to the gaping holes in knowledge and understanding at PP&R

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              • Brian October 25, 2018 at 9:59 am


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              • David Hampsten October 25, 2018 at 12:13 pm

                But don’t they support the pump track in Ventura Park? Gateway Green?

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            • soren October 25, 2018 at 1:57 pm

              The furor over the use of a small amount PWB/sewer funds for Neighborhood Greenways really negatively impacted active transportation and likely led to the sharp cuts in funding carried out by Novick and Wheeler.

              Given the increased anti-cycling sentiment in Oregon and Portland (Hello Bike Tax!) over the past few years, I think using Parks money for bike infrastructure would be a huge political mistake.

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              • soren October 26, 2018 at 10:46 am


                (hard to tell them apart)

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    • maxD October 24, 2018 at 9:44 am

      I like the idea of a bike path through waterfront but ONLY IF the festivals were moved to Naito. Think of how amazing and great it would be to close Naito for a week at a time and fill it up with stages, food and rides AND have our beautiful park remain free and accessible all summer long!

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  • sikoler October 23, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Should call it “Central City in Gridlock”

    Virtually all of the proposals somehow intentionally reduce commuter capacity to add bike capacity…it’s foolish and only hurts our city to do this.

    Bike and commuter traffic should be separate, like with the Greenway philosophy, not mixed together in the *most congested areas*…it’s madness if you think about it.

    Cars in gridlock pollute more because (this is obvious but I know someone will demand it…) it increases overall travel time, which is more time an engine is spewing pollution.

    We need to design to increase flow. Safety is obviously always first, and designing to maximize flow will cut pollution simply by having less gridlock, and it will make cyclists safer because they aren’t mixing with commuters in the busiest areas.

    “Bad for cars is good for bikes”…that’s the mentality behind these designs and it’s bogus and it must end.

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    • 9watts October 23, 2018 at 6:08 pm

      “intentionally reduce commuter capacity to add bike capacity…it’s foolish and only hurts our city to do this.”

      I doubt that any proposal here is modeled to ‘reduce commuter capacity.’ You realize that people here commute by modes other than cars?

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      • mark October 23, 2018 at 9:11 pm

        Increasing (motor) traffic flow makes roads more dangerous for all non-motorized traffic, which is why bike lanes are seen as necessary in the first place. It’s too bad we all must suffer because some people drive like fools.

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    • Matt Meskill October 24, 2018 at 7:54 am

      Your bias is showing. You’re trying very hard to hide it but it’s really quite plain to see.

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      • sikoler October 24, 2018 at 10:54 am

        “Your bias is showing.”

        What bias?

        I bike commute daily and from experience I know the strategy of mixing bikes and cars in the busiest intersections is a bad idea.

        I know that greenways are better than mixing on the same street.

        I’ve been really clear since I started posting here that I think many bike activists have irrational proposals.

        I guess saying we need to work together and not have a “bad for cars = good for bikes” mentality is me “showing bias”?

        Care to explain my bias and what I’m trying to hide?

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        • 9watts October 24, 2018 at 11:18 am

          “I’ve been really clear since I started posting here that I think many bike activists have irrational proposals.”


          What is also true is that you’ve so far not troubled yourself to respond to those who are asking you to flesh out your proposals. You just keep repeating vague phrases, bur refuse to engage on the substance, which is too bad. Maybe we could learn something.

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          • sikoler October 24, 2018 at 5:04 pm

            “What is also true is that you’ve so far not troubled yourself to respond to those who are asking you to flesh out your proposals.”

            Not true at all. Read my response on this same sub-thread for one example.

            Next, list in detail exactly what evidence is sufficient for what claims I have made for you to be satisfied.

            Keep in mind the standard you demand of me is the same standard you must hold for yourself and others.

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            • 9watts October 24, 2018 at 5:55 pm

              Many commenters have asked you specific questions, and so far you’ve troubled yourself to answer one or two of them. I don’t, for instance, think you’ve answered any of my questions. Which if of course your perfect right, but if you want to engage us, if we’re going to learn anything from each other you’ll have to join us in dialogue.

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        • Chris I October 24, 2018 at 11:48 am

          Where would you add new greenways? How would you add them? How will these new greenways help me access businesses in the downtown core, or in parts of east Portland?

          Or do you think we have sufficient bike infrastructure currently?

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          • sikoler October 24, 2018 at 4:59 pm

            “Where would you add new greenways?”

            Strategically to allow for continuous bike routes and with easy access to common destinations. The specific tactic is obviously dependent upon the situation. Sometimes a route like the Salmon-Taylor greenway is best, other times having the greenway closer to the shops and attractions on a parallel street is best. It’s not quantum physics it’s everyday data-drive city planning.

            I’m not opposed to making more streets for transit and bike only, not at all, I’m opposed to taking the **main streets car commuters use in the most congested areas and removing capacity.**

            Please note, I am mostly referring to taking the busiest car commuter areas and making them *more* congested by removing capacity and putting bike commuters in its place.

            It’s a false dichotomy that to increase bike access we must reduce car commuter capacity.

            “How would you add them?”

            Standard construction methods.

            “How will these new greenways help me access businesses in the downtown core, or in parts of east Portland?”

            Because they are designed to allow for continuous, non-congested, separated from commuter traffic access to the places you listed.

            One of the biggest problems is people have convinced themselves that we *must* reduce car commuter capacity to increase bike access…it’s just not true at all.

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            • 9watts October 24, 2018 at 5:50 pm

              “opposed to taking the busiest car commuter areas and making them *more* congested by removing capacity and putting bike commuters in its place.”

              The way you frame this suggests you see the auto-bound and the bikey folk as discrete and fixed groups. If instead you allow that the human powered options can and will erode the long standing dominance of the drive alone contingent, putting bike commuting where those in cars commute actually might make a whole lot of sense. This doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. Road diets are also often criticized because people don’t understand that removing a car lane and putting in bike lanes doesn’t yield the dire consequences some people fear.

              Relegating those on bikes to the side streets doesn’t really capture their (potential) interest in getting places directly, much like people in cars are assumed to want and accommodated.

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            • Chris Imondi October 24, 2018 at 8:41 pm

              Which streets downtown would get one of these new greenways? What would you remove from the existing street to make this space?

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    • paikiala October 24, 2018 at 8:41 am

      Cars are not people. Public roads should prioritize the movement of people and goods.

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    • Middle of The Road Guy October 24, 2018 at 8:55 am

      You make some very simple conclusions based upon some very simple assumptions.

      For instance, a car from the 1970’s cruising at a driving speed will produce more emissions than several Low Emitting Vehicles at idle.

      Also, you completely leave out hybrids and EVs in your assumptions.

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    • Chris I October 24, 2018 at 9:55 am

      They spent 50 years designing for flow (and in most places they still do). How has that worked out? Have you ever been to Houston?

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  • Doug Klotz October 23, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    It wouldn’t work and Portland Parks and Recreation would never agree to it.Recommended 2

    Which is of course why they suggested it as a “reasonable” alternative.

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    • maccoinnich October 23, 2018 at 8:27 pm

      Same with the transit mall. They know it’s infeasible for 5th and 6th to work as a bike route without cars, for reasons that include: the existing parking lots and garages accessed from 5th and 6th, especially in the south end of downtown; the Hilton Hotel valet on 6th; the streetcar tracks on 5th between Market and Montgomery; the prohibition on right turns from the left lane; the fact that buses use the left lane on 6th to turn left approaching Burnside and to pass trains north of Burnside.

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      • Chris I October 24, 2018 at 6:11 am

        I guess they are advocating for the closure of these driveways and access points. I wonder if the affected businesses know the PBA position on this?

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      • Daniel October 24, 2018 at 9:55 am

        This is my concern too; I already ride 6th north as it is, and there’s no way they’re going to successfully make it car-free without spending millions just compensating building owners for the cost of rebuilding all their garage entrances on different sides. I have no idea how much work it is to cut a brand-new hole in a parking garage, but I’m betting it’s more than the entire cost of suggested project on 4th/Broadway.

        You could theoretically do short sections that stop being protected bikeways to allow access to garages and for the bus crossover at Ankeny, but then you obviously can’t rework just one car lane into a two-way bike lane. PBA doesn’t go into detail on whether they’re suggesting both 5th and 6th, or just one of the two.

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      • David Hampsten October 24, 2018 at 7:26 pm

        Why exactly are these proposals not feasible?

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  • eawriste October 24, 2018 at 3:47 am

    Let’s encourage businesses to choose an alternative to PBA.

    There is plenty of evidence that suggests PBLs increase profit for businesses.

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  • eawriste October 24, 2018 at 3:53 am

    Here is a list of businesses in Portland who are members of the PBA.

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    • 9watts October 24, 2018 at 11:27 am

      “The organization represents 1,900 businesses ”

      Or not.
      I just checked the list you helpfully provided (thank you!) and see that an organization with which I am affiliated is *still* listed as an active member, even though we severed ties years ago. So frustrating!

      I wonder if an investigative journalist could dig into this, figure out how many of those supposed members have jumped ship?

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  • David October 24, 2018 at 9:30 am

    This appears to be the kind of letter you write when you know that something has to happen but you want to limit the damage. While it’s a nice change to see PBA get behind transit for once it’s not enough. They completely miss the point that the city is trying to change the mode splits so we must be deliberate when investing and allocating space in the right-of-way to encourage modes that are not yet at their goal. We aren’t trying to keep people driving private vehicles at current rates so we shouldn’t be providing as many lane miles and parking spaces for that mode.

    We will never see the 25% mode split for bicycling, or likely even 15% (remember those few tense weeks?), if bicycle improvements are abandoned or severely compromised as proposed by PBA. If anything these projects need to be completed faster than proposed to accomplish the city’s ambitious goals, not delayed for outreach after the fact that holds every business owner’s hand and provides them with an outsized voice.

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  • bikeninja October 24, 2018 at 9:43 am

    To be fair we really should try and understand the viewpoint of the PBA. Like many other organizations of this type it promotes a view that we can be successful by returning to the past. So I think the folks at the PBA genuinely believe that we should return to a time when dad drove to his job downtown at the Lumber Company Headquarters in the family ford and parked in one of the many surface parking lots along the river for a very low price. Mom would come in to town from their new house in West Slope and have lunch with her friends in the Georgian Room at Meier and Frank, picking up a few bobbles on her back home. Dad could pull up and park right in front of the VQ on the way home for a drink . They still think of Downtown as if it were stuck in the 1960’s and their attitude to alternate modes of transit reflect this. So lets try and understand these throwback folks, and be sure to stay off their lawn.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 24, 2018 at 10:52 am

    UPDATE, 10/24: The PBA has just released their annual downtown census and survey. Given their views expressed in the CCIM letter, a few trends are worth noting: Compared to 2016 survey numbers, biking to downtown jobs is up 6 points to 11 percent; drive-alone trips are down to 41 percent, from 53 percent last year; and 42 percent of downtown workers live in Portland proper — way up from just 26 percent last year.

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    • 9watts October 24, 2018 at 10:55 am

      Wouldn’t it be interesting to get someone from the PBA to speak on the record to what looks like double speak? Playing fast and loose with facts.

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    • SafeStreetsNow October 24, 2018 at 11:30 am

      Wow. I have a hard time believing they didn’t know about this at time of press release on CCIM. This is a classic case of hypocrisy and bias.

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      • 9watts October 24, 2018 at 11:33 am

        The Orange One engages in precisely this kind of tactic every day.
        It is unfortunately becoming all too common.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty October 24, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      Are those reported changes plausible? Especially the downtown workers who live in Portland proper. 26% to 42% in one year?

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      • Gary B October 24, 2018 at 12:46 pm

        That is a very big jump. If it is accurate, I’d speculate it amounts to a major increase in total jobs downtown, and those jobs of the type that workers live in Portland Proper (e.g., well-paid tech jobs). But still, that’s a very big jump.

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      • maccoinnich October 24, 2018 at 1:41 pm

        I think there must be a problem with the data from the 2016 survey ( It showed 26% of downtown employees living in the City of Portland, and 30% living in “other Multnomah County”. Given that the City of Portland makes up almost 80% of the population of Multnomah County, and the remaining urbanized areas of Multnomah County are fairly far east of downtown, that split just don’t seem believable.

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  • I wear many hats October 24, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    If it helps, my wife hasn’t joined the PBA for years because they don’t represent her values, despite working with many other business owners here in town. The PBA does not represent everyone in Portland, and the City should not cowtow to their misguided attempts to reduce non auto transport

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  • Ed October 24, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    According to the PBA’s own survey, less than half of downtown workers get to work by car. That is a large constituency who should let their politicians know they support better transit, biking and walking.

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    • David Hampsten October 24, 2018 at 7:42 pm

      …which should, in an enlightened non-partisan planet Earth, for the basis for an “unholy alliance” between PBA, OPAL, Oregon Walks, the AFL-CIO, and BikeLoud. But we are talking Portland here, so none of these groups will actually work with one another, and certainly not all 5 together. #sad.

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  • mark smith November 7, 2018 at 9:52 am

    The irony here is, project 5 seeks to modify a surface highway (a 3-4 lane one way) through town.

    So, why are there still even 3-4 lane one ways through town in the first place? One ways have no place in modern cities.

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