“It’s a good plan and we just need to follow it.”
— Emily Guise, Bike Loud PDX
For a plan that took three years to develop (and survived a major snub by then Mayor Tom Potter which he later reversed course on), was intended to create a “world-class” cycling city, and was considered the “holy book” by some bike lovers, the 2030 Bike Plan hasn’t lived up to expectations. Or perhaps expectations of a single city planning document were too high? Whatever your take on the last decade, Bike Loud wants to re-ignite the fire behind the plan — and behind cycling itself.
We have very little time to burn if we want cycling to account for 25% of all trips in ten years as called for in the plan. We’re at a dismal 5.3% of commutes right now.
“Portland should have been delivering 34 miles of new bicycle facilities annually,” reads the draft version of Bike Loud’s 18-page bike plan progress report. “Instead, roughly nine miles has been built per year on average since 2010. The costs to our community from not building out the bicycle infrastructure network on schedule are significant.”
Far from a trivial issue, high rates of cycling — the most affordable, equitable, efficient, and safest form of transportation ever invented — can be a solution to many of Portland’s problems. Bike Loud points to the costs of delay: Far too many people are hurt and killed on our streets because of our overuse of cars; congestion caused by car users is way up throughout the city; greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from tailpipes are going in the wrong direction; and we aren’t meeting our vehicle miles traveled (VMT) targets.
Bike Loud doesn’t fault the plan for these worrying trends, they fault the lack of its implementation. “It’s a good plan and we just need to follow it,” says Emily Guise, the group’s marketing and communications coordinator. Bike Loud’s report found that half-way into the plan’s shelf-life, only one-eighth of the projects it identified have been built. To meet 2030 promises, Portland needs to build 59 miles of new, world-class bicycle facilities every year for the next 10 years.
When PBOT released a report on the plan last year, Bike Loud Co-Chair Catie Gould said the lack of progress, “Should be an alarm bell.”
Next Tuesday (February 11th), Bike Loud will host a rally at 12:00 noon outside City Hall. There will be speakers, Bike Plan birthday cards to sign and send to elected officials, cupcakes, and kazoos. It will be part rally, part celebration.
In sounds like it will have a similar vibe to the Bike Plan Rally hosted by The Street Trust (then the Bicycle Transportation Alliance) 10 years ago this morning. Let’s hope it has a larger impact.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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