Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 17th, 2022 at 3:59 pm
Many Portlanders chose to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today by working to make the community better. For some folks, that meant grabbing a broom and rolling out to a bike lane.
Frustratingly, many of Portland’s major bikeways remain littered with trash, leaves and gravel. Yesterday a Twitter thread that included BikePortland, Cathy Tuttle, Eric Wilhelm, Tony Jordan, myself and others bemoaned the state of Portland’s bike lanes.
Inspired by Dr. King, a few of us got offline and got out into the streets to clean up these messes for ourselves.
With a cookie sheet, broom and a shovel, Cathy got to work near her home at NW Park and Couch. She met another BikePortland reader and a man who lives in a tent nearby and the three of them cleared a through path for cycling through a plaza street and did a lot of work on the SW Broadway protected bike lane near Portland State University.
Cathy inspired me to set out on my own clean-up mission. I started on SW Broadway and cleared the leaves between Oak and Ankeny. Then I cleaned up a bunch of trash and cigarette buts from the northbound bike lane on Broadway between Burnside and Couch. I then rolled over the river and swept away a bunch of gravel on the bike lane on northbound N Interstate and Tillamook.
I also heard from reader Zachary Lauritzen who swept sections of NE Tillamook west of 82nd and Burnside east of 82nd. “I cleared about 40’ and it was toooouuuuugghhhh,” Zachary shared. “Needs a real street sweeper.”
I can relate to his sentiment. It felt great to clear up a few spots; but we need more help from the City of Portland! It has taken way too long to clean up the fall leaves and gravel from our lanes. And this isn’t a new problem. It has been the same story for many years.
I won’t hold my breath for PBOT to keep our bike lanes clean in a timely matter. Instead what I want to do is plan ahead in 2023 for a more large-scale Day of Service event. Imagine if great leaders like Dr. King sat around and complained when they didn’t like something. The time has long since passed that we need to not just talk about the change we want, but to be about the change we want.