Here’s what happened at our Pitch & Bitch event last night

We had a great turnout and lots of fun at the first ever BikePortland Pitch & Bitch event last night. It was a new format for us so I wasn’t sure how it would go, but based off my impressions and the feedback folks shared with me last night, it seems to have been a fun night for all.

Here’s a review from one of the attendees that sums it up well:

“I went to the Pitch & Bitch to learn more about Bike Portland and the issues people are concerned about. I felt welcomed, was given free beer, and won a bike light. The room was full of smart and motivated people. So thanks Bike Portland for exceeding all expectations.”

We heard some really great story ideas during our pitch session, got introduced to some amazing activists doing great work, met new people, connected IRL with previously online-only friends, and we heard some helpful feedback during the bitch session. And thanks to Portland Design Works and Dumonde Tech we gave away lots of headlights and chain lube to our lucky prize winners.

Our wonderful hosts at Migration Brewing gave us the entire back patio (which will overflowed with people!) and had heaters turned up to keep everyone toasty. And BikePortland co-owner Mike Perham showed up to receive a rousing round of applause for funding free drinks and appetizers for everyone who showed up!

Here are some of the story ideas and issues folks flagged for us at the event:

  • Lynn turged us to more closely track that removal of large street trees in north Portland along residential greenway routes where shade is very valuable.
  • Rob from Naked Hearts PDX told us about the great work they’re doing by leading fun social rides and bringing people together. We will now add their events to our calendar and be sure to promote them!
  • Kiel from BikeLoud PDX (and much more) wants us to get in front of the upcoming PBOT project to build a protected bike lane on N Willamette Avenue all the way into St. Johns.
  • Kiel also said he thinks PBOT’s advisory bike lanes are the Next Big Thing and Portland State University engineering student Cameron Bennett chimed in that he’s working on a research study about them for PBOT.
  • Julian wants us to do more collabs beyond Portland, specifically his former town of Toronto, because he thinks our cities could learn from each other.
  • Jenna of @jennabikes on TikTok said she’s seeing a lot of MAX train cars overflowing on her commute to the West Side because TriMet is still using the old Series 1 cars that have stairs at the entrance and are therefore unusable to folks who can’t lift bikes onto them. And she also encouraged us to do more TikToks!
  • Erik said he’s noticed that nobody uses TriMet’s fancy, high-tech bike parking rooms at MAX stops. He also wants us to share an update on the languishing Sullivan’s Gulch Trail project.
  • Andrew showed up to tell us he wants to see the Off-Road Cycling Master Plan and the quest for new, local dirt biking trails get back into the conversation.
  • Joe pitched the idea that Portland should have different rules for streets and signals on the weekends when there’s so much less car traffic. Bikers and walkers should have more space to spread out on weekends when car volumes are so low (to which I 100% agree and have pitched this idea to PBOT myself in the past!).
  • Sam wants PBOT to leverage the huge popularity of pickleball to create courts to play the game on carfree streets and plazas citywide.
  • Bjorn said we should make the BikePortland archives more relevant and accessible to site visitors.
  • Nic said BikePortland readers should take time to reach out to other local media outlets so that our ideas and messages reach different audiences.

These are just some of the great exchanges from last night and we cannot wait to follow-up on these great story ideas.

It was a fantastic evening that gives the entire BikePortland team a shot of new inspiration — and much-needed momentum to launch a citywide event tour next year (stay tuned for more on that). It also just felt very nice to meet so many of you in person.

Like I said last night, BikePortland is accountable only to you, our community. And we value your input and directions on how we can serve you better. We appreciate your support.

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Carrie
Carrie
1 month ago

I’m so sorry I missed it — had to be in Salem and just got back far too late. Would have loved to weighed in on the ORCMP discussion.

Atreus
Atreus
1 month ago

I don’t think the Sullivan’s Gulch Trail is either feasible or desirable.

In terms of feasibility, imagine trying to build a flat multi-use path along one of the steepest slopes in the city, going for miles and miles. I’m sure the landslide risk is very high, it would need massive retaining walls on both sides, and would be an engineering nightmare. Not to mention all the difficult connections needed to the surrounding street network for it to even be useful. Finally, there’s the little fact that it would be within Union Pacific right-of-way. For those who don’t know, the government can’t use eminent domain on railroad right-of-way because it was granted directly to the railroads by the federal government and is not technically private property. Union Pacific has been vocal that they will never allow this trail to be built.

On the desirable side, I can’t imagine the personal safety and comfort issues with a multi-use path hidden from view, in the darkness, squeezed onto a slope next to an active railroad line and a freeway. It would be a miserable experience, with bad air quality, noise, and all the livability issues we’ve had related to people driving and camping on paths. Also, I think most people would rather be on the city streets where all the destinations are rather than a “freeway for bikes” that would only serve certain commuters.

It’s time to let this project go. It’s not a good idea, and even if it was it will never happen.

EEE
EEE
1 month ago
Reply to  Atreus

None of those issues is insurmountable or even necessarily an issue — it seems like you are casting it in a such a way that requires failure. A bike highway connecting downtown to some of the other faster, under-rated MUPs like I84 east of 122nd would make bike movement vastly more practical for long distance commuters and travelers than it is today — especially in the ebike paradigm. It would completely transform rapid bicycle transit to east of 205 and beyond.

bjorn
bjorn
1 month ago
Reply to  Atreus

Counterpoint: A car-free path that skips traffic signals and stop signs to connect east portland to downtown is a really good idea and there isn’t a better place to put it.

Carrie
Carrie
1 month ago
Reply to  bjorn

Yes but, does it have to be on plane with the cars/trains? All I can envision is a loud, narrow, dark passage like the one under SE 17th at Powell Blvd that is scary to ride. I’m with Atreus in terms of rethinking this — how about we take that retaining wall $ and build an elevated pathway along that corridor?

Serenity
Serenity
1 month ago
Reply to  Atreus

This sounds like you work for Union Pacific Do you work or Union Pacific? Plenty of infrastructure for cars *and for trains* require massive retaining walls, and the landslide risk is very high.

Charley
Charley
1 month ago

I, too would love to hear more about the Off Road Cycling Master Plan. I remember reading through the plan and getting excited about all the possibilities that its authors drew up. But nothing has come of it, outside of Gateway Green.

I guess I can’t complain- I moved to Milwaukie a few months ago. Time to pressure Milwaukie to build some trails and pump tracks!

Serenity
Serenity
1 month ago

I thought those horrible series 1 cars were supposed to be going away before the end of the year. I guess they aren’t broken down enough yet. Having never been in one, since they’re in accessible, I can’t speak to the inside of them.

Will
Will
1 month ago
Reply to  Serenity

You aren’t missing much.

Camaro Z28
Camaro Z28
1 month ago

4 propane heaters?

Bikers proving their green bonafides!

Fred
Fred
1 month ago

C’mon, Jonathan – we cyclists are supposed to stay warm by shivering. It’s part of our super-power. 😉