OK friends, we’re about to shut this thing down for a few days so we can connect with family and enjoy a break for the holiday. Taylor is back home in Denver (and getting ready to shove off to Europe for the month of January), and I’ve got family in town for Christmas and it’s my daughter’s 20th birthday on Friday. But before we go, I wanted to ask one question:
If you could put just one cycling-related thing on your wishlist this year, what would it be?
Don’t take the easy way out on this. I want you to think about it and share only one, very specific thing. The more realistic the wish is, the better. Like, wishing for a specific bike project is better than just saying, “I want Portland to have 30% bike mode share.”
And be honest! If your mind and heart goes toward something for yourself, like a new bike, then share that. It doesn’t have to be advocacy-related. And we’ll assume we all want more homes for the homeless and more food for the hungry, so if you don’t have to wish for those things even if they are first in your heart. On a similar note, please read all responses with an open and kind mind. This will be a judgment-free zone.
I’ll go first:
My wish from Cycling Santa would be 5,000 more bikes for our bike share fleet.
I think Biketown is the closest thing Portland has to a silver bullet when it comes to increasing bicycle mode share and hastening the cultural and political shifts necessary to move the needle on ridership after years of stagnation and declines. PBOT has done an admirable job managing the system with their partners from Lyft and Nike and it is very frustrating that we haven’t doubled-down on our investment to give Biketown what it needs most: more bikes. We continue to expand the service area and expand access to the system for low-income riders; but the overall number of bikes has only grown by 500 bikes (to 1,500 total) since it launched in 2016. That’s nowhere near enough bikes. If PBOT wants to beat back the haters and get more return on their admirable recent investments in infrastructure projects — especially in east Portland — they need to flood the streets with Biketown bikes.
So Cycling Santa, I’ve been a very good boy, stuff your sleigh with bike share bikes and spread the joy of riding to all!
What’s your wish?
Have a great holiday everyone. Please follow PBOT and other government alerts about the incoming storm and don’t use the roads unless you have to. Barring any major emergencies, we’ll see you back here on Monday the 26th.
Much love and cheer from the entire BikePortland crew!
For more ideas from readers check out the replies from our Twitter thread.
If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at email@example.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.
The County of Hawaii, Hele-On (aka Big Island transit) has made its local PBSC bikeshare free for all transit riders as a “last mile” trip to connect to their destination with a ‘ride code’. Oh and PS…Hele-On also made all transit free since the pandemic too. http://www.heleonbus.org/hibike
I would ask Santa for a protect bike lane going from East Portland to PCC Sylvania. I bike from Lents to there 3-4 times a week and I am always worried I will get hit by a speeding driver.
As a recent newsletter and comment of the week have suggested, I’d love BikePortland’s readers to set the pace! There’s a lot of us, the vast majority of whom want to see better conditions for people outside of cars on Portland’s streets. We all drive (or take the lane) from time to time. Let’s commit to driving under the speed limit, choosing safe speeds for the conditions, complying with no-turn-on reds, and prioritizing vulnerable road users. It only takes one person per lane per signal cycle to change how a street operates.
Similarly, if we all get one non-cycling friend in on the act next year, we’ll be back at our peak cycling mode share in no time! Let’s harness the power of the crowd for good.
A simple, cheap, plastic bollard road diet of SW Scholls Ferry Road for Multnomah County between Sylvan and about 0.5 mile north of BHH. The county is only focused on a big project that is likely many decades away. So why not do a simple road diet for the county’s already-budgeted and planned 2023 to 2024 repaved which is their first one of that road since likely the early 2000s?
I want the city to prioritize protected bike lanes on a few busy through streets, on the entire length of the through street. Bonus points if they’re big destination streets.
NW 23rd (though it may make more sense to pedestrianize it), Hawthorne (sorry lol), SE 39th, Belmont or Stark, SE Foster. Pick one! But make it high quality. We need a few more bike lanes of the same caliber as the one on Naito parkway if we’re ever going to hit our bike goals and have a connected bike network, and a few more Naito parkways in the right locations could set an important precedent and make a big difference. I was in Eugene for college from 2016 through 2020 and the bike lane they put on 13th made a big difference. Follow in their foot steps Portland!
I’m all in favor of protected bike lanes on the wider, busier streets, but please don’t put them on 36-foot-wide main streets like 23rd Ave or Alberta St or Mississippi Ave or Lombard in St Johns. Those streets are pedestrian-oriented and should have curb extensions, street seats, bike parking, freight loading (yes, businesses need this, read your Jane Jacobs), and expanded tree wells in that “curb zone” between the curb and the travel lanes. And yes, ultimately these streets should be car-free or car-light, the way many European main street areas are designed. Stripping all that stuff away for bike lanes is actually giving up the street to automobile dominance.
Depending on the context, I think bike lanes can make a lot of sense on the narrower “main streets” if they already have both sides street parking. 36 feet can accommodate two 9 foot travel lanes, a 9 foot two way bike path on one side with a 9 foot loading/flex zone (with bulbouts for trees to better utilize the existing ped ROW) on the other side. On very busy streets like NW 23rd, I’d rather see more space for pedestrians and no bike lanes – but really there are not many places in Portland that have so much ped activity and such a narrow right of way that we can’t have both.
And it’s a bit of a stretch to say adding bike lanes is somehow giving up the street to automobile dominance. Giving up the street to automobile dominance is allowing free/subsidized street parking on the most vibrant and valuable public land in the city.
Advisory bike lanes on NE 7th from Alberta to Broadway. This treatment would force drivers to slow and provide dedicated cycling space on 7th. Imagine a cycling route from Division to Alberta without having to jockey with drivers.
Better yet, close 7th to cars
I wish to the great santa in the sky for the bikeshare range to extend to the airport. I never travel with more than a carry on, and riding to the airport would be easy, cheap, and quick.
That would be a great “Port of Portland” funded climate activity for 2023!
I believe they planned it so that you could ride to the MAX to go to the airport.
That would be pretty great. I could easily get to the airport by bike as well, but I’m not willing to leave my personal bike locked up there for however many days.
And on a similar note, why isn’t there a single bus line going to the airport? The Max is excellent, but it’s a bit brittle. If there’s any sort of service disruption, there aren’t any alternative ways to get there aside from grabbing a cab or driving.
I love the idea of a greatly expanded bike town fleet and service area. I tend to ride my own bikes to commute to work, or for recreation. But I don’t much like biking to bars and restaurants at night due the the perceived threat of theft. I’d be much more inclined to bike to evening social gatherings if I could reliably expect a bike town bike to be readily available nearby at all times.
I wish Portland bike advocates and nonprofits could actually work together to design a coherent community-driven bicycle master plan rather than fight over a flawed PBOT-driven one, something we can all get behind rather than argue and complain about. The never-completed unvisionary BMP 2030 was always a complete failure in East and SW Portland. Have lots of do-able small projects, but also a few pie-in-the-sky things to inspire (e.g. the Columbia River Bike Tunnel, the Ankeny Elevated Bikeway, moving sidewalks, etc.)
A bike path along I-84 would make it a lot easier for me to get to and from work by bike (North Montavilla to downtown). I think putting it on unused railroad right-of-way on the north side is the best option. If we can’t get that, I’d be content with cobbling together a south side route using existing public (city, county, state) right-of-way, a bit of private land acquisition, and some new viaducts.
BUILD SULLIVAN’S GULCH TRAIL!!!
I’m pretty sure UPRR still runs trains on the tracks through Sullivan’s Gulch. I definitely have seen trains on it sometime in the last few months – but I think there is still potentially room for a trail on the north side without encroaching on UPRR
That’s what I meant by “unused.” IIRC, the railroad’s right-of-way on the north is much wider than what they are actually using. In fact, they used to have twin tracks there, but tore out the southern track a few decades back. If they wanted to run more trains, on that segment they could put in a new south track and still have excess room on the north.
I want 2 more people (my kids) to ride more next year (sadly, that won’t be many miles)! I want Cycling Santa to bring more people to join in the bike lanes and on some of the quiet streets. I know Santa is busy with lots of other stuff so, I am asking my family to ride their bikes more as the gift I want thus year AND putting my money where my keyboard is by buying my kids e-bikes.
And how about a “green wave” too on a local PBL corridor? Any pilot’s planned in Santa’s bag?
I wish for a functional police force in Portland that wants to do their job and crack down on dangerous drivers. We have the highest death count since 1952, and still no traffic division. We now have 800 police officers according to PPB, where are they – what do they do all day? I’m sure not all 800 need to respond to shootings
I agree we need traffic police again. Unfortunately, we have no where near 800 officers. There are only 517. Additionally we have blown through our homicide record, over 100 this year. Cops are running from one 911 call to another. https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/news/read.cfm?id=442513
My controversial wish is for Santa to increase the safety-in-numbers effect by reducing the prevalence of remote work.
I don’t really want to force people back to their real or metaphorical cubicle but it’s been a lonely commute the past 2.5 years and that has an impact of driver behavior.
soren, aren’t you also the guy who wants to fight the climate catastrophe? Can’t think of a better way to fight it than remote work, since you know that 95% of commuters commute by car.
Ecocide is not a natural phenomenon that triggered a “catastrophe”. It is an intentional sacrifice of mostly poor people at the alter of USAnian avarice.
This is clearly intended as a bad faith gotcha but I will take it as an opportunity to educate.
A substantial literature indicates that people who work from home drive about as much as people who commute to work. And then there was a truly massive real-world test in that VMT in 2021 was close to 2019 levels even though a very large fraction of the USAnian population switched to work from home.
I want a low stress option across 217 near Tigard or South Beaverton. Right now your options are:
I have tried each option and they all feel like the kind of place I’ll get killed by a car. I mean, really, I wish 217 didn’t exist or did so in such a way that didn’t cut up all of the adjoining neighborhoods. Considering they are currently widening it I just don’t see that happening.
A revote on the SW Corridor Project that ONLY included the light-rail would be great too.
Ya gotta go up to SW 5th, which is low-stress. But maybe that’s too far north for you. Otherwise I agree that those southern crossings are car-town.
Which is insane – I have to ride 5 miles north just to get east of 217 in a low stress manner. And while SW 5th is nice, you are quickly dumped into unincorporated washington county with just minimal infrastructure everywhere. Blows my mind that there is this strip of no-man’s land between Beaverton and Portland that just doesn’t care. Washington county is seemingly not equipped to do anything other than build highway style roads or stroads that there is no clean connections. Not to mention that this is where I run into the most aggressive and dangerous drivers – probably because they have no other option other than to drive in traffic choked nightmare land void of any cohesive urban planning.
Build a trail that follows Highway 26 between Exits 72 and 73. It would be a game-changer to not have to use Knights, Kingston, Fairview, and the roads through Washington Park to get from the existing Highway 26 path (via the low-stress Canyon Court) to Downtown. I’d imagine it wouldn’t be too hard to build a path here along the south side of the freeway.
And as for a pipe dream, also convert an uphill lane of Scholls Ferry Road from the WashCo line to Sylvan into a multi-use path. But that’s a MultCo facility and they’re the most useless transportation agency in the entire metro area, so I doubt it will ever happen…
I’m convinced narrowing the highway from 7 lanes to 6 could fit a 2-way jersey barrier protected lane in 26 as the best flattest option
I want drivers who park in bike lanes to get tickets.
I rarely wish for more enforcement because I know it often has a disproportionate impact on low income families, but I join you in this wish! Maybe driver’s would stop believing it doesn’t matter if they got some warnings to start and tickets if they are repeat offenders.
I wish EVERY road with a 20 mph limit had parking lot style speed bumps, EVERY road with a 25 mph limit had regular speed bumps with no cutouts, and EVERY road with a 30 mph limit had regular speed bumps, emergency vehicle cutouts allowed if needed. Forget all the fancy road modifications, this would be cheaper and actually work.
Safe clean tent and obstacle free bike lanes and sidewalks in Portland. And a move to be more tolerant and pragmatic by far left bike and transportation advocates and nonprofits in Portland.
My wish for cycling Santa is for PBOT to announce a policy (and follow it) that they will only build protected bike infrastructure from here on out! They may build fewer miles of bike lanes, but they will be higher quality and start to truly create a city where cyclist deaths are an anomaly not a frequent occurrence.
Bike Santa, could I please have a shiny new Trek Madone?
On a less selfish note, I’d love to see Sandy get a full makeover, with full size bike lanes and dedicated transit lanes. Ideally it would be a bike and transit only route with trams running along its length, but I’m willing to settle for buses. One can dream…
Rails don’t mix with bikes so well. I’m able to cross tracks without crashing but they are an objective hazard for two wheeled vehicles, especially in a lane where unregulated motor vehicles may be operated aggressively or next to curbside parking. The tram spoiled the downhill run on MLK from NE Broadway to Burnside.
I’ve seen bikers riding outside tram tracks in the door zone, a real running-with-scissors thing that definitely should be engineered off the landscape.
Otherwise I’m with you, yes to fixing NE Sandy, with all my heart. If we can’t have a Euro tourist destination quality bike route on Sandy then the city and Metro need to get together and offer the RR whatever the hell they want to free up a slot through the blackberries for the Sullivan Gulch Trail.
There is no other place in the three counties with such potential for a long, continous, undeveloped, unconflicted, even grade right-of-way that connects so many significant destinations. If there’s a better one that I don’t know about then we should build both.
I want our MUPs back! 205, Springwater, Marine drive, all of them. Clean and crime free.
Easy: complete the missing link of the Springwater Corridor between 13th and 19th avenue in Sellwood.
Santa, please require contractors to leave smooth roads after they dig up bike lanes to access utilities. A few corrections have recently been made to N Vancouver Ave but it still can be a washboard in some areas where new construction is prevalent.
Oh this is a good one. Those recently smoothed out areas took years to get smoothed, and many more were added in the meantime.
I wish for continued expansion of advisory bike lanes as a tool to build out the bike network and improve safety on the many narrow two-lane roads in East Portland and SW Portland. It costs very little money and makes such a positive difference. To get really specific, I hope SE Ellis Street in Lents is redesigned this coming year with advisory bike lanes, as it would be a perfect fit.
That Corey from 7 Corners comes back after a nice long break to work on my bikes again.
I recommend tomcat in the same general area:
Portland needs a velodrome and other investments that support recreational and competitive cycling. I think we need to grow all aspects of cycling. The more we can get kids interested in bikes, the easier it can be to push investments across the board.
A velodrome would be nice, track bikes are cool. It does seem to take one enthusiast with deep pockets to pull that one off.
How about a BMX track while we wait? When I see someone who looks born on a bike I guess they rode BMX. It’s a sport that is approachable on a budget, popular with spectators, and lends itself to age group competition. If you want a strong local bike racing community BMX is a sneaky way to develop talent.
Protected bike infrastructure on every main/commercial center street in the city, with an exception for NW 23rd which should be bus only with wider sidewalks. Riding on Belmont is much nicer than Salmon/Taylor and gets me way closer to the places I want to go (H Mart, Mirisata and Horse Brass). I’m sick of PBOT acting like somehow a parallel “facility” on a winding and poorly paved greenway is a better experience than seeing the best of Portland close up.
But we don’t have to start with Belmont – NE Sandy should be the highest priority new bikeway in the city. If you are traveling between downtown and outer NE it will always been the fastest option, and there is no reasonable “parallel route” to speak of. It’s also wide, and needs a road diet anyways. We could remove large swaths of already underutilized street parking, add bus lanes, and still have room left over for a car lane each way, wider sidewalks, and protected bike infrastructure. Sandy also likely meets Portland’s equity goals, as outer Sandy is relatively diverse and lower income than lots of the rest of the city. Plus, I’ll give a scouts pledge to ride on it as often as possible.
A Gateway Green like option on the West side. Off roadcycling is basically non existent in Beaverton for kids of all ages.
Unfortunately last time I went to Gateway Green there was a dude shooting up right next to the trail. I’ll never take my kid there again. Of course that probably would not be a concern in Beaverton.
I wish for coherent and coordinated maintenance plan in EVERY US community that implements a protected bike lane…sweeping, snow removal and then de-gritting after all the sanding done for the adjacent car lanes. Versus the lack of such once the project ribbon has been cut, congratulatory news releases sent and the press lights dim.
Oh and 100% more data! Here is my favourite new find for public bikeshare data:
Dear Cycling Santa (with help from the PBOT elves), please redesign the intersection of SE 52nd and Foster Rd with a protected intersection and better timed signals for both biking and driving. I have appreciated your early gift of a leading ped interval but it doesn’t come on unless the beg button is pushed, so please fix that so it’s always on while crossing. I’ve been very good this year and have only ranted a little bit about infrastructure and land use at parties. Sincerely, Emily
Dear Cycling Santa,
My greatest wish would be for a network that would allow me to safely ride anywhere I wanted, on a route that was as direct for bikes as it was for cars.
I wish for a Transportation Commissioner that cares more about the safety and lives of people riding bikes, walking and taking transit than the speed, efficiency and convenience of people driving 2000+ pound missiles at death causing speeds.
I wish for a bicycle mega park at Rose City golf course. Take the western half and put in a velodrome (could use the natural banking on the north end that once was home to a motorcycle race track), extended the trails that run along the northern edges to travel throughout for a spicy little urban single track, dedicate some space for cyclocross, picnic/camping areas around one of the ponds for bikepacking, a pump track/ bike park in the driving range,…
Feels like endless possibilities!
I would ask for paid street parking on Hawthorne, Belmont, Mississippi, Alberta, etc. Keep those cars moving along. No more free car storage
So you support parking “abundance” for well-off people via fees that would make PBOT even more dependent on SUV-based revenue?
Soren I hope the Solstice brought you hope and as much good company as you wanted!
Meanwhile — I upvoted one’s comment without reservation. While there are SUVs, let’s tax’em. Heck yeah. If there’s parking on the street at all, use meters to make the most efficient use of it. If PBOT are jerks, change the money into $10s and throw it into the wind at 5th and Burnside. Or off the bridge, I don’t care.
We already know adjacent business owners will screech and throw their bodies down to protect a parking space, so, meters until the revolution comes.
It’s hard to get a PBOT employee to understand the dangers of subsidized automobility (parking) when their salary comes from subsidized automobility fees (Randian market parking pricing).
The Randian fundamentalists who want to use “free” markets to create abundant parking availability are throwing their bodies down to protect parking, ATMO.
I also support higher gas tax, higher vehicle registration fees, public housing, medicare for all, inheritance tax, free transit, free BIKETOWN, free college, and a repeal of all regressive taxes.
Protected bike lanes on 82nd avenue. The road network nearby has so few streets that go through. A simple trip becomes so much more complicated.
The Kryptonite Portland Lock (15/10) – the lock with A.I. technology that gets stronger and smarter every time someone tries to jiggle, pry or cut it – with a free mandatory daily tutorial subscription app to let owners know better ways to lock their bikes and deter thieves. New and improved with a rose-on-green color scheme with unlock glowing letters that say Don’t Panic!.
Please educate people here about how ironic it is to harass working class motorists for the climate impact of driving to their JOBS and then in the next article brag about how they are going to FLY to Europe,(or just got back) for VACATION. Apparently, some peoples luxury wants are more important then others basic needs?
Thank you for commenting. In a word, you are accusing me of being a hypocrite. Right? LOL
Here’s how I see things, I’m not speaking for anyone else at BP, and they probably wouldn’t word it this way, but here it goes:
Some cities make it easier to live a low-carbon life than others do. Portland is going through a rocky transition toward the goal of making it easier for people of all incomes to live safely, with a low-carbon footprint.
Some people are threatened by what they think that future city will look like because they fear it involves giving up the lifestyle they are used to.
My take is that change has already come. How ’bout that heat dome, those fires, that virus, those traffic jams, that pedestrian death count? Those housing prices and tent cities? The addiction crisis? It ain’t 1970 anymore.
You don’t achieve that low-carbon, safe and fair city by personal virtue alone, although personal virtue is great.
Take my husband, he is in his mid-sixties and for only about four years of his entire life has he used a car to commute to work/school. Some of that (the Portland part) is personal virtue, the rest is because the cities he/we lived in were dense and had good public transportation. (The four years of car were when we lived in a city where it was nearly impossible to get around except by car.)
This sentiment may be due to fear of necessary change but it could also be due to concern about how decarbonization could further increase inequality (something I’m very concerned about). More context is needed.
That’s a good point, and I agree with most of what you write. I’ve been dwelling on an airplane metaphor this past few days.
You know how they always say that the most dangerous part of a plane flight is the landing?
It comes as a surprise the first time you hear it, because that’s the part of the flight where passengers start feeling a sense of relief. But really, it’s obvious that landing is the most dangerous part.
Think about it, that plane will be coming down somehow. It can land smoothly, roughly, or crash. There are an infinite number of ways you can crash, but a smooth landing takes much precision. Our options for landing smoothly are narrowing.
Gross inequality in the US and between global north and south is a crash.
People often overestimate the climate impact of flying versus SUV/personal-truck driving.
The gasoline-equivalent* emissions of flying are approx. 0.04 gallons of gasoline-equivalents per mile#. Therefore a ~12,000 mile round trip to Paris@ would be roughly equivalent to driving a 21 mpg SUV% ~10,000 miles. If someone flies rt from Portland to Paris every 7 years this would be the equivalent of driving a fairly typical SUV ~1,440 miles per year.
* based on BTUs
# estimates range from 0.03-0.05 gallons of gasoline-equivalents per mile, so I just took the average.
% I used a honda pilot for my example
Note: If we take into account contrail-associated radiative forcing, most estimate would double the ~1,440 to ~2,880.
Ok but I ride my bike to work and have never been to Europe. You know working class people ride bikes too?
Free Trimet combined with banning cars from downtown.
Ooh! Every “destination” area could have as many parking spots removed as necessary to build the appropriate size and frequency of loading zones for trucks delivering to bars\restaurants\stores in that area. I’m addition, residential blocks could have one area designated for UPS\FedEx\Amazon truck drivers.
Take most of the City workers obsessively leaf-blowing in Parks and reassign them to keeping bike paths and lanes clear.
Not all bike riders are saints and all bike riders are sinners. I’ve seen many cyclists engage in some real “dick” moves as I am driving my car and I have been treated with a great deal of respect and concern for my safety by drivers while riding my bike. I would like to see this publication acknowledge and consistently point out the transgressions of bike riders that damage the reputation of the biking community. I’d like to see Santa bring a little more “nice” to car drivers and bike riders. Help make the next year the “year of George”( Constanza) for everyone.
If the behavior of individuals determined how we view transportation modes, then driving would be seen as the ultimate “dick” mode.
The lack of empathy for people on bikes comes from the perception that people on bikes are deviant “others” who are blocking or slowing down real traffic. It has virtually nothing to do with the actions of a few bad apples.
Oh, where to begin, Cycling Santa? I can narrow it to 2-3 that I hope you can fit under my tree: 1) Dutch traffic laws and enforcement 2) (low) federal limits on vehicle height and weight (so that the cars on the road are lighter and lower and hence less likely to kill people walking and cycling — any larger vehicles like SUVs or large/high pickup trucks should have different/stricter licensure requirements and should be taxed to the moon and back) 3) raised cycle tracks like I used to ride all the time in northern/eastern Europe.