The bicycling decline in Portland is very unfortunate. But it’s our new reality. The sooner we face the facts, embrace the issues that got us here, and have a productive conversation about what to do about it — the sooner we will get back on track.
Even though the decline wasn’t a surprise to me (BikePortland wrote about a major shift in local politics and culture at the start of the decline back in May 2014), reading the hard numbers from the City of Portland’s Bike Count Report still hit me hard. I’ve spent nearly two decades of my professional life trying to fan the flames of cycling in Portland, so to see us slip this far back down is a major bummer.
There are a lot of reasons why cycling is down in Portland, and Taylor Griggs and I talk about some of them in this episode, including:
- The pervasive sense of danger many people feel on our streets — from drivers and their cars, to interactions with unpredictable and/or unstable people
- The work-from-home shift and how it broke the cycling habit for many Portlanders
- How (and why) politics and culture in Portland shifted away from cycling
- The epidemic of bike theft
- The lack of bike routes on main streets (the “hidden” neighborhood greenways)
- The ease of driving and resulting increase in number of cars on the road
- and more!
We also read a few notable reader comments and share clips from interviews Taylor did around town over the weekend. My goal with this episode was to address what we feel are the key reasons for the decline and begin a conversation about how we can dig out of this hole. I hope it’s helpful and we’d love to hear your feedback.
Listen in the player above or wherever you get your podcasts. Read a full transcript below:
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