Central City Concern, a nonprofit social services provider and one of the largest property owners in Old Town, wants to make sure the protected bike lane on Broadway isn’t ripped out and replaced with a door-zone bike lane.
Rachel Maas, Central City Concern’s director of climate action, sent a letter to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Transportation Commissioner Mingus Mapps, and Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Millicent Williams last week. The letter, dated September 20th, was written in response to plans uncovered by BikePortland that Williams and Mapps were working together to make major changes to the Broadway bike lane between NW Hoyt and SW Salmon.
“CCC supports and has greatly benefited from the current bike lane configuration that was completed just last year!” the letter reads. “Our Clean Start program with Downtown Clean & Safe, Outreach Team, as well as many of our staff, clients, and affordable housing residents travel and commute on bikes, trikes, and other mobility devices throughout Old Town and the downtown core.”
Maas goes on to explain how the previous, door-zone bike lane configuration was not safe and that the change to a parking-protected lane, “has ben a welcomed change in the neighborhood” that has, “increased safety, livability, and convenience to our staff and community members who live and work downtown.”
After we published our stories about their plans, PBOT Director Williams apologized. She now says the plans are on hold and that a public process to consider changes to the Broadway design are forthcoming. Mapps claims to have never signed-off on any changes and that he and Williams were simply responding to concerns raised by business owners along the corridor.
Maas also shared her organization plans to expand their e-bike fleet in the coming months, which will lead to more of their employees and clients using the bike lane. She encouraged Mapps, Williams, and Wheeler to not waste Portland’s global reputation as a climate-smart city.
“We urge the city to use critical resources to continue to make our streets safer, not to undo safety projects,” she wrote.