The morning after: A look at media coverage of 33rd Avenue

24 hours ago I was on my bike, racing over to Northeast 33rd after seeing a video online of a PBOT contractor in a truck removing the bike lane. What ensued was an unprecedented direct action that saved the bike lane and stories and social media videos that have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people around the country (thanks TikTok algorithm!).

Unlike the Southwest Broadway scandal, PBOT’s decision to remove a new bike lane due to what they say was a bungled public outreach process, has led to widespread media attention. To many in the local media, Broadway seemed like a “bike community” thing and the story barely transcended BikePortland. Now PBOT’s bad decisions are (unfortunately) a trend. And in the news business, trends get attention.

Three local TV stations had relatively good coverage of yesterday’s protest. All three sides — protestors, residents, and PBOT — were given airtime. Voices of protestors, especially Cully neighborhood resident and veteran bike advocate Kiel Johnson, dominated the stories.

KOIN (CBS affiliate) said PBOT’s rationale for the removal of the bike lane was an “internal error.” To me, one of the interesting takeaways from KOIN’s coverage (and other stations) was that it mentioned Broadway and its possible connection to the 33rd removal plans.

Here was KOIN’s (CBS affiliate) lead-in: “… This also is the second bike lane that the city’s transportation bureau is planning to take out… PBOT says those two bike lane removals are unrelated, but cyclists tell me they don’t believe that.”

KGW (NBC affiliate) story was short. They said the bike lane was “mistakenly installed without public outreach,” and shared an interview with Johnson.

KPTV (Fox affiliate) did a particularly solid job on the story. They framed opposition to the bike lane in terms of how it impacted parking in front of homes (this jibes with what I’ve learned from various sources in the past day, that the genesis of PBOT’s decision is from complaints about parking loss).

“People living on a four block stretch of Northeast 33rd Avenue are dealing with parking problems after they say changes were made without their input,” the KPTV reporter said. Then continued: “Neighbors say there’s already a greenway route two blocks over from Northeast 33rd Avenue and the bike lanes are not necessary in front of their homes.”

The reporter then interviewed a Black woman who has lived on NE 33rd for 30 years.

“We were surprised to say the least,” the woman said. “These bold, vibrant, thick white lines glaring at us Sunday morning… This had no respect. It was a slap in the face… To me it’s the height of privilege, because when you disregard people’s livelihoods and their feelings.”

So here we are.

Given what PBOT told other news outlets yesterdays, it’s clear that the removal is paused for now. From here, I’d expect some sort of communication from PBOT to the neighbors about a meeting where the bike lane plans will be vetted out a bit more. It’s hard to say what might come of that, or what might come of anything at this point.

After what happened yesterday, and what happened on Broadway, we are in uncharted territory with current PBOT leadership. Stay tuned.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. 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 maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

Thanks for reading.

BikePortland has served this community with independent community journalism since 2005. We rely on subscriptions from readers like you to survive. Your financial support is vital in keeping this valuable resource alive and well.

Please subscribe today to strengthen and expand our work.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

88 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
blumdrew
blumdrew
8 months ago

It’s understandable that the residents are upset, but it really bothers me that they would consider a greenway on 32nd (that ends at Holman – exactly where these bike lanes start!) a parallel route when there is no other option for crossing Lombard/Columbia Blvd.

It’s also worth saying – the houses between Holman and Rosa Parks on the west side of 33rd have an alley (so have an alternative option for parking). Taking those out, there are 16 houses that lost parking directly in front of their property. Should 16 property owners have the power to veto a regional connection on a bike network?

Jack
Jack
8 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

Easy to say when it’s not your house and ability to park that is affected.

Atreus
Atreus
8 months ago
Reply to  Jack

Pretty much every house on these two blocks of 33rd Ave (not four blocks as one of the news stories says) has off-street parking AND still has on-street parking within 300 feet (maximum, measured from the center of the long block-faces) by using the side streets. The area has abundant, easy-to-find parking on all the adjacent streets, and barely anyone ever parks on this stretch of 33rd Ave anyway. Are we really at a point where people who live on busy streets like 33rd Ave should feel entitled to parking right in front of their house? People all over the city have to walk 300 feet to the nearest on-street parking. That’s just a normal part of living in a city, especially when you live on a busy collector or arterial roadway where transportation uses, rather than storing your personal property, are the most important things to prioritize.

Will
Will
8 months ago
Reply to  Jack

Is their ability to park affected? These homes all seem to have driveways and garages.

blumdrew
blumdrew
8 months ago
Reply to  Jack

All of these houses also have driveways and garages!

And yes, it is easy for me to say because I don’t believe that I (or anyone else) have some inalienable right to park for free on public rights of way.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

Nor, it’s worth adding, does anyone have some inalienable right to a bike lane.

idlebytes
idlebytes
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

You do, however, have the constitutionally protected right to travel and unlike driving the right to ride a bicycle is something the government cannot revoke. They’re also responsible for making their public right of ways safe to travel upon something that is made difficult because of the limited right of people to drive dangerous vehicles.

Safe access to the public right of way to travel is clearly different than using said right of way to store private property.

SD
SD
8 months ago
Reply to  Jack

How many personal driveways is enough, Jack? One doesn’t seem to be enough. Two? One on your property, and one on the street in front of your house? Four or five cars for each household? The disrespect of having to store your private property on your private property is truly a slap in the face.

Jack
Jack
8 months ago
Reply to  SD

Have you ever parked in the street in front of your house, a friend’s house, or a business? Very few driveways in Portland can accommodate 2 cars. The woman in the story has lived in her house for 30 years. She is a part of that community. I’d say she’s earned the right to her opinion. As she states, it is the height of privilege to completely disregard established resident’s livelihoods for a project that doesn’t negatively affect those who demand it be implemented.  

Will
Will
8 months ago
Reply to  Jack

Who’s livelihood is being impacted by this and how?

qqq
qqq
8 months ago
Reply to  Jack

 Very few driveways in Portland can accommodate 2 cars. 

Very few driveways don’t lead to a carport or garage. And very few carports and garages are within a car length of the front property line (because less has been prohibited by the zoning code for decades except in certain situations).

So that leaves at least two spaces–one in the garage or carport, and one in the driveway. That’s true for almost every house in Portland with a driveway.

A quick glance on google shows almost every house in that area on 33rd has a garage or carport, and all or almost all of those have at least one space in the driveway in front of it, and many have space for two or even three, for a total of three or four off-street spaces.

SD
SD
8 months ago
Reply to  Jack

I’ve never had the joy of parking in front of someone’s house, but here’s one thing I know for sure; people without street parking don’t have jobs and rarely live past the age of 50. They move through this world in shame, repulsively wiggling their legs around underneath themselves. Sure, poor people are known to walk an obscene amount, but not having street parking is humiliating because you might have to walk to your own house, gawked at by your neighbors, when your driveway is inexplicably filled with cars that ….you can’t drive!?
Jack, I am with you when it comes down to the simple fact that we are helpless without cars. If I can’t have at least 4 cars parked with direct access to my property, it is a slap in my face, an unspeakable disrespect to me, a person who has not moved houses recently and is therefore, established.
Anyone who would try to make this world a better place at the great cost of making things slightly different for me in a way that I would probably not notice pretty soon is so entitled. Jack, we are brothers in hysteria. Together, let us puff up our chests and blow out our red lizard throats over theses tiny, tiny inconveniences as the world burns.

Bjorn
Bjorn
8 months ago
Reply to  Jack

There is a plan that has been “in the works” for many years that was supposed to put a sidewalk and a multi use path in front of my home and remove our street parking. Even though I have supported the removal of that street parking throughout the project the city has repeatedly pared down the project in part to preserve the parking that the adjacent property owner doesn’t want, so which is it do property owners get to say if they want on street parking or not?

Nick
Nick
8 months ago
Reply to  Jack

Personally I’d love some bike lanes in front of my house. Heck take the whole road away.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

Why do you see having the opportunity to provide input as tantamount to a “veto”?

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

What else could the input POSSIBLY be for? What? What solution do you see that allows a bike lane and doesn’t remove their parking? I don’t see any. They could make it a one lane advisory bike lane or whatever they’re called, but I doubt that’s in the cards. And if they’re going to do it, as you pointed out in another thread, it would be a waste of money and dishonest (or whatever your wording was) to have public input that wasn’t going to change the outcome.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  John V

What else could the input POSSIBLY be for? 

You are thinking about this in an overly binary fashion; it’s not “yes” or “no”, it’s how do we get “yes” while minimizing the impacts (or even improving things) for folks who might prefer “no”. Sometimes that requires actually listening to people. (I know, right?)

It’s why some people like to talk to people who see the world differently — it gives you a more nuanced understanding of how to move forward cooperatively, rather than fighting over which “side” gets to drive the bulldozer over the other.

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

The existence of a bike lane is a binary proposition. Well, unless you count the update just posted on BikePortland that there are no plans to remove it but they won’t enforce parking. That’s sort of both I guess?

You’re not answering the question. How do you build a bike lane here and not remove parking? What’s your idea? Your preposterous suggestion that I think there’s a problem with listening to people doesn’t answer the question of what could be done to address their concerns.

It’s two blocks. It’s not like there’s a lot to work with here. If people keep their parking, then there is no bike lane. I don’t see any possibility of a cooperative solution.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  John V

Again… limited thinking. There are a lot of ways to increase the safety for people riding bikes beyond a mediocre bike lane implementation.

Talking to people is not the same as granting a veto. Haven’t you ever tried to resolve a disagreement with someone using words?

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I don’t see how, for this section. I know I don’t know everything but I don’t expect the home owner to have a solution pbot didn’t think of.

If course I know how to use words to resolve conflict but that depends on there being more than two possible solutions to a problem and I don’t think there are here. They can talk to the residents to try and help them feel better but that shouldn’t change the bike lane going in.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  John V

more than two possible solutions to a problem and I don’t think there are here.

Ok, I’ll expand your universe a little. PBOT could add speed bumps and other speed control devices to the street to make it safer to walk and bike on. Or PBOT could add a diverter to block through traffic completely. Make the street one-way, or narrow it into a “queueing street”.

I don’t know if any of these alternatives would be satisfactory to PBOT or residents, but from a cycling perspective, most seem safer to me than the bike lanes I saw pictured, which would likely increase traffic speeds on the street. Many of these alternatives could potentially preserve parking.

The important thing is to get everyone talking together and look for the most mutually acceptable way to solve the problem, which is ensuring safer bike access to this section of street.

The tone here is very much about “winning” and “imposing” and “screw them”. Sometimes it works better to get folks together to talk and look for solutions.

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Here’s the thing though, you’re talking like this bike path was some off the cuff, cookie cutter idea and not a planned route for some time. Lots of planning and thought went into it already, I’m sure the idea of speed bumps or diverters was already considered.

Furthermore, for the same reason this is the only route for cyclists to get across Lombard in the area, it’s the best route for cars. They’re not going to put a diverter there, it’s a major, although slow, route.

Speed bumps seem plausible to me, and I don’t know why they don’t do that. But again, like I said, this path was already planned and thought about. The locals who don’t want any changes at all aren’t going to come up with some solution PBOT didn’t think of, we don’t need to sit together and brainstorm with them. If not for the SNAFU of not communicating with them ahead of time, this would have already been done with no fuss about taking it back out.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  John V

Lots of planning and thought went into it already, I’m sure the idea of speed bumps or diverters was already considered.

I’m guessing you don’t have a lot of experience with negotiation or mediation. Maybe the situation has changed; maybe the parties have changed; or maybe the current problems have created a willingness on behalf of some parties that wasn’t there before.

You may be sure all alternative ideas are unworkable, that it is impossible to a different way forward, but I am not. I really don’t understand your reluctance to support the idea of having people talk to one another to look for a solution.

The bike lanes aren’t even a good solution to the problem of bike safety. They’re really a last ditch solution when other things won’t work. Why not be open to a process that might give us, and everyone, something better?

The locals who don’t want any changes at all

How can you possibly know this?

Give peace a chance.

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I really don’t understand your reluctance to support the idea of having people talk to one another to look for a solution.

Because this can literally go on forever. You can make that argument ad-nauseam. And true to form, it’s the best way to maintain the status quo and get no changes. I think, beyond reasonable doubt, that there isn’t any solution that improves things for bikes that PBOT is willing to do that won’t take away parking. The only thing here, the only thing this whole debacle is about, is they didn’t tell the residents this is what’s happening ahead of time.

The bike lanes aren’t perfect, but they’re a big improvement. And since they were so cheap, if someone comes up with a better idea, we can implement it when time and money allow, but this bike lane was already a net win for cycling and this controversy is about a person who already has off street parking whining that they’re losing their publicly owned on street parking. There was no harm here, it’s just a reactionary car brained home owner whining about a parking space.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  John V

beyond reasonable doubt, that there isn’t any solution that improves things for bikes that PBOT is willing to do

We’ll just have to disagree. You’ve declared nothing but bike lanes is acceptable, and that no amount of talk can possibly help. I see a range of solutions I think cyclists would be happy with, and think it’s worth talking it out.

To you, winning is rolling over the “whiners” and the “car brains”. To me, it’s finding a solution that folks can live with, without the gratuitous insults. We simply have a different approach.

My way can’t always work, but it often can, and you can’t know until you try.

I hope PBOT does try.

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

You are consistently mischaracterizing my comments. We’re talking about a bike lane that exists, and the knee jerk response to tear it out without any process. Just poof, gone. I’m saying, don’t do that. We have the bike lane now, leave it there, and talk to people about it. If you can come up with a better solution, then implement that, but until then, tearing out the bike lane just compounds the problem.

And you’re still talking in vague generalities. In the general case, conversation, yes, come up with solutions. I guess. But this is a specific, actual case, and there is not an alternative. There just isn’t. You haven’t suggested anything. Speed bumps would be nice, yes, in addition to a bike lane.

If you think there is some possibility that PBOT would go for taking this down to a one lane road with parking protected bike lanes, sure, I’d love that. But I’m talking about real life where this minimal paint treatment was already done and is an improvement. No amount of conversation is going to give PBOT money to build another bridge across Lombard.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  John V

“But this is a specific, actual case, and there is not an alternative. There just isn’t. You haven’t suggested anything.”

I actually suggested a number of possible alternatives for this specific actual case.

And I have never said I thought PBOT should grind off the bike lanes while this is getting sorted out.

djmistert@yahoo.com
djmistert@yahoo.com
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Yeah, I live near that spot and while you have offered alternatives, none are viable on that stretch. Too much commercial traffic and logistics issues. I understand and tend to follow your “let’s hear them out” approach, but it feels like you are shoe-horning your overall approach into a situation where such nuance isn’t really helping in the goal to calm traffic and improve safety in that small space.

At some point the good has to get in the way of the perfect.

blumdrew
blumdrew
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Because I’m not talking about providing input in general, I’m talking about this specific situation. In this situation, the property owners had the power not only to veto the project – but to undo it.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

PBOT wanted to undo the project because they didn’t follow their own rules, not because it was “vetoed” by someone.

PTB
PTB
8 months ago

“We were surprised to say the least,” the woman said. “These bold, vibrant, thick white lines glaring at us Sunday morning… This had no respect. It was a slap in the face… To me it’s the height of privilege, because when you disregard people’s livelihoods and their feelings.”

It’s paint of roads. This is disrespectful? This hurt feelings? It has damaged her livelihood?? This kind of language that gets used for things like this absolutely does my head in.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago

the long history of justified distrust of city government and making changes that impact people of color without fully engaging them in the decision-making process.

A history perpetuated by this project, apparently.

PTB
PTB
8 months ago

Well, ok then. But if these bike lanes upset her I do not wanna be around when she sees the New Seasons, Mud Bay, Kennedy School, Firefly Montessori school, etc. She is *definitely* gonna need to book an afternoon at Common Ground Wellness Cooperative to get her chakras back in order. Weird how the world changes around us. Often we don’t get a lot of say in that change.

KRhea
KRhea
8 months ago
Reply to  PTB

You completely missed or more than likely dismissed Jonathan’s perfectly worded response as to the reason the older black woman and 30yr resident of the street felt the way she did. My guess is, you’ve never “walked a mile” in a black person’s shoe whose been a resident of north/northeast Portland over the past 50yrs. When you make such a cute comment like “often we don’t get a lot of say in that change” rings especially loud to those of us with more pigment than others…like yourself I’ll surmise from the tone of your comments. I’m a black male, Portland resident and looong time cyclist and I completely understand what this woman is saying. I’d also bet her chakras are just fine but thanks for your genuine concern.

PTB
PTB
8 months ago
Reply to  KRhea

Kevin, dude, this is a bike lane we’re talking about. I admit, I do not see what the stress is about here. It is literally paint on asphalt. It’s a safety upgrade for cyclists that utilize NE 33rd and you can gripe about it, but your gripes can’t trump the safety of others. I don’t think, no matter who lives on a public street, especially one that is a connector like 33rd, gets a say on how the street traffic layout is configured. We all get to use the street she lives on, her feelings can’t stop that.

All I was trying to say that if the bike lane is a neighborhood change she can’t handle, good grief, that ship has sailed. Concordia of 1993 is not Concordia of 2023. Maybe that sucks, but christ, it’s a fact of life. I definitely don’t love everything in Portland 2023, so hey, she and I have that in common for sure. Also, she is the only person quoted in the article, resident quoted anyways, I’m not targeting her for being a black woman.

PTB
PTB
8 months ago

Jonathan, she’s the only resident you used a quote from. If you hadn’t described the commenter I’d have said the same thing. I haven’t singled her out, it was already done.

I regularly attended the Rodney bikeway meetings back a decade or so ago. What she (the woman on 33rd) is saying is the same kinda stuff that white boomers had to say about the concrete planters at Ivy and Rodney. At one meeting a woman was brought to tears describing how her and her husband had to drive an extra block to hit MLK to get to their house instead of turning on Rodney when on their evening commute home. Truly tragic. Those diverters, like this bike lane, are a safety project. I’m not sympathetic to hyperbole and perceived inconvenience complaints regardless of who says it; this anonymous 33rd resident, the boomers at the Rodney meetings, Fatima Magomodova on Division, Randy Philbrick, the PDXReal kook, hotel owners on Broadway, Clinton diverter haters, outer Holgate bike lane protestors and literally everyone else in Portland that has thought the sky was falling when bike infrastructure was added to a street they lived on, worked on, used from time to time, never used but just wanted to bitch or whatever. The sky didn’t fall and when it ever does it won’t be because of a bike lane.

PTB
PTB
8 months ago

Ok, but I am literally only talking about how statements like hers get trotted out by everyone when a bike project breaks ground or is even mentioned, and I mocked it. I wish you hadn’t identified her with descriptors, it feels incredibly irrelevant. I have no beef with this woman. If we were neighbors I bet we’d get along great. I’m sure she’s lovely! I know Kevin, above, well, did in the past. Again, I hate that I riled Kevin up. He’s a wonderful and kind guy. He was a regular where I worked years back and he was never anything but fantastic and I’ve had many great chats with him. Also, he used to (still does?) set up a table of snacks and refreshments along the Ronde route outside his place. KRhea, what an absolutely sweet guy to do that!

I made a snarky comment that did not attempt to discount this woman’s life experience and you’ve run with it in a different direction. No one is above being snarked at/about.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago

When a Black person, or any person of color, becomes involved in a project or story, everything changes and it must be addressed with a whole different playbook.

We need a better playbook, one that can apply to everyone.

Andrew S
Andrew S
8 months ago
Reply to  PTB

@PTB Haha! Almost spat out my Extracto coffee reading this. Jonathan is right that some of the distrust is justified, but we’re way past the inflection point for gentrification. How is this stretch of bike lane the last compostable straw?

@KRhea Interested in your take on how we can improve trust with black residents in these situations. What responsibilities lie with elected leaders, PBOT, and everyday bike riders? What actions can we take to improve conditions for non-car users while also respecting the cultural legacy of the neighborhood and the concerns of longtime black residents?

KRhea
KRhea
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew S

Please understand that while my comments directly related to this woman being black the entire issue of “being heard” or having a seat at the table involves ALL persons of color as well any and everyone of a lower socioeconomic status. What can be done? Simply listening with an empathetic ear is all it takes sometimes.
Portland’s horrific history of making decisions that directly and in most cases negatively affect a specific segment of our population remains very fresh with a lot older citizens. A simple “white paint stripe” on the street can be, might be triggering and symbolize the changes portland has made over the years with no respect for the neighborhood residents. I don’t know the lady mentioned. I don’t know what she’s been through, how many times she feels the city has made decisions that have adversly affected her way of life etc Andrew but I do know is this. Until a very large portion of our community, specifically portland as well as the cycling community learn to listen, HEAR and emphasize with those who look different, live different and have had very different life experiences we’re not gonna move portland nor the world around on a forward direction.

John
John
8 months ago

That stretch of NE 33rd is such a wreck. Literally. Before the striping, there were 2 or 3 vehicles that were either rear ended while parked, or side swiped. And then those vehicles would just sit there for weeks before the owner had them towed, or the city towed them. I suppose homeowners would rather have vehicle crashes in front of their homes, than deal with striped bike lanes. Cagers are so funny.

EP
EP
8 months ago
Reply to  John

Seriously, this is one of those dangerous sections of a busy road where the people that live there avoid parking on. “Oh hell no, I’d never park my car there! You should see the crashes people get into during the day, let alone the drunks at night.”

If I had a work truck that I depended on for my livelihood, I wouldn’t want to park it out on that busy street either, as it would be an easy target for theft.

The plus side to adding paint and bike lanes is that hopefully it would slow traffic and reduce the dangerous speeding and other bad behaviors that have been left unchecked here for so long.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  EP

The plus side to adding paint and bike lanes is that hopefully it would slow traffic and reduce the dangerous speeding 

Replacing parking with bike lanes makes the street feel wider and more open, and often leads people to drive faster. For a good example of this, look at SE 26th, and compare how the street feels between Holgate and Gladstone, and Gladstone and Powell.

djmistert@yahoo.com
djmistert@yahoo.com
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I bike by there a lot and adding a bike line isn’t going to make it less safe. I’d suggest that many drivers are more likely to assume potential pedestrians are possible with bike lines. Which tends to lower their speeds in my experience.

City-lover
City-lover
8 months ago
Reply to  John

Maybe the neighbors feel that the cars buffer the sidewalk/front yards from the fast moving traffic on NE 33rd? It is a real thing in urban design to use cars when other edge infrastructure (trees, landscaping, walls, etc) aren’t available. They actually can help slow traffic by narrowing the perceived lane width.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  City-lover

“They actually can help slow traffic by narrowing the perceived lane width.”

And slowing vehicles adds a much larger increment of safety than segregating bike traffic with a bit of paint, and also helps create a much more pleasant streetscape for everyone.

SeaTacgoride
SeaTacgoride
8 months ago

Striking how the local media coverage (KPTV) was so different than that of Bike Portland/Mr. Maus’ coverage. It was more balanced and gave voice to both sides of the story. I like Bike Portland but this contrast reminds me that Bike Portland is more of a personal blog rather than a news outlet attempting to be unbiased.

Jeremiah
Jeremiah
8 months ago

Amazing that a website called “BIKE Portland” is so BIASED. More so than local news organizations w/ huge staffs and bloated ad budgets. Shocking!

David Hampsten
8 months ago

“People living on a four block stretch of Northeast 33rd Avenue are dealing with parking problems after they say changes were made without their input,” the KPTV reporter said. Then continued: “Neighbors say there’s already a greenway route two blocks over from Northeast 33rd Avenue and the bike lanes are not necessary in front of their homes.”

The reporter then interviewed a Black woman who has lived on NE 33rd for 30 years. “We were surprised to say the least,” the woman said. “These bold, vibrant, thick white lines glaring at us Sunday morning… This had no respect. It was a slap in the face… To me it’s the height of privilege, because when you disregard people’s livelihoods and their feelings.”

Outside of Portland the protest as an event not going to play well – it’s going to make Portland look real bad and out of sync with the rest of the country – like the Federal building protests, it will get filed under “entertainment” in most other US cities’ news media, especially given major protest marches related to Gaza.

Unlike Portland, most US cities have well under 1% bicycle mode split and many major cities are minority-majority, so when a Black resident complains about a sudden huge white bike lane in front of her house without her or her neighbors input, and the resulting public protest is by mostly white people who want to keep the bike lane, with white male spokespersons, well…

blumdrew
blumdrew
8 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

I have a hard time believing this will make waves outside the urban transportation circles.

without her or her neighbors input

The issue is that PBOT did not notify during construction. This was not installed by accident, and underwent a typical review process for a road change up until the construction began. Is there are a larger issue of public agencies not being able to reach residents/property owners in the earlier stages of planning? Absolutely, but it’s not exactly true to say they never had any opportunity for input. If PBOT feels that they did not meaningfully engage neighbors before the project, they should do what they did 13 years ago on Holgate – and stand firm, while finding ways to compensate or rebuild trust.

And while racial equity is something that PBOT and Portland more broadly emphasize (and rightly so), it’s worth considering if removing a bike lane connecting a lower-income part of the city to a host of industrial jobs is an equitable choice as well. Bike riders skew less wealthy (even if you don’t believe it), and this project could provide someone an opportunity to access a job that they previously wouldn’t have felt safe getting to. Should the concerns of a black property owner outweigh the concerns of a low-income worker?

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

“I have a hard time believing this will make waves outside the urban transportation circles.”

I fully agree. It’s why I think those who gleefully suggest that this or Broadway is somehow going to sink Mapps’ political career will be sorely disappointed.

If he loses the run for mayor, it will be because someone outflanks him on the right, not because something something bike lanes.

SD
SD
8 months ago

It shouldn’t be missed that this is a great example of the poison of Greenways. People who do not use them for cycling or other non-car activities have no idea how functional they are or where they start and stop. They just know that some street somewhere else is where all the bikers are supposed to go, and bikers shouldn’t be anywhere else.

They also know that sometimes Greenways are awesome cut through streets for cars avoiding arterial traffic, and bikes need to be more diminutive and share the road when cars need to get through!

From experience, I can say that this “greenway” is just a neighborhood street with nothing that substantially improves biking conditions.

This is when we desperately need PBOT to be the adult in the room, but instead we have the childish antics of Mapps/ Williams.

pierre_delecto
pierre_delecto
8 months ago
Reply to  SD

the poison of Greenways.

Jaycee recently described them as @#$%ing Greenways and now SD describes them as poisonous.
.
Neighborhood Greenways are OK (and could be greatly improved) but the hate here and in cycling advocacy spaces is what’s genuinely poisonous.

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  SD

Also, crucially, the other greenway referred to doesn’t go where the reporter and interviewee claimed. The new bike lane allows access to a way across Lombard and Columbia, the other greenway does not. Without the new bike lane, there is no access even by greenway.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  John V

Is there really and truly no possible way to provide safe bicycle access along this street without a bike lane?

djmistert@yahoo.com
djmistert@yahoo.com
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

No.

Andrew S
Andrew S
8 months ago
Reply to  SD

Yes! Don’t get me wrong, I use greenways all the time (some are better than others), but totally agree that there is a downside to over reliance on them. Essentially forcing all bike traffic off of collectors and onto greenways reinforces the idea that bikes don’t belong on “car” streets.

I wonder if the general lack of bike lanes on collectors suppresses mode share by making cycling less visible to most people, or by making it seem extra inconvenient (there’s no visible and direct bike route to get where they’re trying to go, just a mishmash of short bike lanes connecting various greenways). If someone has good data on mode share vs visible bike lanes, I’d love to check it out.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew S

but totally agree that there is a downside to over reliance on them

Does anyone who bikes for transportation on at least a weekly basis disagree with this? Why does this obvious-as-dirt fact make it OK to constantly shit on neighborhood greenways?

blumdrew
blumdrew
8 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

I bike for transportation at least a few times a week and firmly agree with them.

Why would I want to take the meandering “20s” greenway rather than 28th? Why would I want to ride up a random hill on Salmon rather than going on Belmont (between 20th and 30th)? Why would I want to ride halfway up Mount Tabor on Lincoln rather than taking Division? Why would I want to ride on 17th/19th to get between Brooklyn and Sellwood rather than Milwaukie – which is flatter, more direct, and does not cross McLoughlin at grade?

Greenways can be nice, but half the greenways in the city are haphazard and obviously duct taped together. The existing major/collector level roads are already the flattest and fastest routes through the city. Not having cycling options on them is very bad.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
8 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

Why would I want to take the meandering “20s” greenway rather than 28th? Why would I want to ride up a random hill on Salmon rather than going on Belmont (between 20th and 30th)? Why would I want to ride halfway up Mount Tabor on Lincoln rather than taking Division? Why would I want to ride on 17th/19th to get between Brooklyn and Sellwood rather than Milwaukie – which is flatter, more direct, and does not cross McLoughlin at grade?

Blumdrew, show me on the PDX bike map where existing neighborhood greenways hurt you.
.
It’s possible to advocate for bike facilities on arterials/collecters without also undermining support for neighborhood greenways. It’s amazing to me that you and other do not recognize the precarious political position when it comes to bike facility funding in Portland. I could absolutely see PBOT defund neighborhood greenways because virtue signaling NUMTOTs are constantly complaining about them (without any appreciable progress on world-class protected bike lanes).

City-lover
City-lover
8 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

This 49 year old veteran biker hearts greenways!!

City-lover
City-lover
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew S

I’d rather have a more pleasant experience than contribute to visibility, which to me, is on greenways. You should go somewhere like Minneapolis where most bike traffic is on MUPs crisscrossing the city, and aren’t seen by cars hardly at all. It hasn’t hurt their bike-heavy mode split.

City-lover
City-lover
8 months ago
Reply to  SD

Personally I love the greenways. When I moved here in 1998 there was a small network of neighborhood bike streets and it was so much better than riding busy roads. I realize that the facility doesn’t meet everyones needs but it’s what made Portland’s system special to me. I don’t understand why people ride on streets like NE/SE 20th Ave with no bike lane. I know it’s unpopular but I think it’s silly and dangerous.

Lazy Spinner
Lazy Spinner
8 months ago

Hillsboro added a stretch of bike lane on the street behind my house two years ago. In the process, it eliminated parking for about eight cars that was heavily used by the townhome development adjacent to the new bike lane. Unlike PBOT, Hillsboro advertised public hearings (2), gave residents a full 60 days to change their parking behaviors, put down temporary NO PARKING signs and temporary paint to designate the lane for an additional 30 days, and then put down the permanent markings and signage.

The neighbors felt heard. They were given ample notice to clear out garages or find new spaces nearby. The cops were gentle with violators, choosing education over citations. Today, it’s a nice piece of infrastructure that makes the road safer for both cyclists and drivers (better sightlines).

This is how you do things! Not games of bureaucratic peek-a-boo and acting like banana republic secret police in the dead of night with neighbors waking up to parking tickets and unannounced changes.

Andrew S
Andrew S
8 months ago
Reply to  Lazy Spinner

Yes, but…

PBOT also needs to have a spine about bike and safety projects. Rather than doing public outreach to decide whether a project will go in, public outreach should focus on “Here’s what is going to happen. Here is how it achieves our stated goals. What else do we need to do to make this happen?”

PTB
PTB
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew S

Feelings > Safety Convenience > Safety Parking > Safety

City-lover
City-lover
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew S

You would make a terrible transportation planner. Sheesh. We talk to people to figure out what they want. It’s an iterative process.

Nick
Nick
8 months ago
Reply to  Lazy Spinner

Outreach started in 2019, so it’s hard to say that it was unannounced:

https://www.portland.gov/transportation/planning/documents/columbia-lombard-mobility-corridor-plan-recommended-draft/download
https://www.portland.gov/transportation/planning/documents/appendix-c-mobility-and-access-needs-analysis/download

literally what you’re describing:

games of bureaucratic peek-a-boo and acting like banana republic secret police in the dead of night

happened with the removal of the bike lanes

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Nick

As was said somewhere else, no normal person ever saw those documents. Nobody’s going to read that. That’s not public engagement, that’s just making the information available.

Public engagement is contacting each resident, and I think that’s where PBOT (apparently, I don’t know if it’s true) dropped the ball. They didn’t actually tell people “hey, this is happening, you’ve got a few months to figure out what to do” etc.

HJ
HJ
8 months ago
Reply to  John V

The neighborhood requested the bike lanes in 2017. Looking at the sales histories of the properties affected on Zillow I only found 1 that had been sold since then. So the people who were responsible for requesting the lanes sure appear to be the ones who still own the properties. Makes it extra hard to argue this came out of the blue.
I guess maybe if you never talk to your neighbors and choose to ignore the topic it may have, but at that point you’re pushing into the willful choice category.

djmistert@yahoo.com
djmistert@yahoo.com
8 months ago
Reply to  HJ

I guess now we know which house requested the bike line.

Si
Si
8 months ago

Let’s be clear, in this country cars are given way more privileges than cyclists! The ironic part is that drivers just take them as granted and have completely forgotten that being able to drive is a privilege, not a right.

Phillip Barron
Phillip Barron
8 months ago

Why was it relevant to identify the last interviewee racially when it was not relevant to identify anyone else in the story racially?

Phillip Barron
Phillip Barron
8 months ago

OK, I have reread the story and rewatched the interview. Maybe I am just not smart enough to read between the lines here. How is this interviewee’s race relevant to the story?

djmistert@yahoo.com
djmistert@yahoo.com
8 months ago
Reply to  Phillip Barron

You’d first need to understand the history of the neighborhood, which has gone through massive gentrification (and the accompanying pricing out and shrinking of what was a vibrant Black community) over the past 30 years. That is the frame work – a generational change in a community – that needs to be understood.

EEE
EEE
8 months ago
Reply to  Phillip Barron

It’s the one factor that causes Portland’s progressive Paisley Pavers to holster or at least temper their NIMBY epithets.

idlebytes
idlebytes
8 months ago

This reactionary way of running PBOT to a handful of complaints is a disgrace. What I haven’t seen mentioned in this set of stories yet was the reversal of the decision to keep 72nd a two way street through Rose City Golf Club that got swept up in the Broadway debacle.

Meanwhile I can’t get PBOT to fill a couple of potholes on my street let alone repave the adjacent street that they said 5 years ago needed to be repaired before it degraded further which would require more expensive work to address damage to the road foundation. By the state of it I think we’re at the more expensive option now.

It’s like they pick and choose who they want to listen too instead of using some basic logic to make their decisions. Yes there probably should have been more outreach. No the solution to that is not to waste money taking out infrastructure they already decided should be put in. Even with outreach and homeowners opposing it this project would have moved forward anyway it’s a basic public safety project on one of the few streets connecting this neighborhood to Lombard and Columbia.

EP
EP
8 months ago
Reply to  idlebytes

72nd is still a hot one. They just dropped off the porta potty and staged the road closed signs and cones and such but haven’t yet blocked things off. A recent nextdoor thread about it spiraled out of control and was deleted. The sad/hilarious car-brain part of it was that it all started with a lady driving her pickup/SUV and taking the turn while filming a video of the sign/cone pile with one hand that she then posted, complaining about this “road safety” project. Like…you are the exact reason this project is happening! Reasonable neighbors all said that it was dangerous, illegal, and showed the need to protect vulnerable road users. The car-brain neighbors all said she was being bullied and trotted out arguments about emergency vehicle access, ADA requirements, golf course maintenance vehicles, the lack of safe routes to schools for kids (ignoring the safe route the closure creates) etc…

Ugh.

HJ
HJ
8 months ago

What annoyed me was how Koin, in their otherwise solid coverage, claimed there was no public notice. What is even worse is their article still states that despite my having emailed them with the information that a correction is needed yesterday morning.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  HJ

It would be great if you or someone who received such notice could post it here or provide it to KOIN to show that PBOT is wrong when they said they didn’t send out any notices.

Jeremiah
Jeremiah
8 months ago

“The height of privilege…because when you disregard people’s…feelings”. Hmm that’s interesting b/c that’s exactly what it seems happened to the bike community and to commuters after removal of this lane. The street belongs TO THE CITY AND THE PEOPLE not to the homeowners along it.

Catmom
Catmom
8 months ago

If I lived on a two block stretch with bike lanes on both sides.. I think I’d have to expect them to one day connect the circuit. If it’s only 8 households or 16, why would they just not talk to those folks before spending so much on removal? If they take it away, someone will then object to putting it back and paying again. Have your feedback and discussion process now while one suggestion is in place and maybe avoid doing and paying twice over..
Some folks will never want to lose an inch of driving or parking access, but you live surrounded by a bike way!

Chopwatch
Chopwatch
8 months ago

But saying something and doing another is deeply woven into PBOT’s way of life where a felony conviction for tax fraud is apparently an accomplishment in their candidates for director.

During the pandemic, DYLAN RIVERA, speaking on behalf of PBOT said they were going to look the other way on “abandoned auto” (which includes “occupied” in Portland) in non time limit or non-metered spaces only. Quoting Rivera, he said: “The issue is abandoned vehicles in areas where we don’t have time limits or meters,” he said. “They will not be ticketed or towed.

Yet, PBOT repeatedly turned a blind eye on a vagrancy short bus with Washington plates that parked at the meter without payment remained parked on west side of SW 12th Ave between SW Columbia-Clay not for 5 hours as posted, but like SIX MONTHS before it disappeared on its own.

If PBOT says they will or won’t do something, take it with a grain of salt. Misrepresentation and lying is part of PBOT’s culture.