BikeLoud PDX won’t protest bike lane removal this time around. Here’s why

Kiel Johnson stood in front of a truck to prevent it from removing bike lanes on 33rd Ave on November 1st. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

As news broke this week that the Portland Bureau of Transportation would remove the new bike lanes on Northeast 33rd Avenue, many of the responses I heard online were, “When is the protest?!”

While PBOT’s first attempt to erase the bike lanes was meant with aggressive tactics, this time around the same person who stood in front of a striping truck and stared down its driver, is calling for calm. “I do not support blocking next week’s striping removal, and anyone doing so are not acting in the best interest of promoting biking for all communities,” wrote BikeLoud PDX Vice Chair Kiel Johnson in a letter to members sent out today.

Johnson said Portland bike advocates are justifiably angry, but that — unlike the initial protest when no one knew what was going on — “we need to acknowledge the multitude of truths; we need to recognize the truths of others in order to navigate and be inclusive of a city full of people with many different lived experiences.”

Here’s how Johnson framed the situation on 33rd and its “multitude of truths”:

Johnson at a New Year’s Day ride in 2022.

“At BikeLoud we believe a city where everyone feels safe riding a bike is a more equitable city. The people in it are healthier and more connected to each other, the streets are safer and quieter, and the air is cleaner. Currently, too many of our streets remain dangerous places to walk, roll, ride a bike, and simply exist. Portland is also a city where people of color have been and are currently excluded from wealth and power  – and that must change. All of those things are true and sometimes they come into conflict. This time, that conflict happened on NE 33rd, but it is not an isolated instance, and is in fact an ongoing experience for our neighbors of color, particularly Black people. Being able to acknowledge all of these truths does not make us weaker, as a community, it makes us stronger.” 

Johnson is worth listening to because he’s been an independent, dedicated, and honest leader of bike advocacy in Portland for nearly 15 years. Put another way, Johnson has a lot of skin in this game and this is not his first rodeo.

After PBOT proposed major changes to the street in front of his home on NE 7th Avenue in 2018 that would have made it one of the most bike-friendly streets in America, Johnson and other residents swung into action to make sure the city knew the project had enthusiastic support. Then when PBOT heard opposition to the idea from some Black residents, they dropped the proposal and switched the entire bike route two blocks over. Johnson was disappointed, but he didn’t regret meeting neighbors, listening to Black residents who disagreed with him, and learning important lessons about what it means to build a community.

On 33rd Avenue, Johnson blames “PBOT’s failure” to do proper notification before installing the bike lane and he still feels residents will suffer because of the faster driving that returns when the bike lane is gone.

But instead of protesting its removal, he’s organizing an event this Saturday where volunteers will clean the street. “We invite you to come give the 33rd Ave bike lane one last ride and help us make it look its best before it is gone,” Johnson wrote.

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

81 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Michael Mann
Michael Mann
6 months ago

Removing the 33rd bike lanes is part of playing the long game. It sucks that PBOT shot themselves in the foot on this, but I’m grateful that they’ve been transparent about the screw-up, apparently to all parties involved. And I for one would rather give my money to an organization that’s willing to acknowledge and validate the race component that’s still part of the equation, than to give it to folks who were all about the bike infrastructure, neighbors be damned.

blumdrew
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Mann

How long is the game? This stretch has been identified as a place that needs bike infrastructure for how long? It’s in the 2010 bike plan as a project likely to be funded and completed by 2023. It’s not on the 1975 bike plan map, and I can’t find a 1996 map – but it might have been on that one. A 13 to 30 year timespan for one measly bike lane on a few blocks of road is pretty outlandish.

PBOT is already playing the long game with every piece of bike infrastructure in the city! Playing the double long game is not appealing to people who would like to see a functional bike network in Portland within our lifetimes.

At some point, you should ask yourself if the “long game” is a cynical political ploy to prevent more vigorous protest. As it stands now, people in the community typically point to “oh this bikeway is on the 30 year plan, you just need to be patient”. But as we’ve seen in this case, and on Overton, and on Broadway, the extremely slow rollout process can be undone by a few loud voices. Though each of those situations have different contexts, if the slow and steady route we are on is so fragile that 5 years or 10 years or 15 years of plans can be tossed away on a whim it’s worth wondering if a more assertive approach is needed.

John V
John V
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Mann

Removing the 33rd bike lanes is part of playing the long game.

Maybe. Or that’s just post-hoc rationalization and wishful thinking. What evidence do we have of this? This is like the people who thought Trump was doing 4-D chess with all his random flailings. There’s no pattern or strategy, just whatever seemed good in the moment.

If there is a long game at play here, it better not be something that takes away any parking or people with better-than-goldfish memory are going to wonder why they had to bend to parking-related complaints this time and not the time in the future.

blumdrew
6 months ago

I appreciate both Kiel’s and your perspective on this Jonathan, though I still am not entirely satisfied with a lack of protest. I understand this is a part of a larger pattern of behavior by the city with regards to ignoring Black residents, but the city also has a pattern of making cycling projects extremely controversial and then not following through on their actual goals of making cycling a safe and attractive option. This experience on NE 33rd highlights both of these issues at the same time – with PBOT managing to touch more than one nerve through sheer incompetence.

The city does a very poor job of centering why cycling infrastructure matters in instances like this. The entire public facing response here has been “we messed this up, so we need to take out this bike lane to fix our relationship with the community”, which they may need to do. But that statement also effectively says “our relationship with the community (in this case seemingly a handful of homeowners) is more important than vulnerable road users lives”. It touches a nerve because so many of us have seen so many stories of our fellow cyclists dying on the roads, and so many examples of clearly dangerous situations not being rectified until a few people have died at them.

I’d like to see PBOT handle controversy like this by actually talking about why the infrastructure is needed – publicly. Even if there ultimate decision is to remove this bike lane, I would still like to see better justification than “we can’t have a conversation with people in the community until we do”.

Jeff Rockshoxworthy
Jeff Rockshoxworthy
6 months ago

Some of us who have been around a while remember when the Black community voiced concerns about widening the then-standard bike lane on N Williams. The city pretended to listen, waited for tempers to cool and then somehow managed to design and implement a far more intrusive design complete with loads of green thermoplastic, bollards and massive lane reconfiguration.

Always thought that was a little weird. And I wonder how the folks that raised those initial concerns felt.

Jeff Rockshoxworthy
Jeff Rockshoxworthy
6 months ago

If I recall correctly the concerns were largely based around gentrification. Over the years I’ve been unable to comprehend how the final design resulted in less of the G-stuff. In fact it sure feels like the opposite happened.

Chris I
Chris I
6 months ago

Bike lanes don’t create gentrification.

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
6 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

Agreed. If they did, The Holgate area east of 92nd would have been hot years ago. It’s safer for biking, but not much else changed.

cc_rider
cc_rider
6 months ago

Bike lanes have no effect on gentrification. Outside of areas that have an actual governmental effort to gentrify like the Pearl, gentrification is an organic change driven by housing prices, social trends, and location.

Albina was always going to gentrify because it was cheap and close to the more expensive and fun central eastside/downtown. Without controlling home prices you can’t keep a neighborhood a pocket of cheap diversity surrounded entirely by expensive homes with just policy choices.

The first wave gentrification of NoPo started in the 90s long before the debate even happened.

Ironically, gentrification has reduced cycling in the central city because the folks moving in moved from places where you drive everywhere. Gentrification pushed out the cyclists.

blumdrew
6 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

Gentrification is an organic process only if you take the reasons that the area was cheap/working class in the first place to also be organic. In the case of North Portland, I wouldn’t really call redlining, divestment, racism, and the like organic. But it was unlikely that such a close-in location would stay in such a poor state of repair forever.

I would hesitate to say they have “no effect” on gentrification, though I do think the typical examples in Portland (like Williams) are not exactly compelling. Gentrification is often spurred by infrastructure investments, with light rail being the typically thought of example locally. I think it’s unlikely that bike lanes or quality bike infrastructure on their own would cause significant gentrification but I do think it can be a relevant factor. If the bike lane causes land value to increase enough to cause displacement, then it’s likely to be a factor in gentrification.

Champs
Champs
6 months ago

I live just off Williams in Eliot and the horse was long since out of the barn. My neighborhood went from being unable to support a supermarket to having a New Seasons with an extensive parking lot. With or without that upgraded bike lane, they were coming.

Fred
Fred
6 months ago

but it’s the design the community was able to agree to.

Why does the community have to agree about bike infrastructure but not other types of transportation infrastructure?

I certainly didn’t agree that I-5 runs near my house, but my lack of agreement counts for zero, nada, zilch.

John V
John V
6 months ago
Reply to  Fred

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess you didn’t live there when they put I-5 next to your house. The people who were there did object and were overridden, often having neighborhoods destroyed or split. And they leaned heavily on doing it to black neighborhoods. So that’s the sort of thing they’re trying to not repeat (i.e., why the city would at least pretend to listen now).

I think the case of Williams was totally misplaced community concern (mostly just reactionary) but at least lets not pretend it is the same thing as you moving in next to a highway.

Art Lewellan
Art Lewellan
6 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Fred friendly, our enemy is the car, reckless speeding, voluminous traffic. Our enemy is the sense of alienation inside an automobile speeding passed other idiot motorists speeding passed idiot motorists.

Steve C
Steve C
6 months ago

he still feels residents will suffer because of the faster driving that returns when the bike lane is gone.”

Whether or not a bike lane should be added is up for debate, but also I would challenge the assumption that this treatment, as installed, would slow drivers.

Removing things drivers don’t want to hit, parked cars, and replacing them with unprotected, painted bike lanes has the potential to make this section easier to speed through.

This seems to be more of a rationalization/streamlining of a route into an industrial zone, than any sort of speed reduction design, and to the detriment of the adjacent property owners.

dw
dw
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve C

Yeah, drivers are waaaay more cautious around parked cars than people on bikes.

Happy Guy PDX
Happy Guy PDX
6 months ago

So Johnson feels it’s okay to remove bike infrastructure when some colors of people complain but not others. This is truly bizarre.

EEE
EEE
6 months ago
Reply to  Happy Guy PDX

This is how equity works right? In this and other cases some colors (or other intersectional factors) are weighted more than others, and often the weighting is based on systemic mistreatment. If there was a different set of facts there might be a different outcome – say, a group of black cyclists that uses that street to commute and that complained about the lack of a bike lane. In that case the race on the equity scorecard might cancel out and you’re left with vulnerable road user vs over-entitled homeowner and I’d expect PBOT would install some bike lanes.

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
6 months ago
Reply to  EEE

So as a society it’s ok that we weaponize gender, social status, income level, family dynamics, skin color, etc. so that if a couple people claim injustice where this is none, we just have to let them stop everything that is being done even if for the population at large the street will be safer in this instance and it’s not taking anything away from those claiming injustice? (It’s not like PBOT is coming along and taking 6′ from their front yards to make a bike path)

Just curious, as I’ve seen that happen on our university campuses, starting to see this in my workplace, and it appears we’re going to let it spread to all decisions made in society. To me that’s very sad.

Happy Guy PDX
Happy Guy PDX
6 months ago
Reply to  EEE

No, you seem to be describing some form of reparations, not equity.

SD
SD
6 months ago
Reply to  EEE

I actually laughed out loud when you suggested that PBOT cares about black people who walk or ride bikes. In instances where there have been black people who have opposed bike lanes, there have also been black residents who supported the bike lanes. PBOT was happy to ignore them, because PBOT considers the black community to have one singular opinion so that PBOT can get points for making decisions out of concern for the black community. Often, minorities within minorities are the most overlooked and invisible. PBOT’s reactionary style of complaint driven action fundamentally ignores people who are not part of a perceived simple majority or in the room yelling at them.

Chris I
Chris I
6 months ago
Reply to  EEE

eq·ui·ty
/ˈekwədē/

noun
noun: equity; singular proper noun: Equity; noun: Equity
1.
the quality of being fair and impartial.
“equity of treatment”

John V
John V
6 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

The term is meant to be holistic. If you take someone who starts off “disadvantaged” (whatever you take that to mean), and give them the same treatment as wealthy people, the outcome is not even in the direction of equity. You’re taking a tunnel vision interpretation of the term to mean everyone gets identical treatment. In other words, identical treatment going forward ignoring all of history.

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
6 months ago
Reply to  John V

Who gets to decide who’s to receive special treatment since according to you equal treatment isn’t possible? What if those people that meet your criteria don’t want special treatment? You going to force them to take it anyway regardless.
History is a teacher and given preferential treatment sure hasn’t done society well. Maybe we should try something radical and go equality for all.

John V
John V
6 months ago
Reply to  SolarEclipse

I didn’t say equal treatment isn’t possible. But the whole idea of equity is that equal treatment in the present produces unequal outcomes because history didn’t start today.

Absolutely, giving unequal treatment when it’s not something like slavery or Jim Crow laws has gone very well and only ends in problems as it erodes. Examples include any form of social assistance (housing, food stamps, etc). I mean, I don’t get food stamps, should I be jealous of the people who do? Yet, it works really well to help those out who need it.

“Equal treatment” ends really really badly. Lets not go there. That way lies barbarism.

Lenny Anderson
Lenny Anderson
6 months ago

History matters,not just in the Middle East, but also in N and inner NE Portland.
In the early 50’s a thriving African-American community was leveled to make way for the Memorial Coliseum. In the 60’s that community was further decimated by the construction of I-5. But it didn’t stop there! In the 70’s that community whose commercial center had moved north on Williams Avenue was again leveled by an city sponsored urban renewal project to accommodate a new Veterans Hospital next to Emannuel Hospital. There is still a vacant lot there at Russell! A federal judge just ruled that a lawsuit brought by 20 descendants of that displacement have standing to sue the City and Emannuel. And all this after being Red-lined into inner NE Portland for decades.
Ao when I served on the Interstate Avenue URA advisory committee in the late 90’s, African-American members were adamant that no condemnation or displacement would occur. Despite strong language protecting current residents and businesses in the URA plan, the City failed to protect the most vulnerable, renters, from the impacts of rising home prices. And on the subject of bikes, perceived as a cause rather than effect of gentrification, I recall a fellow member chiding me for supporting the new bike lane on N. Vancouver which appeared without much process or input from residents. Pardon me, but this shit adds up!!

Happy Guy PDX
Happy Guy PDX
6 months ago
Reply to  Lenny Anderson

The city also wiped out the Jewish neighborhood downtown. In the 50’s the Portland Development Commission declared the downtown Jewish neighborhood blighted. 54 blocks were razed. Should Jewish voices also now have the right of veto for transportation projects they don’t like?

https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2011/12/tales_of_jewish_south_portland.html

John V
John V
6 months ago
Reply to  Happy Guy PDX

Has a situation anything like Williams or 33rd actually happened to any Jewish residents in a similar way? Or are you talking hypotheticals that didn’t happen?

Happy Guy PDX
Happy Guy PDX
6 months ago
Reply to  John V

No Jews aren’t given the right of veto power or special attention by PBOT. The historical racism against them by the city of Portland seems to have been forgotten.

And for many in the progressive community this ” forgetfulness” of past racism is a soft form of bigotry and antisemitism.

https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2011/12/tales_of_jewish_south_portland.html

jakeco969
jakeco969
6 months ago
Reply to  Happy Guy PDX

And for many in the progressive community this ” forgetfulness” of past racism is a soft form of bigotry and antisemitism.

Yes indeed.
As also evidenced by more local progressives wanting Israeli Jews to lay down their arms and get wiped off the face of the map. There is an unpleasant undercurrent to this place sometimes and it would be nice if more Portlanders had more multicultural lived experiences.

https://www.koin.com/news/portland/portland-burnside-bridge-gaza-ceasefire-protest-jewish-voice-for-peace/

https://www.workers.org/2023/12/75291/

John V
John V
6 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

This is the most out of nowhere, unrelated nonsense imaginable and bringing it up here is ridiculously bad faith. You’re trying to shoehorn that issue into this conversation and it simply doesn’t belong, whether you have a correct opinion on it or yours.

jakeco969
jakeco969
6 months ago
Reply to  John V

Not really, the subject was progressive anti-semitism and these are local examples of that. Anti-semitism is what destroyed the Jewish neighborhoods and it’s alive in Portland today.
Much like the discussion on past anti POC beliefs still sadly being relevant today.

John V
John V
6 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

And this is exactly why this is off topic. You’re literally citing a Jewish group protesting for ceasefire and peace activists as a case of “progressive anti-semitism” which is complete nonsense. Those people are heroes. You just slip that in there as if it’s some uncontroversial example of some other bad thing and expect nobody’s going to notice so you can push whatever narrative you’re pushing. Makes me suspect of all of the rest of your comments.

Fred
Fred
6 months ago
Reply to  Lenny Anderson

It does, Lenny, but this is not the same thing at all. No one’s property is being taken on 33rd; PBOT is making the street less safe for everyone – Black residents included.

blumdrew
6 months ago
Reply to  Lenny Anderson

Yes, because the city failed to protect renters. It always does, since it has no mechanism to. The benefit from rising land values from transportation investments flow almost exclusively to land owners, especially in Oregon where property taxes are capped.

And honestly comparing bike lanes to projects like the Emmanuel Hospital or I5 is pretty disingenuous. Those projects treated the residents of the area as obstacles to overcome at best, or people to actively harm at worst. The city of Portland used eminent domain to condemn the blocks near Russell on Williams and displaced a free health clinic for crying out loud. If bike lanes are on the same level as those projects, we should all stop what we are doing and throw all our bikes into the river.

This isn’t to say that gentrification isn’t a major issue, or that being displaced by a yuppie is all that much better than being displaced by the powers that be in the city directly. Gentrification often follows infrastructure investment, but by the time the bike lanes were put in their current form on Williams/Vancouver the area was gentrified – past tense. It wasn’t like the bike lane on Williams caused it to gentrify, racism in the housing market played a primary role (since Black residents were unlikely to have access to good financing options, they were less likely to own their own homes, and thus were likely to be displaced when their landlord selling to a yuppie).

Granted this distinction may or may not matter. I obviously am not really aware as to how much that specific dynamic has been a factor here. As I understand it, it’s more just a feeling of not being heard, and not feeling like PBOT takes the residents seriously. But if PBOT is running into public opinion that bike lanes cause gentrification, they should study that issue in depth to be able to engage with people meaningfully on the issue.

PS
PS
6 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

So it’s bad that property taxes are capped because then the county can’t tax unrealized gains further? But it’s also bad if someone sells to a “yuppie” who is likely to do enough work to a property which would trigger a reassessment of property taxes to market levels? You want the perennially excellent allocators of capital at the county to have more money, but don’t like how that happens because someone could get rich in the process after having taken risk?

Eminent domain through North Portland was bad but not through SW Portland? Is the current community in North Portland not benefited at all by having Emmanuel hospital there? Isn’t Emmanuel a huge employer from the neighborhood?

What do the cities and towns look like that the interstate highway system skipped? Pretty nice places, diverse economy, lots of opportunity? Portland never becomes anything like it is today without two interstates, a port and an airport, it is laughable to suggest otherwise and these ideas (likely fueled by limitless debt issuance) that act like it wasn’t in everyone’s best interest to acquire the most affordable land possible for the projects is incomprehensible. What is comprehensible is why investment in Portland is waning and people of means are exiting. It isn’t worth the risk anymore.

blumdrew
6 months ago
Reply to  PS

It’s bad for the region if the primary source of revenue is hamstrung, actually. And not all property tax revenue goes to the county, even if they are the ones who are responsible for collection. There is no guarantee that a new buyer will do enough work to trigger a reassessment either.

Yes, the urban renewal in SW Portland was bad too. I was not aiming to have an exhaustive list of bad things that the city and state have done to Portlanders in the name of progress. I was replying to a comment talking specifically about Albina. And speaking of which, Emmanuel Hospital at the time of the aborted expansion was a mid-to-large regional employer, but not so much a local one for Black Albina residents. Black Portlanders who had been systematically excluded from housing, white collar jobs, and quality schools didn’t exactly benefit from the sort of work available to them at Emmanuel.

And a small town being skipped over by the Interstate Highway system, when it was served previously by a US highway certainly brought economic ruin. But there are approximately 0 major cities that this is the case for, so it’s a bit of a non sequitor for Portland. Improved roads are good, but that doesn’t mean they absolutely needed to go directly through densely developed areas. Projects like the Banfield Freeway managed to get from Troutdale to the Burnside Bridge without condemning thousands of families residences.

Economic opportunity is good, but the legacy of the interstate highway system is complicated. It may have been a net positive, but it was not universally good everywhere. And core cities generally suffered immensely from it, with huge losses of jobs and residents to the suburbs.

SD
SD
6 months ago

There should be an award for perpetuating structural disparities while getting back pats for appearing to care about historic injustice.

SD
SD
6 months ago
Reply to  SD

We’ll call it the Pbotty Award.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  SD

Groan

Fred
Fred
6 months ago

Just glad I didn’t give Bike Loud any money.

Priscilla P
Priscilla P
6 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Comment of the week! Time for Bike Loud leadership to do a bit of introspection.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 months ago
Reply to  Priscilla P

Maybe time for passive BP commenters to get off their asses and actually do something productive?

Lenny Anderson
Lenny Anderson
6 months ago

The destruction of South Portland, a poor but racially mixed neighborhood…Jews, Italians, African Americans and folks then known as Gypsies…began with the R. Moses inspired westside connections to the Rose Island Bridge in the 40’s. It continued with South Auditorium URA, and was completed with I-405 inner loop. That wonder also took out the PSU student “ghetto” in Goose Hollow. Not even Hitler built highways through the middle of cities! It was some kind of auto madness; everyone wanted freeways, but not through their communities…witness I-205 swinging to the south to avoid Lake Oswego. The argument can certainly be made that poor neighborhoods of all colors were the victims, but federally supported red-lining was largely unique to African Americans in N-NE Portland.
re the “G” word, Joe Cortright, should have the last word on that. Re-investment in poor Portland inner city neighborhoods, benefited those who chose to stay or who were able to sell their properties at much higher prices. When the Albina Plan was developed in the 90’s with a ton of community input, there were over 700 abandoned houses in inner N-NE; store fronts on Mississippi and Alberta were largely boarded up. There was no way to go, but up.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 months ago
Reply to  Lenny Anderson

The tiny city of Maywood Park was formed specifically by neighbors to force ODOT to divert I-205 away from their homes; the state compromised by building the stroadway below grade. Maywood Park still collects an annual rent from ODOT that largely pays for their Multnomah County services. At the time the community was well outside Portland city limits – now it’s a doughnut hole.

ITOTS
ITOTS
6 months ago

“This time, that conflict happened on NE 33rd, but it is not an isolated instance, and is in fact an ongoing experience for our neighbors of color, particularly Black people.”

This phrase emerged in the last few years, but we need to get even more specific here, because as lovely as it is to “center” black voices, that’s not a specific enough description of who is experiencing these conflicts negatively. Reversing this project doesn’t center black voices and doesn’t provide a pathway to resolve these kinds of conflicts (when they actually are substantive) in the future.

Once again for the people in the back (or the ones in the front who are hard of listening): the black community is only a monolithic community insofar as it has been and continues to be treated as such by culture, discussion, and policy. Viewing black people as all somehow alike led to and justified slavery, Jim Crow, housing discrimination, urban renewal targeting, financial discrimination, and the war on drugs. Doing it here doesn’t help us parse the situation and how to address it and similars.

Portland’s struggle to understand and constructively work with black people is actually due to the fact that there aren’t enough black people in Portland to interact with for everyone else to organically recognize there is no black community; there are many. And that black perspective and opinion is just as fractured and varied as that of the people any other demographic box is drawn around. Asking a random group of black people what they think about bike lanes or the government and expecting a coherent answer to emerge is just as absurd as expecting a coherent answer to emerge from a group of white people.

For every black person that takes each slight, mistake, omission, turn of phrase, or look from a stranger and places it into the context of just another example of a racist society or system, there’s another black person that connects all those events differently and tells another story about their lives and how other people relate to them, e.g. a racist government chasing a black family out to the edge of the city and trying to push them out vs. a city organization screwing up, failing to follow its own notification procedure for a run-of-the-mill project. It’s irresponsible and unhelpful to give any oxygen to that first way of viewing the world when an action is not actually part of the trend and neither PBOT nor BikeLoud should be going out of its way to do so. You can validate feelings and worldview while still communicating the facts of the situation—the plan, the function, the normalcy* of the action in the city context, the slip up, the remorse—and that, despite the feelings of some individuals, because in reality this action doesn’t uniquely or disproportionately target black people, isn’t part of some system-wide decades-long strategy to make it hard for black families to live in Portland, and it’s normal and okay for projects to create some inconvenience, the project is moving ahead, or in this case, staying put. Yep it’s a complex and challenging message to deliver, but it’s honest, honors all interests, and PBOT needs to learn how to deliver it.

Or it can keep showing black people that if they evoke their membership in a racial group vs. as a disgruntled individual on a street of people of many identities, they can stop anything they don’t like.

*It’s very likely that in projects outside these higher profile bike v Black Portlander moments (Williams, 7th, 33rd), the city inconvenienced 100s of black households through parking removals for bike lanes, bus lanes, and curb extensions without anyone knowing because those individuals chose not to characterize public works projects that are visible coming online across the city as racist acts specifically targeting them when the same changes sprout up in front of their house.

John
John
6 months ago
Reply to  ITOTS

COTW

maxD
maxD
6 months ago
Reply to  ITOTS

COTW!

Portland Bicycle Mapper

I rode out to the ill-fated bike lanes yesterday for one last glance and I was struck by how many homes had parking available on their property and I decided to do an analysis and report the results via web maps.

Here is a link to the Story map with a brief summary
https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/93e520b3b42347588f7e5aab04861512

It also contains a link to an interactive Web Map ( Link also in Story Map Linked above) that contains the following publically available layers:

– The bike lane to be removed (this is the crux of the map and contains links and time lines when you click on it)
– Tax Parcels and what parking is available (simplified)
– Tax Parcels and what parking is available (detailed)
– PBOT’s Equity Layers (Based on Census Data)
– Columbia/Lombard Mobility Corridor
– Google Street View Links (to verify my assumptions/analysis)
– Existing Bikeway
– Taxlots (97211)
 
This is all publicly available data sources from METRO, City of Portland and Google Maps

Of the 31 houses line NE 33rd between NE Dekum and NE Holman, only 2 do not have parking available on their taxlot

  • The First is a 4-plex condominium built around 2022/23
  • The Second has a crosswalk on 33rd and street parking directly south of the corner lot property
  • All others have parking in a driveway accessible on 33rd, a driveway accessible on an alley, or a driveway or garage accessible on a side street crossing NE 33rd

Who are we preserving this street parking for?

qqq
qqq
6 months ago

Comment of the Week

Other people have done similar analyses, but this one’s map makes the situation so clear at a glance.

Diallo Faraj
Diallo Faraj
6 months ago

Visitors, like friends and family. Delivery vehicles like US Mail. Households with multiple vehicles.

It’s not difficult to understand, especially if you treat the people who live in this neighborhood as human beings instead of demonizing and othering them.

Peace

blumdrew
6 months ago
Reply to  Diallo Faraj

If I visit a friends house and I drive, I do not expect to park directly in front of their house. A one block walk would be fine, even preferable

Delivery vehicles have ample room on side streets to park. They manage to make it work in plenty of other places that have a bike lane with no street parking

jakeco969
jakeco969
6 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

Why do you feel the need to correct this person’s viewpoint? Is it not a valid view? It is not about how you expect to be treated, it is about how the residents expect to be treated. No one wants to be told their viewpoint is wrong and so easily dismissed as you are telling Diallo Faraj.

blumdrew
6 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

Because they are making a silly point, and it’s not a valid concern frankly. Residents do not deserve to have free parking directly in front of their house with a driveway just in case they have a guest over. That is a very silly way to allocate public right of way, and no one travels anywhere with the expectation that they will be able to get free street parking directly in front of their destination.

jakeco969
jakeco969
6 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

It’s fortunate to have you here to decide what is silly and what is not (sarcasm in case there was any doubt). Also glad you use a public discussion site to announce that you have found their viewpoint simply not valid, they are not important and there is no need to address their concerns because they are silly for even having them.

John V
John V
6 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

The ability to profess a viewpoint is not the same as immunity to having your viewpoint criticized. You’re imagining a thing to get mad at instead of addressing the actual things that were said. It’s a silly viewpoint to have a literally unbounded requirement for free parking in front of your house. What if you want to have 10 guests over in individual cars? Should we mandate larger yards so you can have more street in front of your house? Why do people think they’re entitled to that space?

jakeco969
jakeco969
6 months ago
Reply to  John V

It might not be silly to the person posting. Do you understand that? Saying it’s silly reduces their viewpoint, effectively “othering” them and relegating them to a level below yourself. It’s easy not to listen or pay attention to those below you. It’s intellectually lazy to call someone’s idea silly.
“What if you want to have 10 guests over in individual cars? Should we mandate larger yards so you can have more street in front of your house? Why do people think they’re entitled to that space?“
That’s a great question and I agree with you. Why do you need to taint your question by diminishing the other person by saying they’re silly?

John V
John V
6 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

If you agree, then you should recognize that the demand for arbitrary amounts of free parking is indeed silly. We can talk about why they have this idea, but the idea is wrong and bad.

blumdrew
6 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

What is the point you are trying to get across? That calling something “silly” is an unimaginable faux pas that stops all discussion in its path? Calling someone’s idea, concept, or thought “silly” is not “intellectually lazy”.

If the idea is silly as in “lacking seriousness or responsibleness; frivolous” then calling it as such is just using a word. Expecting parking spots to be preserved in the name of having guests over and delivery drivers is absolutely frivolous, especially compared to the safety of cyclists. Every piece of policy the city has adopted points in that direction, and so does good sense.

Policing my word choice is a gigantic waste of your time, and it’s a gigantic waste of my time.

blumdrew
6 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

I am speaking for myself, and making a judgment based on how I view the world. If they (or you) would like to rebuke my point and present compelling evidence that free street parking is some inalienable right, please go right ahead.

I am addressing their points, saying that they are silly and not valid for specific reasons (it’s fine to walk a block, delivery vehicles manage to do their jobs in other parts of the city).

qqq
qqq
6 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

Actually it’s even easier for delivery vehicles than that. Postal vehicles are exempt, or loading and unloading goods, plus a whole slew of other exemptions (picking up or dropping off people, garbage trucks, etc.)

Even if Portland’s code overrides any of those, what are the odds that any delivery vehicle will be cited (especially outside of downtown) for briefly stopping in a bike lane? One in 10,000?

SD
SD
6 months ago
Reply to  Diallo Faraj

People are being killed, seriously injured or just denied access to cheap efficient transportation on our streets, and you are saying it is more important for the city to give everyone their own personal parking lot than create a safe equitable transportation system.

jakeco969
jakeco969
6 months ago
Reply to  SD

I don’t know the answer to this, but maybe you do? Have there been a lot or any deaths or accidents on this stretch? Is all the energy/anger directed at these residents worth it when there may be different and deadlier areas of the city that this energy can be applied?

qqq
qqq
6 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

I get the feeling from the comments that much of the anger/energy is being directed at PBOT rather than the neighbors.

And quite of bit of that isn’t directed at PBOT’s decision to talk to the neighbors and consider their positions, but at its decision to remove the lanes before making a decision about what goes there ultimately.

However, some anger/energy may be being directed at the neighbors. If I were a neighbor, even one that didn’t support the bike lanes (which there very well may be) I might be unhappy with PBOT for escalating the drama by choosing to remove them before a final decision, instead of just leaving them there and not ticketing people who parked in them (an imperfect but understandable temporary compromise).

jakeco969
jakeco969
6 months ago
Reply to  qqq

 instead of just leaving them there and not ticketing people who parked in them (an imperfect but understandable temporary compromise).

I agree that this would have been an excellent compromise and a chance for PBOT’s outreach people to redeem themselves a bit.
Reading the many and constant references to skin color in the previous thread is what made me think that as much if not more anger/energy was being directed at the residents as at PBOT. That energy seemed rooted in those residents having a power over PBOT that many commenters seem to want as well and were either jealous or embittered towards the residents because of that. No matter how much hardship the residents might have gone through to have that power.

Portland Bicycle Mapper
Reply to  Diallo Faraj

I didn’t demonize or ‘other’ anyone with the map. I highlighted what properties have a place for vehicle parking and that PBOT has chosen to keep the public ROW reserved for street parking.

City Council adopted the Columbia/Lombard Mobility Plan in 2021 which included plans to add the very bike lanes that exist today (though not for long). With a $32,000,000 budget shortfall for the pending fiscal year, does it make sense to spend money to undo what’s been done or spend some political capital begging for forgiveness?

Delivery vehicles will continue to double park in bike lanes whether there’s parking available or not (N Williams on any given weekday)

As for visitors and households with more cars than driveway space, you’re right, bike lanes would require them to walk a block or two. It’s not 100% ideal for visitors but probably not much longer of a walk than when parking at Costco or visiting Hawthorne on a summer weekend.

Respectfully, I know it’s an inconvenience compared to the previous road configuration but it doesn’t feel like asking for the moon to keep 3 blocks of paint on the ground.

jakeco969
jakeco969
6 months ago

The import aspect in all this is that your viewpoint is much more important than the residents. I can tell you just want them to hurry up to get smart and realize you and all the others posters here are right and they are wrong.

Brandon
6 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

If the resident’s viewpoint is that they are entitled to publicly funded private vehicle parking in the public right of way then they should hurry up and get smart. All streets in Portland should be metered, no more free storage. Instead of hiding the true cost of vehicle ownership with city subsidized parking we should price it according to its market value. You want street parking, you pay for the land and the upkeep to store your junk there. It’s just one more way government has put it’s thumb on the scales, benefiting the auto and oil industries.

jakeco969
jakeco969
6 months ago
Reply to  Brandon

It’s just one more way government has put it’s thumb on the scales, benefiting the auto and oil industries.

This might come as a surprise, but I completely agree with you. The reason they tip the scales is because those two industries are the drivers of a decent part of the tax base that funds government.

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
6 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

Pot meet Kettle

jakeco969
jakeco969
6 months ago
Reply to  SolarEclipse

An unfortunate term to use in a conversation based on POC. If you experienced more multicultural life you would probably know that.

Portland Bicycle Mapper
Reply to  jakeco969

@jakeco969. I wasn’t trying to make one viewpoint more or less than, I was stating my own with the hopes of persuasion but not for invalidation of other viewpoints.

Based on your comment, it sounds like the Viewpoint of Proximity is more important and the rights to and uses of the public ROW increase as one gets closer to their residence or the residence of a friend or family member as opposed to all Portlanders.

We are a collection of our experiences giving us our point of view, Everyone’s is unique and no one’s is more/less valid especially in this instance when discussing public resources.

Though we don’t see eye to eye, it appears the proximity viewpoint and PBOTs are one in the same for the near term (and maybe the long term too).

jakeco969
jakeco969
6 months ago

A powerful answer! I’m not sure if I am up to an equitable response to it.

 I was stating my own with the hopes of persuasion but not for invalidation of other viewpoints.

Are you using your skills to provide this map so the residents know that people are making maps of their homes so they will know they should know their place?
Are you making if for the Bike Portland crowd who (myself included) already support a marked bike lane instead of on street parking?
As has been pointed out before, intent matters and results can sometimes not be as important.

We are a collection of our experiences giving us our point of view, Everyone’s is unique and no one’s is more/less valid especially in this instance when discussing public resources.

I really like your statement here. It just seems that so many people on this site are desperately trying to impose their will on these particular residents rather than listen to their point of view or even take their point of view seriously. My arguement is not with the end result, I too would like to see the bike lane, my concern is with the way the residents are being treated intellectually.

Portland Bicycle Mapper
Reply to  jakeco969

My intent was to create a picture illustrating the parking discussions in the Comments but I see your point. I offer my apologies to the residents of this stretch of NE 33rd for my overreach

The driveways were inventoried by clicking through Google Street View. I have removed the links from the map.

The rest of the data is hosted by the city and can be found at portlandmaps.com

John V
John V
6 months ago

Someone already did this analysis on the original lane removal story, but with words only. Seeing the map, it’s mind boggling that they’re actually going through with removing the bike lane.

One thing the map doesn’t do (that I could tell) is count how many off street spaces a house has. The term that was being vaguely used on this issue was “multi-generational households” who were concerned about losing parking. That to me means they’re saying they need multiple parking spots. So it could be someone on that street wants to park four cars and they just don’t fit. Nevertheless, I don’t think they’re entitled to that.

This all amounts to a different version of the parking minimum regulation catastrophe. Everyone wants to have enough parking spots for the maximum number of cars they can imagine ever coming to their house. Which logically would mean we need like four blocks of street parking per house or more. Why not? I can imagine fantasy scenarios where it might happen! Nobody can seem to wrap their mind around the idea of shared space. You have room for your car (off street) and extra can go into some common area in the rough vicinity of a couple blocks.

I still think this is PBOT failing miserably at navigating the situation. They should have stuck to keeping the bike lane and figure out how to manage the PR about that in some way. They let the embarrassment of making the initial mistake lead them to making an even dumber mistake. And I’m not saying the opinions of the residents should have no weight, but they shouldn’t have absolute weight and when reasonable accommodation is made, sometimes people need to compromise.

Hotswap
Hotswap
6 months ago

The government owns the land the right of way is on and has the right to change and alter it however it sees fit for whatever reason, end of story. If we are not willing to use this simple logic to improve our built environment in even the most justified instances than we will never see our city reclaim its once progressive image.

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
6 months ago
Reply to  Hotswap

Factually true.
Culturally insensitive.
And I would suggest that the final chapter on bike lanes on 33rd has not yet been written.

maxD
maxD
6 months ago

“…anyone doing so are not acting in the best interest of promoting biking for all communities,”

Does this strike anyone else as incredibly patronizing?