Editorial Section Archives

Portland’s e-scooter pilot ends tomorrow (and that’s too bad)

Posted on November 19th, 2018 at 2:46 pm.

The sun is about to set on scooters.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

It was fun while it lasted.

The end of the line has come for Portland’s electric scooters. The pilot started back in July and — judging from comments by Bureau of Transportation staff in a Willamette Week story published yesterday — PBOT seems likely to keep their promise of officially ending it sometime this week.

The scooters hit the streets on July 23rd. For the most part, the program has been a huge success. It’s really a shame it has to end like this.

Remember before they launched? There were all manner of crazy predictions about how terrible it would be. One of our local weeklies published a story that referenced the “zombie apocalypse” and likened the presence of scooters to an “invasion,” peppering the story with anecdotes about crashes and cluttered sidewalks that were all but unusable.

None of that stuff really came true.

Advertise with BikePortland.

Better Naito worked; but we ended it. The scooter program has been a success; but we plan to end that too.

While there are definitely kinks to work out (that’s what a pilot is for), with nearly 700,000 trips in just four months, the 2,000 scooters have changed mobility in Portland for the better. A survey of more than 4,500 scooter users showed them to be wildly popular and used in a way that aligns with nearly all of the City of Portland’s adopted transportation goals.

The scooter companies (not surprisingly) are begging PBOT to extend the pilot. Scooters have been very controversial in Long Beach, California; but officials there decided to prolong the test period for three months while they address how best to regulate them.

As we saw with strong support from City Council for the Central City in Motion plan last week, the City of Portland wants people to drive less and use more efficient, climate-friendly, and safer ways to move around. The scooters tick all those boxes. And now, just as people have begun to integrate them into their lives, the scooters will disappear.

As for what happens next, PBOT says they’ll share findings from all the data and public input they’ve gathered and make them public in early 2019. “The bureau will consider community input and data findings on e-scooters in Portland, and we look forward to learning from the findings to evaluate and inform a potential second pilot program in 2019,” said the agency in a statement.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Guest opinion: I’m disturbed by anti-houseless bigotry on BikePortland

Posted on November 14th, 2018 at 9:39 am.

“Commenters on BikePortland used this incident as an excuse to take potshots at our unhoused neighbors.”
— Andrew Riley

This was written by Andrew Riley, an east Portland resident and longtime community organizer. He wrote this to me via email and gave me permission to post it as an opinion. — Jonathan

I’ve been reading the site since 2007. I’m writing as an East Portland resident, as a cyclist, and as someone who lives near several tent camps along I-205.

When the story on the I-205 “booby trap” was published, I was disturbed – but not surprised, to be honest – to see BikePortland commenters immediately blame houseless campers for this assault.

Literally the first comment on the post linked the two:
[Read more…]

Opinion: Let’s focus on the system, not on “them”

Posted on October 5th, 2018 at 2:54 pm.

Blatant attempt to inject something beautiful into the news cycle.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

After what transpired in Washington DC this week I’m feeling a horrible mix of emotions: Sadness, disgust, frustration, paralysis, hatred, and anger.
[Read more…]

Opinion: Better Naito has ended in the worst way

Posted on September 21st, 2018 at 1:27 pm.

It’s gone. Ripped out last night — a full day before it was scheduled to be removed.

What’s one more day when we already got cheated out of a full week due to a conflict with a nearby bridge construction project?

It’s a lot.
[Read more…]

Opinion: Scootering is very popular and hasn’t destroyed Portland

Posted on August 14th, 2018 at 10:52 am.

I, for one, welcome our new scooter overlords.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

Sorry to break the news to all the local journalists and civic pundits who are desperate for juicy scooter headlines; but so far the predicted scooterpocalypse has not materialized.

We’re almost three weeks into the City of Portland’s electric scooter pilot program and things seems to be going very smoothly. The injuries and deaths many predicted would befall reckless scooter operators haven’t happened. And the sidewalk obstructions and right-of-way issues appear to be no worse than before the scooters got here. Yes, there have been some immature people who’ve destroyed a few of them and we hear there are people downtown stripping them for parts, but those are expected outliers and not a really big deal.

On the flip side, the scooters have given thousands of people a new mobility option — a way to get around that is a million times better for our city than using a car or truck.
[Read more…]

Editorial: Portland’s irrational fear of off-road cycling

Posted on March 26th, 2018 at 3:57 pm.

How could more of this be a bad thing for our local parks?
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

As Portland’s Off-road Cycling Master Plan (ORCMP) rolls ever closer to its big date at City Council, interest groups throughout the city are taking notice.

The usual opposition to better bike access on dirt trails in Portland is very well-known. But I’ve noticed something new in the past few weeks: Advocates for local parks who oppose parts of it based on fears that anything that attracts more off-road bikers will negatively impact the park and its current users.

I find this reflexive opposition very unfortunate.
[Read more…]

Guest post: Candidly, TriMet (part one)

Posted on March 21st, 2018 at 2:31 pm.

This two-part article is by Aaron Brown, founder of No More Freeways PDX and former board president of Oregon Walks.
[Read more…]

Off-road Cycling Master Plan: Another dead end or a new beginning?

Posted on March 19th, 2018 at 1:28 pm.

Greenstadt thinks the soon-to-be adopted plan needs some major tweaks.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

NW Trail Alliance Action Alert

“It is incredibly important that NWTA members and other off-road cycling community members provide input to the Parks Board – your words can help ensure they understand the need for additional access to trails in Portland.”

Daniel Greenstadt is a Concordia neighborhood resident and off-road cycling advocate who has attended many of the Off-road Cycling Plan meetings. In a post on BikePortland last April he shared his hopes and concerns for the plan.

Imagine yourself, your family, or your children pedaling along Forest Park’s newly constructed, 1.5-mile, shared-use trail from the area of NW Thurman Street to the brand new, two-million-dollar Forest Park Entrance and Nature Center at NW St Helens Road and NW Kittridge. You’re riding on a 2-6 foot wide path – some of it not even within Forest Park – immediately adjacent to the industrial buildings, rail yards, commercial operations, and tank farms that crowd the Highway 30 corridor. You are riding in the most ecologically degraded area of Forest Park on what Northwest Trail Alliance has described as “essentially a dirt sidewalk.”
[Read more…]

Opinion: To make Portland safer, ODOT’s Rian Windsheimer must go

Posted on February 19th, 2018 at 1:00 pm.

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This post is written by Kiel Johnson, owner of the Go By Bike bike valet in South Waterfront.

The Oregon Department of Transportation, under the leadership of Rian Windsheimer, is trying to remove a bike lane on SE 26th without providing any satisfying reasons as to why this is a good idea. This should alarm anyone who thinks that Portland should be safer for bikes and that our transportation system should be designed around evidence. From favoring auto capacity over transit, to spending $450 million to widen a freeway while many of the most dangerous streets that are under state control lack safe crossings, ODOT has repeatedly proven they are not acting in the best interests of the people of Portland. If ODOT is going to regain the trust of the community they serve, there needs to be a cultural change at ODOT that starts at the top. The director of ODOT who oversees Portland, Rian Windsheimer, must go.

[Read more…]

Oregon’s auto industry is booming: Is that a good thing?

Posted on January 23rd, 2018 at 12:59 pm.

Good news?

How can Oregon make progress in its fight against car abuse when cars represent one of the largest sectors of our state’s economy?

It feels good for Oregon bicycle advocates to talk about “bikenomics,” but the truth hurts: our state’s auto industry is a behemoth that casts a very long shadow. According to an article published Sunday in the Portland Tribune, there was $10.6 billion in new vehicle sales in 2016 (the latest year figures are available). That amounts to a whopping 17.9 percent of all retail sales statewide.

As the Trib story says, auto dealers are celebrating a “banner year” as they ready for their biggest moment — the annual Portland Auto Show held at the Oregon Convention Center this weekend.

Here’s more from the Trib piece:[Read more…]