Editorial Section Archives

Guest Opinion: Job description for new PBOT leader isn’t bold enough

Posted on April 4th, 2019 at 11:14 am.

Jillian Detweiler is the executive director of The Street Trust.

“The successful candidate should value all modes of transportation.”

So reads the disappointing job description for the next leader of the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

The Street Trust hoped the recruitment would elevate the exciting and pressing challenge that awaits the new PBOT Director: leading and accelerating significant improvements in alternatives to driving alone. That certainly was the consensus of transportation activists invited to meet with a City Human Resources representative who gathered stakeholder input prior to producing the job description.[Read more…]

Friday Opinion: Biketown hasn’t taken over Portland like I’d hoped. And that’s OK

Posted on March 29th, 2019 at 11:19 am.

(Photo: PBOT 2018 Biketown Annual Report)

So far, Biketown hasn’t turned out to be the ubiquitous presence or dominant travel mode I hoped it would be. Instead it’s a (mostly) reliable, well-run, affordable and accessible transportation option for people who need it most.

That’s what I came away thinking after I read the 2018 Biketown Annual Report (PDF) recently adopted by Portland City Council.

When Biketown launched in July 2016, I was eager to finally have a bike share system. Even though Portland was late to the party, I assumed the orange bikes would a vast impact on how we get around. Inspired by the systems I’d used and seen flourish in Washington D.C. and New York City, I envisioned orange bikes everywhere. And with bikes everywhere we’d have bike riders everywhere and we’d have bike infrastructure everywhere and my dreams of a cycling city would finally be realized.

But that’s not how things have gone. [Read more…]

Friday Opinion: The bills I wish we were working on this session

Posted on March 15th, 2019 at 9:52 am.

Bicycle riders should be included in Oregon’s “Move Over Law.”
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

There are plenty of important bills down in Salem this session, but as you might have noticed in the list of bills we’re tracking — and despite a supermajority for Democrats — bicycling doesn’t seem like much a priority. (Not that bicycling is a partisan issue, but in general Democrats tend to be more receptive to it than Republicans.)

When arguably the biggest bike bill in the mix is one that merely clarifies an existing law that bike lanes don’t disappear in intersections, you know it’s another down year for cycling in Salem.

I can think of several reasons why the issue has lost urgency with lawmakers; but instead of lamenting the state of cycling in our politics, I want to share a few legal ideas I wish we were working on.
[Read more…]

Opinion: Portland’s scooter success exposes stark double standard

Posted on January 18th, 2019 at 8:57 am.

Scooter riders in the mix of traffic in downtown Portland.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

*This post is by Joe Cortright and was originally published by City Observatory.

Data shows Portland’s scooter experiment worked. Maybe it’s time to critically appraise the failed, 110-year experiment with cars.
[Read more…]

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.
[Read more…]

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…]