“Outrageous” to repeal tax break for 850,000 U.S. bicycle commuters, Rep. Blumenauer says

Posted on November 10th, 2017 at 11:56 am.

There is no more staunch defender of the Bicycle Commuter Tax Benefit, a current federal provision that allows people to exclude (a whopping) $20 a month from taxable income for “expenses related to regular bicycle commuting.”

So when emerged that the Senate GOP’s tax plan would kill it, while retaining a $255 monthly commute benefit for parking cars, we knew Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer would have something to say about it. After all, he authored the current benefit and championed its passage in 2008. To Blumenauer, it’s a simple matter of equity.
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Oregon Governor signs anti-profiling bill aimed at racially motivated traffic stops

Posted on August 18th, 2017 at 1:28 pm.

Crosswalk enforcement action NE Killingsworth-6

Starting next year, the Portland Police Bureau will be required to report traffic stop data to the State.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

One of the many ways race intersects with transportation is with enforcement of traffic laws. National and local statistics show that black people are stopped and cited for road-use related violations at a higher rate than whites.

In their Unequal Justice series, Investigate West reported, “For everything from jaywalking to driving without a license, it pays to be white in Oregon if you run afoul of the law. What you really don’t want to be is black.”

Now there’s an Oregon law on the books that will give advocates and law enforcement officials new tools to analyze traffic stops and ultimately tackle racial profiling — or as Oregon law enforcement officials refer to it, “bias policing.”
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Baffled by veto threat, legislators and advocates lobby Governor Brown for reversal

Posted on August 9th, 2017 at 4:47 pm.

Don’t do it Governor!

A threat by Governor Kate Brown to veto a highly anticipated project in southwest Portland has been met with shock and bewilderment by advocates and legislators. Now with little time to spare before Brown acts on her stated intentions, an effort has begun to persuade her to change her mind.

Neighborhood advocates have been urging the City of Portland to make Southwest Capitol Highway safer 26 years. The City of Portland has raised about $10 million for a project that would finally build sidewalks, bikeways and make other updates to the street between Multnomah Village and Taylors Ferry Road. Thanks to the passage of House Bill 5006 last month, everyone expected an additional $2 million for a final, key segment of the project. Governor Brown’s inexplicable veto threat puts that funding in jeopardy.

Asked for comment this afternoon, Brown’s Communications Director Chris Pair offered no additional rationale for the threat beyond what was shared in a statement yesterday — that they felt the project should go through more vetting and evaluation and that it should have been included in the larger transportation package.

But that explanation doesn’t sit well with Senator Ginny Burdick, whose district is directly adjacent to the project. [Read more…]

The Street Trust: Oregon transpo bill falls short on Safe Routes to School

Posted on June 6th, 2017 at 12:10 pm.

Bike to School Day in NoPo-17

The current bill would only improve streets within one-quarter mile of schools.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Staff and supporters from The Street Trust are pedaling to Salem today with a message for legislators: The $8.2 billion transportation bill doesn’t do enough to fund Safe Routes to School. Not nearly enough.

While lawmakers want to fast-track nearly $2 billion for a few freeway expansion projects in the Portland region, they want to dedicate just $10 million a year to the Safe Routes to School program.

LeeAnne Fergason, who heads up The Street Trust’s For Every Kid Coalition, wrote in an email last week that $10 million per year “is not adequate.”

In House Bill 2017, lawmakers have proposed $10 million a year for 10 years to be spent to, “improve sidewalks; reduce vehicle speeds; improve pedestrian and bicycle crossings; create or improve bicycle lanes; or improve traffic diversion” within a quarter-mile of schools. The money would also only be available to agencies and organizations that could come up with a 40 percent match (meaning grant applicants would have to come up with 40% of the project cost from their own budgets in order to receive any state money).

The language in HB 2017 falls far short of what The Street Trust has been lobbying for. They want the bill to include provisions in House Bill 3230, which they helped write in collaboration with Portland House Representative Rob Nosse Representative John Lively from Springfield and Senator Kathleen Taylor from Milwaukie. That bill sailed through the House in April but hasn’t moved forward in the Senate. Here’s a chart created by The Street Trust that shows the difference between HB 3230 and HB 2017.
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2017 Oregon transportation bill: Here’s how to make your voice matter

Posted on June 2nd, 2017 at 1:59 pm.

Legislator bike ride at the Oregon Bike Summit-9

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Our elected representatives need to hear what you think of the $8.2 billion transportation package.

The Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization just released the full details for the upcoming hearings for House Bill 2017. And The Street Trust is riding to Salem for one of them.

Here are the details:
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Portland’s 20 mph speed limit bill passes Senate, nears final passage

Posted on May 23rd, 2017 at 10:22 am.

SE Division Takeover-5.jpg

East Portland resident Sarah Iannarone during a December 2016 protest at the corner of SE 82nd and Division.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

A new state law that would allow the City of Portland to reduce speed limits on over 3,000 miles of residential streets — that’s over 60 percent of all the streets in Portland — to 20 mph cleared a major hurdle yesterday.

With a vote of 4-1 in the Senate Committee On Business and Transportation, House Bill 2682 now only has to pass a vote of the full Senate before it can be signed into law. The bill passed the Oregon House 55-1 back in April.

The bill, sponsored by State Respresentative Rob Nosse, would only apply to the City of Portland. It was amended after cities and counties across the state said they didn’t want the added resonsibility of making speed limit decisions themselves and would rather have ODOT’s continued oversight.
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The latest on Oregon’s bike tax proposal from Street Trust policy director Gerik Kransky

Posted on May 12th, 2017 at 11:33 am.

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

What’s an advocacy group to do when they strongly oppose a policy idea, but are cognizant of the broader political context that surrounds it? It’s a complicated question that often has no easy answer.
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Distracted driving, Vision Zero, speed limits and more: Checking in on the Oregon legislative session

Posted on May 5th, 2017 at 2:29 pm.

Distracted driver being distracted.jpg

Lawmakers are poised overhaul Oregon’s cell phone/distracted driving law.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon lawmakers want to make it easier to hunt animals with your car (seriously), but they want to make it harder to use your phone while doing so.

We’re just over half-way through the 2017 legislative session and it’s time to see how the bills we’ve been tracking are holding up.

As you might recall, back in February we flagged nine House bills and nine Senate bills. (We’re also watching the Joint Transportation Preservation and Modernization Committee. They’re set to unveil the big transportation funding package very soon. It could even happen at their meeting this Monday.)

Some are dead, some are on life support, and some are flourishing and are likely to become law. Here’s the full rundown:

House Bills Still Alive

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The Street Trust: Why we’re pushing for safe routes to school for every kid in Oregon

Posted on April 6th, 2017 at 2:10 pm.

Bike to School Day in NoPo-6

The upcoming legislative proposal is likely to include dedicated funding for safe routes to school.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

This is the third and final post in a series about the 2017 legislative session published in partnership with The Street Trust. Read the other installments here and here.

— by LeeAnne Fergason, The Street Trust campaign director

The change I’d like to see in the world starts with a great compassion for kids and intersects with transportation choices, aimed at freedom and independence.

Ten years ago, I began working at the Street Trust (formerly the Bicycle Transportation Alliance), as a Safe Routes to School coordinator. I joined a dream team of organizers and partners, including: Stephanie Noll (The Street Trust’s Interim Executive Director), Carl Larson (we miss you!), Scott Lieuallen (local bike hero), Steph Routh (then Executive Director of Oregon Walks, now Communications and Marketing Manager at the Community Cycling Center), Susan Peithman (then with ALTA Planning + Design, now Oregon Department of Transportation Active Transportation Policy Lead), and many others who are still working to make our streets safe for kids. All of us were pretty young back then and learned much of our transportation nerdiness and enthusiasm by being a part of a Safe Routes to School program.
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TriMet lobbies for more freeways in a misguided ‘fix’ for Portland congestion

Posted on February 22nd, 2017 at 9:25 am.

I-5 traffic from N Skidmore.jpg

Don’t believe the hype.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This is a guest post from former news editor Michael Andersen.

The top executive of Portland’s mass transit agency said this week that the Portland region has four top transportation priorities, and three of them are to expand capacity of urban freeways.

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