Caution, Blumenauer and bikes: Let’s talk Biden’s infrastructure plan

Posted on April 5th, 2021 at 1:48 pm.

Obama’s rescue plan built the cycle-track on SW Moody. What would Biden’s plan build?
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

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Disability rights activist pushes bill for more diversity on ODOT committees

Posted on March 22nd, 2021 at 11:34 am.

People who ride these have a very different perspective.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

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State lawmakers hear powerful opposition amid lots of support at ‘Safe Routes for All’ bill hearing

Posted on March 4th, 2021 at 11:35 am.

Lawmakers and advocates in the virtual meeting.

Senate Bill 395, also known as the Safe Routes for All bill, got its first hearing at the Oregon Legislature this morning where members of the Joint Transportation Committee heard much more support for the bill than opposition to it.

But what the opposition lacked in the collective power of their voices, they made up for in the power of the organizations they spoke up for.

Proposed by The Street Trust with sponsorship from Eugene-area Senator Floyd Prozanski (who was not in attendance today), SB 395 seeks to increase the minimum expenditure on bicycling and walking infrastructure from the State Highway Fund from 1% to 5% and make a few other key tweaks to what’s known as the Oregon Bike Bill, a groundbreaking piece of legislation passed in 1971.
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Oregon advocates launch ‘Safe Routes for All’ campaign to boost Bike Bill spending

Posted on March 2nd, 2021 at 9:07 am.

(Graphic: The Street Trust)

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Senator behind push for Bike Bill spending boost offers dose of reality

Posted on February 11th, 2021 at 3:16 pm.

Riders on the I-205 path, built with State Highway Fund dollars.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Eugene-area Senator Floyd Prozanski will play a big role in whether or not a major effort to boost bicycle spending in Oregon will get the green light. [Read more…]

Backed by business and advocacy coalition, Blumenauer introduces ‘E-BIKE Act’

Posted on February 10th, 2021 at 9:52 am.

Customers eye Gazelle models at The E-Bike Store in north Portland.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

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Blumenauer pushes pedals on bikeshare and commuter tax benefit bills

Posted on January 29th, 2021 at 9:30 am.

Bike riders deserve a break.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Back in November there was buzz that Portland congressman Earl Blumenauer might be named to lead the U.S. Department of Transportation under President Joe Biden. That didn’t happen, but it doesn’t mean the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus will be on the sidelines of U.S. transportation policy.[Read more…]

It’s official: Mayor Wheeler adds Sam Adams to his team

Posted on January 28th, 2021 at 4:58 pm.

Sam Adams at a Safe Routes to School event in north Portland in 2010.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Former Portland mayor and transportation commissioner Sam Adams is back.

Mayor Ted Wheeler has confirmed a strong hunch we shared earlier this month that Adams would be added to his staff.

In a statement published today, Wheeler said Adams will serve as his director of strategic innovations and, “lead work on key second-term policy priorities.” [Read more…]

Bill adds ‘humans’ to legal definition of taxable bicycle in Oregon

Posted on January 22nd, 2021 at 5:08 pm.

Screen grab of LC 2448. Words in bold are additions to existing law.

Here’s something light to end the week…[Read more…]

Carfree streets, EVs for all, smarter funding: Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty shares her ‘smart transit’ vision

Posted on January 22nd, 2021 at 10:46 am.

Hardesty envisions more scenes like this downtown, where people have more space on the streets.

“I believe life will be radically different post-Covid and our planning should reflect our new reality.”
— Jo Ann Hardesty, city commissioner

At a city council work session Thursday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and the four other commissioners had an informal and wide-ranging discussion about how to respond to the multiple crises facing our city. During the meeting, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty described how she wants to use her leadership of the transportation bureau to kickstart the local economy and face the climate crisis. Hardesty called it a vision for “smart transit”.

The work session was led by Dr. Markisha Smith from the Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights. Each commissioner was asked to share their opinion about the most urgent issues council should focus on in the next 12-18 months.

The first thing Hardesty mentioned was her vision for more carfree streets we reported on earlier this month. Hardesty elaborated on that idea (first shared her policy director Derek Bradley at a Bicycle Advisory Committee January 12th), but she didn’t stop there.

About one hour and 15 minutes into the two-hour session (you can watch it here), Hardesty laid out four transportation-related goals.

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She tied a vision for carfree streets downtown to the climate crisis, economic rebirth and changing behaviors related to the Covid pandemic:

Jo Ann Hardesty
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“When I think about smart transit I think about, as we are attempting to reach our climate goals, are there opportunities to support small restaurants across the city by closing off some streets to auto traffic? Is it possible when we are in rebuild mode coming out of Covid, to really think about what would a carfree downtown look like? I say this because I think that there is this misperception that one day we’re going to go back to business as usual and that Covid will be behind us, and we’re going to flip the switch and life will be as it was prior to Covid. I think that there’s a lot of people that believe that and I am not one of them. I believe life will be radically different post-Covid, and our planning should reflect our new reality… Is there an opportunity to create international districts in different parts of the city that people can access for food and goods and services that are not tied to people getting into automobiles?”

Hardesty then mentioned her desire to boost electric vehicle access:

“I also want to think about how we create opportunities for electric vehicle infrastructure in different parts of the city so that we can ensure that BIPOC community members have access to both building it and actually being able to take advantage of using it.”

Her next two goals were related to funding. The first was about federal funds:

“I want to make sure we are identifying federal resources that traditionally have been all about freeway expansions. I’m looking for federal resources to support a climate resilient transportation department that is really focused on green issues as compared to freeway expansions like we’re so accustomed to.”

The second was the concern that PBOT’s budget is closely tied to driving and there’s still no substitute to gas taxes and parking-related revenues — both of which were trending down before the pandemic hit:

“[I am interested in] trying to identify new funding opportunities to create a smart transit system for PBOT that is not dependent on people driving automobiles, and not dependent on people parking at parking garages [PBOT owns and operates several of them downtown]. We are facing a $40 million budget deficit because normal funding mechanisms have been impacted by A) Covid and B) should be impacted by our climate justice and resiliency goals.”

The facilitator then asked other commissioners to respond.

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Commissioner Mingus Mapps said, “I generally support this vision. I think it’s innovative and I’m happy to work with a lot of these things.”

Commissioner Carmen Rubio said, “I also support it. It’s in line with a lot of our goals, particularly around equity.”

Commissioner Dan Ryan was much less enthusiastic: “It felt very connected to the climate crisis, even though it was stated as transportation. But that’s what I kept hearing. It’s not in my top three or four, but I respect what I just heard.”

Mayor Wheeler responded with, “I appreciated it. It sounded more like the answer to a broader question. It sounded tactical. I think it is in alignment with our stated goals around climate action and transportation equity. But I would see that as one of multiple strategies that are fulfilling the larger objective.” Then he added, “I want to say this: I actually love innovative and visionary thinking and I appreciate that. It’s a good vision.”

With new leadership in City Hall and multiple crises facing Portland, now is a great time for a new transportation vision and more urgency on the topic in general — something Portland hasn’t for years. Hardesty seems to understand the opportunity and appears to be unafraid to try and meet it. As she laid out her idea to use streets as gathering places in a way that would help our economy rebound in a Covid-safe way, Hardesty said, “That’s one of the exciting things about having transportation at this moment.”

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