US DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaking in Eugene yesterday.
These are wild times for climate change in America. We have floods and droughts and fires and heat waves — scary, deadly, catastrophic events — unfolding in front of our eyes as policymakers scramble to satisfy an anxious public and activists increase the volume of their pleas.
Yesterday in Eugene, the Biden Administration’s top transportation leader, US Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg appeared at a press conference with U.S. Congressmen and Chair of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Peter DeFazio. They and other officials spent the day viewing safety challenges on Highway 99 in Corvallis and driving an all-electric bus. The high-profile visit was part of a tour to tout Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework.
As the climate issue heats up, so too are calls to use transportation policy as a way to address it.[Read more…]
Riders meet up prior to rolling out for a recent Unity Ride. (Photos: Maritza Arango/@arango_mari)
Publisher’s Note: Maritza Arango is BikePortland’s new events editor! This is her first (non Weekend Event Guide) post. Maritza moved to Portland from Bogotá, Colombia in January 2021. Stay tuned for a proper intro and more of her perspectives on Portland’s bike scene. – Jonathan
How hard is it for humans to understand that differences should be acknowledged and respected? It is not just a matter of thinking that we are all the same, because we are not. With that on my mind, I attended my first bike ride in Portland earlier this month. It was the Unity Ride; a ride only for women, trans and non-binary people.
“I want to get to know the community through the eyes of those who, like myself, believe their bodies are not welcome, appreciated, suitable, or even allowed on a bike.”
For centuries, the patriarchy has drawn a line between “them” – as the bodies that matter, the bodies that “can and should” occupy public space like it belonged to them – and “the others.” They feel entitled to comment, to look, to touch, to harass. It is unnecessary for me to explain (and honestly I don’t want to because it is exhausting) which bodies belong to that historical patriarchal status-quo and which don’t.
Now, you should be asking yourself: What does all this have to do with biking? Why should I make the decision to start writing about biking in Portland on such an uncomfortable topic? Well, I want to get to know the community through the eyes of those who, like myself, believe their bodies are not welcome, appreciated, suitable, or even allowed on a bike. This is how I want to introduce myself.
Some may think that bikes are just for sports, for fun, or for daily transportation. I was drawn to the Unity Ride for several reasons, in part because I think that bikes are so much more than that. I think riding a bike can be a political expression of individuals and communities.
In Sellwood, on one of our stops along the Willamette River.
So let’s get to the ride recap!
Before I continue, I want to mention that I invited two friends to join me. Not only because I wanted to spend time with them, but also because I believed that I was not going to fit in. Why? Because I am a woman, I am overweight, I am Latina, and I have a disability and a service dog. Sounds like a perfect recipe for an entertaining conversation for a group of proud and drunk boys, right?
Amélie, my service dog, getting to know the community.
Here’s how it happened: First, I reached out to Sofie, one of the organizers, to let them know I wanted to join the ride and get to know them so I could write this report.
I arrived at Colonel Summers park, Friday July 3rd, at 7:00 pm. Around 15 people had already gathered, and were talking and waiting for something or someone. Everyone seemed to know each other except me. As I was waiting for Sofie, I felt like I was in an awkward blind date where I was waiting and looking for someone that should arrive “on a red bike.” My bike needed some adjustment so I decided to approach the group. People reached out to help and I even got a tool kit offered (thank you, PCC Active Transportation!). Everything seemed to have started from a good place. More people were showing up, and we quickly became a group of 20 or 30 bikers with so many different bodies and gender expressions.
Someone started talking to the group: “No homophobia allowed, no fatphobia allowed, no transphobia allowed, no misogynistic behavior allowed, no harassment allowed…” I can’t remember the exact words but I can summarize those with: No discrimination allowed. Turns out that person was Sofie. And that’s how I met her.
Some safety instructions were given to the group and we were ready to go. The ride was smooth, sunny, and beautiful. People were happy and it felt like a place where I could show any weakness with no judgment. During the ride some people approached me to check in, some to have a short talk and some were just sharing music and chillness – I know, it sounds too much like a unicorn safety fairytale, but it was real.
We arrived at Sellwood park for a swim and a picnic after a 10-mile ride across a couple of bridges. (I wouldn’t recommend the ride to beginners that are just learning how to ride; I’d say it required a minimum set of skills.)
At the picnic I talked to some of the organizers of the ride; here is a little bit of what they shared with me:
“The ride has been going on for about a year now. It started biweekly but now is weekly. We have two rides: One that goes at a pace that’s inclusive to all riders, and one that’s faster for more experienced riders. We strive to include women, transgender and non-binary people that have felt excluded or intimidated to forming community around bikes. We want the community to be as involved in the ride as they want to be! We aim to create an inclusive environment where no one person is the sole leader. We prioritize safety and inclusion while having fun!”
What is my conclusion after riding and talking with them? Everyone is invited except the ones that have a privilege that allows them to be respected, accepted and safe in any or every other ride. Why? Because women and other bodies that are non-dominant need spaces to feel safe and to…. just be. Don’t take my word as the Unity Ride’s word, this is just me asking the world to give women and others more spaces where we can take care of each other, be vulnerable, learn and especially, not be harassed!
I promise that you’ll read from me a lot more reasons why women belong on bikes and why public space is in debt to us, “the others.” Thank you for reading!
“We want to apologize for our conduct at that meeting. It was unprofessional, endemic of systemic racism, and unacceptable. We will be holding ourselves accountable.” — PBOT Bicycle Advisory Committee letter
Two months after a heated meeting with Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, members of the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee have penned an apology letter.
The meeting on May 11th was Hardesty’s first visit to the BAC since she was named PBOT Commissioner in December 2020. During a Q & A session following remarks to the committee, Hardesty, the first Black woman on Portland City Council, made some statements that left many veteran bike advocates shocked and frustrated. One BAC member, Clint Culpepper, become animated in his pushback against some of Hardesty’s comments — especially when she appeared to dismiss bike advocates’ demands because she doesn’t feel “the bike community” is an effective lobby group.[Read more…]
Riding the South Park Blocks. (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)
At their weekly meeting this Thursday, Portland City Council will consider adoption of the South Parks Blocks Master Plan. Like myriad other planning documents, this plan is an unfunded mandate that identifies a vision for how the South Park Blocks could grow in the years to come.
These plans are usually passed without much drama because they’re the result of years of painstaking public outreach and don’t come with specific, required actions and timelines. But this plan might be different: Tucked into Appendix B of the plan is a joint proposal from Portland Parks and Recreation (PP&R) and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) that would create a carfree space on several blocks of Park Avenue West. The “Connected Cultural District” concept would expand the existing pedestrian plaza of Portland State University by six blocks near the Portland Art Museum and create a world-class segment of the Green Loop — a central city greenway corridor that was adopted by council in 2018.[Read more…]
U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer on 82nd Avenue, Friday July 9th, 2021. (Photo: City of Portland)
U.S. Congressman and former Portland city commissioner Earl Blumenauer took a walk on Southeast 82nd Avenue on Friday to highlight a $5 million federal investment into the beleaguered road. The visit came a week after Blumenauer and his colleagues in the House of Representatives voted 221 to 201 to pass the INVEST in America Act, a bill that would inject $715 billion into transportation infrastructure nationwide.
The $5 million earmarked for 82nd comes amid unprecedented momentum for the state highway (OR 213) to finally be transferred into local hands after years of advocacy from safe streets activists and elected officials who are fed up with the State of Oregon’s management style. After years of pushing for the transfer, two more deaths on the street back in April pushed the issue to the front-burner. State lawmakers then teamed up with the City of Portland and Oregon Department of Transportation to hammer out a “historic” agreement that would allow the transfer to take place — but only if all the parties cough up the requisite funds — totalling nearly $200 million — to bring the road up to a state of good repair. [Read more…]
The recent heat wave, looming wildfire risks, and lawmakers’ tone deaf support of freeway expansions are fueling high anxiety about climate change in the Portland region. And as you might expect, many people are organizing and taking action to do something about it.
There’s now a “Bike Action Team” that has formed under the local chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a nationwide effort to boost awareness and support for the federal Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. The legislation would put a price on carbon and send taxpayers a carbon dividend check. We first reported about local support for this effort back in March. Since then, six more local bike shops have signed onto the Business Climate Leaders Bicycle Industry Climate Declaration. Backpedal Cycleworks, Block Bikes PDX, Gladys Bikes, Joe Bike, Kenton Cycle Repair, and New Age Bike Works are the six new shops on the list. They join Clever Cycles, Cyclepath, Cynergy E-Bikes, The eBike Store, Inc., Fat Tire Farm, Go By Bike, Nomad Cycles, Recumbent PDX, River City Bicycles, Rose City Recumbent Cycles and West End Bikes.
You’ll likely see this poster (right) at these shops next time you stop in. The poster has QR codes where you can learn about the legislation and send your congressional representative a note to urge their support. [Read more…]
Corner of SW Broadway and 5th Avenue looking east. I-405 and the surface street route of Hwy 26 to the Ross Island Bridge create a no-man’s-land for people walking and on bicycles. (photo: Lisa Caballero/BikePortland)
Heading toward a record breaking number of traffic deaths in year without traffic cops. KATU – 23 Jul 21 Portland traffic safety improvements still months away as police role diminishes It will be several… Read Post »
image906×900 333 KB Keep an eye out! twitter.com BikeIndex Portland (stolenbikereg) STOLEN - Black Cannondale Topstone N Size M in Northwest Portland https://t.co/RhgT3rc1Xt 7:45 AM - 23 Jul 2021 1 1 post - 1… Read Post »
More vandalism of bike and pedestrian infrastructure in Portland. Portland Bureau of Transportation @PBOTinfo · 14h Alert: Steel Bridge lower deck for bike & walking access CLOSED thru Tuesday 7/27 for repairs after vandalism… Read Post »
Let me preface this by saying that I’m a fairly serious recreational cyclist, bike commuter and mountain biker. I clock 4000-5000 miles in an average year. I also drive a car. Not often-- maybe… Read Post »
Video of vehicle driving on bike path. twitter.com Mike Warner (MikeKATU) NOT SAFE…this guy driving down the bike / pedestrian path along Marine Dr. near 148th. I was out gathering video on issues with… Read Post »