My visit to the Portland Freight Committee (PFC) earlier this month led to an interesting revelation: Turns out, members of this influential committee think the use of large freight trucks on North Lombard should be prioritized above everything else. To say the committee is skeptical of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s plan to remove two driving lanes to make room for a bike lanes and other updates is an understatement.
Reader Lenny Anderson took notice.
Lenny knows a thing or three about how freight advocacy works in this town. Before retiring in 2013, he spent 13 years improving access to-and-from the industrial district on Swan Island (home to UPS, FedEx, and others). Known to many as “Mr. Swan Island,” one reason Lenny was so good at his job is that he understood the way to move more freight was to encourage bicycling and transit use and remove as many single-occupancy automobile users as possible. “Every two people that ride down here is a semi!” he once said.[Read more…]
It’s be too long since we put the spotlight on one of your great comments. Let’s try to do this more often shall we? If you see a great comment, just hit “reply” and write “comment of the week”. If you do that, I can find the best comments in a quick search.
OK, onto the comment…
Last week (or so) we highlighted a noteworthy exchange at Portland city council during a discussion about the bureau of transportation’s vision zero program. As city staff outlined their approach of “shared responsibility” and made it clear that people using cars have to do a better job not running into people outside of cars, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty expressed discomfort. She said some of PBOT’s vision zero work is making roads “confusing” and is “making people lose their minds”. Hardesty also instructed PBOT to spend more time on people who walk around with their heads buried in their phones, saying people who are distracted by electronic devices are a “huge issue.”
“Look, I feel disgust and pity for people glued to their phones as much as anybody, but ‘distracted walking’ is not a thing as far as I’m concerned. ‘Distracted walking’ is the ‘all lives matter’ of transportation — true in principle, but too often twisted around and used by members of an entrenched and powerful majority, who are responsible for most of the problems — to minimize and shut down the concerns of the minority.
Distracted walking collision: “Oh excuse me,” and get on with your day.
Distracted driving collision: “She is survived by her husband Chad and sons Chad Jr. and Jeremy. Services will be at Johnson’s Funeral Home.”
So no, f— me very much, I’m not falling for that one.”
We have yet to hear a clarification or follow-up from Commissioner Hardesty.
Thank you Glenn and everyone else who chimed in here and on Facebook. As Portland struggles to stem a spate of serious and fatal crashes, how we talk about this problem matters. Whether you agree or disagree with Commissioner Hardesty, her comment spurred an important dialogue that should make our policies and actions more effective.
If drivers simply slowed down, riding on Skyline could always be this pleasant. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)
We’re long overdue to put the spotlight on a great comment.
Our Comment of the Week goes to noted local activist and lawyer (and BikePortland supporter) Scott Kocher.
On Wednesday he shared insights about a road he knows very well: NW Skyline Blvd. His comment came on our story about Multnomah County’s online open house that seeks feedback on their 20 Year Road Plan. One project on that list would consider “augmenting shoulders” and possibly providing, “enhanced shoulder bikeways.”