Comment of the Week

Comment of the Week: Portland’s five-step recipe for 25 percent biking

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on July 22nd, 2016 at 4:35 pm

Bike traffic on N Williams Ave-16.jpg

Getting there.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Of all the wonderful ideas in Portland’s Bicycle Plan for 2030, the one I personally hope is never forgotten is its audacious use of a numeral: 25 percent.

That’s the target it set for the share of trips that could happen by bicycle in Portland. Today, the figure is something like 7 percent. Only several dozen cities in eastern Asia and northern Europe, probably, can currently boast 25 percent or more.

But 25 percent is possible and even imaginable, as BikePortland reader Alex Reedin spelled out in a Thursday morning comment estimating the payoff for each step that’ll be required to get us there.

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Comment of the Week: A frustrated, hopeful east Portlander on the gas tax

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on June 24th, 2016 at 4:31 pm

jim chasse

Veteran east Portland advocate and gas tax fan Jim Chasse.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Three out of four east Portlanders who voted last month didn’t vote for the local gas tax. But given how their area’s been treated in the last few decades, can you blame them?

That’s the perspective of one east Portland resident who supported the “Fix Our Streets” plan, commenting on Thursday’s post about gas tax voting patterns.

BikePortland reader Jim Chasse is part of an extremely effective network of east Portland advocates who’ve brought in tens of millions of dollars of budgeted commitments to east Portland streets over the next several years. If the city keeps those promises, he suggests, east Portlanders may notice.

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Comment of the week: Biking with color in a country with history

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on June 17th, 2016 at 3:18 pm

Prospect Park-6

There are as many ways to be a person who bikes as there are ways to be a person, and just as many ways to be a person of color.

That was part of the thinking shared by BikePortland reader Clement in a comment on yesterday’s post by Taz Loomans about how to get more racial and ethnic diversity into organized bike fun.

Here’s what Clement said:

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Comment of the Week: The car-free destiny of NW 13th Avenue

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on May 27th, 2016 at 5:40 pm

Sunday Parkways NW-39

Northwest 13th Avenue during Sunday Parkways, 2011.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Curb-protected bike lanes are cool and all, but they’ve got nothing on building-protected bike lanes.

That’s roughly the position from BikePortland reader Andrew, who added the first comment to Tuesday’s post about possible downtown protected bike lanes with a very different vision for one of Portland’s most unique streets: Northwest 13th Avenue.

Here’s what Andrew had to say:

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Comment of the Week: Bike trail advocates should take a lesson from dog parks

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on April 8th, 2016 at 5:05 pm


No leash in Normandale Park, no problem – now.
(Photo: Michael Lin)

“When everyone breaks the rules, the rules bend.”

That was the hesitant declaration of BikePortland reader axoplasm, responding Friday morning to Thursday’s report about the organized resistance to mountain biking trails by people whose private property abuts the public land where they’d be built.

Axoplasm isn’t so much responding to this latest twist in Portland’s quest for singletrack, but more to the seeming futility of the quest itself. (As another reader, Charley, put it, “We’re not trying to build a lego tower to the moon, just open some trails to people who ride bikes.”)

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Comment of the Week: Raise the gas tax one penny per fatality

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on March 25th, 2016 at 4:17 pm


How to get people’s attention?
(Photo: Blink Ofanaye)

Want to end traffic deaths? Try hitting people in the wallet.

That was the crazy-like-a-fox idea Pat Franz shared in a comment on Wednesday’s post about the known dangerous crossing of Cully Boulevard at Mason, where Patrick Curry died Saturday night as he tried to walk across the street.

Here’s Franz’s modest proposal:

How about we increase the gas tax by $0.01 for every vulnerable road user death? I know it sounds crass, a penny per life, but it would point out the incredible crassness of how we don’t pay for things, even when there is a clear need. The tax might eventually get so high that there could be effective social scorn for the killers, who knows?

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Comment of the Week: Financing government with parking garages is a bad model

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on February 29th, 2016 at 10:14 am

rendering with fake people

If we want to invest in something that makes money,
how about homes instead?

Portland’s economic development agency is casting about for new funding, and some people seem to think that developing a bunch of big parking garages is the ticket.

We’re working on a post following up on last week’s look at a taxpayer-financed $26 million hotel parking garage. In the meantime, readers have been having an interesting conversation about it. And reader Iain MacKenzie, who goes by “Maccoinnich” in the comments and who also happens to be the guy behind development-tracking website, had one of the best-informed takes on the issue.

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Comment of the Week: How the history of cell phones explains American streets

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on February 12th, 2016 at 5:29 pm

Ride Along with Ali Reis-30

Surrounded by investments in everything else.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

“Why is Portland-ish planning not spreading more rapidly?”

That was the question BikePortland reader Paul asked on Monday morning, after reading about how the Danish rust-belt city of Odense is rebuilding its economy around livable streets. It’s a great question, and it got a great answer from BikePortland reader Anne Hawley.

Anne went back to the 1800s for an analogy of how too many U.S. cities went astray and have stayed that way:

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Comment of the Week: ‘When I was broke, I barely rode my bike’

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on January 29th, 2016 at 4:47 pm

I often wonder how many activists have ever really struggled with poverty or even personally know anyone who has.

We talk a lot about infrastructure at BikePortland, because it matters to people who bike. But it’s very far from the only thing that matters.

In a comment beneath Monday’s post about the driving habits of rich and poor people, BikePortland reader Ellie wrote about a time in her life when she was too poor to drive but when her life was too fragmented and unpredictable for her to bike.

Both the argument against gas taxes and increased parking fees use the added burden on poor people as a reason not to increase associated costs, but it is mostly a red herring, an excuse to avoid extra taxes and fees for higher income earners. However, bike activist and urban planning activists due similar things. I often wonder how many activists have ever really struggled with poverty or even personally know anyone who has. One of my biggest frustrations with a certain sort of bicyclist is that they seem to think that since they do not find public transit useful, it isn’t important.

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Comment of the Week: A map should not be an important safety tool

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on December 18th, 2015 at 2:19 pm


If you haven’t read Jonathan’s haunting, exclusive report that Martin Greenough seems to have been killed on his very first bike commute, two weeks after moving to Portland, it’s not one to miss.

Part of the story is that the city’s official bike map inaccurately suggests that Lombard is a fine place to bike. But as BikePortland reader El Biciclero pointed out in a must-read response, the problem here is not really with the map.

The problem is that the only way to bike around Portland without near-death experiences is to use a map.

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