Bikers on a budget get a break at the Community Cycling Center

The Community Cycling Center’s shop on NE Alberta — now more inviting for more budgets.
(Photos: The CCC)

In Portland, the lower your income, the more likely you are to use a bicycle to get to work. That’s also true on the national level, as Harvard’s Anne Lusk so adeptly pointed out in an article posted by CityLab this week.

Most discussions around this topic center on the need for infrastructure equity and access to safe streets for all. But what about access to the gear and products that can make the act of pedaling a bike more feasible and comfortable?

Portland’s Community Cycling Center (celebrating their 25th anniversary this year!) is dedicated to making cycling accessible to everyone. I recently learned they have Low Income Commuter Discount program at their bike shop on Alberta Street and asked Executive Director Kasandra Griffin to share more about it.

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Bus riders’ union launches new campaign: Discount fares for low-income people

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
TriMet bus with rack

Great transit access is closely linked with
less driving and more cycling.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

One year after it persuaded TriMet to add 30 minutes to the life of every transit fare, a local transit advocacy group has a new goal.

Bus Riders Unite, a rider-led project of OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, will launch a new campaign chosen by its members: for the Portland region’s transit system to follow Seattle’s and San Francisco’s by offering lower transit fares to lower-income people.

“We think the most reasonable and simplest approach would be to let low-income people have the same fare honored citizens currently receive,” said OPAL spokesman Shawn Fleek.

Due in part to federal law, TriMet offers half-price tickets to people ages 65 and up, people on Medicare and people with disabilities, a grouping the agency refers to as “honored citizens.”

But over the years, U.S. poverty trends have shifted. As of 2014, 15 percent of Oregonians age 19 to 64 live in poverty. So do 20 percent of Oregonians under age 19. For Oregonians aged 65 and up, the figure is 7 percent.

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Low-income and senior housing projects see a bike parking boom, too

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

The lower-income seniors at Glisan Commons, Northeast 99th and Glisan, are expected to demand substantial bike parking, its developer says.
(Image courtesy REACH.)
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Apartments with lots of bike parking and little car parking are a hot trend in local real estate, and not just because more well-to-do people are looking to live that way.

Bike parking has become a popular amenity at publicly subsidized apartments in Portland, too. Even those for seniors.

“Our experience has taught us that bike use in our buildings tends to exceed our most optimistic expectations, which is a good thing,” said Laura Recko, a spokeswoman for affordable housing developer REACH. “So we try and accommodate as much as is financially feasible.”

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Group looks to improve access to bicycle trailers for low-income families

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
ABC Bike Ride 2013

Kids get ready to roll before an Andando en Bicicletas
en Cully ride, organized at Hacienda CDC.
(Photo: Community Cycling Center.)

As bikes become a bigger part of normal life for people at Hacienda CDC in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood, there’s a shortage of something that holiday charity bike drives seldom offer: bike trailers.

It started when a group of residents at the low-income housing community decided to join the Northeast Portland Sunday Parkways event last June. The Community Cycling Center (which works with Hacienda residents on several projects) arranged to loan bike trailers to a couple moms who wanted to bring their children.

“The women just loved it — they didn’t even realize that was an option,” CCC spokeswoman Melinda Musser said Tuesday. “Normally when they go on bike rides, the women who have kids, they have to have another adult to watch them. So that was an obstacle that they maybe didn’t even realize. … Once they started using the trailers they got really excited. They realized that they could ride more often and bring their kids with them.”

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