City seeks cycling input on Freight Master Plan update

Scene from the memorial for Kathryn Rickson in 2012 where some people called on Portland to ban large commercial trucks.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has launched an update to the Freight Master Plan and the first place they stopped to ask for feedback was the bicycle advisory committee.

That makes sense given the tragic legacy of death and injury left behind by drivers of big trucks on Portland’s central city streets.

For years we’ve failed to mitigate the immense risks posed by trucks. With a massive boom in e-commerce and new ideas around how we use streets and curb space, the freight plan just might be a perfect opportunity to finally make progress.

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Comment of the Week: A powerful critique of the Portland Freight Committee

“Time [the Portland Freight Committee] was sent packing or at least reconfigured”
— Lenny Anderson

Lenny Anderson at opening of a bike parking shelter on Swan Island in 2013.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

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.

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Freight Committee: “Postpone any advancement” of Barbur road diet

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Barbur needs more capacity, not less,
says freight committee.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Freight Committee, a group that advises the City’s Bureau of Transportation on “issues related to freight mobility”, penned a letter to Commissioner Steve Novick (and sent a copy to Mayor Hales) that outlines their opposition to the proposed “road diet” on SW Barbur Blvd. Novick mentioned the letter during his remarks at a City Council hearing on the SW Corridor Plan yesterday.

The PFC claims the road diet proposal would lead to a reduction in vehicle capacity and they feel SW Barbur needs an increase in capacity. They also say if the conditions are unsafe, “the cyclist community” should pay for a public outreach campaign and that if people want to ride bicycles they should walk them on dangerous sections or consider using other streets.

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