Cycling will get a spotlight at Portland’s annual March for Science

(Photo of last year’s march courtesy March for Science PDX)

Thousands are expected to turn out this Saturday, April 14th, at Pioneer Courthouse Square beginning at 10am for the Portland March for Science. This year’s rally and march has been organized by an all-volunteer crew in support of scientific inquiry, science-informed policymaking, and access for all to science education. Last year, over 15,000 people joined Portland’s March for Science as a direct action in protest of President Trump’s proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The science of cycling has been guaranteed a place on the mainstage this year. Andrea Chiotti, Education Coordinator with the Community Cycling Center and its STEM Bicycle Mechanics program, and Rex Burkholder, co-founder of the organization now known as The Street Trust and a former Metro Councilor, will both be speaking about science in our lives, our region’s policies, and our schools.

We asked Rex and Andrea to share a few thoughts about the March for Science…

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Criticisms leveled at the BTA: Their leader responds

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

“We believe we can catch more flies with honey than we can with vinegar… I don’t think direct action will turn around city council or businesses.”
— Rob Sadowsky, BTA executive director

Back in January, Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder took to a public forum and dropped a pretty hefty insult on the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA). The comment left by Burkholder on a widely read urban planning blog was notable, not just because the level of candor was rare for an elected official (especially in always-nice Portland), but because Burkholder is one of the BTA’s founders.

Burkholder’s opinion came out in the form of a comment on the popular Sightline blog. The blog post was a top ten list of the best things European cities are doing to improve bicycling conditions.

Here are some snips from Burkholder’s comment (emphasis mine):

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Bike bash will raise funds for Rex Burkholder’s Metro campaign

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Helvetia Study Tour Ride-15

Mr. Burkholder.
(Photo © J. Maus)

This Thursday night a fundraising party organized “by and for cyclists” will look to boost Rex Burkholder’s campaign for Metro president.

From the event description:

“Put together by and for cyclists, it’s a great way to help one of Oregon’s cycling pioneers, Rex Burkholder. Enjoy excellent wine and delicious food, try your luck in a grand raffle, and hear Rex talk about his vision for the future of our region — especially where and how bikes fit in!”

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Burkholder responds to criticism of Metro’s Regional Transportation Plan

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Metro is getting heat for
their transportation plan.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Metro’s update to the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) — which will guide $20 billion of investments in our regional transportation infrastructure over the next 25 years — is coming under fire from advocacy groups, Portland Mayor Sam Adams, and others.

Among Metro’s stated goals for the plan are to create an “efficient urban design”, “expand transportation choices”, “enhance safety”, and “reduce pollution”. But critics of the plan say it falls short in the key metric of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (34% of Oregon’s emissions come from transportation) and that it invests too much on highway widening and road projects. Metro Councilor and RTP point man Rex Burkholder stands behind the plan

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Metro urges state to re-think its federal stimulus project list

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Oregon Bike Summit-20.jpg

Chair of the Oregon Transportation
Commission, Gail Achterman, is in
the driver’s seat on how our state
spends its federal stimulus money.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) is meeting this morning in Salem to discuss which infrastructure projects will get built with money from America’s recently passed economic stimulus plan.

The OTC is a five member panel that is housed within the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and appointed by the Governor. They meet once a month and their job is to establish statewide transportation policies and manage the transportation network.

As the OTC solidifies their final, $350 million project list, some agencies are encouraging them to take a deep breath and re-think their priorities.

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In-Depth: Where bikes and streetcar collide (Part Two)

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

[This is the second (and final) part of our In-Depth report by Libby Tucker on how bikes fit into Portland’s streetcar plans. Read the first installment here.]

Yesterday, we left off with a discussion about bikeway and streetcar track design in the Pearl District. Mia Birk, a former bike coordinator for the City of Portland and now a consultant on Portland’s streetcar plans, continues our story…

On NW Lovejoy, bike traffic is
routed up onto the sidewalk
to get around the streetcar
platform. (Photos © J. Maus)

The Lovejoy design (see photo at right) creates a “very uncomfortable situation for most bicyclists,” added Birk. “It feels really weird to go up on the sidewalk and blast through a pedestrian zone, and when you’re on the street you have to cross tracks at a bad angle.”

This time, Alta (the planning firm where Birk is a principal) has completely redesigned the Pearl District’s bike facilities in the area surrounding the streetcar tracks, starting with the removal of the bike lane on Lovejoy. Instead, the streetcar plan would convert Lovejoy and Northrup into a one-way couplet for cars and reroute bike traffic onto a bike boulevard along Northwest Marshall. The cobblestone street would be smoothed out to accommodate bikes and would include new bike signals and bike boxes along the route.

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A conversation with Rex Burkholder: Part One; the CRC

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metro hearing on the CRC-4.jpg

(Photos © J. Maus)

Last Friday, I had the pleasure to host Rex Burkholder here at Headquarters. We often cross paths at events and parties, and I work with him as a source on stories now and again, but it’s rare that we get the chance to talk uninterrupted for over an hour.

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Portland and the rise of the “American-style” cycle track

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

“Sam (Adams) has directed (City Traffic Engineer) Rob Burchfield to indentify opportunities for a “high visibility” cycle track to be rolled out in Sam’s first 100 days as mayor.”
— Sam Adams’ chief of staff Tom Miller, in an email to Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder

There’s no denying that 2009 is shaping up to be the Year of the Cycle Track in Portland.

PDOT already has one in the books for NE Cully Blvd., they’re working closely with streetcar planners to put one adjacent to the new line in the Lloyd District on NE 7th Ave., and planners, advocates, and other local bike insiders (including our next Mayor and his chief of staff) are all singing the cycle track’s praises after seeing them in action in cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

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