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Old 04-23-07, 12:36 PM   #1
randya
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Thoughts on Portland's Bike Movement, Past Present and Future

http://bikeportland.org/2007/04/23/t...nt-and-future/

This is a pretty interesting discussion on BikePortland.org. I'm posting it here to get away from the 'usual suspects' in A&S.

From the post:

“[Portland has] undoubtedly...come a long way in building a comprehensive bike network since 1990 (see below), but we have a long, long way to go. For example, our bikeway network includes miles of bike lanes along Highway 30 from NE 11th to NE 178th and many more miles on the west side, from Northwest Portland to Linnton and beyond.

Unfortunately, these are not useful or realistic bikeways; they are dangerous, inaccessbile, and completely marginalized…when the city was getting the bike program and master plan developed they looked to streets that could easily accommodate bike lanes without significantly impacting automobile traffic…now we need to revisit those decisions in light of what we know about what really gets people on bikes (safe bikeways).

The fact is, Portland has largely built its bicycling infrastructure on non-controversial, inexpensive projects that squeeze bike facilities into current right-of-ways without inconveniencing drivers.

Portland often looks to Amsterdam as both a goal and an example for biking…If Portland really wants to grow beyond that 5% mode share mark, we’re going to have to make tough decisions about our bicycling facilities.”
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Old 04-23-07, 06:17 PM   #2
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While I certainly see your point...

If you live in Portland, you have the privelege of being envious of the bicycle infrastructure present in cities that aren't completely and absolutely twisted around the axle of a car.

Me, on the other hand...I get to sit in almost any other city in the US and be envious of Portland. Perhaps if any of the places I've lived were close to Portland's level of cycle support, I'd be wondering why we weren't doing more to be like some of those other cities too. Oh well...I only wish.

The only part of Portland that I don't wish for is the rampant bicycle theft. As much as I want to visit and ride around...I'm afraid to leave my bike anywhere in that city, with any lock!
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Old 04-23-07, 09:38 PM   #3
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With a good U-lock and proper locking procedure, you'd be fine. I am amazed at how many people around here either use a cable lock or none at all. Portland is a fabulous place for an urban vacation where a bike is the dominant mode of travel. My mom visited me last month and since I don't have a car and she didn't feel like renting one, we rode everywhere we wanted to go. I was amazed at how easy it was for her to get into the swing of things. She was, too.

I'm all for not being complacent. You see, we need more, more, more people making trips by bike - at least that's the dominant philosophy here. I'm in favor of it. If we lose momentum, there's certainly the chance of a backlash from the anti-cycling folk, and believe me, we've got 'em here same as every other place in North America. If we can reach a certain percentage of the population, I don't believe any attempt at backlash would be successful.

I also believe that if Portland can show North America that it can be done in a rainy, somewhat chilly and hilly climate, other cities will be more confident that they can do it too.
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Old 04-23-07, 09:48 PM   #4
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Portland IS a fabulous place for an urban vacation with bike. the Hawthorne Hostel, 10 minutes' ride from downtown, offers a 5 dollar discount if you are travelling by bike.


I think the issues facing Portland will not be easy ones. I rode to Portland from Seattle, and 135 miles around greater Portland on my visit over Easter vacation, and saw suburban sprawl towards Gresham and Beaverton and new, 'gated' communities outside of the city that are products of autocentric, auto-dependant culture.

I think one of the best avenues a large metropolitan region can do to encourage bicycling is to reduce automobile use via compelling mass transit infrastructure, and taxes and tarriffs that reflect the true costs of driving.

I aslo think massive public service campaigns to show the private automobile as the environmental wastrel it is, and showcasing viable alternatives like bicycling, could go a long way.

bike specific planning and infrastructure is part and parcel for increasing bike counts and the bikeability of cities as well. it sounds like there is concern Portland bike planning might become complacent.
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Old 04-24-07, 03:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banzai_f16
The only part of Portland that I don't wish for is the rampant bicycle theft. As much as I want to visit and ride around...I'm afraid to leave my bike anywhere in that city, with any lock!
Every time I visit Portland, I'm blown away by how common it is for people to lock decent bikes to a rack. I'd never consider locking anything other than a beater to a rack. Even then you have to be prepared to deal with theft and vandalism wherever you are.

Although Portland is about as cycling friendly as US cities come, I'm not sure if it really proves anything. Roads are narrow, traffic and parking is hopeless, weather is tame even if it is damp. Cycling's just a good way to get around.
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Old 04-24-07, 05:57 PM   #6
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The Mayor of Portland just axed a budget proposal to fund a ten-year update of the city's Bicycle Master Plan. Story here.
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Old 04-24-07, 06:01 PM   #7
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Damn!
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Old 04-24-07, 08:47 PM   #8
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I think it's all political. Just tell your friends that live in the city to vote NO on Charter Reform, we don't want to be giving this guy any more power than necessary. My prediction: there will be compromises on the budget, and I think public support will force the city to restore funding for the Bike Master Plan.
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