BREAKING: BTA Director Scott Bricker Fired

Comments

1
Wait, did Bricker decline comment or not? I'm rather confused, though that's hardly news.
2
"The whole ecosystem for bicycling is moving out of it really being just about the bike to it being a much bigger agenda," says Roberts. "Bicycling really becomes about transforming a whole city and state, and so we're really looking to find an Executive Director who has worked on that stage."

What about the 94% of the population in Portland that doesn't cycle, and doesn't necessarily desire for the city and state to be transformed according to the BTA's "much bigger agenda"?
3
Megan, survey research shows that the majority of Portlanders would ride a bike but want the roads to be safer first. So, you're in the minority. Learn to share the road or fuck off back to whatever shitty place you came from.
4
@Megan: Clearly, that 94% has 94% of the voice and the power. No matter how big the cycling agenda gets, it will never get bigger than its share. A bigger agenda, however, might help increase the number of cyclists from 6% to 8% or something.

I'm not worried about the 94% and its wishes. They'll take care of themselves.
5
LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT MEGAN, am I right folks?
6
This news follows the board's decision to get rid of its lobbyist during legislative session and before that, their previous executive director. I read the board statement on BTA's Web site and can't really say it added a lot to my understanding.

As an everyday bike commuter (and sporadic BTA donor), I'd appreciate a little more transparency in what they're going for here. Sometimes organizations have to let folks go -- I understand that -- but I don't think the board has done enough work spelling out where they want to take this much-needed organization.

I also wish Scott well and appreciate everything he's done for biking in Oregon.
7
I'd like to know where the statistics that say the majority of Portlanders would ride a bike came from. I find that very hard to believe. You would need at least a 45% increase in bike riders for that to happen, and I really doubt that would happen.
8
I'm talking about full time, rain or shine bike riders. Not once in a while riders.
9
uh, no, you wouldn't need any increase in actual riders for a majority to state that they would ride more if they felt that the roads were safer.

Anyway, this might be what people are citing:

Dill J. & Carr T., 2003, "Bicycle Commuting and Facilities in Major U.S. Cities: If You Build Them, Commuters Will Use Them", Transportation Research Record 1828

But there might be more recent research...
10
@Megan: Your number is wrong. I can't really argue with your viewpoint until we agree on the facts. Sorry, that came out wrong: I've heard rumors that you raped&murdered a girl in 1990, and so you might be a dangerous sex offender who we can't trust around children. So why exactly should we listen to your advice on parenting?

@ujfoyt: Ridership goes up approximately 15% a year if you look at statistics like "number of bikes that cross the Hawthorne bridge." You are right, it drops off in the winter, but if you look at the number of people that rode in the summer of 2006, it is about equal to the number that rode in the winter of 2008, and there is no reason to expect that winter of 2009's ridership won't be equal to summer of 2007. So even if Megan's number was correct, if that trend continued, (and it has been for the last 15 years or so that they've been keeping statistics,) by winter of 2035 everyone will ride a bicycle year round.* As such I think the city would be very negligent to not plan for that, and if the BTA can't articulate that, then they should indeed be looking for a new executive director who can.

*While that may seem like that trend can't continue at that rate forever because at some point you get to the people on walkers who would have trouble riding a bicycle, that is exactly the same point people make about our oil supply, which is something known as peak oil: The amount of oil coming out of the ground seems to have flattened since 2005, only the population keeps growing and countries keep developing so oil is $80/barrel, in the middle of a recession. We haven't found enough oil, (and before you can take oil out of the ground, you have to find it,) to reverse that trend, in fact, all indications say that oil production will go down in the future. So by 2035 I also expect gasoline to be very very expensive, and so the options will be walking and streetcar/MAX/electric buses or bicycling. I don't know were that mode split will end up, but I expect that bicycling, at least among the healthy, will be the preferred transportation method...
11
Any shift in biking results in better public health. Our biggest healthcare problem as a nation and a community is that we are fat and out of shape. This leads to horrendously expensive obesity-related health problems like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. You think bike lanes are expensive!

Best wishes on your next endeavor, Scott, and thanks for your years of service.
12
I'm shocked and saddened to see Scott go. I write this as physician with Kaiser Permanente who worked with Scott on Metro's Blue Ribbon Committee for Trails, the Executive Council for Active Transportation, and the Safe Routes to School National Conference. As a result of these projects and Scott's leadership in reaching out to the health community, a strong partnership was developing between the BTA and Kaiser Permanente linking health to the active transportation and bicycling/walking community.
I, myself, am one of the "silent majority" of Metro residents who support and are interested in cycling but don't personally do so for a variety of infrastructure and safety reasons. I'm not a cycling activist, so I am not cognizant of and can't speak to the "politics" of the cycling community. However, I want the metro Portland area to become the national hub for active transportation and saw Scott as a leader working for that goal. Perhaps the BTA Board felt otherwise. I don't know. In my humble opinion, Scott will be difficult to replace because of his people skills and ability to reach out to different constituencies.

Philip Wu, MD
13
"Bicycling really becomes about transforming a whole city and state..."

What was that I was saying just the other day about cyclists not being content to just ride their bikes and stay teh f**k out of everyone else's business?

I'm with you Megan. Don't worry about the responses you get here. The average person here is 14 years old, barely employed and has less common sense than a bag of rocks.

At least I can take heart in the fact that the BTA is clearly disfunctional and headed by a bunch of "opinionated" zealots who seem to fire their staff every couple of months, so they won't actually get much done. (Insufferable self-righteous zealots in the bike community??! No way!)

I've met Scott. Nice guy. Scott, there are a million things in life that will make you happier than being sniped at by a cabal of self-important, self-righteous bike nazis. Take a break, then enjoy whatever comes next!
14
Blabby, I prefer to stay out of other people's business, even though I get around mostly by bike.

But here's the thing: while I can meet many of my transportation needs on a bicycle - especially on Portland's nice, quiet streets in some of our older neighborhoods - on most streets, in most parts of this state (not to mention this country), to ride a bike feels like I'm taking my life into my own hands. Whereas if I hop in my car I can start driving here, and end up in freaking Arkansas for all I care... In safety and comfort the whole way there.

So the way I see it, I simply want, when transporting myself via my bike, to have access to the same rights to safety and comfort I have when transporting myself via my car.

Here's the other thing: sometimes, to claim one's own rights is to make others feel like their rights are being encroached upon. It's a shame, but not so much that it's worth relinquishing one's own rights.

Since it seems like it'll add validity to my statement for you: I'm middle-aged, and work hard at my job.
15
Inductee, I'm uncomfortable with the claim that bike riders are a protected class who have a bunch of inalienable "rights" to this and that.

The transportation network is for getting people and goods around - it needs to be above all else a practical and functional system, not about aspirations or social justice. It should reflect the actual breakdown of transportation modes, and it shouldn't inconvenience 85% to please 6%. And the 6% should not advocate social engineering to force the 85% to do things they don't choose to do.

I don't want to be transformed by you or a bike organization nor anyone else. I don't care about your opinion on how I should get around town. Why don't you worry about transforming yourself and leave me alone.
16
For once, I agree with Blabby. Whoda thunk it.
17
(Is there any point in responding to these things once the original blog post slides off the front page? I'm not getting any notifications of new posts or anything.)

Blabby,

Who's claiming bike riders are a "protected class"? You're making things up there, at least in regards to anything I ever said.

However, I'm in agreement with this statement of yours: "The transportation network is for getting people and goods around - it needs to be above all else a practical and functional system..." As it happens, I get myself and my goods around by bike. Going to work, shopping, going out, I - and many people I know - do it by bike.

It's a really practical and functional form of transportation, especially here in Portland.

I'm not a fan of special rights for anyone. However, EQUAL rights are a really good idea. And when I'm driving my car, I have more access - more of a right - to safe and easy transport than I do when I'm on a bike, especially when I get out of the cozy cocoon of inner Portland.

Around 60% of Portlanders poll as wanting to bike more, but find even what I consider a cozy cocoon of safe riding to be too dangerous, because proximity to fast-moving cars is scary.

We can and should do so much better than that 6%. A 6% that incidentally gets less than that in funding, and less than that in percentage of roadway.

But yeah, these roads were designed to move people and goods. What's crazy is this idea that they were designed to move cars - that's just a made-up notion that grew out of the excitement surrounding cars, because cars really are pretty awesome in a lot of ways. Unfortunately, that excitement has its downsides, and now it's fading.

Anyway, let me stress: I do not give one shit about transforming you, or how you get around. Or transforming anyone, or me, even. That's something else you just made up.

I just want my share of the public thoroughfare, and I'm going to do what I can to take that fair share from people who act like it's not mine.

18
People's fear of bicycling is likely a fear of doing something different It is easy to blame the traffic, but the facts are that most car drivers are courteous to cyclists.

As for courtesy, it would be nice to see some more of it in the replys. I don't care how good Megan's numbers are, she should not be treated rudely. Alienating people only makes for more trouble, both on road and off.

As for Scott Bricker, I saw him in a video on a bike wearing a suit. I think he portrayed a professional image, and cyclists could certainly benefit from that. Why was he fired? MAybe is was a money thing, or more likely an agenda squabble. Some of the people can be very narrow minded, and they attack others venomously when they get upset. A little maturity would be helpful