News Oct 1, 2009 at 4:00 am

The Best Bike Commute City Should Be Even Better

Photo by Sarah Mirk


This is a very important article. Thank you for making the point that despite the bragging throughout the city government, much of the work that has been done to get people on their bikes (and on transit) has been through volunteer efforts like Shift, Car-Free Day, Pedalpalooza, etc. There are a few heavy hitters who are (or have been) on the city's payroll like Mia Burke, Roger Geller, Timo (in the picture), Janice, and Linda. However as you stated, the city still spends 1% on bike infrastructure which leads to conflict points like the Hawthorne Bridge. And in addition there is a sharp dropoff in the bike-friendliness once you get north of Alberta, east of 39th, south of Division, or west of 12th Ave.
Come on Portland, don't let us fall behind.
I very much agree. People always compare Portland to other cities with regard to its bike-friendliness. And yes, sure thing - Portland's bicycle infrastructire is unquestionably awesome and fabulous when compared to...uh.... Shitville, Kentucky.

But I don't live in Shitville, Kentucky. I live in Portland. And the infrastructure here is still, regardess, sucky in its own right.

I think more diversion is the way forward. If 60% of the population say they would bike more, if there was no traffic, then....uh.... invest money in ways to reduce the traffic on certain streets. We're not seeing this happen enough.

You can't throw a dart in Portland without it landing on Mia Birk (Alta Planning & Design's Principle) standing atop a traffic diverter on Lincoln waxing lyrical about how awesome they are. (Traffic diverers are constructed to allow through ped and bike access, but no car access, to bicycle boulevard streets).

But when was the last time a traffic diverter was built in Portland? About fifteen years ago. It's horribly frustrating, when we could be doing better and putting more of this sort of awesome, bike-friendly infrastructure in. I'd really like to see less talk, more concrete projects like diverters, like bike boxes, like separated bike facilities, like increased bike parking.... on the way.

Well, I can dream, right?

If it helps, much of the recent bikeway miles up here in Seattle are the "Sherwin-Williams treatment" (bike lanes, often in the door zone, and especially sharrows). Our creativity when it comes to other bike infrastructure still lag way behind, our "Missing Link" of the Burke Gilman trail is back in court, and our one short stretch of bike boulevard looks nothing like what you have. And while our ridership is up 30-40% over the past 2 years, we have an attendant increase in bike fatalities, unfortunately.

But hey, if we elect "Mike Bikes" McGinn for mayor this fall, and dodge the deep-bore tunnel calamity, we might actually start gaining on you.
Two points for consideration- 1. Learn from light rail and streetcar advocates. What has been most effective in funding transit infrastructure has been a concerted effort to link transit to land use and economic development. The funding for bicycle infrastructure will never be there until this occurs. 2. Learn from Copenhagen. Back in the nineteen seventies their mode split was comparable to ours. Through a series of policy decisions and smart planning that addressed safety of cyclists in meaningful way, their percentage of cyclist riding is now approximately 40%. Implementing our new bike plan will at best provide a 10% mode split simply because it does not integrate land use in a meaningful way and does not significantly attract additional riders because the network is not safe. To rationalize spending additional money on bicycle infrastructure, we should plan for a system that attracts a 40%-50% mode split. The only way to achieve this mode split is build a Copenhagen-styled system of protected bikeways that connect development centers to development centers. See…
ditto what Minty said
Actually the census showed that Portland's bike-only commuting is at a mean of 6%, up from 3.9% in 2007.
The 2008 data is here.
Oops. It's table B08301 at the 2008 American Community Survey,
I think its really encouraging to see that Portland is the number one major city in the states with most bicycle commuters. Though I agree that education can only promote this healthy lifestyle. Where I work, I think only 2 of us out of 100 bikes to work. That's really sad, but I do work in hillsboro and commuting from nobhill isn't easy. I have to bike 1m to pge station and commute 30 minutes to orenco station, then bike another 2m to the studio. I enjoy the commute even in rain. The two biggest problems for me are the non-frequent trains during rush hour, and there is never enough bicycle racks in the max for all the cyclists. Please, add more bicycle racks in the max! I am doing my part to show my coworkers that bicycling to work is healthy and safe. So please, add more trains during rush hour would be awesome. I hate missing the train and have to wait another 15-20 minutes for one... its ridiculous.
I'm sorry, but my focus is on those that work so arduously to reverse what we've accomplished. When one encounters Karlock, Parker and their crew, I think the time for civility is over. We've tried that, and for a long time. They're not harmless. Taxing cyclists is a serious consideration, and it ain't coming from 90% of the people that live here.

If you found a TEA party digging up a bike path, would you just go around them? That is what Karlock and co. are doing. They can't take much. Parker's whole moment of insight was when he had to wait about 7 seconds for a bus to pull away from the curb, stopping traffic in his lane. THAT inspired all his activism. Karlock is certifiably maniacal, judging from his website, .

Please wait...

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