When I was first introduced to Caitlin McCall's road-tested collection of bicycle clothing that doesn't look like bicycle clothing, Quick Study, I was so impressed that I devoted an entire page to it in the last Mercury Bike Issue.
Now, she's working on a project called "Dress to Ride," documenting the bike style of Portland women. She's just put out a call for entries for those who wished to be considered for an interview and portrait that will become part of a permanent gallery beginning in early January to coincide with the launch of QS' new web site. (Smart to do this when there's snow on the ground; fair-weather poseurs like me will have a harder time self-identifying as a cyclist this time of year.)
Full details for those who are interested are after the cut.
When the City Club of Portland released a report on bicycling in late May, much of the coverage—ours included— centered around some of the more sensational findings. For instance, the report's suggestion than an excise tax be levied on new bike purchases.
I actually found most of the report sort of predictable at the time. Bikes are good? They should be accepted and provided for in the urban landscape? Thanks, City Club.
Now I'm thinking I was wrong. There are some really interesting details in the report I glossed over the first time around. Mainly, an idea I'd not heard: Bike lanes are no longer going to help Portland attract new cyclists.
The change of heart was spurred by an e-mail sent out recently by Portland economist Robert McCullough. McCullough did a lot of the heavy data lifting for the City Club report, and he's about to present his findings further in a lunchtime talk tomorrow.
Relying heavily on numbers from the Hawthorne Bridge bike counter (as well as census data and Metro infrastructure tallies) McCullough's essentially concluded [pdf] Portland's gotten as much use of the handy paint stripes as its likely to get—at least where attracting new users is concerned.
Sure, the city's seen a bike boom in recent decades, McCullough says, but the strategies that got us here are no longer enough. We've reached a point of flattening growth on the "logistic curve" and things will be harder from here on out. Simply slapping paint on the side of a road, his data suggests, isn't going to push the city past the stubborn stagnation in cycling growth we've seen recently.
So what are we supposed to do, especially when the stated goal [pdf] is to have a quarter of all trips in Portland made by bicycle by 2030? (We're nowhere close.)
If you've been downtown or in Northwest on Wednesday mornings, you've probably already noticed that the Mercury has started a new system of newspaper distribution... by bike! We've teamed up with the fine folks over at Cargo Bike Couriers to get rid of the vans we used to use, and deliver 10,000 papers each week (that's one-quarter of our total distribution) in these wicked awesome customized "Icicle Tricycle Cargo Bikes." Check it out!
Obviously it saves money, gas, and the environment—but the trikes are also MUCH easier to maneuver downtown and Northwest, and our papers get delivered FOUR HOURS EARLIER. Whoopty-whaaaaaa? Special shout out thanks to Mercury distronaut Michael Hanchin who brought us the idea and put it into action with the Cargo Bike Courier gang. Check out more about Michael in this neat-o article about the new distro system in Bike Portland. Will we expand this service to the Eastside? WAIT AND SEE.
Sometimes I think we all want to talk about fixed-gear bicycles here on Blogtown, but we're too ashamed or afraid to admit it. Well I'm breaking the silence. Here's a sentimental video about a scrappy group of guys with the
baffling willingness gumption to pilot their fixies from Portland to San Francisco. Four dudes, 800 miles of mountainous highway and ZERO BRAKES.
Today was going great—sunny and productive, like Fridays should be. Then a cab hit me.
I was leaving the Bud Clark Commons—standing over my bike, waiting to turn left onto NW Broadway from Irving—as a gentleman from the New Rose City Cab Company was in apparent hot pursuit of a fare at the train station.
He was driving south on Broadway and swung a SHARP left onto Irving, putting aside any expectation that he travel in the correct lane. I estimate he was three feet away the first time he bothered to look at me, probably because he heard my screaming. It was too late, of course.
Here's an artist's rendering to help you picture it.
The moments before impact weren't so much panicked as resigned. I'd swear to you that I rolled off the guy's hood and landed on my feet, but witnesses tell me I went down.
That's one good thing about being hit by a cab in front of the Bud Clark Commons: witnesses. People are always hanging out there in the day time. The cabbie instantly began trying to convince everyone of his own blameless narrative, but no one was having it.
I'm scraped and swollen in places. My shoulders and arm and head ache. But nothing's broken and I'm walking so that's good. My bike—my beloved bike!—took this one for the team. You can't really tell, but that basket—it's an awesome basket!—is straight-up mangled.
The crazy thing, and something I need to follow up on: The cops refused to take an official report or cite the cabbie. They only do that in DUI accidents, hit and runs and a few other instances, she said. He'll take a hit on his insurance, I assume, but receive no moving violation for an incident that could have easily gone far worse. Does that make sense to anyone? Have any of you been in this situation?
If Portland's long-awaited bike share system actually emerges next spring as planned (it's been delayed a number of times already, and a concrete corporate sponsor has yet to emerge), let's make this town look a bit more like:
You know, except for all the big buildings and street art. I'll do my part if you will.
Treat was extremely lucky those other two times. And now her streak, as of today, remains intact.
Beatrice is back! PBOT crew was cleaning homeless camp with @portlandpolice Man rode up on my stolen bicycle. Busted! #ppbismyhero
— Leah Treat (@leahtreat) September 12, 2013
Portland police sent out their own release a bit ago mentioning the news. They say the suspect in the theft, Jason Lee Elmore, rode up to officers who were clearing the sidewalks of campers and protesters and tents along SW Madison between Chapman Square and Terry Schrunk Plaza. It's not clear, from the release, if he was among the group or just passing through. The release doesn't say what time the bike was recovered.
Update 4:42 PM: Police spokesman Sergeant Pete Simpson tells me Elmore is homeless but that he's "not sure if he was a 'camper' there."
A point worth mentioning: Treat confessed to BikePortland that she'd secured her bike only with a cable lock. Don't ever do that. Even outside a bustling building like the Portland Building. Here's the best primer on bike security I've ever read. And remember, BikePortland also tracks stolen bike reports.
Levi's is pimping their new bike-friendly Commuter line with a national tour of free local music showcases paired with also-free bike tune-ups/simple repairs/washing/valet, and tailoring, and the Portland stop is coming right the hell up on Tuesday at the Wonder Ballroom.
Whether or not you're interested in "performance fabric, functional details, and uncompromised style," the lineup is hella decent, and worth undergoing a little corporate soft sell: Pure Bathing Culture, Onuinu, and Magic Mouth will take the stage around 8, while the "bike shop" will be open from 5-9 pm. (Like I said, it's free, but you are supposed to RSVP/probably sign up for Levi's spam here.)
Hate reading? Let the video explain:
Good news today for proponents of more bike and pedestrian trails throughout the region: more than $40 million in funding is about to become available.
That's because the Oregon House of Representatives this afternoon passed Senate Bill 260. The culmination of a years-long effort to win more money for bike trails, the bill expands the type of projects eligible for money from the Multimodal Transportation Fund, also called ConnectOregon.
Since its 2005 inception the lottery-backed fund has poured millions of dollars [PDF] into things like a Tigard railroad switching yard and a new runway at the Bend Airport. So long as it had the potential to bring economic gains and didn't have to do with roadway improvement, a transportation project could qualify for the funds.
But pedestrian and bicycle improvements have been conspicuously absent from qualifying projects. Passing the house 44-14, SB 260 changes that. The bill's passage is a win for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, the state's chief bike advocacy organization, which has been working since at least 2008 to win money for new trails.
For an idea of what this shift might mean for Portland, check out the BTA's recently released "Blueprint for World-Class Bicycling" [PDF] which details a list of five trails the organization want to win funding for in years to come.
The furthest along is the long-discussed North Portland Greenway, which would stretch from Kelly Point Park to the Steel Bridge. Also on the BTA's list: a trail connecting Portland to Lake Oswego, and an extension of the Gresham-Fairview trail.
"I won't pick a favorite today," said BTA Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky, when I asked which project the group would focus on first. But he was quick to point out that the North Portland Greenway has existing support, and that it would offer convenient access to the manufacturing jobs on Swan Island (remember, projects need to aid the economy).
The measure, as you've no doubt surmised from the split vote, had its share of opposition. As reported by Bikeportland.org, State Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, called the measure "an absolutely bad and wrong direction" in a floor speech this morning. Kruse contended the ConnectOregon money was intended "for business interests and not for bicycle projects."
Kransky, meanwhile, points to a study released earlier this year that suggested bicycling tourism alone injects hundreds of millions into the Oregon economy.
Of course, the fact that bike/pedestrian trails are technically eligible for ConnectOregon funds doesn't guarantee they'll win them. The fund has $42 million to spend in the next two years—a far cry from the $100 million allocations its seen in past bienniums—and everybody's looking for money.
And it's not a BTA show to begin with. The organization now will work with the public agencies who'd actually be constructing its longed-for paths.
"It’s not so much a fight at this point," Kransky says. "It’s a matter of us making the case (for money) in the context of that program."
Applications for ConnectOregon money are typically released in October and due in November, says Chris Cummings, a senior transportation planner at the Oregon Department of Transportation. Monetary awards are announced in August of the following year.
Portland's new transportation director describes herself thusly: "Good government gal with a passion for change in the transportation industry. A Mom to 4 smarty-pants kids and wife to an artsy, intellectual, bike fanatic."
That's the Twitter bio of Leah Treat who, after months of speculation, has emerged as Portland's choice for director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
UPDATE, 11 am: Treat inherits a transportation situation full of challenges, not least of which is dwindling funds—something Mayor Charlie Hales and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick have signalled strongly they'll seek to fix in the near future.
"We were looking for a lot of things," Novick said in a conference call with reporters this morning. Paramount among those, he said, was someone with strong financial management experience.
Treat's experience includes nearly a decade working on finance and transportation issues in Washington, DC, according to a press release. In 2011, she moved to Chicago, and serves as a managing deputy commissioner in the city's transportation department.
In today's call, Treat described herself as an avid cyclist who'll look to increase the share of Portlanders on bikes. She confessed to having only a rough familiarity with the Rose City—she's visited a friend here five or six times—and so wasn't prepared to answer specific questions about our transportation challenges.
She did, however, paint a bleak picture of morale at the PBOT—which she conceded might not be an accurate or complete appraisal.
"I think I'm going to be able to stand up the transportation department pretty quickly," Treat said. "I think maybe it's a marketing problem."
Pressed on that, Treat said her sense is that the city's transportation workers "are not empowered or feel disenfranchised or are disgruntled, or something is missing in terms of their morale." She continued: "I want them to feel valued in the work they contribute. I want them to be proud."
Though she couldn't offer specifics—either on viable new funding sources or what her first priorities will be—Treat said she wants to establish a two-year action plan for the agency.
"I would like to see us aligned around a vision that we can talk to the community about."
Treat, 42, has four young children, she said, who had a rough time in the transition from DC to Chicago. Moving again just two years later, Treat said she plans to live in Portland for "a minimum of 10 years, if not longer. I would like to raise my family there."
UPDATE, 12:04 pm: Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein, who Treat followed to a post in Chicago from DC, tells the Mercury Portland "really scored" in the hire.
"She's been integral to the success we've had in DC and Chicago," Klein said. Among her strengths, Klein noted performance management, budgeting and finding efficiencies.
Perhaps most-important to Portland's needs, Klein said Treat's skilled at identifying new revenue. In DC, he said, she led a team that figured out how to better manage the city's parking meters. Revenue rose something like 400 percent following the changes, according to Klein.
That experience was likely music to Novick's ears. As noted in an interview with the Mercury, Novick plans to look partly to parking meters as a means of bolstering PBOT's revenue. The department is largely funded with parking fees and gas tax revenue, which has fluctuated amid the country's economic troubles.
Interestingly, Treat's most-recent tweet while the conference call was occurring declared the gas tax model "indeed broken."
Asked about the tweet, she said: "For transportation funding, it's broken. It's insufficient."
Here's Treat's résumé [PDF].
Apparently a—hopefully basically nonexistent—subset of New Yorkers have taken to sitting on the city's new bike-share bicycles, while they're docked, and pedaling backwards to simulate a spin class.
"Laugh if you want," a New York Times reporter apparently heard a sextagenarian in a jogging suit chortle to passing detractors, "but I never have to pay for a spin class again.”
As I know you all know, we're slated to get bike-share here sometime next year. THIS CANNOT BECOME A THING. If it is, indeed, something people are willing to do, in full view, in New York City, for the love of god just let that be another way tight quarters and unreasonable rents dement a populace. We're better than that.
Plus I'm pretty sure this doesn't work that well. The woman described by the NYT was just sort of backpedalling with no resistance. I'm not ashamed to admit I've attended a spin class or two. It is not easy, and it is not that.
In our Bike Issue this year, the Mercury offered you a glimpse into Portland's future, soliciting tales of bike share around the country from folks who live with the system.
It was helpful advice, no doubt, but it's possible a more-thorough glimpse into a 750-bike system officials are hoping to set up here next year is offered in a story in yesterday's New York Times.
New York City's had some ridiculous gripes about its bike share system since it got underway a couple weeks back, but the problems cited in the story aren't based in irrational fears. The hardware's just not working.
NYC's Citibike system, of course, was implemented by Portland's Alta Bicycle Share, the same company the City of Portland has signed up to kick off a system here by next spring. Alta's bike share systems have been plagued by well-documented software glitches. A bike share spokesman in Chattanooga, Tenn., told me in March that city has largely resolved its problems with the Alta software. But the Times story suggests there are still concerns.
Of course, there's still plenty of time for Alta to work out the kinks before rolling out a system in Portland (and Seattle and San Francisco). And there's still a sizable funding hole the company needs to close—via corporate sponsors—in order to purchase and run a system here.
Reached last week for a story, Alta President Mia Birk said a funding arrangement has yet to materialize, but she hopes to have news soon. Alta's looking into potentially identifying a single sponsor who might be willing to bankroll bike share both here and in Seattle, which plans to roll out a system next spring as well.
Before our annual Bike Issue pedals off into the sunset, including a feature on subtly bike-appropriate options for women, one more thing about bike gear that's designed and produced right here in town: North St. Bags.
They make backpacks, panniers, tool rolls, hip pouches, reflective ankle straps, wallets, and so forth, all on SE Clinton St., with most of their materials sourced from US manufacturers. Certainly worth considering as you gear up for the season/year, especially if you're one of those self-righteous bike types. Buying local will give you a little something extra to be smug about. Because you are correct.
I haven't ridden my bike in almost a year, and I'm not ashamed to say that what I wear plays a small part in that. It's not that I can't ride in heels—I am so good at riding in heels. (It's that riding in good shoes can mess up your shoes.) Then there's the issue of arriving places all sweaty and stinky—not always cool. I'm also not stoked about hauling alternate clothes, shoes, etc. on my back in addition to a laptop and all my other crap.
Shut your face, I'll get back on soon. I do miss it, even though during my hiatus I've come to adore the complete, un-mussed freedom of dress that public transportation afford. Luckily local designers like Caitlin McCall are beginning to address these issues—which, call us prisses if you must, really does deter many women from riding more—from a realistic, practical, and knowledgeable place. In this week's Bike Issue we featured her new line, Quick Study, which features the kind of cute dresses and up-cycled sweaters that you see girls all over town in, except in subtly tech-y materials and strategic cuts that McCall—using herself as the prototypical client—deemed necessary to a comfortable ride and look.
It's pretty exciting, and seems like a logical market to expand into as cycling becomes more and more the best option for everyone. Thus: the future of bike clothing. Check it out, complete with technical breakdowns of each garment. Bet you wouldn't have guessed.
By all accounts, last night's Mercury Pedalpalooza kick-off party was a goddamn kick in the pants (which is to say, "funnnnnn")—and there's more fun to come! For example:
Tonight! Run-DMC vs. Beastie Boys Ride! Get out your flyest Adidas tracksuit (velvet preferable) and polish up your shell-toes. This one's gonna bump.
Saturday 8: World Naked Bike Ride! (Maybe consider a seat cover?)
Thursday 13: Kids Pedal Free Ride! Move over, fixies! Portland's young'uns ride without pedals! (For example, Skoots!) Led by the Merc's own Scrappers!
Thursday 20: Bud Clark's Expose Yourself to Art Ride! Former mayor leads a tour of PDX public art. Not sure if it's nude or not!
Saturday 22: Things Portland Didn't Build Ride! Portland, you dream big! Here's a tour of places and things that should've (or maybe not) been built.
NOW! Pics from last night's super duper fun Pedalpalooza Kick-Off Party! (Hat tips to swell photog Emily Leong for sharing the action!)
More after the jump!
By the time Hurricane Sandy's massive arms swiped at New York City in October, Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share had already seen difficulty in the Big Apple. Software bugs had delayed the company's roll out of the massive Citi Bike system from summer 2012 to the following March, inspiring, as it will in New York, grousing.
But a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court shows Alta's troubles were just beginning. Flooding from Sandy swept the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where the company was storing much of the equipment it planned to roll out the following spring. Docking stations, bikes and sundry electrical components were damaged or lost.
In total, the company took an $11 million hit to nearly $20 million in assets it had amassed for the New York system, according to the suit, causing further delay. But Alta says its insurance company refused to fully satisfy a claim for damages. Now it's suing a Portland-based insurance broker, and the New Hampshire company the broker represents.
According to the suit, Hanover Insurance Company, through local agents at Portland firm USI Northwest, agreed to insure the New York bike-share system for up to $40 million. But following the storm and flooding, Hanover paid out just $5 million, refusing to cover full damages. The suit claims Hanover owes another $6 million, and accuses USI of negligence.
Reached this evening, Alta President Mia Birk downplayed the lawsuit.
"This is not that big of a deal, honestly," she said. "This is just the business world."
Alta lawyer John Ostrander declined comment, saying he wasn't authorized to speak about the lawsuit. Karen Barry, a senior account manager at USI who, documents indicate, worked on Alta's policy, referred questions elsewhere in the company. No one answered at USI's main number.
Portlanders have good reason to root for Alta's health. It's a local company, and Birk is the city's former bike program manager. Alta's also the entity Portland—like Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle, recently—tapped to launch bike share here.
But the company has seen some negative press, of late—not just the whining NIMBYism of New Yorkers, either. Most recently, Alta faced accusations it owes laborers in Washington, DC, back pay and benefits.
In Portland, Alta's still trying to isolate millions in corporate sponsorship money to purchase, install and operate a 750-bike system for five years. Upon selecting Alta to run the city's bike share in September, the Portland Bureau of Transportation announced a system would be up and running by spring 2013. But with no fat cat sponsors emerging, the city pushed back the system by a year.
Birk said this evening no firm deals have been reached.
"I'm really hopeful I'll be able to tell you something soon," she said.
Guys! Let's just put the whole "palooza" thing behind us. I was against the "palooza" thing ten years before it even popped up on your radar. And yet we all know... it's too late to change it now! So ACCEPT it already and join us for tons of fun at the Pedalpalooza kick-off party tonight! BANDS! BEER! ALL-AGES! AND IT'S FREE! (In fact, it's a "freeapalooza.")
The Mercury is presenting the Pedalpalooza Kick-Off Party tomorrow night (Thursday) so you should hop on your self-propelled hog and totally come! It'll feature a super fun ride, music from Federale and Grandparents at Branx, and it's ALL-AGES AND FREE. See you there!
Sure Portland's revered nationally as a bike paradise, but a lot of local advocates take a dim view of our progress in recent years. There's a common notion momentum here has slowed, and that other cities are rapidly advancing on us.
Maybe that's understandable. It's easier to improve on very little bike infrastructure than it is to make the leap from a good bike system to one that's world class. Portland's tackled most of the easy and intermediate stuff. Now, bicycle advocates say we need to approve, and fund, some landmark projects
So the Bicycle Transportation Alliance today has released a new "Blueprint for World-Class Bicycling" [PDF]—a wish list of 16 projects the organization will use as a guiding document in coming years. It's a collection of bikeways, separated cycle paths and trails likely to draw cheers from avid cyclists, but that could find a wary audience among motorists and business owners skeptical of Portland's love of the bicycle.
"We left no stone unturned in our search for the best ideas and the most transformational projects," the report says. "We envision raising our existing network to the next level to ensure that riders of all abilities, regardless of destination, have access to a safe place to ride."
The BTA classified its target projects by four larger groupings: better amenities on busy streets, new neighborhood greenways, building trails and fixing problematic stretches of road.
Some of the bigger proposals:
-constructing a new pedestrian/bike bridge over I-84, roughly lined up with NE 7th
-building the long-discussed North Portland Greenway, with a much-coveted route through Swan Island
-adding protected cycle tracks to N/NE Broadway and Weidler, which the BTA says would better connect cyclists with businesses in the corridor
-creating better bicycle amenities downtown, a suggestion which may run into resistance from Mayor Charlie Hales
I talked to the BTA's Gerik Kransky and Rob Sadowsky about the report last week. With community buy-in, they say most of these projects are achievable within three to five years (though the trails would take longer).
But there's a big conversation that would have to accompany much of that progress. Some projects—the North Portland Greenway, for instance—already have significant support. Others—I'm thinking about the Broadway/Weidler proposal—will have to build support, some of it from tough audiences. Business owners can be skittish about possibly losing on-street parking spaces to cycle tracks (though there is evidence to suggest they actually help business), and motorists are loath to lose traffic lanes.
There is also the question of funding, though Sadowsky believes many of these projects could be completed with money that already exists.
"We have to do our job winning the hearts and minds of people," he said.
What do you think of the BTA's list?
More than 300
less fewer Portlanders had their bikes stolen last year than in 2011, the Portland Police Bureau is reporting.
While that's not going to get me back the glorious maroon Peugeot stolen from my front porch a couple years ago, I suppose it's hopeful news. The problem, of course, is figuring out why Portland saw 13 percent less reported bike theft last year. Did we better lock our bikes? Is theft diminishing with the (very) modest improvements in the economy? Have Portlanders accepted theft as an inevitability or increasingly eschewed the idea of personal property, and so not bothered filing police reports?
The PPB doesn't know, but here are some interesting facts it just sent along in a news release.
* Portland had a total of 2,050 reported incidents of bike theft in 2012. This was 305 fewer reports than 2011 (-13%).
* The top three neighborhoods where bikes were stolen were: Downtown, Northwest and the Pearl District (all in Central Precinct's area).
* The next top neighborhoods included: Sunnyside, Hosford-Abernethy; Sellwood-Moreland, Lents, Concordia, Hazelwood and Richmond.
* Saturday was the most popular day of the week for thefts citywide and Wednesday was for the Downtown area.
* Trek was the most stolen brand; Specialized, Schwinn and Cannondale came in next.
* The value of bikes stolen ranged from $3,000 to $400; the highest number of bikes were in the $500 range.
It's no small feat to get your bike back once it's been stolen. A roommate of mine got the welcome news his Kona had been recovered from a drug house, some years ago. It was re-stolen mere weeks later.
For the first time ever I'm going to ride in the World Naked Bike Ride—not just because my family jewels are the shiniest you've ever seen, but because I want in on this whole bike craze before it goes the way of the Harlem Shake video.
It seems the entirety of the bike blogosphere is collectively moaning/chortling at the vastly out of touch vitriole Wall Street Journal editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz spews forth in the video below.
But if you've missed it, watch on. Gaze upon on the terror that is to be loosed on unsuspecting Portlanders (maybe) next spring. Our finest neighborhoods "begrimed, is the word."
"The most important danger in the city is not the yellow cabs," Rabinowitz avers. "It is the bicyclists."
We've been warned. But is it too late?
So Portland does a MUCH better job than New York City of providing bike parking. This is my understanding, at least, from folks who live in New York City and marvel at the ease with which we Portlanders lock up any old place, relatively unconcerned (compared to New Yorkers) about theft.
But the very fact Portland does such a damn decent job somehow makes the outrage all-the-more palpable when you can't find parking, right? It's for this reason I support the civic-improvement efforts well-known video maker/bike guy Casey Neistat displays below.
Yes, NYC heavies made Neistat remove the rack, but that's NYC. The scenario I envision in Portland plays out thusly:
-You surreptitiously install a bike rack.
-The City doesn't realize or doesn't care OR
-The City realizes and cares and asks you to remove the rack, but you jujitsu the whole scenario, framing the city as bike-hating monsters in various press releases and blog posts.
-The City relents.
-You're greeted as a hero and liberator.
Someone prove me right. I'm too busy to try it.
Big news: Bikes are a good thing, and Portland's done a pretty good job promoting their use!
You're painfully familiar with that narrative—it's been trotted out for years in the pages of the country's largest newspapers and magazines, and dissected endlessly in local media. Now, one of the city's staid civic organizations has decided to add—perhaps a touch belatedly—to the dog pile. The City Club of Portland this morning released a lengthy report painstakingly hashing over the state of bicycle transportation in the city.
The report is excellently titled "No Turning Back" which I like to envision being uttered hastily through clenched teeth—sort of the way one talks before pulling off a Band-Aid. As is typically the case with City Club efforts, it is lengthy and thorough, a more-than solid primer for anyone hoping to learn about the city's bike legacy.
But the 12-member committee that authored the report came up short on anything particularly novel, new or surprising about the state of bicycling in Portland. The committee's central finding: Bikes should be a permanent and important part of Portland's infrastructure planning.
"In short, your committee finds that the right question is no longer 'Should we promote bicycle use?'" the report says. "It is: 'How should we structure our transportation system to optimize choice, efficiency and safety for all modes of transportation, including bicycling?'"
This is always a welcome sentiment for bicycle advocates, and if the report has a utility, it may be as a solid bit of evidentiary "oomph" those folks can offer up in talks for better bike facilities. It'll be interesting to see what, if any, other waves the document makes.
After the jump: A few points that bear mention.
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