Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oregonian Headline Knocks Portland Cyclists into Slough of Despond

No citations were issued.


Ok, so it's nice to be able to have a little bit of fun for a moment. But we're not immune!

I bet this spring we'll see some of the "bikes cost too much" rhetoric heat up - as it's already in play with the Planning Commission, though to be fair much of it is also budgetary-realism about making choices in a world of limited resources.

It's something to watch and stay on top of, and I'm sure we'll circle back around to it soon. Making the economic case for bikes will almost certainly be more important in the months to come, and the form of the arguments and rhetoric will be the same whether they happen in Portland or Salem. Bikes should be seen as cheap and amazingly efficient, not as frills.

For more analysis and debate, see BikePortland, Mia Birk, and the Portland Mercury.

Santiam to Open New Shop!

Holy Smokes! Presumably this is expansion, not relocation. And that's great news. Stay tuned for more!


Curt said...

Seeing cyclists being targeted as a scapegoat for our budgetary problems is sad but not entirely unexpected. Paint and signs are cheap ways to add value to existing right of way on Salem's chronically overbuilt and mostly underutilized streets. http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2012/2/6/from-the-mayors-office-part-1.html

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

I think the bottom line is, and this is as true for Salem as it is for Portland: IF WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO MAINTAIN OUR CURRENT ROADS, WHY ARE WE BUILDING MORE???

And, building off what the SJ recently pointed out, if our schools are basically assured of collapsing in the next big quake, which statistically speaking is far more certain than that VMT will continue to grow, WHY ARE WE PLANNING FOR EXPENSIVE BRIDGES AND ROAD EXPANSION INSTEAD OF RETROFITTING OUR SCHOOLS?

It's like our values and priorities are so far out of whack (hence the indignation of Capt. CAPSLOCK).


Mayor Sam Adams responded in the Oregonian:

"The actual story about Portland's roads is less sensational -- but more important -- than the account that drove onto the cover of Sunday's paper, headlined "Portland's roads to ruin."

In 2005, as a new transportation commissioner, I decided it was more important to keep drivers alive than totally comfortable on side streets. Together with the Portland Bureau of Transportation, we prioritized road safety over smoothness, improving some of the most dangerous streets and intersections. And we made new investments in fixing failing bridges like the Sellwood. ...

Still, during my tenure, we have rebuilt or resurfaced 520 miles of pavement -- almost the distance from here to Reno. Your drive may be a bit bumpier on the last few blocks, but you're more likely to make it home alive.

With gas prices spiking and unemployment at an all-time high, we have also balanced our need for safety and maintenance with creating affordable travel options like transit, walking and biking....

It's unfortunate the newspaper squandered an opportunity to tell its readers the true story about the city's transportation priorities. "

Regardless of what you think of Adams personally, it's nice to see him step up as Mayor - it would be nice if we could count on our Mayor to support multimodal priorities, as well.

The BTA also responded.

Going from fact to (salutary!) fiction, the Strong Town's "Mayor Address" is fascinating! The repudiation of sort-and-separate zoning and planning and the instructions to the City Traffic Engineer: "Tomorrow morning you are going to get all the paint you need and you are going to stripe every street in NE Brainerd. These streets are bizarrely wide; completely out of proportion for a neighborhood such as this. I want to see on-street parking areas defined, narrow (10 feet or less) driving lanes identified and the remainder of the space dedicated to bike lanes....

just so we're clear: your primary objective is no longer about moving cars. In fact, if we had to list your departmental priorities, that would be just about the last one on the list. Your top priority -- with no close second -- is to create value throughout the existing neighborhoods of this city. Not new neighborhoods on the edge of town. Not new growth out along the highway. Not to help people get to the WalMart in the next city more quickly. Throw away that hierarchical road system map that you have -- it represents an antiquated, 1950's mentality." Lots of food for thought here.