Friday, August 9, 2013

State Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Meets Monday; Kenji Sugahara Appointed

The Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee meets on Monday here in Salem, and one of the main agenda items is that it's the first meeting for several new members.

Kenji Sugahara's "My Passion: Cycling Offers Many Benefits"
And one of them is from Salem!

Executive Director of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association and current Chair of the West Salem Neighborhood Association, Kenji Sugahara has been appointed to the committee. (BikePortland has details on the other new appointments.)

So it looks like Salem has two members now.  Kenji joins Wayne Baum on the committee.

From the meeting announcement:
ConnectOregon V:
Buy a lottery ticket,
Support bikeways!
SALEM – The Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee will meet Monday, Aug. 12 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at ODOT’s Mill Creek office, 555 13th St. NE in Salem. Agenda items include presentations on the Pedestrian-Bicycle Modal Plan Update, ConnectOregon V and other topics. It will be the first meeting for several new appointees to the advisory committee.

All Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public. Time will be available at the meeting for committee members to hear public comments. Those who wish to testify are encouraged to sign up on the public comment sheet provided at the meeting. General guidelines: provide written summaries when possible and limit comments to 3 minutes. If you bring written summaries or other materials to the meeting, please provide the chairperson with a copy prior to your testimony.

Accommodations will be provided to persons with disabilities. To request an accommodation, please call ODOT’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Program office at (503) 986-3555 or statewide relay, 7-1-1.
Figuring out lottery-funded ConnectOregon will be interesting.  It's a high-risk, high-reward kind of thing, it seems to me.  On the one hand, mandates look to be on the way out:  In this program at least, bike/ped stuff will have to compete openly against the big business of transit, rail, and air.  On the other hand, if the State is serious about greenhouse gas reduction, least-cost planning, and livability, good bike/ped projects should offer terrific returns-on-investment and be very competitive.

We'll see.  The proof is in the pudding, as they say.  

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Mode Plan probably sounds more grand than it is - given our propensity not to follow-through in funded action with plan rhetoric.  But again, things start with a blank slate, and if the State is really serious, it could be a significant step! There are real high-level policy opportunities.

Former Chair of the Committee, AJ Zelada, has said he thinks this is an important transitional moment.  In an open letter he wrote:
I don't want you to paint white bike lane stripes as the only answer; I want you to think in life-cycles where infants, children, school age, young adults, working stiffs, retired people and aging individuals are traffic. Not cars or bikes. But communities of people on the move.
So it'll be interesting to see how it all turns out.

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