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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 11, 2010 3:14 PM. The previous post in this blog was Big Apple Stumptown is a hit. The next post in this blog is War has been declared -- on you. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bike-o-crats gone wild

Two City of Portland transportation employees -- Janis McDonald and Rich Cassidy -- are apparently heading off to Guadalajara, Mexico tomorrow, "presenting Portland Sunday Parkways to ciclovia organizers from other countries and U.S. cities." They're also "[l]ooking forward to riding around on the Recreactiva route!"

I'm sure they are.

Hey, am I paying for this?

Comments (22)

I have an idea: Let's pay for this sort of thing out of all the efficiency savings we've realized in sewer budgets. Apparently, we have $ millions to spare.

Am I paying for this?

There will be a hardly noticeable increase in your next water bill.

Hey, Janis and Rich? While you're out there, could you pick up a pair of buttless chaps for the mayor? I'm sure he'll pay you back for them, right about the time you pay back the city for this little junket.

Random question here. Are bicycles required to be licensed in Portland? Do they pay a fee to the city for the bike lanes and bike improvements? If not, why not?

canucken - No, they don't - and at least some are offended that you should even ask that question.

I attended one of the budget forums, and the young lady who arrived by bicycle said she should not have to pay any sort of bicycle license fee - after all, she pays taxes too (though she owns neither a car or house). The air of entitlement was a heavy stench at the budget table.

The air of entitlement was a heavy stench at the budget table.

Hey, it was just a little sweat. Anyway, she was unusual: most people like having new taxes and fees to pay!

Funny how when corporate America is cutting back on travel, education, and other expenses, the CoP is blowing dough like they own the mint.

umpire- re: "...though she owns neither a car or house...". Not to support the bike-o-rama at all, but renters are paying property taxes through their rent and (more indirectly) through their generally lower impact-per-resident on curb/sidewalk maintenance, typical water/garbage impact, etc. That is not a fair criticism.

Consider focusing such judgments on the over-breeding fools and the free schooling of their children + tax rebates. Or the mega-commuters with subsidized roads and gasoline. Or the typical American and their China produced, WalMart lifestyle, complete with deficit enabled government programs.

There are far more deserving targets than lower income renters, even if they choose to hipster-it-up with a bike lifestyle while it is still the cool thing to do.

That said, the junket that is the focus of this post is ridiculous. I fail to see how any city employees need to go on ANY taxpayer-funded trips in this age of massively enabled electronic communication. They are supposed to be providing BASIC SERVICES, not creating a self-defined utopia on the back of massive debt.

What was the carbon footprint of their trip to one of the world's most polluted cities; why did they not avail themselves of a bike ride (so it'd take...um...a few weeks each way) using free roadways; or why didn't they just teleconference their appearance?

I'm sure they made it up with a relaxing MAX trip (powered by coal) to PDX, to board the world's worst method of transport (in terms of carbon emissions) - the airplane.

the young lady who arrived by bicycle said she should not have to pay any sort of bicycle license fee - after all, she pays taxes too (though she owns neither a car or house).

Well, by that logic I pay taxes too, therefore I shouldnt have to pay to register my car.

Seriously, can someone answer the question: Are taxpayers paying for this?

Because if the answer is yes, I for one just might have to get violent.

I would agree to license and registration for bicycles,(for traffic control and enforcement purposes) if registration fees for all vehicles were tied to curb weight and carbon output. People don't usually think about the public savings realized by having people commute on the public roads on bicycles, reducing road wear, congestion and air pollution.

"They are supposed to be providing BASIC SERVICES"

Boring,,,,,,,,,

I typically get up in arms about this kind of thing, but Sunday Parkways is an exceptional program, and there's nothing wrong with sending people to talk about something our city can genuinely be proud of.

And, yes, I'd support a modest ($20 for a couple years) bike registration program, with the entirety of that funding dedicated towards a city bike plan.

Thanks for answering my question. If we're going to be spending this much money on bike paths/lanes/etc. then why not at the very least have cyclists purchase a registration tag (call it what you want) to help support the costs of doing this. I really don't think that's out of line at all. Dave J. suggested $20 for a couple of years, that's a good starting point. If we want these things to happen in the City then the people using it need to help pay for it.

Drew G., I do recognize the public savings from something like this in the long run. However it's not unreasonable to charge a nominal fee to cyclists that are benefitting from this infrastructure.

Another good reason for a bike registration program is that it provides a handy way to get in touch with the owners of stolen bikes. That's why my college required it. The big problem with implementing it is that it would be difficult to provide something (like the auto registration decal) that you could affix to your bike and that a cop or whatever could see at a glance to tell whether or not you've got the current registration.

Is there any way that we can make their airline tickets one-way? Adios, gringos.

Am I paying for this?
Of course you are. You live in Portland.
That's your entitlement.
I think Erik is correct- why didn't they go by bike?

I think bike registration is a good idea on many fronts. And for those who think that Portland should be a bike utopia like Amsterdam they should know that the Dutch take things like registering your bike and riding legally very, very seriously.

The way to do it here in Portland is set it up the way they do fishing licenses. All of the bike shops would sell the licenses and get a couple of bucks for doing so. This would bring in additional customers to register and re-register every two years. Bikes are registered using the serial number on the frame. If you're bike is lost or stolen you could report it and anyone attempting to re-register it would be red flagged at that time. A bill of sale would be required for registering a bike that has been previously registered (bike thieves rarely have the opportunity to get the name and address of the person they are stealing the bicycle from).

As an added bonus you could require that people registering their bike study a pamphlet on proper riding etiquette as well as the rules of the road. They would then take a short, open book test on it.

Finally, the bike shop would be required to inspect the bike to insure that it is road-worthy. Specifically, fixies would have to have a hand brake in order to be registered.

For $20 every two years this would benefit the bike owners, the bike shops, the people sharing the road and the police in tracking and returning stolen property.

Simple really, and I'm sure that one of Sam's 30 staffers has the computer wherewithal to set up and manage a website for the bike shops to access and a database of the registered bikes. Voila, Portland is just like Amsterdam.

Ha! Ha! My son who is a hardcore bicycle activist and one of the promoters of CycLAvia in LA has declined to attend the event in Guadalajara. He did visit Bogota where Cyclovia began and came away quite impressed with the social and health benefits of this type of program. He declined to attend the Mexican event because it is being held at an airport hotel far from the city, participants must stay at the boring expensive hotel, attendance costs upward of $500, and they will be subjected to endless boring and repetetive PowerPoint presentations. Again, Ha! Ha! Great to know that Portland will be represented.

Just trying to think off the top of my head about various licenses and registration fees I've had to pay in the past several years: dog license, fishing license, auto registration, registration to use certain snow parks in the mountains, access fees to national/state parks, an upcoming Multnomah County-only vehicle registration surcharge to pay for the construction of ONE bridge, and I'm sure I'm leaving out several others. I see no reason why bicyclists shouldn't be asked to shoulder the expense of this very expensive bike plan they are asking to be funded.


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