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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Washington County getting Blumenauered

A reader reports that she received a postcard the other day from the Washington County bureaucracy, inviting her to take a survey. "Tell Us What You Think!" it read. "Washington County wants to know how you get around. Fill out our quick online survey to help guide future transportation and safety initiatives in your community."

She took the bait and went to the suggested web address, but when she got there, she was dismayed to see that the "survey" was designed to promote bicycle projects (and to a lesser extent, pedestrian projects). Among the questions:

How would you describe yourself as a bicyclist?

Which of the following are reasons you do not ride a bicycle? (check all that apply)

How likely do you think the following would be at encouraging you to do more biking in Washington County?

Please indicate the top THREE improvements that would encourage you to do more biking in Washington County

Which of the following are reasons you do not ride a bicycle? (check all that apply)

Please indicate the top THREE improvements that would encourage you to do more biking in Washington County

The relentless pushing of cycling as a basic mode of transportation, especially in an auto-centric area like WashCo, is troubling. Cycling on busy roads is dangerous. The more people try it, the more injuries and deaths there will be from accidents. Why the "planning" set sees numbers of cyclists as gauges of their own success is baffling. It's become something of a religion.

Comments (21)

What would encourage me to bike more? A time machine so that these old knees would work.

Anyone with kids/teens/young adults (and I've got three) sees a trend that more and more are eschewing automobiles and looking at alternative (and yes, more green) modes of getting from here to there. Cars are just not important to them, as evidenced by GM's futile efforts to partner with MTV and attempt to reach young buyers through Facebook.

Younger adults don't have the money (thank you Clinton and Bush)(dripping with sarcasm) and more and more don't really care that much. A used car and/or a bicycle is a better status symbol.

I get the impression from a lot of younger people that -- while they are in no hurry -- they can't wait for this generation to step aside and let them set out make things right.

Heck, can't say I blame them. Two market bubble bursts and a near global depression, a cloudy war (paid for with borrowed money). Frankly, our generation doesn't have a lot to show for our efforts. Now we are fixated on blaming someone else other than ourselves.

The next 'greatest generation' will be those who sacrifice what they think they are owed and grow this country back to prosperity.

So those bicyclists, who will be more fit than any of us parked in front of our keyboards complaining, are a sign that the next generation is flexing its muscle.

The opinions expressed in these paragraphs are those of the writer and do not represent the views of bojack or any of his/its subsidiaries bojack.net, bojack.co or any other variation thereof.

I too feel guilty about what an utter failure my generation has turned to be. But this is about riding a bike on a busy street or highway. And Mark, as you well know, that's a good way to get yourself killed. The medical examiner will note that your corpse was physically fit.

I hope the next generation has enough of an economy to work with that they'll have busy lives. And most people with busy lives aren't going to bicycle to work past age 30, 35 tops.


The trend some are perceiving "that more and more are eschewing automobiles and looking at alternative (and yes, more green) modes of getting from here to there" is a heavily inflated impression and more wishful thinking by advocates than anything meaningful or impacting. The numbers of those abandoning or not affording cars is relatively meaningless.

Your pretense of "evidence" being "GM's futile efforts/MTV/young buyers/Facebook" flies in the face of reality.

Real evidence show it's all a ruse.


"Light Rail Ineffective: Portland transit mode-share unchanged despite $2 billion+ in LRT spending"

"If we're to believe the data, the journey-to-work results of all this investment, and all these people living closer to transit, didn't amount to much. Transit mode share for work trips went nowhere."

Other than in isolated exceptions there has been no meaningful shift or trend at all. Virtually all young adults have cars, cell phones and the rest of the usual stuff. Or they want it and are about to get it.

Of course some don't, but your impression that it is "a lot" of younger people is missing any real measurement.

Sorry but I don't see the few bicyclists as anything but a few bicyclists who don't represent a sign of anything much at all.

I do see the enormity of most young people who are doing pretty much the same things as their parents.

Frankly, the many I know and their friends are all fine young people trying to make a go of it in these tough times and are managing to get through it reasonably well. They're mostly all working, many getting married and doing all the same things we did.

Mark, everything in your comment is anecdotal. We have all heard these things about young people, but I'd like to see some data to back it up. I'd like to find out how many of these young people remain carfree once they 1) get a good job which may or may not be nearby, 2) get married, buy a first home, and 3) have kids.

"The next 'greatest generation' will be those who sacrifice what they think they are owed and grow this country back to prosperity."

It's a nice thought, but note that under this scenario, the boomers would still "get theirs" and its the young people who sacrifice (even more) to make it happen. Getting praised by the comfortable older generations for that sacrifice is hardly a satisfying or adequate reward.

I don't see my 2 teens anxious to take their bicycles when they go to work/school/errands. Nope, it's "can I use the car?" And they never come home talking about their friend's new cool bike.

OK, that's anecdotal evidence. But perhaps, as a more "scientific" study, one could go to a local high school and count the number of student cars in the parking lot and compare it to the number of student bikes in the bike rack.

>>>the many I know ... are managing to get through it reasonably well. They're mostly all working, many getting married and doing all the same things we did.

And how is that good? "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

"And how is that good? "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."


I was talking about young people living their lives. Working, hobbies, activities, relaionships, getting married, starting families etc.

How is that bad?
What the heck are you talking about?

Altering society to reduce CO2 emissions?

It's 13 miles from our house to the high school - I don't think my kids are going to be biking there any time soon.

And while I find that most of the cyclists that use my neighborhood are courteous, the rural transportation system was not built for bike traffic, and won't be changed anytime soon. Narrow country roads with no shoulders, blind corners, and lots of hills don't make for a good mix between cars and bikes.

I really wish the cycling community would stop and think before they come out to the country for their weekend jaunts. I'll trade them - I promise not to set foot in the Pearl (or anywhere else in Portland) if they promise not to ride their bikes in my neighborhood.

Oh, and the spandex uniforms - if you're over 30, just stop it.

spandex uniforms

Exactly. A modern version of the armband.

For lower income individuals having a car is the best bet for gaining the highest income job available to them.

Now, I don't have a problem with cyclists, as that is their choice (and their assumption of the risk), but this meme of biking as a realistic alternative for daily commutes is offbase.

And, there is a troubling trend, those who, "know best" telling others what choices they should make.

Supposedly, Portland is about choice and being okay to be "different", but when you pull back the curtain, it's not about choice, it's about planning in one sense or another.

Planning, by and large (but not always, as neighborhood zoning is a form of planning) is about "others" making your choice for you and then convincing you it was your choice all along.

Sadly, much of Portland politics is about convincing the herd that schemes to benefit insiders is really "trendy and hip" and part of Portland cool.

"Bikes are cool", no, they are okay, but going by car is just as okay (and probably safer to boot and more likely to land you a higher paying job).

I'll admit it: I'm 45, and I still bike to work every day, weather allowing. (The only reason I didn't today is because of the insane thunderstorms pounding Dallas this morning, and my wife has already promised me that I'd best hope that any lightning strike received by my biking to work in a thunderstorm kills me instantly, because she'll finish the job if it doesn't.) Of course, I'm also in a locale where I'm able to do so. I also get up early so I minimize the number of vehicles that have to pass around me. Most of all, I acknowledge that while this works for me, it doesn't work for everyone, and I'm not throwing temper tantrums and conducting push polls to convince everyone else that they should be just like me. Considering the number of arrogant Spandex-clad yuppies in the vicinity who wait until rush hour to take over two lanes for their morning constitutional, I prefer being an individualist in that regard.

I'd bike to work if I could, but it's too far and I can't indulge in the amount of time required to make the trip twice a day, the weather sux 9 months out the year, and I transport 2 small children to daycare and preschool both directions.

It's not feasible for me.

However, my neighbor bikes to work on better weather days, without kids, and only half the distance.

Anyone with kids/teens/young adults (and I've got three) sees a trend that more and more are eschewing automobiles and looking at alternative (and yes, more green) modes of getting from here to there

Why is that trend? All of the teenagers I know (unfortunately don't have them myself but many of our friends do) are extremely eager to get their license and drive.

It doesn't help that in recent years, drivers' licenses privileges for 16-17 year olds have been so heavily restricted - for example, they cannot drive with other teens in the car, so they can't even carpool to and from school; or they must have an older adult in the vehicle with them. Or they cannot drive at certain times of the day.

It doesn't help that many families have had to forgo having an extra vehicle in the household, and it's more common that both parents are working - and have both of the family cars. So what good is a license without a car?

It doesn't help that used vehicle prices are at an all time high - it's less likely that a teen will be able to buy a good quality used car.

It doesn't help that auto repair is now a specialized trade, seldom taught at high schools. The idea of buying a fixer-upper doesn't appeal to many kids who would rather write a website or draw art.

It doesn't help that many of the auto-centric events like "cruising the gut" were made illegal about two decades ago - there's simply fewer places for teenagers to go to hang out, and as a result fewer places to drive to.

Many high schools have also severely restricted student parking - and many communities have created permit parking zones around schools, so students cannot park on surrounding streets.

It is not so much that kids don't want to drive just because of the environmental aspects - it's that the ability to drive has been so severely restricted, that many kids are just waiting until after school ends and they turn 18 so that they can enjoy having a car without a lot of the artificial restrictions placed upon them.

I did the survey, I even live in Washington County (in Tigard) and I even ride a bike sometimes.

I have a great bike path - the Fanno Creek Greenway - that can get me to Beaverton or to Portland. Many streets have bike lanes now. I know a variety of low-usage streets that allow me to avoid traffic. And Hall Boulevard is a great north-south street with extremely wide shoulders and relatively safe to ride on.

Now, could the county (and city and state) finally fix 99W - and I don't mean remove three lanes of traffic to accomodate MAX? 50,000 vehicles a day - it should be six lanes (three in each direction)...and it should have been that 15 years ago.

2012 May 30 Wed 12:50 U (12:50 PM PT)

RE: Washington County getting Blumenauered

Bicycling mantra plus rail mantra just getting started.

Downloaded a policy packet from the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) Meeting of 2012 May 16 Wed 09:30 U (9:30 AM PT)in Keizer OR.
Size 14 mb, 474 pages.

Fast scan of packet
Screen 009: Power Pt Presentation
Statewide Transportation Strategy
Note Screen 017 forward
Screen 292: Road Usage Charge Pilot Program RUCPP
aka Area Tolling = new way to pay for road instead of (or plus existing gas tax)
Test fee for road use $0.0156 / mile (1.56 cents / mile)
Test program 2012 Sep - 2012 Nov

Extracts of OTC packet will be posted within a day to

Read carefully, be aware enjoy!

Charles Ormsby (Skip)
aka "sentinelskip@gmail.com"

Mark Mason is way off the mark.

Take SoWhat for one example. A total multi-modal transportation mecca: streetcars, tram, 47 ft wide bike/pedestrian esplanade on one side of SW Moody with 12 ft on the other side, new pedestrian bridge, bike corrals, employer paid transit use incentives, lightrail soon with even an exclusive bike/ped/transit bridge with no vehicles, TODs, etc. It has everything. And PDOT projected that there WOULD BE 40% transit use in 1999. But recent studies show only 7%. If you combine MLR costs just for the portion of SoWhat and the bridge, plus all transit improvements for just the SoWhat URA, it is approaching $750 Million. What a deal to gain possibly an additional 250 bike riders!

What the heck went wrong? And then Mason goes on a dream.

Hey Mark, my evidence is also anecdotal but ... I have several nieces and nephews (a total of 18) as well as my own two children all of whom are now between the ages of 22 and 31. Some are married, some are still single, some have kids, some don't. They live all over the country including the Portland metro area and not a one, not a SINGLE solitary one chooses a bike over a car. Some have bikes has a fun way to excercise, a fun leasurely way to tool around on an off day; but to consider ditching the car and making a bike the primary means of transportation - no buyers, not a one. Sorry Mark, I think you're off target on this one.

Oh, and as an older citizen, yeah, a bike doesn't work for me. So quit wasting money on transportation modes that the VAST majority of us don't/won't use. And most of us don't want, especially when that tax money should be used to improve roads, not make bike paths.

I'm with Native on this. I have a mountain bike, which I occasionally ride around the neighborhood or load up and take to a trail.

But I live in SW Portland, near the top of Tualatin mountain, off Taylor's Ferry Road. Twisty, narrow, no shoulders - no way. These idiots think I should load up my reuseable bags and bicycle down to Garden Home Thriftway or to Tigard Fred Meyer, then peddle back uphill weighed down with the groceries.

It ain't gonna happen. The car protects me and the groceries from the pouring rain, as well.

It strikes me as sensible public policy to promote bicycle transportation and bicycle safety. The costs are small, compared to those associated with cars and public transit. There are cost savings and health benefits from biking. There are hazards for bikers, but they are mostly manageable. To me, it's a bit like the lottery. I can play or not, as I wish. But when others do, I derive a benefit.

The infill and losing space within the UGB is causing more congestion thus
causing more problems for traffic, auto and for those who bicycle as well.
I see more streets overfilled with vehicles making it difficult to see traffic, auto or bicyclists. This is especially noticeable in inner city. In my view, much of this is intertwined, by allowing apartments to be built without parking, by escalation of housing costs prohibitive, so many more sharing housing. If the plan is to get people out of cars, people would be standing in line waiting to get on buses, etc.

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