2030 Portland Bike Plan Cheap at 1.5 Billion

The latest revelation from Willamette Week shows that the Portland 2030 bike plan cost estimate is 1.5 billion. Some argue that it will only be 613 million, but that figure apparently does not include costs such as overhead and personnel. Nevertheless, the bang for the buck here is unarguable.

Let’s take a look at the numbers to see why.

First, it is commonly thought that there are 15,000 daily bike commuters in Portland. Commuting is considered work days, so that amounts to about 250 days per year for an annual total of 3,750,000 trips. If you do the math, it works out to only $20 for every bike commute for the next 20 years.

That amount pales in comparison to the fuel saved, the reduction in green house gases, the reduction in noise pollution, obesity, traffic jams, traffic accidents, wasted space for parking, etc.

The only thing that might make more sense is to begin paying anyone who commutes to work in Portland by bike $20 for every commute. This way, we would not need the new spending as there would be fewer cars on the roads and thus, more room for bikes. Plus, it would increase bike commutes immediately, not in 10 or 20 years, when it will no doubt be too late to arrest the warming.

The money and time saved on traffic enforcement, parking spaces, traffic jams, etc., etc. would more than offset the $20.

Let’s be bold in our thinking in Portland, for once, and begin this vital program today. What are we waiting for? Vancouver? Eugene? Some other city will no doubt beat us to the punch if we don’t act now.

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  • valley p

    Jerry, no surprise, but your assumptions are suspect.

    1) The cost estimate is $600M, not $1.5B. The latter estimate was rejected as not accurate.
    2) You say there are only 15,000 daily bike commuters, but that number is for bridge crossings only. Many don’t need to cross one of the 4 bridges in question. The estimated number of daily Portland commuters is 17-22,000.
    3) If the investment is made, the number of daily commuters is expected to quadruple. Maybe that estimate is to high, but it certainly will be a lot more than the number that ride today.

    Back of the envelope, if we end up with 50,000 daily commuters (only about 2.5 times todays) and the investment is $30M per year for 20 years that works out to only $2.50 per daily commute per bike. And yes, the money and pollution saved would probably more than pay for that.

    • Jerry

      Exactly my point, except that I think they will ride for the money without any additional spending on bike lanes. And, by only having to parse the money out as the commutes occur, we can save even more.

      I am glad we can finally agree on something.

      I have always been a proponent of bike riding, which you would know if you read my posts on the subject.

      Cold, hard cash will get people out of the cars and onto their saddles!

      Let’s make this happen.

      • valley p

        What is it we agree on exactly? The idea of paying people to ride bikes on dangerous streets instead of paying for the infrastructure that supports safe cycling? I didn’t know you were an ambulance chaser Jerry.

        You are on your own Jerry with respect to your proposals Jerry. Totally…utterly…and increasingly hopelessly on your own.

        But now you have me wondering. If I send you $2.50 a day will you cease posting these lousy analyses and crazy ideas of yours? I’ll bet I could find a few contributors.

        • Jerry

          OK – you win. Send me the money each day and I will stop posting.
          Although, I must say, my posts more often than not generate some of the most lively debate.

          They kind of took it to you on those numbers. I suspect they are right. If we paid for these trips it would to far, far fewer people. There is no way that 15,000 Portlanders commute each day. None.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      Uh oh, Deans doing numbers again.

      This from the guy who last week citesd CBO numbers for the stimulous ( which were 600M to 1.6M jobs ) then a day later insists its 2M jobs.

      Sorry Dean, combining your fungible math numbers with government cost projections make a deck of tarot cards look like rigorous science.

    • Jerry

      I suspect if my plan was implemented we could grow bike commutes to over 250,00 per day minimum.

  • kitanis

    I am all for the bike plan.. With one minor point of my own mind..

    The push for the city to “force” more people to commute by bike.. is wrong. Voluntary compliance to bicycle ridding is Ok by me.. but to have the city spend that much money to “encourage” (I.E. force) more folks to commuting by bicycle is evil and simply wrong.

    Very similar to Portland and Tri-Mets efforts to get more people to ride light rail in their daily lives.. only to have Tri-Met reduce services and raise prices for transit fares because of low ridership.. Mayor Adams is on record to even get people to Move to communities where transit plays a more important role, this goes hand in hand with the Bicycle plan

    If Portland is so against motor vehicle traffic.. then let the City of Portland lead the way.. The city should eliminate all motor vehicles from its fleet. Police, Fire, city, maintenance, EVERYTHING.. You can convert all to a bicycle mode.. Fire services would go down drastically.. as well as law enforcement.. But the way the City of Portland supports their police force.. who cares…

    • Jed Williams

      Kitanis,

      How does the Bike Master Plan force people to bike? It seems like it merely gives people greater choice in deciding to bike if they want and that is a good thing.

      Jed

  • Bennie

    Another boondoggle paid for with other peoples money!. Why not pave over all of the useless light rail lines and make them bike paths. It will surely transport more people than it is now. What a Joke.

  • Anonymous

    “…it is commonly thought that there are 15,000 daily bike commuters in Portland.”

    Just because something is “commonly thought” doesn’t mean it has any basis in reality. The fact is, that there are no accurate figures that the supporters are willing to part with for several reasons, one being that the numbers they throw out are based on “calculations” made at very selective parts of the year–the days when the most riders are out. How many “summer” riders ride during the winter and other wet periods? Definitely not the number that ride when the advocates do their calculating. And the idea that 20-25% of commuting will be done by bike at any given time–much less year round–is a fantasy, based on a dream, based on wishes.

  • Mel

    I’m all for this bike plan if the state starts requiring licenses for bikes (complete with tests, like for automobiles), police start enforcing traffic rules for cyclists (no more running a stop sign while riding the wrong way on a one-way street without a helmet on, kids!), AND if cyclists are required to get insured, like motorists are.

    If we are going to push for a huge increase in bicyclists, we need to increase our infrastructure to handle it. Right now, most of the time as a motorist, cyclist, and pedestrian, I see cyclists as a huge red danger flag when I’m out on the road. So many just do not understand basic safety, and that is going to turn into a problem ten-fold if we just think that adding a few more bike lanes is going to solve all our traffic woes.

  • Anonymous

    vp,
    What a cooked up bunch of typical Portland garbage.

    1) The 1.5B was rejected as not accurate by 2 1/2 times?
    Gee that really makes the 600M credible. Since this is Portland one should assume it would be closer to the 2.5B.
    Your approach is to believe eveything favorable.

    Like the 15,000 daily bridge crossings. On the sunny announced ahead of time count day perhaps.
    That’s what lefties do.
    I don’t buy that at all as an the daily average.
    Nor the estimated number of daily Portland commuters at 17-22,000.

    But even at those numbers the bike contribution to the transportation system is so inflated it’s fraud.

    Of course the number of daily commuters expecting to quadruple is too high.
    But that’s Portland propaganda.

    So what if more ride. What’s that supposed to mean?
    It will mean only slightly more the current insignificant who ride.

    Then you launch into fantasy orbit. 50,000? What a perfect Portland idiot.
    Every day 50,000 bike commuters and every day the public pays 2.50 for each one and somehow you declare the money and pollution saved would probably more than pay for that?

    Boy does that ever sound like the phony global warming science.

    And let me guess who decides how much pollution and savings there are? The bike counters?

    Oh you’re a funny ass.

  • Jim Labbe

    Conservatives should be supporting the Bike Master Plan for solid fiscal reasons.

    With so much of our tax base going to pay for foreign wars, bank bailouts and servicing the national debt, setting fiscal priorities at the local level that achieve multiple public goods in a cost-effective manner is an imperative.

    The Bike Master Plan, if implemented, meets this challenge by achieving multiple benefits of a more balanced transportation system.

    The fiscal smarts go beyond the primary transportation benefits: 1. reduced road maintenance costs and 2. more road-space for freight and people who need to drive.

    They extend to real economic and environmental returns:

    Less personal income spent at the gas pump (and sent off to Saudia Arabia or Venezuela) or at the auto manufacturers in Detroit and Japan, means more money circulating in the local economy.

    Contrary to popular belief the major source of air and water pollutants no longer comes from “evil” industrialists. Most air and water pollution now comes from diffuse sources but especially from the transportation system so overly dependent on cars and the internal combustion engine.

    In Portland, up to 70% of the pollutant loads entering streams and rivers come from streets and parking lots and ultimately from the hydrocarbons and heavy metals that source to cars and trucks.

    The negative impacts to urban air quality better known but have been underestimated in the past. For example the copper from automobile break linings that ends up in our water bodies and can be lethal to salmon (and probably other aquatic life) also end up in our air where we know now they create real health hazards to people.

    In short: more people biking and walking improves air and water quality, local fish and wildlife, human health, and the local economy. The Bike Master Plan is a smart local investment in part because dovetails with other local plans to improve and protect watershed health and encourage economic development.

    It does all this while saving tax dollars otherwise needed to build and maintain much more expensive and polluting transportation infrastructure that does less for the local economy.

    Jim Labbe

    • Jerry

      Speaking of streams, I think we could extend the payment to those who row or paddle or sail to work as well.
      We have the infrastructure and it is free.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      >Conservatives should be supporting the Bike Master Plan for solid fiscal reasons.

      Is there some sort of special salute that goes along with the Bike Master Plan?

      I mean that’s a pretty audacious title. Kind of like Master Race, Final solution, that sort of thing. I don’t know why, but for some reason I do picture guys wearing armbands riding bikes when I here the phrase Bike Master Plan.

      >With so much of our tax base going to pay for foreign wars, bank bailouts and servicing the national debt, setting fiscal priorities at the local level that achieve multiple public goods in a cost-effective manner is an imperative.

      Because we are in a war we should build bike paths?

      I don’t get it.

      Are you saying riding bikes would prevent war in the first place?

      Or are you saying that since we are spending money on war, we need to save money by riding bikes?

      If that’s the case, then doesn’t riding bikes just mean more money for war?

      Riding a bike = Genocide.

      >The fiscal smarts go beyond the primary transportation benefits: 1. reduced road maintenance costs and 2. more road-space for freight and people who need to drive.

      I guess.

      You know though, somehow if I start seeing a lot of investment bankers all of a sudden riding bikes, I think Ill be worried.

      >Less personal income spent at the gas pump (and sent off to Saudia Arabia or Venezuela) or at the auto manufacturers in Detroit and Japan, means more money circulating in the local economy.

      Sounds like a good argument for domestic oil drilling to me.

      And by the way, I am not sure you have seen Detroit recently but frankly sending money there seems kind of like a lateral move from sending money to Haiti.

      >Contrary to popular belief the major source of air and water pollutants no longer comes from “evil” industrialists.

      Didn’t you just knock Detroit and Japan right in the sentence above? Some fair weather friend you are.

      >In Portland, up to 70% of the pollutant loads entering streams and rivers come from streets and parking lots and ultimately from the hydrocarbons and heavy metals that source to cars and trucks.

      Maybe its just me, but I always have a problem with that phrase “up to”

      I mean it really is a scam, because its really saying:

      “You can go check my figures, but if you found out its really just 2% then I am still technically correct because I said “up to 70%” ”

      Seriously – “up to 70%” doesn’t mean a damn thing.

      Everyone’s bank account contains up to $1 billion. See how that works? Even if I have 25 cents in the bank, its still “up to” $1 billion.

      Besides which, why is it I think that the taxes that pay the taxes for people who study this sort of thing, or the taxes to clean it up for that matter, probably comes from people who actually work and need to drive to get there rather than some guy in a Rasta hat biking off to Trader Joes?

      I bet Rasta hat bike guy would be indignant at me.

      Rasta hat guys always hate my guts, and if they are bike halo Rasta guys, then they really really hate me.

      “Hey man, don’t knock the Rasta hat. You’re a damn car nazi…… and in case you dont know…..I pay taxes too…..man…..in fact I pay “up to” $1 million dollars a day in taxes”

      “And Jah Love to you too bike Rasta hat bike guy…. I bet you want to punch me right in the face just about now dont ya?”

      >For example the copper from automobile break linings that ends up in our water bodies and can be lethal to salmon (and probably other aquatic life) also end up in our air where we know now they create real health hazards to people.

      Like what?

      I’m not saying there are no health issues, but of what scale are you talking about? Why is it I think the phrase “up to” as in “up to” 1 million preventable deaths, would figure prominently in any answer.

      Have you seen people in places where the average person cannot afford a car? Do they look really healthy to you?

      Now go to a place with a lot of really nice cars. Do you see people who have dropped dead from a brake pad? Is the lifespan of people in nice car places longer or shorter than the life span of people in cant afford a car places?

      >In short: more people biking and walking improves air and water quality, local fish and wildlife, human health, and the local economy.

      I guess I would feel better about this bikes improving the economy thing if I saw more evidence of places with lots of bikes being economic super powers.

      Well, I guess there is the Dutch, they were a super power once, and I think they had bikes at that time.

      Then there are the Chinese, always see them riding on bikes, well, used to I guess, before they started making everything and actually had to get places. Seems kind of like their rise to economic super power was accompanied by falling bike use and increased car use.

      Wait a second – China?

      More cars correlates with more thriving economy?

      Hmm, mighty suspicious, starts looking like the whole carbon global temperatures thing.

      >It does all this while saving tax dollars otherwise needed to build and maintain much more expensive and polluting transportation infrastructure that does less for the local economy.

      Roads do less for the economy than bike paths?

      What economy are we talking about? Bolivia?

      You show me a place with great roads and lousy bike paths and Ill show you a place where people can actually build a factory, hire people and those people can get to work.

      You show me a place with great bike paths and lousy roads and Ill show you a place where I might go on vacation, but doubt one could get a job other than renting those bikes out or serving drinks in a coconut shell.

      • valley p

        “Because we are in a war we should build bike paths?

        I don’t get it.”

        Let me try and explain without using big words. Note that both wars are in a part of the world where we get our oil supply from. True, Afghanistan does not have oil, but it is a haven for the crazies who are from the nearby countries that have the oil and a shared culture.

        So yes, to the extent cycling reduces our need to buy Mideast oil, it deprives crazies who want to kill of the the means to buy the weapons. And it lessens the need for us to spend a few trillion quid and thousands of lives to secure oil supplies.

        “Sounds like a good argument for domestic oil drilling to me. ”

        Yeah. Its a great argument. If only we actually had anywhere near the amount we use. But we don’t. Not onshore and not off shore.

        “Seriously – “up to 70%” doesn’t mean a damn thing.”

        Yeah…actually it does Rupert. It means no more than, and suggests the figure approaches that amount. If the number was closer to 2% then the statement should have been no more than 2%, but it wasn’t.

        “I guess I would feel better about this bikes improving the economy thing if I saw more evidence of places with lots of bikes being economic super powers.”

        They have to be “super powers”? That is the measure? How about just plenty wealthy, which includes the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany, all of which have high levels of urban cycling. And, they are a lot healthier and thinner than us and spend half of what we do for health care. Even with all those buttered potatoes and schnitzel.

        “Seems kind of like their (China’s) rise to economic super power (which they are not anywhere near) was accompanied by falling bike use and increased car use.”

        A brilliant observation Rupert. They started with zero car use, and now it is up to maybe 10%. From that you draw what conclusion? Should we aim at a 90% bike to 10% car mix?

        “You show me a place with great roads and lousy bike paths and Ill show you a place where people can actually build a factory, hire people and those people can get to work.”

        I guess that place must be America Rupert. Except we have lots of good roads, empty factories, vacant industrial land, and high unemployment. So howz that good road thingy workin out l for ya?

        “You show me a place with great bike paths and lousy roads and Ill show you a place where I might go on vacation, but doubt one could get a job other than renting those bikes out or serving drinks in a coconut shell.”

        Copenhagen. Very high per capita income and employment rate about 1/2 of ours. No coconut shells though.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          >Let me try and explain without using big words.

          Someone pokes fun at liberal silliness and you go straight to this sort of thing?

          Hope you are more secure when you ride a bike than when you write here.

          To use your favourite phrase – Don’t get your panties in a twist about a post whose main purpose was to poke fun at the usual liberal tactics such as the “up up to 70%” and nonsense like the road to prosperity is paved with bike paths.

          Lighten up, it would probably do more for your health than all that bike riding you want us to pay for!

          • Jim Labbe

            Ouch Rupert. As usual you help make for a pretty caustic setting to dialogue here at Oregon Catalyst.

            The number is actually between 60-70% of stormwater volume comes from “paved streets and runoff directed from private property (mostly parking lots). But the pollutant loads of stormwater from streets are heavier than that which comes off of roof tops and gardens the percentage of totall pollutant loads is probably higher:

            https://www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=154232

          • jed williams

            So the stormwater pollution that mostly comes from us drivers is being cleaned up by stormwater fees paid by households. Seems like we should share some of this costs of maintaining roads as a matter of personal responsibility.

          • valley p

            “Someone pokes fun at liberal silliness and you go straight to this sort of thing? ”

            Poke fun at silliness? That isn’t what you are doing. What you are doing is deliberately distorting or ignoring facts by using sarcasm as a technique to make some larger point (about liberalism, as if only liberals ride bikes) that remains mysterious. And when confronted with your errors you hide behind lame humor. Besides which, if you have no clue about where we happen to be fighting wars or why then you shouldn’t bring the issue up.

            The phrase I use is “knickers” in a twist. Not panties. But we already know your memory of my previous posts is not very reliable, and we also unfortunately know the position of your panties.

            “Lighten up, it would probably do more for your health than all that bike riding you want us to pay for! ”

            Let me ask you something. Are you really Rupert from Springfield or are you Rupert from Portland? Because if you are from Springfield, then no one is asking you to pay for anything with respect to Portland’s bike plan. How Portland chooses to spend its transportation allocation is Portland’s business, and if the people who live there don’t like it then they know what to do.

      • Jed Williams

        “>With so much of our tax base going to pay for foreign wars, bank bailouts and servicing the national debt, setting fiscal priorities at the local level that achieve multiple public goods in a cost-effective manner is an imperative.

        ‘Because we are in a war we should build bike paths?

        I don’t get it.'”

        Rupert I think he is saying that because so much of our taxes get used (I would say wasted in the former two) on ” foreign wars, bank bailouts and servicing the national debt” we have to spend what we have most prudently in priorities that achieve multiple ends, like the Bike Master Plan.

        Please don’t verbally insult me for disagreeing with you.

      • Jerry

        I think they have a lot of bikes in Cuba.
        And there are not too many hills, either, so it really works for them.
        They have better health care, too, and a much better school system.
        Vive la revolucion.

    • Jerry

      Plus, no one has mentioned the ecomonic growth PDX will experience from all this money getting distributed to the riders, the money they will spend on bikes and accessories, etc.
      It is called the multipier effect and it works.
      We will the envy of every big city in the nation – nay, the world.

  • Anonymous

    Labbe is a dishonest fanatic who willingly distorts everything he can because this is what fanatics do. They think their cause justifies any and all methods.

    For the first time since 1995, the number of bicycle trips counted decreased in Portland.
    • Bicycle traffic on Portland’s four bicycle-friendly bridges (Broadway, Steel, Burnside and Hawthorne bridges) and at 101 non-bridge locations showed a one-year decrease of 6 percent and 5 percent respectively. The total number of bicycle trips in Portland (combined bridge and non-bridge) decreased 5 percent compared with 2008.

    • Jim Labbe

      Anonymous. To respond to your somewhat selective and misleading reporting of the numbers, the number of bike trips city-wide is still way up from 2001 when the City started counting. Moreover, I believe researchers at PSU found that the number of trips by car and probably all modes also went down mostly likely due to the slow economy.

  • Aaron

    I’m impressed with this proposal. The idea of subsidizing bicycling is really no different from the subsidies given to drivers currently. Over the past 20 years the city of Portland has spent $17 BILLION on infrastructure. So if a small stipend was paid to people riding their bikes it would vastly reduce not only pollution, noise, parking problems, and safety concerns. It would also reduce the cost of maintaining pavement and bridges. The city could make up the money for this credit by simply selling all of the parking garages for use as buildings. The potential money saved would be enormous. Of course southwest Portland would likely become a ghost town as people move to the flatter regions which were popular before the automobile came into popularity.

    • Jerry

      The bikes can be fitted with small electric motors, by the city, for those whose commutes include hills.
      Problem solved.

  • Paul Tay

    I’ll get my people meet with your people.

  • Michael M.

    The Bike Master Plan goal is for 25% of total trips to be made on a bicycle, not 25% of commutes (between work/home). Commutes themselves account for only 25% of overall trips.

    Myself, I’m much more interested in the “20-Minute Neighborhood” concept than in the Bike Master Plan, but the latter can be useful to the extent the Plan can help in formulating complete neighborhoods. I don’t really think that’s the Plan’s focus, unfortunately, though it does pay lip service to the concept. I also don’t like how the Plan seeks to insert bikes everywhere they can possibly go, and doesn’t even pay lip service to the idea that maybe some parks and recreational areas should be for, you know, regular ol’ unaugmented people, rather than people riding bicycles. The Plan seeks to turn every last bit of trail in Portland into “transit corridors,” even if, for example, areas like the Willamette Greenway and Waterfront Park were created with the idea of enjoying scenery, nature, exercise, etc. with respite from traffic (whether motorized or non-motorized). Cycling advocates have said that appropriate behavior will be encouraged through enforcement and education, but I remain skeptical.

    All in all, it’s a pretty mixed bag, but it doesn’t commit the city to spending anything.

    • Jerry

      And what about horseback riders? Are they to be excluded??
      This whole thing is pretty out of control.
      That is why my idea of just paying the people is the best.

    • Z Man

      Master Plan – sounds like something they had in the USSR.
      20 minute neighborhoods are great. We already have them due to the inane high density rules the county has adopted.
      I just hope we get some charging stations as I have my new Leaf on order now.
      I am doing my part. Why won’t others join me??

  • Steve Plunk

    When we first start seeing bicycle traffic jams I’ll start thinking about more bicycle infrastructure. Until that time we have grown up transportation needs. Bicycles as an alternative to cars in this country just makes me think of rainbows and unicorns. Feel good and fiction.

    • valley p

      “When we first start seeing bicycle traffic jams I’ll start thinking about more bicycle infrastructure. ”

      Visit the Hawthorne Bridge any sunny weekday 7-9 AM or 4-6 PM and you will likely see bicycle (and pedestrian) traffic jams. Ride the Ladd’s Addition bike boulevard and you will be in a swarm of cyclists.

      Bicycles already are an alternative to cars for thousands of Portland area residents. They are also an alternative to monthly gym memberships.

      • Steve Plunk

        Define your idea of a bicycle traffic jam. I think you’re stretching things here.

        • valley p

          I’ll describe it as a constant stream that has to go slower than optimal due to the number and density of cyclists and pedestrians sharing a limited space. The Hawthorne and Steel Bridges are often jammed. Don’t take my word for it. Go see it for yourself. Go count the number of bikes at the racks at Portland State. Count up the number of people who work full time in the bicycle industry in Portland. Stop believing anything at all Jerry writes. He is lovable, but a hopeless cynic when it comes to cycling.

          The rush hour “swarm” through Ladds Addition is quite an experience. Riding in it feels like being in Amsterdam, but without the canals.

          There is no reason Portland cannot get to 25% of trips on bicycles. And we would be way the better off for it. The amount of money needed is peanuts compared to what a few miles of new freeway would cost.

          As for me, I’m biking into town today.

  • jasonsuggs

    Of course there is no such thing as man-made global warming.

  • Anonymous

    People stood at the bridges and counted in 2001 on a cool morning in 2001.
    Nobody knew their was going to be any counts when this was done on this chilly spring morning.

    BIKE RIDERS AND PEDESTRIANS USING
    WILLAMETTE RIVER BRIDGES DURING PEAK HOURS

    total 938

    https://www.portlandfacts.com/OTI/bike-pedcounts.htm

    • Dan

      uhhh, that was almost 10 years ago. The 2008 peak count was about 16,100 trips. Just over the bridges. There are a lot of people out on the east side who don’t have to cross the Willamette.

      Here’s an index of the more recent information on the Bicycle Counts.
      https://www.portlandonline.com/TRANSPORTATION/INDEX.CFM?c=4467

      Yes, the 2009 report indicated that trips decreased 5-6%, but that has been addressed in comments above.

      • Anonymous

        So your saying 16,000 trips, 365 days a year?

  • Jerry

    Well, in my plan,we would not pay them if they did not cross a bridge OR bike at least 5 miles.

  • Terry Parker

    Motorists and taxpayers in Portland ought to be outraged by not only the politically vetted stacked deck committees and bicycling special interest self-selection process used to develop this plan, but also because of the excessive price tag.

    Over half a billion dollars, plus another 6 million annually, all hidden from the public view until just recently, is an unwarranted cost for all this social engineering.

    That’s OVER 600 MILLION DOLLARS so bicyclists can have an undue hierarchy bestowed upon them with special privileges and immunities that further advances their supremacist egos. Green police hierarchy movements have no place in America.

    Most bicycle activists are your basic freeloaders that act like spoiled little children who want all the frills of specialized and exclusive infrastructure as long as somebody else pays for it. Currently, one more trip made on a bicycle, compared to by car, is one less trip that helps pay for transport infrastructure.

    Redistribution of wealth is specifically restrained in the US Constitution. The term “wealth” includes the simple earnings of the working class taxpayers and motorists who do not ride a bicycle. Conformity requires any bicycle infrastructure and any bicycling indoctrination agenda MUST be funded with licenses and fees directly assessed on the bicyclists only – NOT from siphoning off motorist paid taxes and fees, and NOT with any other taking such as a backdoor tax on utility bills or bond measure that must be paid by the general public. Things like public golf courses, swimming pools, tennis centers, etc. are all funded with user fees – and so MUST bicycle infrastructure be funded by user fees – coming directly from the wallets of the bicyclists that use it – not from other rustled sources. Moreover, anybody that would say we don’t tax people for what we want them to do and tax them for what we don’t want them to do is promoting socialism.

    Additionally, there should be no taking away of existing motor vehicle infrastructure and/or parking to accommodate bicycle infrastructure. Reducing motor vehicle capacity and thereby creating more traffic congestion is unacceptable. Adding curb extensions that also require transit vehicles to stop in travel lanes while boarding passengers is unacceptable. Creating more driving obstructions and motorist safety hazards such as narrowing travel lanes to as little as 10 feet wide is unacceptable. TriMet busses and a lot of trucks are 10 and one-half feet wide mirror to mirror, and do not fit in 10 foot lanes.

    In closing, providing specialized bicycle infrastructure for the bicyclists that use it is a privilege, NOT a right. Currently, the majority of bicyclists clearly demonstrate they are not ready to accept responsibility when they arrogantly refuse to follow even the simplest of traffic rules and safety control devices. Strict enforcement with hefty fines, and not just education, is needed to keep bicyclists in compliance with the law. Accepting the responsibilities that come with any specialized bicycle infrastructure, including paying for it, must all come directly from the bicyclists themselves. Any burden must NOT fall to or be placed on other people.

    • jed williams

      At risk of being verbally assaulted by any number of the posters here (seriously you guys are as rude as the rudest driver or cyclist), I am going to have to respectfully disagree with Mr. Parker.

      In fact I see things exactly the opposite. I believe a clear headed look at the facts suggest- on balance- it is we as drivers, not as cyclists or pedestrians, that need to demonstrate more personal responsibility with respect to paying the full costs of our mode choice. Here is why:

      1. Most gas tax dollars now go to build or maintain freeways which cyclists don’t use and in many cases are not allowed to use.

      2. Most local streets and roads that cyclists and drivers use are paid for by local taxes and fees not by the gas tax.

      3. People who choose not to drive and walk or bike are making more room on the road for people who must drive, even after allocating some more of the public ROW for sidewalks and bike lanes.

      4. Cyclist and pedestrians have less impact on roads and lower maintenance relative to drivers.

      5. Driving has greater impacts on urban air and water quality. As a driver, I should pay the full cost of these impacts on the environment rather than expecting other people- who by their behavior are not creating these impacts- to pay to clean them up (e.g. through higher stormwater fees or my other tax dollars). This is the polluter pays principle based on personal responsibility.

      6. Public space for public parking (most of which is free or subsidized) is increasingly scarce. So people who bike or walk are making limited space go farther.

      I support a transportation system that optimizes efficiency and personal choice. That means a transportation system that gives people more choices on how to get around and expects that they pay the full costs as possible for those choices.

      Jed

      • Anonymous

        1. Most gas tax dollars now go to build or maintain freeways come from user fees on autos and trucks.

        2. Most local streets and roads are paid for by the developers and home owners when that area is first built. then maintained by the county or city . Try to buy a home or building that does not have a road in front of it and is landlocked. you will not get a loan.

        3. If every person that walks and rides a bike today started driving tomorrow no one would notice.

        4. cars and small trucks have zero impact on roads because they are built to carry Tri Met buses ands trucks. Bike paths need bike lanes repainted nearly every year. And pay zero in bike fees

        5. New cars are much cleaner than transit and our air and water is cleaner every year. The highest pollution is in higher density areas of Portland , much of it caused by parking rules that have zoned out big parking lots. Or thanks to Metro planners

        Bike rider may think because they don’t drive they have no impact, but they buy food that comes by truck and pay for services that come by car and truck.

        Every purchase bike riders, transit users or walkers use comes by some form of car or truck.

        If you want customers you will provide parking, if a profit is important to you.

        If you really want more choices, you should be willing to pay for them directly through a bike tax for special bike amenities.

        More choices is now the code word for
        I don’t want to pay for my choice of riding a bike !

      • Terry Parker

        1. “Most gas tax dollars now go to build or maintain freeways which cyclists don’t use and in many cases are not allowed to use” NOT TRUE! Local governments receive both Federal and State motorist paid gas tax dollars to fund local streets and roads.

        2. “Most local streets and roads that cyclists and drivers use are paid for by local taxes and fees not by the gas tax.” Property taxes DO NOT pay for roads so which local taxes? The ones motorist pay like parking meter revenues, local registration fees, and yes local gas taxes. Other road funding comes from developers and utilities that must replace what they dig up.

        3. “People who choose not to drive and walk or bike are making more room on the road for people who must drive, even after allocating some more of the public ROW for sidewalks and bike lanes. NOT TRUE when motor vehicle lanes and capacity is taken away to accommodate bicycle infrastructure. The Portland-Metro population is expected to increase by one million people in the next two decades. That means more cars and not taking away motor vehicle infrastructure.

        4. “Cyclist and pedestrians have less impact on roads and lower maintenance relative to drivers.” Requiring bicyclists to pay for what they use is not about the impact or weight on the pavement. It is about the amount of exclusive space and pavement they rant for – and constructing and maintaining that space for exclusive use.

        5. “Driving has greater impacts on urban air and water quality…This is the polluter pays principle based on personal responsibility.” So you believe in a double standard when it comes to the user pays principal requiring the bicycle users to accept some personal responsibility. Moreover, driving creates jobs –
        private sector jobs. One in every ten jobs is tied to the auto industry and that has a positive impact on the economy. Any movement towards more bicycling will have a negative effect on those private sector jobs which bicycling will not replace. Maybe bicyclists should also accept that responsibility too and directly pay a subsidy to replace those jobs being lost.

        6. “Public space for public parking (most of which is free or subsidized) is increasingly scarce. So people who bike or walk are making limited space go farther.” NOT TRUE! Public parking on the street is paid for with gas taxes. Bike lanes only take away that space without the responsibility to pay for it. Moreover, City owned garage fees and parking meter revenues downtown are raided to subsidize streetcar operations and the freeloaders that ride them.

        The bottom line is that bicyclists need to accept the responsibility and be licensed and pay registration fees to pay for bicycle infrastructure instead of continuing to act like spoiled little children and arrogant deadbeats with excuses.

  • Jerry

    Terry – a fine analysis.
    What ever happened to the idea of taking responsibility for yourself? I think it died somewhere after the 50’s. Everyone has a hand out now.
    I do appreciate your comments.
    One thought you gave me would be toll road for bikes. Why not???
    Sort of like the turnpikes of the 60’s. Pay as you go.
    There is no reason for the taxpayers to absorb this burden to the tune of 1.5 billion, which is most likely a very low estimate.
    None whatsoever.
    Many of the problems Portland has with traffic and congestion are due quite simply to the high density, communist way of planning that the city and counties have adopted.
    We need to spread things out a bit here.
    Again, thanks for the thoughtful and well-reasoned post.

  • Joe Adamski

    Comments are all over the board, ranging from discussions of statistics, the role of government,the whole car v bike arguement, among others. And I can’t resist chiming in, though this thread is a few days old and no doubt everyone has moved on to other topics.
    English common law regarded roadways as PUBLIC PROPERTY.part of the commons. Extending that thinking to today, is creating a road system that places the economic burden of car ownership as key to access to those same public roadways?

    I saw someone mentioning electric bikes. Electric assisted, as opposed to electric powered bikes, are probably going to be necessary to encourage those larger numbers, esp those with fitness issues, extra long or hilly commutes. Electric assist bikes usually top out at 15-20 MPH, as opposed to electric powered bikes that are essentially electric mopeds, 30 MPH and not a safe match for cyclists, traditional or electric assisted.

    Finally, the BMP is a planning document. None in the bike community wants to see it sitting on the shelf for the next 20 years, as planning documents are wont to do. Its a set of goals and priorities with the goal of building out the network over the next two decades. 20 years is a long time,politically. If , that is IF the political paradigm doesn’t undergo any massive shifts in the next two decades, and money can be found, much of the BMP will be built. But those are mighty big IFs there, fella.
    So lets sit back and see how it goes. Lurking on a blog isn’t really the same as political involvement, and its not like anyone listens to you anyhow. So after all the snarky remarks. the City will move forward. With or without us.

  • Jerry

    My point is that the city doesn’t need to really do anything. What have they done lately that worked? WiFi??

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