On the bike with Barack

By Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Portland, Oregon. Earl is the co-chair of the Oregon for Obama campaign. In March, he contributed "On the bus with Barack."

OK, not literally, but the opportunity for me to participate in last week's Bicycle Industry event with Barack Obama in Chicago was an exciting milestone in the confluence of bicycles and the political process.

Although I've been working on cycling issues my entire career, I have seen more political bike activity in the last 30 days than I've seen in the previous 30 years.

Part of this, of course, has been fueled by the unprecedented rapid increase in gasoline prices at exactly the same time that we are focusing on the critical issues of global warming and child obesity.

Last month, the House passed the National Bike Bill (H.Con. Res. 305), the most comprehensive policy expression of Congress about the roles and opportunities for cycling in America. Just 10 days ago, the House of Representatives included an amendment I worked on with Congressman Ron Klein of Florida for legislation to Green our Schools (H.R. 3021). This amendment would permit resources for greening our schools to be used to help children and staff cycle safely to school. Last week, in the first Amtrak reauthorization in 11 years, the House adopted an amendment I cosponsored with Congressman Anthony Wiener of New York to make it easier for Amtrak to accommodate cyclists, long a sore point for those who want to combine biking with train travel. There have also been countless interviews and press inquiries to my office in recent weeks about cycling initiatives for the future.

It has been a delight for me to see all the references to Oregon's – and Portland's – bike culture as part of the political landscape, not just for local and state candidates, but for the presidential race as well. The capstone of this movement came just before Oregon's May 20 primary, when a rally for Barack Obama attracted more than 72,000 people to Portland's waterfront – the largest political rally for any candidate this season anywhere in the country – and 8,000 of those came by bike. With Portland's downtown crammed with tens of thousands of people, many of whom couldn't even get into the rally, it was immediately apparent that biking was the easiest and fastest way to get around. If everybody who had cycled had driven instead, downtown would have come to a complete stop.

Last week, I had the opportunity to stop off on my way home from Washington for an Obama bike event in Chicago hosted by Leah Day and N.K. Day and co-hosted by more than a dozen luminaries from the cycling industry that included a number of people who've worked with me on cycling issues for the 12 years I've been in Congress. These industry leaders have been at the vanguard of an amazing renaissance of the cycling movement in the United States.

On a warm Midwest evening, the room was packed with a diverse group that Senator Obama himself described as probably the fittest looking Host Committee he'd ever encountered on the campaign trail.

For me, it was truly exciting to watch the man I'd seen inspire the largest political crowd in America this year engage our nation's bicycle leadership.

Here is a man who understands and can articulate the connections between cycling, childhood obesity, and our Safe Routes to School movement. Senator Obama explained that even a tiny shift in the transportation funding formula towards bike and pedestrian opportunities will increase safety for children and families on our streets, save energy, and help improve our communities. It's hard to imagine a better advertisement for the benefits of cycling than the recent pictures of the Obama family riding along Chicago's lakefront.

For me, this event marked the dramatic coming-of-age of the bicycle movement in America. The bicycle industry's marketing policy and political savvy, the depth of their enthusiasm, and their cycling dedication goes far beyond the hard-core 'gear heads' and bicycle geeks of my early days. Today, the bicycle movement represents a broad range of people from all over the country who are dedicated to integrating the benefits of bicycling into Americans' daily lives.

As I left the event that evening, the realization that the best still lies ahead made me smile. The bicycle industry is already on target to have a thousand bikes available in both Denver and Minneapolis for the national political conventions later this summer. Cycling will enable those in the thick of the political process to explore these two fascinating cities at 12 miles an hour, avoiding traffic congestion and parking hassles. Our movement will allow the conventions to work better because delegates won't be as dependent on cars, cabs, and shuttle buses. It's hard to think of a more dramatic illustration of what the future will look like if we all do our jobs right.

For the bicycling community, it's been a month to remember.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    That's wonderful Earl.

    Now what are you going to do in addressing the shredding of the US Constitution, the total subversion of the Attorney General's office, lawless foreign policy, and the usurpation of YOUR POWER, by the executive branch?

    We've been waiting for you for about seven years, and we by golly love us some bicycles, but some of your constituents in the 3rd CD actually think that these issues are matters of greater concern to the republic than the ability of Portland Yuppies to express their love of Pedal Power.

    <hr/>

    BTW: Even though you totally ignored our presence in the room at the 3rd CD thingy, addressing all of your remarks to the denizens of PDX, we didn't forget you, and managed to get one candidate each into the Obama and Clinton camps for the big trip to Denver.

    We are in your district, and we are not amused.

  • Bob (unverified)
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    Thanks for the inspiration, Congressman Blumenauer! The possibility of Obama helping to facilitate a biking revolution in the US is exciting. Keep fighting the good fight.

  • (Show?)

    'Fraid I've got to back Pat up on that, Earl, from Inner SE Portland, (though Pat there are an awful lot of Muppies too at this point ;-> ).

    There is a complete lack of transparency between the Congress and the people on foreign policy and on the constitutional crisis, and you appear to be backing up the leadership in stonewalling us, rather than being our vocal advocate.

    Nancy Pelosi's attempt to maneuver the last war supplemental in order to give the appearance of doing something to oppose the war without actually doing so was truly disgraceful, though very clever, until the Rs decided to monkey with the works. We want you all to be applying that level of cleverness to figuring out how to stop the occupation, not how to look like you are.

    Just voting is not enough. We want you to be visibly making it the top priority to change the basic situation the main priority. We don't buy the Pelosi-Reid line of "getting on with the people's business," as if the shredding of the constitution, as Pat puts it, and the huge multiple destructiveness of the occupation were not the people's business.

    In particular we need people like you and Peter DeFazio to be taking up visible anti-occupation, anti-imperial executive leadership within the Democratic Party.

    Barack Obama's positions on Iraq and Afghanistan and military spending expansion are highly inadequate, to put it more politely than I probably should. He needs to know that he will lose a huge chunk of his support rapidly if he persists on those lines.

    On the other hand, he has been saying some quite positive things about repudiating Bush's unconstitutional power grabs, and we need you to be an active and visible ally of his in those efforts.

  • DE (unverified)
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    "We've been waiting for you for about seven years, and we by golly love us some bicycles, but some of your constituents in the 3rd CD actually think that these issues are matters of greater concern to the republic than the ability of Portland Yuppies to express their love of Pedal Power."

    Pat, that's a really interesting point. Problem is, were Earl to drop his bicycling work and shift full-time to the issues you highlight, as several others seem to be doing (Kucinich, etc.), what would the outcome be? Would that one more congressman be enough to push the balance and set us on a course to impeach one President while electing the next? Would Earl's sway with Pelosi finally convince her to change course?

    NO.

    All that would happen is that we would keep the most important leader in the congress from working toward giving bicyclists fair tax benefits, adequate infrastructure funding, and a voice in DC. Bicycling, while many see it as a recreational issue, has implications for energy, global warming, health, and the list goes on. His contributions have made a serious impact, and the notion that he should focus on nothing but imnpeachment is hogwash. He has also spoken out loudly against the offenses that you cite. I like my Congressmen and women to be able to multi-task, thank you very much.

  • (Show?)

    you know, there's a time and a place for pissing on your Congressman, and this ain't it. bikes may not seem like a big deal to some, but Earl's right: this event was a big damn deal. we have a man who is likely to be our next president and he totally gets it about bikes. as he told the group, just a tiny shift in funding will make a huge difference for biking in America. this nation has become addicted, not to oil but to cars; people are fat & lazy, and the idea of walking any further than from the living to the car strikes tens of millions of Americans as bizarre. our cities are hostile to pedestrians and bicyclists.

    and when our Congressman brings the good news that one change we'll see in 2009 is a national transportation, energy and health policies that include biking -- and you have to get all "poor us, Earl ignores us" on him. both of you, Pat & Chris, have your own bylines in here. why not address your gripes with Earl there? conduct a conversation about that in a separate space, and keep this one on the vital issue Earl is addressing?

    jeez guys, it's the kind of thing that totally turns people off politics: a positive discussion turned personal and petty. uncool. and unnecessary.

  • (Show?)

    Actually, t.a. there are precious few times and places where one can get any kind of real access to Congress and even fewer get responsiveness. I have some small hope that Congressman Blumenauer or one of his staff might read responses to what he wrote, but very little that he would or they would read something I wrote as a column. To me this is very much like doing things like impolitely protesting at a Congressperson's office because the job isn't getting done, in addition to making the polite delegations to speak to staffers. It isn't getting done. Representative Blumenauer needs to do more and different and get more people to do more and different. He may be the main bike guy and that's good, but he's also one of those better placed than many to be bold about these key issues, because he's got a constituency who will back him up on it, and that's also a close enough to unique situation that IMO it warrants disrupting the comity of threads in this instance.

    None of this amounts to "pissing" on anyone.

  • (Show?)

    Or if he really can't do more and different, he needs to speak up and identify the obstacles and the obstructionists and criticize them publicly, including Democrats. Or communicate to us about what else we should be doing to bring about the changes that need happening, or that would make it possible for him to do more and different, and be with us on it.

  • ws (unverified)
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    Look at how pathetically few comments there are in response to this subject. Not much interest on the part of the politics buffs, it seems. And out of the ones there are, whatever Blumenauer does, if it doesn't involve proceeding with the demand some people have made to impeach lame duck Bush, or having a tantrum and refusing to do anymore work whatsoever until the war in Iraq is over, the old saws start whining.

    Instead of whining, maybe better to go out in the garage and get that old dusty Schwinn tuned up. Gas prices are making that form of transportation an increasingly better idea with each day that passes. With improvements in bike infrastructue that Obama and Blumenaue may help to bring about, the streets may become safe enough that even old saws on their old Schwinn's can ride without getting killed. That's got to make someone happy.

  • (Show?)

    This is a link to the coverage of the event in the bicycle industry news website. http://www.bicycleretailer.com/news/newsDetail/1468.html

    In the 24 years that I have worked in this industry, I have never seen anything like this happen. It was great to have our industry leaders support the Democratic Presidential nominee but more importantly that cycling transportation advocacy has been able to take on such an important role in this election cycle. People like Rep. Blumenauer, Rep. DeFazio and MN. Rep James Oberstar have been working with us towards this goal for a long time but now with the price of gas hitting record high levels and the epidemic of obesity esp. in childer, the idea of using bikes for transportation is becoming much more mainstream.

    Unfortunately there are people like Pat who think that cycling advocacy is only important to the "yuppies in downtown Portland." He couldn't be more wrong and I am glad that we have people like the ones who met with Sen.Obama last week to move this country forward. I am also very grateful that Sen. Obama thinks it is a priority to change the way we think about our transportation policies and is looking for a solution that isn't exclusively based on using more gas and oil.

    Congressman Blumenauer, thanks for writing the article and for taking the lead on such an important issue. It would be great if Oregon could host the next one.

    Val

  • Garlynn -- undergroundscience.blogspot.com (unverified)
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    Oregon hosted the first kick-off discussion with Obama about bicycles, when 75,000 people invaded downtown Portland to provide the largest crowd to date int eh 16 months of his campaign -- and at least 10,000 of them arrived by bicycle. Obama noticed, and I think something may have clicked for him then. That bicycles actually can make a huge difference!!

    We're on the cusp of a bicycle revolution in the U.S., not just in Oregon. Bicycles have been outselling cars in this country for a few years now. Bicycle facilities are popping up all over the nation -- in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and all over the place. Heck, there is even a group of bicyclists in Los Angeles who have decided to abandon the traditional Critical Mass bicycle ride, and instead have taken to riding their bikes on the Los Angeles FREEWAYS -- to prove that, during rush hour, the bicycle is the fastest way to get from point A to point B (by splitting lanes or taking the shoulder to pass the cars at a rapid pace)!

    Bicycles are useful for a wide variety of tasks that they are only beginning to be actually used for in this country. I would wager that, for many trips of up to 10 miles in each direction (topography notwithstanding), bicycles may become the ideal choice, especially with gas & diesel prices skyrockting past $4 and $5 per gallon! The trips of 1 to 2 miles are such low-hanging fruit that it's ridiculous. You can make those trips on a 1 to 3 speed cruiser. Trips up three to ten miles are easy with a bicycle with more gears.

    Such trips are not just for urbanites, either. How many folks in small towns still make many trips that are ten miles or less? How about in rural areas?

    Places like Germany and the Netherlands recognized this fact thirty years ago, and have been working diligently ever since then to build out national bicycle route infrastructure, including off-street paths, to connect their small towns to their big cities and all kinds of destinations in between.

    We should be doing the same in this country. And such an effort could and should be supported, encouraged, and partially funded and planned by the federal government.

    Which is why Earl and Barack should be applauded for their words and their actions with regards to bicycles. This is the kind of new leadership that our country needs right now.

    And yes, we need to impeach Bush and Cheney for their high crimes and misdemeanors. But not at the expense of the bicycle movement. I want multitasking. The rule of law must be preserved, and crimes must be punished -- but we must also adapt our nation to the changing times, and promote the bicycle and provide infrastructure for it to encourage it as the premier 21st-century local form of transport.

  • (Show?)

    you know, there's a time and a place for pissing on your Congressman, and this ain't it.

    Couldn't disagree more TA. The time to piss on your rep's head is when they aren't doing the job you sent 'em to do. The seat does not belong to rep Blumenaueur, it belongs ot the voters of the 3rd CD.

    As for impeachment, that's an outlier on the wish list.

    RFN, Steny Hoyer and his rat bastard DLC allies in the House and senate leadership are pushing through an alleged compromise that will give the telecoms the immunity that Bush desires. Go google Greenwald on this one.

    RFN, the justice department and Bush appointed justice department officials are flat refusing to cooperate with Conyers in getting Rove to testify regarding the turning of the entire Justice Department into a tool to prosecute political opponents during election cycles.

    <hr/>

    If my rep in the 3rd CD wants to impress this constituent, he'll post an article with equally great fanfare about how he is working to repair the constitutional nature of our federal government.

    Oh, and yeah, I love me some bicycles, even if ridden by Middle Aged Urban Professionals. I just love the US Constitution a bit more.

  • Lawrence (unverified)
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    "The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men."

    -Samuel Adams

    “And yes, we need to impeach Bush and Cheney for their high crimes and misdemeanors. But not at the expense of the bicycle movement.”

    -Garlynn

  • ws (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "Oh, and yeah, I love me some bicycles..." Pat Ryan

    Maybe it's just me, but that sounds like a racist remark. It wasn't funny the first time Ryan made it, and it's not any less offensive the second time around. About a year ago, S. Renee Mitchell made an issue of that kind of remark made by a naive Starbuck's supervisor. As a result, the supervisor got fired. The supervisor seemed to have made her mistake partly out of ignorance. Can Pat Ryan claim the same?

  • (Show?)

    You know, I think Pat's put his finger on why I was so ungracious, or whiny if you prefer, or whatever -- it's not that I don't believe in Congress doing multiple things, or think bikes have much to offer as a relatively easy and adjustable kind of lifestyle change that can also affect urban forms (including suburbs) that lock us into car culture. It's the difference in quality of communication about the issues that bugged me, plus probably an arbitrary element of the day this hit BlueOregon, and what I was working on and thinking about at the time. I've never heard or seen anything this passionate or sophisticated from him on Iraq or the constitutional crisis, at least not since a talk he gave about the so-called Patriot Act and his experience of it's passage in Congress at Reed College back in 2002, not in print, blog or otherwisse, nor constituent mail nor responses to my letters, nor in talks. It was the incongruity that got to me.

    The occupations and the military-driven attack on the constitution get me rather unhinged at times these days. It waxes and wanes. I'd really like to just be able to focus on bikes, at the macro level, and with my kid, and on policies for improving quality of life, health, reducing pollution. But this other stuff intrudes, just as my kid complains of not being able to remember a time when there wasn't a war & evidently feels psychologically oppressed by it. (t.a., I know that must sound pretty lame, compared to what you and your family face, which is not entirely hard to imagine, if I think ahead a few years, but hard to imagine facing, but given who I am and some of my limitations, lame or not, it grabs my focus.)

    So maybe I should try putting it more positively and with better recognition of the many goals we need to pursue -- I really, really wish Congressman Blumenauer would communicate more about what he's doing to stop the disasters of militarism and restore the rule of law. For their own sake, but also because they undermine the conditions for what he's trying to achieve with his bicycle and other transportation work.

    Having more from him on that part of the multi-tasking, and of this quality and sincerity, would make it easier to pay attention to the other things that need doing. And though I have mixed feelings about the fact that I react as I do sometimes these days, including, on reflection, about disrupting this thread (now Pat thinks I'm a wimp, probably rightly), I also think those reactions and that disruption reflect something about the wider world.

    It's something that's likely to dog all the "livable future" work that the congressman does and that actually I do think about and am trying to make my own work in the health dimensions, more and more extensively the longer it festers.

    It's embodied by the conjunction and connections of John McCain's militarism and his announcement of a new policy intention to promote off-shore oil-drilling, subsidize the chimera of "clean coal" but not renewables, and force-expand nuclear power plant consstruction. He's multi-tasking too.

    And I think it's going to make it harder and harder for more and more people who ought to be part of the constituency to focus on things like good cycling movement news, even if we should.

  • Terry Parker (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Bicyclists and the bicycling community continually want more bicycle infrastructure as long as somebody else pays for it. This is in part due to the fact that a conflict of interest exists by politicians who promote bicycling not wanting to tax themselves for the free ride they now enjoy. Basically it is the NIMBY syndrome as it applies to avoiding taxes and handing out subsidies to the “big bicycling” groups whom support these politicians and financially contribute to their campaigns. . Currently, specialized and often exclusive bicycle infrastructure is subsidized through Federal grants by poaching highway dollars from the Federal Highway Trust Fund. The primary source of revenue in this fund comes from the Federal tax on motor fuels. Twenty percent plus of this fund is siphoned off to subsidize infrastructure for other modes of transport. The users of these other modes, including bicyclists, are not directly taxed to make any financial contributions to this fund and one reason why the fund is going broke. In other words, money is being appropriated (pirated) from this fund to subsidize special interest agendas that do not pay for themselves.

    Since there is a significant cost to providing bicycle infrastructure, it is long overdue to directly tax bicycling at all levels of government. This must be viewed be as a user tax no different than motorists paying fuel and other taxes to pay for roadways, or National Park users paying entrance and camping fees.

    As it stands now, bicyclists are freeloaders providing only lip service instead of transport tax dollars for what they want congress to provide. These freeloading pedal pushers are feeding off of the special interests of politicians to fund their choice of transport mode through the taking of the taxes other people pay. This is a form of taxation without representation to those who are paying the taxes and footing the bill for the freeloaders. Providing bicycle infrastructure MUST become financially self-sustainable, moreover, totally paid for by those who use it.

  • (Show?)

    I'd love to ride bikes around Portland, but there are precious few genuine bike lanes. Closing some roads to all cars except local traffic (by putting up big concrete barriers that don't let you drive more than 5 MPH) would go a long way to helping make biking truly safe. Until then, I'm not letting my kids bike to school or doing it to work myself (co-workers of mine have been hit by cars on their daily commutes through no fault of their own--no thanks.)

    The other side of the coin would be to ban the things on major, high-traffic roads where they impede traffic and put the cyclists at risk. In SE Portland, Powell, Division, & Hawthorne would be good first candidates to get cyclists off of--especially when there are so many bike-friendly streets only a block or two away.

    I think many more people would bike--and appreciate bikers--if we had bike-only roads and car-only roads. These vehicles should not be sharing high-capacity, high-speed streets.

  • Garlynn -- undergroundscience.blogspot.com (unverified)
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    Terry Parker, the troll, wrote:

    "Bicyclists and the bicycling community continually want more bicycle infrastructure as long as somebody else pays for it."

    I can only reject this statement 100% by saying: I'm a bicyclist. I own five bikes. I ride them. And I expect the government to build more bicycle infrastructure so that other people will also feel safe to ride their bicycles.

    But I do pay for this infrastructure. I also own two cars; I pay taxes and registration for both of them. I own property. I pay property taxes on it. I have a job, and both state and federal income taxes are deducted from my salary.

    I expect the funding for expanded bicycle infrastructure to be deducted from many, if not all of these forms of payment.

    I also expect Earl to communicate better about his efforts to impeach and otherwise hold accountable to the law this current Republican administration, including both Bush and Cheney. I also hope he will do more in this department... I understand the sentiments of the folks on this thread who wish he would do more, and communicate better about those efforts. Frankly, Early is kind of a one-trick pony, or so it seems -- he loves bikes/transit/smart growth, but doesn't seem to do much else, especially when it comes to fighting the law-breaking, war-mongering ways of the Republicans. If he IS doing something, he sure doesn't communicate very eloquently about it.

    But, the reason why I also celebrate his efforts and his victories with regards to bicycles, transit and livable communities is exemplified by Terry Francis and people like him, who would stomp out all of these efforts completely if given the chance. Earl's efforts are valuable because they are carrying the torch of progress through these difficult times. Yes, I want him to do more -- but I also want to celebrate what he has done. If you would like to protest and rant and otherwise cajole him into doing more, please, feel free to do so, and don't let my encouragement of his successes so far stand in the way! :-)

  • (Show?)

    "Big bicycling" !? Right.

    Far right.

    Cycling saves motor vehicle wear & tear on roadways and pays for itself in reduced repair costs, in terms of the roadways, and in reduced traffic congestion.

    Autos & trucks free-ride on the health costs they impose via air pollution & uninsured medical costs of accidents, and other environmental damage they do, costs which are externalized onto the environmental commons. Cycling does not create those costs in direct operation of the vehicles, and cycle manufacturing contributes far less than auto manufacturing.

    There are considerable numbers of uncaptured, inadequately attributed, externalized costs floating around the transport system, and the vast majority of them come back to internal combustion vehicles and jet aircraft.

  • Terry Parker (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Garlynn is the real troll (trolling for the tax dollars someone else pays to fund her mobility and lifestyle) tax pickpocket, poacher and freeloader here expecting someone else to pay for the government services she receives and uses to move about. Garlynn rejects bicyclists being directly taxed their fair share for having the privilege of pedaling on the specialized and exclusive bicycle infrastructure someone else now pays for. Garlynn states “I own five bikes” – all of which in all fairness to other roadway users should be registered and licensed with the same fees to register cars and trucks.

    Garlynn also states “But I do pay for this infrastructure. I also own two cars; I pay taxes and registration for both of them. I own property. I pay property taxes on it. I have a job, and both state and federal income taxes are deducted from my salary.”

    First of all, the owners of cars pay for the roads by driving them and paying the fuel taxes when they are driven. The more a car is driven the more is paid out for roads. Parked cars do not pay for bicycle infrastructure. Bicyclists in Portland continually use both sides of an argument Garlynn is using to avoid being directly taxed. Like Garlynn, they claim to own a car and pay a registration and license fee that pays for bicycle infrastructure, but then reverse that statement and say that any bicycle registration and license fee would be entirely eaten up in administrative costs. It can not be both ways. Moreover, with the exceptions of (1) Urban Renewal Districts where property taxes are redirected to infrastructure instead of paying for government services like police and fire protection (other property owners subsidize that), and (2) one time funding requests from the City of Portland General Fund made by Sam Adams, property taxes and income taxes DO NOT pay for roads or bicycle infrastructure in Oregon!

    Furthermore, “livable communities” and “quality of life” are both subjective terms meaning different things to different people. What I expect of any elected politician including Earl Blumenauer is to “equally” represent the diversity, lifestyles, housing and mobility choices of all Oregonians, and not dictate – through taxes, the lack of taxes or otherwise what those choices should be. That includes totally representing the silent majority who use their cars and trucks everyday for business or otherwise. I currently view Earl running around the country consuming a lot of energy to propagate his personal choices on society – sort of like Mr. Magoo not seeing the big picture beyond what is right in front of his rose colored glasses. To clarify, like Garlynn, he wants somebody other than the direct users to pay for his ideals thereby reeking havoc on the transport economy as a whole. Portland’s transport based economy where motor vehicles help drive the economy is a good example of that Magoo like perception. With all the extravagance spending on bicycle infrastructure and transit alternatives, Portland continues to get more congested, less affordable and a more expensive place to do business all because money from motorist paid taxes is diverted to transport alternatives while improving motor vehicle capacity is being ignored. The current tax discrimination applied against motor vehicle owners and the lack of equity here is nothing to celebrate.

  • jj ark (unverified)
    (Show?)

    erm...

    Streets are dangerous?

    I ride on streets all the time. At night, during the day, with kids, without kids.

    I always wear my helmet and I don't ride on either Hawthorne or Division.

    I also pay attention to my surroundings, and try to stay off freeways.

    as for the "bikes don't pay their way" arguement:

    1. Gas taxes don't even come CLOSE to paying for roadways. The tax hasn't been increased in, what 30 years? It hasn't kept up with inflation.

    2. A bike does very little wear and tear to a roadway. Think about it: 1-2" patch of road contact in a single line, with a vehicle weighing 30 pounds vs a 1' patch of road contact in two recurring lines at a much higher rate of speed, with a vehicle weighing 3850 pounds.

    A path created for a pedestrian/bike use is going to stay in relatively the same condition for decades. Literally decades. There are some bike paths in Eugene that are exactly the same as they were when I was growing up in the 70's. I cannot say that about all but the most least traveled roads (there is a cobblestone street at like 36th and Belmont in Portland.)

    I believe Sandy has been resurfaced twice since I started living here 18 years ago.

    As for my not paying the way: you big dope. I pay the same amount to register my car as you. I pay for gas, and I pay for my wear and tear of the roads surface (by your logic.) I also have only put 120miles per month on my car--and have logged several hundred per month on my bike.

    If we WERE driving for everything, then you wouldn't be able to GO anywhere. Each one of those "freeloaders" is one less car. Each one of those "Tax Pickpockets" on a 'good for 30 years bike path' is one fewer person that you have to idle behind in your car. That means GALLONS less gas that comes out of your pocket.

    OTOH, maybe you are one of those, "Not driving is UnAmerican!" types. Heh.

    This whole idea of a fractional diversion to reduce the vehicular traffic makes a LOT of sense. Lets get another 1000 bikes on the road in PORTLAND and we'll see some MORE traffic reduction. Maybe with some careful planning we can avoid goofing further with 217.

  • (Show?)

    You're a very strange person, Terry Parker.

    Just to play along:

    The current tax discrimination applied against motor vehicle owners and the lack of equity here is nothing to celebrate.

    Can you PLEASE quantify all this? And in simple, short terms please -- not a dissertation.

    How much public money is spent on automobile road construction, health care for accidents to uninsured victims of car crashes, and subsidizing the oil and automobile industries?

    And how much public money is spent on bicycle lanes, bicycle parking, and other bicycling amenities?

    And then, how much money is charged directly to automobile users via gas taxes and licensing fees? And how much money is charged directly to bicycle users via licensing fees?

    Does either revenue source from either transportation option exceed the cost of that transportation option - or is one, the other, or both subsidized by general revenues paid by all taxpayers?

    <h2>Feel free to use national averages or the correct totals for Portlanders or Oregonians. But be sure to include all expenses and revenues - federal, state, and local.</h2>
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