Portland Invests $613 Million in Bike Infrastructure

Portland’s City Council passed a measure to spend $613 million on bike infrastructure over 20 years, reports the Portland Business Journal. Portland’s Mayor, Sam Adams, recommended immediately using $20 million in savings from Bureau of Environmental Services programs to get the projects started. “Adams also said he can find savings in lower bids from contractors during the current slow economic climate.”

However, Portland’s ambitious bicycle plan may also require finding new sources of revenue. New bicycle license fees are being considered. “The Bicycle Plan for 2030 also suggests that the city find private funding sources, including the possibility of allowing companies to advertise in right-of-ways near the bike paths.”

Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish told the Portland Business Journal: “This will make bicycling a cornerstone of Portland’s sustainable transportation system. It will focus on equity and bring access to safe and family friendly bikeways for everyone.”

Fish also thinks the plan will improve the health of local citizens, put more money in people’s pockets, and aid businesses. “Hospitals have been big boosters of this plan because of the health impacts. Healthier workers are a big benefit to employers throughout the city. It also has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of transportation to families, which adds discretionary income they can spend on things other than gas and cars. The impact on local businesse could be quite dramatic.” The plan is also expected to reduce local GHG emissions.

To get community feedback, the council held public hearings that brought in hundreds. According to the Portland Business Journal, a poll held before the council vote found that Portland residents were even divided on the issue: 48 percent supported spending $600 million on bike infrastructure; another 48 percent opposed, while 4 percent were undecided.

Streetsblog writes that Portland’s overall bike infrastructure plan calls more than 700 miles of new bikeways, and is expected to increase the share of  bicycling trips to 25 percent of total trips by 2030.

Read the article

Also, The Los Angeles Times’s blog L.A. Now writes that Los Angeles is considering a “mammoth bike plan,” which would result in a bike freeway system. “Conceptual maps of the proposed Backbone Bikeway Network envision a network of long-distance routes designed to provide cyclists safe passage between different neighborhoods along heavily-traveled corridors.”

Image credit: The Oregonian

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