Portland, Ore., is touted as an oasis for cyclists and public-transportation lovers. The city spends over $3 million annually on bicycle safety improvements and features an extensive network of bike lanes, bike racks, and rails-to-trails features. Amidst discussion of the newest initiative, a Portland Bureau of Transportation draft of the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030, some citizens are taking issue with Bike City U.S.A. According to Oregonian blogger Joseph Rose, some motorists feel the city discriminates against motorists in its efforts to be the greenest city in America.
The plan aims to get 25 percent of Portland residents to commute via bicycle over the next two decades. Since the first bicycle plan was enacted in 1996, the city's bicycle network grew to over 300 miles and over 6 percent of locals began biking to work. To increase this number, the city plans to further increase safety along bike routes and expand the bikeway network to 930 miles. These changes have some locals up in arms as transportation officials seek public feedback on the plan.
According to Rose, some readers have had "enough with the d--n bikes," phoning the paper to share their dismay and feelings that the streets were "not made for bikes," because they were made for cars. One anonymous caller to the Oregonian expressed anger that the bicyclists are "using all of [Portland's] resources and spending all of our money on them," adding "it's a little bit past fair." Another felt the city has become "prejudiced" toward motorists.
The city seeks public input regarding the bicycle plan (available online) through Nov. 8 and will make a recommendation on Nov. 10 to prepare for a hearing before City Council, tentatively scheduled for early 2010. Beyond physical changes, the plan also hopes to broaden citizens' acceptance of alternative transportation and to better integrate all modes of transportation, creating safer roadways for all users.