Last night I was at Rob Bertini's going away party and happened upon John Pucher, who wrote the article entitled "Making Cycling Irresistible". A video of his presentation is located here. We were at the Lucky Lab enjoying some Blue Dog Pale Ale and we got to talking about the various elements of cycling and how he had come to Portland to take it all in. John was with a former doctoral student of his, Ralph Buehler, who is at Virginia Tech in the Alexandria campus. They were both very impressed with the tours and the visit overall having seen some of our best facilities during a tour with Mia Birk.
The article raises several points about Portland related to how we have established ourselves and what Vancouver might do to catch up. I always thought Vancouver was very forward thinking and they have still got us on the density and urban residential living, but maybe that's not as critical when you have a good bicycle system, i.e. things can be further spread out because it remains efficient to get there by non-auto modes.
Certainly, the politics plays an important role in all of this and the leaders in charge have to support the efforts of the public agency staff to insure that the policies are carried out.