Wednesday, May 9, 2012
What Portlanders Want as a City Service?
The Oregonian posted a front page story about what citizens think that we should be spending money on: Portland should fix streets, go after jobs before adding bikeways, streetcars, new poll says I was surprised by the results, so I asked for information on how the questions were worded. The response from the Oregonian is posted here I appreciate that they provided this. Using the term bicycle amenities is a part of a leading question. I have a hard time defining what an amenity is. My simple mind translates that term as something more than what you need, a "Nice to Have". Is an amenity a shower facility? The definition of amenity is: the quality of being pleasant or attractive, Something that contributes to physical or material comfort. My initial reaction as a citizen of Portland when asked to choose maintenance of anything to creating amenities for someone that I don't associate with is going to be negative. The original article should of mentioned that. Just a few thoughts based on a quick google search (why doesn't the Oregonian reporting staff do this?). Is a bike lane an amenity or just a basic service? A bicycle lane doubles as a shoulder on some streets. It increases safety for all users. There's some good estimates of this at the Federal Highway Administration website. This group isn't necessarily known for embellishing the benefits of bicycle infrastructure. Source: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/tools_solve/walkways_trifold/ Bicycle "amenities" can increase the transportation supply for the system, expanding the capacity to move people. Anyone that visits the approach to the Hawthorne Bridge (during the peak traffic periods) will see a great example of this. The Oregonian's story shows a nice picture of this in the story. Four cyclists in a lane with a bunch of cars and one of the cars even has a bicycle on top of its roof. Bicycle traffic offers the potential to provide increased person movement capacity. People may not want bicycle amenities, but as a motorist, it's likely you're benefiting from the simple fact that there are 6% less cars trying to occupy the same space you are as you drive over the bridge. Source: http://www.peoplepoweredmovement.org/site/images/uploads/Economic_Benefits_of_Bicycling_and_Bicycle_Facilities.pdf