Two recent pieces worth note on issues of equity surrounding cycling:
- It matters where the facilities are and where they go – as areas surrounding London argue that the design of the bikeways favors the central city over local neighborhoods.
- The “elitist” cyclist is largely a myth
Both via Planetizen.
3 responses to “Cycling and Equity”
Cycling infrastructure generally follows the cyclists. If you look at traffic counts, Portland has been investing in the areas with higher historic and current counts. I appreciate the infrastructure when I need to travel from the east side to PSU, as the roads are very busy. When I travel into Gresham for work, it can be frustrating that the facilities aren’t better, but I can typically find lower traffic neighborhood routes that are safer.
We do need improvements outside of the central city, but I think that Portland is doing a good job with their priorities.
I always thought Portland’s bicycle use mantra was “If you build it, they will come.” This philosophy must acknowledge land use and potential demand, but isn’t necessarily built around presence of existing cyclists.
As for riding to Gresham on neighborhood streets – I’m impressed. Past I-205, the street grid breaks down to a degree that makes efficient travel on low-stress routes impossible. I’m convinced that on East Portland arterials, and along major diagonal corridors (Sandy, Foster) the City needs to prioritize high-quality on-street facilities such as cycle tracks. The barely 5 ft bike lane on 122nd wont cut it.
The article also emphasizes the central-city nature of the London Bike Share system at the expense of local community use. This same criticism has been said of Portland’s proposal, and I wonder if they’ll do anything to address those concerns.
They do use the “you build it” approach, but I think it may be a waste of money in east Portland. I work at a large company in Gresham, roughly 1,600 employees. We only get about 10 people that ride their bike to work, even on the nicest summer day, and about 80% of these people live in the inner-east side of Portland. Outer east Portland is closer to Beaverton demographically. Just look at the buffered bike lanes on Holgate east of I-205. Very low utilization.