Last Friday, Chris Smith and myself joined approximately 150 fellow riders on Cycle Oregon’s 10th annual Policymaker’s Ride. Other participants of the ride ran the entire spectrum of invested parties from the Mayor & his wife to city council members to health professionals and more. Indianapolis’ mayor Greg Ballard participated at the invitation from Portland Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller. Previous Cycle Oregon rides have highlighted some of the area’s scenic cycling byways. This year’s ride was designed to highlight what is hoped to become the state’s first urban scenic bike-way covering notable public routes such as the Eastbank Esplanade and the Springwater Corridor.
The ride itself covered nearly 30 miles starting at the Moda Center, travelling south to Sellwood Park, north to Hollady Park and on to Portland University via N Williams. Along the way, several of the area’s best places to ride were on display for local policymakers to experience. Conversely, some of the problematic ones were as well such as N Williams. At one juncture, a produce delivery truck and traffic sandwiched riders into a narrow corridor highlighting what some have called needed areas of improvement. As noted, Indianapolis mayor Ballard was on the ride and was asked to speak about the impact of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. He described what it has meant to have a world class bike-way in the downtown Indianapolis area and how it has opened up more transportation choices for residents there while serving as a talent attraction tool. Could a project with such a scope have a place in Portland’s cycling future? Perhaps thinking may shift that direction after local policymakers were able to hear Ballard’s pitch about cities upping the ante against one another. Personally, I hope to secure an invite to next year’s ride as the conversation and the kool aid were both enjoyable!