An oldie but goodie

I don't know how, but this op-ed piece in the O, from just before Covid, popped up on my screens over the weekend. The writer made perfect sense then, as he does now, but of course, the car haters at City Hall never listened.

For most people, the decision to bike vs drive is more about arriving at your destination dry, not sweating and not having to carry a bag. People also weigh factors including proximity, whether they have to pick up kids or ability to do physical exercise. They say people don’t ride buses or the Max because they’re not ubiquitous enough. But it’s more about privacy, anxiety, safety, reliability, or not knowing who they will sit next to. When local or state government asks for ever more tax money, these psychological nuances are conveniently ignored by the anti-car advocates. But no amount of funding will change these reasons, and they are all perfectly valid for wanting or needing a vehicle....

We can and will reduce emissions with electric and other non-petro based vehicles, and economic incentives for alternative forms of transportation that satisfy the previously discussed psychological nuances. We should focus efforts on incentives instead of spending billions of dollars to cripple the one mode of transportation the overwhelming majority use. It is economic incentives – not economic pain – that drive behavioral change at scale. 

There's still time to put down the hate and do the right thing by the majority of the population. But in a place like Portland City Hall, nothing succeeds like failure. Doubling down on stupid is always the first option.


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Jack. Common sense isn't very common in Portland. Did you make it to the NE St. Pat's parade this year?

    1. Alas, I missed it. But I ate enough corned beef and cabbage for several years.

  2. More recently, the nest of anti-car zealots over at BikePortland ran an article that published terribly inconvenient facts for the annoying activists who've pushed local governments to spend many millions to make Portland a bicycle commuter's heaven. The number of cyclists in the central city is so unconscionably low in relation to the public expenditures that the masthead at BikePortland could have been forgiven for deep-sixing the numbers:

    "To put a finer point on the decline since 2019, just nine years ago (in 2013) PBOT says there were 3,478 people riding bikes in the central city. During the counts last summer, there were just 1,122 people on bikes — a 45.9% drop. "

    But wait, there's more. BikeOregon expressed bafflement at east Portland's failure to embrace bicycles with the fervor of the natives of Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Forgetting he wasn't talking to his cronies behind closed doors, the author of the piece came out with the following colossally ethnocentric idea:

    "The lack of people using the bikeways just fuels the anti-bike fires and the sooner we get folks on two wheels the better (which is why I’m convinced the answer is to drop 1,000 or so new Biketown bikes east of I-205)."

    What these granola bars can't or won't see is that dropping 1,000 Biketown bikes east of I-205 would be like Portland Park and Recreation installing shooting ranges in each park in close-in southeast and northeast Portland as a way of encouraging residents there to buy guns.


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