City of Portland good example for bicycle infrastructure

Since 1990, bicycle use has grown 400 per cent in Portland...

The City of Courtenay is inviting the community to provide feedback on the development of a new Transportation and Land Use Master Plan.

It will guide transportation infrastructure and services in the city over the next 20 years and beyond.

The planning is essential for addressing the issue of population growth while creating and maintaining a sustainable, accessible and livable city.

The goal is to have a final design by January 2013 so now is the time for the community to have input into the long-term vision and the prioritization of transportation projects.

Further information is available at www.courtenay.ca/operational/transportation-and-land-use-master-plan.aspx.

There is an opportunity to complete an online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/TMP_Vision_Survey.

The City of Portland provides a good example of what can be achieved with modest investments in bicycle infrastructure and programs.

For a small fraction of the investments made in other modes of travel, Portland has created conditions such that bicycle use rivals transit use in large areas of town. Bicycle use continues to grow steadily while other modes either grow modestly or decline.

The types of changes experienced by Portland are now being seen— and documented — in cities of all sizes across North America that are beginning to make similar investments in bicycle infrastructure and programs. (Roger Geller, bicycle co-ordinator

City of Portland, Ore).

Portland was a city like any other U.S. city in the 1980s and early 1990s in terms of transportation behaviour. Only when Portland began investing in bicycle infrastructure did residents begin to use bicycles for transportation at rates higher than the national average.

Since 1990, bicycle use has grown 400 per cent, transit use has grown 18 per cent and driving has declined four per cent, all relative to population.

Bicycling provides the best return on investment for transportation dollar spent in terms of providing personal mobility. The estimated replacement cost of Portland’s entire 300-mile bikeway network — acknowledged as the best in North America — is approximately $60 million (2008), which is roughly the cost of one mile of four-lane urban freeway.

Portlanders’ use of bicycles has resulted in improved health for Portland’s population and more money remaining in the local economy. Portland’s city traffic engineer states that, “Bicycling infrastructure is relatively easy to implement and low cost compared to other modes. It is by far the most cost-effective way to provide for personal mobility in an urban transportation system.”

Cities across the U.S. that are beginning to invest in bicycle infrastructure are seeing the same types of changes and benefits from which Portland has been benefiting for years.

Are you interested in starting to use a bicycle in the Comox Valley, but not sure what to buy, or how to fix the bike already in your garage?

On Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. the Comox Valley Cycling Coalition is offering a free workshop on bicycle selection at the Florence Filberg Centre Evergreen Room courtesy of Trail Bicycles and The Broken Spoke.

For more information, visit http://cyclecv.squarespace.com.

Margaret Harris, president of the Comox Valley Cycling Coalition, writes Shifting Gears. It appears every fourth week.

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