Entries tagged: Portland

Oregon Advocates Propel Bike Share in Portland

imageThis summer, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Oregon’s statewide advocacy organization, received a $3,000 Advocacy Advance Rapid Response grant to assist in its advocacy efforts to bring bike share to Portland.

Last month, the bike share program won its final stages of approval — a unanimous vote of the Metropolitan Planning Organization followed by a final allocation decision by the Metro Council — thanks, in large part, to the BTA.

The bike share program will have 740 bikes located at 74 bike stations throughout downtown Portland, encouraging thousands of new riders in the central business district and enhancing safety associated with increased ridership. The $2 million capital investment in bike share is on the list of regional transportation projects approved for federal “flexible funds” by the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT).

This decision reflects earlier campaign success, when the Portland City council voted in support of the $2 million in Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program (MTIP) money for a capital investment in bike sharing.

Concerns raised at the JPACT meeting will bolster BTA’s equity commitment in the region and emphasized the importance of ensuring that the program will meet the needs of all users equitably and affordably.

Advocacy Advance is a partnership of the Alliance and League of American Bicyclists aimed at boosting federal funding for biking and walking projects and programs on the state and local level. Thanks to the support of the SRAM Cycling Fund, Advocacy Advance has $13,000 remaining to fund organizations met with urgent and unexpected opportunities to win, increase, or preserve funding for biking and walking. Visit the Advocacy Advance Grants page or e-mail Brighid O’Keane for more information on our grant program.

How the BTA Got 12,000 People to Bike to Work


Last month, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) held a Bike Commute Challenge that attracted 12,000 individuals from 1,450 workplaces in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Collectively, that pool of participants commuted more than 1.3 million miles by bicycle and potentially saved taxpayers nearly $75,000 in road maintenance costs alone.

So how did they do it? I got in touch with BTA’s Programs Director, Stephanie Noll, to get some insight on that strategies and actions that made the event such a phenomenal success.

  • First, the organization has a presence in area workplaces throughout the year. To draw in new participants less familiar with bike commuting, BTA regularly holds Bike Commuting 101 workshops at local businesses and companies. They also rely on current commuters to act as ambassadors for the Challenge and spread the word to co-workers. This year, a month before the Commute Challenge, BTA sent out posters to be displayed in workplaces, contacted former team captains and put out a press release for partners to include in their newsletters.

  • To rev up the excitement once the Challenge started, BTA sent out weekly emails to all participants with tips, encouragement, and the announcement of weekly prize drawing winners. They also partnered with 50 bike shops that offered 10 percent discounts to participants, as well as an ad agency that ran 15-second TV ads about the Challenge.

  • And they gave participants a way to engage and provide feedback — in a fun, simple way. “When you’re running a web-based Challenge,” Stephanie said, “it’s great to have some mechanisms in which people can reflect back to you the unique, fun, or impressive strategies they’re employing at their workplaces. So we ask riders to submit photos for our ‘Inspiration of the Day’ feature and to send us nominations for our ‘Team Captain of the Year’ award. Without those mechanisms for receiving feedback, we would have far less of an idea of how our program was actual playing out in individual workplaces.”

All of those efforts paid off. The Challenge attracted more than 2,000 first-time bike commuters and featured some workplaces with 100 percent participation rates. An awards ceremony on October 6th celebrated the winners of the competition with beer, tunes, pizza and prizes. And the festivities included a unique opportunity for member engagement with the organization’s executive director: Rob Sadowsky pledged to shave his beard if 50 new members signed up that night. By the end of the evening, Sadowsky’s chin was bare.

In addition to effective outreach and participant engagement, one of most important aspects of BTA’s success is the group’s development of an effective online platform for the Challenge website. Alliance member organizations interested in hosting their own Commuter Challenge are invited to create a login at www.bikecommutechallenge.com and try out the platform to see if it’s a good fit for their programming goals. Questions? Get in touch with Stephanie at stephanie@btaoregon.org.

Skype Mia Birk into Your Living Room!

imageMia Birk was there at the dawn of the revolution.

Back when “bike lane” was a four-letter word, Birk was fighting to make streets safe and inviting for bicyclists. Her energy and vision propelled Portland, OR, to become the nation’s most bike-friendly city, making once-crazy ideas realities on the pavement. So, if you’re a bike history buff, Birk’s book, Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet is required reading. Luckily, Joyride doesn’t feel like a history lesson – it feels like your friend retelling war stories over a couple of beers at your favorite bar.

A conversational writer, Birk reveals her battles within the bureaucracy in an engaging narrative, not a dry, technical timeline. She recreates scenes – some tense, some hilarious – with character descriptions and internal dialogue that put us right there in the room, whether cajoling indignant suburbanites who love their SUVs or convincing policymakers to open their minds to the idea of healthier transportation options. She gives us a glimpse into our collective past and, from her unique perspective, provides inspiration for a better future.

And she wants to start a conversation with you and your friends — face-to-face.

Form a Joyride book club and you’ll get wholesale pricing ($12 plus shipping and handling) on the purchase of 10 or more books. Once your group has had time to read and digest, Mia beams into your living room, via Skype, to discuss lessons learned, obstacles faced, and strategies for success.

Folks across the country are raving about the content and impact of the book:

  • “What a fantastic book,” says Linda Crider in Florida. “It’s so well written and engaging….a must for anyone wanting to make bike-friendly communities.”
  • “Mia Birk really gets it,” says Kent Anderson, Director of the Columbus Area Metropolitan Planning Organization in Indiana. “Joyride was music to my ears, and served to recharge my batteries.” 
  • “Joyride has had a profound impact on my life,” says Bari George, who founded the BikeNewport.me blog and website.

Take advantage of the opportunity to start a conversation with one of the movement’s most influential, energetic and engaging leaders. E-mail joyride@miabirk.com to set up your book order and Skype date with Mia Birk.

(Read my November 2010 interview with Mia in Momentum magazine here.)

Portland Advocates’ “I Ride” Campaign Expands to Neighborhood Bus Benches

imageOver the past two years, the advocates at the Community Cycling Center have been snapping portraits of residents who ride, documenting in quick visual fashion why and how Portlanders use their bicycles. Now, with a grant from Kaiser Permanente, the CCC is putting those faces and stories on bus benches in key communities.

According to the CCC: “To broaden access to bicycling and its benefits, change must be initiated on multiple levels. Through campaigns like “I ride”, the Community Cycling Center is working to raise awareness and to affect individual behavior choices. Health behavior research shows that the more people see individuals like themselves engaging in healthy activities, the more likely they are to try to adopt those behaviors.”

But the CCC also recognizes that many area residents don’t have equal access to safe and healthy transportation options. A recent analysis from Portland State University revealed that the local bikeway network is weakest where the highest percentages of communities of color reside. Advocates at CCC are working to change that, pushing for investments for programs and infrastructure to benefit underserved communities.

In that effort, the CCC has partnered with residents in two specific neighborhoods: Hacienda CDC and New Columbia. Since 2009, they’ve provided bikes, helmets and safety education through their Create a Commuter, Bike Club and Bikes for Kids programs. With the grant from Kaiser Permanente, the CCC will be able to boost the visibility of those neighborhoods’ new and veteran bicyclists.

This week, the CCC announced 15 new bus benches that will be located in and feature residents from the Hacienda CDC and New Columbia. The eye-catching, blue ads include residents like Muna, a Somali native who just learned how to ride a bicycle this summer with the help of a CCC volunteer, and Jorge Solo, who uses his bicycle for exercise and to spend time with his children.

“We want to help change perceptions about who is riding bicycles and encourage more people to ride,” CCC Executive Director Alison Graves said in a press release. “Our ‘I ride’ campaign slogan — ‘Bikes take you places’ — leaves it open for people to imagine where they want to go - whether it’s riding to school or getting healthier.”

Read more on the CCC website.

Posted by Carolyn S on May 26, 2011
Tags: portland, kaiser permanente, i ride, equity gap, community cycling center
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Portland’s BTA Launches Build It Campaign

imageOn January 21 the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) of Portland, OR launched a major campaign to get the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 adopted, funded and built. According to Michelle Poyourow of the BTA,  “We’re calling on Portland City Council to not just adopt this plan, but to take first steps right away toward getting it built. That means building new bike boulevards, new safe crossings, and new safe routes to schools in the first year… We cannot wait until year 5 or year 10 to know whether we’re succeeding in making Portland America’s healthiest city or not. We’ll need to start right away.”

The BTA is inviting members and supporters to get involved in the campaign and show Portland City Council how many Portlanders value the health, safety, and livability benefits that 25% of bicycling would bring to the community. Supporters are invited to testify, call or e-mail city hall, and take their picture with the Build It logo and post it on the campaign website http://www.portlandbikenetwork.org/.

The Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 is up for vote at the February 4th City Council meeting. According to the BTA, “It if adopted, funded and built, it will attract new riders, strengthen policies, build a denser bikeway network, increase bicycle parking, expand programs to support bicycling and increase funding for bicycle facilities. But it is just a document unless the Portland City Council approves the plan, funds the plan, and ultimately builds the Portland Bike Network.” Check out and add your support to the Build It Campaign at http://www.portlandbikenetwork.org.

Posted by krsteele04 on January 21, 2010
Tags: portland bicycle plan, portland, oregon, build it campaign, bta, bicycle transportation alliance
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BTA Survey Reveals Trends and Perceptions of Bicycling in Oregon

imageIn August of this year Portland, Oregon’s Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) asked its members and the public for feedback to help them plan for bike advocacy and organizational growth in the future. Over 2,000 people responded to the survey providing the BTA with data on a wide range of advocacy and education topics, bicyclists’ perceptions, and organizational direction.

According to the BTA, some of the findings include:

  • “As cycling experience levels increase, so do the number and percentage of trips that occur by bicycle. Those extra bike trips are mostly replacing car trips: automobile usage decreases significantly as bicycling experience increases, but public transit and walking trips remain relatively consistent.
  • People who rate themselves “intermediate” or “advanced” cyclists are more likely to ride for commute purposes than beginner cyclists. Conversely, beginners report a higher ratio of recreational and utilitarian trips.
  • Virtually everyone responded “bicycling in my community is safer for me personally than for my family.”
  • Advocacy work at the local, regional and state levels is more important than national advocacy.”

The BTA survey was developed and analyzed with support from Inavero Institute for Service Research in Portland. For more information and to download the pdf with complete survey results, visit http://www.bta4bikes.org/btablog/2009/11/11/bta-survey-reveals-trends-perceptions-of-bicycling-around-oregon/.

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Receives Award from Maine Public Relations Council

imageAugusta – Shoshana Hoose, communications coordinator for the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, received a Golden Arrow award from the Maine Public Relations Council for publicity for the coalition’s 2009 Great Maine Bike Swap.  The award was presented at the council’s recent annual conference in South Portland.

The swap, held each spring in Portland and Orono, provides an opportunity for the public to buy and/or sell used bicycles in good, working condition. Hoose created public service announcements, a Youtube video and a variety of written and Web-based materials to publicize the swap. The Orono and Portland events both broke attendance records, with 55 percent more bikes sold than the previous year.

To find out more about the Great Maine Bike Swap and dates of the 2010 events, please visit http://www.BikeMaine.org.

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has been working since 1992 to make Maine a better place to bicycle.  The coalition advocates for Maine cyclists at the Legislature and in Washington, D.C., teaches bicycle safety to thousands of Maine schoolchildren each year, partners with state agencies on a Share the Road media campaign and serves as a resource on local bicycling issues.

Portland Unveils Its First Cycle Track

Portland‘s Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) is celebrating the unveiling of the city’s first cycle track on August 31st.


The new cycle track runs on Broadway, from southwest Clay to southwest Jackson, and separates cyclists from parked cars by a 3-foot striped buffer zone. This seven-block section has always had heavy bike traffic and few right turns for cars, which makes it the perfect location to test this innovative concept.

In addition to the bicycle-friendly lanes, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has painted green markings throughout the track to facilitate left-hand turns for bikers. Known as “Copenhagen lefts,” they are the first of their kind being used in North America.

The BTA helped in getting this project started by creating the proposal and presenting it to the city staff.

This cycle track is the latest development in an extremely successful summer for Portland after finishing three Sunday Parkways, a new uphill bike lane on North Mississippi, and buffered bike lanes on several main streets. The PBOT believes that this track will prove safer and more comfortable for bikers and drivers alike. They plan for similar projects throughout Portland in the future.

For more information, go to http://bikeportland.org/2009/08/31/first-look-at-portlands-inaugural-cycle-track/

Posted by krsteele04 on August 31, 2009
Tags: portland, cycle track, bta, bikes, bicycle lanes
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