in the report is a 4% excise tax
on new bike sales that would fund
safety programs and more bike counters
throughout the city.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
BikePortland has learned that the City Club of Portland will announce tomorrow that their membership has officially voted to support their research report on bicycling. No Turning Back: A City Club Report on Bicycle Transportation in Portland is an 83-page report that delves deeply into the bicycle issue in Portland and tackles everything from politics to projects and funding. The report was released on May 29th and some of City Club’s estimated 1,500 members voted on it in person at a “Friday Forum” event on June 7th.
However, this is the first report that City Club opened up to a new process of online voting. In February of this year, City Club’s Board of Governor’s voted to amend the organization’s bylaws to allow online voting as a way to increase the number of members who vote. Given that the report strongly endorses bicycling and calls on the city to do more to advance it, there was some nervousness among local advocates that the electronic vote might be close and/or even reject the research.
In addition to strongly supporting more bicycle infrastructure and bike-friendly transportation policies, the report’s authors also proposed a 4% statewide excise tax on new bicycle sales in order to fund safety programs and buy new bicycle counters. Not surprisingly, that specific proposal has dominated the media coverage and public dialogue around the report. The report also included a minority report penned by two of the 12-member bicycle research committee who felt the official proposals should include mandatory licensing of bicycle riders and registration of bicycles. Both of those measures were shot down by the majority and only the majority report was subject to the online vote.
So now it’s official: We find ourselves with one of Portland’s most respected and oldest civic institutions (it was founded in 1916) with a well-researched, officially adopted report that debunks many anti-bicycling myths and a position that bicycling is “an affordable and efficient means of transportation that is essential to continued growth in the local economy and overall quality of life for Portland residents.” Now the question is: Will citizen activists, advocacy groups, politicians and other powerful local decision-makers take the report and use it as leverage to push farther, faster? Or will it sit on a shelf next to all of Portland’s other big bicycling plans and reports?