Following an overwhelming vote of support from their membership, the City Club of Portland is wasting no time in getting to work on implementing the recommendations in their report on bicycling in Portland.
On June 13th, City Club members voted 254 to 31 in favor of the report which recommended that local elected leaders and policy makers make a much stronger commitment to cycling because it 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.” The report recommended a stronger focus on bicycling in local and regional transportation plans, more physically separated bicycle infrastructure, more bicycle counters to help with data collection, more funding set-asides for bicycle infrastructure, a 4% excise tax on new bicycles, and more. (See all the recommendations here.)
Greg Wallinger, City Club’s research and policy director, said they’ve already begun to form an Advocacy Committee that will lobby to implement their recommendations. The committee will be chaired by Craig Beebe, who currently works as communications and development coordinator at 1000 Friends of Oregon, a non-profit that works on land-use issues. Beebe recently discussed the report as a guest on OPB’s Think Out Loud radio program.
Advocacy committees based on their reports are relatively new in City Club’s 96 year history but Wallinger says they’ve become a more central part of the organization in recent years.
In 2010, the City Club’s Forest Park Advocacy Committee achieved seven of 13 recommendations outlined in their Forest Park: A Call to Action report. They successfully pushed the City of Portland to hire a park ranger and conduct user surveys to inform policy and funding decisions. City Club reports have also impacted policy discussions around major issues at the state level like PERS reform and redistricting.
Wallinger says the Committee will report back about the success (or failure) of pushing through their bicycling recommendations in 12-18 months. If you’re interested in being part of the committee, they’re still accepting applications via their website.