What bike questions should Portland political candidates answer?

What bike questions should Portland political candidates answer?

Mayoral Candidate Jefferson Smith ride-17

Talking politics.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

With a big local election coming up, two biking advocacy groups are getting ready to ask politicians where exactly they stand.

On Monday, political action committee Bike Walk Vote released the 2016 candidates’ questionnaire that it’ll use to hand out endorsements. Next week, the advocacy nonprofit Bicycle Transportation Alliance is hosting an evening event to write a platform, make a list of questions and start organizing a get-out-the-vote effort for people who care about good biking.

Here’s the seven-question Bike Walk Vote questionnaire:

1. How can the local jurisdictions work with ODOT to improve safety and accessibility for all road users and establish a clear process for facilitating the eventual handover of state controlled dangerous urban arterials to local jurisdictions?

2. If elected what are your plans to implement Vision Zero?

3. Protected bikes lanes are more effective in protecting vulnerable users than painted bike lanes. Similarly, there have been multiple community calls for diversion on greenways. If elected how will you address the call for increased physical protection and the addition to diverters on adjacent greenways?

4. Transportation costs are often more than 20% of a household’s budget, and many households are too poor to drive to meet all of their daily needs. Biking, walking, and transit are the most affordable transport solutions. Street fees, congestion pricing, reduced price transit passes, and demand-responsive parking rates are some of the proposed tools to manage auto congestion and raise needed funds locally for maintenance and safety improvements. What are your plans to reduce transportation costs for low income families?

5. Arterials need sidewalks for safe access to transit. Portland has significant gaps in this network which need tailored solutions in differing areas of Portland. Many of these gaps occur in neighborhoods that rely heavily on transit and require a significant amount of walking to reach nearby stops. What are your plans for sidewalk gaps, especially with regard to transit accessibility and equity in the outer neighborhoods?

6. Do you have any specific accomplishments improving biking, walking and transit in Oregon or other places?

7. What makes you a viable candidate?





And here’s the description of next week’s BTA event, which is Feb. 23 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the group’s office, 618 NW Glisan St., Suite 401:

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is elevating our involvement in elections for 2016 by launching a Bike the Vote 2016 effort.

We are developing a platform to share with candidates, a candidate questionnaire, and a get out the vote campaign. The first step is crafting a platform, highlighting bicyclists’ needs and priorities, that is compelling and easy to incorporate into candidates’ campaigns.

This is where YOU come in. Your experience and passion around bicycling and active transportation is needed to bring this together. We’d like your help in crafting the platform.

We invite you to attend a 90-minute interactive session with the BTA’s Executive Director on Tuesday, February 23rd from 6:00 to 7:30 PM at our office. Join us at 618 NW Glisan Street in Suite 401.

Snacks and beverages will be provided.

Last fall, the national Transit Center think tank held a panel in Portland to discuss their theory of what factors lead to transportation reform, based on the experience of six cities. They concluded, essentially, that it comes down to three factors, each influencing the next: a “civic vanguard” of active citizens; “city leadership,” starting with politicians who get a mandate to make transportation change a top priority; and “agency champions” in the bureaucracy, empowered by politicians to execute the changes a city needs even if a vocal minority of citizens object.

There’s not much question which of those links is weakest in Portland today. Fortunately, it’s also the one that active citizens can change.

The election is May 17.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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