The Most Bicycle Friendly City In America

Two local transportation advocates shed light on the plans and policies that have made Portland, Oregon the bicycle capital of the U.S.

"For many, Portland is a haven of green-friendly urban planning. It recently topped Popular Science's list of the greenest cities in the United States. A big part of that is bikes. Portland is widely considered the most bicycle-friendly city in North America, so much so that bikes are on display throughout the Portland airport. Worldwide, it's seen as only second to Amsterdam."

Democracy Now, a daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, interviews two local transportation activists about Portland's success.

"Elly Blue is the coordinator of the Towards Carfree Cities conference taking place in Portland this June. She is also a contributing writer to Scott Bricker is ... executive director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, or BTA, a nonprofit membership group working to promote bicycling and improve bicycling conditions in Oregon and Southwest Washington."

Full Story: Portland Considered Most Bicycle-Friendly City in North America



Walkability v bicycle-ability

I have to disagree with one interviewee comment about Portland's bicycling infrastructure being the best thing about the city. I rather believe it is the pedestrian infrastructure that led to Portland being able to better accommodate bicycling.

Portland's sidewalks are crafted with curb extensions and generous widths and amenities like street trees to have a 'traffic calming' affect. Motorists receive visual signals this way to slow down, conscious of pedestrians. Bicyclers benefit from better controlled traffic.

More important, Portland is one of the nation's best walking cities. There's still a lot of traffic, but its speeds are significantly reduced, and the number of motor vehicles moving vs parked is comparatively low. Motorists once parked, find it easy and enjoyable to walk further than in most cities. And free transit in the downtown fareless zone adds to Portland's walkability.

It's the entirety of transportation system infrastructure that makes Portland work; not just the bicycling infrastructure elements.

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