An Imperfect Bike Mecca Offers Lessons

Portland, Oregon, is often held up as the nation's most bike-friendly city. But while its reputation is not unearned, it also has room for improvement.
March 12, 2011, 7am PST | Nate Berg
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Writing for Next American City, Jay Walljasper sees lessons in Portland for other cities to improve their bikeability.

"After spending several days exploring Portland as part of a Bikes Belong Foundation-sponsored transportation workshop for city officials from across the country, I must admit that Portland offers a wealth of inspiration and practical tips for how we can make our towns more bikeable, vital and fun.

Yet, as the delegation of transportation leaders from Chicago, Houston, Seattle, Minneapolis and Salt Lake City discovered while biking across the city, Portland is no Ecotopia. Local bikers still contend with roaring traffic on crowded streets and motorists who park illegally in bike lanes or honk for no apparent reason. As Laura Spanjian, Sustainability Director in the Houston mayor's office, observed, 'I was surprised there's so much traffic. Actually that made me hopeful-that we can do some of the same things in Houston even with all our traffic.'"

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Published on Monday, February 28, 2011 in Next American City
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