Benefits of bicycling touted in Midway

Whether you’re a biker – or a confirmed motorist – find out what the City’s Bureau of Transportation has in store …

Ellen Vanderslice, project manager for Portland’s Bicycle Master Plan Update, says she’s happy to see an increase in bike transportation usage.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although using bicycles as a primary mode of transportation is seldom seen in outer East Portland, Ellen Vanderslice, the project manager for the Bicycle Master Plan Update, told members of the Midway Business Association she’s hoping it more folks adopt this “healthier” way of getting around.

“Citywide, the number of people bicycling has gone up,” Vanderslice stated. “We’re looking for an increase in the number of bicyclists as time goes on, for two reasons. Part of it is, we want to make this an even more ‘green’ city – this will bring more tourism here. And it’s a healthy alternative to cars.”

Bike riders categorized
Studies show, Vanderslice related, that when it comes to bicycles, people fall into one of four categories:

  • “No way, no how” – About one-third of Portland’s citizens will never mount a bike for fun or transportation.
  • “Interested, but concerned” – About 60% of Portlanders say they like recreational riding, but say they “feel nervous” about riding for transportation. “These are the people we’re trying to reach,” Vanderslice said. “We’re working to provide ways to help them feel better about riding more.”
  • “Enthused and confident” – About 7% of riders fall in this category; they are generally involved in bicycle-related projects.
  • “Strong and fearless” – Only 1% of the bike riders are fully committed to bicycles as their only mode of individual transportation (in conjunction with mass transit).

About 60% of the trips taken are shorter than three miles, reported Vanderslice. “Not all trips can be done by bicycle, but perhaps many of them can. As our roads become more congested, going by bicycle will free up room for cars – and make our neighborhoods more livable.”

Bicycle improvement concepts
It will take a combination of efforts to get the “Interested, but concerned” to trade in their car for a bicycle.

“Part of this will be through adopting new transportation, parking, and lane policies,” Vanderslice explained. “New design guidelines will help create ‘low stress bikeways’ to encourage riding.”

One example is the “Advisory Bike Lane” – used where the roadway is narrow. “The street will be painted with broken lines [on the outside of driving lanes] to let car drivers know bikes are supposed to be riding there.”

Another concept, Vanderslice went on is the “Cycle Track”. Such a separated facility as this is already seen on NE Cully Boulevard. It is in the road, but separated from traffic by a low curb. Another is the “Buffered Bike Lane”, painted a little wider than the typical bike lane.

It is possible for people to do their grocery-shopping by bicycle, Vanderslice says.

Considering bike licensing
Asked how the city plans to fund these improvements, Vanderslice made an announcement that surprised many of the 16 people at the March 10 meeting.

“We’ve considered many options, and around the table, bicycle licensing is being considered as a viable option,” she said. “By implementing the low-cost bike lane treatments, we can increase the use of bicycle for shopping trips, as I do. It’s not easy [to go grocery shopping using a bicycle], but it is not impossible.”

Talks up combined open houses in May
Because of tight City budgets, Vanderslice said the Portland Bureau of Transportation will be presenting joint open house events featuring both the Bicycle Master Plan and the Portland Streetcar System Plan.

May 6 is the date for the outer East Portland event. It runs from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the David Douglas High School North Cafeteria  (1500 SE 130th Ave.) For more information, contact Ellen Vanderslice, project manager for the Bicycle Master Plan Update, at (503) 823-4638 or email her at

The APNBA’s Jon Turino updates the organization’s progress.

APNBA update given
Jon Turino, the Executive Director of the Alliance of Portland Neighborhood Business Associations (APNBA), also stopped by the noontime meeting.

Turino said their next city-wide conference is scheduled for June 4. “There will be quick, 25 minute talks on a wide variety of topics that will help both business associations, and their business members, succeed.”

He also talked up the organization’s new web site that features an interactive, map-based directory of associations and local businesses. You can visit their website by CLICKING HERE.

Meet the members
If you own or manage a business in the southern portion of outer East Portland, stop in at April 14 meeting of the Midway Business Association.

Visitors ARE welcome and the presentation is free (but you pay for your own lunch). Their meeting runs from 11:45 AM until 1 PM at Bill and Jeff Dayton’s PIZZA BARON Restaurant on SE 122nd Avenue, just south of Division Street. For more information, go to

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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