Saturday, May 03, 2008

Platinum Portland

In case you haven't heard Portland OR has become the first city over 100,000 residents to become a Platinum Level Bicycle Friendly Community.

So how does Portland compare to Philadelphia? BFC's Press Release Offers Some Highlights:

• Portland’s bikeway network includes 270 miles of on-street bike lanes, bike boulevards, and paved trails; another 40 miles of unpaved trails offer mountain biking opportunities in city parks.
Philadelphia has 205 miles of on-street but no bicycle boulevards and about 25 miles of paved trails.

• A city ordinance requires bike parking in new development and redevelopment projects; another provides a huge incentive for developers to provide showers and locker rooms
There is no such ordinance in Philadelphia

• Six bike corrals have been installed, each replacing one on-street car parking space with 12 bicycle spaces
There are no on street bike parking facilities in Philadelphia however there will be a demo bike on-street parking project during bike week, the Streets Department is also considering permanent locations.

• 400 bikeway destination signs have been installed (with 400 to come) on the bikeway network
There are a limited amount of signs on the Schuylkill River Trail but no general signage on the network.

• More than 1,000 traffic offenders (including cyclists) have been through a two-hour “Share the Road” Safety Class

• More than 400 bicycle light sets are distributed annually to low-income bicyclists by the city, Tri-Met (the transit agency) and the Community Cycling Center.
Nope although this number seems small compared to the amount of bicycles out there.

• 2,250 elementary students annually receive a 10-hour bicycle safety course as part of a larger Safer Routes to School initiative. The course is delivered by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and has helped increase bicycling to school by 5% in just one school year.
The BEEP Program is modeled after the same bike safety course, however it has not been implemented on a district wide level.

• The city distributes 35,000 citywide bicycle maps and another 35,000 local area maps. The citywide map is also reproduced in the Portland phone book.
A new version of the map will be available next year and it will not be in the phone book.

• More than 9,100 people participated in the 2007 Bicycle Commuter Challenge, including 1,700 first-time bike commuters
There is no such program in Philadelphia although the Delaware County TMA's has a scaled down version of this challenge.

• A Tri-Met survey found that three-fifths of area employment sites provide bike parking and ten percent offer incentives to employees who bicycle.
Nope, it is probably less than 5% in the city.

• 20,000 participants in the Providence Bridge Pedal make Portland home to the second largest community bike ride in the United States (after Bike New York)
Bike Philly is starting to ramp up, we hope for 5,000 riders this year.

• 2,000 hardy riders fill the annual Worst Day of the Year ride in early February
There is no comparable ride in Philadelphia, although except for this year (they got more snow for once) our worst day easily eclipses Portland's.

• The Bicycle Transportation Alliance boasts 3,000 members in the city and is just one of many advocacy and riding groups that organize thousands of rides, events and bicycling activities year-round
The Bicycle Coalition has close to 800 members in the city and a there are a few bike clubs and organizations that sponsor bicycle activities.

• Creation of the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovations at Portland State University will help ensure technology transfer and much-needed research into innovative ways to encourage bicycling

• The city boasts 40 bike shops and more than 150 bicycle-related businesses that provide thousands of green-collar jobs and with an economic benefit of more than $65 million (2005)
Philadelphia has about 30 shops and is the headquarters for Fuji Bikes, Bilenky Bikes, 2 pedicab companies, a half dozen messenger companies, dozens of businesses the deliver food by bike the BCGP and Neighborhood Bike Works.


Dr. Phila said...

I moved to Philly from Portland and I have to say the two cities are hardly comparable.

The two cities couldn't be more different demographically, politically and historically. This makes it more difficult to do similar things in Philly. I am not saying this to prevent Philly from trying, I am saying that we have different issues to grapple with first

I think job number one is to address driver mentality about cyclists on the road. Bike lanes or not, it is still going to be dangerous to ride on Philly streets without some concern for cyclist (and ped for that matter) safety from motorists.

Really, Philly has better physical bones for cycling that Portland. It's more dense, the ROW's are skinnier, and parking is much less assessable. It's the culture that makes Portland succeed as a bike friendly city. Not the damn bike lanes.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Without enforcement of bicycling laws, the lines on the streets are meaningless. Philadelphia is a dangerous city to bicycle in, despite the "miles" of bike lanes. Especially funny when these miles include Columbus Blvd and Washington st and other ridiculously unfriendly roads which happened to be wide enough to include a bike lane, most of which end without warning in the middle of nowhere.

Anonymous said...

What a great program Portland has in their safe routes to school initiative! I wish there was a similar program in Montco for my elementary school age kids. After reading this post I found more info about the program here: The BTA also has a great Website and blog.