Thursday, January 17, 2008

Portland's bicycling economy

From Marketplace (American Public Media), 01.17.08:

TESS VIGELAND: Imagine San Diego as one big peloton today. Thousands of cyclists are converging there for the Bicycle Leadership Conference. They'll be figuring out how to expand the bicycle market. One obvious answer: get more commuters to ride bikes to work. On that score, Portland, Oregon, is way out front of the pack. According to Bicycling Magazine, the city has the highest number of bike commuters in the country.

Ethan Lindsey, of Oregon Public Broadcasting, reports on the industry that's grown up around all those riders.

ETHAN LINDSEY: To many bicyclists, Portland is the closest an American city has come to getting it right. The city has bike boulevards, bike passing lanes, even bike traffic jams, and on Sunday nights it has ZooBomB.

ZOO BOMB BIKERS: Alright, if you see a car you say, "car." 3-2-1 ZooBomB!

ZooBomB is a weekly race down one of the city's biggest hills. Of the 40 or so racers, about half bomb the hill on tricked out kiddie bikes. Yet this is only one spoke in Portland's bicycle culture. This city has been considered one of the most bike-friendly in the country, ever since the 1970s. That's when lawmakers passed Oregon's "bicycle bill," sending 1 percent of all road money to bicycle infrastructure. (Read more.)
Two reports on bicycling in one week on public radio's popular Marketplace program. Maybe they think the standard business coverage--abundant foreclosures, sliding dollar, sinking stock market--is depressing their audience. This report features comments from Jonathan Maus, creator of the impressive, and others on the burgeoning bike economy in the Rose City. Most important, it points to Oregon's critical funding support for bicycling facilities (the 1% minimum requirement), which clearly makes a difference. If only California did the same.

Visit: Gearing Up, Oregon Business
Visit: Oregon Business mag gives bike commuters cover treatment, The Oregonian
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site

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