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Mayor Adams finds $20 million for bike boulevards

By James Mayer, The Oregonian

March 06, 2010, 11:25AM

seSpokaneWof13th LkgE a 020510.JPGView full sizeA curb extension to catch and treat storm water doubles as a bike boulevard at Southeast Spokane Street at 13th Avenue.When Mayor Sam Adams said he wanted to use $20 million in sewer money to help kickstart the city’s bicycle master plan, a lot of people scoffed, what do sewers have to do with bikes?

Well, Adams has come up with a connection. Dovetail the city’s “green streets” initiative with the bike plan’s call for bicycle boulevards.

It turns out that both involve placing something in the street. The green streets program builds out green patches along streets to help manage stormwater runoff. And bicycle boulevards are made by building curb extensions to slow traffic to make neighborhood streets safer for bikes.

“If we’re doing traffic calming with curb extensions, why not use the opportunity to treat stormwater?” said Catherine Ciarlo, the mayor’s transportation adviser

Adams will bring an ordinance to council next Wednesday calling for the Bureau of Environmental Services to spend $20 million on stormwater projects that double as bike boulevards, Ciarlo said.

The green streets money will not be used for striping or other bike boulevard features, she said.

The move comes after another of the mayor’s ideas – using unspent money from the massive Big Pipe project – met resistance from the environmental services bureau and Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees the bureau.

Last week, Dean Marriott, BES director, said he was interested in the green streets idea.

Ciarlo said Adams has been a strong supporter of the green streets program from his time as commissioner in charge of the bureau.

“The more rain water that can be treated at the street, the less runs into the river,” she said.

The goal of the $600 million 2030 Portland Bicycle Plan is that 25 percent of trips in the city be by bike in 20 years. At the heart of the proposal is nearly 700 miles of new bikeways that would make up a "safer and more comfortable" two-wheeled urban network for new cyclists.

The plan identifies bike boulevards as good places to start.

BES and the transportation department are working together to create a list of streets where the dual treatment would be feasible, Ciarlo said. A list of projects might be available by Wednesday’s meeting.

Update: Marriott wants to make it clear that there is no "unspent" money in the Big Pipe project, and if there was it would be spent on other needed sewer system projects. Marriott also said that Adams' plan will have a financial impact in BES. "Priorities will be shifted," to put $20 million into the green streets program, he said,. 

Update; A BES analysis of the impacts of providing $20 million for the bike master plan lists $7.4 million worth of programs that have some relationship to the "green streets" program, such as watershed investment funds and federal 'innovative wet weather" grants.But $12.4 million would come from delaying capital projects aimed at reducing basement flooding and fixing leaky pipes before they fail   

--James Mayer


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Posted by Slickk
March 05, 2010, 5:00PM

You may find this hard to believe but there are others with opinions different than yours. We could use the money for the schools. After all, it's all about the kids.

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Posted by ksm1
March 05, 2010, 11:19PM

THIS is why they raise our taxes, since they waste our money on ideas like this, and then wonder why there is no money left for schools.

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Posted by ore2008
March 06, 2010, 12:46PM

obviously, not in Portland. All they seem to be concerned with is making the world know they are a "cycling, green town". Worried about light rail, commuter rail, bikes and electric cars, that makes the headlines! Failing schools,budget cuts, kids not learning enough to survive in college, NO BIGGIE, we like bikes and find money for them!!

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Posted by LaurelPlastic1
March 05, 2010, 5:55PM

There is no other world for bikers, tofu, and solar energy. They really don't care about anyone else. That is called progressivism. Watch your kids or they might get run over.

Flew in from Miami Beach BOAC
Didn't get to bed last night
Oh, the way the paper bag was on my knee
Man, I had a dreadful flight
I'm back in the USSR
You don't know how lucky you are, boy
Back in the USSR, yeah

Been away so long I hardly knew the place
Gee, it's good to be back home
Leave it till tomorrow to unpack my case
Honey disconnect the phone
I'm back in the USSR
You don't know how lucky you are, boy
Back in the US
Back in the US
Back in the USSR

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Posted by psyllicon
March 06, 2010, 5:55AM

the United States Socialist Republic?

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Posted by meendean
March 06, 2010, 12:26PM

Honesty I don't think this is a bad thing. I think this makes Portland a little more enjoyable and livable. And I think all you silly little whiners need to quit crying and get off your lazy butts and try enjoying a nice safe little bike ride with you family and friends. I don't want my 5 cents back. Keep it please!

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Posted by leila22
March 07, 2010, 4:58PM

They can't - they are in wheelchairs and need Medicaid - remember - the health insurance that you Democrats keep whining about?

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Posted by phosphorus
March 08, 2010, 3:07AM

Let me guess: you are still young or you have never had any serious injuries or disease that impairs your physical abilities. Or your sense of jnherent superiority. Now, stand at attention and sing along while saluting: Bikers, bikers, uber alles....!

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Posted by rigormrtis
March 05, 2010, 2:09PM

I am NO Sam Adams fan...

But this is a creative leveraging of public funds to accomplish multiple policies. This is not a bad idea......I say that as a former transportation policy geek at the USEPA.

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Posted by samsthemoth
March 05, 2010, 5:18PM

Indeed, what a fantastic idea. But I see the complementarity in the fact that it is a proven fact bikers eat more than non-bikers, and therefore place more demand on the sewer system. All a bunch of crap!

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Posted by obamasabum
March 05, 2010, 9:03PM

This isn't a "leveraging" of sewer money! This is a charge the sewer rate payers to pay for bike lanes based upon the logic that the bike lanes have something to do with reducing rainwater runoff. They could make the green patch areas for stormwater runoff collection without having to include the additional expense of constructing bike lanes. Don't be fooled. Why doesn't the Mayor propose to integrate green patches for storm water runoff collection with homeless camping sites on every street? It would be the same "leveraging" and would get the homeless off of our doorsteps! Think creative!

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Posted by loves oregon
March 07, 2010, 1:49PM

As peasants we really have "no say" in how they spend the farthings they squeeze from our purses. Lord Adams knows best. Just shut up and keep tilling the soil.

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Posted by pinfeathers
March 06, 2010, 8:10AM

RIGORMRTIS Your comments are testament to the solidification of your mental capacities.

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Posted by rigormrtis
March 06, 2010, 6:04PM

Not really. I'm speaking as a guy with a masters in public admin (top 2 school) and several years of transportation planning experience.

Leveraging public (state/local) funds is what gets Federal grants. If this idea manages to attract outside funding, I would say it is a win/win overall.

The reality is, sewers are built along with roads because roads provide the least path of resistance for runoff. Might as well make the best out of the situation and throw some bike lanes in at a far lower cost than it would normally require.

Again, I'm all for a Sam recall, but sometimes bad people have good ideas.

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Posted by mjpundit
March 07, 2010, 12:06PM

I'm down with all you said[including recall], but ,dude, you gotta stop the King Kong thing in the first paragraph.

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Posted by leila22
March 07, 2010, 5:00PM

Well, why don't you use your brain and expertise and start demanding an end to federal grants that are basically the opposite of transparency - hidden spending by those who think they know best?
How arrogant can you get?

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Posted by 67falcon
March 06, 2010, 10:48AM


He took the 20 million from money that was to go as a city share in replacing or reparing the SELLWOOD bridge.

If that is correct..he possibly endangered people and assets of both the city and county ....for his GD, bike paths.

Will someone in the so-called media under the "freedom of information act" audit that money trail.

If true...and that doesn't give these people that support him, reason to toss him out, then there is more wrong in Portland, Oregon then we can ever imagine.

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Posted by 67falcon
March 06, 2010, 11:59AM


The money was from an account that was to be the cities contibution to replacement of the SELLWOOD bridge.

If this is true..SAM ADAMS..has endangered lives of the people in the whole county.

I want an answer.... I want an audit, and I WANT IT NOW.

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Posted by rickyrubio2
March 06, 2010, 4:10PM

I wonder if he found the 20 mil in Beau Breedloves cheek cusions!!

Hand over fist!! Like a bottomless pit of cash!!

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Posted by jooky
March 05, 2010, 2:10PM


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