|PHOTO CREDIT BIKE PORTLAND BLOG|
Was it a phony photo op along the Holgate bike lanes? You be the judge.
In much the same way the City has done its bike commuter counts in September–the nicest month of the year and back-to-school time–to use as its ‘average’ commuter numbers; and in much the same way they block off sections of the city to cars and urge bicyclists to come from all points to goose up bike use numbers; so do we see what could be an attempt to phony up user numbers on a little used bike lane.
And the City of Portland had a hand in it reportedly.
First some back ground.*They’ve done this type of thing before.
For a couple of years now the folks along Holgate Boulevard in SE Portland have been trying to get rid of bike lanes that receive virtually no use–from bicycles that is. Two lanes of traffic were removed to make a commuting corridor for bicyclists that is barely used.
Local business owner David Lentz of Lentz Automotive says his business has been down by 30% since the bike lanes were put in. Car traffic has been drastically reduced. Other businesses have suffered.
Locals have beseeched the City to take out the useless lanes and restore car lanes but to no avail. Even KATU has outed the uselessness of the bike lanes in an hilarious story. (See the highlights of it in one of the videos below)
But even though neighbors are agitating for their removal the City seems unwilling to take them out (surprise!).
*UPDATED: The City told KATU that they’ve counted 200 bicyclists on path before. And when was that? Business owner, Dave Lentz says it was on a “car free Sunday” (Sunday Parkways) where cyclists were encouraged to use the lanes where –coincidentally!–a PDX City camera was waiting to record it all.
And now it appears they’ve done a similar thing.
The City appears to be upping the ante by staging a photo op of bicyclists actually using the bike lane. Here’s a message I got from one of the business owners along the route:
well portland dept of trans did it again – yesterday holgate had a group of bicycles numbering probably close to 100 or more riding holgate blvd – i asked what group they were from and one guy said ( no group – just a bunch of people out for a ride) just then a ( portland dept of trans van ) rolling with the pack was video taping the random event – hmmmm at 730 pm on thursday. do you think maybe staged to justify the bike lane projects???? after they rode by back to ghost town bike lane — imagine the coincidence.
It’s possible that the event run by the city was for a promotional video but it hardly seems logical. If you want a beauty shot of Portland bike traffic the well used Hawthorne Bridge would be a logical choice. No, this seems to be an incident that– considering everything–sparks suspicion.
It seems, however, that bicyclists are concerned their little used lane may be taken out. As one commenter put it on a bike forum about the Holgate bike lanes entitled
One rider wrote to encourage use of the lanes:
Depart around 6:30 a.m. M,T, TH, F (6 a.m. on W) if anyone’s interested in putting the “bike lane to nowhere” to good use!
First the City puts a bike lane without local input. Then the bike lane receives virtually no use. Then the City ignores the locals complaining about it. And now the City is somehow involved in a phony photo op of at least a hundred bicyclists using the paths on one morning, more than the traffic its received in years of use. Can you blame the folks if they think this is a put up job to phony up evidence the lanes are used?