Portland buys special street sweeper to clean four bike lanes

November 19, 2013


The City of Portland has purchased a special street sweeper that cleans just four bike lanes.

bike track leaves
Photo from Bike Portland blog. Bicyclists insisted this bike lane be at the curb.  Then they complained of leaves in the bike lane and insisted taxpayers buy a special street sweeper to clean it.

Congratulations Portland taxpayers, you  have just purchased a special street sweeper to clean up the short bike path near Portland State University and possibly three other bike paths in the city! The bike lobby is thrilled that no longer will they have to wait for regular street sweepers to do the job, they’ll have their own, special brand of sweeper made in bicyclist nirvana—The Netherlands! Bike lobby members complain that leaves on the bike path, aka ‘cycle track,’ by PSU, make it unsafe to ride there. The “cycle track” was installed at the behest of the bike lobby. Now, after moving parked cars next to traffic to install the ‘track’ next to the curb,  those same activists complain the falling leaves are in their way. See the photo nearby from the Bike Portland blog. The price of the little buggar is probably into the tens of thousands of dollars, of

Photo by Jonathan Maus, Bike Portland blog.
Photo by Jonathan Maus, Bike Portland blog.

course. I have a message into the manufacturer to get a price list. The price is not readily found on the Portland Online PBOT pages. But the bike lobby is trying to put the best face on the extravagant purchase, promising hey, it might clean up a grand total of four whole bike lanes! 

“PBOT spokeswoman Diane Dulken said it can sweep the new bikeways on NE Cully Blvd, SW Broadway, and NE Multnomah thanks to its narrow profile and agile handling.”

The City of Portland has instituted a leaf tax to pay for leaf pick up to make the roads safer for bicyclists, but this new street sweeper won’t be able to help do any of that work,

“…[I]t can’t carry as much debris as other sweepers, and it works slower than the larger sweepers so it can’t be used in tandem operations like the City’s Leaf Day pickups. (Note: This sweeper won’t be used exclusively for bikeways.)”

Since this purchase was made to accommodate the riders using the cycle track, it bears noting the endorsement made by the city at the time it was put in more than three years ago.

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance [bike lobby] has provided Transportation with critical insights on the design and the Cycle Track.  They strongly support this demonstration saying, “Widening the bike lane on Broadway and putting it next to the sidewalk, instead of next to the moving traffic, will give people a more comfortable place to ride. 

Apparently that “critical insight” giving “people a more comfortable place to ride” didn’t foresee the trees dropping their leaves every fall. Now we’re on the hook for more money for the privileged bike lobby.