Bicycle Transportation Alliance Turns 25!
What was cycling like 25 years ago in America’s Cycling City, Portland, Oregon? Here’s a story I tell:
When I commuted from my neighborhood to downtown I would pass very few cyclists. We would wave at each other and marvel that another hardy soul would dare the hostile streets, rough roads, harassment from motorists and police. No bike lanes, skinny sidewalks on the bridges, high speed traffic, no respect. I often claimed that I knew all the other cyclists–an easy feat as there were about five of us riding to work. Then I was corrected by Mia Birk, who came to Portland in the early 90s to run the City’s Bicycle Program. She said that they had done counts and I was wrong–there were fifteen!
O how far we’ve come!
Portland is now a city defined by cycling–with over $100 Million annual economic contribution from bicycle related business, Sunday Parkways events drawing 100,000 riders a year, and the only bicycle and pedestrian focused Master’s program in the country at Portland State University.