Entering into the mouth of the Hawthorne Bridge, travelers will find a herd of bicyclists young and old, from businessmen to clad hipsters, from the first-timers to the avid riders, all heading into Downtown Portland.
Bike paths and bike lanes are scattered throughout the city like arteries all connecting to the heart of Portland, with a total of 180 miles of bike lanes and 79 miles of off-street bike paths. The city has also built 30 miles of Bike Boulevards also known as neighborhood greenways reserved for bicyclists to safely ride freely throughout its city limits.
Over the years the city of Portland has become a popularly known bicycling mecca in the US for its growing bicycle network and a world-class bicycling infrastructure. This has been partly accredited to the work done by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), a non-profit organization which for the past twenty plus years has worked in serving the Portland metro area on a mission “to promote bicycling and improve bicycling conditions in Oregon.”
2008 was a big year for the Rose City. After campaigning for years for the city to go Platinum, The League of American Bicyclists awarded Portland as the first major US city the title of Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Community. Portland has rightly earned this status because “Anyone who wants to ride can ride,” said BTA Communication Director, Margaux Mennesson. Portland was the first US city to implement bike boxes at intersections and elementary-school bike commuting trains.
Fast-forward to 2012. Portland reclaimed the first spot on Bicycling magazine‘s list of America’s Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities, before Minneapolis in 2nd and Boulder, CO in 3d place. The BTA is currently in the works of publishing the Blue Print for Better Biking, “a guide for building a world-class network with the highest standards for our region.” Between the summers of 2012 through the spring of 2013, the BTA will engage policy experts, cycling advocates, and the public in order to make this happen. Portlanders meanwhile continue to ride, and a new bike shop in the city is probably the first to offer bike valet parking.
Get in touch with the author @alicperez.