Mayor Sam Adams' decision to take $20 million from the Bureau of Environmental Services to support the Bicycle Plan for 2030
is a done deal; City Council voted 5-0 on March 17 to approve the idea.
Now the question is where
to spend the money. And if that seems like an easy set of decisions to make, well, that's not the case in Portland.
Adams, committed to promoting "equity" in spending across the city, has asked BES to spread the money for bicycle boulevards and "green streets" equally around all five sections of Portland -- North, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, Northwest.
Trouble is, according to BES, the parts of town that could most benefit from "green streets," which help to reduce stormwater runoff and calm traffic, happen to be for the most part in inner Northeast and Southeast Portland. Those sections, from the Willamette River to about 60th Avenue, are where homeowners and businesses frequently experience sewer backups and basement flooding due to inadequate infrastructure. BES would like to spend the money in those sections, where the need is greatest. (The map above shows where BES would like to spend the money.)
Last week, BES director Dean Marriott met with several staffers from the Portland Bureau of Transportation who are managing the Bike Plan. Commissioner Dan Saltzman oversees BES. Adams oversees PBOT. After the meeting between Marriott and Transportation Bureau staffers, Adams' chief of staff Tom Miller called Marriott to say again how important it is that the Bike Plan money get spread around. It remains to be seen how this issue will be solved. Stay tuned.