Saturday, May 28, 2011

Portland Area "Pay-to-Ride" Smackdown

In the red corner, Jerry Willey, mayor of the cash-strapped Portland suburb, Hillsboro, OR!

In the blue corner, Portland-area cyclists who pay taxes and do very little damage to roads compared to cars and trucks!


Willey comes out slugging, proclaiming that adding bicycle lanes costs money that should be provided by those using the bicycle lanes. BikePortland editor Jonathan Maus counters, “Willey should focus on the problem — which isn’t that people don’t pay more just because they happen to ride a bike sometimes — it’s that too many trips taken in our cities are taken by cars.”

Photo by Jonathan Maus,

This article in the Hillsboro Argus, by Kurt Eckert, gives readers a blow-by-blow description of the conflict to date. Maybe I am biased, but the arguments from bicycle advocates seem quite convincing. F'rinstance, Bicycle Transportation Alliance president Rob Sadowsky points out that "Ninety percent of BTA members own a car and drive it, but make a commitment to drive less. They all pay drivers license fees, vehicle registrations and other fixed costs, and most pay property taxes that go for maintenance on the system."

Still, in a time of fiscal desperation, who can say what people will believe? Read the "Comments" section of the article to get an idea of what we are up against in terms of anti-bicycle evangelists whose heels are thoroughly dug-in.

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