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Community Profile: Portland, Oregon
A look at what makes Portland one of America’s favorite bike-friendly cities.
Article originally published on Saris Parking
by Jennifer Everson, Saris Parking Sales Coordinator
Portland's bike culture is ubiquitous, yet unique to the city's paralleled efforts to provide safe cycling infrastructure, sustainable solutions, and collaborative transportation methods. While the balmy climate certainly plays a role, the citizens and invested governing bodies lay the groundwork for its tenacity.
For decades Portland has tethered a balance of political agenda, activism, and engagement. Bike co-ops, grassroots news sources (bikeportland.org), and hearty NGO's, like The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), have served for decades to build an unwavering biking community for local residents and visitors.
The Great Divide -City Infrastructure
Saris' stomping ground, Madison, shares a common feature with Portland beyond the vibrant bike-friendly, fermenting fervor we inhale. Both cities were built on a geographical Great Divide; that is, the Willamette River in Portland – dividing the East/North and West quadrants – and the Madison Isthmus – situated between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, respectively.
Madison's isthmus depends on the Capital City Trail and Bike Boulevards like Jennifer St., Wilson St., and E. Mifflin St. to guide riders to either side, while Portland enlists several bike-friendly bridges.
The Burnside Bridge features a wide bike lane, and the Broadway, Steel (pictured below), Morrison, and Hawthorne Bridges offer off-street bike and pedestrian paths. Tilikum Bridge, completed in September 2015, is the newest addition in over forty years and serves as the nation's largest car-free bridge. Fourteen-foot-wide bike and walking lanes grace both sides of the Max Light Rail Service's Orange Line connecting the Southwest waterfront to the Central Eastside.
Portland State University - National Leader in Alternative Transportation
My budding years on the bike were spent at my Alma Mater, Portland State University (PSU), located in the heart of downtown's Cultural District. Students at the state's largest public institution primarily commute from off-campus housing with three in four opting to commute by bike, foot, or public transportation.
PSU's Bike Hub serves as a campus bike shop that facilitates bike rentals, repair services, and educational workshops at subsidized pricing. There was never a shortage of bike parking between the outdoor racks and secured indoor bicycle garages.
A Place of Opportunity
Although we aim to bespeckle urban-center and trail system maps with our bike parking racks, repair and air stations, guided path lights, and projected electronic bike traffic counters, our ultimate vision is to provide riders with a safe, and low-stress biking experience.
Saris' Cycle Guide Lights is one of our innovative products that offers solar-powered lighting along a bike path or lane to serve as a guide to the rider and visual barrier to adjacent car traffic. Portland’s very own Burnside Bridge’s bike lane already boasts a version donated in 2013. Keep a bright eye for the public product release in late 2017.
The city’s solid grasp on cycling infrastructure still presents exciting opportunities for our team to align with ongoing expansion. Our pursuit to make biking both approachable (efficient and easy to use) and accessible (various accommodations and locations) is the impetus for our high-quality, American-made products.