Forget Your Bike Lock? Businesses in Portland Have You Covered

From around the Network today: Portland’s private sector takes cyclist accommodation to a new level; metro DC bungles transportation at its sports venues; and a potentially transformational piece of legislation in California loses its oomph.

To make the customer experience more convenient, some Portland businesses keep loaner bike locks on hand. Photo: Bike Portland

Portland Businesses Loan Bike Locks to Forgetful Customers: It’s interesting how businesses are taking leading roles in making Portland even more welcoming for cyclists. Last month we reported local shops were clamoring for additional bike parking space. Now, Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland reports that business owners in this preeminently bike-friendly city have taken to keeping extra bike locks on hand, lest their customers arrive unprepared. “At the American Red Cross on N. Vancouver Avenue, a sign near the bike racks says to inquire at the lobby if you need a lock. I spoke with a woman behind the front desk who said people utilize the loaner frequently. ‘We just call security and they have locks to loan out. Just give us an ID and the lock is yours to use.’” Maus continues: “Loaner bike locks are just one way Portland businesses cater to bike-riding customers.” Wow. Wait till Portlandia hears about this.

Auto-Centricism Prevails at DC Sports Venues: Washington just built a $600 million stadium for the Nationals using taxpayer money, but the city failed to wrap up all the loose ends before closing the deal. As a result, a dispute is underway about who will pay for late-night transit service when games run into the wee hours. Transit appears to be an afterthought as well at the U.S. Open in Montgomery County, says Richard Layman at Network blog Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space. Layman reports that the event will bus people from county-owned satellite parking lots 15 miles away at no charge, while transit users must reserve seats for their ride from the nearest Metro station and pay $8 for the privilege. Says Layman: “Granted most people going to the match are likely to not take Metro, but … transit users should not be penalized while drivers not only get free parking [but] a free trip on the shuttle.”

A Good Bill Gets Neutered in California: Imagine a world where transit projects have priority over roads. In March, state Senator Christine Kehoe introduced a “transit-first” policy for California’s coastline. The bill would have made adequate public transportation a precondition for any highway expansion projects. Unfortunately the bill has been reduced to a shadow of its former self, reports Matt Nelson at Network blog California Streets. After trucking and highway interests intervened, Kehoe removed most of the “transit-first” language, Nelson says. “Today, we learned that Kehoe plans to narrow the bill to include just North San Diego County and the contentious battle to stop the widening of Interstate 5. The bill has likely always been about I-5 and North County for the Del Mar politician, but it nonetheless called for a promising policy change that would’ve limited the ability of Caltrans to add freeway lanes without first exploring the effectiveness of transit options.” Maybe next year?