Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"for the equivalent cost of a single mile of freeway, we have a bike infrastructure"

Could someone show this article to Barry please?

Portland Mayor Sam Adams says Portland’s spent on its bike infrastructure what it would normally spend on a single mile of highway.
Portland’s biking infrastructure is the stuff of legends. The city boasts the USA's highest bike commuter rate. You’d think, then, given the strong feelings, that Portland has made significant investments to get a significant infrastructure. But according to Mayor Sam Adams they built their bike network for about the same amount of cash that a mile of highway would set us back.

"You know in 1993 we weren't the bicycling capital of America," he says. "Seventeen years later, for the equivalent cost of a single mile of freeway, we have a bike infrastructure."

Roger Geller is Portland's bike coordinator. Geller said that in 2009, the staff set out to put together an estimated total cost for the city’s bike infrastructure in 2008 dollars.

When all was said and done, they came up with an estimated value of $52 million and adjusted it up to $60 million to be safe. Here’s how they arrived at that figure:

"We assumed that all elements that contributed to the city's bikeway system were reasonable costs to include, even if they were not built for the express purpose of creating a bikeway. For example, we included the cost of pedestrian half-signals and bicycle-pedestrian bridges across I-5, among others. These signals and bridges facilitate crossings for existing bicycle boulevards, even though they were in place before the bicycle boulevards were constructed.

"For multi-use trails we split the construction cost of the trail in half and assigned half the cost to pedestrians. For the Eastbank Esplanade I believe we divided the cost into thirds and assigned one-third of the cost to park development, as much of the construction of that pathway was not about transportation but was also about creating a parklike environment."

To be clear, he added, the network did not actually cost $60 million. It was probably less than that: "The $60 million figure is essentially the replacement value of our network as it existed in 2008 in 2008 dollars. In other words, if the bikeway network disappeared overnight -- and all the elements that contribute to its functionality, whether built by the city's bikeway program or not -- $60 million is approximately what it would cost to replace it all."

The one thing Geller said it didn’t include was city programs that deal with bicycles -- Oregon Safe Routes to School, for example. Even so, the cost of those activities, stretching back to 2004, could be absorbed in the rounding up from $52 million to $60 million, Geller said.

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