Bike Portland is an example of how a dedicated individual, a camera, a computer and a blog can blossom into a platform for a specific topic and shoot ahead of newspapers and nonprofits that invest millions of dollars to engage and educate the community. In this case, the topic is biking, and that individual is Jonathan Maus.
Starting in 2005, Maus, an avid biker, created BikePortland.org, a daily news blog that covers biking in Portland. In the past five years, Maus, a former public relations consultant, has trained himself in journalism and photography and now runs one of the most popular bike blogs in the region and possibly the world — reaching 8,000 to 16,000 people daily on the latest news on biking in the Rose City.
Israel Bayer: Can you talk a little bit about Portland’s Bicycle Plan for 2030, and where we are headed as a community?
Jonathan Maus: I think the big thing is that’s it’s just a plan. It’s a great plan, the best in the country, but still, it’s just a plan. The only real money that’s been talked about for the plan has been handled poorly and created negative attention. When it comes to actually doing the things that we need to do to achieve what’s in the plan the revenue is just not there.
From a technical perspective (the plan) doesn’t go far enough. In 2005, Mayor Sam Adams and some of the best and brightest from Portland went to Amsterdam and began to talk about how Portland could be modeled after European cities. But if you look at the plan, we do very little to model ourselves on cities in Europe.
We know we have to create separated bikeways from vehicle traffic. More people don’t bike because they don’t feel safe. If we had separation more people would bike. It’s simple. Continue reading