A month ago today I posted about my fascination with Portland’s fine idea to create bike-friendly streets (referred to here as “bikeways”), or at least to designate certain roads to bicyclists, thus reducing vehicular traffic and keeping bicyclists safer and happier. Well, in perusing some of the fine articles at bikeportland.org I came across this one on Clinton St. Jonathan Maus, Publisher and Editor at BikePortland.org, writes:
The project (more details here) focuses on adding bike-inspired, artistic elements to SE Clinton Street from 12th to 52nd. The idea is to brand the street as a bikeway. PBOT is spending about $38,000 on the project, which is a partnership with local artists and the Regional Arts and Culture Council.
From an outsider’s perspective, that Portland is willing to put 38k into making one of their most prominent bikeways more aesthetically appealing, all the while partnering (and encouraging) with local artists, seems to frankly show its earnest dedication to maintain the bicycling culture that it has.
As I rode along Clinton a couple days ago, observing the new sign toppers and “bike flags,” my first thought (especially with the money spent on the project in mind) was what folks from a city without such a emphasis on bicycling might say. Perhaps to them it would appear wasteful, or just silly. But, I would argue, aesthetic appeal can be found on roadways (presumably to be appreciated by motorists) all the time. Haven’t you seen brick-art and murals painted on highway walls, usually throughout major cities? Where I am from (which is not a very bike-friendly area) plenty of dough gets poured into what is called “transportation art”. I don’t hold disdain toward these cities and programs that typically appeal to motorists, because really, its a great idea! Art provokes emotion, thought, and oftentimes stirring conversation! All I am saying is that if it can be done for motorists, then why not for bicyclists and pedestrians too?
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