Biketown racks not welcome in some neighborhoods

The orange bike racks take up parking spots

A Biketown rack is being installed along SE Taylor in Portland, July 13, 2016 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland’s new bike sharing program, Biketown, goes live July 19 and with 1,000 orange bikes comes 100 orange bike racks all over town.

On SE Taylor, the bike rack is sparking some big controversy with homeworkers who feel they were left out of the conversation.

“I saw this thing, ‘Whoa, what is that?'” said George Lederer, who didn’t know the bike station was going to be there.

Neighbor Tab Waterman says he wants it moved.

The 5 homeowners surrounding the bike rack are frustrated that it’s swallowing up street parking.

A Biketown rack being installed in Southeast Portland, July 13, 2016 (KOIN)
A Biketown rack being installed in Southeast Portland, July 13, 2016 (KOIN)

“I received no direct notice that it was going to be placed exactly in front of my house,” Michael Papas said. Papas said he was left in the dark, and will lose $250 in rent.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation says Nike first proposed the project in January. Waterman, who has spent 17 years in this house, said he got a letter from Biketown after the project was approved.

“We felt we had a robust public comment period,” said Dylan Rivera with PBOT.

“It was ‘robust’ but how robust was it if people who live right there didn’t find out about until this thing came in?” Waterman said.

According to Rivera, PBOT did take steps to notify groups in commercial areas.

“We went door-to-door in each of the commercial, notified folks on those commercial corridors,” Rivera said. “We didn’t notify every address. This is a public right of way.”

A Biketown rack being installed along SE Taylor in Portland, July 13, 2016 (KOIN)
A Biketown rack being installed along SE Taylor in Portland, July 13, 2016 (KOIN)

He said they didn’t notify every individual resident because they had media coverage and notified neighborhood associations and business associations in the area.

Madeline Anderson-Clark, who lives near the bike station said Biketown isn’t in the meeting minutes for the Richmond neighborhood. She said things got heated when she called to complain.

“They were pretty hostile towards the plight,” Anderson-Clark said.

“We welcome complaints and concerns people have, we are always willing to listen,” Rivera said. “We can put 20 bike racks in place of 20 car spaces. It’s going to be convenient and easy, and people are going to find they are glad to be located near a bike town station.”

These neighbors don’t feel that way.

“It might benefit the tourists, but we weren’t given a voice,” Anderson-Clark said.

 

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