Thursday, October 08, 2009

Portland: 300 more miles of bike paths planned
Downtown business owners concerned about losing business


A planned increase in number bikeways throughout the city of Portland has downtown business owners worried that it will drive people away.

“I like that it’s a bike-friendly city, but I also want it to be a city that’s friendly for businesses as well,” said Jane Adams, one of the shop owners.

The owners of Flowers by Dorcas said the plan reaffirms their decision to relocate to the Hollywood District.

“As a matter of fact one of the reasons we are moving is our customers complain with the lack of parking, the gridlock, and the construction. They don’t come downtown anymore,” said co-owner Gerhard Watzig.
Oregon Wines on Broadway owner, Kate Bolling, said she can also see how it could cause problems with the flow of traffic.

“If you’re not a bike commuter, affects your ability to come to work,” she said.

many of the business owners pointed out that they are concerned about the future of downtown and don't feel like they can survive.

City of Portland is accepting public input from now until November 8, 2009. The city is also planning on holding a hearing regarding the plan at 6 PM Tuesday, October 27.

The plan calls for an additional 300 miles of bikeways by the year 2030.
take a look at what happened to the Eugene downtown mall when they had the brilliant idea to closed the roads to vehicle traffic.

it practically killed downtown Eugene.

Years later, when they realize their mistake, they try to revitalize downtown by reopening the streets to vehicle traffic however, it was never the same. in fact, in 2006, when developers try to purchase the old Sears building, they were unable to achieve loans because it was considered "depressed urban area."

In the meantime, places like Valley River Center, florist when they close the downtown mall. Valley River offers ample parking and covered shopping.

Which is another point that these bicycles enthusiasts seem to kind of forget that this is Oregon...


another important point is that regarding purchases such as groceries and larger items, etc. even with a bike trailer, how much are you actually going to get on a bike.

One final point, I agree with the shop owners concerns. I rarely go downtown Eugene for shopping and will actually go out of my way to a shop outside of the downtown area were several reasons. #1, parking and #2, time value.

So I have no problem if you want to ride your bike to work or shopping, be my guest... for me, if I can't park within a couple blocks of the shop at the very least, I'll go somewhere else.

Oh yes, did I mention mail-order?


Blogger Bobkatt said...

Robin, I have lived in Eugene for almost 60 years so I have seen a lot of changes in the downtown area. To my best memory the closing off of traffic downtown was because the major stores left downtown for Valley River Center. First it was J.C. Penney then Wards, then Sears, and finally The Bon Marche. This was not a local trend but a national phenomenon. This basically took out the draw for a majority of the people leaving only niche specialty stores that no longer had the traffic to support them. Cities throughout the country were trying to come up with a solution to this and pedestrian malls seemed to make sense.

While parking is one of the major problems downtown the other is safety concerns. Roving bands of rowdy teenagers and pan handlers are not a very attractive situation for most shoppers.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

I have lived in Eugene since 1963, and I remember when they decided to close the downtown mall off to the vehicle traffic in order to create a pedestrian and bike focused shopping center.

I also remember thinking that it was a bad idea.

as it turned out I was correct and businesses started the massive exodus to the Valley River Center.

as for safety, that is one aspect that I forgot to mention.

You are definitely more vulnerable on a bicycle then you are in the car.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Bobkatt said...

By safety I was referring to the transients and teenage gangs that flock to the downtown mall because there is little they can do because it is public property. That is one attraction of the malls is that they can operate under different rules.

2:59 PM  
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