Tina K. Russell

July 17, 2007

Bikes in Paris again

Filed under: environment, new york, portland, transportation, us — Tina Russell @ 10:40 pm

I wrote something about the Paris bike-share program yesterday, and how we should do it here in Portland, Oregon, from which I hail. Well, this guy in the New York Times says they should try it in New York. Come on, Portland! We can’t lose to New York. Let’s show those East Coasters what’s what.

…By that I mean hurry and adopt a program like this before they get the chance, all in the spirit of friendly competition, and the fact that our city is way better. Also, our city is way more bike-friendly, and a much better pilot city for this kind of project. So, come on! One and all! Support a Portland bike-share program because it wil help our people, it will help the economy, it will help the Earth, and because we are totally awesome.

July 16, 2007

Paris’s Bike Program would be Perfect for Portland, Says Tina

Filed under: environment, france, obesity, portland, us — Tina Russell @ 11:04 pm

Here’s an interesting piece on a new communal bike program in Paris. Basically, you pay nominal fees at bike-docking stations throughout the city to use a bike for half an hour at a time, or more for a surcharge. “A one-day pass costs 1 euro ($1.38), a weekly pass 5 euros ($6.90) and a yearly subscription 29 euros ($40),” which is a good deal.

I think this would work really well here in Portland, Oregon, which is where I hail from and the town whose borders I type these words from within. Portland has wonderful public transportation and bike lanes, and a very bike-friendly, environmental culture, but bike-riding as of yet is still limited to sort of a subset of the population, still seen as something only for “enthusiasts” and not something you’d simply ride to work. I think just about everybody is willing to try, though, and in order for that to happen, you’d need to make it cheap and easy, and economically feasible for the government to try out. This is both, and it would work in Portland not just because of our bike lanes and our culture, but because all our various bike shops would jump at the chance to work with the city government and make something like this happen.

There’s another reason this would be good, besides improving life for citizens, increasing efficiency in the workforce, and taking a meaningful stand against pollution in a world full of totally meaningless stands (if you get one of those “don’t buy gas on such-and-such a day” E-mails, delete it and remember that changes in habit are the only ones that count): obesity. Thanks in part to our wonderful farming laws that reinforce a sick economic system where our poorest are also our fattest (farm subsidies lean towards junk food, while produce is hard to buy on food stamps), Oregon is both number one in hunger and number one in obesity in the nation. Oregon may have, sadly, lost its bid to be the host of the premiere of The Simpsons Movie, but we’re still a state stuffed full of Homers. It’s not their fault, though: we simply have a culture and an economy that encourages excess and discourages moderation. A little exercise on the way to work would do a world of good for people’s health, as well as their pocketbooks and environment. It’s a win for everybody, and Portland is the perfect city for this to begin.

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