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Joint Oregon Transportation Legislative Committee Meeting - Medford

by Gary Shaff on Aug, 23 2016

You’d think from the news release setting the schedule for the Committee’s meeting that the Legislature’s focus is only on “Oregon’s highways, bridges, ports, and rail connections need repair and modernization,” Committee co-chair Rep. Caddy McKeown (D –Coos Bay). But the Committee needs to hear from people who walk and ride bicycles. They need to know that the hodgepodge of disconnected and afterthought design that makes up the so-called Oregon bicycle and pedestrian system is dysfunctional. As motorists we wouldn’t tolerate a system of streets and roads that start and stop, rely upon circuitous routing, or don’t serve major destinations. Pedestrians and people who ride bikes should be no less outraged.

NOW is time for the State of Oregon to design, fund, and construct an interconnected and continuous bike and pedestrian system serving urban and metropolitan areas! The benefits, to such a strategy “…will keep our economy moving and build a brighter future for Oregon” (Rep. McKeown). Additionally, it will help reduce traffic congestion, move the State closer to its carbon reduction goals, improve public health, and make every corner of Oregon a little nicer to live, work and play. Can you imagine how many out-of-state cyclists would vacation in the State if the transportation system fully supported multiple modes? The benefits to the State tourist economy would be enormous – it would be like having two Pacific Coast lines.

Please share your thoughts with the Joint Transportation Legislative Committee when they meet on:

August 31, 5 p.m.
Jackson County Library
Medford Branch
205 S. Central Avenue, Medford

You can also email them with your comments at


  • Gary Shaff

    8/30/2016 at 9:50PM

    This is what I hope to say at the meeting:

  • Gary Shaff

    9/1/2016 at 10:20AM

    I attended the meeting and testified. Several people there suggested that bike lanes were seldom used. As a follow-up and response to that view I sent the following email.

    Dear Joint Interim Committee on Transportation,

    Some people at the Medford meeting suggested that bike lanes were seldom used. While on some routes that might be true, others are heavily used.

    Fact is, the bicycle network in Southern Oregon is a not a system but a patchwork of isolated segments; some as short as 75 feet in length. A corollary would be to imagine I5 if there weren’t a local street system of collectors and arterials to feed traffic on to it. Transportation systems only work when there is a complete network.

    The bike system is not a “system.” It is impossible to ride a bike almost anywhere in Southern Oregon for more than a mile or two without having the bike lane start and stop innumerable times (if it starts at all). That is not a system.

    The legislature should require that future pavement management projects in urban and metropolitan areas include the addition of bike facilities and sidewalks where they are missing. That is the only way that complete systems for bicycles and pedestrians will be completed within our lifetimes.

    In Portland, where the bicycle network is largely complete, people riding bikes account for six percent of all work trips. That compares to less than one percent in Medford where the bicycle network is a patchwork of isolated segments. That low bike modal share exists despite the almost flat terrain and the region’s low rainfall.

    Please address this shortcoming of the transportation system.

    Gary Shaff,

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