A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Ideas for better biking? Tell the MPO

Written April 2nd, 2021 by Hasso Hering

Taking a photo break in southwest Albany during a ride at sunset on April 1.

If you ride a bicycle in the Albany area, here’s your chance to talk about it with someone who cares. Well, not necessarily “talk” but answer questions in an online survey.

The Albany Area Metropolitan Planning Organization is working on a bicycle and pedestrian plan, and if you have any ideas about that, they want to get you involved. You can start by opening a website here and go from there.

The MPO, formed several years ago after Albany topped the 50,000 population threshold in the 2010 Census, deals with transportation issues in Albany, Millersburg, Jefferson and Tangent. The bike has taken me to all of them, though lately I’ve stayed more or less in and around Albany.

My first reaction was: Why a bike plan? We have roads and streets that someone on a bike can use to get anywhere he wants to go. The trouble is that, apparently, lots of people say they would use a bike to get around but don’t feel safe, so they don’t.

If something could be done about this, that would be a big deal. Imagine how much less we would have to spend on transportation — fuel, insurance, new vehicles every few years, and soon electric cars, not to mention parking and all that pavement — if at least a few of our daily trips could be done on two pedal-powered wheels. Or on E-bikes.

Albany has done a good job providing bike lanes on all the major streets (as the video below illustrates), and on side streets we don’t need them. Still, some trips are more easily made by car, especially if they involve shopping. Or if the weather threatens. Or if you don’t have much time and the distance is too great. Or your legs hurt.

I’m not sure what a metropolitan area bike and pedestrian plan can do. But take part in this planning effort anyway and give them your ideas. And if you do want to talk, the person in charge of this project is the MPOs’ Catherine Rohan. Her email contact is on this section of the bike plan’s online page. (hh)


4 responses to “Ideas for better biking? Tell the MPO”

  1. North Albany Guy says:

    Thanks for staying on the bike beat!

    I like the map you can place comments on, and it will be interesting to hear the results of the survey. https://www.walkbikeplan2021.com/

  2. James Engel says:

    Is this an all volunteer group (no pay) or City employees (more $$ burden on limited funds)? Sure, in my “younger” years I rode that ‘ole single speed Schwinn around a lot. But health issues & just plain old age make it not a viable idea for me. Besides, from my past experience, I’ve got an idea just how many “nut” cases there are behind those 2 – 3-ton bullets! Talk to any M/C rider about drivers in their cages.

  3. john hartman says:

    This entire bike-catering expansion effort seems like more government overreach, peering into our private life and forcing choices for what could be interpreted as interference to favor one group over another – in short, an attack by Bicyclist-anarchists who would love nothing better than to see Seniors pedaling down rain-covered streets, trying to get their necessities purchased and gotten home without being mowed down by larger, more dangerous motorcars. How will the City explain this bicycle free-for-all after a few Seniors or, worse yet, youngsters are flattened? Most of the time, the author of these jeremiads is against any sort of government reach into our lives, with this one exception – the Bicycle Agenda. I urge all citizens of Albany to log-on to this website and just say no to any more bicycles. The last thing Albany needs is what will be certain to follow Hasso’s desire to loosen restrictions on bikes — at some point, some bicyclist will feel as though his or her rights were denied and the fallout will/could be costly both in terms of lost liberty and even go as far as lost life. Vote NO on this action.

  4. centrist says:

    JH presents such a dark premise. I don’t buy it.

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