A Little Financial Food for Thought

By Josh Cohen September 15, 2010

A bike box being installed in Portland. Image from

Diane Dulken recently wrote a review on the Huffington Post of famed Portland bike planner Mia Birk's new book Joyride. In the last third of the review, Dulken casually drops an impressive factoid, "Portland built its entire 300-mile network of bike ways for the cost of a single mile of urban freeway."

This isn't exactly new (Jeff Mapes discussed it in Pedaling Revolution and it's been discussed on plenty of other blogs), but it clearly resonated with folks when they read it in the HuffPo piece since it's been re-tweeted and reposted almost endlessly since going up early this month.

Portland's got one of the finest bicycle infrastructure networks in the country. It's certainly not without flaw, but they're laying down excellent bike facilities like bike boxes, cycle tracks, buffered lanes, and bike boulevards that cater to commuters, families, and recreational riders alike.

Obviously Seattle is cash strapped right now (to say the least), but as city council moves towards finalizing the city budget and the battle over the $4.2 billion deep bore tunnel continues on, it's worth looking to Portland as a reminder of how far dollars can stretch when they're invested in bicycle infrastructure.
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