Portland mayor Sam Adams recently claimed that, for all the value that Portland’s bike infrastructure had brought to Portland, the entire cost of building all of this bicycle infrastructure in Portland was equivalent to the cost of a single mile of highway.
Portland’s biking infrastructure is the stuff of legends. For the people who support it, we’re Biketown U.S.A. — the city that boasts (at least among medium and large cities) the highest bike commuter rate. For those who are less into that title, our investments in cycling paths and signs are monetary drains on the city budget.You’d think, then, given the strong feelings, that Portland has made significant investments to get a significant infrastructure.But something Mayor Sam Adams said recently caught our attention. In a video on Streetfilms.org, Adams touts our biking culture while adding that we built our bike network for about the same amount of cash that a mile of highway would set us back.“You know in 1993 we weren’t the bicycling capital of America,” he says. “Seventeen years later, for the equivalent cost of a single mile of freeway, we have a bike infrastructure.”Could that be true? We checked it out.