Friday, December 14, 2012
The City of Portland Oregon, Portland Bureau of Transportation, has a website for Rose City motorcyclists, scooter operators, and motorized two-wheelers, et al. There's an excellent FAQs, several parking resources, and information pertaining to TEAM OREGON. I notice, too, that there's a beta button at the top of the page, just to the right of the City of Portland logo. I only have a rudimentary understanding of what, "beta", means in this context, but I feel safe assuming that this is then a fairly new product from the Portland Bureau of Transportation's web-based entity.
My apologies, it appears the entire City website is in beta. I should have noticed the .gov address. portlandonline.com has been the City site for a while now. Disregard then, my blather about beta implications. Hehe.
I took the opportunity to fill out their feedback form, the destination of the aforementioned beta button. I only mention it due to the fact that I was pleasantly surprised by it's comprehensive, sincere nature. The authors of the form asked great questions about the site, and its content. In addition, the non-multiple-choice questions where I was prompted to provide opinion were just spot-on. Moreover, it's long enough that I felt I was actually contributing something, yet brief enough that it's fairly a snap to finish. I think I maybe took five minutes, or so.
Technically speaking the site is immaculate. No news there, I assume there are top professionals administering products of this nature. It's a tabbed, two column affair that I personally appreciate. I did notice that the site is quite lean on content. Again, I truly wish to avoid implying any technical web expertise, but it did seem obvious that there is perhaps more content to come; the entire product screams skeletal, which is not to overstate its lack of content. Also, as it is right now, there is a tiny bit of redundancy between the left-side-bar menu link items, and content provided in their FAQs. Pufhuh. I'll reserve any other criticism until I'm able to evaluate a finished product.
The last thing I noticed about the site doesn't really have anything to do with motorcycling, or even the City's new resource. As I mentioned, there is a tabbed menu at the top of the content on the page. I immediately noticed that this motorcycle resource is categorized under the, "Active Transportation", moniker bequeathed bicycle riders, and other officially designated vulnerable road users. This is tremendously exciting to me, and a real boon for motorcycle riders if I have correctly understood the implications. Part of my excitement comes from surprise. I've had dealings with many advocates from the Active Transportation mode-share, and my observation is that many of those people are not real excited about including motorcycles on the carbon-diet menu; due in large part, in my opinion, to the fact motorcycles burn gasoline.
Personally, I'd jump at the opportunity to be included in the benefits sought by a group of people like those who advocate for, shall we say, transportation responsibility? I mean to include pedestrians, bicycle riders, and other active transportation modes, but there is a subset of people driving hybrid electric/gasoline automobiles, and motorcycles let's not forget, not to mention those whom simply practice austerity, etc., with essentially the same conservation oriented principle in mind. I have observed conflict between the first group, and this subset, and have subsequently observed that the more liberal viewpoint seems to be gaining adherents.
More on the implications of including motorcycles in the Active Transportation subset, later. I, of course, have some calls to make to the City. I want to know more about their thinking on this particular issue. I'm also very curious about an advisory committee at City Hall, similar to the Bicycle Advisory Committee there now. Without knowing for sure, I'm willing to wager that there is, indeed, just such a thing.
As always, I'd love to chat with you about your own opinions of the new site, and the implications regarding having motorcycles represented as Active Transportation. One thing is for absolutely certain. The City of Portland appears to be very serious about providing an excellent resource for motorcyclists. Historically speaking I've never felt particular love from those folks, especially while navigating narrow-gauge railroad-track embedded in the road, in the rain.