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Bicycle Transportation Alliance

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BTA logo
The BTA's current logo, introduced in July 2011.

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance, or BTA, is a nonprofit interest group, based in Portland, that encourages the use of bicycles for transportation in the state of Oregon. It was founded in 1990.


[edit] Activities

[edit] Political advocacy

The BTA promotes bike-friendly infrastructure, laws and business practices at the state, local and federal levels. This includes the annual Oregon Active Transportation Summit in Salem.

[edit] Education

The BTA hires employees and contractors to carry out services paid for by the federal Safe Routes to Schools program.

It also leads regular commute workshops and legal clinics for local bicyclists.

[edit] Bike Commute Challenge

The Bike Commute Challenge each September, encourages low-car commuting by pitting workplaces against one another in a friendly competition to see which can get the most bicycle commuters.

[edit] Awards and fundraising

The annual Alice B. Toeclips awards gala, which recognizes the state's cycling advocates, serves as the group's main annual fundraiser.

The Providence Bridge Pedal each August is another major annual fundraising event.

[edit] Political positions

[edit] Strategic plan

In summer 2011, the BTA unveiled a strategic plan for its operation that included many detailed policy goals for achieving "world-class networks" and safety for bicycle transportation and a stronger bicycle movement around the state.

The following BTA goals focus specifically on its work in Portland. For details elsewhere in Oregon, see the documents linked above.

[edit] By 2013

[edit] By 2016

  • Bicycles used for 12 percent of work commutes in Portland.
  • Bicycles the primary mode for 8 percent of all trips in Portland.
  • Bicycles represent 20 percent of downtown Portland bridge traffic.
  • 40 percent of riders are female.
  • Bicycles are either the primary or secondary mode of transportation for 30 percent of trips under 3 miles, presumably aided by growth in bikesharing.
  • 10 consecutive Sunday Parkways events with 50,000 weekly participants.
  • 50 percent of Metro's JPACT appropriations requests are bicycle projects.
  • 10% of ODOT's budget goes to Safe Routes to School programs.
  • Legislation requires allocating 10 percent of state's highway trust fund to bicycle projects.
  • Portland's regional trail network has a corporate sponsor.
  • All new TriMet projects include a "first mile/last mile" connectivity plan.
  • A "Safe Routes to Transit" program would fund a 3-mile network around transit stops.
  • 5,000 bikes in Portland's bikesharing program, with a 1,000-bike system in Eugene and a request for bikesharing proposals issued in Salem.

[edit] By 2030

  • Bicycles used for 25 percent of work commutes in Portland. (Here the BTA document included the note "too high?")
  • Bicycles the primary mode for 25 percent of all trips in Portland.
  • Bicycles represent 75 percent of downtown Portland bridge traffic.
  • Bicycle use proportional among all demographics, including gender.
  • Bicycles either the primary or secondary mode of transportation for 60 percent of trips under 3 miles.
  • Sunday Parkways every Sunday from May to October, with 150,000 participants.
  • The Portland area considered a national hub for "bicycle manufacturers, hard and soft good industries, bike shops and independent frame builders," with "one major bicycle manufacturer on the scale of Electra or Marin" in the tri-county Metro area.
  • Almost every political race in Oregon includes at least one candidate with a "strong bicycle platform."
  • 50 percent of federal transportation spending in Oregon is available for bicycle or non-highway projects, with 20 percent going to bicycle facilities and programs.
  • $600 million spent on projects in the 2010 Portland Bicycle Plan, $180 million from local sources.
  • 80 percent of Portland residents live within 1/2 mile of a neighborhood greenway.
  • Neighborhood speed limits have been reduced from 25 mph to 20 mph.
  • Since 2011, crashes at intersections have fallen by 50 percent statewide.
  • High capacity bike parking at every TriMet high-capacity transit station.
  • Bikesharing in Washington County and Clackamas County, including suburban downtowns, transit centers and large employers, for a total of 10,000 shared bikes across the region.

[edit] Support for bikesharing

Led by Rob Sadowsky and Gerik Kransky, the BTA has been a major proponent of a bikesharing plan developed by the Portland Bureau of Transportation. In summer 2011, the group gathered more than 1,000 signatures in support of local bikesharing. In August, bikesharing won the approval of Portland City Council as a candidate for Metro Regional Flexible Funds.

Groups that typically ally with the BTA, including the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition and Upstream Public Health, raised objections to allocating the Regional Flexible Funds for bikesharing, because candidate projects were required to serve "underserved communities" and they did not see evidence that bikesharing would serve these communities as effectively as other candidate projects such as the Southwest Barbur Concept Plan.

[edit] Debate over statewide focus

Longtime BTA board member and Legislative Committee chair Doug Parrow of Keizer, Ore., resigned in December 2010 after 13 years, telling that Salem-area bicycle advocates felt "cut loose" by the BTA.

"I asked myself, why am I burning energy and time participating in discussions of bicycling in Portland?" Parrow said.

In an interview for the same story, BTA Executive Director Rob Sadowsky replied: "We really don't have the resources to be everywhere, so we get weak by trying to be strong everywhere. ... We are perceived outside of Portland as being too Portland-centric, but inside Portland, we're seen as being not Portland enough."

[edit] Leadership

[edit] Staff

Rob Sadowsky became the BTA's executive director in 2010. Previous executive directors included Karen Frost, its first; Catherine Ciarlo; Evan Manvel; and Scott Bricker.

As of August 2011, the organization has 16 employees.

[edit] Board

As of December 2010, the BTA's board includes:

[edit] Membership

[edit] How to join

Anyone can join the BTA online for the following fees:

  • $40 per individual
  • $60 per household
  • $100 for the "friend" level
  • $200 for the "advocate" level
  • $300 for the "Bud Clark society" level
  • $25 for students and those with limited incomes

[edit] Membership trends

BTA membership has grown steadily:

  • 800 in 1998
  • 1,550 in 1999
  • 1,993 in 2000
  • 2,447 in 2001
  • 4,443 in 2006
  • 4,829 in 2007

[edit] Budget

[edit] Total expenditures

According to IRS filings on, The BTA's annual budget was:

  • $1,066,799 in calendar year 2007
  • $1,469,086 in calendar year 2008
  • $1,327,487 in calendar year 2009

In 2010, the BTA changed its accounting period so that its fiscal year began on Sept. 1. From Jan. 1 through Aug. 31, 2010, expenditures were $705,704, about 20 percent lower than two-thirds of the previous year's budget.

[edit] Budget trends

BTA private funding
Private sources of BTA revenue, 2001-2009. (Financial data were absent from the BTA's 2007 annual report.)

Even as government grants and contracts have become a large share of the BTA's budget -- 33 percent of its total income in 2009 -- data from the group's annual reports show that its private revenue has also grown steadily, unimpeded by a series of staff changes that included three new executive directors in six years.

[edit] History

The BTA was founded in 1990 by a group that included Rex Burkholder.

In 2011, Burkholder recalled that Bike Gallery owner Jay Graves was the first "real person" to contribute to the group. "I believe he sent $300 and promised monthly," Burkholder wrote. "Flummoxed us."

[edit] Possible partnership with Portland Afoot

BTA communications director Margaux Mennesson and Portland Afoot publisher Michael Andersen have discussed a possible partnership to gather information for Portland Afoot's annual ranking of the Portland area's best workplaces for low-car commuters. No money has changed hands.

[edit] External links

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