Obama Gets Out the Bike Vote in Portland, Helps Elect First Cyclist Mayor

Tongues were a-wagging this week in Portland over speculation that Barack Obama's primary appearance, whose 75,000-strong crowd drew over 8,000 cyclists, was also meant to serve as a tacit endorsement of mayoral candidate -- and erstwhile city commissioner -- Sam Adams. OK, maybe not -- but, in either case, strong biker turnout helped Adams, an avid cyclist and public transit champion, romp to victory on Tuesday, helping him defeat opponent Sho Dozono by a substantial 52-34 margin.

Key to his strong victory was a focus on encouraging sustainable business practices and on building up the city's (already) excellent Streetcar system to spur "urban renewal."Some Portlanders believe Obama's strong statements in favor of public transportation, which he discussed at length during his primary speech on Sunday (as picked up by BikePortland's editor, Jonathan Maus), were a thinly veiled indication of support for Adams:

If we are going to solve our energy problems we've got to think long term. It's time for us to be serious about investing in alternative energy. It's time for us to get serious about raising fuel efficiency standards on cars. It's time that the entire country learn from what's happening right here in Portland with mass transit and bicycle lanes and funding alternative means of transportation.

That's the kind of solution that we need for America. That's the kind of truth-telling that we are going to do in this campaign and when I am President of the United States of America.

As Andrew noted a few months ago, Obama has made public transportation a central component of his energy policy -- and explicitly highlighted the need for more bicycling lanes:

As president, Barack Obama will re-evaluate the transportation funding process to ensure that smart growth considerations are taken into account. Obama will build upon his efforts in the Senate to ensure that more Metropolitan Planning Organizations create policies to incentivize greater bicycle and pedestrian usage of roads and sidewalks, and he will also re-commit federal resources to public mass transportation projects across the country. Building more livable and sustainable communities will not only reduce the amount of time individuals spent commuting, but will also have significant benefits to air quality, public health and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Though certainly encouraging, we'll have to wait and see if a future President Obama would follow through on his campaign pledge to encouraging the widespread adoption of bicycling and public transit.

Via ::Streetsblog Los Angeles: Portland Elects Cyclist Mayor; Obama Draws 8K Supporters on Bikes (blog), ::BikePortland: Obama in Portland: Props to our "bicycle lanes" and bikes as far as the eye can see (blog)

See also: ::Obama Gets A Boost From the Crucial Bicycle Swing Vote, ::Portland Becomes First Major U.S. City to Win Top Prize for Bicycle Friendliness

Tags: Barack Obama | Bikes | Oregon | Portland

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