June 24, 2004: Headlines: COS - Philippines: Bicycles: Oregon Live: Todd Boulanger has lived car-free since a two-year Peace Corps stint in the Philippines 14 years ago

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Philippines: Peace Corps Philippines: The Peace Corps in the Philippines: June 24, 2004: Headlines: COS - Philippines: Bicycles: Oregon Live: Todd Boulanger has lived car-free since a two-year Peace Corps stint in the Philippines 14 years ago

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-53-195.balt.east.verizon.net - on Monday, June 28, 2004 - 10:33 am: Edit Post

Todd Boulanger has lived car-free since a two-year Peace Corps stint in the Philippines 14 years ago

Todd Boulanger has lived car-free since a two-year Peace Corps stint in the Philippines 14 years ago

Todd Boulanger has lived car-free since a two-year Peace Corps stint in the Philippines 14 years ago

Bike guru preaches car-free existence for commuters

Caption: Todd Boulanger (right) from City of Vancouver Transportation Services and Ayleen Crotty from the Community Cycling Center at the CCC White Eagle Benefit night.

Transportation planner Todd Boulanger uses Pedalpalooza as a vehicle for change

Thursday, June 24, 2004


VANCOUVER -- Like ducklings crossing the pond, a string of bicyclists follows Todd Boulanger up and over the Interstate Bridge.

Standing at the center of a busy Jantzen Beach intersection near the bridge, he appears to fulfill a reality TV stunt (though he is just forcing drivers to obey the law) as he stops traffic. His group crosses the pedestrian path, clearly marked with thick white lines. The southbound roll continues.

Soon, the caravan arrives at its destination, the Expo Center MAX Station and a trip on the Yellow Line.

Boulanger, a Vancouver transportation planner and Pied Piper of bicycle commuting, wants his group to feel it has done nothing more daring than cross the street. Bicycle commuting should be a transportation choice, not an adventure, Boulanger says. Gloves, sweat and Lycra aren't essential components. Helmets and reflectors are.

As Vancouver events organizer for the regionwide Pedalpalooza, Boulanger has used the two-week Portland-Vancouver bicycling event, which ends Saturday, as a platform for preaching the virtues of bicycling. He wants more residents to know how simple it is to reach the MAX station by bike. Or reach their neighborhood grocery store. Or their workplace.

In short, he's out to change the world.

If everyone rode a bike one trip a week, we could easily solve a lot of problems," Boulanger said, with a hint of evangelical fervor. "Your bicycling trip doesn't have to be a commuting trip."

The 39-year-old Boulanger (Boo-lohn-zhay) is single and lives in the Shumway neighborhood north of downtown. He has not owned a car for about 14 years.

 Todd Boulanger

Todd Boulanger has lived car-free since a two-year Peace Corps stint in the Philippines. He doesn't commute exclusively by bicycle, however, weaving together other ways of getting around, such as bus, a membership auto-rental program called Flexcar and the old standby, walking.

He is especially well versed, however, in bicycle commuting. He owns seven commuting bikes, all but one of them upright-handlebar, utilitarian rides. The exception is a 21-speed mountain bike, won at an auction. He's selling it.

Boulanger figures he saves at least $4,000 a year by riding a bike, walking, using a bus, and renting a Toyota Prius through Flexcar.

He understands the convenience of parking a car in front of the house, ready for use at all times.

But bike commuting still has more advantages, he believes.

"When it's beautiful outside, it makes life more enjoyable," he said. "When I have the time to bike, it allows me to keep the inner child. You can see and smell things that you wouldn't if you were closed off from the world . . . stuck in traffic."

Boulanger is an advocate for all nonmotorized transportation modes. As a senior transportation planner for Vancouver, he helps with designing, planning and policy for the city's neighborhood traffic management.

That often means he is speaking up, along with other cycling advocates in his department, on behalf of nonmotorized transportation.

He even defended skateboards and in-line skates when the City Council discussed an ordinance four years ago limiting their use. Boards and blades are transportation modes, too, he said then.

"More bikes and walkers mean better neighborhood livability," he said this week.

Boulanger said the city does not have reliable statistics about the number of bicycling commuters. About 52,000 Clark County residents work in Oregon, according to 2003 figures. Officials rely on anecdotal evidence, such as the 41 cyclists who stopped last week at the evening Mocktails Off the I-5 Bridge or the 55 cyclists at Breakfast Off the 205 Bridge -- events that were part of Pedalpalooza's effort to raise cycling awareness.

With a little more publicity, maybe even more bicyclists would use the Interstate Bridge-to-MAX route, Boulanger says.

"People go between those two points every day, but nothing is told to them about anything other than driving," he said.

Last week, Boulanger, with Terri Elioff, another transportation employee, led the city's first R U Bridge Curious ride from Esther Short Park to the Expo Center MAX Station. Then the group rode to Portland for a short bike ride, a return on MAX, and then a ride back to Vancouver.

The one-way bike ride took about 20 minutes but can be done in as few as 10. Tack on another 30 minutes for the light-rail ride to Pioneer Courthouse Square, a few minutes here and there of standing around, and that's a nearly one-hour commute.

By car, it's a 20-minute jaunt.

Sure, but there are other factors to consider besides time, Boulanger contends. What if there's a traffic jam? What about the search for parking? The cost of parking? Cost of gas? Various and sundry hassles of driving?

Elioff, a North Portland resident, rides the route often to her job. She thinks more people would, either northbound or southbound, if they'd give just one try.

"Once you go out and try it, it's not as complicated as people think," she said.

Allan Brettman: 360-896-5746 or 503-294-5900; allanbrettman@news.oregonian.com

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Story Source: Oregon Live

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Philippines; Bicycles



By rodney rylander (sdn-ap-026tnnashp0425.dialsprint.net - on Wednesday, June 30, 2004 - 10:37 pm: Edit Post

Congrats to Todd - from Rod and Kim Rylander - co PCVs in the Philippines 88-90. WE too are car free and living in EArthaven Ecovillage outside Black Mountain NC. Check out Colin's site - www.carfreeuniverse.org

By Eden (ipn36372-e53290.net-resource.net - on Thursday, July 01, 2004 - 2:19 pm: Edit Post

I just started doing the bike commute thing here in Vermont...great for getting around town, but until public transportation beefs up some more, cars will always be an easy "fix."

By Ron Seibel (cache-mtc-aa07.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, July 01, 2004 - 10:25 pm: Edit Post

I quite car ownership in June '93 when I went into Kazakstan ONE. Returned in '98 and used public transport in Hollywood, CA; walked in small village of Sierra Madre, CA; now live on a 38 foot sailing ketch that oddly has no garage, so no car. :)
On occasion I beg rides to distant points in cities.
The best thing about the PC Experience is that it can free you from American Culture: Car worship, political correctness, race for dollar and other controlling attitudes.

By R. Unger (central-pub-240.lapl.org - on Thursday, July 08, 2004 - 8:17 pm: Edit Post

I, too, enjoy the benefits of my PCV experience of 'no car' and have been car free for the last 14 years since moving to California, and currently live in Los Angeles, where during this time I have attended and witnessed the building and openings of about 18 new metro-rail stations and the expansion of the rail. Not only does it offer transportation services often faster than a car, but it is restful and economical. Car rental is available, but I consider my life more in standard with the most of the world.

By Al Dizon (ndc1-b3-ce01-premium.cache.maxonline.com.sg - on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 10:21 am: Edit Post

Hi, I am Al Dizon, formerly of Guinobatan in Albay, Philippines. When I was in Grade 5 (that was about 1969), I had a Peace Corps Volunteer as a teacher for about three months. Her name is Deborah Gundlach. I am tracking her down to keep in touch.

Pls let her know that the town needs more volunteers than ever because of the recent mudslides that devastated the town.

By Suez ( on Saturday, September 27, 2014 - 8:10 pm: Edit Post

I, too, am hoping to keep in touch with Ms. Deborah Gundlach who was our Peace Corps teacher in Grade 6 in Guinobatan, Albay Philippines in 1969. During her stint there she lived with my aunt Remedios Lola, whose house is right across the street of the school. My name is Suez.

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