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Walking advocacy event will focus on growing local movement

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 8th, 2010 at 12:42 pm

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(Photo © J. Maus)

The Willamette Pedestrian Coalition (WPC) will host a presentation and discussion tomorrow night to spur attention on walking issues, or what they call "Feet as traffic." At the event, the WPC will discuss why advocating for walking is important, how this movement is growing, potential synergies with bike advocates, and what the next year has in store. WPC will also give a sneak preview of its Getting Around on Foot Action Plan.

The event comes as walking continues to garner headlines. Last week, Oregon Public Radio hosted a wide-ranging discussion about "Foot Traffic" on their Think Out Loud show. In yesterday's paper, The Oregonian reported a "dramatic increase in pedestrian deaths this year"; and just this morning, the Police Bureau responded to a major collision in North Portland where a man driving a car ran into several people, including a four year old in a stroller who sustained life-threatening injuries.

WPC Director Steph Routh says the time is right to step up walking advocacy effort both locally and nationally. As for the relationship between biking and walking, she says while the two issues have a lot in common (shared paths, funding pots, and advocates), there are "marked differences." "We need to plan for both, recognize the synergies and honor the differences in these two vital transportation networks."

Routh says their new Action Plan will help prioritize improvements to the region's walking environment and it comes after a year and a half of citizen surveys, meeting with regional transportation agencies, and observational fieldwork. Routh calls the plan a "foundational document for the organizations' future advocacy work."

Portland's transportation advocacy ecosystem has existed for far too long without a coordinated and high-profile walking advocacy group. The WPC is poised to take on that role. Join them on tomorrow night to get in on the ground floor.

    “On Walking: Growing a Local and National Movement”
    Tuesday, November 9, 2010
    Full Life Cafe (3301 NE Sandy Blvd)
    7:30-9:00 p.m.

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  • matt picio November 8, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Nice pun in the title, Jonathan.

    We're all pedestrians at some point. Even as cyclists, sometimes we need to lock up across the street from our destination due to a lack of bike parking, or cross roads because we have 3 or 4 close destinations and don't want to bother with locking and unlocking the bike. These are issues that affect all of us, regardless of our chosen mode.

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  • mello yello November 8, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Add one more to the death list as of 5:30 pm today near my cousin's house in Newberg. I'm familiar with this crossing since it's one of two that lead from her house. http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2010/11/pedestrian_struck_killed_crossing_ore_219_in_newberg.html

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  • wowie zowie November 9, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    i believe ut would be thoughtful of this group, and others like it, to include another population that is frequently marginalized from such discussions: disabled or wheelchair-bound individuals. wheelchairs are not exactly "feet traffic" and do experience safety issues not always relevant to walking pedestrians. visibility, curbs, cracks in the cement, and the inability to back up or change direction immediately are all issues for people in wheelchairs. remember, a person in a wheelchair cannot simply step over a curb or wave their arms at a pedestrian. some disabled people even have trouble hearing cars. i think it is only fair to include the disabled population of portland when we advocate for the safety of pedestrians. bikes and cars are not the only "wheels" out there, and not all pedestrians are on foot.

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  • jim November 10, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Wowie is right about wheelchairs. They are shorter than most pedestrians which makes them harder to see sometimes at crosswalks. It helps if the first car stopping (on a 4 lane rd: IE MLK) stops some distance back from the walk, this gives cars in the next lane a lot better look at who's coming across...
    I have noticed at the intersection next to fred meyer where the fatal crash just happened that there are a lot of handicap people crossing there that do need extra time to get across the street. Perhaps there could be some improvements made at that intersection? engineering changes? lighting changes? Move the crossings? move the max stops? curb extensions? yellow strobes? it is frustrating to see such chaos at that corner, I think there will be more accidents there in the future. I don't know what that drivers problem is, I hope he never drives again.

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