(Photos: J.Maus and M.Andersen/BikePortland)
Traffic diverters: back by popular demand.
Traffic diverters: back by popular demand.
Some biking advocates are planning to wear green to Wednesday’s Portland City Council meeting to welcome the arrival of a long-awaited city study of Portland’s neighborhood greenways.
The study, first reported on BikePortland in November, has since evolved to include a new set of recommended guidelines for what makes a comfortable greenway. The guidelines would, in some ways, enshrine modern neighborhood greenways into city practices for the first time.
Over the last year, many Portlanders have warned that some neighborhood greenways — the theoretically low-traffic, low-stress side streets that form the backbone of the bike network in most of inner east Portland and a major component of its city’s planned network — are uncomfortable and unwelcoming to bike on because of high car traffic and speeds.
A new group called Livable Streets Action is taking the tactics that have won a string of victories for local biking this spring and summer and applying them to other modes, too.
Organizer Dan Kaufman, a videographer and longtime local social justice advocate who has helped organize demonstrations for transportation activism group BikeLoudPDX and the bike-based but non-transportation-focused group Bike Swarm, referred to Livable Streets Action as a “subgroup” of those other groups.
Livable Streets Action’s first event is tomorrow, a Friday afternoon commemoration for Marlene Popps, a woman who was hit by a car and left for dead on the evening of July 4 at the corner of SE 60th and Holgate. She died of her injuries July 21.
Portland’s ongoing struggle to tame motorized traffic on neighborhood streets will get a serious test tonight.
(Jonathan Maus contributed reporting to this story.)
After more than a year of focused activism that included guerrilla installations, a month-long celebration and numerous rush-hour rides, one of Portland’s highest-traffic neighborhood greenways has been chosen as the site of a traffic calming pilot project.
As long as roadway fatalities and injuries keep piling up, local activists plan to keep protesting.
Fresh of last week’s rally and demonstrations at City Hall, volunteers with BikeLoudPDX will continue their actions with a Death Toll Memorial event tomorrow at the headquarters of the Oregon Department of Transportation in downtown Portland.
“Several of us feel the need to publicly acknowledge that 30 people lost their lives in June on Oregon roads in preventable wrecks,” wrote event organizer Dan Kaufman. Kaufman, the same man who organized the protest on SE Powell Blvd back in May, is fed up with the loss of life and injury on our roads.
An unprecedented day of protests yesterday have yielded their first results.
BikeLoudPDX, Portland’s upstart bike advocacy group that has made lots of headlines in the past few months, started the day with a big rally in front of City Hall followed by several of the group’s leaders giving impassioned testimony in front of City Council. After that, they helped organize several rides and then held another rally on City Hall’s steps last night.
BikeLoud leaders and the people they have inspired to show up to these events share a similar feeling: frustration and anger that city leaders sit idly by while Portlanders risk their lives on unsafe streets. “It’s bullshit!” and “It’s unacceptable!” were just two of the phrases chanted at last night’s rally.
And now it appears those voices are having an impact on City Hall.
Last night City Commissioner Steve Novick, the man in charge of the Bureau of Transportation, penned a lengthy blog post in direct response to the protests. He titled it, “Working together to build safer streets.” (He also shared thoughts about biking and the Climate Action Plan in a separate post.) (more…)
If the 75 or so Portlanders who came to City Hall this morning to kick off a full day of protests could be said to be speaking for any single person, it might as well have been one of the people there: Brittany Gratreak.
On April 8, the 22-year-old Portland State University student was riding her bike to school in Northeast Broadway’s bike lane when a man driving to work accelerated across Broadway from the south, seizing a gap in auto traffic but not considering the fact that he might run into something more fragile than metal. He did.
Gratreak was hit at a 90-degree angle, thrown from her bicycle and knocked unconscious. Once she woke up and received insurance information from the man who’d hit her, she decided to save money by calling a friend, rather than an ambulance, for a ride to the hospital.
She didn’t know at the time that by not paying for an ambulance ride, she was avoiding Portland’s little-known trigger for a police investigation. Two months later, Gratreak remains in physical therapy.
Saying Portland already knows how to increase safety on its streets and can get to work immediately without further study, the advocacy group BikeLoudPDX is organizing what looks like Portland City Hall’s first rally in five years on behalf of bicycling improvements.
“It doesn’t take money, it just takes political will. And the rally is to give them the political will to do it now.”
— Ted Buehler, BikeLoudPDX
So far, more than 100 people say they’re planning to attend the Wednesday morning event.
“There’s a real danger that Vision Zero can just be prolonged indefinitely if they keep on studying it,” BikeLoud organizer Ted Buehler said Friday. “But really, they have the tools in their toolbox to do it now. And it doesn’t take money, it just takes political will. And the rally is to give them the political will to do it now.”
One of the neighborhood groups that has been a focus of opposition to denser development in Southeast Portland has three new leaders.
But the board chair thrown out in Monday’s election is calling foul play, saying that many Richmond residents showed up and voted against him without getting to know him. (more…)