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Comment of the Week: One more Portland bike user for better pavement

Friday, August 21st, 2015
Neighborhood greenway conditions-1
North Michigan Avenue: tighten your bolts.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

This time last year, it looked as if Portland’s city council was about to grit its teeth and start addressing two problems that Mayor Charlie Hales rode into office pledging to fix: the twin facts that our roads are both consistently unsafe and disintegrating beneath us.

Now, as Portland’s leaders get ready to file back in from vacation, all available signs point to both of those cans being kicked further down the road.

Meanwhile, as BikePortland reader Alex wrote in a comment on Tuesday, bike trips through this town keep getting bumpier.

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Turnover of top traffic engineers will shake up city and county

Thursday, March 12th, 2015
Cycletrack on SW Broadway-2
Rob Burchfield, who spent 16 years as Portland’s city traffic engineer, is moving to the private sector.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Two people whose judgment calls have shaped Portland’s streets for years — in one case, for decades — are stepping into jobs elsewhere.

Rob Burchfield, Portland’s top traffic engineer since 1999 and a nationally respected innovator on bike-friendly street designs, will leave the city on Friday after almost 30 years. He’s becoming the regional engineering director for Toole Design Group, a national engineering and design firm that specializes in biking and walking projects.

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City’s new 2-year transportation ‘workplan’ steps up to Vision Zero

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
pbot-planVZdetail
This is PBOT’s biggest Vision Zero commitment to date.
(Detail from PBOT’s Portland Progress: A 2-Year Workplan.

The City of Portland has released a new plan aimed at re-energizing their Bureau of Transportation.
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A sneak peek at PBOT’s upcoming two-year action plan

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
plan-lead
Detail from PBOT workplan summary.

Yesterday, we quoted the City of Portland’s transportation director about two of her most important policy goals for 2015. But her third goal for the year is far broader: to give the department, for the first time in years, a specific short-term to-do list.

The 170-item list, prepared with the help of consulting firm Nelson\Nygaard, aspires to cover everything the city’s 700-person transportation bureau is up to in the next two years.

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PBOT director details two major goals for 2015: Parking reform and Vision Zero

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015
Street fee press conference-2
City Transportation Director Leah Treat at a press conference in April of last year.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s transportation revenue plans may be stalled, but its top appointed transportation official is moving ahead with a two-pronged policy agenda that can be pursued without much new money — and might even help create its own.

“We have a job at PBOT to make better use of the street space that we do have, including the parking zone.”
— Leah Treat

One of Director Leah Treat’s goals for 2015, she said Tuesday, is “getting on offense on parking” by creating a “set of tools” that neighborhoods will be able to use to charge for parking or to, in some cases, remove it to make room for bike lanes or public parklets.

Another: start enacting a plan to eliminate all traffic deaths, a concept known as Vision Zero.

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PBOT, via blog comments, responds to “difficulties” of Williams project

Friday, October 24th, 2014
Williams Avenue-1
Williams and it’s brand new, left-side bike lane has been a hot issue this week.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

“I ride N Williams every day and am experiencing some difficulties myself.”
— Leah Treat, Director of PBOT

This week marked a very positive milestone for the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT): They seem to be opening up a bit about joining the comment section here on BikePortland. I think this is a great development because it shows they understand the value of direct online engagement with their customers (us) and it could be a sign that they’re gaining confidence around the bicycling issue.
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Comment of the Week: A good review for Director Treat

Friday, August 22nd, 2014
Street fee press conference-2
Transportation Director Leah Treat at a city
press conference in April.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Like her predecessor Tom Miller, Portland’s top transportation bureaucrat is part of a class of bike-friendly Generation Xers who, after working up the ladder for years, are moving into the top perches of government.

Hired last year, Director Leah Treat turned out to be the first of three such faces on the West Coast alone. Last month, Seleta Reynolds of San Francisco’s livable streets division was tapped to lead the vast Los Angeles transportation department and Scott Kubly, who like Treat was a top lieutenant to fellow Xer Gabe Klein in Washington and Chicago, was named to the same role in Seattle.

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Recap of PBOT Director Leah Treat’s first major speech

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
PBOT Director Treat
PBOT Director Leah Treat at the Sentinel Hotel today.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat hit mostly familiar notes today during her first major speech since taking over the agency last summer. Treat was hosted by the City Club of Portland and the event was included in the agenda of the annual Oregon Active Transportation Summit.

While she didn’t make any major policy commitments or launch new initiatives that might have sent the crowd of local transportation advocates and insiders abuzz, Treat gave us a glimpse of her perspective and offered clues about where she might take us during her tenure. She laid out her justification for investing in better biking and walking access and touched on big issues like Vision Zero, bike share, Safe Routes to School, getting tougher on speed enforcement, equity and investment in east Portland, the City’s efforts to pass a transportation fee, and more. (more…)

PBOT Director Leah Treat on pricing auto use, bike-only streets, and more

Thursday, April 17th, 2014
PBOT Director Leah Treat
PBOT Director Leah Treat last summer.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

Nine months into her position as the Director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, Leah Treat appears to be finally ready to spread her wings. We’ve noted here at BikePortland that for someone in charge of one of America’s marquee transportation systems, and someone who came to town with such fanfare, Treat has been relatively quiet in laying out any sort of vision for what she wants Portland streets to look like.

But now, finally, we have reason to believe that might be changing.

Next Tuesday (4/22), Treat is slated to speak at the Sentinel Hotel as part of a partnership between the City of Club of Portland and the Oregon Active Transportation Summit. With the title of her talk being, Portland Transportation: Today & Tomorrow, this event will likely be the first major policy speech of her tenure.

Given all this, we figured it was a good time to sit down for an interview to learn more about what she’s been thinking and how her leadership might impact cycling and local street culture in general. Due to sickness (mine) and scheduling, we ended up chatting on the phone yesterday and we only had limited time. Even so, we covered some good ground and you can read our conversation below… (more…)

Business, fun and diversity on the agenda at Oregon Active Transportation Summit

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
Oregon Active Transportation Summit-6
Anita Hairston, a transportation policy expert with
PolicyLink, spoke at the 2012 Summit.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Good conferences are like good cities: the most interesting things usually happen between schedules and around edges. For a transportation conference here in Portland, that probably goes double.

The two-day Oregon Active Transportation Summit, which starts one week from Monday, is filling out its schedule and the official agenda has some must-see keynotes and lots of breakout sessions that will be informative and inspirational (if past year’s are any indication). But there are two events not on the agenda that you should definitely plan to attend.

Learn more about them below the jump…

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