This annual event (originally started in 2006 as the Oregon Bicycle Tourism Summit) brings together policymakers, advocates and citizen activists to learn, network, and actively lobby the state legislature to improve bicycling, walking and public transit.
The side-street bikeways are known in Portland as neighborhood greenways to capture their appeal as places to walk, jog, shoot hoops and so on. But the City of Portland’s project shows that six — inner SE Clinton, SE Lincoln near 53rd, NE Tillamook near Grant High School, SE 86th near Powell, inner Northwest Johnson and upper NW 24th — clearly fail national standards for auto counts on bike boulevards.
Talking about “livable streets” is out; talking about “safe streets” is in.
That’s the advice from Paul Steely White, executive director of the country’s largest local transportation advocacy group. The executive director of New York City-based Transportation Alternatives since 2004, White was a major force behind the city’s emergence as a national leader in reimagining streets as pleasant public spaces.
But as he heads to Portland for a keynote address Monday to the Oregon Active Transportation Summit, White is urging his fellow believers in livable streets to readjust their message when talking to politicians and the public. We spoke by phone on Thursday about why and how his organization has put Vision Zero, the campaign to completely eliminate road deaths, at the middle of their message.
Are you on a national Vision Zero tour, or is this a one-off thing?
In 25 years, half the U.S. workforce will be of Latino, black or Asian descent — so if you ever plan on having a nurse, you’d better start caring about social equity.
That’s the way Melissa Wells, a program associate at D.C.-based equity nonprofit PolicyLink and co-leader of the national Transportation Equity Caucus, explains every American’s stake in racial justice.
Wells, who’s headed to Portland for a keynote address Monday to the Oregon Active Transportation Summit, spoke with me by phone on Thursday about the dilemma of improving neighborhoods without raising rents and whether a new president is likely to roll back federal transportation policy changes.
Oregon’s biggest legislative session for bike-related issues in years will come to its first peak on Monday, but many biking advocates have a prior engagement.
Awkwardly, five separate bills that could make big differences for biking will get hearings in Salem on the same day that dozens of Oregon biking leaders and professionals are scheduled to gather in Portland for the annual Oregon Active Transportation Summit.
The bills to be tackled include HB 3255, which would ban nighttime bike use for people not wearing reflective clothing; SB 533 A, which would permit someone on a bike or motorcycle to proceed through an unresponsive red light after a full cycle; HB 2621, which would let Portland issue speeding tickets on its high-crash corridors using unmanned photo radar; HB 3035, which allows school-zone warning lights to flash all day, rather than just at the start and end, for schools whose campuses straddle 45 mph+ streets; and SJR 16, which would refer a bill to the voters in 2016 that would allow car-related taxes and fees to be spent on off-road transportation projects.
Paul Steely White, executive director of New York City’s Transportation Alternatives, is known in the biking advocacy world as a charmer who has been right in the middle of his city’s 15-year turnaround to become of the country’s leading cities for transportation innovation.
Melissa Wells is an up-and-coming transportation advocate for PolicyLink, a broad-based research institute that studies economic and social equity.
Next month, the pair will be in Portland keynoting the Oregon Active Transportation Summit. Organized by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, the summit is the largest gathering of biking, walking, and transit advocates in the state.
Also on the three-day agenda: mobile workshops of Portland infrastructure and advocacy, a raft of breakout sessions with Oregon’s wealth of biking and walking pros and a pair of networking receptions, including an after-hours round of Pecha Kucha slideshows that I’ve been looking forward to for the last year.
How easy is Portland’s transportation system to use, really?
It’s hard to imagine it getting a good review from anybody who’s tried to ride a bicycle to or from its biggest suburb, for example.
Few Portlanders rely more on low-car transportation than teens. And as many factors have made car use by young people dramatically less common, some are getting more sophisticated in advocating for better public transit, biking and walking.
A panel on the subject at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit Monday was enough to make city staffer Janis McDonald call herself “embarrassed” on the city’s behalf that it isn’t doing more to tap youth advocates’ opinions and expertise.
As the city’s transportation director says Portland should stop giving away so much of its on-street parking space for free, a local parking expert is floating one way to do it.
From the embattled 20s Bikeway to Foster’s broken bike lanes to the chronic shortage of rental housing in low-car-friendly parts of town, residents’ annoyance over the lack of on-street auto parking in central Portland is making it harder for the city to become bike-friendlier. At the Oregon Active Transportation Summit Monday, parking consultant Rick Williams said a paid parking permit program could be the solution — but there are a couple catches.
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…