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Oregon Active Transportation Summit

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.

NYC and DC advocates top the agenda at Oregon Active Transportation Summit

Thursday, February 19th, 2015
National Bike Summit - Day three-3
Paul Steely White at the
2009 National Bike Summit.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

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.

Lessons for Portland transportation from the Beijing subway

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

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.


As a low-car generation rises, youth organizers step up transportation activism

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
Kelly Hansen of the Community Cycling Center, Nicole Johnson of OPAL, Camille Bales of Grant High School and Adriana Rangel of De La Salle High School at a panel on youth transportation advocacy Monday.
(Photo by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

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.

Are parking permits a solution to neighborhood parking wars?

Monday, April 21st, 2014
Auto parking on Southeast Division Street.
(Photo by M.Andersen)

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.


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…


Oregon Active Transportation Summit will bring two days of bikey braininess to Portland

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
Oregon Active Transportation Summit-6
OATS in 2011.
(Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland)

The state’s biggest conference about biking and walking policy is next month, and unlike in past years, it’ll take place in Portland.

An annual project of the Portland-based Bicycle Transportation Alliance, the Oregon Active Transportation Summit is a professional networking and education event that gathers wisdom from the country’s best state for biking.

This year’s event will include breakout panels and keynotes at the downtown Governor Hotel on Monday, April 21, followed by a day of mobile workshops and bike tours on Tuesday. Tuesday will also offer a new feature of OATS: full-day trainings in urban bikeway design and urban street design from NACTO.


Active Transportation Summit kicks off in Salem today

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
Oregon Active Transpo Summit
PBOT Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller speaking
at the summit this morning.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Active Transportation Summit is going on right now at the Salem Convention Center. 350 attendees will spend today and tomorrow learning, networking, and getting inspired to make cities throughout Oregon a better place to walk and bike.

The Summit brings together a powerful mix of activists, planners, scores of staffers from PBOT and ODOT, elected officials, and others. So far they’ve heard excellent keynote speeches and attended breakout sessions. There are three breakout sessions today and they cover a wide range of topics from the economic benefits of bicycle tourism to the nuts and bolts of ODOT funding. Here are some highlights of the agenda: (more…)

Mark Gorton to keynote Oregon Active Transportation Conference

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
Mark Gorton-1
Mark Gorton.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Mark Gorton, the founder of OpenPlans and the influential advocacy media empire Streetsblog, will deliver the keynote speech at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit next month.

The Summit takes place in Salem on April 24-25th and the agenda feature a host of speakers, breakout sessions, and a lobbying day at the state capitol.

Gorton (Wikipedia) is an engaging figure in the livable streets movement. An entrepreneur known for his creation of Limewire, a peer-to-peer file-sharing platform, he has devoted considerable resources to transportation and urban design issues for many years. He has been a major supporter of New York City-based non-profit Transportation Alternatives and his New York City Streets Renaissance initiative led to the creation of Streetsblog and Streetfilms. In 2009, the Utne Reader named him “One of 50 visionaries changing your world.”

At the Pro Walk/Pro Bike Conference in Long Beach, California last year, Gorton got a standing ovation from the assembled crowd of advocates and bureaucrats. Gorton’s latest project, Rethinking the Automobile, is aimed at raising awareness of, “the negative impact of the automobile on our world.”

“Through public events and media campaigns,” states the project’s website, “Rethinking the Automobile reveals how policies that prioritize the automobile destroy public space in our cities and towns and have created a dangerous and unsustainable world.”

I interviewed Gorton back in November while in New York City. To put it mildly, he has strong opinions about the continued dominance of auto-centric city planning and policies. “The fact is, people are dying, people’s lives are being shortened,” he said, “Why aren’t people impatient? Why aren’t they holding people accountable? Now it’s time for planners and officials to start owning the health and safety of citizens. It’s about not letting these people get away with it anymore.”

That sentiment should make for interesting conversations among transportation advocates the Summit and in the offices of Oregon state legislators who just pushed through a massive freeway expansion project (the Columbia River Crossing) that was expressly designed to make automobile use more appealing.

You can register online for the Oregon Active Transportation Summit. See you there!

Getting to know Washington County’s new bikeway design ‘Toolkit’

Friday, April 20th, 2012
Susan Peithman, Bicycle Transportation Alliance
Susan Peithman with the
Bicycle Transportation Alliance
was one of the presenters.
(Photos and story by Will Vanlue)

The most interesting (in my opinion) and well-attended session I sat in on at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit focused on the work being done just over the hill from Portland in Washington County.

The session covered a few topics including an overview of two recent road projects and a change in the county’s policy on mid-block crossings (a key policy given the presence of many multi-use paths and suburban/rural arterials).

It also dove into Washington County’s highly anticipated Bicycle Facility Design Toolkit, an official document to help planners and engineers select the appropriate facility for bicycle traffic. (more…)

At Summit, PBOT Director announces new 10% bike mode split goal

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
Oregon Active Transportation Summit-32-2
Director of PBOT, Tom Miller, at the
Oregon Active Transportation Summit.

During a speech at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit in Salem yesterday, PBOT Director Tom Miller got advocates up to speed on the funding crisis at the agency and organizational changes they’ve made that could reap benefits for bicycling. In addition, Miller made the unexpected announcement that PBOT will soon roll out a formal 10% bike mode split goal, a step in accountability he says is unprecedented.

Miller said PBOT is being forced to adapt and change due to a “crisis in transportation” that revolves around funding. He said Portland has a 21st century transportation vision they are trying to carry out with a 20th century funding model. (more…)

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