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Q&A on ‘Vision Zero’: Three fatalities put city’s new safety promise to the test

Monday, February 17th, 2014
BTA Alice Awards 2010-36
We asked Bicycle Transportation Alliance Director Rob
Sadowsky to discuss Vision Zero in more detail.
(Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland)

Yan Huang, 78, was crossing Division Street on Valentine’s Day with her 80-year-old husband, walking in an unmarked crosswalk from curb to rounded-off curb across five lanes of auto traffic. She never reached the other side; a man in a left-turning pickup didn’t see the couple and steered into them, killing Huang.

The next day, Saturday, a silver minivan, whose driver remains at large, left the scene of its fatal collision with a person on foot on Southeast Powell at 124th.

On Sunday, a man was killed in a car when the drunken driver he was riding with slammed into a utility pole at Northeast 102nd and Fremont.

Deaths like these make news, but they’re not new. About one in 50 Americans will die an automobile crash. What’s new is that Portland’s transportation director says the city can and will begin to do something systematic to change this.

Safety advocates are urging fast action. Early Monday morning Oregon Walks launched a #PDXVisionZero Twitter hashtag and a petition to urge the city to follow through on Director Leah Treat’s promise to move toward “Vision Zero,” the philosophy that there is no acceptable level of traffic fatality.

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How two leaders respond to thorny bike issues

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

“Together, let’s say, ‘I solemnly pledge to behave as considerately as possible no matter how I get around.’”
— Part of a crowd exercise led by Mia Birk in response to a fired up citizen

One of the many things that keeps my fire burning here at BikePortland is a sense that knowledge is power. I know it’s almost trite, but from where I sit, it’s something that proves itself almost every day. Bottom line is that when you know the context of an issue and you know how to respectfully convey your opinion, you can have a huge influence.

On that note, I wanted to bring to your attention two very smart people who have recently shared how they responded to two issues that have a long and storied history of thorniness in the bike world — helmet use and the ‘all-cyclists-are-scofflaws-and-we-need-to-start-enforcing-laws-against-them’ thing.
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An interview and “reflections” from BTA’s new leader

Friday, September 3rd, 2010
BTA Alice Awards 2010-36
Mr. Sadowsky is settling in.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The BTA’s new executive director Rob Sadowsky has been at the helm for about two months now. Between getting to know a new city and state (he moved here with his family from Chicago), setting the BTA’s course for the future, and trying to build an effective bike movement here in Portland, Rob’s got a lot on his shoulders.

Luckily for all of us, I believe Rob’s up to the task.

I look forward to sitting down with him next week for an in-depth chat about the BTA’s strategic visioning process and what the future holds for the organization. But for now, I thought I’d highlight a few recently published articles, one in Street Roots and the other from Rob himself, that tell us a bit more about what’s on his mind. (more…)

Guest Article: Another big idea: Make driving less convenient

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

[The following article was written by new executive director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Rob Sadowsky.]


Another big idea

“To make a significant dent in bicycling mode share in Portland…we need to take significant steps to limiting the convenience of driving a car.”

I was excited to read the various ‘Big Ideas’ submitted to BikePortland, even my favorite — the giant slide down Mt. Hood. To make a significant dent in bicycling mode share in Portland, and in the region, we need not only big bold infrastructure ideas, but we need to take significant steps to limiting the convenience of driving a car. (more…)

Alice Awards recap and slideshow

Sunday, June 6th, 2010
BTA Alice Awards 2010-33
Mayor Sam Adams addressed the crowd.
- Slideshow below/Gallery -
(Photos © J. Maus)

About 500 people turned out in their bike-chic best last night for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s 15th annual fundraising gala, the Alice Awards.

In marvelous outfits (see them in the slideshow below), bike lovers from around the state rubbed shoulders with fellow activists, politicians, bureaucrats, and industry luminaries. The mood was celebratory and optimistic and the energy was directed at one purpose: to raise money for the BTA. After signing in and perusing a number of raffle options and other items up for purchase, attendees gathered outside the venue under warm clear skies to watch a performance by The Sprockettes. (more…)

New BTA leader will make first Portland address at Bike to Blazers rally

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
Rob Sadowsky-2
Rob will be in Portland next week.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The newly hired top gun at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Rob Sadowsky, won’t officially take the helm until July 1st, but you can meet him and hear him speak at our big Bike to Blazers Rally in Waterfront Park on April 14th.

Sadowsky will be one of the featured speakers at the rally, which will take place at the Salmon Street Fountain amphitheater, just north of the Hawthorne Bridge on the west side of the Willamette River. The rally starts at 5:30 and we leave for the Rose Garden Arena at 6:00 — so don’t be late! (more…)

Interview with BTA Board Chair and new hire Rob Sadowsky

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
Rob Sadowsky-2
Rob Sadowsky, photographed in
Washington D.C. last week.
(Photo © J Maus)

It’s been a big day for bikes in Portland. This morning City Council unanimously passed a funding plan that will give a $20 million “kickstart” to building bike boulevards identified in the 2030 Bike Plan. A few hours later, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) named a nationally recognized leader of the bike movement as their new executive director.

I spoke with BTA board chair Mary Roberts and their newly appointed executive director Rob Sadowsky on the phone earlier today. Below is the rough transcription of our interview.

I begin with questions for Roberts:
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BTA hires Rob Sadowsky as new executive director

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
Rob Sadowsky-1
Rob Sadowsky, the new leader of Oregon’s
largest bike advocacy organization.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance has announced that Rob Sadowsky will be their new executive director. Sadowsky comes to the BTA from Chicago, where he is currently the executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance (formerly known as the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation).
(more…)

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