Vision Zero (also known as Towards Zero Deaths) is a bold goal that’s also the name of a growing national movement to end the acceptance of fatalities and injuries on our roads as mere “accidents.” Advocates instead want to completely change our approach to street design and policy so that no one is hurt or killed while using them.
We’ve been talking about Vision Zero for years here in Portland, but there seems to finally be some tangible movement forward.
Tomorrow in New York City is the opening day of the Vision Zero for Cities Symposium and there will be several Portlanders making the trip. Rob Sadowsky, the leader of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Aaron Brown, a board member with Oregon Walks will be there. The City will send Gabriel Graff, the operations manager of the Active Transportation Division at the Portland Bureau of Transportation. (We’ve also heard that PPB Traffic Division Capt. Kelli Sheffer will also be at the symposium, but we’ve been unable to confirm her attendance.)
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.
“We believe we can catch more flies with honey than we can with vinegar… I don’t think direct action will turn around city council or businesses.”
— Rob Sadowsky, BTA executive director
Back in January, Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder took to a public forum and dropped a pretty hefty insult on the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA). The comment left by Burkholder on a widely read urban planning blog was notable, not just because the level of candor was rare for an elected official (especially in always-nice Portland), but because Burkholder is one of the BTA’s founders.
Burkholder’s opinion came out in the form of a comment on the popular Sightline blog. The blog post was a top ten list of the best things European cities are doing to improve bicycling conditions.
Here are some snips from Burkholder’s comment (emphasis mine): (more…)
“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.
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…)
[The following article was written by new executive director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Rob Sadowsky.]
“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…)
– 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…)
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…)