(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)
The Willamette Pedestrian Coalition will not exist — at least in name — after Saturday night. The non-profit that pushes for infrastructure and policies to encourage more walking has been operating in Portland for over two decades, and now it's ready for a major change.
Major changes at our region's walking advocacy organization are bound to impact bicycling. Walking advocates push for many policies and projects that reduce car use and help create the conditions necessary for better bike access.
A story in The Oregonian published Friday (and an irresponsible Tweet by BikePortland) might have you thinking that Mayor Sam Adams — grappling with a tight budget at the Bureau of Transportation — has broken a promise to invest in sidewalks in East and Southwest Portland.
"Cracks have appeared in Portland Mayor Sam Adams' pledge to build new sidewalks" is the opening line in The Oregonian story. In a Tweet about that story, I wrote "Mayor Adams backed off promise to build sidewalks due to budget." "Not true at all," Adams replied, "but I agree that is the impression the article falsely conveys."
With historic cuts coming to PBOT, many in the community are watching Adams' spending decisions — especially those that impact biking and walking — very closely.
What follows is more context behind Adams' decision and how a local walking advocacy group is taking the news. (more...)
(Photos © J. Maus)
Advocates who want to make it safer to walk are leading a charge to revise Oregon's crossing law. This will be the third consecutive legislative session that advocates have attempted to change ORS 811.208 ("Failure to stop and remain stopped for pedestrian"); but with the non-profit Willamette Pedestrian Coalition (WPC) finally coming into its own as an advocacy group, this could be the year something gets passed.
The problem with the current law is that a person must "proceed" or "cross" the street before their right to cross is activated. The thinking is that once you've begun to cross, traffic will stop. But many people recognize that the law is not clear and that subjecting yourself to physical harm just to activate your legal right to cross a street is more than a bit absurd. (more...)
cops and crosswalks?
(Photos © J. Maus)
One of the tools we can use to make our streets safer is to get tougher on enforcement. So, what happens when police officers focus on particular violations at specific locations?
Recently, we came across a report detailing five years of crosswalk enforcement actions carried out by the Traffic Division of the Portland Police Bureau. The results (below) show that in most locations, there is either simply ignorance or blatant disregard for basic traffic laws that protect our most vulnerable road users.
I hadn't even heard of the collision, but just got this statement from the PPB. Good to know they got the guy:
PORTLAND POLICE ARREST SUSPECT IN SW 4TH AND SW ALDER PED STRUCK CRASH
Posted: January 6th, 2011 2:56 PM
At approximately 12:30 p.m., yesterday, January 5, 2011, Portland Police responded to a pedestrian hit and run crash at Southwest 4th Avenue and Southwest Alder Street in downtown Portland. Callers to 911 reported that a pregnant female was struck by a black SUV type vehicle that drove away eastbound on Southwest Washington Street.
Following up on the leads provided by witnesses to the crash, Portland Police Traffic investigators were able to contact the owner of the suspect vehicle, 23-year-old Wondimagagn Ali of North Portland. Ali agreed to come to the Traffic Division today to be interviewed.
Ali admitted to investigators that he was the driver of the vehicle when the crash occurred. Ali was charged with Felony Hit and Run, cited for the Violation Driving While Suspended and Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk. He was lodged in the downtown Multnomah County Facility this afternoon.
The 35-year-old female victim from yesterday's crash suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Executive Director Stephanie Routh
speaking at a 2009 event.
(Photo © J. Maus)
On the heels of recent media attention on the need for safer streets and news of an 80% increase in walking-involved fatalities and injury crashes in Oregon this year, the non-profit Willamette Pedestrian Coalition (WPC) unveiled their Getting Around on Foot Action Plan at a press conference in Beaverton today.
The plan presents an overview of challenges our transportation planners face in creating a more walkable (and rollable, in the case of wheelchair and other mobility device users) region. From the Executive Summary (which you can read in its entirety below): (more...)
Will the walking movement ever be as successful as the bike movement?
Across the nation, biking advocates spent the last decade winning. And walking advocates have spent the last decade noticing.
Pedestrians may be "the club everyone belongs to but no one joins," as a foot-traffic activist once lamented. But here in Portland, where the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition and Bicycle Transportation Alliance were incorporated within nine months of each other in 1991 and 1992, we tend to put a lot of faith in walking.
The Oregonian Editorial Board published a timely piece in today's paper about the need for all of us who drive to take stock of our actions and do a better job looking out for people walking and biking on our roads. Here's the opening:
You need to have a "full and frank" conversation with yourself this evening. Looking in the mirror, you the driver ought to give you the walker a piece of your mind, and then switch roles.
Quite simply, both of you -- and all of us -- need to do a better job of paying attention. This year is shaping up as a terrible one for Oregon pedestrians.
The Willamette Pedestrian Coalition (WPC) will host a presentation and discussion tomorrow night to spur attention on walking issues, or what they call "Feet as traffic." At the event, the WPC will discuss why advocating for walking is important, how this movement is growing, potential synergies with bike advocates, and what the next year has in store. WPC will also give a sneak preview of its Getting Around on Foot Action Plan. (more...)