The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has announced their first “Neighborhood Greenway” ribbon-cutting ceremony. The event will take place Wednesday afternoon at Beach School in the Overlook neighborhood of North Portland.
PBOT wants to showcase their growing network of residential streets that have been engineered to prioritize the safe movement of bicycles. These streets are also known as bicycle boulevards, but PBOT will brand them as ‘Neighborhood Greenways’ to show that they’re not just great for bikes, but that neighborhoods also benefit. The “greenways” aspect is a nod to how some of the streets include bioswales, new street trees, and other “green streets” features (more on the name change here and here).
The ribbon-cutting comes as PBOT has completed a flurry of their “next generation” bike boulevard projects. The first one, on SE Spokane in Sellwood, officially opened in December 2009. When the network is complete (in 2013), 78% of Portland will live within one-half mile of a traffic-calmed, family-friendly bike street.
Beach School is a fitting poster-child for the City’s Neighborhood Greenway roll-out. One of the City’s marquee bike boulevards, N. Concord, travels north/south along the school’s western edge. Concord now has the standard neighborhood greenway treatments — sharrows, turned stop signs, speed bumps and safer crossings. Its classification as a bike street gave the school community further impetus to use it as the backbone of their efforts to make Beach a safer place for people to walk and bike.
went home to all Beach School families.
Through a collaboration with PBOT, Beach School staff and parents devised a new street plan that went into effect at the start of the current school year. In addition to a thriving Safe Routes to School program, Beach’s new street plan has been a big success. The two main components of the plan are two street closures during pick-up and drop-off and a re-striped parking lot. In order to improve safety during pick-up and drop-off, N. Concord and N. Humboldt are now closed to motor vehicles for 15 minutes during the morning and afternoon. The closure is run by student and parent volunteers. In addition, the main part of N. Concord has been officially signed and designated a “No Idle Zone.” Beach has also re-striped the staff parking lot on the west side of the school to improve circulation: instead of cars parking along the edges of the lot, the new striping has cars parked in the middle and there are less back-ups as a result.
The new street plan, along with the Safe Routes to School program and the N. Concord neighborhood greenway project have led to traffic safety success at Beach and the result is more people walking and biking than ever before.
Beach received a visit from U.S. Congressman Jim Oberstar earlier this month, and the ribbon cutting this week is a fitting follow-up. At the event on Wednesday, PBOT will host representatives from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Elders in Action and the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition. Other ribbon-cuttings are planned for the coming weeks at completed bike boulevard projects throughout the city.
- Neighborhood Greenway Ribbon Cutting
Beach School (1710 N. Humboldt St.)
Weds, September 22nd at 3:30 pm