How Portland’s neighborhood greenways will transform our city

Untitled from Joshua Cohen on Vimeo.

The opening of the Spokane Street bike boulevard in December 2009 was a bigger deal than you might have thought. It marked not just a new bike-friendly street, but a new era in how PBOT approaches the development of our bikeway network. With dedicated funding, a 15 miles per year commitment, and a team of very smart and dedicated neighborhood transportation safety and engineering staffers, PBOT embarked on a major effort to make residential streets more pleasant and comfortable for walking and biking.

SE Spokane and SE 13th-2
SE Spokane was the start
of something big.
(Photo © J. Maus)

While you can quibble (I have, and we should) with their prioritizing of backstreets over working for higher-profile, physical separation on central city arterials and commercial main streets, the focus and effort PBOT is making on neighborhood streets is laudable and very exciting.

A few months ago, our friend Joshua Cohen of Fat Pencil Studio approached us with an offer to do illustration work for BikePortland. We thought his skills would be perfect to help us tell the story of Portland’s past and future progress on neighborhood streets. The animation above (link here) is the result of a collaboration between BikePortland, Cohen and his crew, and PBOT staffer Greg Raisman.

At their current pace, in just few short years, 80% of every Portland household will live within just a 1/2 mile of a neighborhood greenway. Since I’ve been covering bikes in this city, I don’t think I’ve ever seen PBOT be so focused on any one initiative. Their work to add landscaping, slow speeds down, improve crossings, and make biking more efficient, is helping make every part of our city more livable and humane.

Check out their website for a project in your neighborhood and get involved with the effort by attending open houses and staying tuned to BikePortland for project updates.

Thanks again to Joshua and Jason at Fat Pencil Studio for making this animation possible.

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