(Photo: Josh Berezin)
We’ve spotlighted the City of Portland’s 823-SAFE “Traffic Safety and Livability” hotline and email (firstname.lastname@example.org) several times before and we’re going to do it again. Why? Because we love to share success stories that show the power of engaged citizens and a responsive Bureau of Transportation.
The case in point today are two bumps that used to stand out on one of Portland’s best bike streets — NE Tillamook.
About two weeks ago, Portlander Steve Bozzone decided he was tired of hitting the gap between the street and the sidewalk cut-through on the median at NE Tillamook and 16th. “I was frustrated… It’s a jarring bump on a serious piece of bike infrastructure. I thought it should be smoothed out.”
Bozzone didn’t get mad, he got out his computer and emailed the livability hotline. Here’s what what he wrote:
I often take this route on my regular errand runs, and I have to say the two sidewalks both have a large gap between the curb and the street surface. Is there any way we could get these smoothed out? It’s my understanding the 1996 Bike Master Plan included guidance that all transitions should be no greater than 1/8″ inch out of plumb.
Some cyclists are happy to ‘bunny hop’ these things, but I wonder if grandma would? It would sure make things a lot nicer for the thousands of folks on bikes who traverse this intersection daily.
Thanks for taking a look!
Steve’s email is the perfect template for how to ask PBOT for help. He has a positive tone, he references policy guidelines, and he makes a compelling case for his issue. As a result, it only took PBOT a week to handle the request and send out a crew to smooth out the bumps.
I rolled over the smooth curbs Wednesday night for the first time and noticed the difference immediately (even in the dark). I was so happy, I did a u-turn and rode over them a few times to celebrate.
It may seem like a little thing, but little things add up to big things. The more of these minor annoyances we get fixed, the closer we’ll be to a truly world-class bikeway network. Next time you come across something like this, pick up your phone (after you’ve pulled over of course) and report it to 823-SAFE or email email@example.com.
And next time you roll through the median at 16th and Tillamook, think of Steve.