Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick have just announced an “urgent meeting” that will take place next week at City Hall to discuss bike safety following a spate of collisions that has sparked widespread concerns.
Novick is the commissioner in charge of the transportation bureau, which has committed to the concept of “Vision Zero” which is a policy and set of actions that aims to eliminate traffic deaths.
Here’s the official word about the meeting that just came down from Novick’s Transportation Policy Advisor Timur Ender:
With the third collision this month involving a bicycle rider and a motor vehicle operator occurring this afternoon, Mayor Hales and Commissioner Novick are convening an urgent meeting with representatives and stakeholders from all modes of transportation, as well as the Bureau of Transportation and the Police Bureau, to discuss how we can increase awareness as well as prevent future collisions within the city of Portland.
The meeting is set for Tuesday and about two dozen people have been invited including PBOT and City Hall staffers, advocates, Police Bureau representatives, advocates, and others.
This move reminds me of what former Mayor Sam Adams did in October 2007 during a time of similar turmoil in the community. Back then we were reeling after several major injury collisions and the deaths of Brett Jarolimek and Tracey Sparling that occurred with a few miles of each other in the central city less than two weeks apart.
Adams called a press conference at City Hall that was followed by an emergency, closed-door meeting. That meeting (read my recap here) focused specifically on bike/truck interactions and it led directly to the implementation of bike boxes (a new treatment at the time) at 14 intersections throughout the city.
Adams followed up that meeting by successfully requesting $200,000 from City Council for the bike boxes and other bike safety projects.
Whether Hales puts any money where is mouth is remains to be seen; but calling for this meeting is a good first step. Stay tuned.