Harvest Century September 22nd

City to adopt Vision Zero goal, embark on 12-month ‘action plan’ process

Posted by on June 15th, 2015 at 3:16 pm

City Council Ordinance Number 615, to be adopted Wednesday.

On Wednesday Portland City Council is poised to take two steps on the road toward a full embrace of Vision Zero. They’ll formally adopt a goal that “no loss of life is acceptable on our city streets” then they’ll accept a $150,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation to develop a plan to help them reach it.

“… The City of Portland lacks a comprehensive plan and strategy to address traffic safety and move toward this aggressive target.”
— City Council Ordinance No. 615

This week’s Council action comes on the heels of yet another high-profile traffic collision that has spurred a protest and more calls for Mayor Charlie Hales and PBOT Commissioner Steve Novick to take concrete action that leads to safer roads.

In related news, last Thursday the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation issued a Request for Proposals (PDF) to find a consultant who will lead a planning process that will (hopefully) end with the Council’s adoption of the Vision Zero Traffic Safety Action Plan and its inclusion into the city’s all-powerful Transportation System Plan. (It’s worth noting that, six years after it was adopted by Council, our Bike Plan for 2030 still hasn’t been integrated into our Transportation System Plan.)

Support for Vision Zero — the idea that we should not accept a single injury or death on our roads — has slowly emerged as a key pillar of PBOT’s future under the leadership of Director Leah Treat. ‘Embrace Vision Zero’ is the title of one of the five sections in the two-year PBOT action plan she released back in February.

I’ve taken a closer look at the council resolutions (the grant and the adoption of Vision Zero) and the RFP to find out what we can expect in the coming months.

The main goal of the effort is to produce an over-arching plan that will guide the city’s engineering, education, and enforcement efforts as well as a communications plan that will include a new website. Why is this plan needed? In the City’s own words, “While safety is a component of many Portland transportation projects, the City of Portland lacks a comprehensive plan and strategy to address traffic safety and move toward this aggressive target.”

Here are more excerpts from the Council resolution to give you a sense of how PBOT’s Vision Zero narrative is shaping up:

“This grant will fund the development of Portland’s TSAP [Transportation Safety Action Plan] and coalesce leaders in the Portland Metro area around Vision Zero, providing a sustainable long-term footing for a new, more robust approach to transportation safety for the Bureau. The TSAP will outline specific short-term and mid-term engineering, education, and enforcement efforts that the Portland Bureau of Transportation and other agencies will accomplish in order to achieve zero deaths or serious injuries on Portland roadways.

Portland’s Vision Zero goal is audacious – it is to achieve zero fatalities or serious injuries on our roadways by 2025. The Vision Zero Implementation Plan will be Portland’s roadmap to achieving that goal. The Plan will be adopted by City Council and the policies will be incorporated into Portland’s Transportation System Plan.”

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As per usual, the process will be heavy on committees and stakeholders. In this case, three advisory committees will be established: An executive steering committee made up of elected officials and agency directors; a policy advisory committee made up of high-level managers; and a technical advisory committee made up of staff from participating agencies and organizations.

Specifically, here are some of the deliverables associated with the plan:

In their grant application, PBOT was asked to list several “quantifiable products or outcomes that address those problems identified… that should result from the proposed activities” along with expected dates of completion. Here’s what they listed:

  • Communicate with the public to develop an understanding of, and support for, Vision Zero.
  • Develop a clear understanding of the safety challenges on our roadways and the best practices nationwide in developing an aggressive and successful TSAP.
  • Bring together a coalition of diverse partners and stakeholders to leverage opportunities to address traffic safety in a meaningful way, as well as to make the culture shift within each group represented to embrace Vision Zero.
  • Develop policies, actions and measures that will provide the roadmap to Vision Zero.
  • Engage the public and partners such as ODOT in the TSAP effort through social media, website, education campaigns, and public feedback opportunities.

PBOT says Portland’s plan to implement Vision Zero will be modeled after recently completed plans from New York City and San Francisco.

For some PBOT veterans, this renewed focus on traffic safety might feel a bit familiar. Back in 2003, following a survey that found a majority of Portland were concerned about traffic safety, the City of Portland created the Community and School Traffic Safety Account (a.k.a. the Community and School Traffic Safety Partnership, or simply CSTSP). This account, enshrined in city code FIN 4.01, established the Traffic Safety Coordination Council and it was funded in part by traffic citation revenue.

The impetus behind the formation of the CSTSP sounds a lot like what we’re hearing 12 years later around Vision Zero:

“… a response to the strong public demand for services that protect neighborhoods from the negative impacts of traffic and provide a safe environment for all modes of travel. It is a community-based, coalition-led effort to improve Portland’s traffic safety. The CSTSP calls for targeted traffic safety investments in three major program areas reducing crashes associated with driver error, improving pedestrian and bicycle safety, and enhancing safety around schools. Efforts in each of these major areas have a balanced approach, employing engineering, education, and enforcement strategies. As part of the program, PDOT envisions a comprehensive annual evaluation of the CSTSP, including development of performance measures to both track effectiveness and guide future investments. The mission of the CSTSP is to improve traffic safety for all modes; to create a conducive environment that supports increased walking, biking, taking transit, and responsible motorist behavior; and to enhance neighborhood livability by implementing strategic, collaborative, and sustainable traffic safety improvements.”

The Safety Coordination Council still exists today. It’s headed up by PBOT staffer Sharon White and participants meet monthly. The most high-profile activity White and the Council are responsible for are crosswalk enforcement actions.

The web link that used to go to the CSTSP website now redirects to PBOT’s Vision Zero page.

The city estimates that the creation of their Vision Zero Action Plan will take 12 months.

Let’s hope that in 2016 — 13 years after the last time PBOT responded to public demands for safer streets — we at least have what PBOT admits they lack today: “a comprehensive plan and strategy to address traffic safety and move toward this aggressive target.”

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

70 Comments
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    Adam H. June 15, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    All I see is more planning and committees and still no action. This is a good thing, but still seems like more talk and empty promises. We’ll see how this pans out.

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      9watts June 15, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      So many other municipalities and jurisdictions and even countries have taken steps in this direction. Why reinvent all these wheels? Just do it.

      My correspondence a few years back with Sharon White about this outreach flyer: http://bikeportland.org/2014/06/20/pbot-ad-campaign-drivers-slow-107630 was less than encouraging. I hope she and the rest of the team can move beyond those unfortunate framings that put the onus on those not in cars.

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        paikiala June 15, 2015 at 4:35 pm

        What’s your plan?

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          9watts June 15, 2015 at 7:25 pm

          Short answer:
          do what they’ve done; copy what they found to work; skip what didn’t

          Long answer:
          * stop—once and for all—framing safety as pedestrians’ responsibility;
          * lower speed limits & dedicate more resources to enforcing them;
          * clarify the ways in which those found guilty of hurting or killing someone with their car will (now as opposed to up until now) face serious consequences, how we are going to establish zero tolerance for dangerous driving;
          * change how we issue and renew driving privileges & explain how and why we are making these changes;
          * (and this is different than Sweden) no more distracted driving allowed. None. Zero tolerance. If acted on, that would be 3,000+ people alive every year who now are getting killed by people who can’t be bothered to pay attention (Mr. Sugar Water on the Burnside Bridge included);
          http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html
          * prioritize funding and visibility of modes proportional to the risk they present to the public (inverting Amanda Fritz’s no $ to bikes until they stop biking on downtown sidewalks…) No $ to modes that (locally) are found to correspond to maiming and death on our streets; Money instead goes toward those modes which **inherently** represent zero danger to others.

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            paikiala June 16, 2015 at 11:57 am

            All reasonable strategies, but not actual plans for getting from where we are to there. Most, if not all, of the strategies require an increase in funding and/or a change in funding allocation. As king, you could do this, but here there is a majority of the voters you will need to convince to agree with you.
            the question remains, what is your plan?

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              9watts June 16, 2015 at 2:18 pm

              “there is a majority of the voters you will need to convince to agree with you.”

              I think it is called the Bully Pulpit. ChooChoo Charlie could seize the opportunity, lead, articulate this vision, and make it happen, just like Sweden’s version of ODOT did. But you have to want to do this, be willing to spend some (or all) of your political capital, and stick with it, not waffle after a few months and let yourself be distracted by something totally unrelated and forget to stay on top of this. Frankly Charlie Hales does not strike me as someone cut out for this task.

              “the question remains, what is your plan?”
              I’d suggest that SAFETY should not such a hard sell. You’re starting to sound a bit like wsbob, always asking for fully fleshed out plans, proposals, draft legislation. Why make this so difficult?
              Although this is a large scale. long term effort, there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel all the time. Have someone from Sweden come over for a month and give power points to PBOT staff and our mayor. Talk about how they built coalitions and who was in charge of doing what. Etc.

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              9watts June 16, 2015 at 5:13 pm

              “Most, if not all, of the strategies require an increase in funding and/or a change in funding allocation.”

              You are the one who works for PBOT so I’ll take your word for it. But to me the funding allocations are, though certainly important, secondary to the vision, the principled leadership on this topic. I think there’s a risk in getting bogged down in the funding conversations when at this point there’s no sign of Council or the Mayor having the will to make this a signature campaign, a serious commitment.

              I’ll ask again, why not just check with those who’ve succeeded at this? Why ask me, when the Swedes and plenty of others have already been down this road before, have learned plenty of lessons that we would do well to copy.

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          9watts June 15, 2015 at 7:38 pm

          Oh, and raise local gas taxes to $1/gal and henceforth index it to 3x the asphalt index. The Vision Zero relevance would be less the money than the disincentive to driving, though both ends of it would be salutary on about a dozen fronts.

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      Adam June 15, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      We already have the Safety Coordination Council that no one has heard of and barely does anything, so now we want to take another year to create another council that will just as useless. Just another “plan” to say they are doing something that can then be ignored. I am so tired of our city leaders.

      I drive for at least 80% of my trips. Portland, MAKE MY DRIVING MORE DIFFICULT AND SLOWER. IMPROVE SAFETY. MAKE TRANSIT AND BIKING COMPARABLE TO DRIVING.

      I hate my driving commute. I want to bike way more of my commutes, but when I have bike on Interstate and Greely (55 mph traffic with a 8″ worn down line of paint for “protection”) to get to Swan Island, I’m just not going to do it much as I want to. Give me true protection and I’ll turn into a 20% car, 80% bike commuter.

      Make transit remotely close to driving time and I would use it more. My car commute takes 25-30 minutes, transit takes 55-65 minutes. Most people would choose car. Make transit 40-45 minutes and I would never drive to work.

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    John June 15, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Excellent. This Vision Zero Action Plan along with the 2030 Bicycle Master Plan will make excellent bookends to that top shelf that hasn’t been dusted in the same number of years that Charlie Hales has been mayor.

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      paikiala June 15, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      What’s your plan?

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        John June 15, 2015 at 5:07 pm

        My post was probably a bit more sarcastic than it needed to be, but the point (and the answer to your question) is that “my plan” is actually the same one that already been adopted by the city council.

        Pretending to make progress by taking initial steps toward making additional plans doesn’t really matter if the current plans remain untouched. Just build it already.

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          paikiala June 16, 2015 at 11:59 am

          Your statement implies nothing has been done regarding the 2030 bike plan. This is false.
          Progress slower than you would like is slow progress, not zero progress.

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            John June 17, 2015 at 8:41 am

            My apologies then. So, which projects of the 2030 plan have been given a big push forward by the Hales administration? Because, as I recall, the funding for new greenway projects was actually cut back in favor of spraying sealant on to roads by Mr. Back-to-basics.

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    ethan June 15, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    More talk; No action yet.

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      paikiala June 15, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      What’s your plan?

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        ethan June 15, 2015 at 4:51 pm

        If it were up to me, all streets would have lower speed limits, all crosswalks would be raised, all commercial streets would ban cars completely, all sidewalks would be widened, all dangerous intersections would have speed and surveillance cameras, all bridges and tunnels would be tolled, any street with more than 1 lane that has mass transit would have transit only lanes, all parking would be removed from neighborhood collector streets, all roads narrower than 24 feet wide would be blocked to automobiles, all multi-story parking garages would be metered so that large numbers of vehicles could not leave at the same time, all surface level parking lots would be made illegal, all driveways would require bumps before crossing a sidewalk, any road violence would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, any DUI conviction would lead to permanent loss of driving license, any injury to a VRU would also lead to complete license revocation, all streets with parking would have curb bumpouts, all streets with more than 2 lanes per direction would be reduced, all pedestrian crossing lights would be timed automatically and not have to be pressed, all exits off the highway would be metered, anyone caught failing to yield at a crosswalk would be arrested and forced to take part in crosswalk stings at unmarked intersections on urban highways, several on-ramps, off-ramps and interchanges would be completely removed. Several parts of highways would be completely removed, right turn on red would be illegal, all bike lanes would not have bus / bike interaction, all NIMBYa houses would be razed…

        Okay, maybe I’m not serious about that last one. And there are plenty other that I don’t feel like typing out at the moment. But that would increase safety and decrease vehicle speed.

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          paikiala June 16, 2015 at 12:02 pm

          If you were king. Wishes are not actions any more than plans are infrastructure.
          Interesting strategies, but a plan is more than goals and outcomes. It is the steps from here to there to achieve those goals and outcomes.

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    J_R June 15, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Well, as long as we get a new website and some committees, we’ll be able to call it a success!

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    Chris I June 15, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    We need to see action. Start by lowering the speed limits on all arterials. 30mph city-wide. We all know what it is like to ride and walk on these streets, and we know the solution. Lower speeds might have prevented the death of a NE Portland resident on the Burnside bridge Sunday.

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      Brad June 15, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      25 mph city-wide.

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      paikiala June 16, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      No city in Oregon has this power. The authority to post speed limits different from statutory speeds rests with ODOT. You will need to convince many jurisdictions and legislators that other/all local jurisdictions can be trusted to do this appropriately, or establish a protocol that all jurisdictions must follow for setting speeds.
      You may also need to consider Federal rules regarding the National Highway System – which extends beyond the interstate freeways.

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        KristenT June 16, 2015 at 4:58 pm

        Thanks for all the info you are posting here! There’s a lot I don’t know and you’re helping educate at least one person. You’ve got very interesting knowledge and are sharing it.

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    michael June 15, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    I would like to see some immediate measures adopted – not waiting twelve more months for an action plan to be developed.

    so, what can be done relatively quickly with relatively low cost implications (and actually these steps would generate funds)?

    1. Actual enforcement of speed limits
    2. Actual enforcement of prohibition of cell phone use while driving

    In the near future, it would be important for the group that is convened to propose stiffer penalties for traffic violations.

    The group that is convened should also look at why / how the 2030 bike plan has been sidelined, see who is responsible for failing to act and hold them accountable.

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      michael June 15, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      I’d like to see funds generated from actual enforcement to be used to improve bus / streetcar service and bike/ped safety improvements.

      I’d also like to see pricing models for streetcar/buses take equity into account. I believe Seattle has implemented income-based pricing for mass transit. we should do the same.

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        paikiala June 15, 2015 at 4:38 pm

        You are aware that Portland doesn’t get all the adjudicated fine from a moving violation, yes?

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          Buzz June 15, 2015 at 4:54 pm

          But I believe there is a surcharge on traffic tickets in Multnomah County, earmarked for safety, which the cities do get.

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      paikiala June 15, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      We need to triple the traffic division.

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        Buzz June 15, 2015 at 4:56 pm

        I wouldn’t support this as long as the traffic division’s focus on ‘safety’ continues to include bicyclist stop sign stings in Ladd’s Addition and other anti-cyclist agendas.

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          paikiala June 16, 2015 at 12:08 pm

          Part of Vision Zero/Safe Systems is better enforcement. The established best practice is to focus on behaviors that represent the highest risk for fatal or serious injury crashes.
          NYC’s effort includes a variety of bureaus working together to affect change. It’s not clear to me that Portland is following this model.

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            Eric June 17, 2015 at 4:36 pm

            The focus should be at least weighted toward risks to others. Our stop laws for bicycles are disfunctional and strict adherence can be more dangerous than most practice. Try stopping at a red next to a line of traffic at the last light southbound on Moody. Light turns green, oops sorry no more bike lane. Have a nice merge! Nevermind that many drivers roll stop signs faster than most people on bikes — to focus on writing tickets at a bike boulevard stop sign is clearly more vindictive than an efficient pursuit of “safety”.

            Idaho aside, speeding any amount above the posted speed is an enabling condition (reduced margin for error, so: choke on your soda = kill someone) which increases risks to VRUs. If speed is a factor in the majority of fatal and serious injury collisions, the speed limit sounds like a really good place to start writing tickets.

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        J_R June 15, 2015 at 7:10 pm

        If we need to triple the Traffic Division, fine, go ahead. But let’s start with increasing the number of “citizen contacts” from 50,000 per year to 150,000. As I’ve pointed out before the average is less than 3 contacts per day for the 51 sworn personnel in the Traffic Division. Exclude the sergeants, lieutenant and captain, and it still works out to fewer than 4 citizen contacts per day.

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    rick June 15, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Certain things like the Red Electric Trail were adopted in 2007, but where is the trail from SW Shattuck road to SW Fairvale Court?

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    paikiala June 15, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    What’s your plan?

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      q`Tzal June 15, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      What’s YOUR plan?
      You’ve posed that question several times already… so what is it?

      …. What’s YOUR plan?

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        paikiala June 16, 2015 at 12:11 pm

        I don’t have one. It’s easy to criticize and toss out imaginative end goals and solutions, but it doesn’t assist in making change happen. Exclamations of ‘do this’, ‘do that’, in the echo chamber of this blog, is just sound and fury amounting to nothing.

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          q`Tzal June 16, 2015 at 3:30 pm

          Beware of becoming the strawman or if you do at least specifically acknowledge that the counterfactual you’ve served is itself ridiculous.
          Or offered in humor, poor or otherwise.

          A stinging counterpoint formulated as a bit of subtle dark humor hidden inside a seemingly unrelated joke is quite effective: sure the “strawman” has 2 heads, 3 arms and walks funny but the laughter allows the listener to absorb the content of the message without ignoring it out right.
          Later, when going back over it, you realize that if you look at the situation from a different angle it is funny and possibly true in a completely different way.
          You’ve rewarded your opponent for seeing your point if view and you may not even be there.

          Or everyone can just be abrasively adversarial: how’s that been going?

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      Alex Reed June 16, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      My plan is to build political power for biking through BikeLoudPDX, and use that political power to push for many of the good ideas listed above. A multimodal coalition, like the currently-forming Vision Zero Group, will be important in order to avoid the political modal wars. As you point out, there are tons of good ideas and not enough political will currently.

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    Buzz June 15, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    I think they forgot the Citizens Advisory Committee.

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    Andyc of Linnton June 15, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    Great! 13 years! Awesome. Hope BikePortland is still around in 2028 so I can read about whatever the next “action plan” will be. Maybe I’ll even not be killed by someone in that time as well. Fingers crossed!

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    Anne Hawley June 15, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    I applaud the resolution while admitting to a sinking feeling at the same time. A resolution isn’t an ordinance and doesn’t establish new law or code, and though it has the power to trigger administrative action, it’s really not binding in any way.

    This clause in particular jumps out at me (it occurs after the cutoff in the illustration above):

    “WHEREAS, the City of’ Portland is working towards reducing vehicle speeds because the likelihood of pedestrians surviving a crash are 15% if hit by a vehicle moving 40 mph…”

    …with “working towards” being the most important phrase. What work? Which major streets have seen speed limit decreases? How close are they? Is there a specific target? If you can cite the 15%/40mph statistic in a whereas clause, you can certainly cite other specifics, so I’m assuming there are none.

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    spencer June 15, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    I got exhausted just reading Jonathan’s synopsis of the plan for the plan for the plan. How on earth is anything going to get through the Portland Bureaucratic Sausage Grinder to actually make our streets safer? This looks like 5 more years of dodging negligent drivers.

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      Jeg June 16, 2015 at 3:53 am

      Vote these fools out and start vetting activist replacements NOW.

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        Buzz June 16, 2015 at 9:48 am

        Doug Klotz for City Council!

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          Doug Klotz June 16, 2015 at 1:10 pm

          Thanks for the support! But really, I haven’t even been a neighborhood Chair yet, and don’t know if I want to. May not be suited to my temperament, which is “cranky”!

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    Chris Anderson June 15, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    My plan: lower speed limits. Restripe everything with narrower car lanes and at least paint buffered lanes. Pedestrian first mobility priority by default.

    The part that makes me angry is that the ROI is so huge the cost is borne by the cities coming late to the game. The only reason we don’t have a safer Portland is because our electeds wouldnt know a win/win if it brought them breakfast.

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      Jeg June 16, 2015 at 3:55 am

      They are beholden to freight and auto interests the same way ODOT is; they don’t care about reality, only what business money is paying them to think. Thus more delay on vision zero with more “planning” when we know very well by example elsewhere what we should be immediately implementing.

      Chris Anderson for mayor!

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      soren June 16, 2015 at 6:59 am

      As paikiala has reminded us ad nauseum neither the city or county sets speed limits.

      My response to this perennial excuse is: so what!

      What is the downside of the city or county putting up speed limit signs regardless of what ossified traffic engineers at ODOT want? Are state troopers going to invade Portland and remove signs at gun point? The city violates the MUTCD at multiple locations but putting up a 20 mph speed limit sign on a freaking Greenway is somehow impossible?

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        Psyfalcon June 16, 2015 at 7:12 am

        Well Clinton isn’t a greenway!

        It has bikes on the telephone poles. Fix the thing already.

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        Jeg June 16, 2015 at 7:46 am

        It should be obvious that pur local politicians are bought by the freight and auto lobby; ODOT is a long-time champion of single-mode transportation to the exclusion on all else.

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          paikiala June 16, 2015 at 12:16 pm

          What evidence can you present to support this opinion?

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            Jeg June 16, 2015 at 1:17 pm

            Lack of substantive response frome our politicians! These people are farcical!

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        J_R June 16, 2015 at 8:15 am

        The problem with the city simply putting up new, lower speed zone signs is that judges will dismiss any speeding charges. Of course, that assumes cops bother to enforce the speed zones. Judges’ dismissal of citations for speeding is what has led to the “10-mph cushion” generally observed by the police for speed zone enforcement.

        That’s distinctly separate from the zero tolerance approach for the stop sign enforcement for the unnecessary, ill-advised stop signs at Ladd’s Addition. By the way, I always stop at those stop signs. Every. F@#king. Time.

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    Anne Hawley June 16, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Charlie Hales has declared Portland a “global city” (http://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/527215?) on at least one occasion, but does he actually talk to other mayors? Does he belong to any of the international mayors’ associations? Do high-level staffers outside of PBOT ever visit Minneapolis or Davis (let alone Amsterdam)? Has he ever even seen Janette Sadik-Khan’s TED talk? Because that’s what global city mayors do.

    Truly global cities leverage their enormous economic and popular power to bypass state bureaucratic dithering and actually implement climate change policies, health and safety practices, and transportation programs. Mayors of global cities (and their staffs) have no problem skipping the “permission” phase and betting on “forgiveness” after the fact, when something needs to be done for the good of the city, which, increasingly, is for the good of the world.

    Sam Adams forced a plastic bag ban down Portland’s gullet and look, ma: world’s still spinning. Over huge, some might say career-destroying, objections, he did a heck of a lot for biking. Salt Lake City’s Becker is “trying to out-Portland Portland” with bike infra and mass transit, in the reddest state in the union.

    Not every try will fly: Mike Bloomberg’s attempted ban on large soft drinks in NYC was shot down in Albany, but talk about starting a conversation! Mayors have a lot of power, and according to Benjamin Barber’s If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities, they should have even more.

    The book was my starting point for this thinking. It’s a bit of a slog, but Barber gives a pretty good TED talk. I wonder if Charlie has 20 minutes to spare for that.

    Psst, Charlie: here’s a link:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/benjamin_barber_why_mayors_should_rule_the_world?language=en

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      Rob Chapman June 16, 2015 at 11:28 am

      Hey Anne, how do you feel about running for city council?

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        Anne Hawley June 16, 2015 at 12:11 pm

        Does “I’d sooner die” cover the territory? 😀

        But thank you for the thumbs up. I feel I could develop this kind of message in written form, and possibly bring it to bear in some public meeting-type venue, but I worked for the City for 25 years and I’m now allergic to politics.

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          Rob Chapman June 16, 2015 at 11:36 pm

          Well you’ve certainly done your time! Enjoy a relaxing retirement. Of course I’m sure there are people out there in need of thoughtful writers….

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    Anne Hawley June 16, 2015 at 9:53 am

    And another thing…I just learned that Jeff Speck (author of the brilliant Walkable City) was in Tigard last night to offer insights into how that very-sprawly town can improve itself. Has he ever been invited to Portland? Lately? Officially?

    Don’t hire organizational consultants, Portland. Listen to world-class advice from world-class experts, and use their reputations, statistics and expertise to push good ideas through to reality. Don’t just have Donald Shoup or Gordon Price come and speak to a gang of transpo geeks: sponsor a huge public presentation at a big venue. Get the public to attend, the way they flock to arts and letters lectures.

    If the O-Live crowd implodes over the cost, they’re wrong, as they’re wrong about most things. Stand up, darn it. The right thing is rarely popular with the masses. Do it anyway.

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      9watts June 16, 2015 at 10:25 am

      Anne Hawley for chief of staff (unless you would consider running for mayor)! Very timely suggestions there. Thank you.

      CotW material?

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        Anne Hawley June 16, 2015 at 12:02 pm

        LOL! I appreciate the “vote” of confidence, but I just escaped from the City of Portland 18 months ago, so, no thank you. Now that I have time to compose a zillion comments on BP, I’d like to think that I can at least get a few people thinking along different lines.

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          9watts June 16, 2015 at 4:00 pm

          We’ll happily keep you!

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      Evan Manvel June 16, 2015 at 11:19 am

      Speck has been in Portland several times; here’s a report from 2011.
      http://www.friends.org/about/profiles/Jeff-Speck-On-Great-Urban-Places

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        Anne Hawley June 16, 2015 at 12:09 pm

        Thanks. I knew from his book that he’s a big fan of Portland. I’m not aware that he’s ever given one of his tour-de-force, TED-style public talks here to a large mainstream audience. I could be wrong.

        The 2011 presentation was a) prior to Hales’s administration and therefore due for a repeat, b) before Speck became quite the superstar he is today (he could capture a significantly larger audience today); and c) delivered to “an engaged audience in Metro’s council chambers”–not exactly the Newmark, or even especially public-facing.

        I see no inherent reason why the City couldn’t help push, or co-sponsor, or work with Powell’s or do SOMETHING to align itself publicly with Speck’s ideas. Portland packed the house for Michael Pollan last year. We’d do the same for Jeff, I’m sure.

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    Anne Hawley June 16, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Wow. Here’s the kind of thing I had in mind! The City of Detroit has partnered with some other groups to bring Gil Penalosa in for multiple days, to meet with a variety of civic groups.

    Penalosa’s two-word city-making motto: PEDESTRIANS FIRST.

    http://www.knightfoundation.org/blogs/knightblog/2015/6/16/week-events-will-promote-more-livable-detroit/

    THAT is how you foment real shifts in the public’s awareness, and get buy-in for real changes on the ground in a hurry.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 16, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      Anne,

      I agree that having people come and speak is cool and fun and can be inspirational…

      But Penalosa has come to Portland several times… Most notably to our (fantastic!) Carfree Cities Conference in 2008. He was amazing and inspiring and many PBOT staffers were in attendance at his keynote speech.

      I will never forget some of his words…

      “You can build a city for cars or for people – but not for both.”

      “Birds need to fly, fish need to swim, and people need to talk and to bike!”

      “What kind of city do you want to live in?”

      He came, I did stories every time (archives here)… yet… unfortunately his words are just words. And inspiration — while it can be a spark — doesn’t usually lead to a fire unless someone is there to provide constant fuel.

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        Anne Hawley June 16, 2015 at 3:50 pm

        Thanks for the perspective, Jonathan. I wasn’t actively involved in transportation at that time, so my knowledge doesn’t go back very far. I would have loved to hear Peñalosa speak in 2008!

        It seems to me that the “constant fuel” could only arise from a feedback loop between elected officials, inspired civil servants, and an excited, informed public. That last thing is what’s missing. Instead, we seem to be stuck in permanent political timidity in the face of badly uninformed public perception. Views reflected by OregonLive comment sections seem to carry as much weight as sound reasoning, and the City’s messaging sometimes seems aimed at avoiding their outrage.

        If our elected officials felt that the public was on their side in important issues, maybe they’d take more decisive action. Exciting messaging would help get the public on their side–especially if the messages were consistent, loud, frequent and, dare I say it? entertaining. Remember when Sam Adams did those huge community meetings all over town, with the instant-poll clickers and the focus groups? They galvanized people. And for a minute, he had a mandate (not that kind) and he used it, and he got stuff done.

        Obviously I have impressions and feelings and no answers, but I’m finding great value in sorting out my thoughts here with the help of other BikePortlanders.

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          9watts June 16, 2015 at 6:00 pm

          “a feedback loop between elected officials, inspired civil servants, and an excited, informed public.”

          Yes. And I will say that Jonathan (and now Michael) have done an immeasurable public service to all of Portland in presenting this public forum in which many of us have participated for many years now. I’d say these two have done more for Portland’s civic culture and inspiration than any elected officials or nonprofit group. But the big void is, as has already been noted in these pages, Council and the Mayor.

          “If our elected officials felt that the public was on their side in important issues, maybe they’d take more decisive action.”

          The way the public could come around to officials’ view (do they have a view?) is if the officials lead, make rousing speeches, issue decrees, move money around in bold and memorable ways, get their hands dirty, stick their necks out, do stuff. I am familiar with the if the people lead eventually the leaders will follow bumper sticker, but I think we can and should expect a little more from our public officials.

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            Anne Hawley June 16, 2015 at 8:37 pm

            Hear, hear! All of this, and particularly the kudos to Jonathan and Michael. I couldn’t agree more.

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    Tait June 16, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    “…we should not accept a single injury or death on our roads…”

    or what?

    Is the Vision Zero proposal just to “wishfully hope that we can do some planning aimed at reducing fatalies”? Or if not, what are the consequences when those “unacceptable” deaths happen?

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