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Portlanders plan safe streets rally at City Hall on Wednesday (6/24)

Posted by on June 19th, 2015 at 1:22 pm

Build It - Bike Plan Rally-23

A scene from the “Build It” rally at City Hall back in February 2010.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Saying Portland already knows how to increase safety on its streets and can get to work immediately without further study, the advocacy group BikeLoudPDX is organizing what looks like Portland City Hall’s first rally in five years on behalf of bicycling improvements.

“It doesn’t take money, it just takes political will. And the rally is to give them the political will to do it now.”
— Ted Buehler, BikeLoudPDX

So far, more than 100 people say they’re planning to attend the Wednesday morning event.

“There’s a real danger that Vision Zero can just be prolonged indefinitely if they keep on studying it,” BikeLoud organizer Ted Buehler said Friday. “But really, they have the tools in their toolbox to do it now. And it doesn’t take money, it just takes political will. And the rally is to give them the political will to do it now.”

Buehler said he thinks the city supports safer streets and other transportation improvements, but isn’t aware of how many Portlanders share those goals.

“There is a constituency out there that is supporting them in taking more substantive measures to improve safety,” Buehler said. “We are inviting the constituency and anybody that supports the cause to come between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. and show your support.”

“We want to make sure the rally is open to people who are on bicycles and people who are not on bicycles,” said Jessica Engelman, a rally organizer with BikeLoud. “It’s Pedalpalooza; we’re trying to make it a little more fun, so people can bring their kids, maybe bring costumes.”


Buehler called the event “basic political theory.”

“They know they need to push City Hall, and they’re being heard at City Hall.”
— PBOT Manager Art Pearce in the Portland Tribune

“Whenever a constituency goes out and shows support for their cause, it’s always easier to get resources directed toward the cause,” he said. “Whenever people in Ladd’s Addition complain about stop-sign running at Ladd’s Circle, the police go out and do a sting. We want to show that there are other people in town that care about safety elsewhere, and we want better enforcement of those traffic safety codes as well.”

Buehler said BikeLoud is preparing a list of specific actions that the city could immediately pursue, such as installing interim traffic diverters on several neighborhood greenways and maintaining a plan to spend 52 percent of new revenue on safety-related measures.

“We’ve sent 400 postcards in from caring constituents asking for diverters on Clinton, and we’ve had the Buckman neighborhood association ask for a diverter on Ankeny, and the city is still not delivering on those,” Buehler said. “And in the meantime, they are taking away a diverter on Rodney. That’s fine if they want to spend money on studying things, but they already have the Portland Bicycle Master Plan on the books. And we’re asking them to implement these things much more aggressively. And that will support the cause of Vision Zero.”

Will Vanlue, a Portland resident who started a petition to downgrade Portland’s status as a Platinum Bicycle Friendly city said safety projects need to be a higher priority among city leaders.

“I don’t know why they’re talking a big game about Vision Zero and then repaving these unsafe streets without talking about changes,” he said. “We’re just restriping unsafe designs when we could be changing the street probably for low or no cost.”


A BikeLoud banner promoting next week’s event.
(Photo courtesy Ted Buehler)

Activism from BikeLoudPDX and others has been on a roll in Portland of late. For an article published today in the Portland Tribune, city transportation planning manager Art Pearce said “The advocacy we’re hearing from BikePortland, BikeLoudPDX and the BTA is very helpful to remind us we have to keep reaching to succeed. They know they need to push City Hall, and they’re being heard at City Hall.”

The rally is planned for 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Wednesday, at which point participants will head into City Hall in support of testimony from four BikeLoudPDX and Bike PSU biking advocates for rapid safety improvements in Portland.

The council’s discussion of bike-related issues is expected to wrap up by 10 a.m., at which point some rally participants are planning to join a day of further events to promote other city plans that have yet to be executed. Then at 4:30 p.m., there’s a Downgrade Portland ride linked to the morning rally.

BikeLoud is also organizing a sign-making party on Saturday afternoon, tomorrow, from 2-5 p.m. in Colonel Summers Park.

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The commissioners support the monied land speculators. They perpetuate a housing shortage and don’t care about dying bicyclists. As long as they can keep kicking the can without a big political shake up, we will see no change. I think we should be threatening them with petitions for recalls. Even if just as a gesture to rally support behind alternatives to these farces.


every time i see one of these rallies planned, i play a game. I guess when it’s going to be held. I usually guess “some weekday, during traditional working hours” and I am usually right. It’s hard to show my solidarity when i am actually commuting or sitting at my desk… sorry y’all… jealous of your work/life balance.


Make a new petition with a list of things you want with a signature line at the bottom for Hales. Print/write it out on a 10′ poster, bring it to the rally. Make a novelty sized sharpie out of a PVC pipe or something similar and also bring it to city hall. Everyone at the rally signs it. Almost everyone–still a blank line at the bottom.

You want vision zero? Take these 5 steps today and commit by signing it. Of course Hales won’t sign it, but it would at least be an entertaining photo opp, and show how ridiculous a petition is.

Lisa Marie

Please encourage Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPI) of 5-7 seconds for ALL signalized crossings in Portland, and consider creating allowance for bicycles to follow the walk signal timing (maybe a few signs above walk signals could be added to select intersections to instruct bicycle riders & stopped automobiles). Uses infrastructure we have, relatively low cost.

In Washington DC, a VERY pedestrian friendly city, I noticed that the timing leads helped create a general culture of respect for vulnerable road users – including me riding bike share. It helps reduce hook collisions and it gives visible priority to VRU’s, which helps us also get at the culture-based/respect issues we have on our roads.

Andrew Cecka
Andrew Cecka

Tonight I watched from Double Barrel on SE 20th & Division as a huge parade of bikes ran 3 cycles of red lights. Cars headed south were waiting at SE 21st, obeying the law. When they tried to go at their green light, multiple bikes lined up in front of the cars. When the driver in front asked them to move (maybe rudely, I don’t know, but he had the light) the bikes yelled back at him, antagonizing him. He gave the gas a short bump and braked. The bike in front slammed his hands down on the hood of the car, and more bikers began to yell at the driver, starting a sitting match. He’d waited through two light cycles at this point. Then I saw the banner pictured above come through behind a bike, running a red light.

I cycle to work every day. My life depends on good relationships with drivers. If you really want safe streets, then you know that breaking the law and antagonizing drivers who are following the law, just trying to get to their destination, is not the way.

Get your act together. Stop making the roads more dangerous for bikes by making more enemies for us while claiming to support safe streets. The hypocrisy I saw tonight was disgusting. I am reporting this to the city.

I do not support any vehicles or drivers that blatantly break the law, intimidate others on the road, and make life harder for me and others. It’s just heart breaking to see idiots undoing my hard work trying to get vehicles to recognized that bikers are respectful users of the road. As of right now, I am not on your side.

Ted Buehler
Ted Buehler

We’re doing a warm-up event today (Tuesday), street theater in front of the Multnomah County Building. (the county controls the Burnside Bridge).

Facebook evite here:

Verbal description here