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Portland wins bid to host 2016 National Open Streets Summit

Posted by on September 28th, 2015 at 1:42 pm

openstreetslead

Hot off the presses!
(Photo by Linda Ginenthal)

Next August the open streets movement will come to Portland.

Over the weekend we heard the news that Portland has been granted the right to host the 2016 National Open Streets Summit. Bureau of Transportation staffer Linda Ginenthal attended the 2015 event in Atlanta, Georgia over the weekend and shared the news with us yesterday after she flew back to oversee Sunday Parkways.

2016 will be third annual Open Streets Summit. The event is organized by the non-profit Open Streets Project in partnership with DC-based advocacy group the Alliance for Biking and Walking. The goal of the event is to bring together national and international leaders working to implement events like Portland’s Sunday Parkways, where streets are “opened” to people and closed to auto use. The Atlanta event over the weekend drew 125 leaders in the movement. The first summit was held in Los Angeles in 2014.

In the past 5-10 years, the number of open streets events in North America has skyrocketed. Portland got on the bandwagon in 2008 and today there are over 90 similar events across the continent.

Ginenthal said the 2016 Summit in Portland will take place in early August. Attendees will get the chance to attend both Bridge Pedal and the August Sunday Parkways event, as well as a host of professional development workshops and plenary speeches by notables in the field.

The last time Portland played host to an event like this was in 2008 when we were chosen to host the Towards Carfree Cities conference.

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Sunday Parkways North 2011-54-53

Sunday Parkways in June 2011.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

In some ways that event helped pave the way for Sunday Parkways in Portland. It was most memorable for the rousing speech given by Gil Peñalosa, former commissioner of Parks, Sport, and Recreation for the city of Bogotá, Colombia and current executive director of 8-80 Cities. Peńalosa gave Portland a reality check on its complacency and told us, “The reality is that Portland is far from being great, you have to realize that.”

Ginenthal was at that event and it’s no mystery that Bogotá’s famous Ciclovía events inspired her and her PBOT colleagues to start Sunday Parkways.

It was Gil’s brother, former Bogotá Mayor Enrique Peñalosa who told a Portland crowd nearly nine years ago that it all comes down to “cars versus people.”

“The essence of the conflict today, really, is cars versus people,” he said during an event at the Bagdad Theater on SE Hawthorne. “We can have a city that is very friendly to cars, or a city that is very friendly to people. We cannot have both.”

Is Portland ready to follow the lead of other great cities like Oslo and Paris who are starting to wrestle their downtowns away from automobiles and back to people? Will 2016 finally be the year that Portland decides to take Sunday Parkways to the next level and route the event on major streets and thoroughfares?

With Portland once again looking to regain our momentum around biking and walking after years of silence from City Hall and the period of stagnation that followed, this summit next year could be coming at a perfect time. We’ll also be in the heat of a mayoral race where it appears (so far at least) as if both candidates are trying to outdo each other when it comes to progressive transportation policies.

— Stay tuned for more details on the 2016 National Open Streets Summit.

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9watts
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9watts

“We can have a city that is very friendly to cars, or a city that is very friendly to people. We cannot have both.”

Wise Words. And Still True.

Adam Herstein
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Adam Herstein

Summits are great for Portland politicians, considering how much they love talking and promoting the city nationally without actually implementing anything!

Alan 1.0
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Alan 1.0

Now we know why Linda Ginenthal was extra happy!

Endo
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Endo

“The essence of the conflict today, really, is cars versus people,”

I agree 1000%! Every road interaction is cars vs. people and until everybody understands that people will continue to die at the hands of “progress.” We need a visionary who’s willing to state the obvious: most city streets should be closed to vehicle traffic and open to cyclists and peds.

Tom Hardy
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Tom Hardy

Bridge Pedal and Parkways need to be combined into at least a 2 day blowout. This would cover All of the bridges and ALL of the Parkways celebration into an all day Saturday, until Sunday at Sunset event. This would cover all 5 corners of Portland and maybe even the surrounding boroughs. I know Clackamas would never agree but at least the rest of Greater Portland could do it. Just lock up the cars but let ambulances, and emergency vehicles through. This would require blocking all exits for I-84, I-5, I-205, I-405, and 26, Maybe even blocking all exits from Powell for cars and trucks.

Paul H
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Paul H

Maybe it’s cars vs. people. Maybe.

I’m inclined to think it’s thoroughfares vs. streets.

There’s nothing wrong with including roadways (and rails and bike paths) to move traffic across town or through the countryside. Thoroughfares free local streets from freight trucks, folks heading across (or out of) town, hordes of fast-moving cyclists in spandex, etc.

Just don’t try to make them streets. Streets are how homes connect to other homes, parks, schools, churches, local commerce, and other bits of city life. People socialize in them. They’re essential to the concept of “neighborhood.”

Trouble comes when those concepts mix, like those awful 1970s era stadiums that hosted both baseball and football. Let streets be for people. Provide thoroughfares necessary for commerce. And keep them separate.

Bald One
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Bald One

Sunday Parkway yesterday was nice, although the traffic management at the route crossings for cars continued to give cars the priority. Why were the intersection managers holding up dozens (100’s) of cyclists to let one car through and not making the car wait more than one minute. I was trying to get across one of these minor crossings and waited for my kids who were a few people behind me, as I paused in the intersection the controller/attendant started yelling at me to get out of there so the one car who had been waiting for less than one minute could be allowed through. I got separated from my group of 9 people 3 times trying to cross at intersections where a few cars were waiting. Why not give the priority to the huge crowds of people on the SP ride instead of the handful of folks trying to cross?

B. Carfree
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B. Carfree

“Will 2016 finally be the year that Portland decides to take Sunday Parkways to the next level and route the event on major streets and thoroughfares?”

With the build up of going to the next level, I was more than a little disappointed that your vision involved such a tiny step. These wee little demonstrations, while better than the day-to-day status quo, aren’t much to write home about.

Scott D
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Scott D

I have a couple of issues with this article

First it feeds into the negativity so often seen on BikePortland. In my experience the city spends some money to improve cycling and the response is often a rant by cyclist as to why this change isn’t good enough. Can we celebrate some of the wonderful things Portland does have?

Secondly, I really object to the “cars versus people” rhetoric. I’ve seen so many hateful comments (OK mostly by motorists commenting in the Oregonian). We need to find a new way to engage on this issue so that it is more cooperative instead of adversarial.

Brad
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Brad

Oh, boy! Another wonk conference?! This is awesome since it will lead to more discussions resulting in more fact finding trips to vision more policy notions that imagine inspired infrastructure ideas. One day, my future great-grandchildren will finally have safe places to ride their self guided, fusion powered hoverbikes in Portland!!!

Mark
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Mark

Scott D
I have a couple of issues with this articleFirst it feeds into the negativity so often seen on BikePortland. In my experience the city spends some money to improve cycling and the response is often a rant by cyclist as to why this change isn’t good enough. Can we celebrate some of the wonderful things Portland does have?Secondly, I really object to the “cars versus people” rhetoric. I’ve seen so many hateful comments (OK mostly by motorists commenting in the Oregonian). We need to find a new way to engage on this issue so that it is more cooperative instead of adversarial.Recommended 2

Here is the quote you are objecting to. I see far better writing here than in the Oregonian.
It was Gil’s brother, former Bogotá Mayor Enrique Peñalosa who told a Portland crowd nearly nine years ago that it all comes down to “cars versus people.”

“The essence of the conflict today, really, is cars versus people,” he said during an event at the Bagdad Theater on SE Hawthorne. “We can have a city that is very friendly to cars, or a city that is very friendly to people. We cannot have both.”

Is Portland ready to follow the lead of other great cities like Oslo and Paris who are starting to wrestle their downtowns away from automobiles and back to people? Will 2016 finally be the year that Portland decides to take Sunday Parkways to the next level and route the event on major streets and thoroughfares?

Mark
Guest
Mark

Mao
Ugh. Please please please no. I would never be able to do my volunteer work or see my parents then. That’s half way to putting the city under some kind of quarantine.Recommended 0

Really? There is no alternative to needing those arterials in a car?