Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 2nd, 2018 at 9:27 am
Halloween night gave many Portlanders a chance to understand how street design impacts our ability to enjoy our neighborhoods.
While some parts of the city were deserted, leaving would-be candy suppliers dejected — other places were teeming with kids. We’ve heard that some blocks of the posh Alameda neighborhood had toe-to-toe trick-or-treaters with residents saying they had 400-500 visits. We’ve heard from other people who, sadly, had zero or just a few visits.
My family went out with a few others in the Piedmont neighborhood where costumed traffic was pretty light. One family who joined us said they live in the Cully neighborhood east of 42nd. They drove closer-in because their neighborhood doesn’t have sidewalks and they didn’t feel safe walking around at night. But even in our neighborhood with its full grid of sidewalks, we were always on lookout for drivers and on high-alert whenever a spooky porch beckoned on the other side of the street.
And if you were online at all this week you probably came across an article based on research that shows Halloween night is one of the deadliest of the year for people on foot.
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With all that bouncing around my head and with inspiration from a tweet from local urban planner Gwen Shaw and the photos I saw online of a neighborhood in Hoboken, New Jersey (above), where the entire street was closed to drivers, I got to thinking: Why doesn’t Portland have a city-sanctioned program that lets neighbors create carfree zones on Halloween night?
We could call them Trick-or-Treat Streets.
It’s not a new or scary idea at all. The city has existing community program — Portland in the Streets — that seems to be tailor-made for this type of thing. Portland’s neighborhood block party permits are so popular the city recently made them even easier to get. Trick-or-Treat Streets would simply be several block parties stitched together to create an entire zone of streets where families and kids could be safe on foot wherever they roamed.
Imagine Peacock Lane (“Portland’s Christmas Street”), but for Halloween and over a larger area. And most importantly — imagine it happening in neighborhoods across Portland from St. Johns to Sellwood and from Parkrose to the Pearl. We should aspire to live in a city where no one has to drive their kids to a safer neighborhood.
If we can pull off things like Peacock Lane, neighborhood block parties and Sunday Parkways, we can surely do something like Trick-or-Treat Streets.
What do you think?
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