Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

Portland dissolves Vision Zero Task Force, introduces new outreach plans

Posted by on February 8th, 2021 at 3:51 pm

A Vision Zero Task Force meeting in Portland City Hall in February 2017.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The advisory group that helped implement Portland’s Vision Zero Action Plan has been disbanded.

“As our work has evolved, so too must our Vision Zero engagement.”
— Chris Warner, PBOT Director

With just four years to reach the 2025 target of zero road deaths, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has officially dissolved the Vision Zero Task Force and plans to shift to a, “model of community accountability that engages an even broader set of stakeholders.”

This move was confirmed in a letter to Task Force members, but was not announced publicly until now. A Vision Zero newsletter emailed on February 4th made no mention of the change.

In a letter (PDF) dated January 22nd, PBOT Director Chris Warner offered gratitude to task force members. “Your leadership and commitment to safe streets have contributed to a strong foundation for PBOT’s Vision Zero work,” he wrote. “The Vision Zero Task Force has shaped Portland’s Vision Zero Action Plan, embedded racial equity and elevated street design in our work, and overseen implementation of Vision Zero actions over the past four years.”

Portland adopted its Vision Zero resolution in June 2015 and passed an action plan six months later. The Task Force was charged with implementing that plan. They met 11 times between February 2017 and October 2019.

PBOT, Portland, and vision zero in general have gone through massive shifts in recents years. The agency has gone through political and staffing leadership changes, Portland has been at the center of a reckoning on racism and policing, and traffic safety advocacy has evolved to be more aware of how road projects and policy decisions impact all users.

Advertisement

Page 1 of Vision Zero Engagement Plan Summary.

In his letter, Warner wrote that PBOT’s community engagement style will change to fit the times. The task force will be replaced by a new, four-step public engagement plan that will, “continue to support our work to build a culturally-responsive and community-driven Vision Zero education program.”

According to the Vision Zero Engagement Plan Summary (PDF), the four new focus areas will be: “BIPOC-centered education and outreach”, collaboration with Metro and Multnomah County, an outreach and marketing plan for automated enforcement, and a new informational dashboard to help inform the public on progress.

PBOT’s Vision Zero staff will create a cohort of Black, Indigenous, and people of color to be called the “Frontline Community Partner focus group” which will “provide base level information on community wishes around transportation safety education” and help develop marketing efforts. The group will also audit PBOT’s existing safety programs. A facilitator will be hired to create an outreach and education plan.

The City of Portland will also convene a regular meeting of partners from Metro and Multnomah County to “advance collaboration on street design and policy work.” They plan to focus on issues like speed limits, regional safety messaging and education, and legislation.

With PBOT currently working to expand automated enforcement, another focus will be to seek feedback and better educate the public about this important tool.

A new online dashboard will be updated quarterly, is expected to be live early this year, and is intended to, “provide clear, easy-to-access updates on street safety actions and programs.” It will include data on things like street lighting, crashes, project progress and evaluations, enforcement camera data, traffic citation data, and so on.

These changes come as Portland reels under the consequences and constant threat of increasingly violent streets. Far from seeing substantial progress for six years of Vision Zero efforts, PBOT is trying to right the ship. Time will tell if this new tack will result in smoother sailing.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
— Get our headlines delivered to your inbox.
— Support this independent community media outlet with a one-time contribution or monthly subscription.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

77
Leave a Reply

avatar
13 Comment threads
64 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
28 Comment authors
ChopwatchDoug KlotzsorenMiddle of the Road Guymarisheba Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Nadia Maxim
Guest
Nadia Maxim

Sounds like a lot of planning and not much action. More secure jobs and money for the bureaucrats as they plan incessantly. They seem to excel at wasting the taxpayers hard earned money without having anything to show for it except more governmental reports. Time for a tax revolt! Only way to get them to listen is to cut their funding.

J_R
Guest
J_R

There is so much unbelievable wording in this article. It’s so pathetic it has me laughing.

What we need is motorist accountability, not community accountability that engages a broader set of stakeholders.

We don’t need any more education. What we’ve supposedly tried has not produced any positive outcomes.

Now, we’re going to have more frontline focus groups and partner meetings. Wow! New names for the same ineffective entities.

Better make sure staff and selected invitees get trips to far away places to see what works. And, don’t forget the plans and reports. We need lots more of those.

For goodness sake, don’t try anything like E N F O R C E M E N T. That might have negative consequences.

squareman
Subscriber

Vision Zero Task Force is dissolved. And like a tree falling over, impotent and alone in the forest, nobody will even notice that it happened. 🙁

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Good lord, we know what works. Fix the damn roads.

Eric H
Guest
Eric H

So is this what happened to the Off-road Cycling Master Plan process as well? Just dissolved it without actually telling anyone?

dan
Guest
dan

After doing nothing for several years, we’ve accomplished nothing. Now we’re going to make room for a new totally ineffective process. Tax dollars well spent, as always.

maxD
Guest
maxD

This is disappointing, but possibly for the best. It is disappointing because I think it possible to change a paradigm within a bureaucracy by adopting something easy to understand with a clear, visionary goal like Vision Zero. Its probably for the best because Portland never really adopted it. It was a task force, and a trail and whatnot. Instead of saying PBOT has adopted a goal to reach zero traffic deaths by 2030, and all new projects will consider changes to help meet that goal, PBOT made a task force, and they met a few times, and they identified projects. meanwhile, projects like Greeley crop up with a bunch of really unsafe aspects to it. I direct some question to the project engineer who literally asks “what is Vision Zero?” She looks into it and explains that Greeley is projected funded by Freight money, it is not a Vision Zero project, so concerns about wide lanes, high traffic speeds, no safe space for pedestrians, etc do not apply. I think that half-assed, siloed approach to Vision Zero could possibly so ineffective that it could be worse than not having any commitment to Vision Zero. I guess we will find out.

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

Zero enforcement, zero expectations and if they are merely going to load up speed cameras in low income neighborhoods then shame on them. Side note, Chloe can say all that she would like but the deaths under her watch mostly went up. All talk and nothing but science to let us know that is all that she was.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

That’s weird. Usually good intentions are enough to implement near-impossible policies.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

“Far from seeing substantial progress for six years of Vision Zero efforts, PBOT is trying to right the ship. Time will tell if this new tack will result in smoother sailing.”

It sounds as if the ship of state, the only ship that leaks from the top, is drifting rudderless towards a lee shore, the crew all ahoo with too many leaders and the sails all blown out, about to wreck on the rocks.

Fred
Guest
Fred

Anyone who cycles in Portland knows what it will take to make the roads safer: We need enforcement of existing traffic laws. Every Portland cyclist also knows that enforcement is nonexistent right now – and has been for years. The fact that many drivers still obey the law is the only thing standing between the current barely tenable situation and total chaos. A large minority have figured out there is no enforcement and drive accordingly.

Vision Zero is still the right idea but enforcement is Step One.

ConcernedCitizen
Guest
ConcernedCitizen

I think a bunch of mobile speed cameras would go a long way to producing actual results. Wouldn’t need to be that many, simply move them around at random. 5 mph and over and you’ve got a ticket. Start the fee low at $20. Each additional fee doubles. Don’t pay and your car is repo’d, auctioned off, and the driver gets the proceeds in gift certificates to trimet and/or local bike shops. None of this would require PPB action.

Chopwatch
Guest
Chopwatch

Bureaucratic bureaucrats doing bureaucratic things.