“Will the Green Loop have the bitterness of a bureaucrat’s utilitarianism and timeline, or will it be a place that embodies the slightly anarchistic spirit of Portland?”
“What is the Green Loop”?
That’s the question I got asked the most while tabling for the Friends of the Green Loop at the last Sunday Parkway as thousands of people streamed by. I always responded, “It is this, but all the time.”
Connecting the downtown park blocks across the Broadway Bridge through the Lloyd and over the soon to be built I-84 crossing on 7th through the Central Eastside and finally looping over the Tilikum crossing. It is a connected loop for walking, biking, reflecting, and enjoying our city. This past Sunday, tens of thousands of Portlanders got a taste of what that feels like on the Green Loop edition of Sunday Parkways. For me, it was a quiet exploration of the city full of the diverse faces of my neighbors.
without a picnic in 1969 this would have still been our waterfront
Join Us June 5th from 11-1pm @ SW Broadway and Montgomery for Portland Inclusivity Picnic
In his 2008 inauguration speech, then Mayor Sam Adams laid out a vision for Portland to become the “most sustainable city in the world”. It was an optimistic vision and one that called on everyone in Portland to work together to achieve. Today that narrative seems overrun by, as Tim Davis put it, “people in towers opposing towers”, homeowners fighting against people without homes, people with immense privilege excluding people without much, and even motorists trying to reserve as much space as possible for their private automobiles. It would be hard to claim that ten years later Portland has lived up to Mayor Adam’s vision.
The desire to claim your exclusive rights to common space is tempting in a world that seems run more off of social media than face-to-face contact, but exclusivity will not help us solve the most pressing problems we face as a society. Bicycles can be a tool to help us see each other and efficiently include people in a growing city. But as Denmark’s recent ban on religious face wear shows, we will need more than nice bikeways. We need to embrace a culture of including as many people as possible and understand that by doing so we will all be more wealthy, happy, and healthier.
In the summer of 1969, Portlanders hosted several “conscious raising picnics” in the small grassy area between the lanes of what was then the Harbor Drive highway. They ambitiously called for transforming the highway into a park. Today, it is impossible to imagine our city without Tom McCall Waterfront Park..
It is time for Portlanders to bring out their picnic blankets again.
Tomorrow, we are taking over a small section of Portland’s expansive public space dedicated to cars before people. We are reclaiming it to make a place where people can feel included and differences are celebrated. This inclusivity picnic will last for two hours and we will will host an open mic with several invited guest speakers to collectively imagine what an inclusive Portland might look and feel like.
Please join us tomorrow, June 5th, from 11-1pm on SW Montgomery between Broadway and 6th for a picnic to raise our consciousness about inclusivity and resist the pulls at our society to hide behind the shields of our car windows and single family zoned lots. Bring your own blanket and meal or join someone else on their blanket. Everyone is welcome.
This post is written by Kiel Johnson, owner of the Go By Bike bike valet in South Waterfront.
The Oregon Department of Transportation, under the leadership of Rian Windsheimer, is trying to remove a bike lane on SE 26th without providing any satisfying reasons as to why this is a good idea. This should alarm anyone who thinks that Portland should be safer for bikes and that our transportation system should be designed around evidence. From favoring auto capacity over transit, to spending $450 million to widen a freeway while many of the most dangerous streets that are under state control lack safe crossings, ODOT has repeatedly proven they are not acting in the best interests of the people of Portland. If ODOT is going to regain the trust of the community they serve, there needs to be a cultural change at ODOT that starts at the top. The director of ODOT who oversees Portland, Rian Windsheimer, must go.
A person-protected bike lane in New York City last month. (Photo: Streetsblog NYC)
This is a subscriber post by Kiel Johnson of Go By Bike.
At 6 p.m. tonight, join me and your fellow bike enthusiasts for what could be, if we want it to be, the biggest bicycling demonstration in Portland’s history. Together we will stand against the complacency that has told us that more biking is inevitable if we only do nothing.
We all know how to get more people biking, but it will only happen when enough people in Portland stand and demand it as loudly and as often as they can.
Each bike lane that we add or take away tells a story about who we are and what kind of place we want to live in. Are we a city that fosters health, community, and environmental stewardship? Or are we a city that breathes the same polluted air and sits in the same traffic as most of the rest of the United States? Tonight, I choose to help make a city where biking is accessible and safe for all; where we prioritize people who move through our city in ways that make us appreciate one another; where we build bridges that connect communities instead of rivers of cars to separate us.
It rolls from Salmon Street Springs every Thursday around 7:30 pm. (Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)
The dream of the nineties is somewhat alive in Portland.
In Portland, cars most certainly exist. Except for once a week on Thursday, when people ride bikes or double-decker bikes. They ride unicycles. They ride skateboards!
No matter what our President tweeted, no matter what forest is on fire, no matter what ODOT has done that week to make it easier for people to use cars, the Thursday night ride rides on. It does not care about liberalism, conservatism, that week’s gross domestic product numbers, or really much of anything. You do not even really need a bicycle (as long as you are a fast jogger) or a cent to your name.
[Note: This post was submitted by BikePortland Subscriber Kiel Johnson (a.k.a. “Go By Bike”) through our Subscriber Post system. We think it deserves a wider reach so we’ve posted it here on the Front Page. Remember, if you are a subscriber you are also a contributor! We would love to amplify your voice and share your experiences with a wider audience. Sign up here. – Jonathan]
What does mass resistance look like in 2017 Portland? The marches we saw over this weekend were the largest since the Vietnam War, unless of course, you follow “alternate facts”. If you look at the history of resistance in the world, it is constantly changing. Resistance must conform to the technology and public spaces of that period. Martin Luther King used television and the American Revolution used pamphlets. [Read more…]
The Better Broadway project is one of the most ambitious temporary space activation projects ever attempted in a US city. If it is successful the door will be opened to an entirely new narrative in Portland around auto space on our busiest roads. The scope of the project is ambitious. From NE 24th to 7th the entire north side-parking lane will be moved to the other side of the bike lane. This will create a parking protected bike lane with 5 temporary pedestrian crossings and islands alongside transit islands. It involves over 50 businesses and unlike the SW 3rd project, which ran for a weekend, Better Broadway will last for an entire week. [Read more…]
A specter is haunting our cities — the specter of street life!
Our streets make up the vast majority of our public space in cities. How these spaces are designed have profound impacts on how we think about communities and the policies we create. Janette Sadik-Khan’s “Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution” is a necessary chronicle and persuasive argument for giving street space back to people. She writes “streets are the social, political, and commercial arteries of cities … These are the spaces where life and history happen.”
Last week, I presented to a group of business leaders in the Lloyd District, most of whom commute by car from the suburbs. I was talking about the Better Broadway project that will open one auto lane of Broadway up for businesses and people for one week next month.
This post was submitted by BikePortland subscriber Kiel Johnson of Go By Bike.
Today, as children around the world were discovering what was inside of the wrapped boxes under their Christmas tree (or however else they celebrate the holidays). I did the same thing I do most days. I rode my bike around. Except this time Santa gave me the greatest gift of all. A city devoid of cars. [Read more…]