Advocacy Archives

How Portland got a bus/bike only lane on Southwest Madison

Posted on July 10th, 2019 at 9:00 am.

It didn’t just happen.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Story by BikePortland Contributor Catie Gould

On May 17th, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) issued a press release to announce a reconfiguration of SW Madison Street aimed at faster bus service. “The upgrade of SW Madison is the first Central City in Motion project to be implemented, just six months after the plan was passed by Portland City Council,” the press release touted. Five days later it was done.

But for a handful of transportation advocates, the work began two years earlier. Today we’re peeling back the curtain to share what went on behind the scenes.
[Read more…]

Portlanders set out red cups to push for more protection while cycling

Posted on April 26th, 2019 at 10:10 am.

People are so desperate for protection they’ve placed red plastic cups between the lanes on Willamette Boulevard.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Paint is not protection.

That’s the message from people across America today who are taking part in the Red Cup Project. Inspired by the tragic death of Washington D.C. cycling advocate Dave Salovesh (@darsal), the red cups are a quick and cheap way to define space and show how relatively little effort it takes to create safer conditions for cycling.[Read more…]

Influential Portland Planning Commission seeks three new members

Posted on February 25th, 2019 at 2:28 pm.

It only looks boring.

There’s a big opportunity afoot for three Portlanders who want to play a major role in shaping our city’s growth.
[Read more…]

Bikers on a budget get a break at the Community Cycling Center

Posted on February 15th, 2019 at 12:13 pm.

The Community Cycling Center’s shop on NE Alberta — now more inviting for more budgets.
(Photos: The CCC)

In Portland, the lower your income, the more likely you are to use a bicycle to get to work. That’s also true on the national level, as Harvard’s Anne Lusk so adeptly pointed out in an article posted by CityLab this week.

Most discussions around this topic center on the need for infrastructure equity and access to safe streets for all. But what about access to the gear and products that can make the act of pedaling a bike more feasible and comfortable?

Portland’s Community Cycling Center (celebrating their 25th anniversary this year!) is dedicated to making cycling accessible to everyone. I recently learned they have Low Income Commuter Discount program at their bike shop on Alberta Street and asked Executive Director Kasandra Griffin to share more about it.
[Read more…]

Get to know your community through ‘Love in Motion’ live storytelling event

Posted on February 12th, 2019 at 12:16 pm.

This Friday February 15th, The Street Trust will host “Love in Motion,” their ninth annual live storytelling event.
[Read more…]

In surprise change, ODOT will extend I-5 Rose Quarter comment period to 45 days

Posted on February 5th, 2019 at 10:41 am.

I-5 with Harriet Tubman Middle School in the background.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Department of Transportation announced this morning they’ll extend the public comment period on the Environmental Assessment (EA) of their I-5 Rose Quarter Project. The EA will be released February 15th.

The announcement comes a surprise. Less than a month ago ODOT said 30 days would be enough and the agency formally declined requests from the No More Freeways Coalition and Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly to extend it to 60 days.

In a January 11th letter to the coalition (PDF), ODOT Major Projects Manager Megan Channell, wrote,

“Given the range of opportunities that will be provided for the public to engage in the project and the environmental findings, we do not plan to extend the 30-day public comment period at this time. This is consistent with federal standards for an Environmental Assessment public review [*Which is why advocacy groups felt a more rigorous Environmental Impact Statement should have been conducted]. We plan to publish the EA and start the public comment period to allow the interested readers to first see and review the information and then assess the time needed for review. Once the comment period begins, we will consider if an extension is necessary based on feedback received after publication of the document.”

The 30-day comment period was also referenced by Commissioner Eudaly in her January 23rd blog post on the topic. “We are prioritizing public engagement because this project is one of the most significant transportation efforts in recent years,” she wrote. “I want to ensure that this project reflects our values, particularly our commitment to equity, sustainability, and safety.” According to Eudaly’s Chief of Staff Marshall Runkel, the Commissioner met with Windsheimer and other ODOT officials in early January.

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Instead of a longer comment period, ODOT touted the outreach they’d already done on the project and said they’d push back the release date of the EA to allow community groups to organize. They also agreed to host a public hearing on March 12th (something Eudaly’s office specifically requested).

This morning ODOT changed course and announced the EA will have a 45-day public comment period. “The additional 15 days will allow more time for the community to consider and provide meaningful comments on the environmental findings,” reads the statement.

An extra 15 days is just half of what Eudaly and the No More Freeways Coalition requested. And ODOT was already under pressure from the Audubon Society of Portland and OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon for doing an Environmental Assessment on this mega-project instead of the more rigorous analysis required under an Environmental Impact Statement.

In an email to BikePortland this morning, Aaron Brown from No More Freeways wrote, “In November, dozens of community groups joined us in asking ODOT for a two month extension to the public comment period. ODOT instead granted only two weeks, and only after ceding to political pressure from civic leaders. Given the catastrophic increase of neighborhood air pollution and regional carbon emissions that this project entails, it is crucially important that the community be given a meaningful opportunity to speak out about the concerns of ODOT’s freeway widening proposal.”

Asked for comment this morning, Runkel from Commissioner Eudaly’s office said, “The commissioner recognizes that it is unlikely that the community will reach consensus about the project, but is committed to a full and fair public process to consider it.”

Upcoming opportunities for feedback include a drop-in open house on March 7th (5:30 to 8:00 pm at Leftbank Annex), a public hearing on March 12th (4:30 to 6:00 pm at Oregon Convention Center), and an online open house which will begin February 15th (the EA release date) and run through April 1st.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Better Block’s annual request for proposals is your chance to be an urbanism superhero

Posted on January 29th, 2019 at 1:05 pm.

It’s that time of year when Portland’s tactical urbanist group Better Block PDX considers your requests on how best to re-invent streets and public spaces.

What is Better Block? Inspired by a national nonprofit, it’s a group founded in 2013 by volunteer planners, engineers, students and activists. Among their accomplishments is lighting the fires under the Portland Bureau of Transportation that led the agency to construct the SW 3rd Ave/Ankeny Street plaza and Better Naito just to name a few. Their approach is simple, yet profound: To create temporary “pop-up projects” that re-imagine streets and public spaces to be human-centered, inviting and fun. When done correctly, these exciting pop-ups might even become permanent (as was the case with the two aforementioned examples).

The official opening date for the 2019 BBPDX RFP begins this Friday February 1st and runs through March 1st. According to BBPDX, “The projects selected will go through Portland State University’s Project Pathway program where urban planning, civil engineering, and communication students produce public engagement, traffic analysis, and design plans for the projects.” In other words, they can take your idea and vision and turn it into reality.
[Read more…]

Rally shows support for protected bikeways and a permanent Better Naito

Posted on September 19th, 2018 at 12:48 pm.

Bike Loud PDX Co-chair Catie Gould addressed the crowd.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Amid bustling, after-work traffic on Naito Parkway last night, dozens of Portlanders came together to send a message: The protected lanes known as Better Naito should stay.
[Read more…]

Better Naito is Portland’s future. It’s time to embrace it

Posted on September 18th, 2018 at 10:21 am.

*Video montage of Better Naito in action this summer courtesy of Streetfilms.

Today is an opportunity to demand better biking in Portland.
[Read more…]

Pressure builds on City of Portland to keep Better Naito in place

Posted on September 14th, 2018 at 11:02 am.

Better Naito, shown here during its launch back in May, has been a big success. Its biggest supporters have been PBOT staff and elected officials. So, why take it down?
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Two of Portland’s transportation reform advocacy groups are ratcheting up their opposition to the City of Portland’s plans to tear down the Better Naito project at the end of next week.
[Read more…]