Advocacy Archives

Beaverton City Council needs to hear about how auto parking decisions impact cycling

Posted on February 8th, 2018 at 3:16 pm.

Lloyd northbound toward Millikan, where cars could soon line both sides of the street.
(Photos by Naomi Fast for BikePortland)

This story is from our Washington County correspondent, Naomi Fast.

We need to talk about on-street auto parking in Beaverton.

A big picture glance at Beaverton Traffic Commission meeting agendas shows that over the past couple years, on-street car parking is a consuming and intersectional problem. Residents have been asking the city to lower speed limits rather than rely on parked cars for traffic calming, as well as further restrict on-street car parking. But the parking restriction requests are coming in for two different reasons: some are concerned about safety while traveling on car-cluttered roads, while others are concerned about people sleeping overnight in vehicles on the street.

Biking as transportation is — thankfully — being acknowledged somewhat in the search for solutions. However, some advocates are concerned certain proposed bike lanes (on a section of 5th, specifically, which the Bicycle Advisory Committee endorsed) were being used by the city to justify a new ordinance that would, in effect, evict houseless people from staying overnight in vehicles on the street. Washington County just enacted their own ordinance prohibiting camping on-street in RVs. Like Portland, Beaverton is struggling to house all its residents. The city has even decided to apply for an Urban Growth Boundary expansion.

But today, I’d like to outline a seemingly small detail of the bigger parking problem. It’s an example of the kind of mundane traffic decision that should be considered from a carfree person’s perspective, as part of the equity consideration.

And I think it’s worth a call-to-action for people whose preferred or primary mode of travel in Beaverton is a bicycle.
[Read more…]

After another death, community groups will press City for ’emergency’ on outer SE Stark

Posted on February 7th, 2018 at 2:12 pm.

Looks like an emergency to me.

We’ve seen this sad movie before: After seemingly incessant traffic violence on our streets, people join together with tears in their eyes and frustration in their hearts to implore our government agencies to do more to make our streets safe.

This time Oregon Walks and the Rosewood Initiative will lead the way. They’re hosting a press conference Thursday morning to draw attention to terrible conditions on outer SE Stark Street after a woman was killed by an auto user at 148th Street last week. That was the third fatal traffic crash at or near that same intersection in less than a year. In a statement (below), Oregon Walks Executive Director Noel Mickelberry is calling on the City of Portland to declare an official emergency on SE Stark in order to immediately reduce the speed limit from 35 to 30 mph.

Mickelberry hopes the Portland Bureau of Transportation will take a similar approach to the emergency declaration they successfully pursued on SE Division last year.

Here’s more from the Oregon Walks press release:
[Read more…]

A former Portlander wants to know what ‘women led’ cities would look like

Posted on February 6th, 2018 at 9:53 am.

Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman at Portland’s Parking Day event in 2013.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman is putting what she learned in Portland to very good use: addressing the sexism in urban planning and helping women take leadership roles in how our cities are designed.

“The city, as we know it today, has been designed and shaped primarily by men,” she wrote in a recent email, “By bringing women’s voices to the forefront of the urban discussion, the Women Led Cities Initiative aims to achieve a greater level of equity in urban planning and design – both bottom-up and top-down – and start conversations about developing feminist city policy towards greater equality for all people in our cities.”

Johnston-Zimmerman, an urban anthropologist with a Master of Urban Studies degree from Portland State University (and who shared a guest article here on BikePortland in 2013), moved to Philadelphia a few years ago; but not before cutting her teeth on local activism efforts like Better Block and Parking Day. Back in 2012 I worked with Johnston-Zimmerman (and two others) on a project for GOOD Magazine where we envisioned a Portland where bicycling was just as easy as driving or taking transit.

Those projects were just the start for Johnston-Zimmerman. She’s also founder of the THINK.urban consulting firm, part of the tandem (along with fellow urbanist Kirsten Jeffers) that hosts the Third Wave Urbanism podcast, and one of the driving forces behind the Women Led Cities initiative.
[Read more…]

Northwest Trail Alliance: The trail ahead (Part 2)

Posted on January 23rd, 2018 at 10:15 am.

A rider finds the groove on a trail in Gateway Green, a signature project for Northwest Trail Alliance. (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

[This is the second part of a two-part post from Northwest Trail Alliance President Chris Rotvik. Don’t miss Part 1, a recap of 2017.]

Almost 30 years ago, Theo Patterson spoke up to make sure mountain bikes weren’t banned from Forest Park. To help, Patterson founded Portland United Mountain Pedalers, or PUMP. In 2009, PUMP became Northwest Trail Alliance, and we turn 30 this year. With our Big Three-Oh looming, let’s glance back and gaze forward.

[Read more…]

Northwest Trail Alliance: The tide is turning (Part 1)

Posted on January 23rd, 2018 at 10:15 am.

A father and daughter enjoy the new trails at Gateway Green’s Dirt Lab.
(Photos: J. Maus)

Standing with our partners (I’m on the left in green shirt) — including City Commissioners Amanda Fritz, Nick Fish, and Portland Parks Director Mike Abbaté — at opening day for the Dirt Lab at Gateway Green.

[We’re happy to publish a two-part article from Northwest Trail Alliance President Chris Rotvik. First, a recap of 2017. Then a look ahead to what’s in store this year.]

Throughout 2017, more than 1,700 mountain bikers — from shredders to striders — dropped in to Northwest Trail Alliance-hosted digging and riding events. And, all tolled, our volunteers carved a smidgen over 12,000 hours into our trails and the political arena that sustains the flow of riding in our region. Those hours equate to $360,000 of hard labor invested in elevating both our sport, and the tide on which our local cycling industry floats. Think of it as your membership and sponsorship currency, multiplied tenfold, and paid forward.

The urban scene captured the lion’s share of 2017’s effort. To date, we’ve brought forward more than 1,500 hours (and we’re not yet at the finish line) shaping Portland’s Off-Road Cycling Master Plan (ORCMP). Simultaneously, our expertise, labor, and equipment helped bring the Dirt Lab at Gateway Green — the prototype of how ORCMP will reshape our urban riding scene — to life.

Opened in late June, the Dirt Lab has reinvigorated riding and advocacy, and there’s much good yet to come of it— in Forest Park, River View Natural Area, Washington Park, and drizzled across the smaller parks in Portland. Icing that cake is our sweet partnership with Metro, who’ll soon be bringing delectable riding in the North Tualatin Mountains beyond Forest Park, in Oregon City, and in the Gabbert Buttes to the east of Portland.

So, after 30 years, the urban tide is turning. Are you out there, Theo Patterson?

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Take a Kid Mountain Biking day at Ventura Park.

Let’s step from the urban scene to our front-country venues: First, we wrote Stub Stewart State Park the equivalent of a $60,000 check in the form of 2,500 volunteer hours, the highest across all our sites (Gateway Green and Growler’s Gulch ranked second and third at 1,800 and 1,600 hours, respectively). At Stub, we put paid to two new bridges, two new coach-ready, skill-building loops, a significant trail re-route, and two riding events. Next, the trail gnomes of Southwest Washington topped the mileage charts by adding — with their usual surgical precision — another five miles of new line to the fabled Growler’s Gulch system. (Digging is your ticket to entry, so if you’d like to ride Growler’s magic carpet, sign up for the work parties … find them on nw-trail.org.)

Elsewhere in the region, we buffed-out the trails. And buffed some more, for a total of 1,900 hours of wax on, wax off at Sandy Ridge, St. Helens, Coldwater Lake, Scappoose, Tillamook, Lacamas, Cascade Locks, Eichler, Powell Butte, Hagg Lake, and Whipple Creek. That’s the equivalent of re-shaping and brushing seven hours a day, five days a week, year-round. Mister Miyagi would be proud.

OK, then. We’ve brought almost two thousand of our new best friends to the party, opened a bike park, gained significant urban mountain biking momentum, raised Stub and Growler’s yet another notch, kept Sandy Ridge a premier destination despite the onslaught of almost one hundred thousand gravity-fueled runs, and sustained 10 other regional riding destinations. Not bad, eh?

While 2017’s achievements just might be a high water mark for the organization, we’re already over it, aside from just one thing … our gratitude. If it weren’t for you — member, sponsor, volunteer — mountain biking in the region would be dirt poor. Thank you for all you do for our shared passion.

Oh, and 2018 promises to be a gangbuster. Care to join us?

— Chris Rotvik, President, Northwest Trail Alliance

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Sue Stahl, accessibility advocate who pushed for Portland’s adaptive bike program, has died

Posted on November 20th, 2017 at 4:06 pm.

Suzanne Stahl.
(Photo via Facebook)

One of Portland’s most persistent advocates for the rights of people with disabilities has died. Sue Stahl passed away on November 14th. She was 42 years old.

Stahl was a fixture in the fight to make Portland’s streets work better for all people, not just those in cars and on bikes. Her impressive advocacy resume included: Chair of the Portland Commission on Disability, board member of Oregon Walks, member of the City of Portland Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and much more. She also ran for Portland City Council (against Steve Novick) last year.

BikePortland readers probably recall Stahl’s name in our coverage about the lack of adaptive bikes in Portland’s Biketown bike share system. Stahl began asking the Portland Bureau of Transportation about the accessibility of the system as far back as March 2016 — three months before it was due to launch.
[Read more…]

Deputy director of The Street Trust takes job at ODOT

Posted on November 17th, 2017 at 11:56 am.

LeeAnne Fergason.
(Photo: Tanja Olson)

LeeAnne Fergason is the new Safe Routes to School program manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation.

ODOT announced the hire in a statement today, saying Fergason will join the agency in mid-December.

Reached today via email, Fergason told us she’s excited for her new role but, “Deeply saddened to say goodbye to The Street Trust.” “The Street Trust’s staff (old and new), partners (so many amazing partners), and supporters (our members and friends),” she continued, “have helped me so much, and I’m eternally grateful for all the smart, passionate, and kind people that have taken the time to teach me.”

Fergason is the longest tenured employee at The Street Trust. According to her official bio she began work there as a bike safety education instructor in 2007. Fergason became The Street Trust’s main advocate for Safe Routes to School (a program they implement with a combination of state, federal, and regional funding) and spearheaded their “For Every Kid” campaign. She moved into the deputy director role back in July when The Street Trust’s former deputy director Stephanie Noll left the organization.

There’s a lot of Safe Routes work to do at ODOT these days. The former manager of the program, Julie Yip, recently retired, and the statewide transportation package includes $125 million over the next 10 years for a new Safe Routes to School grant program. As ODOT announced today, one of Fergason’s first tasks will be to staff a new Rules Advisory Committee that will create the policy framework for how these new funds will be allocated.
[Read more…]

Inspiring speeches from Oregon Walks award winners

Posted on November 6th, 2017 at 1:54 pm.

View from the stage.
(Photo: Steph Routh)

As I alluded to last week, volunteer activism is at the foundation of Portland’s livable streets movement. At Oregon Walks‘ annual Weston Awards fundraising party on Friday night, two of the award winners epitomized that fact: citizen activist Steve Bozzone and the Brentwood Darlington Neighborhood represented by Meesa Long, Lesley McKinley and Chelsea Powers.

With an impressive crowd of advocates, electeds, city staffers, and fellow citizen activists looking on, Bozzone and McKinley shared memorable acceptance speeches that are worth sharing.

Long, McKinley and Powers were up first. This amazing trio led an effort that garnered over $5 million in grants to improve streets in their southeast Portland neighborhood. That’s a big number for a grassroots campaign! And in the process they set records for highest public participation Metro had ever seen by rallying their fellow residents to send in hundreds of postcards, fill in online comment forms, and sign petitions (over 1,000 signatures total).
[Read more…]

North Portland rising: Arbor Lodge and Overlook residents ready to fight for safe streets

Posted on October 26th, 2017 at 3:09 pm.

At the N Greeley Traffic Safety Open House last night.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Something’s happening in north Portland. And it will have a profound impact on street safety for years to come.

People in all 11 neighborhoods that make up our city’s northern peninsula are sick and tired of living next to unsafe streets. And they’re coming together to do something about it.

Last night about 60 people crowded shoulder-to-shoulder inside Madrona Hill Cafe on the corner of Ainsworth and Greeley for a “traffic safety open house”. The meeting came five days after 50 people donned raincoats and rallied for safer streets at an unrelated event in St. Johns.

At the open house last night there were babies and kids and senior citizens and young professionals. And everyone had a story to tell. By the end of the night there were well over 100 post-it notes stuck to two large maps where people had written things like, “dog hit” “car hit” and “son cannot cross street w/ bike in the morning”. The event came after months of planning from a nascent group of volunteers from the Arbor Lodge and Overlook neighborhoods who are focused on traffic safety issues. [Read more…]

In two separate events, north Portlanders will seek attention for dangerous streets

Posted on October 19th, 2017 at 10:45 am.

Flyer for tomorrow’s rally.

North Portlanders are tired of waiting for the City or advocacy groups to save them from the deadly streets in their front yards. They’re taking matters into their own hands by elevating voices of vulnerable road users and demanding attention for their concerns.

Two events in the coming week — one from the Arbor Lodge and Overlook neighborhood associations and one from the St. Johns Neighborhood Association — will focus on dangerous streets where motor vehicle users cause daily environmental, safety and public health problems.

This Friday (10/20) a group of St. Johns residents calling themselves Citizens for a Safe and Attractive Fessenden/St Louis will hold a rally to demand that the Portland Bureau of Transportation follow through with promises. Fessenden/St.Louis is a neighborhood collector street between Columbia Boulevard (to the north) and Lombard (to the south). Residents PBOT to fully implement the St. Johns Truck Strategy Phase II project that was approved after a 17 month public process in 2013 (as part of the St. Johns Truck Strategy adopted by City Council in 2001).
[Read more…]