Adventures in Activism

This column is edited by Bike Loud PDX volunteers Catie Gould and Emily Guise.

Our goal is to share experiences and insights gleaned by activists doing work “in the trenches” of Portland’s transportation reform movement. See the introduction post here.

‘Mobility for All’ initiative seeks to create one-stop shop for transportation access

Avatar by on August 28th, 2018 at 11:10 am

A panel answered questions about the benefits of the program at a workshop held at Metro in June. From Right to left: Jan Campbell, Chair of the Special Transportation Fund Advisory Committee; Adrian Pearmine, DKS Associates; Bob Stacey, Oregon Metro Councilor District 6; Brenda Durbin, Director of Clackamas County Social Services; Julie Wilkie, Executive Director of Ride Connection.

“Right now we have a second-class transportation system for folks that have accessibility issues and it just plain isn’t fair.”
— Adrian Pearmine, DKS Associates.

Seniors and people living with a disability who need accessible transportation across the Portland region have dealt with a patchwork of inadequate services for years.

A new initiative called Mobility for All hopes to change that by creating a one-call, one-click regional transportation information system.

Today, many communities in the Portland Metro do not have accessible or frequent transit, requiring residents with special needs to reserve rides days in advance in order to get around. Service varies significantly in rural communities, and getting across the region through multiple service providers can be daunting. One of those options, TriMet’s privately operated LIFT paratransit service, was recently under fire at a Workers Rights Board hearing in May for inadequate scheduling systems and long wait times for riders among other complaints from employees and community members.
[Read more…]

Bringing the ‘Bike Lane Uprising’ to Portland

Avatar by on August 22nd, 2018 at 10:13 am

What was the outcome of this? How often does it happen? I have no idea.

Catie Gould and Emily Guise are co-editors of our Adventures in Activism column.

It’s a scenario familiar to anyone biking in a city: you’re riding down the bike lane, when suddenly you’re forced to brake and swerve around an unforeseen obstacle blocking your way. At best, this is annoying; at worst, it is deadly.

Reporting these issues can be extremely frustrating. In Portland, there is no way to send a photo to the Parking Enforcement number, and callers rarely know if a ticket was ever issued. Reports to the 823-SAFE hotline can take months to be reviewed and disappear into a database that is not publicly accessible. This leads people to resort to social media, which raises only temporary awareness.

A new website aims to fill the gap. Since Bike Lane Uprising launched in September 2017, it has received over 2200 bike lane obstructions reports. Christina Whitehouse, an industrial designer in Chicago, has been surprised by how quickly it has taken off. The site allows people to submit incidents of bike lane infractions which are posted online and entered into a database and mapped. As more people contribute, Whitehouse can create heatmaps to identify conflict zones, trends, and notify businesses that are repeat offenders.
[Read more…]

Chill reads for new urbanist needs

Avatar by on July 25th, 2018 at 9:13 am

Our co-editor Emily Guise models proper reading form.
(Photo: Catie Gould)

This summer reading list was created by Catie Gould and Emily Guise, BikeLoud PDX volunteers and co-editors of our Adventures in Activism column.

Summer is a great time to relax by the pool (fountain, river, lake, sprinkler, or whatever) and still get nerdy about transportation and land-use. What could be better?

Here’s our list of favorite urbanist classics and a few newer ones for good measure…
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Son’s death sparks crusade for safer light rail crossings

Avatar by on July 23rd, 2018 at 1:38 pm

Darla Sturdy and her children.
(Photo: Sturdy family)

Greg Spencer is a writer and editor who volunteers with the local chapter of Families for Safe Streets.

Eighty crosswalks and 45 light-rail stations made safer. That’s how Darla Sturdy sums up her proudest accomplishment to date.

Sturdy, a Gresham mother and member of Families for Safe Streets Oregon and SW Washington, never imagined a second life as a transportation engineer, much less as a lobbyist. But this is the work she threw herself into after her boy was run over and killed by a MAX light rail train.
[Read more…]

“Be reasonable” and other advice aspiring activists should ignore

Avatar by on July 18th, 2018 at 4:14 pm

Throwing bales of hay onto one of Portland’s most dangerous, high-speed arterials is far from reasonable. And that’s probably why it was so effective.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

Catie Gould is co-editor of our Adventures in Activism column.

There are not many professions where you introduce yourself and get a stream of complaints in response. I design office printers for a living, so this comes up a lot. On the plus side, years of complaints about ink prices and paper jams prepared me well to have an opinion about transportation issues, and be ready for other people’s advice on what is wrong with my perspective.

Just wearing a Sunday Parkways shirt once got me on the receiving end on a stream of complaints about PBOT, bike racks, and so on.

In general, I think transportation is a wonderful advocacy area because it is so accessible. Everyone experiences it — and therefore everyone is an expert. Well, not really. But everyone who calls City Hall about the lack of parking considers themselves experts, so you might as well think of yourself as one too.
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Adventures in Activism: In search of bike-friendly bus stops

Avatar by on June 21st, 2018 at 1:56 pm

Rides are always better when they come with commemorative spoke cards.
(Photo by Dan Gebhart. All other photos by Catie Gould)

With the Enhanced Transit Corridors (ETC) plan freshly adopted by City Council, the second (of three) Central City in Motion online open houses in the books, and TriMet seeking input on their Division Transit Project — now is a good time to talk about what makes good bus station design.

Earlier this month as part of Pedalpalooza, the Portland Bus Lane Project and BikeLoudPDX hosted a very wonky bus and bike lane ride with help from Portland Bureau of Transportation Planner Nick Falbo.

PBOT includes a variety of new tools in their ETC plan; but not all of them play equally well with bicycle users. We wanted to get our hands dirty and learn more about what types of stations we currently have — and how future designs could be better. About 30 people showed up for the ride to learn and share what they know about bus stop designs. Here are some takeaways:
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Adventures in Activism, our new column edited by BikeLoudPDX

Avatar by on June 6th, 2018 at 12:05 pm

[Publisher’s note: I’m happy to introduce a new column — Adventures in Activism — to highlight more of the vital, in-the-trenches work of grassroots activists. The column will be edited by BikeLoudPDX volunteers Emily Guise and Catie Gould; but they won’t be the only writers. If you’re working to make streets better, please get in touch so we can share your voice. In this first post, Emily and Catie share how they got involved. Stay tuned and thanks for reading. – Jonathan]

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Emily Guise.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

➤ by Emily Guise

My bike advocacy career started on North Williams Avenue. In 2011, I was living in inner north Portland, had just started a new job downtown, and was going to school in Gresham. I rarely rode during rush-hour before; but now I was part of the pack going in-and-out of the central city. I began to hate my bike commute: people behaved dangerously, traffic was noisy, and I felt scared riding in skinny bike lanes. Riding up Williams was the worst. Its thin bike lane was sandwiched between impatient rush-hour commuters in big SUVs and parked cars whose drivers obliviously flung their doors open. Having to be on high-alert just to get home safely was exhausting. I disliked how angry I felt while biking and I knew I couldn’t continue this way.
[Read more…]