Angie Schmitt at her talk yesterday in downtown Portland. (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)
As (former) editor of Streetsblog USA and a prolific user of Twitter, Angie Schmitt has become a leading voice for a problem that plagues cities and towns across America: the skyrocketing rate of people killed while walking. Schmitt, who’s working on a book about the issue due out next year, was invited to speak in Portland by the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University.
At her sold-out lecture yesterday, Schmitt said she believes the increased death toll is due to a combination of factors that are creating a perfect storm. “But if I had to tie it back to one issue,” she added, “I’d say it’s inequality.” [Read more…]
For the most part the response to that question has centered around standard stuff like research and data, attempts to uncover the barriers to bicycling faced by people of color, and how organizations can be more inclusive. Those are important parts of the work; but what if we’ve been avoiding the root cause?
What if we aren’t making enough progress because we’re too uncomfortable to acknowledge the racist foundation of our land-use policies, transportation system and planning culture? What if the white privilege of many planning and advocacy professionals has led to the segregation of black people out of bike lanes? What if many black people do bike, but in places white people don’t usually associate with “cyclists” or “commuters”?
Those are just some of the questions that bounced around my head as I biked home from a talk given by Tamika Butler on Wednesday night. Butler was chosen by Portland State University’s Inititiave for Bicycle & Pedestrian Innovation to give the Anne Niles Active Transportation Lecture. She didn’t hold anything back. [Read more…]
Los Angeles transportation director Seleta Reynolds. (Photo via TREC at PSU)
Seleta Reynolds gets results.
As we reported last week, the city whose livable streets program she led for three years, San Francisco, has subsequently delivered the nation’s most consistent string of boosts in bike commuting.
She’s now one year into a vastly larger gig: transportation director for the City of Los Angeles, which turned millions of heads last month when it rolled out a citywide plan to gradually reallocate numerous auto lanes to create dedicated bus lanes and 300 miles of protected bike lanes.
She’s also one of the most reflective transportation leaders in the country, as the interview below makes clear. Ahead of her free Oct. 6 talk at Ecotrust, we caught up with Reynolds to discuss her advice for Portland’s advocates and bureaucrats, the arguments for biking that work best and whether Portland is still cool.
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