City will cut ribbon on ‘Neighborhood Greenways’ at Beach School

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Beach Elem. School encourages biking and walking-4

Concord, a “Neighborhood Greenway,”
is adjacent to Beach School.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has announced their first “Neighborhood Greenway” ribbon-cutting ceremony. The event will take place Wednesday afternoon at Beach School in the Overlook neighborhood of North Portland.

PBOT wants to showcase their growing network of residential streets that have been engineered to prioritize the safe movement of bicycles. These streets are also known as bicycle boulevards, but PBOT will brand them as ‘Neighborhood Greenways’ to show that they’re not just great for bikes, but that neighborhoods also benefit. The “greenways” aspect is a nod to how some of the streets include bioswales, new street trees, and other “green streets” features (more on the name change here and here).

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At Beach School, biking and walking makes a stronger community

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Rep. Jim Oberstar visits Beach Elementary School -6

Beach principal Tom Breuckman.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The first thing you notice upon walking into the main entrance if Beach School in north Portland is a Safe Routes to School map with a listing of locations and times for catching a bike train. The placement of that map isn’t an accident. This is a school that embraces biking and walking.

There are a lot of schools in Portland where biking and walking flourish, but Beach deserves a second look, not only for the way their school community has come together to push for change from the bottom up, but also because just a few years ago, its administrators banned biking altogether.

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Once prohibited, biking now a big part of Beach School

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

[This story was written by BikePortland contributor and Beach School parent, Chris Sullivan]

The Bike Fairy greeted kids
at Beach School on Friday.
(Photos: Chris Sullivan)

A few years ago, bikes were forbidden at Beach School in North Portland. Here’s a snip from the school’s 2002-03 family handbook:

“Bicycles, Skateboards, Roller Skates, etc… Due to the safety factor and other problems that occur at school over scooters, skateboards, Walkmans, roller skates, radios, toys, bicycles, etc., we are asking that students not bring these items to school.”

Last Friday morning the school hosted the culminating event of Walk + Bike to School month — a walk and bike train with over 100 kids, parents, staff, and neighbors. It stretched for four blocks.

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Catching the Beach Elementary School ‘bike train’

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

A good sign.
(Photos © J. Maus)

This morning on my way to the office, a sign at the corner of North Michigan and Alberta caught my eye; it read “Beach Bike Train meet up spot – 8:30 – Join Us.” It was about 8:25, so I decided to wait around and see if anyone showed up.

A few minutes later I saw a line of kids and parents pedaling toward the spot. One of them was Laurie Paulsen, a Beach parent who I’d met last summer at a nearby farmer’s market.

As kids (and kid-like parents) zoomed in circles around a parking lot waiting for others to show up, I chatted with her for a minute.

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