jason roberts

Nine questions for Better Block founder Jason Roberts

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on February 11th, 2016 at 3:58 pm

jason roberts

Mr. Roberts in action.
(Photo: Better Block)

If you had to pick a single person to thank for the wave of live on-street demos that’s been spreading rapidly around the country — most recently, today’s pop-up protected bike lane on Southwest Broadway — it’d probably be Jason Roberts.

In 2010, the Dallas-based planner co-created what’s now The Better Block Foundation by raising $1,000 for a semi-legal weekend demo of bike lanes, street flowerpots, cafe seating and pedestrian space in the city’s Oak Cliff neighborhood. From there, Roberts has spun the concept into a group that has lent its name to disciples around the country and last month received a $775,000 grant from the Knight Foundation to enshrine live community-led demos as a legitimate part of American urban planning.

As we wrote on Tuesday, Roberts is visiting Portland this week for a talk at City Hall on Friday. We caught up with him for an interview about how to run a great street demo, how these projects can improve cities and why they were developed in Dallas, of all places.

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Wonk up! Four notable speakers coming to town

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on February 9th, 2016 at 12:22 pm

JSK at Women's Bicycling Forum

NYC transportation hero Janette Sadik-Khan
visits town next month.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

More than any time since I’ve been here, it seems as if Portland is opening its arms and ears to good ideas from elsewhere.

In the coming days and weeks we’ll be welcoming a bunch of nationally known experts on transportation for some timely talks. Delightfully, all of them are free.

With some, we’ll be doing more extensive previews based on advance interviews. With others, we’ll attend and report what they say.

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