Portland is reeling from a record pace of traffic fatalities and a string of three horrific collisions involving teenagers in the past three weeks. Many local activists are using the word “crisis” to describe the lack of safety and irresponsible vehicle use on our streets.
Four years after coming to Portland from New York and two years after co-founding Better Block PDX, the Kaganoviches are moving to Toronto on Monday. (Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland unless noted)
Boris Kaganovich was talking quickly, as he often does, when he walked past the button-activated pedestrian signal at Northeast 60th and Glisan. Without breaking stride, he slammed the heel of his hand into the button and kept walking in another direction.
The lean, curly-haired 30-year-old grinned a little too widely.
“I just hit those whenever I walk past them,” he explained cheerfully.
It was August 2014, and if Kaganovich was acting a little like a cat who had eaten the canary and gotten away with it, he could probably be forgiven. [Read more…]
Paul Steely White at the 2010 National Bike Summit. (Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)
Talking about “livable streets” is out; talking about “safe streets” is in.
That’s the advice from Paul Steely White, executive director of the country’s largest local transportation advocacy group. The executive director of New York City-based Transportation Alternatives since 2004, White was a major force behind the city’s emergence as a national leader in reimagining streets as pleasant public spaces.
But as he heads to Portland for a keynote address Monday to the Oregon Active Transportation Summit, White is urging his fellow believers in livable streets to readjust their message when talking to politicians and the public. We spoke by phone on Thursday about why and how his organization has put Vision Zero, the campaign to completely eliminate road deaths, at the middle of their message.
Are you on a national Vision Zero tour, or is this a one-off thing?
Tomorrow, Portland’s city council is expected to approve a project (item 234) that’s likely to chart the city’s shift to “Vision Zero,” the philosophy that nothing — not vehicle speed, not road capacity, not even economic productivity — is more important to the transportation system than preventing the serious injury or death of a person on the road.
It’s a provocative idea. But what exactly does it mean the city would do that it doesn’t already do today?
So I decided to talk to two national bikesharing experts about Portland’s locally-grown industry leader and the future of bikesharing in general. The two were Matt Christensen, managing editor of Bikeshare.com, a Santa Monica-based website that posts jobs and other news about the bikesharing industry; and Paul DeMaio, founder of DC-based bikeshare consulting firm MetroBike LLC, who’s been publishing The Bike-sharing Blog for six years now.
Bikeshare.com’s Matt Christensen and MetroBike LLC’s Paul DeMaio.
Both of these guys were thoughtful, frank and upbeat in their assessment of where Alta and the concept of bikesharing are headed. The questions and answers below have been combined from separate interviews that covered many of the same subjects.
Happy Memorial Day, Portland. As you might have noticed, Jonathan and I will be serving up bike-related reporting for the next two weeks by way of a transcontinental tag-team. Let’s start things off with the national bike news that caught our eyes in the last week.
New York City’s long-awaited CitiBike sharing system launched today, and it’s the talk of the town and the bike world in general. With 14,000 annual memberships presold at about $100 apiece, it’s poised to be the biggest win yet for Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share, which operates the systems. Here are some interesting tidbits from this week’s coverage of CitiBike:
Just finished watching My Commuted Commute, a video that I think everyone should spend five minutes to check out. A woman from New York City, Rachel Brown, shot helmet cam footage and offers commentary about what it’s like to ride in one of the new, green-painted, curbside bike lanes. For all the positive buzz NYC is getting lately, this video shows that it takes much more than paint to create a truly functional lane for bike traffic.
Sarah Goodyear, Livable Streets Network editor and community manager (Photos: Elly Blue)
While I was in New York briefly, I met up with Sarah Goodyear, editor and community manager of the recently launched Livable Streets Blog Network. Billed as “the national blog network for sustainable transport, smart growth, and livable streets,” the network is the brainchild of Aaron Naparstek, editor-in-chief of StreetsBlog.org. (Both the network and StreetsBlog are part of umbrella organizaton The Open Planning Project.) [Read more…]