open streets

How to make the most of your carfree Healthy Block this summer

Sam Balto (Contributor) by on June 8th, 2021 at 7:48 am

What will you do on your Healthy Block this summer?
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The saying better late than never definitely applies to PBOT’s new Healthy Blocks program.

During the pandemic, PBOT prioritized business permits for outdoor dining and paused popular programs like block parties, street paintings, Sunday Parkways and Play Streets.

Now PBOT has reimagined their permit process for street closures and has made it easier for Portlanders to open up streets to support active and social neighborhoods. As a physical education teacher who’s worked on many open streets projects over the years, I’m very excited for this and hope many of you take advantage of these permits.

Here are some ideas to jumpstart your Healthy Block.[Read more…]

Washington DOT will reallocate highway space as part of ‘Healthy, Active Streets’ program

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on July 8th, 2020 at 3:50 pm

Imagine if Portland could ask for a carfree lane on 82nd Ave. Then imagine if ODOT actually listened.

Unlike our Oregon Department of Transportation whose seems to be carrying out a policy to rid their highways of everything but people in cars, the Washington Department of Transportation announced yesterday that it’s getting on the open streets train.

Imagine that. A state DOT voluntarily banning automobile users from lanes and even complete roadways all in the name of safety and health.
[Read more…]

Business group behind Gresham’s first open streets event

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on May 8th, 2017 at 4:28 pm

(Map: City of Gresham/Gresham Chamber)

Here’s a sign that support for carfree urban spaces is growing: The main organizer of Gresham’s first-ever open streets event is its chamber of commerce.

Gresham is Portland’s eastern neighbor. On Sunday June 18th, from 10am to 2pm, the city will host what they hope becomes an annual Father’s Day tradition: an event they call Sunday Parkway. Inspired by Portland’s similarly named events that began nine years ago, the Gresham version will offer a relatively carfree, 8-mile loop with three “pit stops” where people can enjoy food, live entertainment, activities and more.

Here’s how they describe it:

Feel comfortable, safe and enjoy walking, strolling, bicycling and rolling along the city’s beautiful trail system and historic downtown… Slow down, play on our trails, connect with your neighbors, meet new friends and have fun on the trail…

Gresham Chamber of Commerce CEO Lynn Snodgrass told us she thinks it’s completely natural for her group to spearhead this event. She sees it simply as a way to have fun and promote the beauty of her city.
[Read more…]

Discount ends tomorrow for the International Open Streets Summit in Portland

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on July 14th, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Sunday Parkways northeast 2014-28

Northeast Portland Sunday Parkways, 2014.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The biggest conference about open-streets events (like Sunday Parkways) and tactical urbanism (like Better Block) is coming to Portland next month.

The International Open Streets Summit will bring many people who work to humanize street space to Portland State University from Thursday, Aug. 18 to Saturday, Aug. 20. The draft program includes speakers from Philadelphia; Dallas; Los Angeles; Missoula; Toronto; Cape Town, South Africa; and Santiago, Chile, among others.

The “tactical urbanism” thread is newly added to this conference, reflecting the fact that fast, flexible changes and demos on city streets are a growing trend among community groups and city governments alike. Mike Lydon, a planning consultant helping produce this conference, literally wrote the book on that subject.

[Read more…]

Wonk Night recap: Exciting times for open streets

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on June 3rd, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Wonk Night June 2016-3.jpg

(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

If Portland is on the cusp of a new open streets era (and I think it is), it will be up to us to make it great. And by “us” I mean all of us — from city staffers to grassroots activists and everyone in between.

Especially the grassroots.

That’s because the way Portland is doing this is different than other places (surprise, surprise). Our movement is being led by the community and the powers-that-be (the transportation bureau and City Hall) are merely facilitators.

That’s one of the big — and exciting — takeaways from our latest Wonk Night that happened on Wednesday at the Lancaster StreetLab.

With about 40 or so movers-and-shakers in the livable streets movement, we shared insights, traded ideas, and asked important questions about Portland’s open streets past, present, and future.[Read more…]

Welcome to Portland’s new era of open streets

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on May 24th, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Sunday Parkways NW 2011-34-33

Our streets could thrive if we let them.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Something big is happening in Portland: We’re entering an era where streets are seen as places for much more than private vehicle travel and storage. An era where the public right-of-way can reach its potential as a thriving place that adds to the vitality and energy of our city.

Livable streets are in Portland’s DNA, but a combination of factors have recently come together to energize and formalize the movement and soon it could be enshrined in official city policy.

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation is in the process of selecting a private firm to develop a “Livable Streets Strategy.” According to the request for proposals (PDF), the city is, “looking at innovative ways to open Portland’s streets, parking spaces, plazas, and alleys to a range of events, programming, and physical infrastructure that reinforce the idea that public streets are public places to be enjoyed by all ages and abilities.”

We knew something special was afoot ever since Transportation Commissioner began literally jumping up-and-down and chanting “Bet-ter Block! Bet-ter Block!” at the opening of the Better Naito project in 2015. The three-way romance between City Hall, the Bureau of Transportation and Better Block PDX has helped create the political and public momentum neede to re-think how we use our streets. But it didn’t start there.
[Read more…]

Guest essay: A Portland perspective on Bogotá’s ciclovía

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on June 27th, 2014 at 11:05 am

Jen Cicolovia

Author Jen Sotolongo.
(Photo: Dave Hoch)

Portland resident Jen Sotolongo and her partner Dave Hoch recently returned from a trip to Bogotá, Colombia where they took part in “Ciclovía” — the event inspired our own Sunday Parkways and that’s considered the Godfather of open streets events around the world.

Story and photos by Jen Sotolongo


We awoke from our short morning nap after a sickeningly bouncy, seven-hour night bus ride from San Gil, Colombia to Bogotá, feeling somewhat less nauseous, a touch more rested, and most of all, ready to take to the streets of Bogotá for Ciclovía.
[Read more…]

A bit of open streets information and inspiration

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on January 9th, 2014 at 12:13 pm


The Via Recreativa in Guadalajara is just one of hundreds of open streets events in Latin America. Former Metro councilor Rex Burkholder will lead a presentation about them next week.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

With Portland’s Sunday Parkways firmly ensconced in city budgets and citizen psyches, it’s a good time to step back and take a broader look at the open streets revolution. Since Bogota’s Ciclovia gained widespread attention (thanks in large part to this 2007 Streetfilm), open street events have spread through America like wildfire.
[Read more…]