open streets

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

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

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

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.
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A bit of open streets information and inspiration

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…]