safe streets initiative
After launching with a bang in early May, we haven’t heard much about the “Slow Streets” portion of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Safe Streets Initiative. These are the 120 intersections where PBOT has installed “Local Access Only” and “Go Slow” signs along with barricades in a bid to reduce driving and improve conditions for people who need more space to walk and roll while maintaining a safe distance from each other.
Today a new volunteer program launched that wants to raise the profile of these streets and strengthen the impact of the program. [Read more…]
The current number one priority at Portland’s transportation bureau is a permit program that aims to help restaurants spread into the street so they can serve more people safely. The Healthy Business program is part of a larger Safe Streets Initiative that’s altering public right-of-way to improve safety and create more space for physically-distanced commerce.
By some accounts the program is working well. Since it was launched at the end of May, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) says they’ve issued well over 200 permits so far and rave reviews are coming in for the street dining plazas.
But is the program working for everyone? Are Black-owned businesses getting a fair shot? And is PBOT’s execution of the program living up to their pledge to be antiracist?
“We want to think big about what it means to create plazas to let businesses spill into the streets.”
— Nick Falbo, PBOT senior transportation planner
“Plans… are in full swing. We are designing a permit process that will allow not just restaurants but bars, retail, and personal service businesses to access the right-of-way.”
— Margaux Weeke, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly’s office
Business owners can now fill out a short online application to request that space on their block be repurposed from parking to a “temporary 5-minute pickup/drop-off parking space.”
This part of the program was hinted at when it was launched on April 28th. It’s part of a three-pronged approach that aims to change how we use neighborhood greenways, busy streets, and main streets in an era of increased social distancing.[Read more…]