Interview: Samantha Taylor on e-bikes, helmets and looking good by bike

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

(Photo courtesy Samantha Taylor)

This is the sixth installment of our Women’s Bike Month interview series written by Steph Routh. This content is sponsored by the Community Cycling Center and Gladys Bikes.

Samantha Taylor learned how to ride a bike when she was a kid, but cycling didn’t become a part of her life until last August, when she saw the job opening for Development Manager at the Community Cycling Center. She lives in the New Columbia neighborhood near The Hub and, in her own words, “put two and two together and realized that the Cycling Center was behind The Hub.”

“Cycling was never a mode of transportation for me before,” Taylor said. “When I learned more about trimodal transportation and transportation equity at the Cycling Center, I became a lot more interested in cycling not just as recreation but also transportation.”

Working at a nonprofit replete with bicycle access doesn’t magically remove all barriers to cycling, however. Cost and adaptive needs can still prevent cycling from being a convenient choice.

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Nine questions for Sumi Malik, planning consultant and mentorship advocate

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Sumi Malik, left, at a BikePortland Wonk Night.
(Photos courtesy Malik)

This is the fifth installment of our Women’s Bike Month interview series written by Steph Routh. This content is sponsored by the Community Cycling Center and Gladys Bikes.

The role of consultant in transportation planning and advocacy is inherently behind the scenes, yet the stiff competition associated with landing the next project contract creates a unique working environment delicately balancing self-promotion and service to agency clients (and, ultimately, the communities they serve). Add the implicit biases of gender, race. etc., and the waters of transportation consulting can be tricky, indeed.

Sumi Malik has been a transportation planning consultant with CH2M for over a decade, managing an array of projects in communities across the country. She also was instrumental in developing a mentorship program with Women in Transportation Seminars (WTS).

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11 questions for Keyonda McQuarters of Portland’s Black Girls Do Bike chapter

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Black Girls Do Bike are known for many things, but one is their amazing jersey design.
(Photo courtesy Keyonda McQuarters)

This is the fourth installment of our Women’s Bike Month interview series written by Steph Routh. This content is sponsored by the Community Cycling Center and Gladys Bikes.

Black Girls Do Bike is a national organization with over 75 local chapters. The organization was created to champion efforts introducing the joy of cycling to all women, but especially black women and girls.

Keyonda McQuarters stepped up as the Portland Chapter’s admin for about a year now and has been leading two rides on average per week ever since. She is so excited about BGDB that she was willing to spend time with me on her birthday at Bipartisan Cafe talking about it.

Why did you decide to lead the Portland chapter of Black Girls Do Bike?

I’ve been leading Black Girls Do Bike for a year now, and I think one the of the challenges is overcoming barriers, real or perceived, that inhibit Black women from being present and involved in the bike community. Every time I’m on my bike, I’m always looking for me. I’m looking for women who look like me. While I do see them, they are few and far between. One of my goals is knocking down those barriers, of creating a community that welcomes Black women.

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Steph Routh announces resignation from Oregon Walks

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Steph at Oregon Walks benefit-2-2

Steph Routh in November 2012.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon Walks, a non-profit advocacy group that works to improve walking conditions around the state, has announced that Executive Director Steph Routh will resign in October.

Routh became the organization’s first full-time staffer when she was named to the position in May 2009. In the ensuing years, Routh helped transform Oregon Walks (formerly known as the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition) by making what was traditionally a quiet, behind-the-scenes organization into a public force to be reckoned with. Just months after taking the job, she asked the community to think hard about the state of walking advocacy in Oregon — a movement that has lacked the spark of and cultural identity evident in the local bicycle scene.

Routh’s personal dedication to the task, professional creativity, and natural charisma drew people to her organization and her cause.

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Advocacy group unveils ‘Action Plan’ for a more walkable region

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Willamette Pedestrian Coalition
Executive Director Stephanie Routh
speaking at a 2009 event.
(Photo © J. Maus)

On the heels of recent media attention on the need for safer streets and news of an 80% increase in walking-involved fatalities and injury crashes in Oregon this year, the non-profit Willamette Pedestrian Coalition (WPC) unveiled their Getting Around on Foot Action Plan at a press conference in Beaverton today.

The plan presents an overview of challenges our transportation planners face in creating a more walkable (and rollable, in the case of wheelchair and other mobility device users) region. From the Executive Summary (which you can read in its entirety below):

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Portland non-profit will move offices with only foot power

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Puppet parade bike move

Moving by bike is one thing…
but by foot?!
(Photo © J. Maus)

Bike moves are old hat in Portland. A quick check of the BikePortland archives shows that I first wrote about them way back in April of 2005. Since then there have been hundreds of bike moves in this town, so many that they’ve actually become quite common. And these days, thanks to the rise of cargo bikes, they’ve nearly gone mainstream (at least in Portland).

But a foot move? I had never even considered such a thing until I checked my inbox today and saw an email to the Shift list from the leader of the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition (WPC), Steph Routh.

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Newswire: Pedestrian Advocacy Organization Calls for Caution, Safety Improvements

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Steph Routh
Willamette Pedestrian Coalition
Office: (503) 223-1597


A Number of Recent Crashes Involving Pedestrians Indicate the Need for Immediate Response and Change

PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 5, 2009 – It has been a deeply troubling week . On Saturday morning, Oct. 31, Benjamin Story was struck in a hit and run collision when on Highway 99E just north of Aurora. On Sunday afternoon, Nov. 1, John Thomas Nelson was hit and critically injured on Highway 217. On Sunday evening, Nov, 1, Lindsay Leonard was killed and Jessica Finlay suffered serious injuries while
crossing in a marked crosswalk on 80th and SE Foster. On Monday afternoon, Nov. 02, Susan Ogilvy was struck while crossing Scholls Ferry Road near Beaverton Hillsdale Highway.

“The sheer number of serious collisions between pedestrians and cars this past week demonstrates that our traffic safety deficit is not found in one person’s error,” says Steph Routh, Director of the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition. “It is not about one specific engineering problem. Our region continues to grapple with broad-spectrum traffic safety issues that jeopardize all road users. We need to invest far more funding in developing a network of streets that accommodate all users – pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and motorists – throughout our region as well as raising awareness about everyone’s rights and responsibilities as road users.”

Funding is essential to improving our region’s pedestrian environment. Entire neighborhoods remain without sidewalks. Pedestrian connections to bus stops and business centers are incomplete or absent in many areas. Additional funding is necessary, and our elected officials need to prioritize transportation that is used by everyone, for everyone is a pedestrian at some point in their day. The recent transportation bill that passed the state legislature, for example, did not raise the minimum spending on bicycle and pedestrian facilities from 1% to 1.5%, which would have been a small but a positive step. Instead, we received earmarks for highway projects. This is recessive and needs to change.

Awareness is also an important aspect of traffic safety. Pedestrian needs are real, and both pedestrian and motorists need to be more aware of each other. The number one cause of pedestrian injury in Portland is failure of drivers to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. Many drivers are unaware that every corner is a crosswalk, even if the crosswalk is unmarked, and that drivers in Oregon must stop and stay stopped for pedestrians at any corner.

There will be a quiet safety awareness action along SE Foster Rd near 80th Ave. on Tuesday, 10 November 5:00-6:30pm. If you would like to participate, you are invited to bring a homemade sign that asks everyone to watch out for one another and to share the road safely. Please contact the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition with any questions or comments: HYPERLINK “”

As we move into fall and winter months, it is imperative that pedestrians and drivers alike be cognizant of their surroundings, and that drivers recognize their added responsibility due to greater speeds and vehicle weight.

Let us keep each other safe, and let us invest in a safer streetscape for everyone. As we grieve the loss of one young woman and think of others in serious condition, we should be more vigilant in our safekeeping of our fellow citizens.

About the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition:
The Willamette Pedestrian Coalition (WPC) is a non-profit community-based membership organization in the greater Portland, Oregon area dedicated to promoting walking and making the conditions for walking safe and attractive. The WPC advocates for better laws, enhanced enforcement, more sidewalks and signed crosswalks, education programs, community improvements designed for pedestrians, and increased funding to support these activities. For more information about the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition, please visit

Mayor visits dangerous crosswalk; will recommend “immediate changes”

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A woman crossing SE Foster at 80th.
(Still taken from Oregonian video
— watch it below).

Responding to a week where several Portlanders were injured and one woman was killed while walking across SE Foster Blvd, Portland Mayor Sam Adams visited the site this morning. His visit comes on the eve of an awareness action by local safety advocates and on the same morning that national organization Transportation For America released a new report about pedestrian safety.

Adams said he walked several blocks around the intersection of Foster and 80th. After his walk Adams updated his Twitter account saying he would “recommend some immediate changes today.”

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Pedestrian advocates hold annual meeting tonight: Thoughts on the state of the movement

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Did you know Portland had
an advocacy group devoted
to pedestrians?

Portland is renown for its bike scene and the strong, vibrant advocacy movement that exists around it. But what about our non-motorized friends who use their feet to get around? Where is Portland’s ‘pedestrian community’?

The Willamette Pedestrian Coalition wants to find out. The non-profit advocacy group holds their annual meeting tonight in Southeast Portland and they’ve also just launched an online survey with hopes of creating a prioritized list of what walkers want.

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BTA, partners re-launch ‘Eye-to-Eye’ safety campaign

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Eye to Eye campaign launch-1

Steph Routh, executive director of the
Willamette Pedestrian Coalition, speaks at the
event this morning.
More images
(Photos © J. Maus)

With the summer cycling season in full swing, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) and a host of partners kicked of another year of their Eye to Eye safety campaign at a press conference near the Eastbank Esplanade this morning.

The BTA first launched the Eye to Eye effort last August after a string of road rage incidents involving bicycles back in July put Portland traffic relations in a very bad light.

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Pedestrian advocacy group names new leader

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Mult. County Bike Fair!

Routh married her bike at the
2006 Multnomah County
Bike Fair
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Willamette Pedestrian Coalition has chosen Stephanie Routh as their new Director. The WPC is a Portland-based non-profit that is, “dedicated to promoting walking and making the conditions for walking safe and attractive.”

Here’s the official statement:

Stephanie is highly regarded for her non-profit organizational development skills, her passion for promoting sustainability and interest in celebrating community diversity. The Portland native helped found local non-profit Umbrella organization and continues in her part-time role at Green Empowerment as Resource Development Coordinator.

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