Funding in WashCo for “minor transport projects” — apply before 7/15!

Live or work in Washington County and notice your neighborhood is missing a bit of sidewalk, a stretch of bike lane, or another barrier to walking or bicycling in your community? If completed, would that create a new, complete, safe connection for your community? Then Washington County’s Minor Betterment Program (MBP) is for you! Funded by an allocation from the Road Fund (gas taxes). Approximately $500,000 is allocated to this program in fiscal year 2013-2014 to fund small-scale interim improvements which are beyond routine maintenance but not large enough to be programmed as capital improvements.

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This is a great opportunity for Safe Routes to School and active transportation in Washington County. The one-mile radius around a school is typically the area without school bussing, and, when there are good routes, is prime opportunity for students to be able to be active on their way to and from schools — instead of being driven because of real or perceived dangers. Unfortunately, there are often very small gaps in our transportation system that make this task impossible or unsafe. Even half a block of missing sidewalk on a busy road can mean the difference in being driven every day — or being able to and allowed to walk — for a 10-year old student. Continue reading

Our Testimony on the City of Portland Transportation User Fee

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Yesterday, the City of Portland held a public hearing regarding a proposed Transportation User Fee on households (and businesses) that would be applied toward the growing (and growingly expensive) list of safety and maintenance transportation needs throughout the city.

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I attended the packed hearing and waited, and waited, and waited, along with many other people with many other opinions, for the opportunity to speak up about the importance of this fee, the needed infrastructure improvements it would make possible around schools, and our concerns with how the fee is currently being proposed, with regards to equity, transparency, and accountability. Unfortunately, time ran out before I could speak and I had to depart to go pick up my kids from school (by bike, of course!). Here is what I would have said:

Continue reading

Bringing healthy, safe transport to the greater-Portland region

Safe routes to everywhere.

There are a number of things going on in and around Portland of late that point towards an increased focus on safety in our transportation system.

Those who wonder, how do we make our streets safer for kids walking to school; people running errands by bicycle on busy streets; those who wish to age in place and need to get around, without a car, safely? Those who have thought, if we create a more walkable city (region, state, world), where everybody walks, can we create a place where people are safer the minute they walk out the door? Those who hope we can bring the vision of zero deaths-by-transportation to reality?

Do Not Walk - Figure 2

OR

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The bad news: In Portland there were two pedestrian deaths in one weekend caused by the simple act of crossing a street; 10 of the last 11 pedestrian deaths occurred in the same part of the city, in neighborhoods with disproportionately large low-income communities, elderly communities, youth populations and communities of color.

The good news?

  • The conversation has already started, and the people who make transportation decisions in the city are listening. Oregon Walks has called for Vision Zero in Portland — meaning zero deaths from transportation — and the Director and Commissioner of Transportation, as well as Mayor Hales have stated their support.
  • There are many other places that have or are starting to implement Vision Zero, and many good examples that can be drawn upon.
  • The City of Portland is already talking with Portlanders about increasing funding for transportation, and when they did a poll, safety bubbled up to the top.

What next? Continue reading

Active Transportation Investments Generate Greater Economic Recovery

According to a study from 2011, bicycle projects create 11.4 jobs for every $1 million invested — 46% more than motor vehicle-only focused road projects. Pedestrian projects, 10 jobs per $1 million. Multi-use trail projects, 9.6 jobs. Road-only projects — only 7.8 jobs.

In Indianapolis — yes that place that is home to really fast racing cars — the city took $20.5 million federal TIGER grant and leveraged it into a $62.5 million mix of public and private funding and created an 8-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail that is generating ripples of economic development and impact.

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Communities want safe, accessible streets that people of all ages and abilities can use and enjoy. Such streets support local businesses, encourage economic development and promote healthy communities. Cities and communities have found that creating Complete Streets — those that foster walking, bicycling and transit usage — provide a wide range of benefits to their residents and make their communities desirable places to live.

Check out our fact sheet on the Economic Benefits of Complete Streets and imagine what could be done for our region and our economy if we prioritize and invest in complete streets.

Tell Portland your transportation priorities at tonight’s ‘Transportation Town Hall’

First meeting is tonight! Join me at 6:30pm in SE Portland.

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Help shape the way the City of Portland thinks about — and ultimately funds — the future of transportation projects. The City of Portland is hosting “Transportation Town Halls” in February. Mayor Charlie Hales, City Commissioner Steve Novick, Transportation Director Leah Treat and other transportation staff will be on hand to listen to your thoughts on what types of projects should be high on the list.

There are three upcoming town halls to discuss current unfunded transportation needs, the first one tonight:

• Thursday, Feb. 20, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Sunnyside Environmental School, 3421 SE Salmon St.

• Tuesday, Feb. 25, 6:30 to 8:30 at Immigrant & Refuge Community Organization (IRCO), 10301 NE Glisan St.

• Thursday, Feb. 27, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Highway

The meetings will have an opportunity to give input about your desired transportation improvements in your area, followed by a presentation on transportation needs and possible solutions.

Learn more at the city’s website: http://www.ourstreetspdx.com, where you can see the results of a recent phone survey indicating safety around schools, safe pedestrian crossings, and better bike infrastructure for all of Portland were high priorities for Portlanders (more coverage and analysis here and here), or contribute your thoughts through their online survey.

See you tonight!

East Portland: EPIM Projects Prioritization 2/4

The East Portland Land Use and Transportation Committee, EPAPbike, & the East Portland Action Plan Transit Users Subcommittee are jointly hosting a meeting to rank the remaining $22 million in unranked projects in the current 2012 East Portland In Motion (EPIM) implementation strategy. Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) staff will be on hand, including the director of PBOT, Leah Treat. The projects to be ranked include infill sidewalks along uncurbed collector and arterial roads, pedestrian island crossings, and bikeways.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014, 6:30-8:30pm
East Portland Neighborhood Office, 1017 NE 117th Ave.

Oregon schools: Action Plan Mini-Grants Available!

Deadline is Feb 7!

Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) Action Plan Mini-Grants provide up to $3000 in funding to support schools and community organizations in creating the Oregon SRTS Action Plan as the first step in the implementation of a Safe Routes to School program.

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An action plan is required to be eligible for future non-infrastructure SRTS funding and can be a district wide plan. An action plan for a specific school is a recommended step but not a requirement in applying for 2017-2020 STIP Enhance ODOT funding for engineering improvements around the school (note the 2017-20 STIP Enhance ODOT process is not yet open).