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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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New Safe Routes to School brochures – available in six languages

Help us get the word out, in many idioms

Picture of the new Safe Routes brochure's cover(November 30, 2015)  The Portland Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program is growing. Beginning with eight schools in 2005, we now have over 100 school partners in five school districts including Portland Public, Parkrose, David Douglas, Centennial, and Reynolds. We expanded into middle schools in 2013 and high schools are also being phased in currently.

We recognize the changing demographics of our city and in an effort to reach a more diverse group of students and families, SRTS recently updated our materials with a new look and translated our new brochure into five languages. The brochure is now available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Chinese, and Somali. The brochure provides information on how students and families can get involved, how schools can get involved and what everyone can do to improve student health and safety citywide.

  • Students and families can get involved by participating in walking school buses, bike trains and park+walk programs.
  • Schools can get involved by organizing events such as Bike+Walk to School Challenge Month in May.
  • Everyone can contribute to student health and safety by using active transportation to and from school, work and play. Those who drive, especially near schools and in neighborhoods, can go slow and be courteous to other families walking, biking, rolling, and driving.

Help us spread the word about Safe Routes to School, walking school buses, bike trains and park+walks. If you would like brochures in Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Chinese, or Somali, or know a family that could benefit from this information, please contact our Safe Routes staff at or 503-823-5358. You can help us by hanging a brochure up at your school, sending brochures out to families at your school, or distributing brochures at school events.

Street Seats now accepting applications for 2016

Visit the Open House on Wednesday, Dec. 2 for in-depth information

People walking next to diners at a street seat.(November 24, 2015)  Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Street Seats program is now accepting applications for 2016. To help prospective applicants, an information session and Open House is scheduled for Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at Bunk Bar/Water Avenue Coffee, 1028 SE Water Avenue, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.

Businesses and organizations that are interested in sponsoring a new Street Seat are strongly encouraged to attend. Participants at this information session will learn about the design requirements, costs and project timelines for sponsoring a street seat and can view one of the most recent Street Seat installations in front of Bunk Bar/Water Avenue Coffee. The deadline for providing an initial concept plan to the City is February 1, 2016.

People sitting in a Street SeatBased on similar programs in San Francisco and New York City, the Portland Bureau of Transportation instituted a pilot project in 2012 and followed with an ongoing program in 2013. Today there are 15 active Street Seats in Portland.

Find the 2016 Instruction Packet here.

Sign up to receive updates and event information from the Street Seat Program.

Help end distracted walking

Alert person crossing the street(November 20, 2015)  While most of us are familiar with the phenomenon of distracted driving, we don’t hear a lot about distracted walking. Distracted walking occurs when you engage in any activity that diverts your attention from what is happening around you and escalates your risk for injury or death.

Distracted walking, just like distracted driving, is a choice. Talking, texting, surfing, or gaming on your cell phone are all examples of distracted walking. Are you a Pedtextrian? A Pedtextrian is “one who texts while walking, usually unaware of their surroundings”, according to the Urban Dictionary.

Listening to music or podcasts on your ear buds or headphones at a level loud enough to prevent you from hearing what is happening around you is also distracted walking. Before crossing the street, or while walking in trafficked areas (whether with other pedestrians, bikes or vehicles), put down your cell phone, take our your ear buds, and look both ways before crossing to make sure oncoming drivers see you, have time to stop and have stopped before you cross.

Most crashes are preventable. We are all human and we all make mistakes. Tragically, sometimes our mistakes end up costing us or someone else their life. If we all do our part to act responsibly as walkers, bicyclists, transit riders, and drivers, then we can all get to where we want to go safely. 

Fix-It Fairs = Free community resources

Workshops, information, door prizes, bike repair - even free lunch!

Volunteers from Bikes for Humanity fix bikes(November 18, 2015)  The first Fix-it Fair of the season takes place this Saturday, November 21 at Parkrose High School, 12003 NE Shaver St from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm. Two more fairs are scheduled in January and February in 2016.

Fix-it Fairs are FREE City of Portland events where you can learn simple ways to save money and connect with a wide range of community resources. At these fairs, you can talk to experts about health and well-being, food and nutrition, home repair and weatherization, gardening and composting, transportation, and a more.

Bikes for Humanity, with support from Safe Routes to School, will provide FREE basic bike repair for students and families. Typical repairs performed include tightening of brakes, fixing flat tires and adjusting shifters. Plan on having your bike there early so the amazing volunteers have time to complete the needed work before the Fix-it Fair closes.

Bikes for Humanity will also give a free workshop at 10:00 am on Flat Tire Repair and Chain Repair if you want to learn some basic bike maintenance and repair skills you can perform yourself. Other workshops are offered throughout the day on topics such as reducing stress, home energy savings, buying your first home, and growing vegetables in containers. You can see the brochure and the full workshop schedule for this Fix-it Fair here

Be Seen and Be Safe as daylight wanes

Daylight Savings time ends Oct. 31 so night falls sooner on evening commutes

Man with clear coat fitted with colored light wires (October 30, 2015)  Whether walking, riding transit or biking, you want to be seen by other road users when out and about on Portland streets. With the fewer hours of light each day during winter, make sure that lights and reflective gear are part of your daily fashion statement.

When on foot, consider light-colored clothing or reflective outerwear - you’re first visible to a driver 500 feet away (about 2 downtown blocks) with reflective clothing, versus just 55 feet when wearing dark colors with no reflectivity. You can also add clip-on lights to your bag, jacket or even a leash if you are walking a pet.

If you are waiting for the bus at a dimly lit stop, you can use your smartphone to get the driver’s attention. Just wave your lit phone as the bus approaches or use an app to transform your phone into a beacon of light.

When biking, be sure you use lights and reflectors to illuminate your way. Oregon law requires a front white light that is visible from 500 feet and a red, rear reflector or light that is visible from 600 feet.  Reflective ankle straps or shoe highlights draw extra attention due to your pedaling motion.

No matter how you are getting around, be alert and watch for others. We are all sharing the road and we all have the same goal – to arrive safely at our destination.