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Portland Bureau of Transportation

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Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

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This is not a "resolution" post...

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...But it is a list of 10 easy ways I plan to get more exercise, save money, and use the car less in 2010:

1. Just once a week.  Switch just one of my normal driving trips to walking, biking, or transit to make a big difference in my personal and community's health.

 

The "kids" I plan on

walking to the store.

2. Take the MAX or WES.  Several studies show that train commuters are much more likely to walk 10,000 steps/day.  My MAX stop is about 3/4 mile from home; the bus stop less than a 1/4 mile.

3. Log those trips.  A recent study shows keeping track of your steps each day is key to maintaining exericse.  This works for biking, walking, stairs, etc.  Need a free pedometer?  You can get one!

4. Try that neighborhood restaurant.  Even though my neighborhood isn't considered one of Portland's dining hot spots, there are a bevy of local eateries that I haven't tried yet.  And they're all within walking distance. 

5. Get smart (by biking to the library).  I love the library, but I don't end up going very often.  I plan to change that this year by combining two of my favorite things: bikes and books.

6. Use transit on the weekend more often.  I rarely drive to work, but on the weekends when I am not heading downtown its usually the car or the bike.  Why not transit on the weekends?  I am not sure, but I plan on adding the bus and MAX to my weekend mode choices. 

7. Get more free movies!  I love Movie Madness and West Coast Video, but sometimes I want to save a buck.  The library is a great place to get dvds without the fees.

8. Walk to the grocery store with the "kids".  I have to walk the dogs.  I have to get groceries.  Combine those two chores into one fun trip.  I'll see how I do when the actual human kid comes along...

9. Hit the museums.  What do the Portland Art Museum, Oregon Historical Society, the Children's Museum, and OMSI all have in common?  Each one has free or super-discounted admission events each year and they are all easily accessible by transit.  Cheap date!

10. Two stops early theorem.  How much more would I walk if I got off the bus two stops early on the way to work and the way home?  It would add up to almost a mile each day!  That's some good exericisin'!   

 

Looking Back on 2009

Everyone is reflecting back on 2009 these days. Every blog seems to have recaps, highlights, top ten lists, and the like. Luckily for us on the Safe Routes to School team, Mayor Sam Adams highlighted our program in his recap of the year, saving us some effort. Thanks Sam!

 

Portland Serious About Safe Routes to School

Safety is Mayor Adams’ top priority for Portland’s roadways. Safety takes on special importance in kids’ daily trips to and from school. During his years as the commissioner in charge of transportation, Mayor Adams has been a passionate supporter of Portland’s Safe Routes to School program. Designed to get students to school in ways that reduce traffic, increase safety, and build healthy bodies and minds, the Safe Routes to School (SRS) program offers a range of educational materials, safety trainings, and encouragement activities to all Portland elementary schools.

Read more on Mayor Adam's website...

Portlander's video wins national contest

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Portlander Bob Richardson's video recently won the "Dump the Pump" contest sponsored by the American Public Transit Association.

The intent of the contest was to creatively communicate the benefits of driving less. 

It was shot in the great northern neighborhood of St. Johns. 

The Future EVs are Here

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Everyone's talking about the new electric cars coming to Oregon.  And while they are pretty cool, I am more excited about the electric vehicles that are available in Oregon right now.

 

pdxebiker cruises through downtown

We've blogged about electric bikes a couple of times, but they are evolving very rapidly and I believe they will play a big role in how we get around Portland.  There are several new retailers in the area that specialize in electric bikes (e-bike store and Kalkhoff) and new bikes coming on-line from established bicycle manufacturers like Giant, Schwinn, and Trek.  Even MIT has developed an electric bike project. These mark sea-changes in the manufacturing and marketing of cycling.

But for me, dedicated Commuter Central reader "pdxebiker" (aka Sam's) story really opened my eyes to electric bikes.

Sam works downtown, lives in Northeast Portland, and used to be a fair-weather bike commuter.  When the weather turned cold and wet he didn't like to bike to work and ended up driving.  The commute was costing him $160 in parking fees alone each month.  Plus, he was fighting traffic and not getting outside as much as he wanted. 

So Sam decided to fix up an old Schwinn cruiser he bought used and convert it to an electric bike.  While that may sound difficult, there are easy-to-install conversion kits complete with batteries and motors built directly into wheels.  They can be installed in a matter of minutes or hours, not weeks and months.

Sam's commute is now faster, funner (yes, it's a word - in the blogosphere), cheaper, cleaner, and more empowering than when he was driving.  He get's home from work now in about 15 minutes.  Try driving from downtown to Northeast in 15 minutes at 5pm on a wet, dark winter night.

Sam's story really has me thinking about the advantages of an electric bike.  A free parking, no sweating, and fast transporting vehicle that's cheap, clean, and fun.  Electric cars might have some advantage over gasoline cars, but in my opinion they've got nothing on electric bikes. 

If you have questions, leave a comment and Sam or I will try to answer them.  If you've got an electric bike, tell us your commute story!

 

You can see the motor in the front wheel.  Most

conversion kits come with the motor pre-installed.

The battery pack is mounted on the rear rack.

Sam upgraded his battery soon after he

started riding regularly.

 

The Results Are In: Safe Routes Essay Contest

Last November, at a Safe Routes newsletter meeting, staffer Taylor Sutton had a terrific idea. She thought why should boring adults be writing all the articles? We should have a student essay contest!

Last November, at a Safe Routes newsletter meeting, staffer Taylor Sutton had a terrific idea. She thought why should boring adults be writing all the articles? We should have a student essay contest!

In our Winter issue, we asked for students to submit essays of 100 words or less describing why it is fun to walk or bike in the rain. We received many well-written essays from students all over Portland. Our panel of judges enjoyed reading all of the essays and struggled in selecting the top essay (which will be published in the Spring 2010 issue of our newsletter). We've decided to publish all our Honorable Mentions here on our blog so that everyone can enjoy them. We'll be posting one Honorable Mention a day up until our grand winner is announced.

Congratulations to all those who participated. We hope you'll agree that the future of walking and biking in Portland is bright!

Student EssayWithout further ado, Honorable Mention #1:

I always walk to school. Sometimes I bike but I always go by my grammas houses. We wave and say hi. Our Neighborhood is very quiet so it makes a great place to live.

 

The reason I walk and bike is I live very close, enough to walk and bike. The best part is I get to class early and extra work done. But the real reason it is so much fun.

 

Walking may seem boring to some people but I find it relaxing to talk and walk to school. After Joel [a Bicycle Transportation SR2S Ambassador] came into class for bike safety now riding my bike to places is super fun.

 

Sincerely,

Elyse Castles

 

P.S. Walking and Biking saves Gas.

Elyse Castles, 5th grade, Rieke Elementary