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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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Up your visibility game

With fewer daylight hours and rainy weather, be seen to be safe

(December 10, 2015) What is the best strategy for being seen and staying safe while out and about during a Portland winter? Invest some time or money in high visibility gear or clothing.

High visibility gear and clothing is made of fluorescent colors with added reflective tape or designs. To best be seen in all conditions - during the day, at dusk and at night - you should be wearing both fluorescent and reflective items.

Daytime Visibility

Man wearing bright colors and reflective gearWear something fluorescent to be most visible during the daytime. Fluorescent materials appear bright during the day and even brighter near dusk, but are less effective for nighttime use.

It has to do with optics theory and physics, but fluorescent colors look really bright because of the way they absorb and emit different kinds of light. Lots of colors can be fluorescent but the yellow and orange clothing worn by road crews and emergency personnel as well as some green and pink colors are the most popular and effective.

During the daylight hours the sun’s ultraviolet rays react with the fluorescent colors to make them appear to glow, or fluoresce, and this effect is even stronger in poor light conditions such as in rain, fog or toward dusk, which are typical Portland winter conditions.

Nighttime Visibility

Wear something reflective to be the most visible at nighttime. After dark, the light from sources like car headlights bounces off reflective materials, actually making them glow, and reflects at least some of that light back to the source.

Since reflective materials work at night by bouncing back the light from a source, to work properly it needs to be dark and there must be a light source such as car headlights. These materials are not so effective during the daytime.

Not all reflective materials are created the same, however. Some technology scatters the reflective light with only some of the light being directed back to drivers. Retro-reflective materials are designed to bounce most of the light back to its source rather than scattering it. The light from a driver’s headlights will go straight back to the driver allowing them to see the retro-reflective material, and thus the pedestrian or bicyclist wearing it, extremely well.

Up Your Visibility Game

What can you do if you don’t want to buy all new outerwear? If your rain gear is dark colored or even black, it’s a good idea to wear or carry something fluorescent on rainy days. Think a bright orange or yellow umbrella or even a safety sash or vest.

You can also add reflective tape to your regular clothing to be more visible at night. Reflective tapes and sew-on materials can be purchased online, at some craft or fabric stores, hardware stores, safety supply stores such as Sanderson’s Safety Supply, and even auto supply stores and bike shops.

The best place to add strips of reflective materials are around the joints or moving parts of the human form. Adding reflective bits of material to the ankles, knees, elbows and wrists will help the driver recognize you as a person on the move and send the message that they need to slow down. The main thing to remember is: Fluorescent for day, Reflective for night.

Open House for draft Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan

Make your voice heard and help Oregon plan for the future

(Dec 8, 2015) The Oregon Department of Transportation wants your comments on the draft Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. An Open House is planned for Monday, December 14, 2015 from 4:00-6:30 pm at the Jade/APANO Multicultural Space, 8114 SE Division St. in Portland. You can also provide your comments through February 18 by email to

The Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan is important because it supports the decision-making for walking and biking investments, strategies and programs that will help create the future transportation system for Oregon. The last plan was adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission in 1995.

The updated plan addresses the challenges and opportunities Oregon faces today and will likely face in the future, is based on realistic current and future funding levels and incorporates current laws. While not intended to create a map of the bicycle and pedestrian network or develop new design guidance, it is meant to guide the state through future efforts such as prioritizing projects, developing design guidance, collecting important data, and other activities that support walking and biking in Oregon.

You can learn more about the planning effort here:

Read the full plan here:

Consider a year-end tax deductible gift to Sunday Parkways

People enjoying activities at Sunday ParkwaysIt’s Giving Tuesday! Giving Tuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. Are you looking for a year-end tax deductible gift that will keep on giving into 2016? Consider making a donation to Sunday Parkways and help keep this fun-filled and family-friendly Portland tradition rolling along.

Sunday Parkways is all about Portland families, friends and visitors alike taking to our streets and beautiful parks to walk, bike, roll, or skate and partake in fun and healthy activity. Amazing Portland food carts keep everyone fueled and other local vendors provide a variety of goods and information. Your donation will help keep this going.

The more you give, the more Sunday Parkways can do, but any amount you can give helps. If you think your business, workplace, church, or community group would like to donate, sponsor or support Sunday Parkways in any way, let us know. We’d love to have you join the Sunday Parkways family and help us continue to bring these uniquely Portland events to our communities. 

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.