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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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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.


Portland counts bikes!

The humble clipboard and the mighty volunteer capture the data we need

Volunteer counting people on bikes(October 21, 2015) Every summer, volunteers across Portland stand on street corners and at trailheads, clipboards in hand, to take a census of the city’s bike and pedestrian travelers. This year, PBOT recruited more than 150 volunteers to conduct these counts at 281 different sites across town. Spanning four months, volunteers tallied close to 240,000 people walking and biking.

Annual Portland Bike Count

Most of these counts were completed as part of Portland’s annual bicycle count, occurring every summer June through September for more than ten years. The counts are used to estimate how many bikes are riding on a daily basis. Each of these 235 two-hour counts track turning movements at an intersection, usually where two bikeways meet (such as a street with a bike lane and a neighborhood greenway). The most bikes at a single intersection were counted at N Vancouver & Russell (a 7-9am count) with an amazing 1,028 bikes tallied.

In addition, these bike counts also track the gender of riders and whether or not they are wearing a helmet. Preliminary results suggest that at least 32% of riders are women and 82% of all riders wear helmets. These stats are very similar to last year’s count in which 32% of riders were women and 81% of all riders were wearing helmets.

A question we get asked a lot is, why count gender? Portland Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller answers this question in the most recent bike count report for 2013 & 2014 counts. Regarding gender, Geller says,

Cities with high bicycle use typically achieve a balance between male and female ridership. Gender parity in bicycling is considered an important indicator of success in creating safe, comfortable and attractive conditions for bicycling.

Portland’s gender split is pretty good compared to other major US cities, but still not quite 50/50.

International Gender Study

This summer Portland was asked to participate in an international bike count to establish gender split at a global level through the Bicycle Network in Australia. Several intrepid volunteers stuck it out on frosty mornings in October to collect rush hour results at fourteen different sites. Female rider mode share ranged from a high of 42% at NE Tillamook & 7th down to just 20% at SW Columbia & 14th. Complete results aren’t in yet, but PBOT is excited to continue to grow and set an example on the international stage. For more info on the global bike count, see here:

Bike & Pedestrian Trail Count

The remaining 46 counts this summer were completed as part of the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project, which collects counts for one week in September every year. PBOT and Metro team up each year to count pedestrians and bicyclists utilizing Portland’s trail system. Sites are located on the Springwater Corridor, Willamette Greenway, I-205 Trail, several of the Willamette River bridges, and more.

Many sites are counted on a mid-week day during evening rush hour as well as a weekend morning. The highest weekday count occurred on the Hawthorne Bridge with a whopping 1,233. The amazing part is that this includes the south side of the bridge only, where most bikes are headed eastbound (combined total for both sides was 1,663!). The highest weekend count was found on the Eastbank Esplanade near OMSI and the new Tilikum Crossing where 1,181 trail users passed by. The trail count also tracks gender of trail users. Of all users, just under 40% were female; 31% of people on bikes and 50% of people walking were female.

Overall, PBOT saw an amazing volunteer turn-out for these two count projects. Portland has one of the most robust bike and pedestrian databases across the country, and it would not be possible without all 562 hours of volunteer work to complete counts this year. Most volunteers come back for more counts after their first year, and many conduct multiple counts in one season. PBOT always needs more volunteers to count!

To learn more about the counts (including past data and getting connected to volunteer), check out these links:

PBOT bike count:

PBOT trail count (pedestrians & bikes):

For a complete analysis of Portland’s 2013 & 2014 bike counts, check out the report at

PBOT highlights White Cane Day, October 15, with crosswalk education and enforcement action

Do you know Oregon's crosswalk law and the special protection afforded white cane users?

White Cane Safety Day logo(October 12, 2015) The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and Portland Police Traffic Division have scheduled a crosswalk education and enforcement action in October in coordination with White Cane Safety Day. This action will take place on Thursday, October 15, 11AM – 12:30PM at the marked crossing on SE Belmont and SE 46th Ave in front of the SE Multicultural Service Center. Commissioner Steve Novick will be the designated pedestrian for a portion of the enforcement action.

White Cane Safety Day has been observed nationally each October since 1964. The day is set aside to celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired as well as the important symbol of blindness and tool of independence, the white cane.

What are crosswalk education and enforcement actions? PBOT conducts crosswalk education and enforcement actions approximately once each month. These actions include one or more designated pedestrians positioned at locations with marked or unmarked crosswalks and significant pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Drivers failing to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk and pedestrians that jaywalk can receive warnings or citations. The purpose of each crosswalk education and enforcement action is to educate community members about Oregon crosswalk laws and to enforce the law.

Oregon crosswalk law (ORS 811.028) states that “Motorists are required to stop and stay stopped for pedestrians in a marked or unmarked crosswalk when the pedestrian is in the motorist’s lane or the adjacent lane.” In addition, motorists are required to stop curb to curb for a person who is blind or blind and deaf, who is carrying a white cane or accompanied by a dog guide, and is crossing or about to cross a roadway (ORS 811.035).  Read the Oregon Department of Transportation brochure What You Need to Know About Oregon Crosswalk Laws by clicking here.

To see a list of the crosswalk education and enforcement actions that PBOT and the Portland Police have conducted since August 2005 see Pedestrian Crosswalk Education and Enforcement Actions 2005 – Present

International Walk+Bike to School Day in Portland (cute pictures alert)

Soggy weather could not deter students from rolling and strolling to school

Parent and kids chat with Commissioner Novick(October 9, 2015)  Portland Safe Routes to School and the Portland school community celebrated International Walk+Bike to School Day on October 7 and it was a rousing success! Over 70 Portland schools registered their participation in the event this year and statewide 250 schools took part.  Lent K-8 was chosen to be the media school with over 200 students and staff participating. A big thanks goes out to Lent K-8 Principal Terri Sing and Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) Coordinator Carmen Flores for helping to organize and host the event.

biking and walking over the bridge to Lent SchoolA long list of Portland dignitaries were in attendance, including City Commissioner Steve Novick, Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat, and Dr. Jeff Stanley from Kaiser Permanente – all addressed the physical and mental health, safety and fun benefits available to students biking, walking and rolling to school.

Other local dignitaries in attendance included Mike Rosen from the Portland Public School Board, Elizabeth Engberg from Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools, Captain Kelli Sheffer of Portland Police, Steph Noll from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Cory Poole of the NW Skate Coalition, and Tom Ralley who is the amazing Lent K-8 volunteer. But the real stars of the day were all the students and staff at all the schools who participated. Kids at Creative Science school serving hot chocolate

Boy with a sign, "I Biked to School today!"Two kids carry Walk+Bike to School bannerPriest at Holy Redeemer school blesses bikes

Streetcar Mobile Musicfest rolls on Saturday, Oct. 10

Celebrate art and public transit in Portland!

Streetcar and Go By Streetcar sign(October 8, 2015)  Uniquely Portland, the Streetcar Mobile Musicfest celebrates art and transit with local bands playing live music on Portland Streetcar lines. Rock and roll while enjoying up to 15 bands playing live on every line in the system (for the first time this year) from 5:30-8:00 pm on Saturday, October 10.

New Rail~Volutionaries PDX has partnered with PDX Pop Now!, Portland Streetcar Inc. and Women’s Transportation Seminar to bring this one-of-a-kind entertainment on public transit. This is the first year the festival will take place on all streetcars. All you need is proof of fare. See the lineup, schedule and check out the bands here:

[photo: Shubert Ciencia /flickr creative commons]