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(Excerpts from: Billi Odegaard Public Health Genius Award Nomination; Sunday Parkways Team, Portland, Oregon)
"Bike bells - like the ones kids used to ring as they zoomed through towns all over America - announce the arrival of four- and five-year olds riding confidently with their parents. A mom-and-daughter team cruises by on a tandem converted into a migrating salmon. A couple in wheelchairs stops to chat with friends. A man poles past on wheeled cross-country "skis." One family on the route offers bagels and fruit; kids provide lemonade to thirsty riders. Volunteers greet and guide the walkers, striders, joggers, bicyclists, skaters, babies in snugglies, and great-grandparents in tennies."
In 1999, four Multnomah County Health Department administrators retired and what would become the Community Health Partnership was born. One of those retired administrators was Billi Odegaard, and she is the namesake of the Billi Odegaard Public Health Genius Award.
Each year the Community Health Partnership: Oregon's Public Health Institute recognizes Oregonians who have demonstrated innovation and risk-taking to make lasting improvements in public health. This year, Transportation Options Sunday Parkways team was honored to be nominated for this esteemed award in the Public Health field. While we did not receive the top honors we can't help but share some of what our health partner, Nancy Stevens of Kaiser Permanente, had to say about Sunday Parkways in her nomination letter.
"The stream threads through the Buckman, Kerns, Laurelhurst, Mt. Tabor, Richmond, and Sunnyside neighborhoods. Everyone smiles. No cars impede their way on the blocked-off streets; everyone waits patiently while police direct traffic at busy intersections. At Sunnyside Middle School, kids and parents walk a maze, jump rope, and learn to spin plates. At Laurelhurst and Mt. Tabor parks, participants play bicycle polo, learn yoga poses, and try juggling and rock climbing. Bike clinic instructors teach safe riding and repair techniques. Local businesses offer crepes, soups, and juices. Latin, flamenco, and blues musicians turn riders and walkers into dancers.
"Now this is public health! It's Portland's unique Sunday Parkways. For the second year, the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation's (PBOT) Transportation Options Division has given this gift to the city. PBOT launched Sunday Parkways in North Portland in 2008. This year, PBOT chose routes in North, Northeast, and Southeast Portland. The events drew 15,000, 20,000, and 25,000 participants respectively, plus 250 to 400 volunteers at each event.
"Like other Transportation Options programs, Sunday Parkways is intended to change residents' behavior to improve health and the environment. Transportation Options makes travel modes other than single-occupancy cars appealing by providing activities such as classes and guided excursions; educational materials such as walking and biking kits; and information about commuter options and car sharing. These and other City-managed programs provide health-oriented infrastructure that complements Metro-area counties' public health programs.
"Sunday Parkways broadens the traditional definition of 'public health'," explains Nancy Stevens, Director of Community Benefits and Health for Kaiser Permanente, a major supporter of Sunday Parkways. "Getting large numbers of people to experience active transportation, social inclusion, and other ways to thrive as individuals, neighborhoods, and larger communities is phenomenal. This is an out-of-the-box appraoch, to address today's health issues, particularly obesity. Sunday Parkways is a beautiful alignment between health and transportation, health and planning, health and prevention, and health and community."
Thank you Nancy! To learn more about the Community Health Partnership and the Billi Odegaard Public Health Genius Awards go to: www.communityhealthpartnership.org.
Transportation Options SmartTrips Downtown program is one of the only applications in North America of individualized marketing to an employer environment. SmartTrips Downtown was conducted by the Bureau of Transportation from November 2006 to June 2009. As part of the Keep Portland Moving initiative, it was designed to help reduce traffic congestion during the Portland Mall revitalization project by helping downtown employees use more efficient and environmentally sustainable modes of transportation.
The Portland SmartTrips individualized marketing model operates under the assumption that many people will shift to more sustainable, inexpensive, and healthy transportation modes if they learn about all of their options. SmartTrips Downtown continued the success of the residential SmartTrips program by focusing on employers and commuters, while adding many new innovations.
SmartTrips Downtown surpassed its initial program goals, reaching 31 percent of downtown employees, using some innovative new approaches and tools. One of these tools inlcude their unique market segmentation approach to more deeply engage the participants.
SmartTrips Downtown conducted seven customized incentive offers targeting participants with shared characteristics, such as where they lived, how they commuted, and what type of materials they ordered. Staff was then able to create a more personalized communication and incentive program more likely to resonate with participants. This targeted follow up often resulted in greater shifts in commute trips from driving alone than the overall survey population, according to the final data.
In August 2007, staff directed one of these targeted follow ups at participants that drove alone to work and lived five or more miles from downtown and more than a mile from a MAX station. Staff sent participants meeting this criteria and individualized email with information about the cost savings of carpooling, the number of people in their area registered on CarpoolMatchNW.og (thre region's ridesharing website) and other benefits of carpooling.
Five-hundred and seventy nine participants received this email and 132 of those completed the program's final survey in April 2009. Those 132 survey respondents reported a 35 percent relative decrease in drive alone commute trips and nearly tripled their number of carpool trips.
This coming year, SmartTrips Downtown becomes SmartTrips Business as Transportation Options prepares to take the program citywide. For more information on SmartTrips Business go to http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=43820 or contact Steve Hoyt-McBeth at 503-823-7191.
Next steps...taking the program citywide.
"Regions's transportation hopes conflict with greenhouse goals" was the headline on the front page of the November 12, 2009 Portland Tribune article.
"The Portland area's $20 billion transportation wish list and its pledge to reduce greenhouse gases are on a collision course" was the next line down, explaining the consequences of building the three-county Metro areas transportation project list, according to Metro staff.
The conflict shows the need to develop effective transportation projects that improve access to goods, services and places while reducing energy use, climate pollution and cost.
To meet those goals, City transportation staff have been working since July 2008 with a dozen public and private sector colleagues to develop a Sustainable Transportation & Access Rating System (STARS).
STARS is designed to move the transportation industry and employers toward higher performance in the areas where transportation has the greatest impacts: access, climate and energy and cost.
STARS project team members, including the Bureau of Transportation's Peter Hurley, recently travelled to Santa Cruz, California, to show how STARS could help identify more effective, less costly and less polluting strategies to meet access and mobility needs in Santa Cruz County's portion of the SR-1 corridor.
The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Council board voted unanimously to authorize the SCCRTC Executive Director to negotiate a contract to apply STARS credits to the SR-1 project. If a contract is approved in December, the STARS team intends a major effort to develop the first dozen STARS-Project credits by the end of May.
By identifying key access and mobility, cost and sustainability opportunities at the planning, project and employer levels, the STARS rating system can help those involved in transportation planning, project management and operations set clear goals to achieve higher performance and to measure success.
For more information, contact Peter Hurley, project manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-823-5007.
With a generous grant from Metro's Regional Transportation Options, the City of Portland and PSU's Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation are excited to offer a one-day SmartTrips Training. SmartTrips is the City of Portland's successful residential, employee and school individualized marketing programs. SmartTrips projects substantially reduce drive-alone trips while increasing biking, walking, taking transit and ridesharing.
This day-long training is designed to get down to all the details, logistics and tips on how to initiate, manage and implement a successful project. How many maps and schedules get distributed? What kinds of software do you need? What are the best bike delivery vehicles and materials? What about delivering materials to apartments? These and other questions are answered in this comprehensive SmartTrips training.
Linda Ginenthal, Program Manager for Outreach and Education, City of Portland Transporation Options Division in the Portland Bureau of Transportation. She has worked with all TravelSmart and SmartTrips residential and school projects as a project team member or as project manager.
Lynn Weigand, Ph.D., Director of the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation at PSU Center for Transportation Studies. She has extensive transportation planning, program development and evaluation experience.
This day-long training will be held in early March 2010. For more information about the training and to see if it is right for you and your agency contact Caleb Winter with Metro at email@example.com or 503-797-1758.
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