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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

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Options Newsletter Spring 2011

Options Newsletter Spring 2011

 Parents and kids from King School get ready to walk.

Sunday Parkways of the Future 

Mapas y Mas Mapas – in other languages too!

The King Lions Step Out with Walking Wednesdays

Transportation – A National Picture


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Sunday Parkways of the Future 


The 2011 Portland Sunday Parkways dates were announced recently to 4000 facebook fans and the media. This year, the fun happens on the fourth Sunday of the month, May through September. New times have been announced to accommodate police scheduling and other events.

But that’s not the only change to Sunday Parkways. Event managers have been much more focused on partnering and sponsorship this year. The result has been some great additions that we hope will make these popular events even better.

We now bring you Portland Sunday Parkways, Presented by Kaiser Permanente. With Kaiser Permanente as our presenting sponsor, and new partnerships with Portland Parks & Recreation and Metro, we can better focus on our primary goal of increasing healthy activity for all Portlanders.

Part of Sunday Parkways mission is to promote healthy active living through a series of free events opening the city’s largest public space – it’s streets – to walk, bike, roll and discover active transportation. Yet staff felt that these events, while wonderful, were becoming too focused on handing out paper and materials and less on activity. Sponsorship from Kaiser will help us better define our health messages in all communications, including along the routes. Kaiser will also lead the charge in corporate volunteerism, by encouraging their staff to volunteer and have a larger presence along the route.

Our new partnerships with Portland Parks and Metro will bring a new level of activity to the events. “We have wanted to work more closely with Portland Parks because they offer so many great classes and activities in the community already, and we really wanted to highlight that” said project manager Linda Ginenthal. “The parks along the routes will become more like activity zones, and less like a street fair atmosphere.” Metro is involved this year to promote their new disc golf courses.

Finally, we are adding market places this year in order to increase the neighborhood business presence and focus on economic vitality. This will help us better deliver on the other part of our mission, which is fostering civic pride, stimulating economic development, and representing the community, business and government investments in Portland’s vitality, livability and diversity. We hope the new market places will do just that.

The 2011 Sunday Parkways season will kick off this year in East Portland, with an expanded 7-mile traffic-free route. The route includes a long section of the Springwater Trail and passes Lents, Bloomington, Ed Benedict and Gilbert Heights Parks. Portland Parks will offer Zumba and Nia fitness classes at Ed Benedict and Salsa, Line Dancing and Nia at Lents Park. Metro will have a disc golf demonstration course at Ed Benedict. Gilbert Heights will host a kid’s bike and safety fair. These new activities will join old favorites like the bike skills track, climbing walls, kids’ circus, plus food and other fun.

New Sunday Parkways times are 11 am to 4 pm, May through August, and 12 Noon to 5 pm in September. The Sunday Parkways events are as follows:

  • May 22 – East Portland
  • June 26 – North Portland
  • June 24 – Northwest/Downtown
  • August 28 – Southeast Portland
  • September 25 – Northeast Portland

Mapas y Mas Mapas – in other languages too!

Back in 2008 we reported that we handed out more than 120,000 of our popular bike and walk maps, and planned to distribute 150,000 to 180,000 maps the following year. Well, the trend continues and our walk and bike maps are as popular as ever. In addition to our Citywide Bike Map, and the well-loved neighborhood Walk/Bike Maps, you might remember we added maps in Spanish.

For fiscal year 2010/2011 we’ve printed:

60,000 Citywide maps

105,000 Neighborhood maps

20,000 Spanish maps (a multi year supply)

8,000 Foldy maps

We hope this supply will get us through the 2011 peak summer season and our North-Northeast SmartTrips area as well as all our other programs, so Portlanders old and new, young and not-so-young, can get out on our growing bikeway network and enjoy our great city. All of our maps are printed on recycled content paper and we ‘gang’ print whenever possible to save paper and costs.

Our Latest Map Additions:

We recently completed a project, in cooperation with the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), to translate our map legends into five other languages, including Arabic, Burmese, Nepali, Russian and Somali. This was reported in last issues story on Welcome SmartTrips, our New Resident program.

In February this year, Options staff and staff from the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition (WPC) distributed these maps to a group of these new residents during a transportation-focused Pre-Employment Training led by WPC staff Steph Routh. This class included mostly Somali and Burmese speakers. With the aid of interpreters, participants were able to locate their new homes on the maps, as well as point out local bus stops, MAX lines, parks and the location of IRCO, in relation to their new residence. Rain ponchos were also offered to help make walking and biking possible during Portland’s rainy weather.

General feedback was positive and there was quite an interest in the maps. Many participants seemed excited to find their residence and see parks nearby or areas and amenities they hadn’t known about. Options staff will attend the next three transportation sessions at IRCO over the next year. If you have an interest in ordering one or more of these maps, call 503-823-5490 to make a request. This phone line is currently only available in English.

The King Lions Step Out with Walking Wednesdays


Families at King Elementary School recently held their first Walk to School Wednesday. Building on the successes of existing bike trains and walking school buses at other local schools, over 25 children, along with their parents, gathered at Irving Park to start their morning with a brisk walk to school. The parade strolled along NE 7th Avenue carrying signs in both English and Spanish reading “King School loves to walk” and “ven a caminar con nosotros”.

Portland Safe Routes to School and El Programa Hispano worked together with a group of Latino parents at King Elementary School to organize the Walk to School Wednesdays. The Latino parents recently completed El Programo Hispano’s Academia de Lideres, a leadership development program for parents. After graduating from the program, they were ready to lead a school project and chose to organize the walking school bus for King families.

Walking School Buses are a great way to combine health, safety and community into one activity. Children who participate get more physical exercise, experience being part of a group or team, learn about traffic safety and good road sense, become more familiar with their own neighborhood and surroundings, and they arrive at school alert and ready to learn.

But the benefits of walking school buses go beyond children and schools to include the broader community as well. Parents and families coming together regularly can increase community connectedness. Walking school buses can also ease congestion around the school grounds, provide a safer and non-polluting alternative for getting to school, and brings more people onto the streets who are interested in safety and the security of the community.

If you would like to learn more about bike trains and walking school buses, or would like to get your school involved, contact Portland Safe Routes to School at 503-823-4998.

Transportation – A National Picture


Do you want to know more about the transportation “Big Picture”, and how decisions are made at the federal level? Here is a look at some of the major players in our national transportation scene.


USDOT: United States Department of Transportation

On the web:

Mission: Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.

What they do: The Department of Transportation is the top of the food chain for all things transportation in our country. Think Ray LaHood, the current Secretary of Transportation, appointed by the White House. The USDOT was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966 (a good year!) and employs almost 60,000 people across the country.


The Department encompasses a wide range of agencies or bureaus that operate to keep the traveling public safe and secure, increase their mobility, and have our transportation system contribute to the nation’s economic growth. Some of these agencies or bureaus include jurisdiction over air, railroad, marine, highway and motor carrier travel, and even the oversight of pipeline and hazardous material travel and safety.


For our purposes, the more relevant agencies within the Department are the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and to some extent the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Another very important association worthy of mention is AASHTO.


FHWA: Federal Highway Administration

On the web:

Mission: Create the best transportation system in the world for the American people through proactive leadership, innovation, and excellence in service.

What they do: The FHWA sees as their “vital few” priorities, safety, congestion mitigation, and environmental stewardship and streamlining. They also deliver the Federal-aid and Federal Lands Highway Programs – Our Investment in the Nation’s Transportation System. FHWA carries out the Federal highway programs in partnership with the State and local agencies to meet the Nation's transportation needs. FHWA administers and oversees these programs to ensure that Federal funds are used efficiently.


FTA: Federal Transit Administration

On the web:

Mission: Not an official mission, but the FTA provides distribution, administration, management and oversight of transportation funding mechanisms among other duties as authorized by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users of 2005 (SAFETEA-LU).

What they do: The FTA oversees funding programs totaling more than $10B to support a variety of local planning, construction, and operation of public transportation systems throughout the U.S. These transportation systems include buses, subways, light rail, commuter rail, streetcars, passenger ferry boats, or other people movers. The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds were distributed through the FTA.


NHTSA: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

On the web:

Mission: Dedicated to achieving the highest standards of excellence in motor vehicle and highway safety, NHTSA works daily to help prevent crashes and their attendant costs, both human and financial. The agency strives to exceed the expectations of its customers through its core values of Integrity, Service, and Leadership. 

What they do: NHTSA carries out safety programs, directs the highway safety and consumer programs established by the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, the Highway Safety Act of 1966, the 1972 Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act, and amendments to these laws.


AASHTO: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

On the web: OR

Mission: The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials advocates transportation-related policies and provides technical services to support states in their efforts to efficiently and safely move people and goods.

What they do: A nonprofit, nonpartisan association, and “the voice of transportation”, AASHTO works to educate the public and key decision makers about the critical role transportation plays in securing a good quality of life and sound economy for the nation. AASHTO serves a repository of technical information, issues standards for design and construction of highways, bridges, materials, bikeway design, and virtually every element of planning, design, construction and maintenance of transportation services.