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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 1331, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Media Relations

Dylan Rivera

Public Information Officer


For breaking news from Portland Bureau of Transportation see our Twitter feed: @PBOTinfo

For breaking news on overall service disruptions in the Portland-Vancouver metro area, go to @publicalerts or see 

Safe Routes Haiku Contest

Sidewalks, puddles, splash! Write a winter walk haiku Send by the New Year

Building on the success of our student essay contest (read the winning essay here) and our more recent T-shirt design contest (see the winning artist, Aaron, sporting his design to the right), we've cooked up another student contest.

That's right, it's Haiku time. If the student in your life gets bored over the winter break, see if they can't cook up something worth sending in. There are some instructions to share with them below...

Sidewalks, puddles, splash!
Write a winter walk haiku
Send by the New Year

Instructions: A haiku is a non-rhymed verse genre of Japanese origin; it means “playful verse.” Write your own haiku in the English form of three lines, with a rhythm of five, seven and five syllables. The winner will receive a prize and their haiku will be printed in our newsletter.

Mail to:
Safe Routes Haiku Contest
Attn- Taylor Sutton
1120 SW 5th Ave, Room 800
Portland, OR 97204

Or email to:

Please include:
Name, age and school

January 1, 2011

Secrets of a transportation professional: hitting a green light every time

Among the many benefits of working in the transportation world is learning all of the guild-protected secrets of the profession.  Perhaps you'll remember our past post on how to hit all of the walk signals while ambling downtown?

image courtesy: Curtis Gregory Perry

But our most cherished and protected trade secret is how to get a green light while traveling on city streets. 

Please disregard the urban myth that you can flash your high beams at a red traffic signal to activate some secret, emergency light-changer-thingamajiggy; pure baloney (yes! I used the word baloney).  You can't use your tv's remote either, but I don't believe that any of our readers would buy that anyways.

So what's the secret? Well it depends...(What a bureaucratic answer).  Essentially, if you travel a few mphs below the speed limit many of Portland's streets, particularly our one-way streets, have signals synchronized to turn green in succession.

So, when you're in downtown Portland most of the signals are timed at 12 mph.  Go about 11 and you're golden.  Later in the evening some of the signals increase to about 15 mph - crusing!

On Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and Grand Ave, travel 27 mph (just slightly below the speed limit of 30 mph) and you'll be basking in the glorious green wave of unimpeded travel. 

Have you noticed this on any other streets?  I promise you this - there are a lot more!  Portland has updated hundreds of signals to reduce congestion and air pollution and increase automobile efficiency.

Options to School

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We often hear from commuters who want to get back on the bike or bus for their commute but find getting their kids to school and themselves to work too great a challenge.  As a new parent, I'm starting to really understand the hardships of transporting the wee ones.  Although my girl still has a few years before heading off to school for the day, we do enjoy our bus ride home everyday.  Still, I find that short trips to the grocery store have gone from a quick pedal to a family car ride.

Stop and Walk! One great way to build a little physical

activity into the morning school trip

For those of you commuting parents, what are the biggest challenges? Is it the time constraints? Getting schedules to line up? Difficulty finding transit routes or bike routes to get to school and work?  All of the above?

We want to help.  The SmartTrips Business team will design you a customized bike and/or transit trip plan from home to school and to work (or any combination, thereof).  All you need to do is go to our on-line order form and click "YES" (see helpful diagram below).  Let us know you want a trip plan from home-to school-to work in the comments section.

Here are some other great options for getting to school and work:

Episode 1: A Left Turn

Check out this terrific video our comrade Joel, at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, put together...

Check out this terrific video our comrade Joel, at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, put together...


Biking and gender

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Portland's Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller just shared three graphs created with the 2010 annual bicycle count report that we thought our readers might find interesting. We'll share one of them this afternoon.

It's something of a truism among transportation planners and bicycle advocates that you can determine the safety and functionality of your bicycle network by looking at how many women are using it. In the urban cycling meccas of Amsterdam and Copenhagen, over 50% of cyclists are women.

In Portland, we have a ways to go in making our facilities comfortable for women - and by extension, the "interested but concerned" upon whom rests meeting our lofty 2030 goal of bicycling comprising 25% of all trips. In PBOT's 2010 count, women were only 31% of cyclists, which is similar to our gender split for the past seven years.

What's reassuring is that more women are biking where we have better bicycle facilities. (The dark purple dots show locations where female cyclists represented more than 40% of all cyclists counted). These are the same neighborhoods where the City Auditor's 2009 survey found that about 30% of residents identifying the bicycle as their primary or secondary commute mode.

As the City builds more low traffic, low speed Neighborhood Greenways, we hope to see more women begin bicycling.