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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

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

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Dylan Rivera

Public Information Officer


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Opportunities to Impact Health Equity

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Our final installment in our Transporation and Health Equity series

Transportation and Health Equity, Part VII


Hopefully by now, you are seeing the connection between transportation and health, mostly through opportunities for physical activity, air quality, and safety. 

You also know that these factors are not evenly distributed around any city (including Portland) and usually the areas that are the worst for health (low walking and biking opportunities, bad air quality, high crash corridors) are in areas where residents have lower incomes, lower education, and higher percentages of communities of color.  Not good.

The City of Portland recognizes this and will be undergoing a number of processes to improve the planning of our great city to integrate health and health equity into the policy and planning processes:

  • The Portland Plan.  The Portland Plan is the City’s strategic plan for the next 25 year.  Remember that postcard with the cranky old lady? How about that adorable kid?  Those were for the Portland Plan.

Health Equity advocates in our city have made health a large part of the conversation in the Portland Plan, and as a result, “Healthy, Connected Neighborhoods” is a strategy.  In addition, there is an “Equity Initiative” that will serve as a foundation to the plan to check that all parts of the plan first look to serve those that have been underserved in the past.  The Portland Plan will serve to guide the Comprehensive Plan, which is the more ‘nuts and bolts’ document which specifies how the city is planned (e.g. curb cuts and setbacks)  Learn more about the Portland Plan and how to get involved at

  • The Transportation System Plan.  While the mere mention of the Transportation System Plan (aka TSP) might cause some eyes to glaze, it’s a pretty important document.  It directs transportation policy in the city as well as picks the projects on the City’s ‘to-do’ list.  We’re going to be undergoing a big update in 2012 and I’ve been hired to lead a process to engage community partners and review the TSP to make sure we’re integrating health.  The existing document is pretty good but hopefully the 2012/2013 TSP will be better, more digestible, and way healthier!

And with that I’ll take my final bow as a guest blogger on Commuter Central.  I hope you learned a little bit about health equity, the intersections between transportation and health, and how PBOT is trying to make everybody (yes, even you!) a little healthier.  I trust you will pass on this knowledge to your friends, family, and strangers that might be interested in this sort of this in order to keep the conversation going and health equity in your minds.

If you have any more questions about health equity initiatives at PBOT, feel free to drop me a line at

Photo courtesy of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Info Center

Read the other posts in the series:

Transportation and Health Equity Part 1

Part II: Heath and Equity: What's the problem? 

Part III: Obesity, Race and Equity

Part IV: What Makes us Healthy?

Part V: Can Transportation Help us Live Longer?

Part VI: Your Neighborhood and Your Health

The Green Grid

New Neighborhood Greenways starting to connect the city

Portland's Neighborhood Greenways (formerly Bike Boulevards) are great streets to walk, bike, play, and live.  Neighborhood Greenways are low-traffic residential streets that PBOT and other city bureaus upgrade to improve for walking and bicycling and for the city's health. 

We're putting in bioswales to treat storm water and improve watershed health.  We're building protected crossings at busy streets to make it safer and easier for people walking and bicycling to get across the street. We're working with Friends of Trees and the Grey to Green program to plant trees.  We're coordinating with Audubon Society and Columbia Land Trust to help certify backyard wildlife habitats.  We really expect Neighborhood Greenways to eventually be a trail-like experience.

So where are these Neighborhood Greenways?  Great question.

Click the map to see a larger image

We made this map by modifying Joshua Cohen's animation that does a fantastic job explaining the history and future of Neighborhood Greenways.

All of the corridors shown on the map have either 1) been constructed, 2) are being constructed now or this summer, or 3) are slated to be built in 2012/2013.  (This map is NOT an official PBOT planning document, so things could definitely change depending on funding and opportunities.)

Blog Promo: Winter Still Reigns in Portland

We were perturbed to read in today's Oregonian that our fair city just broke a dubious record: This is "the longest stretch without a 60 degree day since record-keeping began at the airport in 1940," according to the O.


Following last year's June-uary, it looks like we're going to have another cold, wet spring.  But we like to look on the bright side here at Commuter Central.  So we're turning our wet, cool spring into a chance to win some schwag.

Just leave a comment or email us your prediction for when Portland will officially hit 60 degrees.  If you're correct you'll have a chance to win an iTunes gift card or a Spring Blooms Eternal kit to get you ready for Portland's third best season (according to me).  In the meantime, here is an image to get you cogitating on your guess.


Oregon Walk + Bike to School Retreat

Calling all Oregonians with an interest in Walk + Bike to School and Safe Routes programs to join us at the first Oregon Walk+Bike to School Retreat this June in Bend, Oregon.

Calling all Oregonians with an interest in Walk + Bike to School and Safe Routes programs to join us at the first Oregon Walk+Bike to School Retreat this June in Bend, Oregon. We will offer opportunities to access training, learn best practices, network with others working on these issues, and work with us to create a strong state network.

Walk + Bike to School Retreat

June 16-18 in Bend, Oregon

Registration is open now, and it's just $10 a day to attend. Please register by March 30th.


5th grade class of safe bikers!


More information:

* Cost for the retreat is just $10/day and includes printed material, a resource CD, trainings, networking, and light snacks.
* Travel and meals are not included but there will be $75 reimbursement scholarships provided to approximately 30 attendees on a first come first serve basis.
* Professional Development Unit Certificates are available. Check with your district to confirm requirements

Basic agenda:

Thursday, June 16
3-5 p.m.: Afternoon session (SRTS 101 informative meeting).
6-9 p.m.: Speaker & Mixer. Dan Burden, World renowned walk+bike community planner

Friday, June 17
8:00 am-5:00 pm: Trainings
5:30-7:00 pm: Commute Options birthday party- simple dinner and networking

Saturday, June 18
8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.: Statewide Partnership discussion. What are the statewide standards/needs/funding? What are our goals for funding, structure, advocacy, education?
2:30-5:00 (optional) Join an afternoon bike ride (mountain bike & city riding options) OR complete the Bike Safety Education Curriculum training and League of American Bicyclists Traffic Safety Training.

Trainings offered: Safe Routes for Kids: Bike Safety Education, Neighborhood Navigators: Pedestrian Safety Education, and Encouragement Event Training

We are working to get retreat participants discounts for restaurants and lodging. We will send more information to registrants as we get it nailed down.

Thanks for your excitement and encouragement in getting this retreat off the ground. We hope to see you there!

LeeAnne Fergason, Bicycle Transportation Alliance
Kim Curley, Commute Options
Shane McRhodes, Eugene Safe Routes to School
Lynne Mutire, Oregon Safe Routes to School
Julie Yip, Oregon Department of Transportation