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The City of Portland, Oregon

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

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503-823-3723

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Portland retains Platinum Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists

The Rose City is one of just 4 Platinum level communities in the U.S. and the only large city to achieve the designation.

SE 36th Ave and Taylor bikewayThe League of American Bicyclists announced today that Portland has been re-named a Platinum Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC).

“We are inspired when we see places like Portland making bicycling safer and more convenient,” said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. “We know that investment will be returned many times over in the health, environmental, transportation, and quality of life benefits of a thriving, attractive community.”

Portland became the first major US city to attain Platinum designation in 2008. The cities of Boulder, CO and Davis, CA are also Platinum cities. Every four years the League requires communities to reapply.

There are now 259 BFCs in 47 states across America. The Platinum BFC award recognizes Portland’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies.

The BFC program provides a roadmap to building a Bicycle Friendly Community and the application itself has become a rigorous and educational tool for cities. Since its inception, more then 500 distinct communities have applied and the five levels of the award – diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze – provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve.

To apply or learn more about the free BFC program, visit www.bikeleague.org/community

The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of America's 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates. For more information or to support the League, visit www.bikeleague.org.

Photo credit: Greg Raisman - http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregraisman/

SmartTrips' Ten Toe walking season starts out with a bang!

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Dare we say, things got off on the right foot?

Ten Toe Express walkers on the EsplanadeOver 50 eager walkers showed up for the first Ten Toe Express walk, part of SmartTrips Portland. The highly popular walking program held this year's inaugural walk on Thursday, May 9, with a tour of the Central Streetcar and Esplanade Loop.

Participants enjoyed a free ride on the new Central Loop streetcar line from the Oregon Convention Center, on NE Oregon St and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, to OMSI and then walked back along the Eastbank Esplanade to the start location at the Convention Center.

As you can see from the photo, it was a beautiful day, and Ten Toe program and walk leader Rich Cassidy called it a “great night, and one of the best first walks of the season” he can remember.

Ten Toe Express walks are free and happen on Thursday evenings at 6:00 pm and Saturday mornings at 9:00 am. They are generally 2 to 3.5 miles long and this year’s walks will highlight areas such as Ladd’s Addition, Portland Heights, Produce Row, King Hill and Goose Hollow. No registration is needed,  just show up. For more information contact Rich Cassidy at rich.cassidy@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-6051.

Tracking our progress: safety

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First in a series reviewing PBOT Active Transportation Division’s work in 2012

Background:
This week we provide a snapshot of the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Active Transportation Division’s work in 2012. Later posts will focus on bicycle ridership and partnerships.

Pedestrian waiting at a crossingEvery person deserves to get to their destination safely.  No person should have a higher likelihood of being involved in a crash because of where they live or how they travel and no person should limit their travel due to concerns over safety.  

Pedestrian Safety
PBOT prioritizes pedestrian connectivity in neighborhoods and business corridors.  Safe mobility for all travelers is PBOT’s highest priority and safe pedestrian mobility serves as a primary performance indicator for Active Transportation in Portland.  Investments in the pedestrian network make getting around by walking and rolling a more attractive travel option and provides Portland residents with safer access to jobs, goods, and services, while increasing their physical activity. 

Some of the key pedestrian projects PBOT built in 2012 include:

  • The SE Stark sidewalk infill project built four blocks of sidewalks on SE Stark between 126th to 130th avenues, providing a critical connection for Menlo Park school students and safe, convenient access to transit for residents in the neighborhood.
  • PBOT installed six rapid flash beacons in conjunction with crossing improvements.  Rapid flash beacons bring attention to pedestrian crossings and create more awareness for people walking, rolling, and driving.

Severe pedestrian injuries and fatalities are shown in Table 1.

Pedestrian injuries and fatalities
* Number of crashes that involved at least one severe pedestrian injury
Injury data source: Official crash record, State of Oregon (query includes “Pedestrian Injury crashes” AND “Injury A crashes”)
Fatal data source: Portland Police Bureau

High Crash Corridors 
To maximize return on investment, PBOT has prioritized safety improvements, outreach, and enforcement on 10 main arterials, designating them as High Crash Corridors (HCC).  HCC are roadways that have exceptional concentrations of crash activity. Identifying HCC helps the City target limited resources for improved safety.   State, regional, and City partners have adopted a metric to track progress on reducing fatalities and severe injury on all roadways (see Table 2).  The City is currently on pace to meet the goal set forth by the stakeholders in 2012 to reduce fatalities and severe injuries on roadways by 50% by 2035.

Fatalities and injuries all modes
Injury data source: official crash record, State of Oregon
Fatality data source: Portland Police Bureau

The High Crash Corridor program employs a comprehensive strategy to reduce severe injuries and fatalities that include educational opportunities, engineering improvements, and traffic safety enforcement actions in partnership with the Portland Police Bureau. 

Some examples of 2012 High Crash Corridor work:

  • In partnership with Portland Police Bureau, High Crash Corridor staff conducted eight crosswalk enforcement actions, resulting in 184 traffic citations or warnings for road users failing to obey crosswalk laws.
  • Installed four different transportation safety messages on over-the-street banners at six locations.
  • Enhanced pedestrian crossings by installing six rapid flash beacons, one HAWK signal, one full traffic signal, two pedestrian islands, and multiple curb extensions; as well as making upgrades to three existing median islands.

New 20 mph sign20 MPH Speed Limits on Neighborhood Greenways
In 2012, PBOT made a significant investment in the health of residents who travel on Portland streets by reducing the speed limit on 70 miles of neighborhood greenways from 25 to 20 mph. 

Reducing traffic speed, even by only 5 mph, can have a tremendous impact on the health and safety of the transportation system’s most vulnerable users. PBOT chose to lower the speed limit on its network of neighborhood greenways, low-traffic, low-speed, local streets where walking, bicycling, and neighbors are prioritized.  PBOT sees neighborhood greenways as the backbone of the City’s growing active transportation network, connecting people to places they want to go, such as schools, parks, and area business districts.

Photo courtesy of Greg Raisman, flickr.com/gregraisman

Bicycle Safety
Portlanders who live in neighborhoods with safe and convenient bicycle facilities are more likely to incorporate biking into their daily lives.  Biking to work, school, and to meet daily needs, improves air quality and cardiovascular health while decreasing the risk of obesity and heart disease.   Improvements to bike facilities and increasing bicycle network connectivity are two key ways to make biking safer and more attractive to residents. (See our upcoming post on 2012 bicycle projects and ridership for more information).

Helmet use in Portland has been trending steadily upward since the early 1990s. In 1992, only 44 percent of Portland cyclists used a helmet. Helmet use has been at or near 80 percent since 2008, and in 2012 citywide helmet use remained unchanged from 2011 at 80%. Helmet use is highest in Southwest Portland at 90 percent and lowest in East Portland at 63 percent. Though lowest, helmet use in East Portland showed the highest one-year growth.

As has been the case in every year since 1992, women wore helmets at a higher rate than men. In 2012 approximately 86 percent of female riders wore helmets compared to 76 percent of men.

Table 3 compares citywide helmet usage for 2011 and 2012 and at different locations throughout Portland. Table 4 shows severe bicycle injuries and fatalities from 2008 to 2012.

Helmet use
Helmet use is recorded as part of PBOT’s annual bicycle count process. Staff and volunteers counted helmet use at 216 locations between July 20 and September 30, 2012 during peak commuting hours.

Bicycle injuries and fatalities
Fatality data source: Portland Police Bureau
Injury data source: official crash record, State of Oregon

 

Read the other progress in our 2012 recap series:
2012 Progress Report: Bicycle projects and ridership
2012 Progress Report: Partnerships
 

Take the High Crash Corridor Pedestrian Safety Quiz

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We’re all pedestrians at some time during the day.

People walking in a crosswalkWe all want to get from here to there safely. But do you know the Oregon crosswalk laws? Are you aware of your responsibilities as a pedestrian? Do you know when and where most pedestrian fatalities occur in Portland?

Take the Portland High Crash Corridor Pedestrian Safety Quiz to test your pedestrian safety awareness and know-how at www.lookbeforecrossing.org.

The first 500 Portland residents (16 years and older only please) that complete the quiz will receive a FREE tote bag featuring bold safety reflective material. Limit 1 per household.

 Reflective tote bag

Be proactive in your safety whenever walking, rolling or driving in Portland!

 

Tracking our progress: bicycling

Second in a series reviewing PBOT Active Transportation Division's work in 2012

Background:
This week we provide a snapshot of the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Active Transportation Division’s work in 2012. The next post will focus on our partnerships.

Portlanders who live in neighborhoods with safe and convenient bicycle facilities are more likely to choose the bicycle as an option for their daily trips. The Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 identifies the bicycle as a preferred mode to single occupancy vehicles for trips three miles and under. Biking to work, school, and to meet daily needs, improves air quality and cardiovascular health while decreasing the risk of obesity and heart disease. The Active Transportation Division’s coordinates the planning, outreach, funding and implementation of bicycle projects.

2012 Bicycle Projects
Bicycling is one of the most cost effective ways for Portland to manage its increasing travel demand.  Improvements to bike facilities and increasing bicycle network connectivity are two key ways to make biking more attractive to residents. 

Key to increasing the number of Portlanders bicycling is creating comfortable, direct routes for people less comfortable bicycling near automobiles. While Portland’s growing network of neighborhood greenways provide low-traffic, low-speed bike connections on local streets, destinations in many of our commercial and employment centers require bikeways on higher trafficked streets.

PBOT employs buffered bicycle lanes and separated bicycle lanes (also known as cycletracks) to provide a more protected and comfortable space for cyclists than a conventional bike lane. Portland now has 7.25 center line miles of these enhanced bike lanes with 2.3 center line miles of physically separated lanes. In 2012 projects PBOT added separated or buffered bikeways to NW 16th Avenue between NW Thurman and NW Lovejoy, NE Multnomah between 1st and 15th avenues: the eastbound lane of the Hawthorne Bridge viaduct, SW Barbur Boulevard between Caruthers and Sheridan, the northbound lane of the NE 12th Avenue Overcrossing between NE Irving Street and NE Lloyd Boulevard, and improvements to the SW Stark and Oak Green Lanes.

Some other the key bike projects that PBOT built in 2012 include:

  • The Going to the River project, a multi-modal and demand management project in North and Northeast Portland that expanded the active transportation network by 2.8 miles and connects to Swan Island, one of the region’s largest work force centers.
  • The 80’s neighborhood greenway, a low-stress, low-traffic route that parallels SE 82nd Ave from SE Flavel to SE Powell Blvd that connects directly to several parks, schools, and business districts.

Safe Routes to School
Finding opportunities for youth to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives looms as significant health and economic challenge for the country.  Portland is making significant strides towards “thriving, educated youth” as the Portland Plan calls for, by building a safe active transportation network and successfully encouraging students and their families to use it.  Last year's surveys of more than 2,000 parents at 50 schools showed that more than 43% of student trips to school are by walking and bicycling.  Walking trips make up 33% of student trips to school and bicycling accounts for over 10% of student trips - more than 10 times higher than the national average (1%).

American Community Survey
In 2011 (2012 data is not yet available), Portland’s bicycle commute modes share increased to 6.3% of the all commute trips in the city (see, Chart 1), up from 6% in 2010 and 1.8% in 2000.  The Portland Plan calls for bicycle trips to make up 25% of all commute trips by 2035. 

Chart of Portland ACS Commute Split Data

Portland Bicycle Count Report
Each year since the early 1990s, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has counted bicycle trips at various locations throughout the city. The majority of these counts have been conducted manually by volunteer counters and City staff standing at street corners and on bridges during the two-hour rush (“peak period”) counting bicycles that pass. In addition to the overall number of trips, PBOT also records the gender of each person and whether they are wearing a helmet.

Most counts are still conducted in this manner, though in the early 2000s PBOT added a number of 24-hour automated "hose" counts (pressure-sensitive pneumatic hoses) on some bridges and trails. These counts, while they do not record gender or helmet use, provide a more precise record of the ebb and flow of bicycle traffic over 24-hour periods. In August of 2012 Cycle Oregon donated to the City of Portland an automated 24-hour bicycle counter to the deck of the Hawthorne Bridge. This counter, known as a “bike barometer,” records bicycle activity every day and around the clock.

The 2012 count demonstrates a continuation of the two-decade upward trend of bicycle use in Portland. Of 150 locations that were counted in both 2011 and 2012 (including four of the bicycle-friendly Willamette River bridges and trails), 67 locations showed a decrease compared to 2011 while 79 locations showed an increase (and four locations showed no change).  Overall, bicycle use increased approximately three percent compared to 2011. The split of male to female cyclists also remained essentially steady since 2003, with 69 percent of cyclists identified as male. 

The table below compares the 2012 bike counts to both 2000-01 and 2011 count locations.

Non-bridge bike counts since 2000-01 and 2011

The complete 2012 Portland Bicycle Count Report can be found here.

See the 2012 recap of the Active Transportation Division’s safety work here.

Read the other progress in our 2012 recap series:
2012 Progress Report: Safety
2012 Progress Report: Partnerships