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Thousands take advantage of free and discounted travel options for New Year's Eve
(January 9, 2018) The launch of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) new program, Safe Ride Home, on New Year’s Eve was a resounding success. Over 2500 people took advantage of discounted taxi and transportation network company rides during the holiday. Thousands more chose to ride TriMet and a total of 75 intrepid revelers used BIKETOWN bike share to get to and from their parties.
Impaired driving is a major contributor to death and injury on Portland streets. More than half of deadly crashes in Portland involve people who are intoxicated. Safe Ride Home helps to achieve the City of Portland’s Vision Zero Action Plan’s goal of launching initiatives to reduce impaired driving.
The program made it easy for Portlanders to celebrate responsibly by providing free and discounted travel options. To launch the initiative, PBOT partnered with the Portland Police Bureau, TriMet, Old Town Hospitality Group, and Portland cab companies Radio Cab, Broadway Cab, New Rose City Cab and United Independent Cab, as well as transportation network companies Lyft and Uber.
"Dixie handed out hundreds of the coupons on New Year's Eve and front door staff had many conversations with customers about their options," said Dan Lenzen, a partner at Dixie Tavern in the Old Town Entertainment District. "MANY people thanked us for providing the options. Numerous comments were made about how cool it was that the City did this and one customer, upon learning that MAX was free, became very excited and headed toward the MAX stop."
“On a night with thousands of Portlanders choosing to imbibe as they ring in the new year, I am thankful that people made the responsible choice of taking a safe ride home,” said Transportation Director Leah Treat. “The success of this program shows the value of providing affordable travel options to prevent people from driving while impaired. Over 50 percent of deadly crashes in Portland involve people who are intoxicated, but on New Year’s Eve there were none.”
PBOT’s Vision Zero and Regulatory teams are hard at work planning additional opportunities to support responsible choices during future holidays and celebrations. Keep an eye out for future Safe Ride Home events throughout theyear and learn more about the City of Portland’s Vision Zero program at www.visionzeroportland.com.
Open house on Wednesday, January 10 to showcase PBOT's plan to repave, rebuild and reconfigure SW Naito Parkway from I-405 to SW Jefferson Street.
(January 10, 2018) Portland’s SW Naito Parkway is getting a major facelift with new, smooth pavement extending from I-405 to just beyond SW Jefferson Street. From I-405 to SW Harrison, the street will be repaired and repaved. Beginning at SW Harrison and extending north to SW Jefferson, SW Naito will be completely rebuilt from the ground up, with safety and efficiency improvements for all travel modes.
In addition to a completely rebuilt street, the section of SW Naito from SW Harrison to SW Jefferson foresees:
This project will build an important connection for people bicycling, walking, and accessing Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland State University, and the South Waterfront neighborhood. Currently, no sidewalks or bike facilities exist on the east side of SW Naito. The project’s boundaries end just beyond SW Jefferson, providing connection to Waterfront Park year-round and the seasonal Better Naito project from May to September.
Traffic modeling of the project shows improved operation for the whole corridor. The new traffic signals and updated timing will help move more people and vehicles through the corridor in less time. Take a look at the traffic model for the new signal planned at SW Naito at the Hawthorne Bridge onramp on PBOT's YouTube channel.
Funding for the reconstruction and bicycle safety improvements on SW Naito Parkway comes from several sources, primarily: Transportation System Development Charges, which are fees paid by developers to help manage population growth; the Fixing Our Streets program, funded by a local gas tax approved by Portland voters in May 2016 and a heavy vehicle use tax; and the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Please join us at the open house to see the traffic model, additional project snapshots and explore the full project proposal. Drop in at any time on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 from 4:30 – 7:00 p.m. at Portland State University Center for Executive and Professional Education (1500 SW 1st Ave – Suite 100) to provide feedback and discuss project elements with PBOT staff. We’ll have snacks. Click here to RSVP to the event on Facebook.
Learn more about the SW Naito Parkway project on PBOT's website at www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/swnaito
Eleven projects will be funded in 2018, supporting community-led transportation initiatives.
(Jan. 31, 2018) The Portland Bureau of Transportation is proud to announce the eleven projects that have been selected for the Portland in the Streets Community Grant Program. The program was established to support community-driven projects focused on transportation safety, equity, innovation and placemaking. Portlanders were especially encouraged to submit proposals for transportation safety projects in support of Vision Zero, creative community infrastructure projects, events in city streets, urban trail projects and initiatives that support innovative community engagement.
Sixty-three applications were submitted by Portland community and neighborhood groups requesting a total of $736,954. A total of $100,000 was available.
“As these projects clearly show, our communities are overflowing with creative ideas about how to improve their neighborhoods. We are very excited to be partnering on these projects, and we are already learning so much from the thoughtful and innovative ideas that Portlanders brought forward,” said Transportation Director Leah Treat. “I am gratified that we are able to help these communities realize their visions for safer and more attractive streets.”
Eleven grants were awarded to the following projects:
Bridlemile Walkway $3,368
This project will transform a walkway in the Bridlemile neighborhood of SW Portland. The walkway is used by neighbors to access area schools, bus stops and grocery stores and is a part of the SW Trails network.
"Dia de las Niñas y los Niños" Parade and Celebration $3,625
This community event is hosted annually by the Rigler Elementary School PTA to celebrate the Latin American holiday. This year’s event will include a Safe Routes to School theme and promote active transportation options for students and families in the Cully neighborhood.
Heritage Tree Trail $1,200
The University of Portland Neighborhood Association will use this project to promote the use of urban trails and neighborhood greenways, while also increasing awareness of the heritage trees network in their North Portland community.
Lents Green Ring Wayfinding Project $16,000
Green Lents and NAYA Generations, along with other community partners, will utilize these resources to engage community members on the development of a “Green Ring” in Southeast Portland. The “Green Ring” will promote active transportation, incorporate placemaking infrastructure and address safety concerns that have been a barrier to pedestrians and cyclists.
Living Cully Community Wayfinding Project $16,000
This project, led by Verde and Living Cully community partners, will complete a bilingual wayfinding system that will encourage pedestrian and bicycle access to six green spaces in the Cully community, including Thomas Cully Park scheduled to open in 2018.
NE 85th Street Community Greenspace and Intersection Repair $3,675
Neighbors in the Beech Milton community (near Madison High School) will utilize these funds to address pedestrian safety concerns and revive two intersection paintings, with a special focus on engaging diverse community members and local schools.
Painted Curb in Sullivan’s Gulch $8,550
This project seeks to address pedestrian safety concerns at the intersection of NE 21st Avenue and NE Clackamas Street. The rapidly growing Sullivan’s Gulch community has identified this as a problematic area for pedestrians seeking to access neighborhood grocery stores and transit.
Rosewood Center Parklet $9,785
The Rosewood Initiative will utilize these resources to facilitate the development of community identity markers and wayfinding signage that promotes the use of neighborhood greenways, highlights community spaces, and directs pedestrians to transit stops in Outer East Portland.
Safety Corridor for Deaf Children $16,000
Tucker Maxon School for the deaf will utilize these resources to address safety concerns near their school at SE Holgate and SE 28th. Their project vision includes speed bumps, maintenance of a gravel road and artistic placemaking.
ULPDX Williams Ave & Russell St Project $16,000
Led by the Urban League of Portland, and in partnership with Portland Community Reinvestment Initiative, this project will facilitate community beautification with the implementation of creative placemaking that celebrates the rich history of this intersection and community.
Urban Trails Maintenance and Construction in Southwest $5,500
SW Trails PDX will utilize these funds to improve community connectivity with an urban trail maintenance project of steps on SW Trail #1 from SW Twombly Ave to SW Melville Ave.
The Portland in the Streets Community Grant applications were due August 31, 2017. During the application period, eighty-two community members attended three informational workshops that provided more information and made staff available for technical questions. With the support of consults from Design + Culture Lab, there was also an intentional effort to solicit ideas from communities that have historically been underserved by City services and programming. Applications were scored for (1) project feasibility; (2) community partnerships and equity; (3) transportation and safety benefit; and (4) livability and community placemaking.
The selected projects will be supported by teams of PBOT staff across the bureau who will provide technical assistance informed by the priorities of the Livable Streets Strategy and Vision Zero, as well as other areas of PBOT work. PBOT will seek City Council authorization to continue the Portland in the Streets Community Grant Program in future years. The timeline for year two of the program has not yet been determined.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility. Learn more at www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation
College student learning about transportation bureau finds lofty ideas trickling down to "concrete" projects
By Thomas Barr
(Feb. 1, 2018) I recently participated in a career shadow program organized by Reed College. The program provided me with the opportunity to spend a full week at the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), experience first-hand what it is like to work inside the Portland City government, and introduce myself to PBOT staff with diverse interests, backgrounds and skills.
On Thursday, Jan. 4, I attended the PBOT Bureau and Budget Advisory Committee (BBAC) budget workshop meeting. BBAC includes staff and community members who represent various geographic locations, interests, constituencies, and voices. The group informs PBOT’s annual budget and reviews several projects and programs. In addition, the group constantly thinks about the Portland’s future, considering the pragmatism of transportation networks in the city and how it aligns with grassroots small projects and long-term goals.
Meeting discussion varied from the high-tech far-flung future of Smart Cities to current day concerns about blue collar workers' living wages, and everything in between.
My favorite thing about the Transportation Bureau is how the essence of an idea trickles down into “concrete” projects. I think it’s beautiful to see the transformation of philosophical ideas, the slow, big-worded speech with descriptive gesticulations, conversations about fundamental rights and equity, into road diverters and traffic signals.
But when the City has more than one project demanding attention, how does it decide which takes priority? PBOT has been using a number of criteria including equity and readiness to prioritize projects. At the budget workshop meeting, committee members supported PBOT's efforts to consider equity. What is more, the group also emphasized the need for PBOT’s budget to highlight return on investment and potential losses. For example, deterioration of pavement occurs exponentially, so an early response will save time and money. PBOT Director Leah Treat was engaged throughout the committee's discussion, and said of paving strategies, “One dollar today could save you ten dollars in the future.”
One of the highlight of the budget workshop meeting occurred when committee members expressed a desire for greater collaboration between PBOT and other City bureaus for instance the Bureau of Environmental Services can work closely with PBOT to fund the street sweeping program, Street sweeping improves road safety while protecting sewer systems from excess pollution. BBAC members see engagement with other organizations to be an area for improvement.
The perspectives that members of BBAC provide are invaluable to the decision-making process in Portland government. These members of the Portland community have contexts and connections in their respective neighborhoods and a diverse set of priorities. It is incredibly important for city government groups to include voices of members who care and have diverse contexts. Conversely, it is vital for Portland community members to engage and voice their thoughts and opinions, to bring both big thinking and grounded perspective to city government in Portland.
My favorite thing about the Transportation Bureau is how the essence of an idea trickles down into “concrete” projects. I think it’s beautiful to see the transformation of philosophical ideas, the slow, big-worded speech with descriptive gesticulations, conversations about fundamental rights and equity, into road diverters and traffic signals. What seems basic on the individual level is part of a grand picture of what Portland ought to be, and BBAC members bring perspectives, goals, and ideas from across the board to our attention.
Thomas Barr is a sophomore studying philosophy at Reed College in Southeast Portland. He recently spent a week at PBOT, learning about communication and transportation planning.
By Ryan Kim
(Feb. 2, 2018) As I spent a week learning about transportation planning, I wasn't sure how many people would be interested in learning about a new bike lane downtown. I come from Los Angeles, a city well-known for its numerous highways and traffic, but not its bike-friendly roads. A career shadow program organized by Reed College and the Portland Bureau of Transportation showed me just how passionate Portlanders are about having clean, green transportation options.
On the evening of Jan. 10, Portland residents gathered at PSU’s Center for Executive and Professional Education, to see PBOT’s first unveiling of the plan to renovate SW Naito Parkway. The event was held at night, deep inside a large building. Despite the voluntary nature of the event, a surprisingly large amount of people came! More than 130 signed in, in writing, at the entrance. Recent college graduates, retirees, people who live downtown, and Southeast and Northwest Portland – all crowded into the Open House.
SW Naito Parkway is a scenic corridor needing improvement. Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park and the Willamette River provide a spectacular view. However, currently, there are problems of safety, traffic congestion, and cracking pavement.
During peak hours, vehicle traffic builds up all the way from Hawthorne Bridge Ramp to sometimes as far as Harrison Street. However, traffic is not the only concern. People utilizing other modes of transportation are also placed in dangerous situations. For example, the lack of bicycle facilities requires people riding to weave through pedestrians in Waterfront Park and to navigate a steep, narrow sidewalk to access the Hawthorne Bridge.
The official plan consists of creating new, safer facilities for both bikes and pedestrians. It would build a 12-foot two-way bikeway and a 8-foot wide sidewalk, both separated from car traffic by a curb lined with trees. It also attempts to improve traffic efficiency through the use of new traffic signals. A new traffic signal on the bridge ramp would ease traffic through, removing a blockade that often stops rush-hour traffic on SW Naito. This would cut time spent stuck in traffic. The project is planned to begin construction at the end of 2018, and will take about nine months to complete.
The Open House event revealed these plans to the public to increase awareness, to gain an idea of public opinion, and to receive input on possible improvements.
Once I walked through the door, it felt as though I was in a modern art museum. To my left was a video simulation of cars, represented as small dots, flowing on SW Naito and onto the bridge. To my right was a 3D video of a virtual flyover, in the futuristic perspective what looked like a low-flying drone. Further back and to my left, were posters with white borders and an artistic quality in each. In the middle was an expanded, 20-foot long aerial photo of the street with the planned improvements marked all over it. People were encouraged to write down their specific concerns and praises on sticky notes, placing them in the right spot on the map.
The general view of the public seemed to be positive. As expected, people who ride bicycles were extremely enthusiastic, leaving multiple suggestions and staying longer at the Open House to talk to fellow bikers and to learn more of the project. However, it appeared that pedestrians and drivers were also generally supportive of the project.
One concern of a driver was losing a lane under the bridge in an already crowded route, but, they also felt that the improvements in efficiency would eliminate this problem. Pedestrians were also supportive of the project, but they were still somewhat unclear as to exactly how much safety would be improved.
The plan is still in its 60 percent stage, but the big, yet diverse turnout to the Open House reaffirms the communal spirit of Portland. Furthermore, the general, positive view of inclusive transportation accommodations reaffirms Portland's support for cleaner forms of transportation. Hopefully, the project will be completed as soon as possible, and improve traffic and allow thousands of people to bike and walk along a new, safer route.
Ryan Kim is a sophomore studying economics at Reed College in Southeast Portland. He recently spent a week at PBOT, learning about communication and transportation planning. Naito Parkway was named after Bill Naito, a pioneer of downtown revitalization who graduated from Reed with a degree in economics in 1949 and later served on the Board of Trustees.