Transforming a street for the 21st CenturyRead More…
1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204
Public Information Officer
(March 12, 2019) The experience of walking in Portland depends a lot on where in the city you live or work. Portland’s neighborhoods closer to downtown tend to have a fairly well-developed pedestrian network, while Southwest and East Portland have significant gaps in sidewalks and crossings.
However, data and public outreach from our citywide pedestrian plan, known as PedPDX, tells us that the experience of being a pedestrian in Portland also depends on who you are.
In Portland, pedestrian safety and access is an equity issue. Inadequate pedestrian infrastructure and traffic safety concerns disproportionately impact low-income communities and people of color.
Comparing sidewalk presence (left) to PBOT’s Equity Matrix (right) shows that many Portland neighborhoods lacking sidewalks are also areas with higher equity concerns. The orange lines in the map at the left indicate where sidewalks exist in Portland. The darker orange areas in the map on the right show areas of the City where low-income and non-white populations are highest. The maps show that sidewalks are more often missing in neighborhoods with higher equity concerns, particularly in the outer neighborhoods of East Portland.
Because of this disproportionate impact on non-white populations, the PedPDX project team was intent upon making sure that we heard from all Portlanders as part of our planning process.
A key piece of the PedPDX public outreach strategy was a citywide “Walking Priorities Survey,” asking Portlanders to tell us what the biggest barriers to walking in Portland are, and where improvements are most important to community members. This feedback directly influenced the plan’s prioritization of new sidewalks and crossings, as well as the strategies and actions in the PedPDX “Implementation Toolkit.”
However, upon evaluating who we heard from in the survey, it became evident that we were not hearing from all Portlanders. Project staff compared survey responses to the racial and geographic distribution of the city’s population. Out of the 5,405 total respondents to the PedPDX Citywide Walking Priorities Survey, 2 percent identified as African or African-American. However they represent 5.7 percent of Portland’s overall population.
In recognition of the low recorded response rate from African and African-American Portlanders in the Walking Priorities Survey, the project team hosted two focus groups to more intentionally elevate the voice of Black Portlanders in PedPDX. PBOT staff worked with community partners from the Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF), Black Parent Initiative (BPI) and Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) Africa House to secure more input from the Black community and to better understand how their walking experience may be different because of their racial and ethnic identities. Facilitators provided a space for black Portlanders to speak candidly about their “Walking While Black” experience in Portland, which the feedback shows is different from other community members.
Barriers to Walking
Focus group participants were asked “what makes walking difficult in Portland?” Like the citywide survey, participants were asked to rank a variety of potential barriers on a scale from 1 to 6, with 1 indicating “not important” and 6 indicating “really important.” The table below shows the responses from Black Portlanders who attended the focus groups compared to data collected from citywide survey.
The most prominent difference was the importance of street lighting to Black Portlanders. Walking While Black focus group participants rated “poor lighting” as the biggest barrier to walking, with an average rating of 5.0, while it was ranked significantly lower than in the citywide survey responses.
Focus group participants highlighted the impact that dark streets have not only on traffic safety, but on personal safety and security in the public realm. Participants shared that they regularly make travel choices based on how safe and visible the route feels, and often choose travel options that are longer or more expensive as a result.
In addition to answering the two PedPDX survey questions, the facilitators wanted to capture more information about the unique experiences of the Black community to better understand their transportation concerns and barriers. During the focus groups, the 2017 MAX incident was elevated as having a lasting impact on feelings of safety in public spaces and during travel commutes. While participants acknowledged that this was an extreme event, many participants shared experiences they have had on public transit or in public spaces that made them feel exposed and vulnerable to racially-motivated attacks.
Community members shared the following concerns, experiences, and recommendations during the two focus groups:
Encounters with Prejudice
Microaggressions in our Streets
Making PedPDX responsive to Black Portlanders’ Concerns
As transportation planners and engineers, we often think about safety in terms of traffic safety (i.e., how can we prevent crashes and injuries on our streets?). However, the feedback we heard in our Walking While Black focus groups made us realize that if Portland is to be a great pedestrian city for all, we must also pay attention to community members’ sense of personal safety and security in the public realm.
In response to this feedback, one of PedPDX’s six objectives speaks to this need to protect the public safety and personal security of pedestrians.
The plan’s Implementation Toolbox includes several strategies and actions intended to help us meet this objective. Action 6.1 introduces new lighting-level guidelines that will increase lighting on public streets as new capital projects and private development goes in. Actions 12.1, 12.2, and 12.3 are intended to address issues of safety and security in the public right-of-way, reinforcing our commitment to equity and eliminating disparate outcomes due to race. In addition to increasing lighting in underserved communities, these actions include partnering with other agencies and city bureaus to advance the well-being and personal security of vulnerable communities, and continuing to research racial bias and driving behavior.
The full Implementation Toolbox and the Walking While Black Focus Group Summary appendix item is available on our project website at pedpdx.com.
This Friday, March 15, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., PBOT staff Michelle Marx and Francesca Patricolo will be speaking at the Portland State University Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC)’s Friday Transportation Seminar (PBOT Edition) on PedPDX: Addressing Equity through Citywide Pedestrian Planning. The talk will be held at the Karl Miller Center at PSU, 615 SW Harrison St., Room 465 or can be viewed live online. Register to watch the presentation online here.
Give us your thoughts on PedPDX!
The full draft plan, a video overview of the PedPDX public process, and an online survey asking for public feedback on the plan is available at pedpdx.com.
In addition, PedPDX is co-hosting several “View + Review Parties” with our community partners in the coming weeks. A video overview of the plan will be shown at the event and participants will have a chance to discuss the plan with bureau staff:
Tuesday, March 12, 6 - 7:30 p.m. at the Brentwood-Darlington Community Center
7211 SE 62nd Ave.
Portland, OR 97206
Thank you to our host, Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association!
Complementary childcare provided at this event
Wednesday, March 13, 6 - 7:30 p.m. at the Rosewood Initiative
16126 SE Stark St.
Portland, OR 97233
Thank you to our hosts, Oregon Walks and The Rosewood Initiative!
Complementary childcare provided at this event. This event includes Spanish-language materials and interpretation.
Únase a nosotros para ver videos sobre PedPDX para conocer el contexto y el contenido del plan, disfrutar de algo de comida y contribuir con respuestas de encuestas para aprovechar su voz, necesidades y opiniones. Todos los asistentes recibirán un mosquetón de linterna PedPDX GRATIS!
Miércoles, 13 de marzo, 6 - 7: 30 p.m.
16126 SE Stark St.
Portland, OR 97233
En este evento se proporcionarán cuidado de niños, materiales en español y servicios de traducción. ¡Gracias a nuestros anfitriones, Oregon Walks y El Rosewood Initiative!
Wednesday, March 14, 6 - 7:30 p.m. at Hatch (Oregon Walks office)
2420 NE Sandy Blvd.
Portland, OR 97232
Thank you to our host, Oregon Walks!
Monday, March 18, 5:30 - 7 p.m. at the Multnomah Arts Center
7688 SW Capitol Highway
Portland, OR 97219
Thank you to our host, Southwest Neighborhoods Inc.!
Wednesday, March 20, 6 - 7:30 p.m. at Milepost 5
850 NE 81st Ave.
Portland, OR 97213
Thank you to our hosts, Oregon Walks, OPAL and APANO!
Thursday, April 4, 6 - 7:30 p.m. at the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA)
5135 NE Columbia Blvd.
Portland, OR 97218
Thank you to our hosts, NAYA!
8105 N Brandon Ave.
Portland, OR 97217
Thank you to our host, the North Portland Neighborhood Services (NPNS) Transportation Committee!
Portland’s bike-share ridership grew 28 percent 2018, with an 87 percent increase in annual members.
(March 13, 2019) Since its inception in the summer of 2016, BIKETOWN has attracted more and more Portlanders to biking, while also broadening and diversifying the city’s bicycle culture. The 2018 BIKETOWN Annual Report, released today by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), highlights the ever-growing list of accomplishments of the bike-share program, including a 28 percent increase in ridership, a successful service area expansion, and a 220 percent increase in rentals through the Adaptive BIKETOWN program for people with different abilities.
The past year was full of growth for BIKETOWN and its sister-programs, BIKETOWN for All and Adaptive BIKETOWN. This year’s BIKETOWN expansion made it easier and more affordable to explore Portland. PBOT provided an option for lower cost membership, expanded BIKETOWN’s service area and made it easier to park BIKETOWN bikes throughout the city. BIKETOWN lowered its annual membership for unlimited rides by 30 percent to $99. A new pay-as-you-go plan now costs $5 at signup and only 8 cents per minute after that. BIKETOWN also introduced a new $19 month-to-month plan for regular BIKETOWN users who don’t want to commit to an annual membership. On June 1, BIKETOWN introduced two service improvements. BIKETOWN expanded the service to eastside Portland neighborhoods along the 50s Bikeway including Grant Park, Creston-Kenilworth, Laurelhurst, Beaumont-Wilshire, Cully as well as Hollywood where residents have, repeatedly asked for service. As a new benefit, BIKETOWN allowed annual and BIKETOWN for All members to lock to any public bike rack in the service area for free. Additionally, PBOT has designated 45 sets of bike racks across the city as “community corrals” that act the same as the orange BIKETOWN stations where parking is free for BIKETOWN users.
In May 2018, BIKETOWN and PBOT celebrated national bike month with free rides for all. BIKETOWN saw a huge increase in ridership with 79,399 rides for a total of 164,252 miles biked. That was more than double the number of trips ridden in May of 2017! We also set new one-day trip records nine times in May, with a new all-time high of 4,792 trips on Sunday, May 27! This smashed the previous record by over 1,000 trips. Over 14,000 Portlanders and visitors rode BIKETOWN in May, of which 78 percent were first-time BIKETOWN riders.
Adaptive BIKETOWN, Portland’s adaptive bike rental program, is designed to increase biking access for people with disabilities. The program is a partnership with Albertina Kerr Center’s Kerr Bikes and offers short-term rentals of adaptive bicycles such as hand-cycles, tricycles and tandems. The program offers a staffed service to assist in fitting people on the bicycles, a place to store mobility devices, and a location with direct access to Portland’s multiuse trail system. In 2018, Adaptive BIKETOWN added 2 electric-assist trikes and counted 189 rentals. The two most popular adaptive bikes were foot-powered trikes and hand-powered trikes, with 35 percent of riders identifying as first-time adaptive bike riders and 87 percent of riders were TriMet Honored Citizen Passholders. The pilot project originally launched in summer 2017 and will move to a formal program in May 2019.
Finally, the BIKETOWN for All program, which provides a reduced-cost bike share membership and other benefits for Portlanders living on a low income, grew 128 percent in 2018. The 495 BIKETOWN for All members took 36,089 trips over the course of the last year. Since October 2018, new BIKETOWN for All members automatically receive a $3 credit to pay for their first month. This eliminates the initial financial hurdle to start riding for those who qualify for SNAP, low income housing, and other forms of financial assistance. After signing up, many BIKETOWN for All members generate additional credits on their balance by doing tasks that support a well-balanced bike-share system, like returning bikes parked outside of a BIKETOWN station back to a station. All new BIKETOWN for All Members receive that first month free in the form of a $3 Pay-It-Forward credit and agree that when they generate enough credit to pay for their next six months of membership ($18), $3 will be donated from their account back into the Pay-It-Forward program. The “Pay-It-Forward” campaign, introduced in late 2018, invited BIKETOWN members to donate credits to the BIKETOWN for All program. The result was over $1,500 donated to provide a free first-month of service for up to 514 future BIKETOWN for All members.
Looking to the future, BIKETOWN will continue to innovate and increase its service, finding new ways to fill in gaps in the transportation needs of Portlanders. BIKETOWN bike-share service provides flexibility for day-to-day activities, as well as a fun and healthy way to move around Portland. More than a third of surveys showed members would be more likely to use BIKETOWN if electric bikes were added or if the service area was expanded. The 2020 BIKETOWN expansion will encompass PBOT’s Strategic Plan and goals, making sure we keep a focus on equity and provide greater access for those not currently served by bike-share.
Sign up to ride BIKETOWN today at www.biketownpdx.com.
BIKETOWN is Portland’s bike share system, launched on July 19, 2016 with 1,000 bikes available to ride from one point to another for a small fee. BIKETOWN is a partnership between the City of Portland’s Portland Bureau of Transportation and Nike, the program’s sole title sponsor. BIKETOWN is operated by Motivate, the world’s leading bike share operator. It uses innovative new “smart bikes” which make it easy to find, rent and park a BIKETOWN bike. BIKETOWN is designed to be affordable and accessible, encouraging even more Portlanders to ride and allowing visitors to experience the city by bike. Portland joins over 60 US cities, including New York, Chicago, Washington DC, San Antonio, Indianapolis, Boise and Austin and 500 cities worldwide that have popular, safe and successful bike share systems. biketownpdx.com
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. www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation
Nike believes in the power of sport to move the world and unleash human potential. As a longtime partner with the City of Portland, BIKETOWN highlights the company’s commitment to make Portland even more active, vibrant and innovative. As the title sponsor of BIKETOWN, Nike designed the innovative visual identity for the program’s standard bike which is the highly identifiable orange that is synonymous with Nike. In addition, Nike oversees the design and branding of the system’s logo, stations and physical presence, as well as a select number of limited-edition bike wrap designs.
(March 13, 2019) -- The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) advises the traveling public that street improvements will temporarily close the northernmost westbound lane of West Burnside between NW 18th Avenue and NW 19th Avenue beginning this Friday, March 15 at 6 a.m. The lane will be closed all hours and all days from March 15 through March 29, to allow for the installation of new curb ramps and crossings.
While one westbound lane will remain open, the traveling public can expect significant delays traveling west on Burnside, particularly during the evening commute. We ask the public to travel cautiously, observe all construction signage, and use alternate routes if possible. This closure is necessary to ensure crews can work in a safe and efficient manner and to allow the concrete to cure to the appropriate strength.
This work is weather-dependent and the schedule may change.
These improvements are part of the West Burnside Multimodal Project, one of a series of safety improvements PBOT is making along the corridor. For more information or to sign up for e-updates, visit our project webpage.
City program offers discounted travel options for holiday revelers this Saturday, March 16
(March 14, 2019) The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) will once again offer discounted taxi, Lyft and Uber rides originating in the City of Portland on Saturday as part of its Safe Ride Home program for Portlanders celebrating St. Patrick's Day.
SafeRide Home coupons will be available for pickup on Saturday, March 16 from participating businesses and Portland Police Bureau officers in the Central City. Coupons will be valid Saturday, March 16 at 8:00 p.m. through Sunday, March 17 at 4:00 a.m.
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. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during the 2016 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period, almost two-fifths (39%) of all motor vehicle crash fatalities in the United States involved drunk driving.
PBOT has offered Safe Ride Home travel options on New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo, Brewers Festival, and Halloween. The first Safe Ride Home Event was on New Year's Eve 2017.
The Safe Ride Home program is a partnership between PBOT, the Portland Police Bureau, Old Town Hospitality Group, Venture Portland, and Portland cab companies Radio Cab, Broadway Cab, New Rose City Cab, New Green Cab, PDX Yellow Cab and United Independent Cab, Blue Taxi, and Flat Cab, as well as transportation network companies Lyft and Uber. The program is funded by the taxi permit fees and the 50-cent fee charged for every TNC ride in Portland. The fee also covers safety inspections and the PDX WAV program that makes accessible on-demand vehicles available to people with wheelchairs or mobility devices in Portland.
RSVP to Safe Ride Home on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/2360181190927031/
Learn more about the City of Portland’s Vision Zero program at www.visionzeroportland.com
Guided by the citywide racial equity goals, PBOT releases a plan to address the needs of everyone in the neighborhood.
(March 21, 2019) Major improvements to pedestrian and biking connections are coming to Irvington, Sabin, Alberta, Vernon, and Woodlawn neighborhoods, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) announced today. Following a robust public process with neighborhood residents, transportation advocates, and community organizations, and guided by the city’s racial equity goals, the bureau announced two major projects – a new bikeway on NE Ninth Avenue and a comprehensive safety project on NE Seventh Avenue called “Safer 7th.”
The decision to build a bikeway on NE Ninth Avenue and establish the Safer 7th project came about after additional public outreach and focus groups. This outreach found that the major changes needed to make a bikeway on NE Seventh Avenue did not have broad public support. This two-project solution incorporates the safety and access needs expressed by all neighbors.
In 2015, Portland City Council unanimously adopted Portland’s Racial Equity Goals and Strategies which directs city services to “strengthen outreach, public engagement, and access to city services for communities of color and immigrant and refugee communities, and support or change existing services using racial equity best practices” among its equity goals. Since then, PBOT has focused its efforts on broader public involvement and engagement.
As the Lloyd to Woodlawn project team began sharing design options with the neighborhood, it became clear that Black community organizations in the neighborhood were concerned about how traffic diversion on NE Seventh Avenue would impact their access to the multiple Black community institutions on the street and the people they serve. At an open house in August 2018, many community members expressed that the proposed street designs would impact their traffic patterns without increasing their travel options. As a result, PBOT held two focus groups and had a series of conversations with community leaders about the travel needs of people who have historically been served by those institutions. Having heard these concerns, PBOT revised its designs to ensure the project provided better connections and access for all neighborhood stakeholders. The final projects on NE Ninth and NE Seventh avenues reflect the feedback the bureau received.
Both the NE Ninth Avenue bikeway and Safer 7th will reduce conflict between people, improve safety for everyone, and establish a low-stress pedestrian and biking route connecting the neighborhoods of Woodlawn, Vernon, Sabin, King, and Irvington to both the Lloyd District and the new Sullivan’s Crossing bridge over I-84, coming in 2020.
On NE Ninth Avenue, PBOT will make crossing busy streets safer for pedestrians and people biking, including crossings that are part of PBOT’s Safe Routes to School program connecting to King and Irvington Elementary Schools. Traffic diverters are proposed where NE Ninth Avenue crosses Ainsworth, Emerson, and Webster streets, reducing the volume of motor vehicles where the volume exceeds city standards for neighborhood bikeways, known as greenways. Users will be able to travel through Irving Park as they travel north and south through the area. An improved route through Irving Park is currently not surveyed, designed or funded. When we have that capacity, PBOT and Portland Parks and Recreation will seek funding for a route that will provide an improved connection through the park.
The Safer 7th project will reduce conflict and improve safety along NE Seventh Avenue, particularly in areas where people walk and play along the corridor. PBOT will install new speed bumps and paint new street markings to reduce speeding. We’ll remove existing traffic circles to reduce conflict between people. And we'll build safer crossings along popular school and pedestrian routes. In addition, the bureau will improve where NE Seventh Avenue crosses Going, Morris, and Tillamook streets, connecting these neighborhood greenways with signs, street markings, and by adjusting the location of stop signs.
Furthermore, a bike lane on NE Seventh Avenue from Tillamook to Weidler streets will create a complete connection to the Sullivan’s Crossing, a new bridge over I-84, coming in 2020.
“PBOT is committed to building a safe, sustainable transportation system, but for our system to succeed, we need it to be built with the needs of all Portlanders in mind,” said Transportation Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. “We have broad support for creating a Safer 7th that reduces conflict and improves safety for everyone. NE Ninth Avenue is a well-used walking and biking route today, and PBOT’s design will reinforce its role as a family-friendly route through Northeast Portland.”
“We’re so grateful for the Black community’s engagement in this process and look forward to continuing to work with them on future projects,” said Interim Transportation Director Chris Warner. “Our best plans and projects are those that incorporate the feedback of all neighbors and, in the end, we find that people often agree with each other more often than not. All of us want safer streets for our children and to get to where we are going comfortably, efficiently, and affordably, no matter how we travel.”
“The Street Trust supports the decision to locate the greenway on NE Ninth Avenue because improvements on Ninth can deliver the low-car experience needed to make a variety of cyclists feel comfortable, without disrupting access to institutions on NE Seventh Avenue serving people of color,” said Jillian Detweiler, Executive Director of The Street Trust. “This decision honors the input of community members who have been historically marginalized.”
“Throughout the process, PBOT was open to listening, learning and responding to community concerns,” said Ron Herndon, Director of Albina Head Start, which has been serving predominantly Black children and families in the neighborhood since 1965 and at their NE Seventh Avenue location since 1992. “As a result, these projects are a fair representation of the community and neighborhood’s interests. These improvements on NE Seventh Avenue will make it safer for families traveling to our organization, without limiting their access. Albina Head Start supports a Safer 7th.”
"NECN sincerely appreciates and supports PBOT's effort to have authentic outreach and engagement with diverse stakeholders regarding the Safer 7th project," said Adam Lyons, Executive Director of the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods.
“PCRI’s participation in the PBOT greenway focus group was the first of many steps towards the inclusion and representation of all the voices that make Portland great and progressive. While the greenway was the topic, it underscored a larger healing conversation that is needed where the Black communities are able to express the hurtful impact of rapid city development when their voices are silenced or forgotten,” said Bonnie Bright, Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives (PCRI) Resident Services Coordinator at the Margaret Carter Community Center. “PCRI looks forward to continuing to support PBOT by serving as a liaison towards inclusion of the Black voices of Portland.”
“Myself and many other people live on NE Seventh had hoped for more to be done on our street, but we are glad that we got to participate in the community conversation and that everyone agreed that making a safer street benefits all,” said Kiel Johnson from the Friends of 7th Avenue group. “It is very important for our city to listen to the voices who have historically not had a say in our city’s policies and I am glad those voices were heard here. This summer we are going to be organizing a series of block parties every Sunday on Seventh so that neighbors can build new relationships as our community continues to change. In the end a stronger, safer, more connected community is what we all want.”
“PBOT was proactive in getting the feedback of our community. They listened to the good, the bad and the ugly… but most importantly they just LISTENED. We appreciate that our feedback was heard and are hopeful it will be used throughout the implementation,” said Anthony Deloney, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Self Enhancement, Inc.
“We were impressed with the approach PBOT used to navigate both the business and cultural sensitivities that arose during this process. Their rapid response to our concerns of negative business impact, and the level of sincerity and conscientiousness to work with our historic community to find a solution was a refreshing change from past experiences,” said John Washington, Chair of the Soul District Business Association. “Improving the safety of Seventh Avenue and moving forward with Ninth Avenue as a neighborhood greenway, is a win/win for all who travel, work and play within this corridor and we support it wholeheartedly.”
With the neighborhood greenway route decided, PBOT will now move forward with the design and engineering for both NE Seventh and NE Ninth avenues. Construction for both projects is currently estimated to begin in Spring 2020. The Lloyd to Woodlawn Greenway is expected to cost $552,000 for design, engineering and partial implementation. Funding is provided through PBOT’s Fixing Our Streets. Fixing Our Streets is the result of the passage of Measure 26-173, a 10-cent gas tax and Portland’s first local funding source dedicated to street repair and traffic safety projects citywide. Fixing Our Streets helps PBOT do preventive street maintenance that saves money and prevents potholes. It also supports the bureau’s work to make it safer for children to walk to school and allows the bureau to build more sidewalks, traffic signals, streetlights and bike lanes. The bureau is currently working to identify funding for the remaining elements of each project.
PBOT is committed to increasing diversity, advancing equity and fostering inclusion in everything that we do. PBOT’s Equity and Inclusion Program will continue to deepen the engagement of racially diverse populations that have been historically underserved by the bureau. These efforts include the expansion of community partnerships, resources for community-led ideas and building more internal capacity to implement racial equity, disability and language access initiatives. In 2019 PBOT will be working to establish a transportation equity framework to further clarify the bureau's racial equity commitments, goals and intended outcomes. Learn more about PBOT current equity and inclusion initiatives here and sign up for updates from PBOT’s Equity and Inclusion Program here.