This week, we provide a snapshot of the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Active Transportation Division’s work in 2012. Previously we recapped the Division’s work on safety and bicycling.
PBOT is a dynamic partner in planning, building, maintaining, and managing the transportation system with hundreds of businesses, community organizations, governmental agencies, and Portland residents. This past year, PBOT’s Active Transportation Division worked with over 500 governmental, faith-based, private, and non-profit organizations to move Portland towards a safer, healthier, and more equitable and responsive transportation system.
Sunday Parkways is Portland’s signature active transportation event. Approximately 103,000 Portland area residents and visitors walked, biked, jogged, and rolled during the five Sunday Parkways in 2012. PBOT relies heavily on its sponsoring partners, such as Kaiser Permanente, Universal Cycles, 565 individual donors, local businesses, community organizations, and individual volunteers to help fund, promote and execute these major community events.
The five events required significant volunteer support on the day of the events as well as organizing the community prior to the events. Sunday Parkways engaged approximately 886 volunteers with 4,773 volunteer hours. This represents a jump of 36% volunteer hours over the previous successful year.
Volunteers are recruited, managed and trained by Good Sport Promotion, Inc. in close coordination and with resources from Active Transportation. Other businesses and community organizations provide a significant number of volunteers for activities in the parks and along the routes. These volunteers are not included in these estimates of volunteers who make Portland Sunday Parkways a success. For more information, see the full 2012 Sunday Parkways Final Report.
Safe Routes to School
PBOT’s Safe Routes to School advocates for and implements programs and projects that make walking and biking around Portland’s neighborhoods and schools fun, easy, safe, and healthy for all students and families. Now working with 80 schools in the greater Portland area, Safe Routes to School educates students on safe walking and biking skills and works with parents and school staff to implement activities that encourage safe and healthy transportation habits.
Safe Routes to School leverages its work through partnerships with parents, teachers, schools and community and health organizations. These 105 partnerships include:
- Partnering with parents to encourage walking and biking activities at schools – Safe Routes assisted parents with sustaining and/or creating approximately 27 groups of students and parents that either walk or bike to school on set days from designated spots. These walk and Bike activities are parent led and take place throughout the school year.
- Partnering with schools to educate students on safe walking and biking skills.
Safe Routes to School partners with 40 schools a year to provide hands-on, on-the-street training to 2nd and 4th/5th graders on how to safely cross the street and navigate their neighborhoods by bike. Over 5,000 students benefited from these trainings in 2012.
- Celebrating Walk/Bike Challenge Month and International Walk and Bike to School Day – In conjunction with the Safe Routes contractor, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, 42 Portland elementary schools participated in the 2012 Walk/Bike Challenge Month. This statewide challenge encourages students and parents to walk, bike, skate or roll to school during the month of May. For the eighth year, Safe Routes and the BTA assisted parents and schools take part in this international event held on October 3, 2012. Over sixtyPortland schools participated in International Walk+Bike to School Day.
- Bike Rodeo for youth in outer east Portland – Safe Routes teamed up with the Rosewood Prosperity Initiative to provide this free, fun event to increase bike riding skills.
- Active Transportation Education – Safe Routes partnered with the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to lead an Active Transportation workshop at Self Enhancement, Inc. Safe Routes staff helped SEI families identify the barriers and possible solutions to increase walking and biking trips within their families.
- Summer bike camps for 4th – 6th graders – Safe Routes partnered with SUN Schools in the David Douglas andParkroseSchool Districts to run five summer bike camps. The two-week camps offered 16 hours of instruction to 50Portland youth from underserved communities on safe bicycling. In addition, Safe Routes to School employs two high school interns through the Mayor’s Summer Works program to assist with the summer bike camps.
- Making bike riding accessible to youth at Sunday Parkways – Safe Routes teamed up with Legacy Trauma Nurses Talk Tough (LTTT) to distribute approximately 100 bike helmets to youth in need at three Sunday Parkways events. In partnership with Africa House, Asian Family Center, El Program Hispano and We All Can Ride, Safe Routes provided bikes for loan to be used during Sunday Parkways. Bicycles were provided for the event, and PBOT staff fitted each participating youth rider with a bike helmet donated by LTTT.
A robust active transportation network helps provide economic opportunities by activating street life in commercial corridors. In 2012, PBOT developed a pilot program, Street Seats to permit businesses to build a temporary platform in the on-street parking lane. The Street Seats program allows sponsoring businesses to use these platforms to add additional outdoor seating along the street, allowing Portlanders to enjoy a meal or a drink outdoors, while further activating the street and supporting economic development. Community and business response was overwhelmingly positive: 90% of surveyed businesses believe that the Street Seats program would benefit neighborhood businesses, and 80% nearby residents surveyed felt that the project improved the commercial streets’ vitality.
PBOT continued meeting business and resident demand for high-quality and ubiquitous bicycle parking. In 2012, PBOT installed 593 bike racks, including 17 on-street bicycle corrals. Bicycle parking increases access to jobs, goods, and services while bolstering the capacity for commercial corridors handle higher volumes of vehicles without increasing congestion.
SmartTrips works with Portland residents, commuters, and employers to encourage more people to get around by walking, bicycling, riding transit, carpooling, and car sharing. Through a combination of materials, maps, events, activities and personalized information, SmartTrips has decreased single occupancy vehicle trips while helping Portlanders reduce their transportation expenses.
PBOT continued to partner with local businesses to encourage residents to use active forms of transportation. PBOT conducted two coupon promotions with local businesses in 2012 to tie healthy transportation choices to a healthy local business climate. Any resident that ordered free active transportation resources, such as a neighborhood walking map or transit information, received a coupon book to local businesses as part of the order. Sixty-four businesses offered a coupon through promotions, which reached over 5,000 Portlanders. In addition, 115 local businesses requested and received transportation options resources for their employees and customers through the SmartTrips Business program.
In 2012, PBOT worked with the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles to show safety videos on the televisions at each Portland office. The partnership model, which ODOT is following to roll out similar campaigns across the state, is an example of how PBOT is able to leverage its leadership in transportation issues to reach more people and reinforce key City priorities.
Read the other progress in our 2012 recap series:
2012 Progress Report: Safety
2012 Progress Report: Bicycling