Group ride attendees smiling for photo on adaptive cycles and standing in background.

 

Harry Styles fans, adaptive bike riders, and Pedalpalooza regulars alike gathered on Saturday morning for The Street Trust and Adaptive BIKETOWN’s accessible group ride. It was my first time participating in and leading a group bike ride, along with Jenna Phillips (aka @jennabikes), my co-lead. 

Since getting involved in the world of transportation justice, I’ve seen my friends post every year about fun group rides, especially during Pedalpalooza. It wasn’t until I tried out an adaptive cycle at Adaptive BIKETOWN that I could see myself being able to participate in a group ride.

We set the gathering time as 10am and left the departure time up to when the group was ready. Getting fitted to an adaptive bike can take a few tries and adjustments, and it was important to us to make sure everyone’s needs were met. Some rode their own bikes, some rode traditional BIKETOWN e-bikes, one person rolled along in their electric wheelchair, and myself and a handful of others rode adaptive bikes.

To make the event as accessible as possible, the 2.5 mile route started and ended at Adaptive BIKETOWN. We rode along the Eastbank Esplanade, briefly rode in the streets that connected us over to the Springwater Trail, and rode until a grassy opening where we pulled off onto the gravel trail for a water break before connecting back onto the paved trail and heading back.

 

Along the way we listened to the tunes of Harry Styles as they played out of an impressive, portable sound system pulled via bike trailer. Some riders dressed up in Harry Styles inspired outfits or donned feather boas and heart shaped sunglasses. While rides don’t require a theme, adding one gave myself and other disabled attendees, who can’t usually participate in group rides, the full experience. 

If you’ve come across a BIKETOWN booth recently, you’ve likely seen their backdrop that says: YES, YOU ARE A BIKE PERSON. Riding together alongside other disabled people as we led the group truly allowed me to feel that sentiment for the first time. Seeing oneself represented and able to participate in the cycling community makes a world of difference in imagining how we can move through the world together.

Sign up for accessibility related news and events!

Support TST’s Work To Make Biking Inclusive!

 

 

Back in February, Willamette Week created a “25 Reasons to Love Portland” Valentine to this place we call home. Number seventeen was,“Because Portland Is Building Bridges for People, Not Cars.” In it, The Street Trust explained why we’re smitten with carfree public infrastructure investments like Flanders Crossing and the Blumenauer Bridge. They’re important from a transportation perspective for sure, creating safe, comfortable connections for people walking, rolling, and biking across parts of town that were previously noisy, stressful, and dangerous. But they’re also important for cultural and socioeconomic reasons. 

Talk is cheap (just ask Portland’s 2030 Bike Plan), but what you spend your money on speaks volumes. And taking care to leverage public projects to get three or four bangs for each buck says a lot about the quality of governance in a place. Transportation wonks might think about these investments in terms of design and timeline, but what the general public sees are the promises we’re making and whether we’re making good on them.

So what are Portland’s carfree bridges promising? 

  1. We care about people. Active transportation projects which are safe and accessible tell people we care about their happiness and safety. Exercise is good for our health and low-stress connections reduce, well, stress. Have you tried chatting car-to-car while driving down the street? Didn’t think so. But you saw plenty of chatting and laughing last week while folks strolled across the bridge. (P.S. When we provide amenities such as shade trees, water fountains, and public restrooms, it tells people we care even more.) [insert picture]
  2. We care about the planet. Yup, temperatures at the Blumenauer Bridge festivities were brutal, with many folks hunkered beside walls and under pop-up tents for refuge. Year after year, we’re breaking climate records for rainiest this or hottest that. Climate change is unrelenting. Major carfree infrastructure is a high return on investment climate solution that demonstrates we’re serious about changing the status quo with urgency. Bonus? They’re going to come in handy after a major seismic event. 
  3. We care about placemaking. Since Aristotle (and probably before) humans have debated the meaning of place. But at the core, places (as opposed to spaces) are where humans interact with and make meaning in our environment. In Portland, there’s an intentionality to our placemaking through which we collectively celebrate diversity, art, community, mobility, and so many other experiences in our ever changing world. These new bridges don’t just connect great places like Lloyd District and Central Eastside, they are beautiful and engaging places in and of themselves. 
  4. We care about prosperity. Bridges that connect places thoughtfully and prioritize people over cars are good for business and the economy. They are economic drivers with a lighter footprint on local streets. But the economic benefit goes beyond helping local businesses. They also save money on healthcare costs because of reduced air pollution and fewer automobile crashes. And bottom line: they are a lot cheaper to construct than auto-centric infrastructure.

Carfree bridges such as Flanders Crossing, Blumenauer Bridge, and even Tilikum Crossing are indeed small compared to their gargantuan and overpriced car-centric counterparts (looking at you Interstate Bridge, ahem); they set the bar high for our transportation future and make good on our promise to realize a healthier, more just, and sustainable future.


On July 31st, The Street Trust and friends from Teatro Milagro, Go Lloyd and other fans of active transportation celebrated the opening of the Earl Blumenauer Bridge with the Bowtie Congressman.

Enjoy a few photos from the historic event!

 

 

Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba visits The Street Trust booth at open streets event

 

The Street Trust loves street activation – go figure.

We can’t hide it it, we adore open streets events! City of Portland’s Sunday Parkways isn’t the only open streets extravaganza to return to the region this year: Carefree Sunday returned to Milwaukie after a three-year hiatus. 

The five-mile route for Sunday’s event featured three parks and one church. There were a lot of street activations this year, including roller skating with free skate rentals, the region’s best mobile bicycle obstacle course, and live music.

An early-morning decision to end the event early – at 1:30 p.m. instead of 4:00 p.m. – to protect people from extreme temperatures was smart, but it also sadly meant the planned food trucks and beer garden weren’t part of the event.

The event drew lots of neighbors who lived directly along and close to the route and it was nice to chat with them about their transportation choices and options. It was enlightening to compare answers to our prompt, “What would make it easier for you to drive less?” at Carefree Sunday compared with responses we got at the recent Blumenauer Bridge opening celebration in central Portland the week prior.

Universal across both events was a plea for more streets for people and carfree days. However, in Milwaukie, where our Carefree Sunday perch was along sidewalk-deficit Stanley Avenue, there was an resounding call… the people want more sidewalks!

 

Responses to What would make it easier for you to drive less?
Reponses to “What would make it easier for you to drive less?” from Carefree Sunday in Milwaukie (left) and the Blumenauer Bridge Opening Day Celebration (right).

Using a 1.6-mile section of the Springwater Corridor Trail was an ingenious way to stretch the route to five miles by utilizing a low-conflict amenity. While people walking the route and families with small kids on bikes often choose a couple parks to focus on during an open streets event, there are always folks who want to complete the circuit and this was a great loop for that.

A highlight of the day? Milwaukie Mayor (and legilsative candidate) Mark Gamba stopped by our booth to confirm that Carefree Sunday will be an annual event. We encourage you to participate next year!

And don’t forget about Sunday Parkways in East Portland on the 21st and sign up to volunteer with TST – it’s a lot of fun!)

 

Volunteer at E. Portland Sunday Parkways

 

Free Tickets to the Big Float When You Ride with The Street Trust

 

Our friends at the Human Access Project are throwing their 10th and final Big Float to celebrate the Willamette River!

The Street Trust is joining in on the fun by leading two guided rides – one by bike and one by public transit – from the Lents neighborhood to the waterfront. Apart from being tons of fun, these rides will also draw attention to one of the deadliest heat islands in the city and help educate residents how they can access the cooling power of one of Portland’s best free amenities, our beautiful Willamette River. 

 

RSVP to secure your free tickets!

 

Sunday, July 10th, meet in Lents Town Center at 10:00 a.m.

Professor Vivek Shandas holds a handlebar heat monitor while Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba looks on
Portland State Professor Vivek Shandas holds a handlebar heat monitor while Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba looks on

With extreme summer temperatures on our minds, The Street Trust is eager to demonstrate that the trip from Lents to the Willamette River can be fun, quick, and affordable by leading two group rides to the Big Float – one via transit and one via bikes and other active transportation devices. Special thanks to Biketown and TriMet for making these trips accessible for all.

 

We’ve got 150 free tickets to the event, free life jackets for all, and if you need a free bus ticket or free Biketown code, we’ve got that, too!  

 

We joined 350PDX for their Heat Week Ride on Tuesday and visited the hottest spot in Lents, where PSU Professor Vivek Shandas reported the ground was over 100 degrees despite the temperature feeling mild in the shade. The ride took us from Lents to inner Southeast Portland so we could experience the change in quantity of tree canopy and notice the increase in shade and drop in temperature.

 

Join us before the heat of the day on Sunday, July 10th at 10:00 a.m. in Lents Town Center (SE Foster Rd at 89th) for light refreshments before we set off via bike parade and transit trip to the Big Float festivities.

 

For over a year, young people around Clackamas County have been meeting every month to learn about and provide input on the county’s Climate Action Plan via the Youth Advisory Task Force. The county working to ensure that by 2023, “a Climate Action Plan is adopted for our community with specific recommendations to reach the goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.” (Learn more). The Task Force has engaged stakeholders from around the county in a variety of ways while prioritizing youth engagement- as today’s young people are the frontlines of the climate crisis.

 

Over the past year the Task Force has learned about and engaged on issues relating to climate justice, including equity, energy, consumption, housing, land use, transportation, public health, and resilience. When asked to narrow down which actions would have the most immediate positive impact for youth, the top three were tied to transportation and land use. Those actions are: improving public transit options, encouraging destinations near homes, and improving biking and walking transportation options.

 

Clackamas County now has a Climate Action Plan survey open through the end of June for folks who live in the county to respond to initial ideas on how to achieve carbon neutrality.

 

With transportation contributing to 40% of Oregon’s emissions and a large portion of Clackamas County’s emissions, this survey is a great opportunity to weigh in on what the future of getting around Clackamas County can look like. Creating safe, accessible, equitable, zero carbon streets is good for both people and the planet.

 

Take The Survey!

Responda La Encuesta!

Learn More About The Climate Action Plan

WeBike participants in Beaverton

 

WeBike is The Street Trust’s program to inspire more trans people of all genders, gender non-conforming people, Two Spirit, and women (both trans and cis) to incorporate a bike into their lives and use biking as a way to meet their transportation needs and personal goals. WeBike dismantles the barriers of cycling through rides, knowledge-sharing events, meet and greets, and mentorship.

Last weekend, WeBike’s May ride ventured into new territory: Beaverton! The 10-mile loop started at the Beaverton Farmers Market and utilized many quiet greenway-type streets, the Westside Trail, several bike-friendly cut-throughs (one gravel!), and creatively utilized a shopping center parking lot, an office park parking lot, and some sidewalk to avoid a couple not-so-bike-friendly roads. The ride passed many points of interested including two entrances to Tualatin Hills Nature Park, the Aloha Mall shopping center, and BG Food Cartel food cart pod.

In June, WeBike will have a meet-up to talk about bike camping! We are always looking for new participants- no experience necessary. Learn about all the ways you can carry camping gear by bike, what you need to bring, where to go, and get all your questions answered! Camp coffee and snacks provided. Read all the details on the Shift/Pedalpalooza calendar listing and RSVP here.

Find WeBike events on The Street Trust events calendar and shared to the WeBike Instagram and Twitter.

The WeBike-Portland private Facebook group is a resource, hub, and a way to connect with others riding in the area. If you have any questions about biking or great biking tips you want to share, post them there!

Ways allies can support WeBike: promote events on socials, print a poster, and donate to The Street Trust.

 

Join WeBike’s Next Ride!

 

Donate to support WeBike!

 

Cars on a highway, with a skyline in the background that is in Portland's Lloyd District.

 

Toll lanes are unfair! 

We hear this a lot, but it’s not necessarily true. In fact, there are many things happening on our streets and roads right now more inequitable than road pricing.

Road pricing systems are direct charges levied for the use of roads. These most commonly take the form of highway tolls, but can also be distance or time-based fees, congestion charges, or charges based on specific vehicle size or fuel types. 

Conversations about the implementation of road pricing systems are emerging across all levels of government throughout the Portland Metro region. From the demand-based parking model proposed by PBOT’s POEM Task Force to the Interstate Bridge Replacement Project and ODOT’s I-205 tolling project, our region is exploring various methods and strategies to implement charges for road use – pushing back on the normalized practice of subsidizing road use for drive-alone trips.  

The Street Trust supports road user charges that reflect the true cost of driving and greenhouse gas emissions, while improving travel for everyone. We’re excited about a future where the cost of driving more accurately reflects its negative impact on everything from the climate to public safety and individual health. However, we know that the primary objective of many road pricing models (even in the Portland metro) is to generate revenue  to cover the cost of new highway construction rather than to change behavior to improve traffic flow and help us reach our climate goals.

This is unacceptable and we’re working to change it.

We will continue to show up at decision-making tables across the region fighting to ensure that before any of these policies are put into place there’s a guarantee that they will improve equitable outcomes throughout our transportation system. 

If the future of road pricing is something that interests you we invite you to join us as we move toward a better future, together! 

 

Support Advocacy For Effective Congestion Pricing

Weigh In! Complete ODOT’s Pricing Survey by May 16th

 

Promo Poster for Eath Day Run with Sponsors

Happy Earth Month!

 

The Street Trust is teaming up with Nossa Familia, Bivo, and Legwork Local Delivery to amplify Earth Day on Friday, April 22nd. Our partnership with these businesses is part of a larger campaign hosted by Earth Day Oregon that amplifies ways to take action in Oregon on Earth Day. Each of our business partners are doing their part to amplify Earth Day while supporting the work The Street Trust is doing to create a transportation future that is equitable and sustainable.

Thank you to our business partners, to Human Access Project, and to Earth Day Oregon for assisting us in celebrating Earth Day.

Want to get in on the action? Join The Street Trust on a 3.65-mile run celebrating active transportation, community health, and our Earth on Sunday, April 24th.

 

REGISTER for ‘MOVE FOR MOTHER EARTH’

 

Alt text: 2-up image with Twitter post featuring image of auto crashed into telephone pole adjacent to bike share station alongside image of cyclist forced into the street by car parked in bike lane.

During the past year, The Street Trust has renewed its focus on regional transportation advocacy but we still show up at the municipal level to shape better outcomes.

Recently, we showed up for street users in the City of Portland in four key efforts:

  • Supported PBOT’s proposed Parking Climate and Equitable Mobility Transaction Fee alongside our colleagues at Verde, Parking Reform Network, Oregon Environmental Council, and Getting There Together coalition. The resolution to apply a parking surcharge to fund services like the transportation wallet and Biketown passed City Council unanimously this week.  
  • Supported PBOT’s Safety Camera bill (HB 4105-1) in the Oregon Legislature to allow civilian review of automated traffic enforcement citations. (Did you know that in Portland, 100% of automated traffic enforcement violation review occurs on police over-time!?!) This legislation has passed out of the House and Senate committees. Now it’s on to a floor vote and, if that is successful, back to the House Rules Committee one more time before the session ends. 
  • Opposed PBOT’s proposed installation of unprotected cycling infrastructure on NE Killingsworth along with with BikeLoud PDX, Andando en Bicicletas y Caminando, and Community Cycling Center.  You can read about our close call with an out of control automobile on NE Killingsworth last weekend along with recommendations for reducing traffic fatalities in this Oregon Way piece: We must act now to stop traffic Fatalities in Oregon.
  • Opposed Mayor Wheeler’s sweeps of houseless people camping along dangerous roadways. Nowhere in any transportation study, advocacy campaign, nor community forum seeking to address our roadway safety problems has it been suggested that unhoused people and encampments should be swept or outright banned as a partial solution to this crisis. We organized with over two-dozen organizations, including Oregon Walks, Verde, Street Roots, Central City Concern, and Transition Projects, Inc. to push back on this non-solution to our traffic fatalities crisis and will continue to promote proven solutions to traffic safety. Read the Street Roots update here: Mayor’s order forbidding camping in high-traffic areas leaves unhoused Portlanders with few places to go

This is an important level of advocacy work that The Street Trust attempts to replicate locally in cities across the region. But it is labor intensive and difficult to fund. Your support makes the difference between The Street Trust having the capacity to lead on the these issues or sitting by in silence. 

Join The Street Trust or make a donation today.

Make Your Voice Heard B&W

 

Transportation advocates have long been pushing for safer streets and greener transportation policies to address the high rates of traffic fatalities and the fact that 40% of Oregon’s carbon emissions come from transportation. Today, we need your help to convince statewide policymakers to take bold action to invest in a sustainable and equitable transportation system.

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has put together different scenarios for how to spend the $1.2 billion of federal funding received from the Investments, Infrastructure and Jobs Act (IIJA). Out of this massive investment, $412 million are considered “flexible funds.” While one of the scenarios does commit more to public and active transportation – areas that have been profoundly underinvested with enormous negative climate and equity outcomes – all of them take a “spread it around” approach, allocating at least $54 million to expansion and maintenance of highways.

ODOT and the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) must adopt an investment approach that does right by communities that have been overshadowed and underfunded. ODOT should also follow the Governor’s Executive Order calling for a reduction in GHG emission and all investments with these funds should be evaluated for their climate impacts. 

Over the last few weeks, state legislators, individuals, and leaders from multiple advocacy groups have commented to ODOT demanding a more thoughtful allocation of the funds in line with our values and now ODOT needs to hear from you! 

We’re asking you to provide input to the decision in three ways. (We’ve provided assistance below this list to help you complete these tasks):

  1. Fill out ODOT’s open house survey including “ratings” for the different programs and scenarios and the option to add comments. (Need ideas? We’ve included key points and suggestions below). The results of this survey will be presented to the OTC. 
  2. Submit a comment through the OTC public comment form.
  3. Provide oral comments at the OTC virtual meeting on February 17 (12:30 to 2:30 PM). Comment timeslots are limited, and you must sign up by at least 4pm the day before the meeting – information is posted on the OTC meeting website.

The OTC will make the final investment allocation decision at the end of March. We’ll keep you posted about ways to engage as the conversation progresses. 


As promised – our advice to help you craft testimony:

  • No money should be allocated to “Enhance Highway” 
  • If money must be allocated to “Fix-It” it should be limited and prioritized for projects with the greatest climate and equity impacts
  • Invest in programs with better safety, climate, and equity impacts: Safe Routes to School, Great Streets, and Local Climate Planning
  • Prioritize spending on areas where, due to constitutional restrictions, Highway Trust Fund money cannot be spent.

For the survey, we suggest the following ratings. (More detail about our take on these areas below.)

  • Station 2 (Survey 1): Areas to Invest
    • Safe Routes to School – 5
    • Great Streets – 5 
    • Fix-it – 1
    • Enhance Highway – 1
    • Local Climate Planning – 5
    • ADA Curb Ramps – 3
    • Business and Workforce Development – 4
    • Match for US DOT Competitive Grants – 3
    • Maintenance and Operations – 1
  • Station 3 (Survey 2):  Funding Options
    • Fix-It – 1
    • Public and Active Transportation – 5
    • Enhance Highway – 1
    • Balanced – 1

More Detail on the Areas of Investment:

  • Safe Routes to School: The Safe Routes to School program builds bike lanes, sidewalks and street crossings around elementary and middle schools. This is a grant program that always has many more applications than it can fund, and provides direct investment in community-identified projects.
  • Great Streets: Many state highways that pass through communities focus on moving traffic and do not adequately address the needs of people biking, walking, or riding transit, nor do they adequately support community and economic vitality. Great Streets is a new program that could provide much-needed focus on people instead of vehicle movement.
  • Fix-It: There is no question that repair of roads and bridges is an expensive and important investment. However, regardless of the amount of money allocated to ODOT, the agency always lacks adequate funding for repair and maintenance.  ODOT has historically chosen to spend unrestricted money on large-scale roadway expansion projects over investing in maintenance and operations.  ODOT needs to shift to systemically prioritizing maintenance instead of expansion and spend our dollars efficiently to make our system whole. Our low ratings for “Fix-It” in this survey reflect our belief that these important investments need to be built sustainably into the budget, and ODOT should not be bailing itself out with this one-time windfall. 
  • Enhance Highway: “Enhance highways” means building new roadway. It is a scientific fact that “enhancing” or expanding highway infrastructure increases miles driven and, in turn, greenhouse gas emissions. This relationship between road capacity and traffic is well established as the “fundamental law of road congestion” or “induced demand.” Because of this, ODOT’s intention to expand highways directly contradicts Governor Brown’s executive order calling for a 45 percent reduction of GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2035. If Oregon intends to meet these goals, highway enhancement is not an option and no money should be allocated to it. (It’s worth noting that adding roadway capacity also reduces congestion only in the short term, and we’ll all just end up stuck in the same traffic on wider roads with more other vehicles.) There are plenty of other reasons to avoid “Enhance Highway” investments – they create new maintenance obligations on top of the existing ones that ODOT has demonstrated very little interest in meeting, and lead to more driving which leads to more injuries and deaths. 
  • Local Climate Planning: The state’s Department of Land Conservation and Development is proposing making cities, counties and metropolitan planning organizations across Oregon update their transportation plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation system. This money would support rapid implementation of those rules, which will support climate and equity outcomes across the state.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act Curb Ramps: ODOT is required by a lawsuit to build ADA-compliant curb ramps. While ADA-compliant curb ramps are extremely important for accessibility, this work – which should have been done long ago – should also be covered by ongoing funding, not by this one-time windfall.
  • Business and Workforce Development: ODOT is investing in internal programs that train new construction workers and support businesses owned by women and people of color so they can compete for ODOT contracts. 
  • Match for U.S. DOT Competitive Grants: The U.S. Department of Transportation will hand out more than $100 billion for competitive grants. Most programs require grantees to provide at least 20% of the total project funding. ODOT would like to use some of the IIJA federal money to replace state funding on various projects, so they can use that state funding as a match to apply for grants to get more federal money. This could be good or bad, depending on what grants ODOT applies for.
  • Maintenance and Operations: This money would be spent on regular highway maintenance activities like patching potholes, plowing snow, and other day-to-day work. As with the Fix-It category, our low ratings for this investment option reflect our belief that maintenance needs to be built sustainably into the budget, and ODOT should not be bailing itself out with this one-time windfall.