Back in September, The Street Trust published our first annual impact report. This report details our most transformational successes that we were able to achieve in FY 21-22. These successes would not have been possible without the dedicated support from our board, our members, and our partnerships. To everyone who has been part of our hard work over the past year:
In my thirteen years living in Oregon, the protest on Powell Blvd last week was the first I’ve ever attended.
Assembling peacefully in the street demanding government accountability on traffic safety was my first exercise of my First Amendment right to assemble as a U.S. Citizen. I’m originally from Nepal and was proud to be naturalized this past year. At this protest, I witnessed firsthand the power of the community coming together to demand something like safer streets from our officials.
Not only was it my first time at a protest, it was my first time being a ‘Human Bike Box,’ meaning participants stood together with our bodies in front of traffic in the intersection representing where safety infrastructure used to be. Each time the light would turn red, I’d step into traffic to form the Human Bike Box; each time, so many feelings welled up within me. I felt a sense of power, to be able to stand arm in arm with other community members, I felt a sense of strength in the statement we all were making. I felt brave and a little bit scared to be standing in front of an oncoming car, especially since I’d brought with me my mother, who is visiting the U.S. from Nepal. Most of all, I felt connected to diverse people from parts of society who use the street in different ways – people who walk, people who ride bikes, people who ride transit and people who drive. There were young people and elders, families, and people with disabilities.
Standing in traffic changes your perspective. Even though as Strategic Partnerships Manager for The Street Trust it’s my job to connect with a wide range of people around our mission, it was a new experience to talk with people sitting in stopped cars right in the middle of street – answering questions, sharing information, and for the majority of people, sharing sadness around Chef Pliner’s death and wanting safer intersection for everyone whether they’re walking, rolling, or motoring through it. Many people in cars wanted to know how they could help and how the demands we were making would be put into effect and when. It really put our current strategy in context, and drove home why it’s important to include people who drive cars in the movement for safer streets and a better transportation system.
I live in Washington County but decided to take my mother to the protest because we wanted to gather in solidarity to honor Sarah Pliner, who was killed the previous week in the intersection where we were protesting. My mother shared with me how when they protest in Nepal, the tactics and demands differed a lot from what we were doing at our protest. But at the end of the day, the goal was the same – accountability from the government and justice for the people.
Participating in the protest in the streets was an empowering, and satisfying experience for me, but it was also scary. Scary because there were motorists who didn’t like us being there in the streets. Scary big trucks passing so close to our feet while we stood on the sidelines. And scary because of the aggressive drivers intentionally racing through at high speeds and loudly revving vehicles to make some sort of misguided point.
At the end of the day, the protest on Powell was amazing to see because not only did nearly 200 people come together in silence, with signs and solidarity, to convey the message that enough is enough: we demand safer streets for people now.
The Street Trust is tired of issuing statements and offering condolences for the loss of life and limb due to government inaction on SE Powell Blvd. in Portland and are demanding immediate action -today- from local and state government to prevent future injuries and deaths.
On May 10th, 2015 at this intersection, Alistair Corkett was struck by the driver of a pick-up truck, resulting in the loss of one of his legs. Just a few weeks later, on May 29th, Peter Anderson was bicycling through the intersection and had his leg broken by the driver of a Jeep Cherokee. On Tuesday, October 4, Aviary restaurant founder Chef Sarah Pliner was killed there while bicycling by the operator of a semi-truck. Our condolences go out to Sarah’s family and community as well as the over 400 families affected by traffic violence this year across Oregon. (Read the BikePortland report.)
These injuries and Sarah’s death were preventable and the lives of the Cleveland High School population and other street users in the area remain at risk. The Street Trust is demanding that the City of Portland and State of Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) cooperate to immediately physically separate from motor vehicle traffic all vulnerable street users including people on bicycles, pedestrians, and transit riders until a full investigation of yesterday’s killing is completed.
The Street Trust proposesimmediate emergency installation of a protected intersection for people walking and biking, as illustrated. This could be constructed immediately with concrete jersey barriers, event fencing, or other materials the DOTs have on hand, similar to those implemented for pedestrian safety during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. The Street Trust is also asking that Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) install metal signs that read, “High Crash Intersection” in that location.
Powell is owned and maintained by the Oregon Department of Transportation and The Street Trust has long protested against their mismanagement of this street, a so-called “Orphan Highway,” which is a state highway forced to function as a city street, (Read former ED Rob Sadowsky’s statement on violence in this intersection from 2015.) Powell Blvd. is notoriously dangerous. The intersection of SE 26th and Powell Blvd. is considered a high crash intersection for people traveling by bicycle, in particular. Between 2010-2019, there were two pedestrians and seven people riding bicycles injured there.
“We’ve accepted death and serious injury as a product of our transportation system and desensitized ourselves to the severity of its violence. We’ve convinced ourselves that death and injury are the expected outcome for people who navigate our transportation system outside of a motor vehicle… that is absurd!” says André Lightsey-Walker, Policy Transformation Manager at The Street Trust. “We have the data and tools necessary to solve these problems but we need the political will to redirect energy and resources toward our most vulnerable and historically disadvantaged street users or we’ll continue to see tragedies like yesterday’s occur.”
One year ago, on November 16, 2021, The Street Trust Executive Director, Sarah Iannarone, emailed ODOT Region 1 Manager, Rian Windsheimer, with her concerns about safety on this stretch of Powell Blvd., excerpted below:
“As the parent of a Cleveland High School grad who worried – quite rationally – whether my child would make it back and forth across Powell alive each school day, I can’t help but wonder what criteria (such as the presence of schools or community centers) and/or how many deaths in a concentrated area it takes before we’re willing to fully commit to Vision Zero? I am excited to hear that ODOT is planning an emergency speed reduction between SE 20th – SE 36th but hope you’ll consider an Emergency Speed Reduction to 20 MPH in that stretch rather than 30 MPH until the fatalities stop.
Please let us know how The Street Trust can support you in this effort, the jurisdictional transfer, or other safety improvements on this and other orphan highways across our metro region.”
Iannarone was joining a chorus of voices from the public and active transportation advocacy community in demanding critical investments in Powell Blvd., including the jurisdictional transfer of Inner Powell Blvd. to Portland Bureau of Transportation in a state of readiness and with an adequate -and mutually agreed upon- level of resources to upgrade the street to ensure safety for all users regardless of mode.
Given how long the transfer of 82nd Avenue from ODOT to PBOT took, we understand that this heavy lift could take years to research, negotiate, and fully fund. In the meantime, we are demanding that ODOT adhere to its own Blueprint for Urban Design (BUD) guidelines how streets like Powell Blvd. should be updated to meet the needs of multimodal transportation. To date, ODOT Region 1 Manager Rian Windsheimer and his enginners are using their discretion and choosing to NOT implement the BUD in Region 1. The public does not need to wait for a jurisditional transfer to see upgrades on Inner Powell: if ODOT is truly prioritizing safety (as they claim) and focused on reducing the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities on their facilities, it will implement their existing policy standards on Inner Powell in advance of the jurisdictional transfer.
Combining bike and bus trips opens up a world of possibilities, making it possible to access places far away, exhaustingly hilly, and otherwise hard to reach.
This is why The Street Trust loves helping people learn and practice this important skill.
On Monday we took a group to visit the PSU Transportation Center demonstration rack. In addition to the usual discussion of rack specs, gear, and security, we took a deep dive into bike lifting–which is a great first step anyone with a bike can practice at home beforehand. There are a variety of spots to place each hand on your bike to comfortably lift it a couple feet straight off the ground and then move forward onto the rack. The weight of your bike and how that weight is distributed will influence what works best for you. You’ll probably put one hand somewhere below your saddle and one on or near your handlebars.
Holding the chainstay and downtube
Holding the seatpost and headset
New to us this session was someone hefting their bike by the chainstay! (The chainstay is the short tube parallel to the ground between pedals and rear wheel.) The chainstay on the far side of the bike, no less! Grasping that and the top of the downtube (the lower main tube between handlebars and pedals) was this person’s preferred method of lifting a very light bike.
Not every bike fits on the rack. The below requirements from TriMet are spot on, as we’ve learned from explorations in pushing the boundaries during practice sessions:
Wheel sizes 20-29 inches
Wheelbase up to 44 inches (this is the distance from the *center* of your front wheel to rear wheel, not end-to-end of your wheel edges)
Tires up to 2.35 inches wide
55 pounds and lighter
There are some terrific resources you can watch before setting hand to top tube…or stem, down tube, chain stay, headset, etc…
If music videos are more your thing, rock out to I Put My Bike On The Bus from Vancouver, Canada–but note that our hooks are easier than those ones!
Want to try?
The PSU Transportation Center is located at 1812 SW 6th Ave, next door to the PSU Bike Hub. The demonstration rack is indoors and masks are encouraged. Summer hours are Monday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and once classes begin on September 26th hours will change to Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It’s convenient to arrive by MAX: catch the green or yellow line to PSU Urban Center/SW 6th & Montgomery.
What about FX?
FX2-Division is TriMet’s new high-capacity bus service along Division Street in Southeast Portland, starting September 18th. FX bendy buses have interior floor racks and TriMet has produced a video tutorial: How to load your bike on an FX bus.
Practice with us!
We’ll visit the PSU demo rack again soon, and we’re in the process of coordinating visits to Portland’s other demo rack at Community Cycling Center. These sessions and all our other events can be found on our event calendar. Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll let you know via email.
With August coming to a close, we say goodbye to another epic Sunday Parkways season after a fun finish with East Portland Sunday Parkways. We rocked the day away at an intersection near Gateway Discovery Park with DJ Doc Rock and, thanks to the out-and-back route, were able to interact with tons of event participants–some twice!
Our volunteers polled hundreds of walkers and rollers to find out how they arrived at the event and the results were enlightening.
Bikes for the win!
A solid 33% of the participants we polled arrived by bike or ebike. A small portion of these came multimodally– by combining their ride to East Portland with MAX, bus, or car- but for the most part people used a single mode of transportation.
A lot of folks drove to Sunday Parkways, but 24% of the people we polled were part of a carpool rather than driving alone.
Anecdotally, a great many of the people we spoke to lived very close to the route and walked or biked over. It’s wonderful when open streets events pull crowds from both near and far.
As The Street Trust looks to reevaluate and evolve some of our programs to adapt to a post-pandemic world, we were eager to ask everyone one question: What would make it easier for you to drive less?
“More car-free streets” is always a popular answer to this question during an open streets event, as well as one of the next best things in many respondents’ opinions: “Protected bike lanes.” With ebikes gaining in popularity, it was nice to see a lot of ebike-related responses, like:
Plugins for ebikes
In transit-related answers a few we got were:
A third slot on bus bike racks like in Seattle and Vancouver
Transit to nature
For the first time ever we had a clear fan favorite of an answer: moving sidewalks. While this inspired a lot of people to consider more fanciful responses, the 10-year old who made the suggestion had recently visited Hong Kong’s Central–Mid-Levels escalator and walkway system and experienced a moving sidewalk firsthand.
How do you get around? And what would make it easier and/or more likely for you to go places more often without driving? Help shape The Street Trust of the future by taking our survey!
Adaptive BIKETOWN is a great start for making cycling more accessible to disabled people – Cassie Wilson, Community Engagement Assistant at The Street Trust.
As a disabled person, I’d never gotten to ride a bike as an adult until I found one that works for me at Adaptive BIKETOWN.
During the 2022 Oregon Active Transportation Summit I connected with Roshin Kurian from the Portland Bureau of Transportation, who manages Adaptive BIKETOWN, BIKETOWN for All, and the Transportation Wallet. Roshin encouraged me to check out Adaptive BIKETOWN and see if one of the bikes they have would meet my needs.
Shop manager Kristin Miller helped me try out several different adaptive cycles. I have a form of dwarfism which resulted in mobility related disabilities. Despite not being able to walk long distances, my legs work fine, so I hoped to find a foot-powered trike of some kind that could work for me. Unfortunately none of the current adaptive foot-powered cycles available were a match for my short and disproportionate skeleton. Instead, I found a small adaptive handcycle and took it for a spin!
Adaptive BIKETOWN is located just to the west of OMSI’s north parking lot along the Eastbank Esplanade. It’s a great location for anyone trying out cycling for the first time since you don’t have to ride alongside car traffic. That being said, I did get to ride on the road in a bike lane very briefly between the Eastbank Esplanade and the Springwater Trail, which was a new and exciting experience!
Overall, the handcycle worked great for me. Going up inclines proved difficult as the handcycle required me to use muscles that don’t get worked much, but I was lucky to have a friend (because riding bikes with friends is fun!) who could push me up tough inclines.
I ended up riding about 5 miles, which was the farthest I’ve ever manually moved my body in my whole life(!) and I had a blast doing it. I’m excited that I now have way to ride bikes with my friends, and look forward to enjoying it even more when it’s a bit cooler outside.
Adaptive BIKETOWN is a great start for making cycling more accessible to disabled people. I hope to see their fleet expand to include more variation in electric assist adaptive cycles (to make hills less daunting). I also hope to see more bikes tailored for specific types of disabilities such as those recently released by UK bike company Islabikes for people with disproportionate dwarfism.
Adaptive BIKETOWN is a great way to try out a bunch of different adaptive cycles in one place to find one that works for you before going out and buying your own.
Learn more about Adaptive BIKETOWN on their website or join us Saturday, August 13, 2022 at 10am for our Harry Styles themed adaptive bike ride! RSVP to the event or sign up to volunteer.
Nothing Beats a Heat Island Like a Cool River Swim
This weekend, in partnership with BIKETOWN and TriMet, The Street Trust led its friends and members on a guided bike and transit ride from the Lents town center to The Big Float in Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
Lents was the deadliest heat island during last summer’s heat dome disaster and the dangerous conditions persisted during this year’s record-breaking heat wave. The Street Trust understands that our climate crisis affects frontline and low-income communites disproportionately. We also know that an estimated 30% of Oregonians don’t drive. That’s why, we chose to support Lents’ residents with affordable, safe options to access the cool waters of the Willamette River without having to drive.
While most participants rode their own bikes or used Biketown to take advantage of the beautiful sunny day, The Street Trust also distributed transit passes to anyone who didn’t feel comfortable cycling. Despite being known as a multimodal leader, many Portlanders feel uncomfortable cycling and/or accessing public transportation. Our focus on providing multiple mobility options to The Big Float is indicative of our efforts to be more inclusive while also promoting a critical mobility service.
This multimodal event was the first of its kind for The Street Trust, and based on initial feedback we hope to continue offering transit tickets, BIKETOWN access, and mobility guides for future events.
“Heat Island to River Relief” bike ride participants met their guides at 10AM at the Lents Town Center, where the local farmer’s market takes place. Several passersby approached The Street Trust to ask us what we were up to (probably something to do the giant pile of lifejackets strapped to a bike trailer). These encounters demonstrated to us that there is interest in BIKETOWN and bike events in the Lents neighborhood, which is also home to many of our priority communities.
Some participants took TriMet’s #14 bus, which has frequent service and stops directly in front of Lents Town Center. The bus dropped us off only a few blocks away from the Tom McCall Waterfront Park, making the journey very convenient while also offering a refuge from the heat. Taking in that stellar view of the Willamette as the bus crossed the Hawthorne bridge was also a reminder of how lucky this city is to have such an incredible public resource… and how important it is to ensure that everyone feels like they can access it. The journey also allowed us to connect with each other and talk about the impression that folks had about Portland’s transit system.
Overall, the Heat Island to River Relief was yet another successful community-oriented summer event from The Street Trust. Not only did it serve the important mission of reminding participants of the seriousness of the heat island effect and the different ways you can access one of the most important cooling amenities in the city; it also brought together the TST community for a little fun in the sun. And it doesn’t get any better than that.
Thanks for being so welcoming to The Street Trust, Lents neighbors — we look forward to partnering and enjoying future events with you! Check out more pictures in BikePortland.
Standing United Against Violence and Hate in Our Streets
A visiting Asian family was attacked while cycling along the Eastbank Esplanade in Portland earlier this week. We understand that this attack was racially motivated and led to physical and verbal abuse of both the father and child.
Under Oregon law, a bias crime — or hate crime — is defined as a crime in which a person “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes physical injury to another person because of the person’s perception of the other person’s race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or national origin.”
While the event is tragic, we were happy to hear that the family was not seriously injured and that upon seeing the confrontation multiple community members stepped up to deter the attacker which led to his arrest shortly after the attack.
Creating safe streets for all is central to the work of our organization. Still, this event reminds us that the barriers to safe transportation are more than the built environment and speeding cars. It reminds us that bias, discrimination, and systemic oppression are all alive and well, and that the hateful people in our region are willing to lash out at any moment to reinforce this reality.
The Street Trust stands in solidarity with the AAPI community. We will use our platform and influence to continue educating our members and partners about the explicit and implicit biases rooted in our culture and we will continue to elevate and celebrate the diverse voices of AAPI-identifying communities throughout our region.
We’d also like to thank the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) for their continued work and leadership in the AAPI community. The Street Trust shares APANO’s vision of a just world where Asians and Pacific Islanders and communities have the power, resources, and voice to determine our own futures, and where we can work in solidarity to drive political, social, economic, and cultural change. You can support APANO by donating here.
We recognize that we have a long way to go until we reach a place where communities no longer have to fear being targeted in the streets because of their identity but we’re confident that we can achieve this vision by working together as a caring and supportive community.
Racially motivated hate crimes are a challenging topic so we’ve included some resources for those of you who are interested in learning more:
Although it’s not recognized federally, the disabled community recognizes July as Disability Pride Month in honor of July 26th being the anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
At The Street Trust, we champion safe, accessible, equitable, and low-carbon streets. We also acknowledge that transportation justice and disability justice go hand in hand. Whether something is accessible or not means different things depending on the context, but it should always include access for disabled people because we overlap with all other groups.
As someone with a mobility disability, accessibility to me means having the freedom to move through life with as much ease as someone who is not disabled. This includes anything from accessing housing, school, and work (in-person or online), to navigating our communities. Accessibility also emphasizes how mobility devices are freedom and independence for many disabled people, making it easier for us to move our bodies, as opposed to being ‘confined’ to them as is often how they’re described.
Something feels accessible to me when I don’t have to think much about it or go through extra steps to get my needs met. It removes the added labor of figuring out how to navigate life in a way that works for me. For that reason, it’s a lot easier to notice when things are not accessible such as buildings with one step to get inside or crosswalks without accessible (or any) curb cuts.
Speaking of curb cuts, everyone benefits from accessibility! The ‘curb cut effect’ demonstrates how increasing accessibility for disabled people accessing sidewalks by adding curb cuts also improves conditions for people pushing strollers, bicycles, skates, carts, etc.
As a disabled person living in a rural area without public transit, I am forced to drive. Driving is already expensive, and the cost only increases when you factor in accessible vehicle upgrades and added insurance for those features. When I was reliant on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), transportation accounted for over half of my below-poverty-level income. Increasing access to public transit, bike lanes, and sidewalks state wide would hugely benefit people who can’t drive due to disabilities, and it would also benefit the estimated 1 in 3 Oregonians who can’t or don’t drive as well as those who would choose not to if given feasible alternatives.
– Cassie Wilson, Community Engagement Assistant @ The Street Trust
Celebrate Disability Pride Month with The Street Trust at our Pedalpalooza ride at 4:00pm on July 28th which starts and ends at Adaptive Biketown.
Last month, The Street Trust held its June Member Meeting at BG’s Food Cartel food cart pod in Beaverton.
The Street Trust members, board members, staff, Washington County elected officials, and Washington County community leaders came together to discuss our work and theirs, and find ways we can collaborate and support one another.
To emphasize our dedication to the entire region, The Street Trust has held our first
two in-person member meetings in Milwaukie (May) and Beaverton (June). We’re actively recruiting to increase our membership in these communities, which have a big role to play in the future of our region. Through this outreach, we have found that these diverse communities also have an intense need for active transportation and transit organizing- and we are eager to support them. We’re particularly interested in organizing along corridors of concern, such as with our recent Farmington Road Study Tour.
We kicked off our June member meeting with a group bike ride that started at the Beaverton Transit Center. During this ride we experienced what Beaverton has to offer in terms of bike trails, multi-use paths, quiet greenways, bike lanes, sharrows, highway sidewalks, and highway-side railroad gravel. Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty generously shared details about the many City transportation projects and other community issues as we biked through Beaverton for a wonderfully in-depth look at the city.
We’re so grateful for everyone who could make it out! If you’re not a member yet, join us, July’s member meeting details will be announced soon–like our previous two meetings, it will be easy to access by walking, rolling, and transit. Save the date of Monday, July 18th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Metro Councilor Juan Carlos González, Julian Dunn, The Street Trust Community Engagement Manager Madi Carlson, Nic Cota, Shawne Martinez, Councilor-Elect John Dugger, Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty, State Representative Dacia Grayber, Eric Wilhelm, State Representative WLnsvey Campos, Councilor-Elect Kevin Teater, The Street Trust Board Member Dave Roth, The Street Trust Strategic Partnerships Manager Anouksha Gardner.