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. Details coming soon!

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!

 

Enter the Walk+Roll May Challenge Art Contest!

 

 The Walk+Roll May Challenge Is On!

Kids across Oregon are getting outside to move and celebrate active living with their schools for the Walk+Roll May Challenge. This month, The Street Trust is encouraging and supporting students who choose to ‘walk and roll’ outside for transportation and exercise, and asking K – 8 students to draw why they walk+roll for our May Challenge art contest.

Click here to learn more and submit art by June 15 to win cool Walk+Roll prizes. Art will be judged based on the inclusion of walking and/or rolling safety features and creativity. Drawings can include anything from students’ imaginations or experiences, so wackiness and fantasy are encouraged!

Winners will be selected in the following grade groupings: Kindergarten – 2nd grades, 3rd – 5th grades, and 6th – 8th grades.

In Oregon, we celebrate the Walk+Roll May Challenge in conjunction with National Bike to School Day. The first-ever National Bike to School Day took place on May 9, 2012, in coordination with the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Month. Almost 1,000 local events in 49 states and the District of Columbia joined together to encourage children to safely bicycle or walk to school.

The event builds on the popularity of Walk to School Day, which is celebrated across the country – and the world – every October. Many communities and schools have been holding spring walk and bicycle to school events for years, and National Bike to School Day provides an opportunity for schools across the country to come together to celebrate and to build off of the energy of National Bike Month.

Submit Art To Be Eligible For Prizes!

Learn More About Our Walk + Roll Programs!

 

 

 

We’d like to thank our long time partners Nelson\Nygaard for supporting The Street Trust and contributing to an amazing closing event at Lucky Lab NW for the 2022 Oregon Active Transportation Summit.

During the Summit’s closing party The Street Trust’s new staff were finally able to connect in person with Nelson/Nygaard’s team and talk about all the wonderful things our  organizations are working on. This includes Nelson/Nygaard’s newTransportation Demand Management guide, which helps local leaders work with their communities to implement TDM measures that advance health and sustainability goals. The Street Trust is proud to support their efforts to reduce collective VMT levels. 

Closing event sponsor Nelson\Nygaard

We also want to celebrate The Street Trust’s Chair Drusilla van Hengel, a Senior Principal at Nelson/Nygaard and an esteemed and beloved professor at Portland State University. Along with being a transformational leader in her field, Dru has been instrumental in the The Street Trust’s success since she joined the board in October 2021. Through hard work and determination, Dru helped guide our organization through the many trials of the pandemic, ensuring that the Greater Portland metropolitan region would continue to have a powerful voice advocating for a safer, more accessible, more equitable, and more sustainable transportation system. In keeping with The Street Trust’s mission, Dru gets around the region using both TriMet and her Xtracycle — except when she uses carsharing to take her dog somewhere exciting. 

When we asked Dru what an ideal transportation system would look like for her, she told us it would be on in which, “No people using our streets are required to trade personal safety or time to make up for gaps in our public space, walking, transit, or bike systems”. 

Below are photos of Dru and many of our other wonderful supporters having fun at the 2022 Summit closing party. With help from generous sponsors like Nelson/Nygaard, The Street Trust hosts a wide variety ofevents like this one throughout the year. Our biggest annual events are the Oregon Active Transportation Summit and the Alice Awards, which take place in the Spring and Fall. If you are Interested in becoming a sponsor or a business member, please contact our Strategic Partnerships Manager at [email protected].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite challenges created by the ongoing pandemic, last week The Street Trust’s 11th annual Oregon Active Transportation Summit drew 95 speakers from around the region, state, and country to talk about the needs and challenges in our transportation systems and how we can address them.

From learning about how transportation advocates can improve media coverage of traffic deaths, to exploring the new public plazas in downtown Portland, and discussing how cities can reach zero auto ownership, this year’s summit demonstrated our commitment to promoting all modes to achieve a safe, accessible, equitable, and sustainable transportation system.

 

Summit 2022 – by the numbers:

  • The Summit included 30 virtual sessions over the course of 3 fun-packed days
  • 158 passionate transportation thinkers and doers attended to Monday’s 3-hour opening session featuring USDOT Civil Rights Office chief Irene Marion, Metro President Lynn Peterson, Youth Climate Activist Cassie Wilson, Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, Washington County Commissioner Nafisa Fai, and N. Clackamas School Board Chair Libra Forde among other community leaders
  • By Day 3, Summit sessions had accumulated more than 1,000 views from over 300 attendees — ta 50% increase over last year’s attendance
  • The experience included 10 fun and engaging in-person events across the Portland metro, including a visit to the Afrovillage MAX conversion and a closing happy hour sponsored by Nelson/Nygaard (thank you!)

 

The Street Trust team was thrilled to bring back some in-person programming and we were humbled by the terrific response we got from attendees and volunteers who helped out. After two completely virtual Summits, it was wonderful to see our friends getting together as a community again. 

Missed the in-person events this year? Below are snapshots of just a few of the exciting adventures put together by The Street Trust and our partners. Watch for video recordings of sessions as they’re posted as well as our summary report coming soon.

Thank you to our generous sponsors!

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

 

Picture of wide, auto-centric roadway

 

The Street Trust is proud to announce that Seattle-based Bullitt Foundation has committed a major gift to fund, in part, the #OurStreets regional community mobilization campaign. This award is among a suite of funding requests The Street Trust submitted to foundations this year in an effort to grow community power to fight for and win transportation policy and investments that prioritize safety, accessibility, equity, and climate justice in our region.

Their generous $45,000 contribution will support critical work engaging diverse and underserved communities across the greater Portland metro. It includes building out a data visualization tool, the #OurStreets Scorecard, which is designed to empower communities to advocate for investments such as street lighting, sidewalks, and transit service where they live, work, and play. It will also support other regional advocacy work underway at The Street Trust, including the implementation of equitable congestion pricing, e-bike lending libraries, and ensuring the multi-billion dollar Interstate Bridge Replacement Project has a positive impact on multimodal transportation in the region.  

This gift is a significant investment in Portland-area mobility at a time when the region is facing numerous challenges and experiencing a changing-of-the-guard in leadership. An agenda-setting funder of climate action for a quarter-century in the Pacific Northwest, in 2019 the Bullitt Foundation funded The Street Trust to found what is now known as the Getting There Together Coalition (GTT), an effort to lead development with Metro regional government on a multi-billion dollar transportation measure. GTT continues to advocate for transportation justice in our region today. 

Bullitt Foundation is giving away most of what’s left of its endowment during the next couple of years, so this is likely to be one of their last investments in helping Portlanders achieve equitable, climate-smart transportation in our region.

“We see this as an important opportunity to elevate multimodal transportation as a priority issue at all levels of government and in all parts of the region,” says Henry Miller, Grants & Impact Manager at The Street Trust. “It will help us empower communities to advocate for themselves and hold their leaders accountable for making real progress in improving transportation options at a time when they’re desperately needed.”

We still have $30,000 more to raise to reach our goal. Please join us in thanking the Bullitt Foundation for their investment in our future, and consider joining them by giving to The Street Trust today.

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’

 

 

Dear Friend,

Trust means different things to different people. Here at The Street Trust, we’re working hard to understand and improve trust within our organization, out in the community, and across our programs and efforts.

Building trust is time consuming and often thankless work that can entail stepping back and supporting another’s leadership. It can entail sacrifice in the short term for greater movement building in the long. Sometimes, building trust means giving without strings attached. Maintaining that trust is more artform than science and measuring it can prove challenging. We feel empowered when trust is present and weakened when it is absent.

 

Regardless how you understand the word, we’re working hard to be worthy of the ‘trust’ in our name.

 

Here are a few recent examples of trust-building investments that we’ve made recently that wouldn’t have been possible without you trusting us to do the right things with your financial support:

  • Sending our Policy Transformation Manager to the Office of State Rep. Khan Pham to provide transportation policy support for the entire 2022 Legislative Session
  • Providing fiscal sponsorship free of charge to BikeLoud PDX while they sought non-profit status from the IRS
  • Challenging IP 41 in the courts – a ballot initative that would impede our region’s ability to implement systemwide congestion pricing for demand management
  • Supporting research led by Portland State/TREC that will help policymakers and the e-bike advocacy community understand the best incentives to promote e-bike adoption.
  • Developing the #OurStreets Scorecard, a free-to-the public online, data-democratizing tool that will empower communities regionwide to advocate for projects that meet their needs where they live 

 

Fighting for better policy. Forging strategic partnerships. Founding and staffing coalitions. Educating people from the youngest students to gubernatorial candidates…. the list goes on. At the end of the day, trust is our bottom line and none of it would be possible without you. 

 

Contribute to our TRUST fund today!

 

 

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.

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.

 

It’s time for Oregon’s leaders to reject the old—dangerous and deadly—normal and to create a safer mobility system.

 

“We want to welcome you to our WeBike ride, a monthly program to empower women, transgender, and non-binary people to safely ride…” 

CRASH!!! BANG!!! 

We had just kicked off our event outside Hacienda CDC, at the corner of NE Killingsworth and Cully in Portland. The plan for the day was to tour the neighborhood and explore ways that the City of Portland (PBOT) could improve safety not just for people on walking or riding bicycles, but all street users, even those driving. We’d barely finished our introductions when we heard the boom of a crash next to us on the street. A car had slammed into the utility pole right next to the BIKETOWN station where just five minutes earlier several of us had stood in a group to unlock the shared bicycles for our event.1 

You don’t need to be a daily sidewalk or bike lane user to feel how close to home the epidemic of traffic violence is hitting—we’re all feeling it daily, regardless of our travel mode. This week, the New York Times reported per capita vehicle fatalities in the U.S. increased 17.5% between summer of 2019 and the same time in 2020—the largest two-year increase since World War II. Oregon is, sadly, outpacing the national trend, with statewide fatalities up 22% in the same period. And Portland has posted its highest fatalities in three decades.

As we round the bend into a third year defined by COVID-19, we know too well the extent to which the pandemic has exacerbated existing social problems and inequality. This is evident when considered alongside the recent report from our partners at Oregon Walks who found that “people who identify as Black, who are experiencing homelessness, who are Older Adults or who are Persons with Disabilities are all at a disproportionately high risk of being killed in collisions.”

The intensification of vulnerability during the pandemic is reinforced by a recent announcement that 70% of pedestrians killed in Portland last year were people experiencing homelessness; many were living along streets identified in the city’s “high crash network.”

As the reports of these rising fatalities sound alarms, there’s no shortage of attempts to explain away the problem. The NYT analysis referenced above blames “erratic behavior.” For the Portland mayor, homeless camps located near busy streets are the problem. Oregon’s Department of Transportation (ODOT) chalks it up to reckless driving, too few cars on the road, and too few officers to police them.

To me, this feels a lot like blaming a toddler for being cranky all day because they ate birthday cake for breakfast–is it the cake that’s to blame or the fact that it ended up on their plate in the first place?

Let’s be clear: crashes are a function of vehicle speed and volume. People are dying—on bikes, on motorcycles, on sidewalks, and, yes, inside autos—because drivers are going too damn fast. And they’re able to drive that way because our streets have been designed for frictionless driving, not human health and safety. 

We’re glad to see U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg acknowledge the traffic fatality crisis and attempt to address it via his recently released National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS). This Strategy marks an important display of leadership in the right direction. Systemic responses to epidemics are warranted, and we’re happy to see Buttigieg draw a throughline from the lack of safe streets to our inability to shift away from drive-alone trips toward low-carbon modes like walking, biking, and transit. We hope that the guidance issued in his roadmap trickles down quickly (along with adequate funding) to state and local governments.

But we can’t wait for Secretary Pete to come to our rescue: we need to rethink our streets—and our relationship to the streets—rapidly and locally. We can and must take swift action informed by best practices to reduce traffic fatalities immediately.

Oregon is in the top quartile of deadliest states for traffic crashes in the nation and the deadliest on the West Coast. This is a preventable tragedy that can be addressed by investing in a system that’s not as dominated by cars. When you improve the multimodal system and allow people to shift trips from vehicles, you not only reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled, you improve the safety of the transportation system.

A few state-level fixes we could make this month? The Oregon Legislature is considering a bill to authorize civilian review of traffic violations citations initiated by fixed photo radar, photo red light, and dual function cameras. Passing this will reduce costs for local police departments. (Currently in Portland, 100 percent of this review occurs on police over-time!) And more importantly, the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) will soon be directing ODOT how to allocate its one-time windfall from Biden’s infrastructure package.

OTC needs to address the traffic epidemic by steering these resources away from a funding mix that prioritizes drive-alone trips toward active transportation, public transit, and Safe Routes to School infrastructure, education, and safety programs, prioritizing those interventions and investments with the greatest climate and equity impacts. This is no time to undersign the deadly status quo by directing these funds to roadway expansions in conflict with our safety goals. 

The City of Portland, ostensibly a global leader in transportation innovation, could also act swiftly to reduce its traffic fatalities. Instead of sweeping vulnerable people off streets by emergency declaration, it could by the same authority (and with the same money) reduce vehicle speeds, clear intersection corners, and improve lighting in high-crash areas. (Reducing speeds from 40 to 20 MPH increases the likelihood that a vulnerable street user survives  a crash by 70%.)

Portland needs to rethink its public safety budget, beginning with reallocating funding set aside to hire police officers toward completing unfunded and shovel-ready projects in PBOT’s High Crash Network. Expediting implementation of the “Nearer Term Recommendations” from the Pricing for Equitable Mobility Task Force would generate revenue to enhance investments in programs like the “Transportation Wallet” that encourages travel modes other than driving alone. 

And finally, back to NE Killingsworth where this story started. PBOT is currently rushing through a paving project on that street which would leave that community with minimal protection from crashes just like the one we witnessed. Instead, project managers need to slow down and meaningfully engage residents to achieve the highest standard of protection for this already marginalized community – protection that could have possibly stopped that car this past Saturday from making it onto the sidewalk at all.

Making our streets safer is not going to be easy, but failing to act now will only continue the deadly trends, exacerbating disparities in communities with historical underinvestment. Investments in safe routes to school, pedestrian improvements, and safe ways to bike and access transit help strengthen the entire transportation network by reducing traffic fatalities and congestion, as well as improving public health. But sufficient funding is critical to provide these enhancements to the network.

It’s time for Oregon’s leaders to reject the old—dangerous and deadly—normal and to create a new mobility system and safe streets that keep our people safe and moving in the right direction.

By Sarah Iannarone, Executive Director

This post originally appeared in the Oregon Way substack.

sARA