Collaboration Among Bicycle & Freight Advocates

The following blog post is a letter from myself and a handful of key freight advocates to the bicycle and freight coordinators at the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). Recognizing the need to work together and the fact that we are stronger together, the co-signers of this letter have been meeting on a semi-regular basis for several years to compare notes and consider opportunities to collaborate on transportation projects and policy decisions. After sending the following letter, PBOT staff hosted a follow up meeting and we are continuing the conversation with city staff at the table.

The reason we are sharing this communication on our blog is because we think it is important to understand how, as bicycle advocates, we are building relationships and partnerships with leaders from across the community to help find solutions to our shared problems and grow support for our cause.

Dear Bob Hillier and Roger Geller,

We would like to connect with both of you to discuss an opportunity. Members of the Freight Advisory Committee have been meeting with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance to think about a way we can work together on our shared goals of safety and mobility for all modes.

As we think about our commercial corridors in the City of Portland, whether they are designated as Streets of Citywide Significance or just function as major arterials, we realize that they present some of the toughest challenges ahead for accommodating an increasing number of safe trips while preserving freight access. One of the ideas we have been kicking around involves developing some focused design recommendations, ideas that freight and bicycle stakeholders can support, for long term improvements on these major arterials.

In places where our existing freight and bicycle master plans overlap on these busy streets we’d like to sit down with you two, the keepers of those plans, to discuss how we can best meet the multiple demands for safety, mobility, and access for all users of the road. It would be great to think through the long term goals we share and design options that help us achieve those goals, before the projects become a line item in the budget or a grant request.

We would like your help in, first, finding the streets where the bicycle and freight plans overlap, and second, thinking about design options that maximize benefits and minimize impacts at those locations. We know this could be a long and challenging conversation, which is precisely why we want to get started now, in a series of meetings, so that we can develop a useful resource for later, when we are ready to begin construction.

We look forward to working with you to answer questions and concerns about this approach. Hopefully we can find time in all of our schedules to meet during the month of April.



Pia Welch, Fed Ex

Debra Dunn, Oregon Trucking Association

Jeff Swanson, Working Waterfront Coalition

Gerik Kransky, Bicycle Transportation Alliance

(Affiliations listed for identification purposes only)


Comments (4)

  1. Scott Mizéee Permalink  | May 03, 2013 10:02am

    Great letter. I’m curious why you have included the Oregon Trucking Association, but not Union Pacific or Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroads. They are some very big players and are having significant impact on how we move forward TOGETHER to reach our common goals.

  2. Scott Mizée Permalink  | May 03, 2013 10:02am

    Scott Mizée, not Scott Mizéee 🙂

  3. Gerik Kransky Permalink  | May 03, 2013 10:16am

    Scott, this is not a matter of including some and excluding others, this is simply an organic effort among the named parties to try and improve our working relationships and coordination with the city. In their formal roles on the Portland Freight Advisory Committee, this is the working group that makes the most sense to start a conversation about on street facilities in Portland.

    As an organization, the BTA works with UP from time to time, especially when it comes to state policy work and projects like the North Portland Greenway. So yes, you’re right, more collaboration is better and something we continue to strive for.

  4. Scott Mizée Permalink  | May 03, 2013 10:49am

    Excellent, Gerik. I completely understand about the organic nature of the effort thus far and I’m not discrediting it. I understand it was not a matter of including or excluding. I would just urge you as a leader of the group to try and bring at least one of the railroads to the table as you go forward.

    I know that the political divisions are setup right now as separate organizations, but it is often troubling when we have to divide our efforts into “on street facilities” and “off street facilities” in Portland. As a user of our transportation network, we use them interchangeably, organically and in collaboration with each other. I hope this group takes that into consideration as the conversation evolves.

    I think it is a great effort and I look forward to seeing the results! Feel free to give me a call if you need any clarification on what I’m asking. Thank You for all you do!