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.
2022 has been a busy year in our community and we couldn’t be more excited about this year’s Alice Awards ceremony honoring champions for our mission this Saturday, September 24th, at Lloyd Center.
Thank you to everyone who nominated someone in our community who works tirelessly to improve mobility and transportation in the Greater Portland Metro Region and beyond. Dozens of people were nominated and the wealth of talent, creativity, energy, and innovation uplifted through the nomination process keeps us optimistic about the future!
This year, we’re giving two awards and the winners will be announced at the ceremony.
The Alice Award is given to a community member or organization forwarding The Street Trust’s mission of advocating for multimodal transportation options that prioritize safety, accessibility, equity, and climate justice in the Portland Metro Region and beyond.
2022 Alice Award Finalists
Franklin Jones, CEO and Founder of B-Line Urban Delivery
Portland Streetcar Ambassador Program in partnership with OPAL Environmental Justice
Robin Straughan, Sustainability Manager at Washington County
Portland Streetcar Ambassador Program
The Elizabeth Jennings Graham Award is given to a community member or organization actively championing transportation justice and equity.
2022 Elizabeth Award Finalists
Maritza Arango, Disability Justice Coordinator at Latino Network
Charlene McGee, Program Manager for Multnomah County Health Department, Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH)
Christine Watts, Founder/President of Civil Unrest Bicycle Club
The fabulous Poison Waters will emcee the Alice Awards and DJ Aquaman will be on the decks. Dress up in your favorite early 90’s attire and get ready for a night full of food and fun with catering provided by Kim Jong Grillin’, craft cocktails from Merit Badge, a wine wall, special appeal fundraising, and more!
Giveaway with Ticket Purchase
We’re giving away a special prize pack every 12 hours between now and the awards party! Buy your tickets now and be entered to win a $20 gift card from Floating World Comics (now in the Lloyd Center!), plus TST hip pouch, logo beanie, Spin socks, and the not-yet-released new limited-edition TST t-shirt … over a $100 value!
Tickets are just $40 for general admission, $30 for current TST members. Or add a HALF-PRICE membership with a $60 Alice ticket+membership bundle.
Join us after the Alice Awards for an open-to-the-public Secret Roller Disco afterparty, to take place in the former Marshalls from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. This event is in collaboration with Secret Roller Disco, guest DJ SlimKid3, Rose City Rollers, and the Lloyd Center.
Attend the Alice Awards free of charge in exchange for three or four hours of help!
Over the Summer, the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes To School program unveiled the pilot of the new Jump Start Train-the-Trainer program. This program helps school districts, staff, and other safe routes advocates learn the skills to teach bicycle and pedestrian safety to students across Oregon through onsite training.
Street Trust staff lead the pedestrian safety part of this program. In August, these staff members visited Baker City along with other members of the ODOT SRTS team and worked with advocates to help them prepare for bicycle and pedestrian safety lessons this Fall. Recently, Baker County received funds from a grant to purchase a fleet of bicycles for schools to encourage safe biking practices.
The team provided the participants lessons in bicycle and pedestrian safety, along with resources so they can easily implement the lessons in their own programming.
“The hands-on portion of the training gave a very informative example of what we will have to do”, said Jessie Wilson, SRTS Coordinator in La Grande, of her time at the training. “I really appreciated this experience”.
Thank you to the great team in Baker City for inviting us to do this training! We are excited to continue to bring Jump Start to more communities throughout the state.
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!
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.
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?
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]
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.
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.
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.