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:
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
The Street Trust and BIKETOWN have just announced a creative partnership to bring BIKETOWN for All to BIPOC and underserved communities across the City of Portland. The program will include community education, group rides led by compensated ride ambassadors, and engaging partners across the city.
The Street Trust has worked with BIKETOWN for years to encourage Portlanders to embrace this healthy, low-carbon and fun mode of transportation. But this Summer we are taking our partnership with with Lyft and BIKETOWN to the next level to advance transportation justice.
BIKETOWN offers reliable, affordable, car-free mobility for Portland residents with lower incomes through its BIKETOWN For All program. Bike sharing supports cleaner air in frontline communities by reducing the number of cars on the road. To further advance the bike sharing’s positive impact on our priority communities,
Partnerships power our advocacy efforts at The Street Trust. We work with everyone to achieve our vision and together we are dedicated to winning safe, clean, accessible transportation of the future.
Want to to be considered for one of this year’s BIKETOWN Community Ambassadors? Please complete this brief intake form and someone from our team will follow-up with you.
Think a strategic partnership between your company and The Street Trust could further our shared goals for better transportation? Schedule a conversation with Strategic Partnerships Manager Anouksha Gardner .
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:
Last Friday, The Street Trust kicked off Pride Month and celebrated World Bicycle Day at the same time by hosting a family-friendly, rolling parade withDowntown Portland and hosted by celebrated Portland drag queen Poison Waters.
Participants gathered in Shemanski Park, which is conveniently located near Biketown stations a block in either direction – in front of the Portland Art Museum and at Director Park. Several attendees checked out a Biketown bike for the parade, including celebrity guests the Gay Beards.
The parade was also joined by everyone’s favorite one-wheeled hero, the Unipiper, and the Multnomah County Library book trike. Our two-mile parade route bounced between points of interest from Portland’s LGBTQIA2S+ past and present, including the office and residence of famed 1900’s lesbian Doc Marie Equi; Vera Katz Park, named for former mayor and gay ally; and Pride Plaza, one of our new street plazas filled with street art, public seating, and community activities.
The Street Trust offers a special thanks to our ride ambassadors from BikePOC PNW, an organization that actively creates space for BIPOC folks to ride bikes, build community, forge life-long friendships, and challenge the status quo.
This ride would not have been possible without the generosity of Icicle Tricycles, who provided a pedicab in which we conveyed our host Poison Waters, not to mention the pedicab training sessions and assistive pushes uphill from Icicle Tricycle owner (and Better Block PDX Principal) Ryan Hashagen. Additional thanks to longboard skateboard advocate Cory Poole, who also pushed the pedicab and took many of the photos shared in this post.
We stopped for mini dance parties in three Portland Public Street Plazas and ended our parade with a big dance party at the Cart Blocks Food Cart Pod at Ankeny West, which featured a surprise appearance from Darcelle, the Guinness World Record holding “Oldest Working Drag Queen”. Umpqua Bank greeted our arrival with tricycles filled with ice cream and ice pops.
Bikes, trikes, unicycles, skateboards, and longboards– this year’s Pride parade had all manner of environmentally-friendly wheeled vehicles (we love our multimodal life) and The Street Trust can’t wait to do this again for next World Bicycle Day 2023!
TST staff Anouksha Gardner, Madi Carlson and Board member Jackie Yerby, with Darcelle
The Street Trust has developed robust e-bike and e-scooter training program in partnership with Forth Mobility with funding from Metro . Together we run workshops to put the training in action with Community Cycling Center and ABC or “Andando en Bicicletas y Caminando” (Riding your Bike and Walking Around). ABC is a group of community organizers who host bike rides, advocate for safe routes to school, and provide basic bicycle maintenance and training to friends and neighbors.
Recently, a group of ABC members with BIKETOWN for All memberships have been joining The Street Trust for e-bike and e-scooter clinics. Last weekend’s workshop was an e-bike clinic that went beyond the typical safety skills and group ride to include troubleshooting and problem-solving elements of Biketown that would allow participants to assist others interested in trying out Portland’s bike-share.
We did a lot of locking and unlocking Biketown bikes, located a lone bike to practice a mid-ride bike swap, flagged a bike as damaged, and identified the East Portland Super Hub Zone. We also intentionally experienced the power drop upon entering a slow zone in Kʰunamokwst Park (the best part was hearing the laughter when we left the park as the bike motors boosted back to full speed!)
ABC has a busy summer planned with the aim of getting more of their community onto bikes, and The Street Trust urges its followers to consider supporting them and attending the following events:
ABC will host several rides with BIKETOWN this summer- including at both Sunday Parkways– to get people signed up for BIKETOWN for All and guide them through the experience.
ABC will also host a Bike Fair at Rigler School on Sunday, June 12th, where they’ll teach community members how to ride, get them signed up for BIKETOWN for All, and take them on trial rides with BIKETOWN staff.
ABC will participate in three additional workshops with The Street Trust, Forth, Community Cycling Center, and BIKETOWN to build their knowledge of the system.
Beyond just learning to ride and use the BIKETOWN app, ABC’s collaboration with BIKETOWN addresses the very real issue of secure bike parking. PBOT installed bike lockers at Hacienda CDC, which the community appreciates and uses, but as more and more community members gain confidence on bikes, even more parking is needed. It’s a good problem to have, and using BIKETOWN solves the dilemma.
BIKETOWN for All provides Portland-area residents 16 and older living on low incomes with a reduced-cost BIKETOWN membership. Learn more here.