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Most City of Portland offices will be closed Monday, May 27, in observance of Memorial Day.

March Safe Routes News and Resources

Newsletter
Published
Updated
This image shows the bureau's Safe Routes to School Logo

Dear parents, caregivers, and community,

With the close of March comes spring and more and more reasons to get outside and walk, bike, and roll to school!

  • National Walking Day (April 5) - Let us know how you're celebrating and invite us along to take photos and videos of all the joy on the streets.
  • Earth Month (April) - Our friends at ODOT Safe Routes to School have resources and ideas to help you put together an extra special Earth Month Walk + Roll event. Sign up by filling out this form and use this toolkit to help you prepare with social media templates, activities, graphics, and flyers. 
  • National Bike+Roll to School Day (May 3) - What do you have in store for this day? Reach out to us if you want help planning for your event!

With gratitude,
Safe Routes to School Team | Dana, Janis, Abra, Lale, Meaghan, and Brittany

Illustration of Strider and Viv promoting Earth Month in English.
Illustration of Strider and Viv promoting Earth Month in Spanish.

In this email:


Adopt-a-Bike event at James John Elementary

Student trying out a bike with the help of a mechanic at the Adopt-a-Bike event.

Wow! James John Elementary in the St. Johns neighborhood is at it again. And this time they're showing us what it means to be inclusive when it comes to biking to school.

On Friday, March 17, the school community organized an Adopt-a-Bike event to pair nearly 50 students with bikes, helmets, bike lights, bike locks, and information about how to safely use their bikes. Take a look at a video of the special day! 

On the sunny day, bilingual posters welcomed third through fifth grade students and their families to the event with the phrase, "together we are making active transportation possible at our school."

The event was dreamt up and coordinated by parent volunteers who want to create a thriving school community where all students have the option to walk, bike, and roll to school and was made possible through support from local and national organizations, businesses, and programs, including WashCo BikesBikes for Humanity PDXLegacy Heath Trauma Nurses Talk ToughDEROEco Schools NetworkSEI Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) Community SchoolsFree Bikes 4 Kids, the James John Elementary School PTA, and PBOT Safe Routes to School.


New bikes and bicycle safety education

A Safe Routes to School staff shows off 80 new bikes that will be used for the education programs.

We're ecstatic to share that we have 80 new bikes for our education programs to replace our old fleet! Soon students around Portland will be able to participate in bike safety education programs in brand new (rather than decades old!) bikes. 

When we bring these out to Portland schools, we'll teach students the ALPACA method to be:

  • Aware
  • Lawful
  • Predictable
  • Assertive
  • Considerate, and
  • Able to be seen!

We have plenty more bike safety education resources online, including curriculum for instructors, materials and handouts, administrative resources, community ride maps, and more!

If your school is interested in offering bike safety education through a health or physical education class, our staff can provide free "Train the Trainer" education. Staff provide training to teachers and in-class support as teachers first teach the lessons to students. Safe Routes to School staff can observe teachers in class, offer feedback, and help respond to questions that arise. Safe Routes to School offers a fleet of bikes and helmets for students to use during the program. Availability may vary as the bikes rotate between schools across Portland. 

For more information, please reach out to us at saferoutes@portlandoregon.gov


Fixing Our Streets and Safe Routes to School

The Fixing Our Streets "Your Dime at Work" white project logo against a salmon pink backdrop interlaced with a full color wrench and roses.

When Portland voters approved a 10-cent gas tax in 2016 and 2020, they created the Fixing Our Streets program and a major new funding source for Safe Routes to School. Fixing Our Streets designated $13 million to build transportation projects that are helping to connect families to schools across Portland.

Since the need for street improvements is greater than the funds available, Safe Routes to School developed a process to prioritize investments. We engaged with families and students about how they travel to school and how we could help make their journeys safer and more convenient. The community identified over 1,200 projects to create a network connecting schools in every high school cluster. Across Portland, the top concern was unsafe crossings. Missing sidewalks and traffic speed were also major safety issues. We also considered equity, safety and student/route density to determine which projects to start building first.

We've already built 96 projects with the $13 million in funding from Fixing Our Streets, and we continue to make progress on the 60 other funded projects. In the meantime, we are working hard to identify more local, state and federal funding to build out the rest of the network. 

To learn more about Fixing Our Streets and Safe Routes to School projects and progress, please visit SafeRoutesProjects.com.

Map of projects in the Traffic Signals Superbundle.

Traffic Signals Superbundle

This month we're highlighting a superb project that emerged from the Fixing our Streets and Safe Routes to School 2017 community-driven planning process and will start construction this spring. And very soon this project will be helping children and families cross busy streets to get to school!

Portland Bureau of Transportation's Traffic Signals Superbundle project is a collection of new signalized crossings, additional street lighting on NE Glisan from 82nd to 162nd streets, and related ADA and stormwater improvements. 

The new signalized crossings include:

  • SE 148th Ave and Main St - Pedestrian hybrid beacons
  • NE Glisan St and 113th Ave - Pedestrian hybrid beacons
  • E Burnside St and SE 16th Ave - Rectangular rapid flash beacons 
  • SE Washington St and 86th Ave - Rectangular rapid flash beacons
  • NE MLK Blvd and Going St - Half signal

Types of signals:

  • Pedestrian hybrid beacons (also known as high intensity activated crosswalk) are a set of lights that help pedestrians safely cross major streets. They remain dark until a pedestrian presses a button, then cycle through yellow and red phases to stop cars and let pedestrians safely cross. These types of signals disrupt drivers less than traffic signals as they only turn on after pedestrians press a push button.
  • Rectangular rapid flash beacons are button-activated flashing lights that make a crosswalk more visible to people driving, alerting them to the presence of a person crossing the street. These types of signals can come with their own solar panel, making them independent of the power grid. This adds a lot of flexibility on where they can be placed. They are a relatively lower-cost option compared to pedestrian hybrid beacons or full traffic signals, and have less of an effect on car traffic.
  • Half signals protect pedestrian and bicycle crossings at intersections with high volume roadways, typically along pedestrian and bicycle routes to schools and near transit stops. Half signals generally feature two pedestrian crossings. Existing research finds that half signals result in similar compliance and crash rates to fully signalized locations. 

Learn more about these signals and other common safety tools PBOT uses on streets around schools in the Safe Routes to School Street Design Toolkit.


Adaptive BIKETOWN

An Adaptive BIKETOWN staff fitting a patron for a bike.
A Harry Styles-themed Pedalpalooza ride from summer 2022.

Did you know Adaptive BIKETOWN is Portland’s adaptive cycling resource? The program’s goal is to increase access to cycling for people with disabilities.

We want to make sure you know that Adaptive BIKETOWN offers free 1-hour rides for anyone living with a disability or who is unable to ride a two-wheeled bicycle. It’s a partnership between Portland Bureau of Transportation, BIKETOWN, and Kerr Bikes. And it’s so cool!

Staff are ready to help folks find the right adaptive bike and set it up according to their needs. It’s as simple as 1) make a reservation, 2) get fitted, and 3) bike! They even will store your mobility device during the rental, so no need to worry.

Adaptive BIKETOWN has several different bikes each equipped to fit more people’s mobility needs, including hand-powered bikes, foot-powered bikes, electric assist bikes, and multi-person bikes.

This summer, Cassie Wilson, transportation advocate, even organized a Harry Styles-themed Pedalpalooza ride with biking influencer, Jenna Bikes, and The Street Trust. I don't know about you, but I'm hoping for a round two this summer!

Check out Adaptive BIKETOWN’s website to learn more and access the reservation system, adaptivebiketown.com.


What we're reading

  • Gen Z's turn against driving is a mirage (Bloomberg CityLab)
  • Awash in asphalt, cities rethink their parking needs (New York Times)
  • They built 335 miles of bike lanes in 24 months (Next City)
  • Are bike buses the future of school transportation? (Next City)
  • Where do drivers go after abandoning their vehicles in snowstorms? (Willamette Week)
  • At Portland's Robot Alley, droids and Stormtroopers speak to passersby (Oregon Live)
  • Inside the movement to remake America’s city streets (Washington Post)

Job and volunteer postings

1. Parks Levy Oversight Committee: This committee reports annually to City Council regarding program process and alignment with Parks Levy goals. Committee activities include advising bureau, developing annual report, reviewing budgets, and understanding and providing input on implementation of Parks Levy voter commitments. Closing 4/3/2023. Volunteer posting here.

2. Surveying Aide Trainee: This position assists on a survey field crew to help complete topographic, construction, and boundary survey projects for multiple bureaus. This position will follow directions, learn to run survey equipment/software, work outdoors, understand and implement safety protocols, and communicate clearly. Closing 4/3/2023. Job posting here.

3. Senior Transportation Planner: Provide the highest-level expertise to complex and politically sensitive planning studies, projects, and assignments; implement initiatives that enhance equity; represent the bureau in planning efforts; develop timely solutions to complex problems; and establish and maintain relationships with stakeholders. Closing 4/3/2023. Job posting here.

4. City Planner: This position performs complex professional planning assignments reviewing development proposals and plans for compliance with applicable land use codes and regulations. This position will carry out individual responsibilities using initiative, creativity, and independence. Closing 4/10/2023. Job posting here.

5. Signals and Street Lighting Inspector: This position will ensure construction conforms to design requirements, evaluate existing systems, advise contractors, prepare inspection reports, investigate public request and complaints, assist in prioritizing infrastructure maintenance and replacement, and work outdoors in all weather conditions. Closing 6/26/2023. Job posting here.

The City of Portland updates it's job opportunities list weekly. Make sure to check out those new positions every Monday!