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PBOT Safe Routes to School July/August 2023 Newsletter

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Published
Updated
Safe Routes to School in white text against an orange background with icons depicting a shoe, a scooter, a skateboard, a wheelchair, a bike and a bus.

Dear parents, caregivers, educators, and community,

Earlier this summer we made a call to our Safe Routes to School community to think of ways to help students start thinking about their routes to school in a fun way — and you delivered!

Perfectly timed in the weeks before school starts, Glencoe Elementary parents are leading an Ice Cream Bike Bus Pedalpalooza ride to celebrate the start of the academic year, active transportation, and ice cream. How fun! We encourage you to join them on Monday, Aug. 21 at Western Seminary at 5:45 p.m. (ride starts at 6:15 p.m.) for a flat, kid-friendly-paced, loop ride. This is the ideal opportunity to join other bike bus enthusiasts, learn more about how to start a bike bus at your school, or just eat some ice cream while it's still hot.

Either way, we hope you have fun and take pictures. Don't forget to tag us when you post them on Instagram (@saferoutespdx) and Facebook (@PBOTSafeRoutes)!

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


In this email:


Back to School: Plan your trip to school and get there safely!

Students and families use different, colorful modes to get to school, "Welcome back to school, Portland!"

We're a few weeks away from Back to School, and we can nearly hear the drumroll just thinking about it! Amid all the chaos of registration, gathering supplies, and figuring out first-day-of-school outfits, we want to make sure you don't forget about how you'll get there. Below is a collection of resources for students and families to plan their trip to school and get there safely.   

Try out your route

Safe Routes to School suggests that students and families try their route before school starts — especially if you're going to a new location. Try different routes and compare what feels best and most comfortable. Walking, biking, taking transit, and carpooling all help increase safety and reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions around schools. If you haven't already planned it all out, check out this and other resources:

And you've heard it before: practice makes perfect. While we know perfect is unrealistic, we can guarantee that practice will make your back-to-school commute a more smooth and enjoyable experience for everyone.  

If you're a family of a kindergartener or a student in 6th grade, sign up for SmartTrips to School's Text and Win Campaign

Starting kindergarten and middle school is a big shift for most families’ routines. Let us share some simple ideas for a fresh start to your child’s school year, like packing bags the night before or making sure your bike tires have air. Signing up for SmartTrips to School Text and Win Campaign also enters you into a drawing for fun prizes! 

  • Kindergarten: text the word "KINDER" to 888-520-0526. Participants are automatically entered into a chance to win a scooter or one of four $20 Fred Meyer gift cards.
  • 6th grade: text the word "MIDDLE" to 888-520-0526. Participants are automatically entered into a chance to win one of 25 TriMet youth Hop cards or one of four $20 Fred Meyer gift cards.

Don't have a cell phone? No problem. Email us instead SafeRoutes@portlandoregon.gov.

The contest is open to families of kindergartener and students in 6th grade in eligible school districts: David Douglas, Parkrose, and Portland Public.

More tips and resources

For even more Back to School resources, visit our webpage.


Fixing Our Streets: Improved pedestrian access at Jackson Middle School

A graphic drawing of the SW 35th and Dickinson project. Shows a northbound view of SW 35th Ave with new corner ramps, two medians and a marked crosswalk included to show project details.

SW 35th Avenue Sidewalk Infill and Crossing Project

Another voter-approved Fixing Our Streets project is just around the corner! The SW 35th Avenue Sidewalk Infill and Crossing Project will enhance pedestrian access to the West Portland Park neighborhood around Jackson Middle School. Element include include:

  • New sidewalk along SW 35th Avenue to connect gaps
  • New or updated ADA curb ramps
  • "Floating" median islands to provide waiting space for people crossing
  • Mark crosswalk at intersection

This project is currently completing its design phase before assigning a contractor for the construction phase.

In a 2017 outreach process, the community identified SW 35th Avenue as an important connection for students and families attending Jackson Middle School. Visit the website to learn more about how we collaboratively selected projects with the community and view a map of funded locations. 

Fixing Our Streets is the voter-approved program that is funding $13 million worth of engineering projects to improve how Portland families access schools.

Learn more about the SW 35th Avenue Sidewalk Infill and Crossing Project on the project website.


Upcoming events

A family of four riding bikes at the Northeast Cully Portland Sunday Parkways event in June.

Aug. 12: Lotería Go! Community Bike Ride

Bike and play Lotería Go! (similar to bingo) to discover newly completed traffic safety projects in the Centennial neighborhood. You can play to earn a transit prize pack and a chance to win a year of free TriMet! Meet at Su Casa Super Mercado at 10 a.m. Easy-pace and no one left behind. Este es un paseo bilingue!

Aug. 17: New to Portland Bike Ride

Are you new to Portland? Want to become more confident riding a bicycle around town and meet new friends along the way? We'll be riding around Southeast Portland neighborhoods and end at food carts along SE Foster Road. Portland Bureau of Transportation will provide free bike and walk maps and other cycling resources. Low-stress, moderate pace — no one is left behind. Meet at Kenilworth Park at 6 p.m.

Aug 24: Southeast Bike Fair 

Join us in the courtyard at 72Foster. Activities are free and there’s something for everyone. Bring your own bike (especially if you need a quick fix) or borrow one of ours to participate in learn-to-ride activities. This event is hosted in partnership with REACH Community Development and the Community Cycling Center.

Aug. 27: Bike with PBOT, N Willamette Ride

Join Portland Bureau of Transportation on a guided bicycle tour describing the planned improvements on N Willamette Boulevard Active Transportation Corridor between Rosa Parks Way and Richmond Avenue.  Plenty of stops along the way for discussion and coffee! Meet near the Dog Bowl on the Willamette Greenway at 10 a.m.

Sept. 2: SW Strolls

Connect with your neighbors during a community walk every first Saturday of the month! We’ll enjoy nature along the #7 urban trail created by SW Trails, then take a stroll along the newly paved and accessible section of SW Capitol Highway. Meet Little Gabriel Park at 9 a.m. for Section A or Barbur World Foods at 10 a.m. for Section B.

Sept. 10: Southwest Portland Sunday Parkways

Celebrate community on Sept. 10 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Southwest Portland Sunday Parkways! This beloved Portland event will include a 2-mile multi-modal route along with a 1.5-mile walking route. You can hop on at any point and head in any direction you choose. 

Pedalpalooza

This unique-to-Portland festival is made up of hundreds of different bike-oriented events that are organized by people just like you. Pedalpalooza runs through the end of August. Rides designed with kids in mind are marked with a green "Family Friendly" tag. 

Other community events

Check out our free summer events calendar!

We compiled a long list of free summer events all over Portland perfect for finding safe, convenient, and fun activities for children and families of all abilities. Make sure to save it and share with your network and community!


(Vision) Zero is the goal. A "Safe System" is how we get there.

Safe systems infographic of concentric circles labeled "safe people," "safe vehicles," "safe streets," and "safe speeds" with a person in the center.

In the past, a lot of traffic safety work focused on the individual behavior of road users. In contrast, a Vision Zero Safe System approach considers how the people who design, build, and manage the transportation network (that's us!) can prioritize the lives and health of people using the system. This transition is a fundamental shift in the way we approach traffic safety. 

The Safe System approach anticipates human mistakes. Together, elements of a Safe System keep the risk of mistakes low, so when a mistake leads to a crash, the impact on the human body doesn't cause serious injury or death.  

  • Safe speeds are the first layer of protection. People who are hit at slower speeds face less injury, whereas higher speeds are more deadly.  
  • Safe streets consider all people who use the streets and are designed to be forgiving of mistakes and human frailty.  
  • Safe vehicles are designed and maintained to prevent crashes and protect all road users — including those outside of the vehicles.  
  • Safe people using the road are alert, unimpaired, and comply with road rules. They take steps to improve their safety and the safety of others. 

Together these elements act as layers of redundancy to prevent crashes and ensure a safe transportation system.   

Learn more about the Vision Zero Safe System approach on our website.


Eco-School Network Changemaker Training

James John Elementary School caregivers, teachers, and staff prepare for their Eco-School Network-supported "Adopt-a-Bike Day" event.

The Eco-School Changemaker Training is a series of four online workshops (Oct. 9 and 23, Nov. 6 and 20) to help Oregon caregivers, teachers, and elementary school staff start a project that meets a pressing sustainability need at your child’s school and follows your own talents and passion.

The upcoming virtual information session is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 15 from 7 to 7:45 p.m. Stay for a 15-minute Q&A to answer your specific questions. 

Fill out the interest form now!


ODOT Safe Routes to School Fall 2023 Art Contest

An elementary-aged child in pigtails help paint a colorful mural.

Our friends at Oregon Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School are encouraging students to use their creativity to "walk and roll" for transportation and exercise in their Fall 2023 Art Contest!

To participate, students should draw anything from their imaginations or experiences (wackiness and fantasy not only are allowed — but encouraged!) that follows one of the following themes:

  • Look Out for Kids
  • Always Wear a Helmet
  • Cross at Crosswalks
  • When Crossing: Heads Up, Phones Down

The contest is open to Oregon students in grades K – 8. Art can be hand or computer drawn and must be scanned or photographed.

Entries must be emailed to walkrolloregon@gmail.com by Oct. 31. Remember to include the student’s first name, grade, school, and city in submissions.

Learn more about the art contest online


Take our survey and share your perspectives on transportation priorities

Portland Bureau of Transportation staff smoothing concrete for a new ADA-compliant curb ramp.

We’re interested in hearing your thoughts on the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s budget and revenue priorities. As you may know, PBOT has been cutting its budget for years, and is facing additional cuts this year.  

As PBOT considers what to cut, along with ways to bring in more money to better support the transportation system, the bureau would like to hear perspectives from people who are interacting with the system in different ways in their daily lives.  

We invite you to take an online survey (about 10-15 minutes) about our work, budget, and revenue sources. The survey will close on Monday, Aug. 14.   

Your feedback will be added to other input informing the development of budget and revenue strategies during this time of constrained resources. This work will continue into the fall (and beyond). Thank you for your participation!  


Join a community listening session on Aug. 8 to understand coming changes to city government

A sunny day at lively Pioneer Courthouse Square with people seated in Adirondack chairs in clusters as MAX trains pass by.

The City of Portland is changing its election system and form of government that voters approved in 2022. Starting in 2025, we'll have:

  • ranked-choice voting,
  • geographic districts,
  • a bigger city council, and
  • new leadership roles.

Join a virtual listening session on Tuesday, Aug. 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. to learn more, provide input, and suggest areas for research and recommendations.

Interested in more? Stay up to date on the city's transition by signing up for email updates.


Metro 2023 Regional Transportation Plan: Share your views through Aug. 25

Three students crossing a crosswalk with an adult, heading towards a park, wearing rain gear and backpacks.

It’s time to update Metro's 2023 Regional Transportation Plan! This is your opportunity to share feedback that will guide decision-makers as they finalize the policies, strategies, and projects shaping Portland transportation (driving, transit, biking, and walking) through 2045. 

Lear more and share your feedback now through Aug. 25!


What we're reading

  • TriMet wants to fix its most unreliable bus line, while making routes safer for students (Portland Mercury)
  • This 13-year-old skateboarder just made history in front of Tony Hawk (NPR)
  • 17 big ideas to make Philly a kid-friendly city (Philadelphia Magazine)
  • From bus stops to laundromats, cities embrace play to help kids learn (The 74)
  • What if we had a 15-minute city for friendship? (Bloomberg CityLab)
  • A dozen cities set youth curfews this year; even though they don't reduce crime (The Marshall Project)
  • ‘A dangerous combination’: Teenagers’ accidents expose e-bike risks (New York Times)
  • Higher point of impact makes SUV crashes more dangerous for cyclists (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
  • Barriers to bike and e-scooter use in Black communities (PeopleForBikes)
  • Americans spend too much time in cars. The solution is simple. (Slate)
  • Vision Zero under the microscope: why aren’t road fatalities at zero yet? (Streetsblog)

Job and volunteer postings

  1. Active Transportation Programs & Partnerships Manager: This position is responsible for leading the work of staff to develop, implement, and evolve programs and events that advance equity and active transportation goals. Programs are designed to make streets safer, improve public health and reduce traffic congestion. Closing 8/14. Job posting here.
  2. Senior Director of Transportation Services: Portland Public Schools is seeking a dynamic individual to provide leadership for the department, collaborating with internal and external stakeholders, to ensure a culture of high customer service that provides every student with equitable access to safe and professional transportation with student and employee safety at the forefront. Opening until filled. Job posting here.
  3. Consulting & Programs Senior Manager or Director: This position is responsible for advancing and implementing the Safe Routes Partnership's consulting program; executing projects and developing resources; and providing technical assistance on active transportation and Safe Routes to School. Job posting here.
  4. The Portland Children's Levy Allocation Committee: The Portland Children’s Levy seeks a member of the business community to serve on the committee. The PCL is a local option property tax that increases children’s access to proven programs that support positive early development, school engagement and academic achievement, high school graduation and family safety and stability. Closing 8/14. Volunteer posting here.
  5. New Portlanders Policy Commission: This volunteer commission works to integrate immigrant and refugee communities’ voices into the city's policies and decision-making. Commission members are immigrants, refugees, community advocates who live, work, play, or pray in Portland. Closing 12/31. Volunteer posting here.

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