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PBOT Safe Routes to School February 2024 Newsletter

Newsletter
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, 

In following the tradition to raise awareness of Black contributions to our community during Black History Month, we're highlighting Khaliyah Williams-Rodriguez—a local leader in our education, bike, and Black communities. Khaliyah has worked in public education for more than 20 years and serves as the "Shero" of Portland's local Black Girls Do Bike chapter.

Black Girls Do Bike is "dedicated to fostering and nurturing a vibrant community of women of color who share a passion for cycling" and intends to "demystify the world of cycling" as it helps new riders navigate past all-too-common barriers to entry. 

Khaliyah shared that Black Girls Do Bike members pride themselves on freedom to “take up space” on local trails, paths, and streets throughout the year—even on Portland's notorious rainy weather days.

"Showcasing empowering images of women and their bicycles," Khaliyah says, "reinforces the undeniable truth that women of color can thrive in the world of cycling."

If you're interested in joining this fun group, Khaliyah welcomes you to request to join Black Girls Do Bike: Portland's Facebook group. 🤎 

With gratitude,
Safe Routes to School Team | Brittany, Dana, Gui, Janis, Jeri, Josh, and Meaghan 

A group of five cyclists taking a selfie photo next to a river waterfront with heavy foliage on the opposite bank.

In this email:


Join us for Winter Walk + Roll to School Day on Feb. 7!

An illustrated fox and robot holding umbrellas in the rain with text, "WINTER WALK + ROLL TO SCHOOL DAY is here!" along with the Oregon Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School logo.

Don your coat, grab some cocoa, and walk and roll to school tomorrowWednesday, Feb. 7, because Winter Walk + Roll to School Day is here! 

Participating? Check out these last-minute tips to make the most out of your walk to school:

  • Dress in layers to stay warm and dry. Wear winter or rain boots with thick socks, a hat and gloves, a winter or raincoat, and/or an umbrella. 
  • Make it fun by bringing along a thermos of hot cocoa, tea, or coffee!
  • Try to dress as visibly as possible if it's dark and shine bright
  • Cross at a crosswalk or corner. Remember that drivers may take longer to stop in rainy or icy conditions.
  • Slow down, use caution, and look out for people on the street. Going too fast in the snow and rain can cause slips and falls! Try using the penguin shuffle.

And be sure to share your photos with us! Tag us on Instagram and Facebook or send us an email


New to Portland Ride: Winter Edition, Feb. 9

"New to Portland Ride, Willamette River Look, February 9, 2024" blue cursive text over a faded Portland bike map.

Are you new to town, or new to cycling in Portland? Join this mid-day Willamette River loop bike ride on Friday, Feb. 9 from 12 to 1:30 p.m. 

The ride will be approximately 8-miles-long at a mellow pace. Riders will cruise bike paths along the beautiful Willamette River in addition to crossing a couple bike-friendly bridges. 

If you're having doubts, know a well-trained bike mechanic is joining the ride in case anything needs fixing. 

Learn more about the New to Portland Ride online.


Lloyd Light It Up Bike Ride at the Portland Winter Light Festival—Feb. 10

An adult and middle school-aged kid wearing winter gear and standing with their bikes wrapped in strings of lights at night.

Celebrate the closing day of the Portland Winter Light Festival with The Street Trust and Lloyd EcoDistrict at the Lloyd Light It Up Bike Ride on Saturday, Feb. 10! This family-friendly guided bike ride, of less than 10 miles, will end in a light-up dance party at Lloyd Center.

The bike ride will start at 5:30 p.m. at the grassy field behind Broadway Grill & Brewery (1700 NE Broadway St.) for a mural reveal, then take a festive ride to check out the hottest Portland Winter Light Festival installations, and end at Lloyd Center plaza for a dance party with hot drinks, live music from PopCartPDX, free glow-in-the-dark swag, and acrobats and baton twirlers!

Learn more about this event, opportunities to volunteer, and more online.


Spread the love in your school community this Valentine's Day!

A colorful illustration of an adult and child sloth riding a bike on a neighborhood street and text, "Thank you for being sweet on the street!"

On Wednesday, Feb. 14, we’re inviting school communities across Portland to share the love and thank one another for being sweet on the street!

We’re encouraging school communities to print our custom-made, mini–Valentine’s Day-inspired cards on regular or color paper and share with students, parents, caregivers, educators, and neighbors at morning drop-off. It’s just another way we can offer gratitude for and encourage safe travel decisions.

Print your PBOT "Thank you for being sweet on the street!" card here!

Why? Because we know making safer travel decisions aren’t always easy, but they are always sweet. ❤ 

You’re making our community a sweeter place every time you:

  • Organize groups to walk, bike, or roll to school together
  • Stop for crossing guards, safety patrols, and school buses
  • Watch for families crossing the street
  • Drive at or below the speed limit
  • Park a couple blocks away and walk the rest of the way to school
  • Avoid U-turns on streets near schools
  • Turn your key and be idle free
  • Never pass school buses or vehicles stopped at crosswalks

It’s up to all of us to make our streets safe!

Learn more about how to be sweet on the street and tag us on your Instagram posts and stories! 


Construction updates for pedestrian safety improvements in the Wilkes neighborhood!

Before (left) and after (right) photos of a sidewalk infill project near an elementary school.

After construction in fall 2023, the street design update at NE 148th Avenue from 146th Drive to Halsey Street is nearly complete!

The goals of the NE 148th Avenue: 146th Drive to Halsey Street Safety Project included: 

  • Increase safety through street design and discourage illegal speeding by reducing the number of vehicle travel lanes
  • Construct a new pedestrian crossing with improved lighting at NE Sacramento Street
  • Construct new sidewalk with trees and lighting at Margaret Scott Elementary School

The project's construction manager, Nicole Blanchard, noted the difference in how pedestrians use the intersection at NE 148th Avenue and Sacramento Street. What was once lauded as an "insanely dangerous" intersection with no pedestrians crossing it, NE 146th Avenue now has regular foot traffic. Blanchard credits the new striping configuration to the "noticeable improvement" that is slowing people down. According to Blanchard, "this project is really making a difference." We love to hear it!

The two remaining incomplete project elements, street trees and street lighting, should be installed in the coming months. 

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

Visit the project website to learn more and sign up for email updates.


Abra's big move upstairs

A person with short orange hair, wearing a yellow cap and blue jackets, and holding a green and white checkered umbrella on a city street.

We have bittersweet news to share as we bid farewell to a cherished, longtime member of the Safe Routes to School team, Abra McNair.

Lucky for all of us, Abra didn't move too far—just upstairs to Portland Bureau of Transportation's (PBOT) Capitol Delivery Division team. In her new role as a Capitol Project Manager, Abra is "steering the ship" to help plan and complete many different Safe Routes to School infrastructure projects, including SE 174th Avenue Sidewalk Infill Project in the Centennial neighborhood, NE Shaver Sidewalk Infill Project in the Parkrose neighborhood, and the N Willis Sidewalk Infill Project in the Portsmouth neighborhood.

Abra's favorite memories of her time with Safe Routes to School include: 

  • Supporting bike buses way back in 2012 (when they were more commonly referred to as "bike trains"), including Hayhurst Elementary School—a small but mighty team of riders who tackled those notorious SW hills.
  • Working with former colleague, Taylor Sutton, on the SmartTrips to School program and helping to create content for middle schoolers.
  • Working with Lale Santelices to create early content for the middle school health unit.
  • Summer bike camps when Abra and the team rode with students to the top of Powell Butte. Wow!
  • Creating and implementing the RECESS program (the at-home version of SmartTrips to School focused on holistic wellness for middle school youth) during the dark winter of 2020 at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Planning and executing all the open houses in 2017 to help build the Fixing Our Streets Safe Routes to School project list. Abra and the team asked for input from school communities about their routes to school and what issues they were experiencing to inform them about gaps in the network.

Moving forward, Abra will be working closely with Jeri Stroupe, Safe Routes to School's new Infrastructure Coordinator, to ensure they're communicating well with the schools, districts, and families about new improvements.

While Abra admits being on the Safe Routes to School team was tremendous fun, she is learning lots about how to build sidewalks and new crossings—and has a new-found appreciation for all the skills and expertise of PBOT’s talented engineering staff, who she now works with regularly.

If you're interested in connecting with Abra to wish her well on her endeavors, you may send her an email.


What we're reading

  • How D.C. neighbors closed a dangerous street in front of an elementary school (Next City)
  • Fewer children are riding to school, says Bikeability (Global Cycling Network)
  • Brooklyn mom continues fight for safer streets a decade into NYC’s Vision Zero program (Gothamist)
  • Want safer streets? Paint them. (Washington Post)
  • The ultimate pedestrian: How one man’s walk across America became a journey of advocacy (CNN)
  • To build a healthier city, begin at the sidewalk (Bloomberg CityLab)
  • Driven to distraction: New rules recommend states steer clear of highway sign humor (NPR)
  • The other reason American pedestrian deaths are rising after dark (Streetsblog)
  • Busting a common myth about speeding (Planetizen)
  • Phones track everything but their role in car wrecks (New York Times)
  • Renewable energy rides solar cycle paths through Dutch provinces (New Atlas)

Job and volunteer postings

  1. Boise Parking Plan Stakeholder Advisory Committee: Portland Bureau of Transportation is looking for diverse perspectives, interests, and lived experience with parking and transportation in Boise such as residents, employees, regular visitors to the Boise neighborhood, and property and business owners. Members do not need parking expertise but should be familiar with their local area parking patterns and issues. Closing Sunday, Feb. 11. Volunteer posting here
  2. Engineer III - Traffic Design Section: This leadership position plans, directs, implements, reviews and evaluates the work of Portland Bureau of Transportation staff in the delivery of multimodal capital projects throughout the city. This position supervises engineers and consultants in the design and development of traffic engineering plans, specifications, and estimates for capital improvement project design and construction. Closing Monday, Feb. 19. Job posting here.
  3. Outreach and TDM Program Manager: This Go Lloyd position oversees several programs that encourage Lloyd employees and residents to choose transit, biking, walking, or ridesharing for their commute. This role calls for a flexible and adaptive approach to job responsibilities and duties. The successful applicant will have a passion for transportation issues and sustainability, and a strong commitment to promoting transportation options to support livability and growth in Portland’s Central City. Closing Thursday, Feb. 22. Job posting here.

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