Safe routes to everywhere.
There are a number of things going on in and around Portland of late that point towards an increased focus on safety in our transportation system.
Those who wonder, how do we make our streets safer for kids walking to school; people running errands by bicycle on busy streets; those who wish to age in place and need to get around, without a car, safely? Those who have thought, if we create a more walkable city (region, state, world), where everybody walks, can we create a place where people are safer the minute they walk out the door? Those who hope we can bring the vision of zero deaths-by-transportation to reality?
The bad news: In Portland there were two pedestrian deaths in one weekend caused by the simple act of crossing a street; 10 of the last 11 pedestrian deaths occurred in the same part of the city, in neighborhoods with disproportionately large low-income communities, elderly communities, youth populations and communities of color.
The good news?
- The conversation has already started, and the people who make transportation decisions in the city are listening. Oregon Walks has called for Vision Zero in Portland — meaning zero deaths from transportation — and the Director and Commissioner of Transportation, as well as Mayor Hales have stated their support.
- There are many other places that have or are starting to implement Vision Zero, and many good examples that can be drawn upon.
- The City of Portland is already talking with Portlanders about increasing funding for transportation, and when they did a poll, safety bubbled up to the top.
Last September: a group of interested staff from cities, counties, and the state, together with health officials, advocates, and concerned citizens from around the greater Portland region met for a one-day “Walkability Summit“. Together, they began planning concrete ways to bring safety and walkability to the region. There were many ideas, and even more energy.
Last month: The Oregon Walks petition drew more than 700 signatures in the span of a week in support of Vision Zero for Portland.
Right now: If this video the the Portland Bureau of Transportation recently released is any indication, there are many more people who find safety, especially pedestrian safety, to be at the top of their priority list. (Look for yours truly around the 1:00 mark!)
This month: the Oregon Active Transportation Summit will bring leaders from across Oregon to Portland for two days (April 21-22) of discovery, networking, sharing best practices, and shaping the future of transportation — from our youth and to our elders.
Stay tuned in by getting in touch and staying connected (facebook, twitter). The only way this will happen is if we do this together, as a community that cares about people, safety, the ability to simply cross the street. In the near future, and in particular at the Active Transportation Summit, get updates from us, on how to bring walkability and safer transportation options to the greater Portland region.