Portland might have seemed a little quiet on Monday, April 21, as more than 400 active transportation advocates, policy makers, elected officials, teachers, parents, and more, went inside for the Oregon Active Transportation Summit at the Sentinel Hotel.
We came together to discuss, learn, and plan the future of active transportation — and from what we saw, it will be bright, equitable, innovative, youth-powered, healthy, active… and it had better be well funded.
The panel on Safe Routes to School, “Healthy beginnings — or how to build active transportation into your community by starting with the kids”, was packed to capacity and standing room only, as attendees learned about the history of funding, how to teach kids bike and pedestrian safety, innovative ideas for creating a safe traveling environment around schools, and and the importance of school siting on access in Safe Routes to School. Great conversation and questions spilled out into the hallways when we were finally forced from the room! A great turn out for the future of Safe Routes to School.
Other panels and plenary discussions on Day 1 focused on funding, equity and access for underserved and underrepresented communities, empowering youth, research, and innovative design ideas accessible to all.
Day 2 proved to be the truly active part of the conference, when the mobile workshops hit the streets, including one led by yours truly, “Urban Pedestrian Environment and Access to Schools”. For a couple of hours we wandered NW Portland on foot, explored walkability tools and covered ways to engage kids, parents, and teachers in exploring school access and creating action plans and safe routes. We also had the joy of huddling under an enormous tree when the sky opened up for about ten minutes.
All in all, a great conference and many connections were made. If you attended, what was your favorite part of the conference? Did you learn anything new? If you didn’t attend, what kept you away?