Jonathan Maus: Police say two of 10 victims in vehicular rampage were on bikes (Bike Portland)
This casual acceptance of vehicular violence and recklessness as a random occurrence we can’t do anything about is unacceptable and must change. I’m afraid more people will die if we don’t.
Our enforcement policies need to be better at flagging high-risk drivers. Our mental and public health services need to find at-risk people and give them more support. Our transportation agencies need to fortify our streets by adding more concrete and protected spaces wherever and whenever possible. Our community needs to call out traffic violence in every form, every time; whether it’s spoken, typed, or acted upon.
I’m afraid of how we’re handling this issue; but I refuse to be afraid of our streets. So many times this past year we saw the power streets have to unite us. “Whose streets? Our streets!” isn’t just a chant, it’s an acknowledgment that we all own a piece of the responsibility to keep them safe.
Laura Bliss: The Freeway Fight of the Century Is Coming to Portland (CityLab)
Widening highways is bad for property values in the short term—indeed, the construction of I-5 through Portland in the 1960s kicked out homeowners, depressed home values, and helped set the neighborhood up for decades of disinvestment. Over the longer term, however, there’s evidence that highway caps, just like any other “adaptive reuse” project (think: High Line), can and do help property values rise. In the absence of intentional policies to preserve affordable housing and opportunity—something that Portland has long failed to offer, though that may be slowly changing—there’s really nothing to guarantee that the “restoration” of Albina’s grid will serve the people who have lived there, and suffered the disconnecting presence of I-5, the longest. And that’s on top of the environmental harm that more lanes and more cars are likely to bring.
If Portland wants to reconnect neighborhood grids and provide transit and biking infrastructure, why not just do that? Rather than pour half a billion dollars (a cost that is all but sure to rise) into what is, at the end of the day, a wider freeway, the city and state might first try taming traffic with tolls or congestion fees, as New York City is again contemplating. That’s a solution that might help Portland live up to its ultra-progressive reputation. Finally.
Catie Gould and Emily Guise: Adventures in Activism: Tools of the trade (Bike Portland)
How can you “engage” in transportation advocacy? You’re in the right place, since one of our missions here at BikePortland is to get you inspired and informed enough to have a valuable role in local policy and project decisions. But you need tools. Our activism editors Catie Gould and Emily Guise of BikeLoudPDX have put together a list tools they use to sharpen their activism skills.
For every person who considers themselves a transportation advocate, there are ten more who are interested in learning more but don’t know where to start. Below you’ll find some of the best tips and resources we’ve come across or learned in our advocacy work.
Catie Gould: “Be reasonable” and other advice aspiring activists should ignore (Bike Portland)
To “advocate” is a verb. It requires you to occasionally stand up in front of other smart people and give voice to the politically unpopular topic that no one else wants to bring up. When you do that, people often try to talk you out of it. Here are some of the responses I’ve heard. After reading through them, I hereby grant you permission to let them roll right off you so you can get back to work.