Archive | December, 2009

WPC Wishes You a Call-Free New Year

A suggested New Year’s resolution from the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition:

If you’re still racking your brain for New Year’s resolutions that will make you the toast of every neighborhood, allow me to suggest one of my favorites: “I resolve to share the road.”

It’s a simple resolution, really, but it has far-reaching consequences for everyone. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States for all age groups from 1 through 34 years, and almost half of these fatalities are alcohol-related,” according to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control. “New Year’s Day has the greatest relative increase in traffic fatalities compared with all other holidays.”

Your road-sharing resolution can begin New Year’s Eve, when you decide how to bring in 2010. If you know you’ll be drinking, pocket those car keys and take transit or a cab. Think there’s no such thing as a free ride? TriMet offers free service New Year’s Eve after 8pm, and Yellow, Blue, and Green MAX lines run until 3am. RideOn Portland (503.235.RIDE) is also a useful service from a great nonprofit for those who find themselves drunk and with car. They’ll drive your car and you for a bargain $10 from SE Portland or a number of sponsoring bars.

Then start 2010 off right by complying with the new cell phone. As you may have heard, on January 1st, 2010, Oregon’s new distracted driver law takes effect, which prohibits driving while dialing, texting, or talking on a cell phone, with fines starting at $90. While a person who is 18 years or older can use a hands-free device, studies have shown that hands-free provides the same mental distraction as holding a cell phone. Save the call for the destination.

Here are a few other resolution ideas from WPC:

If you drive:

  • “Stop and Stay Stopped” for pedestrians in crosswalks until they have cleared the driver’s lane and the adjacent lane
  • Remember every intersection is a crosswalk, whether it is marked or unmarked
  • If a car is stopped at a crosswalk, you must stop, too
  • Keep intersections and sidewalks clear so that people can walk safely by
  • Be alert for people walking during low-light conditions, especially in areas where they are likely to cross the road, or you might not see them until it is too late to stop

If you walk:

  • Allow cars time and opportunity to stop before crossing the road
  • Make eye contact with other road users, and continue to look as you’re crossing the road
  • Don’t assume that because one car stopped, the car in the next lane over sees you
  • Remember to cross only at legal crosswalks and with the light

Here’s wishing everyone a happy, prosperous and SAFE New Year!

Not PBOT Issue

Some entrepreneur has painted their own crosswalk on E Burnside at 8th. It happened on or around Christmas, according to the reader who tipped us to this.

The straight-line-challenged person responsible has not stepped forward to take credit yet.

City Traffic Engineer Rob Burchfield is quoted on Bike Portland about what will happen to this improvement in the future…

Personally I did not feel any safer crossing the street there. Four lanes of fast-moving traffic is still four lanes of fast-moving traffic.



Looking Ahead: Leadership in 2010

2010 brings an election for a new Metro President – current President David Bragdon is term-limited. Three very serious candidates are in the hunt for the May primary:

  • Councilor Rex Burkholder – a 10-year Metro veteran and former chair of JPACT. Previously he founded the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.
  • Bob Stacey – most recently Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, he has also served as Portland’s Planning Director and in Congressman Blumenaur’s DC office.
  • Mayor Tom Hughes – recently retired as Mayor of Hillsboro

The winner of this race will have significant influence on transportation policy in the region, possibly for many years to come. While Portland Transport as a non-profit cannot endorse candidates, we can help educate voters.

I propose that Portland Transport create a questionnaire on transportation policy for this race and publish the responses.

What should we ask? Be specific!

T4America Hiring in Oregon

Transportation for America is hiring a field organizer for Oregon.

The position will be hosted at 1000 Friends of Oregon.

Responsibilities include:

  • Convene and provide staff support for a diverse coalition of partners and allies.
  • Provide assistance with local education and outreach efforts of Oregon groups.
  • Develop educational tools and materials on campaign goals and issues (in coordination with other local coalition partners and other T4America campaign teams).
  • Engage in policy advocacy, media outreach and organizing public events.
  • Support and strengthen creative partnerships and grassroots transportation reform campaigns in Portland, Eugene and other Oregon cities.
  • Build and manage a powerful field operation to mobilize “grasstops” supporters of
    campaign, including local business leaders, environmental organizations, labor unions, the real estate sector, equity and health groups, elected officials and others.

  • Expand the capacity of local and state campaign partners to engage with state and federal leaders on transportation and other related policies.
  • Analyze and translate federal policy goals and “best practices” in transportation reform into a Oregon-specific context through outreach to local groups and allies.

Unless some breaking news comes along, this will be my final pre-holiday post, so I’d like to take this opportunity to extend wishes to all our readers for a joyous and safe holiday season!

See you on Monday.