Archive | Bookshelf

Sustainable Transportation Planning: Tools for Creating Vibrant, Healthy, and Resilient Communities

STP_tumlinI am currently reading Sustainable Transportation Planning: Tools for Creating Vibrant, Healthy and Resilient Communities written by Jeffrey Tumlin. Tumlin, a planner at Nelson/Nygaard penned this wonderful book collecting nearly every useful tool for the layman, neighborhood activist or professional all in one book. Tumlin has penned what I believe to be not only a practical read, but one that also entertains; it doesn’t read like a boring old book of standards. Perhaps one of my favorite quotes comes when Tumlin lays out the logic in having redundant and adaptive systems in our transportation systems and likens them to the human body,

“Strategic redundancy is another key to survival in the natural world. If something is really important, nature produces more than one of it, because as nature knows, stuff happens. Humans only need one kidney, a small but critical organ, but we have an extra in case one gets gored by a wildebeest.”

While the sticker price might scare you away at first, Tumlin has assembled all the tools active transportation planners and activists need to equip themselves in the pursuit of transportation design that is both equitable and logical in it’s execution. Professionals can enjoy a fresh approach while novice or beginner activists can easily learn from one of the industry’s masters.

The seasoned active transportation activist likely won’t find provocative proclamations (except for Tumlin’s conclusions on parking reform which are fantastic) however, the fact that nearly every logical basis for active transportation design an activist needs is collected in one spot is in itself, nearly worth the purchase price of this book.

If you cannot purchase this book, get out to your local library and check it out. It will be worth your time.

The Rise and Fall of the Suburbs

9780199360147I’m in the middle of reading Benjamin Ross’, “Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism”

Did you know that the evolutionary path of suburbs went from the Streetcar suburb (which became inner-ring neighborhoods in many cities, including Portland) to the Railroad suburb, very separate from its city, which in turn became the template for the auto suburb? Here’s a great quote describing the Country Club District in Kansas City that teaches us why so many suburbs lack sidewalks…

… subdivisions intentionally discouraged walking so that buyers would feel insulated from the city. Blocks were enlarged and sidewalks shrunk; by 1921 pedestrians were rare enough in the more affluent sections that sidewalks could be eliminated there entirely.

I’m looking forward to getting to the part where we turn that around!

I’m delighted that Portland Transport is able to join with 1000 Friends of Oregon and Oregon Walks to sponsor a presentation by the author at Powell’s Books on Hawthorne Monday night (May 5th) at 7:30.

When: Monday, May 5, 7:30-9:00 PM
Where: Powell’s Books on Hawthorne, 3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland

RSVP to the Portland event by clicking here. (free)

I hope that you can join me there!

“Human Transit” by Jarrett Walker, nearing publication

Many of you are familiar with the excellent blog Human Transit, run by professional transit planner and native Portlander Jarrett Walker. Over the past several months, Jarrett has been working on a book by the same name, and it is nearing publication. It’s being published by Island Press, and is available for pre-order at various online booksellers, including and Powell’s.

Unfortunately, Powell’s saw fit to file it under “Automotive-General”….

The table of contents and introduction are both available online at the Human Transit blog. Currently, the book is only order-able in print format (either hardcover or paperback), though Jarrett has stated that electronic versions will be available as well.

Congratulations to Jarrett!

Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet

That’s the subtitle of Mia Birk’s new book “Joyride”.

Mia is CEO of Alta Planning and was Bicycle Coordinator for the City of Portland during the period when much of today’s bicycle network was conceived and initially implemented.

The book is constructed as autobiography, but in fact serves as a very insightful history of how Portland became the cycling city that it is. It’s easy to take what we have today for granted, but as Mia documents, each improvement was a hard-won victory.

Ride on, Mia.

Bookshelf: Pedaling Revolution

Update: 3/18/09

Jeff will be giving a reading Thursday evening (3/19/09) at 7pm 7:30pm at Powells downtown. Hope to see you there!

Original Post: 1/19/09


I was fortunate to be able to wheedle a review copy of the forthcoming book: “Pedaling Revolution” from the publisher (by invoking the undying interest of you, my loyal readers).

I’ve been eagerly anticipating this book since I was part of a Portland delegation to Amsterdam along with the book’s author, Jeff Mapes of Oregonian fame.

As befits a journalist of Jeff’s reputation, the book is journalism, not advocacy. But the book enthusiastically tells the story of the nascent rise of cycling in this country and contrasts it effectively with an insightful analysis of European cycling. The book has chapters on Portland, Davis, New York City and Amsterdam, but also looks at a variety of other cities on both continents.

The book looks at cycling from a variety of perspectives including infrastructure, safety, health and with a uniquely Portland focus: bike culture:

“Next door, I bought a smoothie. But first I had to ride the stationary bike that powered the blender that made the drink.”

This book is a must read for anyone who wants to be an informed advocate for cycling.

The book is due out in March (Oregon State University Press, ISBN-13: 978-0870714191). It is available for pre-order on Amazon, but does not yet appear to be available for pre-order at Powells, although they will notify you when it is.

Update: Powells link.