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In Portland, Every Day Is Walk and Bike to School Day

In many areas of the country the statistics are bleak -- only a small fraction of children bike or walk to school. But Portland, Oregon has bucked the trend: The number of kids using their feet to get to school is up 25 percent since 2006!

Portland makes it happen through a unique blend of infrastructure, planning, and outreach. They have a growing network of low-traffic neighborhood greenways. By 2015, 80 percent of all Portland residents will be within a half mile of one. Communities also frequently schedule "bike trains" and "walking school buses" to encourage kids and their families to bike or walk to school. One of the more incredible parts of these programs: Fifth grade student volunteers trained by the Portland police help younger students cross the street to get to school in the morning. That's right, NYC, no crossing guards on corner after corner.

Last month, Streetfilms got to bike to school along with the family of new Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat. We also got to walk with Kristen and Dan Kaufman (of PDXK-TV) and their kids. Although the United States has a long way to go to make walking and biking to school the norm again, get motivated -- because if Portland can do it, your city can too.

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  • wildbraidart

    Which Portland? Oregon or Maine?

  • http://www.streetfilms.org/ Clarence Eckerson Jr.


  • Greg Unwin

    WOO-WOO! Thanks Clarence, Greg, and Leah! The Sabin community is loving this! Bike Train!

  • http://www.streetfilms.org/ Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    We are nearing about 2,000 plays. There is a counting problem on the site. Hoping to fix it soon.

  • Scott Mizee

    Which Portland.... *smirk*

  • Sanfordia113

    Awesome. If only SFUSD wasn't so fiendish towards walking/biking to school, we would also strategically buy or rent a house within distance of an appropriate school. However, local school attendance is strongly discouraged here in San Francisco. :(

  • Scott Mizee

    Hey, I finally got around to watching this video! Nice to see a cameo appearance of two of my children in there as well! Thanks for the great film!

  • Boots

    I'm surprised nearly everyone is wearing a helmet! Are there still some dangerous areas in those neighborhoods?

  • Walter Crunch

    I am tiny bit suspicious of that 25% number. My view is that when the sun shines, that number is higher is 25%, but when it rains, it's like 2%. Pretty much the poor kids are left to fend for themselves on the bus, walk or by bike. Very few of the bikes in the racks have fenders so when it rains, I doubt they are showing up with water stripes and wet hair (girls especially). Are there a few granola moms sticking it out? Sure. But on the whole, no. Like most other Northern states, November through April is pretty sparse.

    Perhaps the City of Portland will get around to building overhang canopies and removing car parking on certain routes to school.