Skip to content

Posts tagged "Portland"

StreetFilms
View Comments

Portland’s Tilikum Crossing: A Bridge for People, Not For Cars

In 2015, Portland, Oregon opened North Americas's longest car-free bridge The Tilikum Crossing, a bridge that allows travel for pedestrians, bikes and scooters as well as light rail, streetcars and buses!

It's a superb transportation marvel, not only elegant but it's surrounded by one of the most multi-modal places in the United States connecting logical routes not only right now but providing for the future as Portland's Southwest waterfront continues to go thru its ambitious development. It also connects to the equally exquisite aerial tram to Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) which at its base boasts the largest bicycle valet service in North America!

Being around the area on a few summer days it's easy to see all this beauty and planned car-free options in action.

Here's Streetfilms' love letter to the Tilkum which easily makes the case for other cities considering transportation options near bodies of water. There are many great reasons to do it the same way. The bridge is nearly silent except for the periodic serenade of public transit. The footprint of the bridge is small since interconnecting off-ramps and large roads taking up valuable real estate is not needed, which in turn makes it much cheaper than a bridge with cars. The comfort for those using active transit (bikes and walking) was carefully considered with bike lanes on both sides, and wide pedestrian/running areas in either direction. Also, the fact that it can accommodate three different modes of transit: streetcars, light rail and three bus routes should be a huge selling point.

And the final wonderful feature: the LED lights on the span change colors based upon the temperature and water level of the Willamette River! Believe me on a beautiful summer night you want to stay on it forever.

StreetFilms
View Comments

In the U.S. Walking & Biking to School is Becoming Extinct, Get Inspired by some Streetfilms to Change That

Last year, we debuted a crisply-edited Streetfilm "Children Have Lost the Freedom to Roam" as a chapter in our STREETFACTS series. We were surprised the 4-part educational series didn't do better. However, the last week saw renewed interest as people started forwarding it around Facebook, nearly 100 shares! Perhaps the general public is beginning to crave change?

Things sure have changed in most parts of the country since I was a kid. I'm now 47. I walked over 2 miles each way to school - in rain and snow (and I was also a morning paperboy for the Times-Hearld Record in Goshen, NY!) In many parts of our country, the built-environment has made it nearly impossible for kids to walk and bike. And as we all know in some places it is illegal or forbidden by the school district.

That's really depressing, sure. But at Streetfilms we've been lucky to be around cities trying to do it right here in America. Our recent hit from Lakewood, Ohio a Cleveland school district that has never provided buses for its students, just soared to nearly 60,000 plays! In Lakewood you can sense the atmosphere is much different than a typical school morning. The kids and parents seem happy, The energy level is infectious.

Last year we got to visit Portland, Oregon where thanks to much traffic calming and slow streets of the Neighborhood Greenways, children are walking and biking in growing numbers. It's encouraging. It's a very fun film. Especially the Bike Trains!

There are many videos to get inspired by via Streetfilms. In Brooklyn, PS 67 students painted the pavement to make streets near their school safer. In Davis, California the bike mode share is high, and most of the school districts there don't have buses either.

But in the U.S. we have so much further to go. See above, for this short video from the Dutch city of Utrecht, where children learn about transportation at an early age. And if you watch our 2010 Streetfilm from Copenhagen, you'll see plenty of young children riding bikes, and hear about how the learn how at a very early age to navigate the streets.

.

Then there is this clip last year from an Amsterdam trip that shows what we are looking to attain is humanly possible. Yes this kid is four years old! I couldn't ride that well as a teenager!

But don't get depressed too much by this stellar work beyond done overseas. There are many communities and advocacy groups out there pushing to make our streets better. Use these videos as your inspiration and don't wait any longer. And also, our Zozo series can help spread the word!

StreetFilms
View Comments

Streetfilms: Street Theater & Public Parody as Effective Advocacy!

If you're having trouble garnering public attention for one of your advocacy initatives, one thing you should consider is performing some crafty, quirky street theater or parody. Both equally enlighten, and if done intelligently, lead to action.

Streetfilms has been around quite a few good ones over the years.  One of the earliest is the above 2002 video I participated in and shot was our car-free Prospect Park Theater protest! We had a nice group of advocates show up in cardboard automobiles. Then Brooklyn T.A. Chair (and future Streetsblog founder) Aaron Naparstek was the creative force behind the action and also supporting us at the rally? Our then-Councilmember and future Mayor Bill de Blasio!

Soon after Mayor Bloomberg and then NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan pedestrianized parts of Times Square, the tabloids and tv stations were running amok with  stories about how "controversial" it was. We decided we needed to point out how ridiculous these assertions were. Enter Veronica Moss, a character invented earlier to make fun of the fictional A.U.T.O. lobby. This time we brought her to Times Square. The results are hysterical, mainly because behind that wig is the ultra-talented comedian and newest star of Saturday Night Live, Kate McKinnon!

This is from the 2008 Javits NYC Auto Show and it's absolutely hilarious. We captured this demonstration from Transportation Alternatives & Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir. Rev Billy presided over the mock marriage of Lady Liberty (Karla Quintero) and Mr. Transit (Noah Budnick) as attendees watched on. Just about every shot in this Streetfilm (from Elizabeth Press) is priceless so watch it to the very end.

I've had my share of making myself look a little foolish to make a point. One came early in Streetfilms when I wanted to make the point that traffic calming and bicycle accommodation in Portland, Orgeon was so good, that it brought the legendary Sasquatch out of hiding!  Yes, that's me as "Clarence the Traffic Calming Sasquatch" in this vid made with Dan Kaufman. It's production occurred when Dan called one day during my visit and said he had a big foot costume at his house. Less than an hour thru the magic of improv, we had our video.

In many cities, there's a "Bike Party" movement that has the traditional critical mass morphing in to something more celebratory and less confrontational. Having ridden enough times during both, it basically just seems like a re-branding to allow fun bike riding in a large group. "Bike Party" seems to always have a theme, although many critical masses have as well. The Bike Party from D.C. was a toga ride. And as you can see from the footage, it was plenty of fun.

StreetFilms
View Comments

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.

StreetFilms
View Comments

Portland’s Multi-Modal Nexus, Featuring the Largest Bike Valet in America

Portland's South Waterfront is developing into one of the best new walkable urban neighborhoods in America. From one spot, you can grab the Portland Streetcar, ride the Portland Aerial Tram to Oregon Health and Science University, walk across a brand new pedestrian bridge, bike on a protected bikeway, or park your bike at the largest daily valet bike parking facility in the country.

It's a nexus of multi-modal transportation. And to see it in action from high above on the aerial tram is thing of beauty. Thankfully you don't need to go there this instant because we made this Streetfilm. We got to talk to Kiel Johnson, the owner of Go By Bike, about the numbers of bikes his valet business parks, the services it offers, and its unique location.

StreetFilms
View Comments

West Coast Swing: Portland’s 100th Bike Corral, Seattle’s First Cycle Track and Railvolution 2013

Portland Now Has 100 Street Bike Corrals! from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Above is a Streetfilms Shortie showing that Portland, OR is now up to an astounding 100 bike corrals, far more than any other U.S. city has installed.  And they can't keep up with demand!! It's so nice that they aren't anything unusual anymore, in fact they are expected and welcome by businesses.

I got to spend a few days at the Railvolution 2013 conference in Seattle. This year they hit a record 1200+ attendees.  My solo Streetfilms University session on Monday was a huge hit as we had over 100 people pack a room to hear how you can make your own transporatkltion films in 90 minutes.  I'm hoping to do this again in 2014 for even more captive audiences at the Bike Summit in DC in March and ProWalkProBike (ProPlace) in Pittsburgh in Septemeber.  Mark your calendars now.  And if you want some instant tips, here is an older, abbreviated version of my presentation to watch right now.

I didn’t get to make any full Streetfilms there, but got to poke around Seattle a bit and saw two of the more innovative street designs currently in production.

Streetfilms Shortie - Seattle's Broadway Protected Cycle Track (Snippets) from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

A portion of the new Broadway cycle track opened while I was there.  Design wise it is interesting since just about every block looks different then the pervious one.  Check out the snippets of video and photos I took above (again, note that some of this is under construction).  There were bviously many challenges on this corridor with driveway access, bus stops, and – in parts – the University Link light rail, which is being tunneled as we speak.

Read more...

StreetFilms
View Comments

Mark Gorton’s “Rethinking the Automobile” Plays to crowds in Portland!

Friends, as you may know our major funder for Streetfilms, Mark Gorton, has a wonderful touring presentation called "Rethinking the Automobile" which he's been delivering at many gatherings throughout the country.  Recently he was in Portland, Oregon at the Active Transportation Summit a few weeks ago.

Dan Kaufman of PDXK Productions (and CrankMyChainCycle TV!)captured the entire speech and did a wonderful edit job putting this together for any of those who may have missed it.  See it below.  (There is also a shorter highlight version here.)

Dan also did a great guest editorial in The Oregonian which is a great read.

StreetFilms
View Comments

Portland Adds Nation’s First Bike Counter to Hawthorne Bridge

Good news for mathematicians who love watching throngs of cyclists stream by: Portland, Oregon just became the first U.S. city to install a bicycle counter!

You'll find the digital "bicycling barometer" on the AM inbound side of the Hawthorne Bridge. It was made possible by the non-profit group Cycle Oregon which  purchased the machine with a $20,000 grant. Lots of yummy extra details are over at Bike Portland, including an in-depth look at how the system works.

Seattle is reportedly just about to install one as well.  Which city/location in the U.S. should be next?  Where would you put one in New York City?

StreetFilms
View Comments

MBA: Car Sharing

In the third episode of Moving Beyond the Automobile, we take a look at a more efficient way to use a car.  Car sharing allows users to evaluate the full cost of each car trip, which encourages them to decide what the most appropriate mode choice is for a specific trip. 

Zipcar, a leading global car sharing organization, reports that members walk and bike 10-15% more than they did before joining Zipcar.  They also report that members save $600 a month when they choose car sharing over owning a private automobile.

So while car sharing isn't exactly "Moving Beyond the Automobile," it is a great way for cities and individuals to help make the transportation network more efficient and become less dependent on owning a private cars.

(Note: This series is made possible by funding from the Fund for The Environment & Urban Life.)

StreetFilms
View Comments

MBA: Bicycling

For the second chapter in our Moving Beyond the Automobile series we'll take a look at bicycling. More and more people are choosing to cycle for at least part of their commute in cities across the world. Leading the way in the United States, Portland, Oregon is up to a daily bike count of 17,000 riders! For this video we spent some time with leading thinkers in New York, San Francisco and Portland to discuss the direct relationship between providing safe cycling infrastructure and the number of people biking. The benefits of cycling are simple. Biking helps reduce congestion, air pollution, meet climate action goals and makes for healthier communities.

(Note: This series is made possible by funding from the Fund for The Environment & Urban Life.)

StreetFilms
View Comments

The Case for Bike Racks on NYC Buses

Over the last ten years (or more) just about every major city in the U.S. has added bike-carrying capacity to their buses. While cities like Chicago, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Seattle, Philadelphia, and San Francisco can boast 100% of their bus fleet sporting bike racks, NYC comes in at 0% - the only one in The Alliance for Biking & Walking's 2010 Benchmarking report.

This probably comes as no surprise to any cyclist from NYC who travels an ample amount, but what is shocking is this fact quietly goes unmentioned in NYC. We cannot recall a single news story or push to get bike racks anywhere in the last ten years.

Of course, there are reasonable assumptions one can make why NYC has not tried out some program. First and foremost: the NYC MTA subway system already allows bikes 24 hours a day.  It's an excellent benefit for sure, but there are many regions of the five boroughs that are not easily within reach of a train. If we want to encourage multi-modalism, we need seriously think about that.

Then there is a barrage of others: cyclists will be too slow to load, bikes might fall off the racks, cost, maintenance, etc, but after viewing our Streetfilm you'll see there really isn't a valid excuse not to.

So we think it's time that the MTA and the city to consider a few pilot programs to put some bike racks on some routes. Of course, we are not talking about places like Manhattan or most parts of Brooklyn but we feel there are some great candidates that would yield good results.  Look here:

  • Anywhere in Staten Island.
  • Eastern Queens.
  • Parts of The Bronx.
  • Any buses that cross bridges without cycle paths including the Verrazano-Narrows, The Whitestone and The Throggs Neck bridges.
StreetFilms
View Comments

Portland’s Bike Boulevards Become Neighborhood Greenways

Transportation planners in Portland, Oregon are taking their famous bicycle boulevards to the next level. By adding more routes and stepping up the traffic calming treatments, the city is not only making these streets more attractive and usable for cyclists, but also for pedestrians, runners, children, and anyone else who gets around under their own power.

These next-generation facilities have been christened “Neighborhood Greenways,” and by 2015, over 80 percent of all Portlanders will live within half a mile of one. The city is counting on these re-engineered streets to reach its goal of increasing bicycle mode share from eight percent to 25 percent by 2030.

Just about anybody who’s biked one of these routes can testify to the safety and peace you experience. You’ll see scores of families and children riding to school with regularity. At any time of day, there’s a constant buzz of activity, and during rush hours you’ll see many more bikes than cars. As Portland Mayor Sam Adams points out, “They’re on a quiet street, where that bike boulevard is prioritized for the bike, not the car.”

On a final fun note, one day Portland may also be able to lay claim to being the birthplace of the “sharrow flower.” What’s that? You’ll just have to take watch this Streetfilm and find out.

StreetFilms
View Comments

Voices from the Rail~Volution (2010)

Streetfilms was out in Portland at this year's Rail~Volution 2010 trying to get a pulse on the transportation world by talking to a healthy dose of this year's attendees which includes advocates, bloggers, transportation planners, industry spokespeople and members transportation agencies across the country.  Among those we heard from was Congressman Earl Blumenauer, who helped push Rail~Volution - now in its 20th year - to national prominence in 1995.  Well over a thousand folks attended the four-day event.

In addition, almost 500 of them came to Portland's famous Bagdad Theater to watch a program of short films on the big screen, eight of which were Streetfilms!  Our fan base and influence continues to grow as Streetfilms is looked to as an inspiration and educational tool among our peers.  It's a great feeling.

StreetFilms
View Comments

Bicycle Boulevards for NYC

We’ve seen lots of new, innovative bikeway designs appear on New York City streets over the past few years. But, there’s one very promising concept we haven’t seen – bicycle boulevards. Bicycle boulevard design uses a variety of techniques to create low-traffic, low-speed streets where cyclists mix comfortably with cars. They’re very popular in Portland and Berkeley, two cities with high bicycle mode-share. Here in New York, though, they don’t seem to be part of the playbook yet. In this Streetfilm we ask: Why not?

We spoke to Mia Birk, who helped introduce bicycle boulevards to Portland. She’s also the co-author of a new guidebook to bike boulevard design. Here we explore some of the concepts in the guidebook and show how they might be applied to New York. Outside Manhattan, especially, important cycling routes could benefit from the bicycle boulevard treatment.

StreetFilms
View Comments

Portland: Bike Rush Hour on the Hawthorne Bridge

The first time you visit Portland, Oregon, the gaggles of cyclists streaming over the Hawthorne Bridge during rush hour is a sight you will never forget. It's something other cities need to see and be inspired by.

On a recent vacation there, I couldn't resist cranking out a Streetfilms shortie, so I naturally hooked up with Crank My Chain's Dan Kaufman to capture the essence of the PM rush and talk to cyclists about what it feels like to be a part of the mass of cyclist humanity in Southeast Portland, Hawthorne corridor. As Greg Raisman from Portland's Bureau of Transportation pointed out: 20% of all traffic on the Hawthorne Bridge is bikes. And, Portland's number of cyclists has risen 600% in the last fifteen years and shows no sign of letting up.