This week, on Tuesday, February 16th, Portland hosted the 4th Annual Transportation Safety Summit. While there are more reports and details expected soon, BikePortland.org tells of a successful and well attended event. Over 200 people packed the University of Oregon‘s Stag Building, meeting with city leaders, the mayor, and concerned citizens. The purpose of the summit was to discuss how to close the gap between the desired state of transportation safety in the city, and the current state. Mayor Adams, who is also the Transportation Commissioner, spoke about Portland’s challenges and successes. One success he pointed to was the passage of House Bill 2001, which should provide $300 million in transportation revenues that can be used to increase transportation safety.
Portland is well known for it’s biking and walking routes, and the summit did touch on the Mayor and Department of Transportation’s preference for increased bicycle use. Despite this, there is a need for more bike lanes and sidewalks. The Department of Transportation representatives explained that although the city is willing to spend money to improve roads and the modes of transportation for them, they are focusing on "lifelines" and busy routes. One concern about busy roads included the bus/bicycle dilemma – often times, buses and bikes jostle for position because the bus lane covers the bike lane. Other areas pose different problems, like the need for safe highway crossings. In order to address the different needs and concerns, the summit included individual meetings of the nine neighborhoods making up citizen coalitions in attendance. Each of those neighborhoods was able to openly discuss their reactions to the speakers and issues raised, as well as make their voices heard. While many were grateful for and excited about the forum, the summit did show city leaders and citizens that more discussions and work is needed.