Portland, also known as Stumptown, Rose City, Bridgetown and PDX, became "Railtown" for a brief moment last week, when the city hosted the 16th Annual Rail~Volution under sunny skies and warm temperatures. The event seeks to foster greater involvement by public transit agencies in creating livable communities and linking to bicycle, pedestrian, and street networks as well as increasing private sector investment in creating livable communities.
The conference involved the typical speakers, vendor, trade show, and workshops; but what made this event unique is the numerous mobile workshops that were conducted by rail, by bike, or by foot. I had the chance to ride with transportation planners and engineers from the city of Portland showing us first hand the bike boulevards, bike boxes, and bike corrals that made this city famous for its bicycle amenities.
Silicon Valley was also represented by Henry Servin, the Rail Program Liaison Manger with the City of San José's Department of Transportation. Henry presented an introduction to station area planning and gave us a status report on issues surrounding Diridon Station.
With a population of 580,000, Portland has just over 50% of San José's population (1,006,892) and is even still smaller than San Francisco, but by judging just from the size and vibrancy of the downtown area, the city seems much bigger (and quite a bit quieter too). As a pedestrian or cyclist you get the feeling that the city cares for you and your safety. Signs and maps are everywhere for transit riders, pedestrians, and cyclists, making the central city accessible to all. The city currently has 65 on-street bike corrals with merchants and neighborhoods requesting an additional 60 new corrals.
Thanks to Streetfilms, we are able to provide you a glimpse of what the conference was like as well some of the plays out of Portland's livable street playbook. Pictured below: Tanya Snyder from Streets Blog DC, Earl Blumenauer representing Portland in the U.S. Congress, Jeff Wood of ReconnectingAmerica, and Carla Saulter, also known as the Bus Chick in Seattle. Also in the film is a brief scene on San José's Via Velo.