By Don MacGillivray
Portland’s Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) has officially renamed itself The Street Trust. The change has been in the works for over a year and was made final last month.
In addition to a significant expansion of their mission, The Street Trust is working throughout Oregon in partnership with citizens, businesses, community groups, government agencies, and elected officials to create communities where people can meet their daily transportation needs with bicycles and other modes of alternative transportation.
The organization will become a major advocate for alternative transportation users and has been heard from regularly and frequently on the use, safety, and promotion of bicycles in Portland.
Walking and transit are now added to their advocacy as there is need for improvements and investments in complete streets, accessible sidewalks, protected bike lanes, and well-designed streets crosswalks.
They are working to build connected communities where it is safe and convenient for people to walk, bike, and ride public transit safely.
Bicycling and walking promotes exercise, social interaction, equity and environmental stewardship and Portland’s Comprehensive Plan places a major focus on localized alternative transportation systems.
Transportation has been an increasingly important issue around both Portland and Oregon. Local, state, and federal resources will soon be approved to rebuild our transportation systems. The Street Trust organization will play an important part in advocating and working for these improvements.
Feature events The Street Trust is involved in are a wide variety of public service projects in Portland such as The May Bike-More Challenge during National Bike Month. Many employers sponsor the Challenge and their employees log their trips throughout the month.
Awards are given out in May for various categories of accomplishment and everyone’s hard work is celebrated. Last year’s Challenge had over 11,000 total riders who biked over 1.5 thousand miles.
The Vision Zero program is working to eliminate all road fatalities by 2025 through design, education and traffic enforcement.
All serious crashes are avoidable and are being treated like a curable sickness. The cure involves better: design, regulation, infrastructure, best practices, and public cooperation. There is a two year work-plan underway sponsored by The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and other collaborating agencies.
Women Bike is a program begun by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance to inspire women to use bicycles not only for transportation, but to meet their health and fitness aspirations.
Women are only one third of the bicyclists in Portland and the group hopes to change this through educational meetings, rides, workshops, and mentor-ship.
Street Trust’s Safe Routes to School and Oregon’s Walk + Bike program are among the best bicycle and walking safety programs in America.
The program trains teachers and encourages students and families to walk and bike to school. It offers schools a free statewide competition for students to walk and bike to school in the month of May.
The program has taught over 10,000 Oregon children bike safety in over 265 schools.
Downtown Portland remains a difficult location to traverse by both bicycles and as pedestrians. Streets are busy and bicycles often must travel in unprotected traffic lanes.
The Street Trust is working to improve the safety and comfort levels of streets and sidewalks to match those of the Eastside’s street network. Changes will include traffic signals, separated bike lanes, and other streetscape improvements to ensure safety and a reduction in accidents.
The organization has expanded its official incorporation to include a charitable 501(c)3 and a social welfare 501(c)4 and is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, elected by the members.
There are sixteen staff members coordinating the work. Committees are comprised of staff, board, and members with appropriate interests, skills, and experience. Much of the work is done through these committees and this is the best way to learn and work with the organization.
Membership in the group provides discounts, for products, services, entertainment, events, and special promotions. They keep members informed and active in e-member updates, newsletters, advocacy alerts, funding opportunities, and new policies and laws to make streets safer for all road users.
There are over 120 bike-friendly businesses in Oregon that offer discounts to Trust members.
The Trust provides assistance with a variety of transportation legal questions and situations and help with an accident or traffic tickets. They provide legal guides for cyclists and pedestrians.
The World Headquarters of The Street Trust is at 618 NW Glisan St #401. Reach them at 503.226.0676 and thestreettrust.org.