Portland State University transportation engineering students added their expertise to a yearlong effort to help Salem reinvent itself. The Urban Transportation Systems class looked at options to improve bicycle and pedestrian travel in the city’s downtown core.

The effort is part of the Sustainable Cities Initiative, one of three OTREC-funded initiatives. The initiative, led by co-directors Marc Schlossberg and Nico Larco at the University of Oregon, chooses one Oregon city per year to make its classroom, directing coursework to help the city adopt sustainable practices.

This year is the first to include Portland State University’s participation. Students in assistant Professor Chris Monsere’s Civil Engineering 454 class gave presentations Nov. 29 and Dec. 1 on several alternatives to improve bicycle and pedestrian transportation and safety. Projects included:

  • Accommodating the bicycle and pedestrian crossing on Union Street at Commercial Street while considering impacts to automobile traffic
  • Connecting cyclists and pedestrians at the end of the Union Street path at Wallace Road
  • A bicycle and pedestrian route west of Wallace Road
  • Converting selected one-way streets to two-way operation
  • Traffic analysis of options drafted by bicycle advocates for the intersection of Commercial and Liberty streets at Vista Avenue
  • Bicycle...
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Think people who live in suburban developments don't walk and bike? They do, particularly if the development is well-connected. University of Oregon assistant professor Nico Larco has shown this with his OTREC projects.

He explains some of the work himself in this video.

Streetcar_people_alphabet National Geographic recently described Portland as the City that “…gets almost everything right; it’s friendly, sustainable, accessible, and maybe a model for America’s future” (Cover story, Dec. 2009). Portland has a shared vision of a livable city, articulated in many different ways. It is seen in neighborhood self-help projects, big municipal investments, enlightened developers that build infill projects consistent with city plans, and the highest recycling participation rate in the country.  Taken together Portland is a city that is environmentally responsible, and conscious of both street level and of global impact of doing things right.

 


Early History

Arguably, Portland’s first act of ‘building green’ was in 1892, when it built a reservoir network to protect and preserve the sole source of its drinking water, the pristine . Today, this 102-square mile conservation zone provides ample fresh water to a region of half million people

Fast forward almost 100 years and the same ethic motivated Portlanders to reject a Robert Moses-style highway plan...

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This OTREC educational project took students at Portland State University beyond the lecture hall and the library. Dr. Lynn Weigand expanded the bicycle and pedestrian design curriculum at PSU by turning an existing three-credit course into a five-credit course with an applied lab. The new course gave students the opportunity to apply the knowledge they gained in class to real projects in their community. Working in teams, the students developed projects that focused on improving bicycle and pedestrian connections to the PSU campus. The course received excellent reviews from the students, and the department recognized the courseís value by offering it again the following year. The report can be downloaded at: https://ppms.trec.pdx.edu/media/project_files/OTREC-ED-10-01.pdf.

Portland State University is committed to supporting research that is both regionally focused and globally relevant. This fall PSU has published a brochure featuring some of its exemplary research including OTREC sponsored projects by researchers Madeleine Pullman and Jennifer Dill. Dr. Pullman's research addresses the logistical issues raised by the rising demand for locally produced foods. She has studied supply chain success stories like that of Country Natural Beef, a cooperative family business committed to environmental responsibility, as well as other enterprises that have been slower to adopt such values, in order to better understand the impediments to change. Dr. Dill's research team has given GPS devices to bicycle commuters and collected rider surveys in order to collect data about the routes cyclists take, gender differences in riding and other information that can help cities better understand cyclistsí infrastructure needs. This regionally aimed research creates universal models of environmental responsibility and sustainability from which other cities can benefit.

On May 15, 2008, Jennifer Dill, Associate Professor in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning and Director of the Center for Transportation Studies at Portland State University, participated in a congressional briefing in Washington, D.C. The briefing was sponsored by the Congressional Bike Caucus and the Active Living Research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on Biking Your Way to a Healthier Community. The Congressional Bike Caucus is chaired by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR) and Congressman Tom Petri (WI). Dr. Dill described her ongoing research of regional bike trips, tracked by GPS-equipped bicyclists. She notes that preliminary analysis shows that half of the bicycle riding happened on roads with bike lanes, off-street paths, or bicycle boulevards. She also briefly discussed policy implications and further research needs. Read Dr. Dill’s briefing here: Briefing.

Professor John Pucher, a car-less commuter from the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, was the first fall OTREC Visiting Scholar and CTS Seminar guest on September 28, 2007. His presentation, "Promoting Safe Walking and Cycling to Improve Public Health: Lessons from Europe," was standing room only, and the audience enjoyed his photos of bike-friendly features in cities across Europe. Pucher examined a range of public health impacts of our urban transport systems and argued that the current car dependence of American cities is responsible for enormous environmental harm, social isolation, lack of physical activity, and traffic dangers. He described how improving the convenience, safety, and attractiveness of walking and cycling in crucial to overcoming these negative impacts. Pucher discussed specific policies and programs used in Europe, and advocates their widespread adoption in American cities. A lively discussion with faculty, students and members of the Portland Bicycle Master Plan Committee followed the seminar.

PRESENTATION ARCHIVE

OVERVIEW

Planners and decision makers have increasingly voiced a need for network-wide estimates of bicycling activity. Such volume estimates have for decades informed motorized planning and analysis but have only recently become feasible for non-motorized travel modes.

Recently, new sources of bicycling activity data have emerged such as Strava, Streetlight, and GPS-enabled bike share systems. These emerging data sources have potential advantages as a complement to traditional count data, and have even been proposed as replacements for such data, since they are collected continuously and for larger portions of local bicycle networks. However, the representativeness of these new data sources has been questioned, and their suitability for producing bicycle volume estimates has yet to...

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Room 204 of the Distance Learning Center Wing of the Urban Center on the Portland State University campus

Abstract: A variety of types of electric bicycles are now available to consumers in America and around the world. While there has been strong uptake of these vehicles in China, there remains uncertainty in other markets about their ultimate potential as a transportation mode. The technology is evolving in ways that are likely to better meet traveller's needs and the growth of this mode presents both opportunities and challenges. Since they have implications for transportation policy, planning and operations it is appropriate for the transportation profession to consider these vehicles carefully. This seminar will review developments and emerging issues with this form of transportation technology.

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