12 January 2011

23 December 2010

17 August 2009

16 July 2009

Extra! Extra! Shameless Self Promotion!

[the press release i wrote for the neighborhood bike event. --sph]

Neighborhood Goes By Pedal

Is Kerns Neighborhood the most bike-friendly in Portland? G.T. Meili, shrugs his shoulders at the question, “We might be.” Don’t mistake his low-key demeanor as laissez-faire. The strides in biking infrastructure that Kerns has made in the last fifteen months were exactly what the Goodfoot Nightclub owner had in mind when he created the Bike Advocate position on the neighborhood board at its annual elections in May of 2008.

“When people think of neighborhood associations they think ‘boring,’” Meili confides, “we created sustainability and bike advocacy positions on our board to kind of reach out to the interests of a new wave of neighbors who might not otherwise turn out for this kind of thing.” In the past year the efforts of the neighborhood have yielded measurable success—the recent installation of bike corrals on 28th north and south of East Burnside perhaps being the most visible.

“Right locality, right time, right city,” Kerns Bike Advocate Sean Hutchinson suggests, “all these things were happening around bicycle infrastructure already, so to be able to add the clout of the neighborhood association helped push them in our direction.” Hutchinson lists the overwhelming support for the Twenties Bikeway, a $2.1 million project to bring a dedicated North-South corridor for bike traffic through the close-in Eastside with Metro’s Regional Flexible Funding dollars, as another of the neighborhood’s successes, “I don’t know how much a role our grass roots online campaign or testimony at Metro played, but I do know that the Twenties Bikeway was the most favorably reviewed of all the proposed projects.”

Although Hutchinson had been a long time bike commuter, even coordinating for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s yearly Bike Commute Challenge in his day job as a producer at Oregon Public Broadcasting, the role of neighborhood advocate did not come with stringent prerequisites. “Basically he said he’d do it,” Meili deadpans.

“Having the neighborhood association on board can really help expedite the process,” remarks Sarah Figliozzi, Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Bike Program Specialist who oversees the on-street bike parking installations, or corrals. “Having an outside voice that speaks from the perspective of the community at large helps the City develop parking solutions that serve the whole neighborhood's needs.” The corrals at Pambiche, Crema and Ken’s Pizza on 28th Avenue represent the 18th, 19th and 20th installations by the city.

The denouement for Kerns comes August 16th at the Southeast Sunday Parkways event. PBOT will close 14 miles of streets to cars as part of an all day bike festival. Kerns’ Vice-President Angela Kirkman wrote the grant funded by Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Coalition that will enable the neighborhood to promote bike safety and awareness through the disbursement of helmets, bike lights and reflective accessories. Partnerships with Legacy’s Trauma Nurses Talk Tough program and the Bike Gallery have allowed the subsidized helmets and bike mechanics to be part of the event. Three bands—Dave Fulton, Pancake Breakfast and Physical Hearts—will play outdoors at the Box + One building nearby to the new corral at SE 28th and Ankeny.

Ironically, the Sunday Parkways route almost missed Kerns Neighborhood entirely. “Initially we had it drawn up heading south from Laurelhurst Park,” informs Janis McDonald, the PBOT Project Manager who heads up planning for the Parkways events, “after meeting with them and hearing their plans we realized this community would be a great inclusion for the Southeast route.”

“We’re looking at this as a celebration of all we’ve been able to accomplish in the last year,” Hutchinson crows. “We had these grandiose visions starting out, and, remarkably, they’ve played out just as we schemed.”

Angela Kirkman [insert e-mail, phone]
Sean Hutchinson: sepahu [at] gmail.com, cell 503.453.4316

CremaCorral.jpg: Kerns Neighborhood Association has planned a bike safety and awareness event at the Box + One building around the corner from the new bike corral installation at SE 28th Avenue as part of the Southeast Sunday Parkways event. A grant from Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Coalition funds the event.

TokenSwap.JPG: Kerns Neighborhood Bike Advocate Sean Hutchinson exchanged his minivan for a new bicycle and beer tokens at the 2008 Tour de Fat festival sponsored by New Belgium Brewing. Proceeds benefited the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.

09 June 2009

Forty Nights and SEVEN DEES

What's a company to do when bikes continually carve a path through your commercial landscaping? Install gi-normous boulders, of course. But what if you do that and the bikes still find another spot to cut through? Just park your cherry picker's basket in the gap as pictured above!