By Monique Gaskins
Autumn is upon us! As the summer temperatures start falling and the days continue getting shorter, here is your friendly reminder to keep or start spending time outside. Especially with the limitations of Covid-19, being able to maintain social distancing while also running, walking, or bicycling can be helpful to mental and physical well-being. Although all of us might not have easy access to parks or gyms right now, we do have access to some innovative use of our city streets. Eliot holds at least two major greenways (Tillamook and Rodney) and is adjacent to at least two more (Siskiyou and Going).
The Portland Bureau of Transportation, PBOT, launched a new initiative, Safe Streets, during Covid-19 that encourages Portlanders who are not in an automobile to stop limiting their usage to the sidewalk on some of our local roads. The goals of this program are as follows:
1) Facilitate access to more outdoor space
2) Enable walkers, runners, and bicycles to maintain social distance while using city streets and sidewalks (Also called Slow Streets)
3) Provide more options for businesses to allow social distance
Here is a written response to a couple of questions from PBOT’s Communications, John Brady:
MG: How does the city see Safe Streets? Successful? Not?
JB: So far, the Slow Streets program is helping keep traffic volumes and speeds low on the neighborhood greenway network. In addition, nearly 800 calls and emails to the city’s 823-SAFE line have been overwhelmingly positive with many people requesting additional or specific locations for Slow Street installations.
MG: Are there any plans to improve Rodney, Going, or Tillamook Greenways in the near future?
JB: NE Tillamook just completed a capital improvement project that improved crossings and reduced speeds along the neighborhood greenway from N Flint to NE 28th. We are in the planning stages for the next phase of the project from NE 28th to NE 62nd. NE Rodney and NE Going are not in line for construction projects in the near future.
Within the Eliot neighborhood, Northeast Rodney Avenue and Northeast Tillamook Street both fall under the Slow Streets program. Since the initiative kicked off earlier this year, I’ve enjoyed more space to run and bicycle without worrying about being limited to the space of a sidewalk. So, consider this an open invitation to all of our neighbors: I hope to see you getting some fresh air on the neighborhood greenways!