Saturday, July 31, 2010

Back Cove Block Party

As you can see from the post below (click to enlarge it), there will a block party on the cove next Sunday, August 8th. It is being put on by the Back Cove Neighborhood Association and the City if Portland. 

Part of the event includes closing Baxter Boulevard to automobile traffic from Vannah Avenue to Payson Park, roughly the route highlighted in the map below (PS - Google Earth recently updated the satellite images  for Portland, the images are now about 2 months old and look great!):

This will provide about a mile of car-free street for pedestrians, cyclists, and lots of other uses for a few hours. I like to think of this as a mini-Summer Streets event. Summer Streets in New York takes place a few  times a year in which Park Avenue and the connecting  streets are closed to motor vehicles from the Brooklyn  Bridge to Central Park. There are a few other cities that have similar events, and I am glad that Portland is allowing this to be tried here. Although Baxter Boulevard is usually a pretty calm street and has great pedestrian infrastructure lining it and suitable  bike lanes, allowing people  to venture into the street every now  and then can allow people to see the street in a different way and ponder the thought  that we don't have to build streets just for cars.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sidewalk Watch: Cumberland Ave

Not much to report here other than the sidewalks on the southern side of Cumberland Avenue, between Franklin Street and Washington Ave, are being rebuilt. I recall this sidewalk consisting of a lot of uneven brick so it will benefit from some new curbing and surfacing. 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Go Car-Free on the 4th

Not only can you get some exercise, meet your neighbors, and be more environmentally friendly (among other benefits), you can also decrease your risk of being injured in an automobile on Sunday if you leave your car in the driveway.

As I saw on the Discovery Channel website, a study by the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies shows that the 4th of July is the most dangerous day of  the year to drive, in addition to the summer being to most dangerous season to be on the road. Some factors that make Independence Day especially dangerous include the amount of traffic (summer travel season and people going to cookouts I suppose) and the increased amount of drunk drivers (holidays tend to lead to a spike in drunk driving).

I'm not sure of any  exact statistics for the 4th of July, but according to one source there is an automobile fatality every 12 minutes and there are in excess of 40,000 fatalities every year. Such statistics are powerful and   knowing that one particular day had a disproportionate amount of traffic deaths is enough for me to say that the 4th is a good day to walk, bike, or use mass transit. Besides, the weather is great and Portland is a great place to not be in a car.


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