The public process around the North Williams Avenue Corridor Safety Project has been greatly expanded, in large part due to PBOT listening to the concerns of local residents. While frustrating to those who are eager to see improvements, an extended public process is a resounding success for local democracy.
It is important that transportation safety advocates stay involved and engage with their neighbors and city officials about the larger social justice issues raised thus far, issues which are not entirely disconnected from transportation decision making. The upcoming community forum provides a space to share with city officials and community members alike the pain imposed on our city’s black community from decades of neglect and disempowerment. The forum also challenges people who walk and bike regularly to share their safety concerns and hopes for a safer Williams Avenue.
I hope active transportation advocates will appreciate and take advantage of these new opportunities for public input, as we have asked yet not received for the Columbia River Crossing and I-5 Rose Quarter freeway expansions.
This process has brought out many truths, one of which is that many Portlanders perceive the bicycle as a toy of privilege rather than a tool of empowerment. Sharp advocates will see this as a call to action. It is upon the active transportation community to build better relationships with local communities-of-color, and the process begins with listening. read more »