To: Hon. Mingus Mapps, Commissioner, City of Portland
Director Millicent Williams, Portland Bureau of Transportation

CC: Hon. Ted Wheeler, Mayor, City of Portland
Hon. Carmen Rubio, Commissioner, City of Portland
Hon. Dan Ryan, Commissioner, City of Portland
Hon. Rene Gonzalez, Commissioner, City of Portland

Commissioner Mapps & Director Williams:

We, the undersigned, are thankful for your support for HB 3014 to expand Bike Buses and Walking School Buses across Oregon. We strongly urge the City of Portland and Portland Bureau of Transportation to implement a "Safer School Streets Pilot" to ensure the success of this innovative and impactful new program. With the proven benefits of active transportation for our students, our parents, and the environment, supporting this pilot will help achieve our city's vision for a healthier and more sustainable future.

Last year the Bike Bus program hosted over 100 rides at 14 participating schools. This movement has captured national media attention, with millions of views on social media, and appearing on NBC Nightly News , The Today Show, Kelly Clarkson Show, and The Washington Post. At a time when we see higher rates of isolation, negative impacts of physical inactivity, and learning loss in children, the Bike Bus gets students engaged with one another, moving, and excited to learn.

When parents are hesitant to allow their children to walk or bike to school, it creates a vicious cycle: more parents driving means more cars, leading to less safe streets, which leads to more parents driving. Your courage and leadership are critical to reversing this harmful cycle. Investing in the Safer School Streets Pilot will not only enhance the safety, physical health, and academic performance of our children, but also contribute to the overall sustainability and livability of our city by reducing traffic, carbon emissions, and promoting community connections.

The Safer School Streets Pilot should consist of:

  1. Placing permanent diverters (concrete planters) at the locations established during PBOT's "Slow Streets" pilot, which prioritized equity across neighborhoods (See Appendix A).
  2. Lowering the maximum threshold for Neighborhood Greenways (NG) to 500 vehicles/day rather than the current maximum of 2,000 vehicles/day (Source: Neighborhood Greenway Assessment Report).
  3. Reducing speeds on Neighborhood Greenways and Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) to 15 MPH, where feasible; placing Advisory "15 MPH / Shared Street” signs on remaining NGs/SRTS.
  4. Establishing a clear process for "School Street" permits to allow streets in front of and surrounding schools to be closed to vehicle traffic during drop-off and pick-up hours.
  5. Placing “No Turn on Red” signs at all signals intersecting Neighborhood Greenways/SRTS.
  6. Installing "curb extensions" with planters and paint on Neighborhood Greenways/SRTS to reduce crossing distances and improve sightlines for students and parents.
  7. Adding fixed speed cameras on High Crash Corridors (e.g. 82nd Ave) adjacent to schools.
  8. Funding a $75,000 grant for Portland State University's TREC program to measure the impact of Bike Bus and Walking School buses on student's physical activity, learning outcomes, and transportation pollution.

These small investments will pay huge dividends. Regular physical activity enhances cognitive abilities, attention, memory, and ultimately improves learning outcomes for children (1). Additionally, physical activity helps regulate mood and is effective in helping students with depression, anxiety and ADHD (2). Safer streets allow children to realize their independence through walking or biking to school on their own and with their friends. Investing in the Safer School Streets Pilot will have a real, positive and lasting impact on our children.

As Bike Bus student Isla Downard puts it, “It's like riding on an ocean of joy. You know it’s going to be the highlight of your day, and you’re going to arrive at school having such a sense of community.” PE Teacher "Coach" Sam Balto shared, “Kids entering the [school] building on Bike Bus mornings are calmer. The kids enter quicker and are just more excited for the day than other mornings. It’s well researched that being physically active in the morning, kids do better academically, get in trouble less, and have better social relationships. The benefits of active transportation are tremendous.”

We urge PBOT and the City of Portland to allocate the small, but necessary resources to support the "Safer School Streets Pilot" and to bolster the Bike Bus program in our city. By doing so, we can further demonstrate our commitment to the well-being and development of our children while working towards a more equitable, healthy, and sustainable future for Portlanders.


Sam Balto
Alameda Bike Bus & Vernon Bike Bus
Jessica Fletcher
James J. Elementary Bike Bus
Emily Essley
Creston School Bike Bus
Danielle McSherry
Rose City Park Bike Bus
Adrienne So
James J. Elementary Bike Bus
William Francis
Community Cycling Center Program Director & Bella Nava ABC Coordinator Andando en Bici y Caminando
John Nurse-Mayes & Leah Mayes-Nurse
Rigler Bike Bus
Aaron Stoertz
Abernethy Bike Bus
Chris Rall
da Vinci Bike Bus
Nic Cota
Chair, BikeLoud PDX
Zachary Lauritzen
Exec. Dir., OregonWalks
Jake Milligan
Abernethy Bike Bus
Neil Bansguard
The Environmental Center
Rob Kinney
Maplewood Bike Bus
Rob Galanakis
Glencoe Bike Bus
Amy Higgs
Exec. Dir.,
Eco-School Network
Michelle DuBarry
Oregon & SW Washington Families for Safe Streets
Reece & Lachlan Nitschke
Vestal Elementary Bike Bus
Blake Goud
Cesar Chavez Bike Bus
Rita Moore, PhD
Former PPS School Board Member
Josh Roll
Health and Safety Chair
Creston Elementary PTA
Steve Bozzone
Bozz Media

Works Cited:
1. Bidzan-Bluma, I., & Lipowska, M. (2018). Physical Activity and Cognitive Functioning of Children: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (Vol. 15, Issue 4, p. 800). MDPI AG.
2. Mehren, A., Reichert, M., Coghill, D., Müller, H. H. O., Braun, N., & Philipsen, A. (2020). Physical exercise in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – evidence and implications for the treatment of borderline personality disorder. Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation (Vol. 7, Issue 1). Springer Science and Business Media LLC.

Appendix A: Safer School Streets Proposed Diverters Map

partial list of Safe Streets installations

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