You are here

Safe Routes to Schools

Working to make walking, biking, and even driving to school a safer healthier experience.
Unless otherwise noted photos by Victor von Salza

Early Summer 2007 - Update path at Bridemile Elementary Cleared

The Path before it was cleared. Photo by Mike Kortenhof
The Path before it was cleared. Photo by Mike Kortenhof

This path which connects the two sets of stairs between SW Hamilton and Bridlemile Elementary School had become very overgrown and was wet and muddy during the winter.

Clearing the path "was a joint effort by several Bridlemile families. I've been eyeballing
that path for years and, finally, I started it in April. I probably got 12 feet done before a downpour stopped me. Another family noticed the work and was surprised to see that there was such a wide, paved path under the overgrown grass. They organized a work party on June 2nd to finish it up." Lillie Fitzpatrick

New new speed bump on SW 47th. Photo by Mike Kortenhof
Front Row: Alex Ostrander, Zanna Kortenhof, Nick Nootenboom, Dorsey Ostrander, Joe Kortenhof, Teddy Kortenhof, Ashling Gregory, Joshua Gregory; Back Row: Miriam Ostrander, Tom Booth, Bill Nootenboom, Mike Kortenhof, Eric Gregory, Liz Gregory; Not Pictured: Henry Booth and Ruby Belle Booth. Photo by Mike Kortenhof

The Path after it was cleared. Photo by Mike Kortenhof
The Path after it was cleared. Photo by Mike Kortenhof

"It was a fun project and only took our intrepid team two hours. In case you can use it, I've attached a photo of the group. Karen Nootenboom also deserves big credit for coordinating with the school and the PPS maintenance folks for hauling away the debris." - Mike Kortenhof

Late Spring 2007 - Update

New mini-roundabout at corner of SW43rd and SW 47th. Photos by Victor von Salza
Looking east along SW47th just past the school, this new mini-roundabout at corner of SW43rd and SW 47th allows parents dropping their children off at the school or park to safely and quickly make a u-turn on SW 47th.


A Brief History of the mini round about by Lore Wintergreen
Mark Lear, Traffic Investigations Safety Manager, remembers a conversation with Debi where they discussed not proceeding with fire friendly speed bumps the school was considering along a roadway and instead talked about the possibility of striping a traffic circle where the mini-roundabout is located. Initially, Debi Bradway, Principal at Bridlemile ES, wanted to ticket all those vehicles making U-turns, since there was not enough money available for a full traffic circle treatment. Mark said that he did not think blanket ticketing would be helpful.

Debi asked Mark to look into striping a traffic circle. When he approached Rob Burchfield, City Traffic Engineer, Rob did not want striping only, but agreed to pilot the "mini-roundabout" concept if the school agreed to educate the school community seeking to turn around on the street during drop-off/pick-up. People proceeding forward (without turning and using the "mini" as a speed bump is not a problem, in that forward movement was not the issue, providing a tool to facilitate orderly turnarounds was the identified problem).

Will Stevens, Traffic Calming Program Manager, said that he had a phone conversation with Debi and she agreed to try the "mini". He personally conducted additional outreach for this specific improvement by way of direct notification to the property owners immediately adjacent to the mini-roundabout. He also met with the two home owners of the corner properties on site at the intersection to discuss the design and intent of the project. (The home owners were concerned about perceived impacts to parking adjacent to their properties.)

The "mini-roundabout" is the first of its kind in Portland and is considered a pilot project. Long term, if the feature does not function as intended -- to safely channel u-turning traffic at the school, the City will assess what, if any, modifications and/or corrections are needed. People could not be forced to use a full treatment traffic circle either, as they could choose to circumvent that treatment. When Will spoke with Debi, he said that he stressed the need for education and enforcement. We still encourage her to pursue those elements. She has chosen to opt out of the Safer Routes to School program, so the Safer Routes to School program no longer has standing to assist in this process (we have replaced Bridlemile with another Portland school).

Should the community choose to pursue enforcement, they can phone 503.823.SAFE and register a request.


New new speed bump on SW 47th. Photos by Victor von Salza
Looking west along SW 47th this new speed bump slows traffic down as cars approach Hamilton Park and the new mini-roundabout that is just around the corner.

May 30, 2007 - Update by Lore Wintergreen

On May 12th, Debi Bradway, as Principal, made it known that the school is no longer interested in being involved in the Safer Routes to School pilot project. It was expressed that the school had some interest in continuing to offer the Pedestrian Safety curriculum element of the Safer Routes to School (SR2S) program, which had been well received previously.

Due to an unfortunate snafu, this spring's scheduled Pedestrian Safety instructor misunderstood when the trainings were to be held and missed the first day of classroom sessions. Should Bridlemile want to reschedule these training sessions, we will be glad to do so. It would provide the perfect opportunity for our instructor to train classroom teachers in the curriculum, which we can make available for the school's future use.

I want to thank the school community for your support in bringing the Safer Routes to School program to Bridlemile and to acknowledge your following successes:

• The completion of a Summary Engineering Report and project approval and prioritization BNASR2SERSM2.pdf, 952KB 952KB, 15pages.
• Completion of the following engineering projects:
1. Pedestrian trail: 48th Place to Lowell Ct.-2 Curb Ramps--North side of 48th place and South side of Lowell Ct.
2. Pedestrian trail: Tunnelwood to Westdale-Curb Ramp on Westdale
3. 48th Place @ West 48th Way--Parking removal and marked crossing
4. Hamilton @ 45th Ave.-Marked crossing
5. Hamilton & Shattuck-Review & adjust school signs
6. Hamilton, 44th - 47th-Two speed tables
7. 47th Dr. @ 43rd-Mini-roundabout (which, as explained, requires ongoing community education, until a cultural norm is set)
8. Hamilton, 45th to Stairs-ditch to Swale project
• Engineering projects with expected completion July 2007:
1. 47th Dr. @ Hamilton-Visibility Letter
2. Adjust Shattuck crosswalk-Marked Crossing
3. Tunnelwood: 41st to 43rd-Gravel trail materials
4. Hamilton and East 45th-Add 'No Parking' signs
5. 47th Dr. @ 43rd, 44th, 45th and 48th Avenues-Intersection parking removal
• Pedestrian Safety classes for 2nd and 3rd graders in 2005-06 and in the fall of 2006-07 for 6 classrooms
• Child Passenger Safety for Kinder and 1st graders in 2005-06 and in the fall of 2006-07 for 4 classrooms
• Bicycle Safety for 4th graders in 2005-06
• International Walk and Bike to School Day activity involvement in 2005-06 and 2006-07

Again, thank you for your involvement with the Safer Routes to Schools program. If I can be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact me.

Respectfully, Lore Wintergreen

Spring 2007 - Update

New Trail head curb ramps at Lowell Ct and SW 48th. Photos by Victor von Salza
New Trail head curb ramps where Ivey Creek Crossing meets Lowell Ct and SW 48th. The curb cuts: make the trail heads more visible (especially to newcomers), keep back plant encroachment, and make parents more comfortable allowing their children to walk that path.

Fall 2006 - Overview and Update by Lillie Fitzpatrick for the SWNI News

In 2005, Bridlemile Elementary was chosen as one of ten pilot schools to participate in the Portland Safe Routes to School (SR2S) program. Administered by the Office of Transportation and funded with a surcharge on moving violation traffic tickets, SR2S endeavors to increase the number of children safely walking or biking to school each day.

Prior to becoming an official SR2S school, Bridlemile Elementary had participated in the International Walk to School Day for two years and had surveyed students to find out how many walked or biked. Considering the lack of sidewalks and the hilly terrain, it wasn't surprising to find that just 13% of students walked or biked. What was surprising was the fact that students that lived mere blocks from Bridlemile were being driven to school each day. Traffic safety was cited most often by parents as the reason they drove their children to school.

SR2S provided passenger, pedestrian and bicycle safety instruction to the students and a traffic safety investigation, conducted in November 2005. Many possible improvements were proposed by the City's traffic engineers, including changes to the school parking lot, addition of new speed bumps and crosswalks, trail improvements, no parking zones around the school and increased enforcement of traffic violations in school zones. Cost estimates were calculated and the school could spend up to $25,000 on improvements.

So far several improvements have been initiated and several more are expected. New bike racks were placed closer to the school.

New bike racks at Bridlemile Elementary school. Photo by Victor von Salza
New Bike Racks near front entrance of school.

Two new speed bumps have been installed

Two new speed bumps on SW Hamilton near Bridlemile Elementary school. Photo by Victor von Salza
Looking West, the two new speed bumps are the first and third ones.

Two new speed bumps on SW Hamilton near Bridlemile Elementary school. Photo by Victor von Salza
Looking East, the two new speed bumps are the first and third ones.

and a new crosswalk by the stairs near SW Hamilton and SW 45th.

New Crosswalk near SW 45th and SW Hamilton. Photo by Victor von Salza
New crosswalk near SW 45th and SW Hamilton.

Trail head curb ramps are scheduled at the entrance to the trail on Lowell Ct. and 48th Place.

New Crosswalk at trail head and 48th. Photo by Victor von Salza
New Crosswalk at trail head and 48th.

A mini-roundabout at 47th Drive and 43rd Avenue to route parents dropping off their children at school will be installed some time in 2007.

New mini-roundabout marked on pavement. Photo by Victor von Salza
Location of new mini-roundabout at corner of SW 43 & SW 37th marked on pavement.

Hopefully these improvements, along with increased school bus ridership will increase the safety of children in the neighborhood.

Capitol Hill Elementary was chosen by Portland's Office of Transportation for SR2S services in the 2006-2007 school year due to their enthusiastic participation in International Walk to School Day. Stephenson Elementary in the Arnold Creek Neighborhood is on the list for next year.

May 2006 - Recommended Primary and Secondary Projects

During a meeting with PDOT staff, Lynn Mutrie, Debi Bradway and me, we decided to take the "offset speed tables" off the recommended list and substitute the "traffic circle" from the bottom portion of the document. See SR2S-RPS.pdf for the recommended changes (top portion of the document).

BNASR2SRPS.pdf, 20KB 20KB

March 2006 - Engineer's Follow-up Report Discussed at BNA Meeting

Lillie Fitzpatrick talked about the results of the Engineers Report and solution matrix:

BNASR2SERSM.pdf, 608KB, 17 pages 608KB, 17 pages

There is $30,000 for improvements this year, which is not enough to cover all the improvements listed in the report/solution matrix, the SR2S committee will prioritize spending for this year.

February 2006 - SR2S Engineer's Follow-up

We reviewed the SR2S problem areas we identified in various
walk-abouts and meetings and the city's SR2S traffic engineer's
recommendations. We then began to prioritize the projects to do with
the funds available through the City of Portland's SR2S budget.

December 10, 2005 - SR2S Task Force Training

Learn how to effectively encourage kids to walk and bike to school and join the City of Portland's Safe Routes to School Task Force. Wendi Kallins, Program Director at Marin County Bicycle Coalition, will lead this free training. We will be using lessons from Marin County, CA, the national model for Safe Routes to School to educate and encourage the Lewis community to walk and bike to school safely.
Contact: Lynne Mutrie, lynnem@actsoregon.org,
503-656-7207 x14

December 8, 2005 - SR2S Engineering Investigation

The City of Portland will conduct an engineering investigation of the Bridlemile Elementary School neighborhood to examine the physical environment for safety issues and barriers to walking or biking to school. The investigation will include a walkabout of the streets around the school and a discussion of potential solutions. Parents, staff and community members are welcome to join the investigation to help describe safety issues.
Contact: Lynne Mutrie, lynnem@actsoregon.org,
503-656-7207 x14

For more information, please contact Lynne Mutrie lynnem@actsoregon.org, 503-656-7329

October 2005 National Walk to School Day

Students gathering at Albertsons. Photo by Kathy Bambeck
Students gathering at Albertsons, photo by Kathy Bambeck

July 2005 - Update

We are looking for School Team members to help guide Safe Routes to School at Bridlemile Elementary School. Please call the toll free number, 866-452-8300. Leave your name, number and school name.

May 2005 - Update

From Dakota InyoSwan's email to Debi Bradway:
Bridlemile Elementary School is definitely confirmed as a pilot school for our Safe Routes to School program for the 2005-06 school year.

The City of Portland Office of Transportation is gearing up to implement our comprehensive Safe Routes to School program in eight pilot schools next year, beginning September 2005. We would like to secure our eight pilot schools before the end of this school year. We have selected your school to be involved. Some of you have long been partners with us as we've prepared to provide enhanced Safe Routes to School services to increase the number of kids safely walking and biking to school. Others of you are newer to our partnership. We welcome all of you and your school communities to join us for an exciting year as we bring the national Safe Routes to School model to Portland.

Our Safe Routes to School pilot program is based on the national Safe Routes to School model developed in Marin County, California. It has shown great success in increasing the number of kids safely walking and biking to school and in decreasing automobile trips to school. Our program will be providing a combination of engineering, enforcement, education, and encouragement services to your school.

All of pilot schools will receive the following services coordinated and delivered by our dynamic Project Team of local, state, and national Safe Routes to School experts:

• Engineering - operational improvements (signs, pavement markings, parking controls, traffic circulation); small capital improvements (pedestrian refuge islands, curb extensions, school beacons); maps of existing walking and biking routes and maps of recommended walking and biking routes; information included on our SR2S web site about your school's routes; services to be delivered by Portland Transportation • Enforcement -- targeted school zone speed enforcement; targeted parking enforcement; partnership with Portland Police Bureau to deliver these services
• Education - school travel surveys for students and parents; classroom education and parent education (grades K-1 passenger safety, grades 2 & 4 pedestrian safety, grades 4 & 5 bicycle safety, grades 4 & 5 school bus safety, grades 4 & 5 transit use and safety); these will be delivered in the classroom and in after-school activities; services to be delivered by local and state experts in traffic safety
• Encouragement - special events to encourage walking and biking to school (Walk and Bike Wednesdays, International Walk to School Day, other); services to be delivered by local and state experts in walk and bike to school programs.
In addition to the above services, Buckman Elementary School -- the magnet school in our pilot program -- will also receive Carpool to School services. These will be delivered by Portland Transportation.

We have established a dynamic Project Team to implement this program. I am the Project Manager. Primary services will be delivered by Robert Ping (Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Willamette Pedestrian Coalition) and Lynne Mutrie (Alliance for Community Traffic Safety in Oregon). We will also involve other community service providers in delivering the education services, i.e. Legacy Emanuel Hospital Trauma Nurses Talk Tough Program, Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Willamette Pedestrian Coalition, ACTS Oregon, and Community Cycling Center.

Safe Routes to School programs are successful when they have high levels of community involvement. Therefore, we will help you form a School Team of school representatives, parents, students, neighborhood partners, and others. This group will be the coordinating body for your school's program -- all activities to be guided and facilitated by our Project Team. You will not be on your own. Quite the contrary, we will work with you, your teachers, and your school community to make this program successful.

We have a full school year of activities and services to deliver to your school communities -- and we won't leave you after next school year. We will continue to provide you some services in the 2006-07 school year to help you sustain the good work you begin next year.

Thanks for your interest. This is an exciting program. Portland is positioned to be another national model for Safe Routes to School. With your participation, we can be on our way.

Parents and students walking up SW 45th towards Bridlemile Elementary school. Photo by Victor von Salza
National Walk to School Day 2004

October 2004 - Update by Lillie Fitzpatrick

The City's SR2S Committee has been meeting for roughly a year and I am a member of that committee representing Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc (SWNI). I joined the committee to try to improve the dismal pedestrian and bike infrastructure in SW Portland. A fund has been set up to help pay for Education, Enforcement, Encouragement and Engineering for Safe Routes to School. The goal is to increase individual and environmental health, decrease traffic congestion, and increase safety around schools, parks and community centers.

The first Traffic Safety Funds have been spent and, not surprisingly, they were spent in SW Portland. A crosswalk, pedestrian island and sidewalk were installed on SW 35th Street at Jackson Middle School. What they first thought would cost more than $58,000, costs just $40,000 and local homeowners willingly moved their landscaping back to accommodate the sidewalk. The church across the street from Jackson MS now allows parents to use their parking lot for drop off and parking. The parents told me that the drop off/pick up situation is much better and more parents are allowing their children to walk. This was all a result of Jackson's participation in the Safe Routes program, intense lobbying by Jackson staff, students and parents, and a coordinated effort of the Neighborhood Association, SWNI, and Portland's Department of Transportation.

Last year I presented the data I collected from the Bridlemile student and parent surveys to Portland's Department of Transportation. Now Bridlemile is on the top of the list to participate in a much more intense Safe Routes to School program this year. I haven't heard when that will start; but in order to kick off our efforts organized the October 6th walk to Bridlemile Elementary School event (see photo above).


Phone Numbers:

• Bridlemile Elementary School Principal 503-916-6292
"Portland Transportation’s policy is to work directly with the School Principal. We prefer that the initial contact and request for service come directly from the School Principal. The Principal is the person of authority at the school, the person who knows the school travel environment and operations, and the person who can oversee a problem-solving process with the school community and our office. Our policy is to refer parents, residents, students, and other interested individuals to the School Principal before initiating a school traffic safety project." Please visit Portland's Safe Routes to School Program How to Report page for a list of information about the safety problem you should be prepared to discuss when you call the Principal.
• Transportation Safety and Livability Hotline 503-823-SAFE (503-823-7233)
Use the Safety and Livability Hotline to call about intersection safety, pedestrian safety, school safety, neighborhood speeding, visibility of signs or pavement markings, bicycle safety, parking, or initial capital project requests.
• Transportation Maintenance 503-823-1700
Use the Maintenance # to report problems such as signal/street light outages, missing signs, and dangerous potholes, it is a 24-hour direct response line.