National Bike to School Day not that a big a deal in Portland

National Bike to School Day not that a big a deal in Portland

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The scene this morning at Beach School in north Portland.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Today is National Walk and Bike to School Day. According to the National Center for Safe Routes to School, over 1,400 schools nationwide registered for the event and there was even a story about it on US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s blog.

I rolled out to two schools in north Portland this morning to check out the action (more photos below). When I got back to my office and went online, I searched for press releases, Twitter updates, and so on from the Portland Bureau of Transportation and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance; but there were none to be found.

Turns out that in Portland, National Walk and Bike to School Day isn’t a big deal. Biking and walking to school certainly is, but this particular national holiday doesn’t register. And you can’t blame PBOT and the BTA. They oversee some of the largest, most comprehensive, and most successful walking and biking to school programs in the country.

This collective yawn from local advocates and our transportation bureau reminds me of other national bike events that don’t really make much noise here. I’m thinking of critical mass, the New Belgium Tour de Fat, the Bicycle Film Festival, and so on. Each one of those still happen in other cities, but they’ve come and gone in Portland due to lack of interest and a local preference for home-grown versions and other pursuits.

Even so, there were still special celebrations at some local schools and, like everyday, there were tons of kids walking and biking to school in Portland today! Below are a few photos from Trillium Charter School and Beach School in North Portland…

Families make their way across N Ainsworth Street on their way to Trillium Charter School at Interstate and Killingsworth.

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Trillium Charter School parent volunteer Stephanie Turner had popcorn, lemonade, and prizes for kids who rode this morning…

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Like Xtracycles did before them, Yuba Mundos are starting to take over the streets of Portland. This one belongs to a new resident in my neighborhood who got it for his birthday a few days ago. Now he and his wife are thinking of selling their car…

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This happy family was rolling on the N. Concord neighborhood greenway en route to Beach School…

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Beach students have access to one of the largest bike parking facilities in the entire Portland school system…

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Just another day at Beach School…

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Beach School parent Suzanne Veaudry Casaus (who also happens to be Chair of the PBOT Bicycle Advisory Committee) showed her Walk+Bike spirit.

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And of course another reason the BTA and PBOT aren’t doing big events today is that they’re busy with National Bike Month. For more info on all the great bike stuff planned this month, check out PBOT’s PDX Bike Month website.

UPDATE: Reader Greg Raisman sent in a photo from Bridger School in southeast Portland… He said 50 kids showed up on bikes this morning (about 12.5% of the student body). Not bad for their first time doing a bike to school day. And Greg added that Principal Brenda Fox still plans to dye her hair pink…

Photo of bulletin board at Bridger School.
Photo: Greg Raisman

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