Multiple demands on sidewalks for advertising, publications, and art competes with the primary function of sidewalks as a pedestrian and wheelchair thoroughfare. We seek to find common sense, balanced solutions to the following problems facing our sidewalks and right of ways. Read more about the issues, including our suggestions to alleviate the problems:
City Council Adopts Ordinance to Improve Sidewalks
Following a three year initiative by several neighborhood associations, Portland City Council on January 7th unanimously adopted an amended ordinance to regulate publication boxes on our city sidewalks.
The amended code creates guidelines as to when, where, and how publication boxes can be placed, as well as requiring publishers to affix a sticker to all of their boxes with a working phone number to report condition issues with the boxes. It defines what constitutes an abandoned box, and it creates a mechanism for the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to enforce the code. The code revision also creates an option for newspaper co-publication boxes in other parts of the city. This is a huge step forward towards cleaning up the public right-of-way. Along with other quality of life issues such as noise, trash and graffiti, this as an important victory in making city streets cleaner, safer and more livable.
In supportive testimony before City Council, Friendly Streets President and representative to the Joint Subcommittee on Sidewalk Management Jan Valentine said, “Our concern is that the proper regulation of public sidewalks must provide for multiple beneficial uses and the safety of sidewalk users. In particular, based on physical surveys, we have observed there is a need to locate public amenities, such as publication boxes, in a way that respects everyone's legal rights, while enhancing the pedestrian experience.”
Representatives from the Northwest Neighborhood Association, the Downtown Neighborhood Association, the Portland Business Alliance and Friendly Streets also provided testimony in support of the ordinance. The passage of this ordinance is a testament to how the collaborative efforts of neighborhood associations, business associations, other stakeholders (including the publishing industry) and government (PBOT) can help to create more livable communities.