New Portland magazine aims at low-car audience
By Lee van der Voo, Sustainable Business Oregon
Sustainable Business Oregon
Michael Andersen, Portland Afoot
Portland Afoot — a self-described 10-minute newsmagazine aimed at an audience that espouses buses, bikes and the low-car life — hit the streets last week with its first monthly issue.
According to its publisher and editor, 29-year-old Michael Andersen, that’s good news for the 53,000 households in Portland with fewer cars than adults, and the hundreds of companies currently tasked with reducing the number of people that drive to work alone.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality requires companies with 100 employees or more to reduce the number of people that drive alone to work through its Employee Commute Options program. The rules currently affect 819 work sites in Oregon. Most use carpool programs, telecommuting, transit pass subsidies, compressed workweeks, awards and other promotions to reduce pollution created by employee car trips.
While much effort is spent on encouraging those new bus riders, cyclists and pedestrians, Andersen notes very little time is spent on retaining alternative commuters, an issue he calls “an under-appreciated problem” in the environmental community.
“You feel helpless or alone when you’re confronted with problems about the transit system,” said Andersen, who notes that approximately one-third of low-car commuters simply give up after a year, flustered with difficulties and a lack of ability to find information and influence change.
Thus, Portland Afoot is geared to create community around the low-car lifestyle. Car-free for half of his adult life, Andersen says he has a keen grasp of what Portlanders want to know about alternative transit and how much time they’ll spend learning.
Lee van der Voo, lvdvoo*at*gmail.com, is a freelance writer for Sustainable Business Oregon.
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