Unlimited free on-street car parking is one of the big problems stopping Portland from becoming a better place to live, work, ride a bike, and do business — and a Portland planning expert is floating an interesting solution.
brain-power met at Lancaster Engineering
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)
Staple racks at the grocery store blocked by piles of pumpkins; events with 800 people and zero additional bike parking; apartment buildings with dozens of wall hooks that are difficult and awkward to use for many people...
Portland is full of bike parking problems. Fortunately, most of them are solvable.
On Tuesday night, Jonathan and I joined the bike coordinators for Oregon's two largest-employment universities, three representatives of bike parking equipment companies, two city employees, three architects, a team of engineers, the operator of the largest bike parking facility in North America and 25 other wonky Portland citizens for drinks and sandwiches to start talking about the solutions. (more...)
"Why a Planning Commissioner Blog?... Because public policy can be complicated and three minutes at a hearing is a pretty limited opportunity to engage in a substantive conversation."
-- Chris Smith
If you care about bike policy or planning in Portland, chances are you've heard of Chris Smith. Smith is a consummate citizen activist who sits on a number of committees (including the Bike Master Plan Steering Committee), runs the Portland Transport blog, has made a run for City Council, and much more.
Most recently, Smith made news for his appointment to the Portland Planning Commission. Smith's trademark has always been transparency of bureaucratic processes and encouragement of citizens to learn and get involved in them.
Citizen activist Chris Smith is the newest member of the Portland Planning Commission. The Planning Commission is a volunteer body that advises City Council on "any proposal that directly affects any goal or policy related to any element of the City's Comprehensive Plan".
Smith -- whose day job is with Xerox Corporation in Beaverton -- is well known in biking circles because of his activism, his blog (PortlandTransport.com), and due to his involvement on many transportation-related committees and stakeholder groups. He's currently a member of the Bicycle Master Plan Steering Committee.
In a video interview with Mayor Adams prior to his confirmation, Adams said he nominated Smith for the commission because of his "extensive experience from the grassroots level on transportation, transit and zoning issues."
Smith is filling the unexpired term of former Bicycle Transportation Alliance executive director Catherine Ciarlo, who left the commission to take the job of Transportation Policy Director for Mayor Adams.
Asked about his new appointment, Smith told BikePortland "I'm very excited to be joining Planning Commission right now. As you know, my passion is to help Portland develop sustainably - socially, economically and environmentally."
Smith said his focus will be to instill those values into the ongoing revamp of The Portland Plan and that his work on the Bicycle Master Plan and Streetcar System Plan "are going to be cornerstones of that effort."
Smith made a run for City Council in 2008 and he has been an outspoken critic of the controversial Columbia River Crossing project.
A major advocacy focus for Smith has been Portland's streetcar planning efforts. He is currently Chair of Portland Streetcar Citizen's Advisory Committee. According to the Willamette Week, he intends to step down from that role in order to avoid any conflict of interest.
Smith's first Planning Commission meeting will this coming Tuesday.
bike options, there won't be any
reason to drive.
(Photos © J. Maus)
With the impending completion of major streetcar and light rail projects in Portland, sustainable transportation advocates are starting to think big.
Chris Smith, well-known for his work as a streetcar and bike advocate and for his run at a City Commissioner spot last year, stopped by our office yesterday to share more about what he calls a Carbon Free Central City Mobility concept (I mentioned it in a story last week).
Smith believes that Portlanders' relationship to the Central City will change dramatically once the Streetcar Loop comes across the river and runs down to OMSI (that's the line that secured $75 million from the feds last week) and when the new Transit Mall in downtown opens later this year. (more...)
[This article was written by Chris Smith. Chris is a multi-modal transportation advocate who writes regularly on PortlandTransport.com. In the late 1990s he helped win neighborhood approval of the NW Bikeways plan that established the bicycle network in NW Portland and the Pearl District. He currently serves as chair of the Streetcar Citizens Advisory Committee and on the board of Portland Streetcar, Inc.]
A City of Bikes and Streetcars
I’ve enjoyed Libby Tucker’s two part series on bikes and streetcars in Portland (Part One - Part Two). It’s a very accurate portrait of the history of interactions between bikes and streetcars in our city. (more...)