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Here are the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee’s top 10 priorities citywide

Friday, February 27th, 2015
bac top 10
What do you think?
(Click to enlarge, or see below for details and links)

As we reported earlier this week, the City of Portland is trying to hone its massive transportation to-do list by asking people to rank their 10 favorite projects.

In a letter circulated this week, the citizens’ committee that’s most closely tied to Portland’s biking policies shared theirs.

(more…)

Advocates mount effort to keep transportation hierarchy in city policy

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
green hierarchy
Created in 2009 for the city’s Climate Action Plan, it’s
maybe the city’s single most progressive statement of
transportation policy.

The City of Portland says (PDF) its new 20-year comprehensive plan is informed by three city documents that created a prioritized ranking for transportation needs.

But it’s an open question whether the “green transportation hierarchy,” as it’s been known since its creation in 2009, will be fully enshrined in the 20-year comprehensive plan as it previously was in the Sam Adams-era Climate Action Plan, Bicycle Plan for 2030 and Portland Plan.

Members of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee are making it one of their top requests to the city to keep the chart in place and intact.
(more…)

Define ‘compatibility': Ben Ross on the evasive language of zoning

Friday, February 6th, 2015
N-NE-SE Portland Good-Bad-Ugly Houses 84
Which is incompatible with which, and why?
(Photo: Mark McClure)

Why does Portland require every new house to have a driveway big enough to fit two cars?

Why do we forbid most lots from having two separate dwelling structures unless one is 25 percent smaller than the other and has a roof with an identical slope?

Why do we ban second kitchens within a single home unless the owner essentially pinky-swears that only one household will be living in the building?

In a city where a chronic shortage of housing in walkable and bikeable areas has driven prices up and up, driving major changes in the culture, these aren’t trivial questions.

The most familiar answer to all of them is one of the most-used words in urban zoning: “compatibility.” But what exactly does that mean?

(more…)

City’s online map app updates its project list and adds more data

Monday, November 17th, 2014
transportation wishlist
The city’s new transportation
wishlist, visualized.
(Image from BPS Map App Explorer)

The web-based toolkit that lets you track Portland transportation projects and related issues has been heaved into the Hales/Novick era.

When we wrote in July about the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s Comprehensive Map App, its list of transportation projects was rooted largely in 2007, which had been the last time the city had updated its master list of transportation projects.

But as of last month, the city has a new list, and it’s now dropped that list into the Map App Explorer and the accompanying Proposed Draft Map App.

(more…)

Romping in the Comp Plan: A Wonk Night recap

Thursday, October 16th, 2014
Wonk Night - Romp in the Comp Plan-7
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s proclivity for planning and process can make activism on certain topics daunting. The city’s Comprehensive Plan is one such topic: it’s as large and complicated as it is important. So, when our friends at Lancaster Engineering and Bike Walk Vote wanted to make it the theme of a Wonk Night, we jumped at the chance to get involved.
(more…)

Join us for Wonk Night October 15th: Romp in the Comp Plan

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
Wonk Night -4
Wonk Night is where people and policy mix.

We’re excited to announce our next Wonk Night.

On Wednesday, October 15th (one week from today) we’ll take a Romp in the Comp Plan. The City of Portland is updating our Comprehensive Plan and the time is now to make sure they hear your feedback. A draft plan has been released and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability needs to hear your comments before the plan is officially adopted by City Council early next year.

The Comp Plan is big; and it’s a big deal. It guides Portland’s land-use and infrastructure decisions. It includes a list of specific infrastructure projects, sets long-term goals and aspirations, and the all-important Transportation System Plan is folded directly into it.

Here’s how the plan sits in relation to local, regional, and statewide transportation policy documents: (more…)

2,000 missing homes: Prices soar in bikeable areas as Portland’s rental shortage deepens

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
vacancy rate chart
Source: Census. Chart by BikePortland.

As Portlanders puzzle over why local bike, bus and rail transportation has stopped rising, last week’s Census figures show another trend continuing to reshape the city’s population.

New construction in the central city hasn’t come close to relieving one of the country’s harshest rental housing shortages.

For structures built before 1940 — the bungalows and walk-ups built before the age of automotive planning that cover most of the land between the Willamette River, 82nd Avenue, Powell and Lombard, including many of the most bike-friendly neighborhoods in North America — median rents rose 19 percent in the two years from 2011 to 2013, Census estimates show.

Since 2005, when the City of Portland’s population growth began to dramatically outpace its supply of new units, rent in these central-city buildings has risen 47 percent.

(more…)

City’s Comp Plan makes it clear: Portland is mostly finished adding auto capacity

Friday, July 25th, 2014
Bike traffic on NW Broadway-20
Traffic on the Broadway Bridge, 2013.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

In case you weren’t sure whether Portland is truly unusual as mid-sized U.S. cities go, the 20-year comprehensive plan map released this week ought to make it clear.

The plan might be the city’s clearest statement ever that it’s betting everything — not just the future of biking or riding mass transit, but everything — on being able to make car-lite transportation dramatically more attractive than it is now.

(more…)

Maybe this is why you can’t afford to rent in the central city

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
Yellow areas are zoned for single-family homes, blue for mixed-use and multifamily, gray primarily for industry and office (with some residential allowed), green for park and open space.

Real Estate Beat is sponsored by Portlandia Home

Seven miles is an important distance in the world of bike transportation.

It’s about the distance a casual city rider can pedal in an hour, which studies show is the upper limit of the time most humans prefer to commute. It’s the distance where, even in the Netherlands, public transit trips become more popular than bike trips (and car trips are eight times more common than either).

So as Portland’s apartment rents have jumped an average 11 percent in the last year, with the tightest markets in North and inner Northeast Portland, the city’s biking population has felt it — in either their wallets or their thighs.

Here’s one factor at play in one of the country’s most persistent urban rental shortages: in two-thirds of Portland’s central seven miles, it’s illegal to build a multi-family building.

(more…)

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