Only in Portland would a regional planning agency host a lunchtime event titled “Bus Rapid Transit 101″ in a movie theater with free popcorn.
That was the setting yesterday for a meeting hosted by Metro to introduce Portlanders to their Powell-Division Transit Development Project. The planning effort is just getting started and the aim is to create the region’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) service on a 15-mile route along SE Powell and Division streets between Portland and Gresham.
With renewed energy from Portland’s off-road biking advocates and a Metro project that could open up 1,300 acress of trail possibilities, 2015 could be a very big year for advocates itching for more local single track trails.
As we reported yesterday, local advocacy and trail building group the Northwest Trail Alliance has thrown down a gauntlet of sorts by launching an online petition in the form of an open letter to members of Portland City Council. The petition urges them to “catch up with the overflowing demand for off-road cycling opportunities.” By the time this story is published there will likely be close to 1,000 signatures collected in its first two days.
As Chinese and U.S. leaders have been negotiating the first-ever bilateral deal to cut carbon pollution in both countries, some local government leaders have been calling for Americans to give up on carbon-reduction efforts.
Their argument: because they think China and other countries are unlikely to reduce their carbon emissions, Americans shouldn’t try to reduce theirs.
The fight matters to transportation because it’s playing out in the Metro regional government’s Climate Smart Communities Scenarios Project, which will influence the amount of money available to spend on new roads, freeways, transit lines and off-street paths over the next 25 years.
John Ludlow, chair of the Clackamas County Commissioners, has been one of the loudest voices for more roadway spending.
“When they continue to pour in money to bike paths they take it away from roadways,” he told the Portland Tribune for an article this week. “Freight can’t use a bike path.”
Most city-to-city transportation comparisons are very simple: 64 percent of trips by car, 11 percent by bike, and so on.
But those broad numbers are really just blankets that have been thrown over the intricate topography of transportation choices that’s actually at work in our daily lives. To really understand how cities work, you also have to look at a second factor: How far are people going?
A motherlode of newly released data has revealed those patterns for Portlanders for the first time.
connects parking and climate policy.
Because its role in shaping transportation happens mostly behind the scenes, it’s sometimes easy to think that Metro is dedicated entirely to the distribution of nostrums.
But the truth is that Metro, the only directly elected regional government in the country, is a major force behind Portland’s success as a city. In much of the United States, the metropolitan planning organization — Metro’s peer — is the belly of the beast. These are the bodies that generate the obviously ridiculous traffic projections that are used to justify freeway construction and spend their federal Clean Air Act allowances on new turn lanes that supposedly reduce congestion but actually accelerate sprawl.
Just north of Forest Park in northwest Portland lies 1,300 undeveloped acres spread across four separate properties. The land, which was historically a logging area and can be currently accessed from either Skyline or McNamee roads, is owned by Metro and is known as the North Tualatin Mountains natural area.
Metro is embarking on a planning process to figure out what to do on the land and there’s a great opportunity to include bicycle access in the equation. Advocates have been fighting for years to improve bike access in Forest Park but have made frustratingly slow progress.
The Tualatin Mountains natural area offers a fresh start and a new political context since it’s under Metro jurisdiction and not managed by the City of Portland (the current Parks Commissioner, Amanda Fritz, has all but shelved the Forest Park debate calling for “a citywide Master Plan for cycling recreation… prior to embarking on individual projects.”).
Metro is in the home stretch in updating their Regional Transportation Plan. The RTP is the major transportation plan of our region’s road and transit network that includes an influential project list and sets investment priorities for the next 25 years. Before a final version is drawn up later this year, Metro needs to hear more citizen input to help them fine-tune priorities and tweak policy language so that it aligns more closely with the people who will be most impacted by it (all of us).
To help kick off the comment period for the RTP, Metro has launched a new online survey. One part of the survey is an interesting exercise that turns everyone into a budget-maker.
Here’s the exercise: (more…)