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Highway amendment fails, Metro committee adopts spending plan

by on May 19th, 2016 at 6:02 pm

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Yellow signs urging investment in safe routes near schools loomed over local elected and agency leaders as they considered how to allocate $130 million in regional flexible funds this morning at Metro headquarters.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

A nearly two-year quest to raise funds for Safe Routes to Schools across the Portland region came to an end this morning. At the monthly meeting of Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, elected and agency leaders voted to support a policy direction that will inform how $130 million in federal “flexible” transportation dollars are spent.
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After delay, Metro again faces vote that pits Safe Routes money against highways

by on May 13th, 2016 at 10:33 am

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A bike train at Trillium Charter Schoool
in north Portland.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The regional Metro committee that controls $130 million in federal funds continues to consider an increase in money for road widening rather than for safety improvements to streets near schools.

JPACT, the committee of 17 regional officials, was due to vote last month but decided to postpone its vote until next Thursday.

At play are $17.4 million in new money created by last year’s federal transportation bill. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance and other nonprofits in the For Every Kid Coalition have led a two-year campaign to secure much of that money for Safe Routes to School infrastructure across the region, which improves crosswalks, sidewalks and bikeways near schools. Their proposal would prioritize “Title 1” schools, those with higher rates of child poverty.

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Ex-Minneapolis mayor prods Portland region to rethink transportation

Metro by on April 29th, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Mayor R.T. Rybak challenged Portland-area leaders in an address at the Oregon Convention Center on April 22, 2016.(Photo: Metro)

Mayor R.T. Rybak challenged Portland-area leaders in an address at the Oregon Convention Center on April 22, 2016.
(Photo: Metro)

This article was originally submitted by Metro as a subscriber post.

Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak praised and provoked Portland-area leaders at a forum last Friday, challenging them to work together to address growing transportation dilemmas facing Portland and metropolitan regions around the country.

Rybak, a three-term mayor from 2002 to 2014, spoke with humor, humility and bluntness at a regional leadership forum at the Oregon Convention Center, kicking off Metro’s 2018 update of its regional transportation plan.
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May offers two chances to see progress of Vision Zero efforts

by on April 28th, 2016 at 1:18 pm

VISIONZEROSOCIALMEDIA_640X295Next month will be a good time to re-assess where Portland is in its quest toward Vision Zero. Two events on the calendar will bring experts and electeds to the table to share ideas and hear what you think about the current state of traffic safety.

On May 9th, the City of Portland will open up their Vision Zero Executive Committee to the public for a special listening session. This 13-member committee includes Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Portland Police Chief Larry O’Dea, Portland Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick, PBOT Director Leah Treat, Oregon Department of Transportation Region 1 Director Rian Windsheimer, TriMet Director Neil McFarlane, two Multnomah County Commissioners, the head of Portland Fire and Rescue, a Metro councilor, and three members of the Oregon State Legislature.

They’ll provide an update on their work and then they’ll spend 45 minutes listening to the public. Anyone can show up and speak for up to two minutes. If you’d like to share your thoughts with this committee, sign up in advance by emailing visionzero@portlandoregon.gov or call (503) 823-9415. Others will be allowed to speak only if there’s enough time. Comment cards will be provided to people who don’t get a chance.
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Six neat charts from Metro’s new report about Portland-area transportation

by on April 27th, 2016 at 9:59 am

Commute vs All Trips_0
We hear more often about commute trips, but people’s trips to stores, schools, parks and friends look quite a bit different.
(All charts via Metro)

Metro is the only elected regional government in the United States. It’s also got one of the most interesting government communications teams in the country. Like MLB.com, Metro hires people to write journalism-style coverage of itself.

For its latest project, a four-part “regional snapshot” about transportation, the agency pulled out all the stops: original tilt-shift photography, narrative video, text drawn from at least a dozen interviews and a whole quiver of custom-made infographics. If you want a single overview on the basics of the region’s transportation situation, I’ve never seen a better one.

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Metro Council unanimously backs mountain biking trails north of Forest Park

by on April 21st, 2016 at 5:10 pm

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Portland’s regional government unanimously approved a plan to allow mountain biking trails in the North Tualatin Mountains Natural Area Thursday in a session that gushed with praise.

“This project took a lot more work than I thought it was going to,” said Metro Councilor Sam Chase, whose district includes the natural area just north of Forest Park, to chuckles around the room. “We have really come to a fantastic place.”

The vote came despite organized objections from a cluster of people who live nearby, in some cases with property immediately bordering the public land. As we reported last week, some of them held a protest outside Metro’s headquarters to argue that allowing mountain biking trails in the natural area would do undue harm to local wildlife.

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On eve of vote, Metro has heard all sides of Tualatin Mountains debate

by on April 20th, 2016 at 11:50 am

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The council heard concerns and praise
at a public hearing last week.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The seven-member Metro Council will decide on Thursday whether or not to approve the creation of new off-road trails near Portland.

If their North Tualatin Mountains Trail Access Plan is passed it will set into motion the development of over six miles of new off-road routes open to bicycles. This plan would be a major milestone because the first phase of trail construction (at Burlington) will happen just 10 miles north of downtown Portland and 2.25 miles of those trails will be built specifically for bicycle riding.

“Bicycle-optimized trails,” to use Metro’s term (a.k.a. singletrack) are rare and coveted for many Portlanders who don’t want to drive a minimum of 45 minutes just to ride. Forest Park only has 1/3 mile of singletrack and Powell Butte (about 13 miles east of downtown Portland) is small and offers only limited options. Off-road cycling advocates have been trying for years (without much success) to improve bike access at Forest Park and more recently at River View Natural Area in the southwest hills. Both times the Portland Parks and Recreation Bureau has pulled the rug out from under them in favor of the status quo.
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After protest, Metro Council set for public hearing on Tualatin Mountains plan

by on April 13th, 2016 at 3:39 pm

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Protestors in front of Metro headquarters last Friday.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

In over 10 years covering bike issues in Portland I had never been to a protest outside Metro headquarters. That changed last week when about two dozen people marched and held up signs in opposition to Metro’s plans to build new trails on two parcels in the hills north of Forest Park.

Now the debate will head into Metro Council Chambers where a public hearing will be held tomorrow (4/14) on the North Tualatin Mountains Access Master Plan.
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Anti-trail group influences bike access plans for Metro’s North Tualatin Mountains project

by on April 7th, 2016 at 2:17 pm

metro-mccurdy
Hank McCurdy in a Youtube video posted
by the Tualatin Wildlife Alliance. McCurdy
lives adjacent to the Tualatin Mountains and
is opposed to new trails.

Once again improvements to cycling access in an off-road area near Portland is in jeopardy because of opposition from people who claim the new trails will harm wildlife.

Back in November we shared exciting news that Metro planned to develop two parcels (out of four) in their North Tualatin Mountains Natural Area just north of Forest Park. Unlike the City of Portland, that so far has failed to adequately manage bike access in its parks, Metro worked with mountain bike advocates from the early stages of this project in order to create a plan that included a significant amount of new singletrack trails. The first draft of the plan released in November included about 10.6 total miles of unpaved roads and trails that would be open to bikes in the Burlington Creek and McCarthy Creek parcels. We called it “a historic step forward” for off-road cycling in Portland.

But things have changed in the past four months. Metro has altered the initial plan amid increasing pressure from people who oppose biking in the area.
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Metro proposal rejects Safe Routes to School, spends more on freight routes

by on March 31st, 2016 at 10:53 am

A Safe Routes to School event in 2010. The Metro regional government is proposing to start supporting the program in suburban schools, but not to increase funding for accompanying street improvements near those schools.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

A two-year campaign for regional funding of better biking and walking near schools, backed by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and other advocacy groups, is in tatters.

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