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Next door to Forest Park, North Tualatin Mtns hold opportunity for off-road bike access

Thursday, September 18th, 2014
tualatinmap
1,300 acres just north of Forest Park.

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.”).
(more…)

Metro’s Regional Transpo Plan survey lets citizens set the budget

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

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…)

Metro seeks applicants for influential transportation committee

Friday, October 4th, 2013

The Portland area’s regional government is recruiting three volunteers to join one of the most powerful transportation committees in town.

Metro’s Transportation Policy Alternatives Committee has three openings starting in January. The committee, which is divided between transportation professionals and community members, advises the elected Metro council and other bodies on many transportation investment priorities and policies.

(more…)

More on the effort to weaken Metro’s Active Transportation Plan

Friday, August 16th, 2013

“Since Metro seems to be easily cowed by the minority nowadays, and we have mayors who think it’s okay to flout the law, it’s time for a lawsuit.”
— Rex Burkholder, former Metro councilor

As we shared on Wednesday, the mayors of 21 of the 25 cities represented by Metro have signed a letter that calls for changes to a draft version of the Regional Active Transportation Plan (ATP) that would render it powerless. They say the wording in the plan is too strong, that it’s a “mandate”, and that if it’s absorbed into the all-powerful Regional Transportation Plan, the biking and walking projects in the ATP would wrestle precious funding from other road projects.

Yesterday that topic came up again at a meeting of regional leaders at Metro headquarters. Remember, at issue here is only a non-binding “resolution of acknowledgment” for work done on the plan thus far. Since the plan is being developed with some federal funding, a vote by Metro council to acknowledge its progress is required by the feds. But this vote has struck fear in the hearts of mayors from suburban cities surrounding Portland. What are they afraid of? Why do they want to delay this plan and weaken its language? (more…)

Regional mayors look to neuter Metro’s Regional Active Transportation Plan

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013
Will it be rendered powerless?
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Mayors from 22 of the 25 cities represented by Metro are pushing to make the Regional Active Transportation Plan (ATP) relatively powerless. The plan has been in the making for over two years, and Metro has been showing off the 70-page review draft via public open houses since May.

Lake McTighe, the Metro project manager in charge of the ATP, had planned to have a resolution pass by Metro Council by next month that would have moved the plan to its next step toward implementation. However, a power struggle between Metro and regional mayors became evident last month as they feared the plan would give Metro too much power and would force their hand in implementing new bicycle pathways, walking facilities, and other active transportation projects.
(more…)

Region’s first-ever ‘Active Transportation Plan’ set for open house tomorrow

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
The “spiderweb” of Regional Bicycle Parkways
as envisioned in Metro’s plan.

Metro will host an open house tomorrow (5/23) for their Regional Active Transportation Plan. The plan will be the region’s first specifically tailored to bicycling, walking and access to transit. The planning effort has been underway for well over a year and is set to wrap up by the end of next month. In summer of 2014 the plan’s recommendations and a list of prioritized projects will be proposed for adoptions into the Regional Transportation Plan.

The plan’s ambitious scope includes: the creation of a new set of design guidelines for bicycle facilities; an update to regional biking and walking maps; integration of the existing active transportation network; identification of a network of ‘Regional Bicycle Parkways’; a recommendation of strategies for implementation, and more.

In other words, this is a big deal. As its projects get adopted into the RTP, Metro’s Regional Active Transportation Plan will give regional policymakers the crucial political breathing room and decision-making framework they need to make real and significant investments that could vastly improve bicycling conditions.
(more…)

MTB advocates see reasons to support Metro natural areas levy

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
PUMP's Forest Park mountain bike tour
Metro levy would bring more
single track to Portland.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Off-road bicycling advocates in the Portland area have two major reasons to throw their weight behind Metro’s parks and natural areas levy: Agency Creek and McCarthy Creek. Both parcels are called out by name in the text of Measure 26-152 as having potential for single track mountain biking.

The levy, up for a vote on May 21st, seeks to raise $50 million over five years to help Metro maintain and improve thousands of acres in natural areas and parks they’ve purchased over the years.

The Northwest Trail Alliance, a Portland-based non-profit that maintains, builds and advocates for mountain bike trails, is urging their members to support the levy. They see the Agency Creek and McCarthy Creek parcels as places where a mountain bike trail system could be built. And because they are outside of the northern border of Forest Park, bike access could be developed without any of the political baggage or controversy that has surrounded attempts at creating single track opportunities in Forest Park (which is owned and managed by the City of Portland). (more…)

Biking wins big in Metro’s $2.1 million in ‘Regional Travel Options’ grants

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
Harrison St Bike Garage at PSU
Portland State University won $150,000 to help build
a Central Campus Cycle Station that will be
even bigger and better than their Harrison
St Bike Garage shown here.

Metro just announced their grant awards for the Regional Travel Options program. The program, which funds, “projects to reduce the number of people driving alone, improve air quality and address community health issues,” doled out $2.1 million to 14 projects throughout the region. Portland won big with several important local (and bike-related) projects getting a slice of the pie. Check out some of the winners below…

Swan Island TMA – Grant award: $123,316
Go Swan Island! is a combination of programs tailored to Swan Island’s four largest employer sites and to Portland Community College’s new Swan Island Workforce Training Center. The project will use marketing strategies and new technologies to increase carpooling and capitalize on anticipated Swan Island business investments. These approaches will promote new travel options programs and $5 million in new bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
(more…)

East Portland will receive $8 million for active transportation

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
BAC Bike Ride East Portland-9
Riding in east Portland
can only get better.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (and TriMet) is set to invest $8.2 million into sidewalks, neighborhood greenways and transit-safety related projects in East Portland. The funding comes from a $34 million “Regional Economic Opportunity Fund” created by a Metro committee last year.

In case you forgot, this $34 million is the result of a debate at Metro back in October about how best to spend federal “regional flexible funds.” At the last go-round, advocates (including the Bicycle Transportation Alliance) fought hard to win a 75/25 split for active transportation projects. Advocates hoped to use that same allocation method for an additional $34 million Metro is awarding this time around. However, the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) voted instead to create a new “Regional Economic Opportunity Fund” (explained further here). (more…)

$2.1 million in grants to promote ‘travel options’ available through Metro

Friday, December 21st, 2012
New I-5 Bridge-Delta Park bikeway signage-10-10
Wayfinding signage is one type of
project eligible for funding
through the grants.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Metro has announced the availability of $2.1 million in federal grants through the Regional Travel Options (RTO) program. The money is set aside for both government agencies and non-profits for small-scale projects that promote biking, walking, and taking transit.

In this past, this grant program has funded projects like TriMet’s Open Trip Planner, Sunday Streets in Wilsonville, bike shelters in Forest Grove, walking maps and wayfinding signage in Tigard, and much more.

In an announcement yesterday, Metro included a more detailed list of eligible projects:

  • Training or hiring staff or volunteers to promote transportation options to residents and employees.
  • Helping businesses promote travel options to employees and coordinating outreach activities of partner’s employer and commuter programs.
  • Supporting facilities for bicycling, walking, or running to work.
  • (more…)

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