Metro votes against maintaining 75/25 funding split for Active Transportation

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

“… In a deep recession, people who are struggling — in addition to buses and bike paths — also need access to a job.”
— Ann Lininger, Clackamas County Commissioner

A 17-member Metro committee made up of mayors, commissioners, and transportation agency leaders around the region voted this morning to do away with a 75/25 federal funding allocation split that was hailed by active transportation advocates when it was established in 2010. At their meeting, Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) voted instead to adopt a new policy direction that will have projects of all types — including massive highway expansion projects — competing against each other.

At issue is how best to dole out an additional $38 million ($37.78 to be exact) that is unspoken for out of a $147 million pot of federal grant funds administered through the federal Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program (MTIP) for the years 2016-18. (Note: Of this $147 million, JPACT has already decided to allocate: $48 million to transit bond payments, $26 million to Metro planning and regional programs, $26 million to “Active Transportation and Complete Streets” projects and $8.7 million to “Green Economy and Freight” projects). (more…)

BTA fights as Metro funding battle brews once again

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

“It is unacceptable to the BTA to consider overturning our current policy… The Port [of Portland]… wants this money for highway/road projects. Now is the time to say no.”
— Gerik Kransky, BTA

A funding fight is brewing at Metro over how the regional planning agency should allocate nearly $38 million in federal funds. Unlike the vast majority of transportation funds fought over by various regional interest groups, these funds are “flexible,” meaning they can be spent on nearly any type of project. With scarce dollars in play these days, the competition to snag them is intense.

The $37.78 on the table at Metro is a portion of $147 million in “regional flexible funds” they will dole out through the federal government’s Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program (MTIP) for the years of 2016 – 2018.

Get a seat at the transpo table: Consider joining Metro’s TPAC

Thursday, September 27th, 2012
JPACT meeting-2
A chance to be where a lot of
important stuff happens.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Metro’s Transportation Policy Alternatives Committee, or “TPAC” as it’s known around here, is looking for four new community representatives. If you want to influence local and regional transportation projects, this is a great opportunity.

TPAC’s main role is to advise the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT), the panel of local elected bigwigs and agency execs that controls the federal transportation pursestrings in the Portland area. There are 21 people on TPAC, 15 of them are transportation professionals appointed by cities, counties, and agencies, and there are six at-large community members.

Metro says they’re looking for four new community reps who have some expertise in the following areas: (more…)

Westside Trail controversy quiets down ahead of open houses

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Metro is gearing up for a series of open houses to let the public weigh in on their Westside Trail project. The project spurred controversy earlier this summer when residents of the Oak Hills area of unincorporated Washington County objected to plans to have the shared-use path run through property adjacent to their homes. The path segment in question is just one-third of a mile and runs north of Highway 26 between NW Bethany Blvd and NW 143rd Ave.

The Oak Hills residents have come to think of the land adjacent to their homes as their own private property, but the land is actually owned by the federal government (it’s a powerline corridor for the Bonneville Power Administration). According to The Oregonian, residents have even posted “Private Property” signs in the area. Now, with Metro pushing forward with the project, members of the Oak Hills Homeowners Association are not pleased that what has long been a de facto private playground is now slated to become a public place for bicycling and walking. (more…)

Metro approves $6 million for 1/2 mile of new lane on I-84 freeway

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
Proposed new lane on I-84 in east Portland.

In a rare bit of love for freeways, on Thursday July 19th, Metro (Portland’s metropolitan planning organization) approved funding for a project that will add capacity to an interstate located within Portland city limits. The $6 million project will extend an auxiliary lane on eastbound Interstate 84 one half mile between the Halsey St. and northbound Interstate 205 exits. Metro says the project is being “fast-tracked by ODOT after it found cost savings around the state.”

It’s interesting to note how Metro councilors — who pride themselves on supporting investments that improve bicycle and transit access — talk about why they supported this project. I’m also covering this because I think it’s important for people to understand how much we spend to alleviate congestion and just what results are expected for this $6 million investment. (more…)

Metro report: Road carnage costs region more than congestion

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012
Arterials kill.

Using ODOT traffic crash data and their own data on transportation infrastructure Metro’s State of Safety report has found that roadway collisions cost our region $958 million a year — that’s significantly more than congestion.

The report also lays bare one of the nagging issues for local transportation planners and a central theme of the Mayor Sam Adams administration: Portland’s large, multi-lane arterials are unsafe. In what report authors refer to as one of the “most conclusive relationships” in the study, they found that a disproportionate amount of the serious crashes in our region occur on arterial roads.

Streets like Tualatin Valley Highway, 82nd Ave, SE Powell, McLoughlin Blvd (in Clackamas County) have much higher rates of fatalities and serious injuries than neighborhood streets or even freeways. (more…)

Metro’s 2nd annual Trails Fair will offer chance to explore ‘The Intertwine’

Friday, April 20th, 2012
Did you know the new Trolley Trail
south of Milwaukie is almost fully complete?

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a ton going on around our regional network of trails and multi-use paths* — a.k.a. “The Intertwine“. To help get the public up to speed and foster collaboration and momentum on the projects, Metro and folks behind The Intertwine are hosting their 2nd annual Trails Fair.

The event is coming this Wednesday (4/25) from 1:00 – 3:00 pm (at Metro HQ, 600 NE Grand Ave). From the newly built Trolley Trail down in Milwaukie (yes, it’s almost completed!), to the North Portland Greenway, and many others — this event will be the perfect place to hear the latest news on all the major projects. Metro promises about 40 agencies, non-profits, and trail groups will be on hand with exhibits and experts to share info about their programs and projects. (more…)

New system of paths, trails would connect Springwater Corridor to Clackamas River

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
These green spaces around Happy Valley would be
tied together with the newly proposed
Mt. Scott/Scouter Mt. Trail Loop.

Metro is prepping for the public unveiling of an exciting new network of paths that span from just south of the Powell Butte Nature Park all the way down to the Clackamas River. The Mt. Scott/Scouter Mt. Trail Loop is one of twenty “Connecting Green trail packages” proposed by Metro’s Blue Ribbon Committee for Trails.

According to a document and maps released by Metro today, the plans call for a combination of paved multi-use paths as well as hiking and biking trails. In all, the network would encompass about 17 miles of paths winding around the city of Happy Valley and between a corridor bordered by the Springwater path, the I-205 multi-use path , SE 172nd Avenue and SE Sunnyside Road. (more…)

Broad coalition of advocates blast Metro over recent survey

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

A survey created by Metro and sent to their nearly 10,000 member Opt In Panel last month has drawn the ire of non-profits, local business owners, and citizen advocates — 26 of whom have signed onto a letter outlining their concerns that was sent to Metro President Tom Hughes and members of the Metro Council today.

When the survey was released at the end of December, we shared the negative reactions it received from many in the local transportation advocacy world. Many who took the survey, myself included, cringed at the content and framing of several of the questions.

Use of paths, trails on the rise throughout the region

Thursday, January 12th, 2012
Annual trail use between 2008 and 2011 shows a steady climb (despite all the rain last year!).
(Graphic: BikePortland)


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