steve novick

The Friday Profile: Steve Novick, the accidental Southwest Portlander

Friday, February 13th, 2015
Portland city commissioner and Multnomah neighborhood resident Steve Novick, photographed at Baker & Spice in Hillsdale this morning.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

When Portland’s transportation commissioner arrived in town, he was almost a caricature of a newcomer to the Northwest.


Comment of the Week: Commissioner Steve Novick on the virtues of taxes

Friday, January 16th, 2015
Bike Walk Vote candidate party-10
Steve Novick at a Bike Walk Vote
candidate party in 2012.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

With friends like Joe Cortright, Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick doesn’t need enemies.

That’s the case Novick made this morning in a sharp response in the comments beneath a widely circulated column we published by Cortright, a local urban economist.

Cortright, who like Novick comes from a generally leftish perspective, had made eight arguments about transportation revenue in the context of Portland’s effort to create a new, local street fund. In the comment below, Novick raises thoughtful objections to two of them.

I have two main problems with what my friend Joe Cortright said in his recent column. First, he’s using generic arguments against a specific proposal while largely ignoring what the proposal actually is. Second, he’s adopting the rhetoric of his political opponents to attack spending on projects that he actually isn’t opposed to.


At Employers Bike Summit, Novick praises health benefits of bike investments

Friday, May 16th, 2014
Commissioner Steve Novick speaks Friday at
Regence headquarters.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Portland should be proud of its 6.1 percent bike commuting share, the highest of any large city, Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick said at a summit Friday that gave local employers advice on supporting bike commuters.

“We beat Madison,” the city council member said. “We beat Minneapolis.”

The commissioner also returned to the subject he cites most frequently as a reason to support bike improvements: the local economy as a whole saves money through lower health costs when people build physical activity into their lives.


Novick wants $1 million from general fund for beacons at 15 crosswalks

Friday, April 18th, 2014
An active warning beacon in North Portland.
(Photo: City of Portland)

The City of Portland’s general fund has a few million dollars to spare, and Commissioner Steve Novick is mounting an unusual campaign to spend some of it on safer street crossings.

In a city where you’re twice as likely to die from traffic as from homicide, Novick and other backers say making roads safer is the most cost-effective way to improve public safety.

In an interview Friday, Novick called out a few police operations in particular as having lower returns on investment.

PBOT director says new action plan will include ‘Vision Zero’ commitment

Thursday, February 13th, 2014
PBOT Director Leah Treat
PBOT director Leah Treat.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland will follow in the steps of Chicago and New York City by setting a schedule to completely eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries no matter the cost, the city’s transportation director said in a new interview.

In a two-year action plan a city contractor is about to begin preparing, “Vision Zero will be incorporated for certain,” Portland Bureau of Transportation director Leah Treat said in an interview with the KBOO Bike Show broadcast Feb. 5.

“Vision Zero,” as the philosophy is known, was first introduced in Sweden in 1997 and has spread to several U.S. cities in recent years. In 2012 it was embraced by the man Treat describes as her mentor, former Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein, and it’s the centerpiece of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s transportation policy.


Novick, Oregon Walks, and The Oregonian weigh in on transportation spending priorities

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
SE 136th Press Conference-1
Steve Novick is setting the stage
for the upcoming debate about
transportation spending.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

If The Oregonian’s opinion pages are any indication, the City’s campaign to persuade Portlanders to help fund transportation investments is heating up.

On New Year’s Day, the leader of a local walking advocacy group called on Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick and Mayor Charlie Hales to step up for street safety. Then on Saturday (1/11), Novick used The Oregonian’s opinion section to publish his plea for more money to spend on “investments in sidewalks, flashing beacons and other pedestrian amenities.” One day prior to Novick’s article, the Oregonian Editorial Board shared their perspective on what our transportation spending priorities should be

Novick’s article comes as walking advocates pressure the city to step up in light of the 10 people who died while walking in 2013 and while the Portland Bureau of Transportation assembles the pieces of a major campaign to raise new revenue.

Oregon Walks president Aaron Brown also published a guest article in The Oregonian that referred to the deaths as a “public health epidemic.” Brown’s piece opened with, “In Portland, you should be able to walk your dog across the street without fear that you won’t make it to the other side.”

In his piece on Saturday, Novick said he agrees with Brown.

Novick asks Santa for $1.3 billion for streets and talks of new fee for infrastructure

Thursday, December 19th, 2013
Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick took his message about the city’s need for
transportation funding inside the Lloyd Center Mall on Thursday.
(Photo by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Saying that “repetition, repetition, repetition” is the way to get the message to voters that Portland needs more money for street repairs and improvements, Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick held a press event Thursday to formally ask Santa for help.

“We know that people are tapped out, and it’s going to be a big lift to ask people for more money,” Novick said. “So we want to demonstrate in both serious and playful ways that we’re doing everything we can to avoid having to ask people for more money.”

So Novick stopped by Lloyd Center Mall Thursday to mail a letter to Santa Claus with a wishlist of $1.3 billion in street projects, about $1 billion of it for paving and maintenance and the rest for a combination of improvements to multimodal transportation and freight mobility.


Novick issues ‘A message to Barbur road dieters’ – UPDATED

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

“… The idea of a Barbur road diet is obviously not something all our regional partners have signed off on. We hope they will not be perturbed by the prospect of a study of a road diet…”
— Steve Novick, City of Portland Transportation Commissioner

At tomorrow’s City Council meeting, Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick had the opportunity to take a significant step toward updating the design of SW Barbur Blvd. With the Council set to endorse the regional Southwest Corridor Plan, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) urged Novick and his colleagues to prioritize a study of two projects within that plan — both of which are referred to as the “Barbur Lane Diet” project. This prioritization was to take the form of an amendment to the SW Corridor Plan resolution that would have specifically called out the study.

However, as we reported Friday afternoon, Novick has declined this opportunity. In a statement posted to his website late yesterday, Novick wrote that he doesn’t feel adding that language to the SW Corridor Plan resolution is the “right approach”. “I would rather not link the Barbur road diet study to the Southwest Corridor resolution,” he wrote. Novick then spelled out two reasons for his decision:

Commissioner Novick: Economic argument will beat the ‘bike backlash’

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

“One of my goals in this job is to drive home just how expensive cars are… and just how much of a boon bikes are.”
— Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick

At an event held last night in OHSU’s Kohler Pavillion to mark the end of the first phase of the Green Lane Project, City Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick said the way to respond to the “bike backlash” in Portland is to appeal to people’s pocketbooks.

Novick, speaking in front of a packed room of national and local bike advocacy leaders and city staffers, said that new PBOT Director Leah Treat has likely been “shocked” to realize anti-bike sentiments exist in Portland. He then went on to share his preferred method of countering the backlash. (more…)

Commissioner Novick, PBOT respond to SW Barbur hit-and-run

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
SE 136th Press Conference-1
Portland Transportation Commissioner
Steve Novick wants to hear from
“suburban car commuters” before
proposing a road diet on SW
Barbur Blvd.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

After yet another tragedy on SW Barbur Blvd last week, people are once again trying to push officials to make it safer.

So far, most of the attention has been focused on the Oregon Department of Transportation because they own and manage Barbur (except for the portions adjacent to downtown Portland) and they’ve been reluctant to significantly improve safety on it. But while ODOT has final say, the City of Portland can play an important role in this discussion. If the Portland Bureau of Transportation and/or Transportation Commissioner Novick and Mayor Charlie Hales wanted to, they could increase pressure on ODOT to move forward with a road diet or other measures that would have a dramatic impact on safety.

We haven’t asked Mayor Hales for a comment about Barbur yet; but we have reached out and gotten replies from Commissioner Novick and PBOT.

I initially asked PBOT for a comment from new Bureau Director Leah Treat. When I heard back from spokesperson Diane Dulken, Dulken made it clear that the comment was, “from PBOT, not specifically from Director Treat.” (Perhaps Director Treat still isn’t well-versed enough in local transportation issues to weigh in.) Unfortunately, the PBOT statement was really more of a non-statement. Here’s what they said: (more…)

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