Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 12th, 2009 at 11:59 am
“Retrofitting the cityscape for bicycles as a primary mode of transportation needs to be a priority.”
— Gill Kelley, outgoing director of the Planning Bureau
Whether you follow city politics or not, you’ve got to recognize that Portland is at an exciting point in its history.
Yes, we face major challenges, but we’ve got a fresh jolt of energy in City Hall, a new Mayor who will (hopefully) not shy away from big challenges, and we’re knee-deep into the Portland Plan; which, when complete, will “guide the physical, economic, social, cultural and environmental development of Portland over the next 30 years.”
Mayor Sam Adams recently merged the Planning Bureau with the Office of Sustainable Devlopment (creating the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability). In addition to that significant change (which the Oregonian likens to a “mad scientist experiment” in an editorial today), long-time Bureau of Planning Director Gill Kelley decided to step down.
Kelley was a respected city employee and will be remembered for playing a key role in transforming the Pearl District and with the creation of the South Waterfront district. On Saturday, he penned a parting shot about Portland’s future in The Oregonian.
In, Pair of initiatives offer paths for charting city’s future, Kelley stressed the importance of this moment for Portlanders:
Some cities, at critical times in their history, make extraordinary plans for their future: plans that vault them forward toward an enhanced identity — a place in the network of global cities and an increased sense of their own individuality. These might be called “intentional cities.”
In addition to his ideas on topics like nature in the city and building a healthy economy, Kelley includes a paragraph titled, The bicycle city and a new energy paradigm. In it, he writes:
The need to improve air quality drove much of our urban development and transit agenda in the 1970s and ’80s. Today’s imperative is to reduce greenhouse gases and increase energy self-reliance. Retrofitting the cityscape for bicycles as a primary mode of transportation needs to be a priority. By employing simpler, more decentralized and neighborhood-scale energy systems we improve our self-reliance and economic capacity.
When Mayor Adams released his ambitious 100 Days Plan, his staffers emphasized that he, “can’t make it happen by himself.”
We all know that a future where bikes are prioritized in planning is a sure path to a more sustainable, fun and healthy city; but we can’t sit back and hope that it will just happen on its own. Gill Kelley clearly understands the importance of bicycling, let’s do our part to make sure the City continues to get that message, and more importantly, act on it.
— Stay tuned to BikePortland.org for more coverage of this and other important planning initiatives. Learn more about The Portland Plan online.