Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on May 5th, 2009 at 1:23 pm
bike options, there won’t be any
reason to drive.
(Photos © J. Maus)
With the impending completion of major streetcar and light rail projects in Portland, sustainable transportation advocates are starting to think big.
Chris Smith, well-known for his work as a streetcar and bike advocate and for his run at a City Commissioner spot last year, stopped by our office yesterday to share more about what he calls a Carbon Free Central City Mobility concept (I mentioned it in a story last week).
Smith believes that Portlanders’ relationship to the Central City will change dramatically once the Streetcar Loop comes across the river and runs down to OMSI (that’s the line that secured $75 million from the feds last week) and when the new Transit Mall in downtown opens later this year.
“The funding of the [streetcar] loop changes everything, because people’s idea of what the Central City is is going to become the area encompassed by the loop.”
With the completion of those two projects, the Central City will be encircled and bisected (north/south and east/west) by rail transit. Smith says the confluence of those two projects give us “The opportunity to begin to rethink mobility in the Central City”.
Smith says the concept can be a “useful framework to look at supporting a dramatic reduction in auto reliance in the Central City.” It’s just an idea for now, but it’s the type of policy aspiration that a lot of key thinkers and leaders in Portland just might start to rally around.
One outcome of these completed transit projects, Smith says, is that the potential for a bike-sharing system in Portland becomes much more feasible. In addition to more bike infrastructure and bike-sharing, Smith has a list of “mobility ideas” that would fit under this umbrella. Those include:
- Using renewable electricity for MAX and Streetcar
- Measuring carbon dioxide emissions from the Central City
- Encouraging pedestrian activity
- Supporting the use of electric vehicles downtown
- A carbon-free transit fare zone
- A carbon-free mobility card that could be used to pay for a variety of downtown mobility choices (transit, car sharing, bike sharing, parking, etc…)
Smith presented an outline of the idea to Mayor Adams’ Transportation Cabinet last week. If you want to learn more about this idea, get in touch with him at chris[at]chrissmith[dot]us. Also check out his PortlandTransport blog.