Council unanimous on $20 million of green for green bike streets

You’ll be seeing a lot more of these soon.
(Photo: PBOT)

Portland City Council has voted in unanimous support of Mayor Sam Adams’ proposal to use $20 million from the Bureau of Environmental Services budget for construction of bike boulevard features that are consistent with the City’s Green Streets program.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz said she was sold on the connection between green streets and stormwater/ sewer management. She reiterated many of the points I reported on earlier today and added, “It’s cheaper to manage stormwater through green streets methods than to build bigger pipes.” She added that green streets “look better” in neighborhoods, manage stormwater better, and are “more likely to result in safe streets for both pedestrians and bicyclists.” “I believe that this is using sewer money appropriately and that it’s the best thing to do.”

Commissioner Nick Fish commended the “artfulness of the mayor’s proposal” and said he had three conditions on his yes vote: That it doesn’t raise sewer rates, that they projects address stormwater, and that the projects are spread throughout the city.

Commissioner Randy Leonard spoke to how this issue has been “misrepresented in the community” and called it a “thoughtful approach to a very complex problem.”

Adams, who was behind both this plan and the City’s Green Streets policy that was adopted back in 2007 (while he was Transportation Commissioner), said spending $20 million from BES’s budget is “absolutely consistent” with city policy.

In response to today’s vote, Gerik Kransky, advocacy campaign manager with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, said, “We’re in the middle of a recession, and this is exactly what we should be doing… investing in projects with mutual benefits.”

From here, BES and PBOT will work together to develop a list of projects to be implemented within the next year. Staffing and funding for those projects will be included in the upcoming budget.

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