presentation by PSU Traffic and Transportation Class
participant Taylor Gibson.
One of Portland’s most remarkable public-policy traditions takes place tonight: A handpicked handful of citizen transportation wonks will present their ideas for how to improve the local streets to a panel of city leaders.
Among the concepts to be presented in the Portland Building tonight: a plan that would dramatically reduce “cut-through” traffic on Clinton Street by adding traffic diverters at 17th, 27th and 37th Avenues; and a proposal for a regionwide, multi-jurisdiction mobile app to let people report simple road problems like clogged grates or loose leaves.
Earnest, freewheeling and vaguely American Idol-like, these presentations are the final projects in an annual 10-week course designed to teach citizens “how to get things done in your neighborhood” by way of learning Portland’s transportational history, politics and tactics. The city-sponsored class, active since 1991, is free to selected Portlanders who apply as neighborhood advocates; it seems as if every important person in the local transportation world has either spoken at the class over the years or been one of its 1,000 graduates to date.
In addition to the lectures by current and retired officials, students complete one major project for the class: a live presentation of their solution to a local transportation problem of their choosing. Of these, six have been chosen this year by class leader Rick Gustafson to present to a panel including Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat; Chris Warner, chief of staff to Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick; and Chris Smith, citizen advocate and member of the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission.
Last month, Novick crashed the class in order to hear the annual slide presentation from former Vancouver BC city councilor Gordon Price and ask how to help freight and active transportation get along. He might attend tonight, too.
We’ve been lucky enough to get peeks at a couple of the presentations from the class. One of them comes from Taylor Gibson. He has studied the excessive volume of auto cut-through traffic on SE Clinton Street and he is proposing a several changes designed to fix the problem. Check out a video version of his presentation below…
Another presentation selected for tonight’s event comes from Scott Kocher. Scott is passionate about fixing the seemingly minor annoyances that plague our streets — things like cracks, misplaced curbs, wheel-grabbing storm drain grates, and so on. He wants to made a regional, cross-jurisdictional mobile reporting tool that citizens can use to flag issues and make sure they are handled by the proper authorities. Check out his presentation below for a teaser…
Tonight’s six presentations are in the second floor auditorium in the Portland Building, 1120 SW 5th Avenue, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. To learn more about the class, you can read this short essay from one of the people who took it when I did — then went on to create a pilot program that anticipated the city’s “Street Seats” campaign.