Special gravel coverage

Central City in Motion update: Dispatch from a ‘Sounding Board’ meeting

Posted by on June 29th, 2018 at 1:03 pm

Latest map of 16 Super Project Bundles. Dots are “pedestrian improvement project locations”. Narrow lines are “low-stress bikeways”. Thick lines are Enhanced Transit Corridor projects.

With $30 million to spend and high expectations to deliver a functional and protected network for bicycling, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has identified the top-tier projects for its Central City in Motion project. At a meeting of their Sounding Board yesterday, the project team unveiled a list of 16 “super project bundles.” As a September City Council date approaches PBOT wants to winnow down the project list and make sure the ones at the top have the best chance of success from a funding, political, public relations, and implementation perspective.

PBOT Project Manager Gabe Graff at the meeting yesterday.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus)

Atop that list at the moment are major updates to East and West Burnside from SW Park to NE 12th, a low-stress bikeway couplet on SW Broadway and 4th, and projects focused on MLK/Grand/6th/7th and Hawthorne/SE Clay/SE Madison. Those are the four projects deemed to be “transformative” by the project team — that’s a new evaluation metric that they’re using along with three others: “Would it result in multiple wins?”; “Would it make travel safer?”; and, “Will it be effective?” The Burnside and MLK/Grand/6th/7th project bundles are the only two out of the 16 that scored highest in all four categories.

But what exactly is “transformative”? That’s a question several Sounding Board members asked at the meeting yesterday.

Slide from PBOT presentation.

The Sounding Board has met four times now since last winter. It’s different than a typical project advisory committee in that it’s not meant to be representative of particular constituencies. It’s more of a professional focus group that gives the project team advice on how to present the project to the broader public. According to the group’s charter, their job is to, “offer strategic advice to help the project team define a network of investments that considers the many different demands and uses in the central city.” The eight members present yesterday (out of 18 on the list) included a developer, a commercial real estate agent, and reps from the Portland Business Alliance, Travel Portland, Portland State University, The Street Trust, Oregon Museum of Science & Industry, Commissioner Dan Saltzman’s office, and an economist with the Oregon Employment Department.

Here are a few takeaways…

Super Project Bundles

Instead of thinking about biking, walking, and transit projects in isolation from each other, PBOT is using the “super project bundles” concept. The idea is to approach them as corridors that include low-stress bikeways, new crossing treatments, and enhanced bus service. An example of this is what’s planned for Burnside between NW/SW Park and NE/SE 12th. On the west side and the bridge, PBOT wants to create a protected bike lane and “BAT” lanes — business access and transit — for buses. On the east side, the bikeway would cut over to the existing greenway on SE Ankeny. Another bundle would create transit-only lanes on MLK/Grand, safer crossings on 6th, and protected bike lanes on 7th. (We took a closer look at the cross-section proposals for this and other projects earlier this month.)

The idea of presenting these as super project bundles helps simplify the map and could help build political and public momentum for the changes that are coming. When you look at the map it looks more like a transit network map, a wise direction to take this project if PBOT wants to garner significant funding for larger investments; but a downside is that corridor-level planning often results in fewer overall miles of streets being updated (a.k.a. the big-and-shiny versus quick-and-dirty approach).

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The top projects

PBOT’s evaluation matrix. The numbers on this sheet correspond with the numbers in the map above.

The project team refers to all 16 project bundles as “big moves for the central city” but among those a handful have clearly risen to the top of the pile. PBOT is mixing their in-house analysis with the many workshops they’ve held and the 4,732 individual responses they’ve received online so far for the various projects.

PBOT shared initial findings from the second open house. The biking projects with the most support are the new protected bike lanes planned for Broadway and SW 4th Avenue, SE 11th and 12th, SE/NE 7th, and SW Columbia. Of responses received, 87 percent of open house participants said the proposal for 7th Ave would be effective and 85 percent said it should be a high priority. The plan for 7th is to reallocate one of the existing lanes used for parking cars and create protected bike lanes on both sides of the street from Division to Sandy. On 11th and 12th, PBOT would reconfigure the street so that instead of having two standard vehicle lanes and parking on both sides, there would be just one (wider) standard vehicle lane and a wide, unprotected bike lane similar to what we currently have on the SW Oak and Harvey Milk couplet. (You can view the proposed projects at the online open house.)

PBOT also shared a “project bundle evaluation” matrix that scored each of the 16 projects on a scale of 1 to 3.

Tension over parking and “throughput”

Portland Business Alliance VP of External Affairs Marion Haynes.

The Portland Business Alliance rep, Marion Haynes, made it clear that she has concerns about how these projects will impact freight, auto use, and parking availability. During the discussion about the new bikeways on 7th Avenue (which is also a major freight route), she asked the project team if there was a chance to “push it to 6th or 8th” instead. “You would get the same north/south benefit without trying to jam everything on one street,” Haynes added.

To that idea, a member of the PBOT staff replied, “When you say ‘push it’ to another street, do you mean push the freight?” He went on to explain that there’s “quite a bit of momentum” to maintain 7th as a major bikeway due to the upcoming Sullivan’s Crossing Bridge connection and the fact that it’s so direct and engrained in current behavior. “The truth is,” he continued, “People rarely make out of direction choices. We have an opportunity to make a direct route and it puts infrastructure where users are going to use it anyway.”

OMSI’s Director of Campus Development Ken Wilson, expressed concerned that if PBOT created a dedicated bikeway on 11th and 12th it would cause too much congestion for drivers. “Going down 12th all the way to Clay, if you make this one lane instead of two, I’m just not seeing how there’s any through traffic on that street anymore,” he said. The OMSI rep also cautioned PBOT against putting too much value in open house responses because they might overrepresent bicycle users. “I’m concerned the people most motivated to respond are the bikers and we don’t want them swaying the results,” Wilson said. PBOT replied that it was just one point of feedback and they don’t make decisions based solely on those open house responses.

Haynes from the PBA also asked PBOT if they had data about how the projects would impact driving times. PBOT Project Manager Gabe Graff replied that they don’t have that information yet. If that’s the case, Haynes asked, “How do we know that these projects are the ones to move the most people if we haven’t done the analysis yet?” Graff said so far they’ve relied mostly on their “expert sense of what the project will do,” and that they’ll do more analysis as the process moves forward. “It just feels a bit backwards to me,” Haynes replied, referring to why the analysis wasn’t done before the project prioritization work.

Asked again later in the meeting about how PBOT can be confident expanded bikeways and transit service, coupled with less room for driving and parking would move more people in the central city than existing conditions, he said, “Buses and bikeways are just more efficient, and if they connect to a network, we know we can move more people.”

There was also an interesting back-and-forth about who the projects are for. Some sounding board members expressed concern that people who work downtown and drive in from the suburbs will feel the brunt of the changes. PBOT’s response was that the goal of Central City in Motion is not only to serve existing users, but to prepare for what they estimate will be a tripling of residents and 40 percent more jobs in the area by 2035.

Next steps

From here, the project team will continue to refine the projects, develop cost estimates and come up with an implementation plan. The third and final open house will be in August and the sounding board will meet again in September after Labor Day — where they’ll see PBOT’s final plan — prior to the first City Council hearing.

Check out PBOT’s online open house materials and the official project page for more information.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • maccoinnich June 29, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    “It just feels a bit backwards to me”

    Coincidentally, those are my exact feelings about the PBA.

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  • maccoinnich June 29, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    NE/SE 6th and 8th are both 60′ wide, with 36′ curb to curb. NE/SE 7th is an 80′ right-of-way south of Stark, with 56′ curb to curb.

    The city can create protected bikes on 7th by removing parking from one side of the street only, while still retaining all the existing travel lanes. Adding protected bike lanes to 6th or 8th would require the removal of parking on both sides of the street, per the Protected Bicycle Lane Design Guide.

    If the PBA is really okay with removing _all_ the parking on 6th or 8th then I guess the city could have that conversation with them. Otherwise they’re just trying to kill the project with process delay.

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    • mh June 30, 2018 at 12:29 pm

      6th or 8th if they would do all of those things, plus signalize the major crossings, and connect seamlessly with Sullivan’s Crossing over 84. Wouldn’t make PBA any happier, and would probably blow several budgets.

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    • maxD July 2, 2018 at 10:17 am

      I like the idea of making a6th a true greenway with diversion for cars/trucks every 4-6 blocks. I think it would become a very safe route for biking and maintain the loading/unloading needs of the Central eastside. 6th provides access to Grand/MLK and 7th. 6th needs helps with safe crossings at the major intersections, and it would require jogging once on Davis or Everett to use the Sullivan’s Crossing and continue north on 7th. IMO, even with protected lanes, 7th is is less desirable because it is so busy that each intersection is going to be more stressful. Whatever happens, I truly hope they do not choose a 2-way cycletrack through the Central Eastside- way too many intersections.

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  • soren June 29, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    Has the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry representative heard of climate change?

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    • Doug Hecker June 29, 2018 at 1:49 pm

      Sounds like they need to go to the next environmental services open house.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 29, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      His feedback is actually really helpful! Better for PBOT to hear it in this venue now rather than later.

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    • bikeninja June 29, 2018 at 3:33 pm

      It does not make much sense to me that the rep from OMSI would be worried about car traffic on 11th and 12th. OMSI’s biggest problem is not that people can’t drive there in a car, but that they can find parking once they reach the museum. Like much of the rest of the inner city more parking for OMSI is not really in the cards so they should be jumping on the walk/bike/transit bandwagon with both feet. Is there a chance someone is using OMSI as shill for their agenda. Kind of like using Mr. Rogers to advocate for Clear Cutting.

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      • stephan June 29, 2018 at 5:17 pm

        OMSI feels pretty car centric to me. Lots of space for parking cars, one little bike rack hidden towards the back of the building, and that rarely has bikes on it, except in the summer. I wonder where people visiting the museum live, i.e., how many of them live outside of Portland. For them, driving in by car is often the only / by far easiest option.

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    • stephan June 29, 2018 at 8:48 pm
  • Toadslick June 29, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    I’m seriously disappointed in the response by OMSI. They reside at the intersection of the Esplanade and the Tilikum bridge, two of the most successful walking and biking projects in the city. If there were any business that I would have expected to understand the benefits of people-first infrastructure, it would have been them.

    Coincidentally, the two times that I’ve narrowly avoided right hooks on Water Ave were from inattentive drivers that passed me and then turned into the OMSI parking lot.

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  • David June 29, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Rather than pointing fingers at OMSI and PBA for their car/freight focused attitudes I think a great place to focus is on the responses being provided by PBOT staff. The fact that they are rebutting these tired arguments that we need to move more cars for more people to get to and from where they need to go is great progress.

    It seems that a good slide to add to the deck is the one that shows how much road space is needed for 50 (or is it 100) people depending on mode of travel where cars take up an entire block, bikes take up about a third or a quarter of the space and there are 1-2 buses that can carry all of those people.

    Now, PBA and anyone else with their mindset would be wise to understand that stonewalling is not going to be a good way to get what they want and “pushing” bike lanes to places where no one is going to ride them due to inferior connections would work as well as pushing cars or trucks onto infrastructure with those same properties.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty June 29, 2018 at 5:23 pm

      How much room would 100 people on electric scooters need?

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  • SD June 29, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    “Some sounding board members expressed concern that people who work downtown and drive in from the suburbs will feel the brunt of the changes.”
    Sounds like a win-win.
    I’m glad that PBOT recognizes that the central city has become more than a parking lot for suburbia.

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    • Maddy June 30, 2018 at 7:42 am

      Most of my friends have ended up with jobs in the suburbs, and have to commute from the city to the burbs, and not the other way around. I do not know many people who get to work in downtown anymore.

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      • oliver June 30, 2018 at 9:40 am

        I fret for the day (I expect in the next 10 years) when I age out being able to hold/land another job downtown. Goodbye 5 mile bike commute, hello car payment.

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        • Concordia Cyclist July 2, 2018 at 8:57 am

          You should fret – happened to me four years ago after nearly 15 years of working downtown and loving it. Now I have a car to get out to the joyless ‘burbs and I really miss my daily bike commute – even the cruddy weather day commutes sound good now. Sigh.

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          • bikeninja July 2, 2018 at 9:46 am

            You folks are making the downtown Portland Job market sound like that old distopian sci fi movie ” Logans Run”. When the “citizens” of downtown get past a certain age they are strapped in to a smoking death machine ( automobile) and sent on an endless looping ride to purgatory in the souless burbs.

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            • Maddy July 3, 2018 at 11:07 am

              A lot of the major employment centers are not in downtown. We don’t have perfect control of how our jobs change, or the market changes. The cost of moving is not a joke, especially right now. A lot of the traffic congestion, which is also causing increased danger for cyclists, is people trying to get through downtown (not to downtown) from their homes to their jobs.

              The city puts so much into the central city, but linking up better/faster transportation options for the outer areas would go a long way to taking the pressure off car dependence.

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  • Ryan June 29, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    I may be a little out there on this, but I feel like the city should be planning for an eventual car-free core, or possibly multiple car-free sections around the city. As density increases, it just makes sense to keep motorized traffic (except for possibly buses and light rail) away from some of the busiest spots. Several cities around Europe are already doing this with much success.

    I think an area that they should start looking at now, is “park and ride” type garages near the edges of the core. I know that could create other issues as far as where you decide to put them and how they affect the surrounding area, but I think it’s unwise to disregard suburban commuters from a future city of fewer cars. I think it would be a hard ask to get them all on buses for their entire commute, even if the service/reliability was significantly better than it is now. Let them use a car but only to a certain point, and have a place for them to park and then have a plethora of “last mile” service options available from there – bus, light-rail/street car, bike/scooter share, etc… If you had specific buses that just operated within these car-free areas, they could be offer much more frequent/efficient service to the spots within. There would still be congestion outside of the core (would be there anyways), but you’d make large parts of the city much more human-friendly. Plus, think of what you could with all of the parking garages within the core that are no longer needed!

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    • stephan June 29, 2018 at 9:00 pm

      What I find puzzling is that the city does not even try out a couple of car-free commercial blocks downtown. They are a huge success in European cities. People love to walk on them, business is thriving and the money stays local. One great place to start would be a stretch of the Green Loop in the Pearl / downtown area. That would also help people become familiar with the loop. It just seems such an obvious next step for a city like Portland with a dynamic, dense downtown area that I don’t understand why no one at the city seems to be considering it.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty June 30, 2018 at 12:38 pm

        The transit mall was car free (and is no longer), and there’s the stretch of Ankeny (is that it?) downtown that has been vehicle-free for a year or so.

        I think the way to do this is to have businesses ask for it, rather than PBOT impose it.

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        • soren June 30, 2018 at 5:16 pm

          “I think the way to do this is to have businesses ask for it”

          Yeah…the only way forward is to let corporations decide things for us…

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty June 30, 2018 at 8:43 pm

            The way forward is to convince stakeholders to advocate for themselves, rather than telling them what you think is good for them. Or, you know, we could just not have any car-free streets at all, which is what the impose-it-from-above approach will result in.

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            • soren June 30, 2018 at 10:06 pm

              who needs democracy when we have…”stakeholders”.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty June 30, 2018 at 11:25 pm

                Yes, democracy is exactly what I’m talking about. Let the people who live and own businesses in an area decide. I thought you were suggesting imposing change from the outside. I apologize.

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              • soren July 1, 2018 at 11:20 am

                allowing people who own and operate businesses to have extra votes is fascism, not democracy.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty July 1, 2018 at 1:30 pm

                Extra votes? Fascism? I’m talking about people working together to create a plan for their area that makes sense for then. What could be more democratic than that?

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              • Alex Reedin July 2, 2018 at 4:18 pm

                What could be more democratic than a handful of unelected quasi-representatives, tilted extremely heavily towards the management and business-owner end of the economic spectrum, being given special power to inform government policy about the geographic area where they have economic interests? I can think of a few things.

                1) Our duly elected representatives could set clear priorities for their agencies. Then, the highly competent staff hired by our duly elected representatives could make the decisions consistent with those priorities in their area of professional expertise, and our duly elected representatives could protect the staff from negative consequences of public discontent (if any). That’s one idea. It seems fairly appropriate for transportation: really, is there that much actual useful information that public input provides in these planning processes?

                2) We could trim our ballots of a few of the less-important-to-be-elected offices (East Multnomah County Soil & Water District Commissioners? Very important work, but could just as well be appointed by County Council). In the space/attention left, we could have advisory-only votes to inform elected officials about the tack that the majority of the public prefers. Not a great idea for small neighborhood issues, but it would be a great place to get guidance about tradeoffs and a mandate for citywide change when needed.

                3) The City could PAY a reasonable sum (say, $20/hr.) for normal people from a representative cross-section of folks who use, live in, or may in the future use or live in, these areas to attend these meetings, rather than having the meetings mostly represent the current moneyed interests in the area. For example, the City could recruit for a working-class CEIC employee, a homeless person camping in the central city, a resident of a downtown apartment, a normal office employee downtown, a high school student in East Portland who may get a job downtown after finishing schooling, and a resident of Northeast Portland who would prefer to live downtown but can’t afford to right now, etc. Maybe a few reps of each type to have a better chance of being reflective of the whole relevant population.

                To mix #1, 2, and 3, maybe the normal people could inform City staff about whether it seems to them like the plans actually follow the stated priorities?

                Just brainstorming.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty July 4, 2018 at 11:58 pm

                Unelected quasi-representatives? What do y’all have against letting people decide the shape of their own neighborhoods for themselves?

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              • Alex Reed July 5, 2018 at 9:17 am

                The primary issues I have with the geographically based advisory groups I’ve seen are:
                A) They’re limited to a heavily systematically biased swathe of “people” – biased towards the types of people who already have way more than their (our) share of political power
                B) They generally only include people who currently live or work in the project area, not other folks in the city or region who are impacted less directly, and
                C) There’s not even the slightest attempt to include folks who represent the potential future(s) of the area.

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              • soren July 5, 2018 at 3:27 pm

                “I’m talking about people working together to create a plan for their area that makes sense for then. What could be more democratic than that?”

                Participants in Portland’s “stakeholder committees” and “charettes”, which have far more influence than is appreciated, are not selected democratically and overrepresent corporations, business owners, landlords, and wealthy folk. Control of the decision-making process by corporations, businesses, the wealthy, and government “insiders” is consistent with Mussolini-style (or dare I say, USAnian-style) corporate-fascism.

                Democracy also requires that everyone legally allowed to vote is 1) informed of the vote and 2) provided with some reasonable way in which to vote. As far as I can tell, the entire purpose of neighborhood associations is to violate these democratic principles by allowing a small select group of people to have de facto control over important land-use, planning, and transportation decisions that affect the entire community.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty July 5, 2018 at 6:48 pm

                I totally agree that to close a street to vehicles, everyone in the area should have a legal vote. I would apply the same standard to zoning changes. Having these decisions made by people disconnected from the impacts, as is typical practice today, is unfair to residents and property owners alike.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty July 5, 2018 at 6:58 pm

                Alex, how do you equitably include people in a decision making process who might someday live in a place? How do you know what they would want, or even who they are? I think it’s hard enough to get it right for the people who actually do live there.

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              • Alex Reedin July 6, 2018 at 7:44 am

                HK, including youth and young adults in the decision making process is a good start.

                You didn’t engage with the primary objection that both Soren and I raised, though – the fact that members of these committees have considerably greater wealth on average than the community at large. Do you have any thoughts about that?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty July 6, 2018 at 12:10 pm

                I’m not advocating for “these committees”. I agree with Soren’s call for actual ballots before making significant changes to the zoning or character of an area. If a neighborhood is wealthier than average, I would expect voters there to be wealthier than average.

                I know very few young people who are certain they will be future residents of an area, their views are likely to change, and I generally reject the premise behind identity politics that there is uniformity of viewpoints in groups of individuals, such that one member’s views are as good as another’s.

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              • Alex Reedin July 6, 2018 at 1:17 pm

                There’s certainly not uniformity within groups, but there sure as heck are patterns.

                That’s why having a group of well-off white-collar workers representing their institutions is a horrible and biased way of gathering feedback about what the public thinks. (I know, that’s not really the objective here – it’s to help reduce the chance that the City angers the institutions that actually wield political power here, but let’s pretend that we live in a political system where public opinion is the primary determinant of policy direction.)

                I do agree that “tokenism” on committees – having 1 person try to represent a group – is a problem. There should be more people from each group – which requires rethinking how you run the committee and how you recruit for the committee. You may well need a carefully chosen group of 50 people to really stand a chance of representing a wider community. A traditionally-structured meeting of 50 people would be incredibly obnoxious, which means people wouldn’t want to attend (although – you need to be paying them, anyway, so that you don’t exclude people who aren’t “committee” type people – i.e. who aren’t passionate about the issue, or who are time-poor and money-poor), and you wouldn’t get much useful info.

                Here’s an alternate idea – compensate people for participating in an “online focus group.” My colleagues use these in my line of work (market research). You educate people about the concepts you’re trying to test, and then have them post their thoughts on an online forum within a particular timeframe(s) (if they don’t post, they don’t get paid). The back-and-forth generally brings out useful information and synergies. For a representative 50-person group, you might need to split them into 2 or 3 online focus groups.

                Not saying that’s the way to do it – I’m just exploding the idea of the “committee” as the One True Way to get members of the public to focus on an issue and alternatives for a while and tell the City what they think after careful consideration and discussion. There are other ways of gathering feedback. We need to demand that our City do the best it can to be responsive to the public. As Soren pointed out, “stakeholders” are not even close to representative of the public.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty July 6, 2018 at 2:28 pm

                It sounds as if neither of us likes the city’s committee process much. However, a truly democratic/representative process would likely strongly favor the status quo.

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      • q June 30, 2018 at 9:30 pm

        The good news is that Portland does have a very popular, very successful car-free shopping street. The bad news is that it’s outside the city limits. The worse news is it’s Bridgeport Village.

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  • SafeStreetsNow June 29, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    It’s astonishing that a science museum is worried about congestion when faced with a project that would boost cycling. Do they believe in climate change or only when it’s convenient?

    I wish Bike Portland would leave the contact info for places like OMSI and the PBA so we can politely share our concerns about their viewpoints.

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    • Mike Quigley June 29, 2018 at 6:15 pm

      Politely share your concerns? You’ll be ignored. Laughed at. Ridiculed. The age of niceness is long gone in America.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 29, 2018 at 7:15 pm

      I expect that readers are smart enough to click a few times and find contact info themselves if they’d like to email someone in a story.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty June 30, 2018 at 11:26 pm

        Huh? Where do I click? I’ve clicked like 8 different places and nothing happens.

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      • SafeStreetsNow July 2, 2018 at 2:59 pm

        This is part of my professional background. I will tell you that if you provide a one-click option to directly contact those businesses/entities at the end of your articles, you’ll see a dramatically higher participation rate than sitting back and hoping that people will go through the trouble of searching the business and their directories/contact page. The easier you make it for the reader, the more advocates Bike Portland will leverage. I think, with your high readership, you would be pushing the dial by embedding direct advocacy actions into articles where appropriate.

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  • SD June 29, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    Why is the PBA still invited to these meetings? Can they be replaced by Business for a Better PDX? Weren’t they supposed to get new leadership whose perspective isn’t stuck in a 1980’s dystopia of dead urban centers and coked-out suburban overlords?

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  • Doug Hecker June 29, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    I think we could all come up with examples of when a bunch of people with the same agendas, ideas, and goals get together for a cause. But where is the equity in that? I mean, I assume you would value others opinions?

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  • 2012 June 29, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    I assume “Ability of new design to enhance MERS access” refers to emergency response vehicles being able to bypass congestion via transit enhancements (e.g. a BAT lane)? Because if so, bravo, it’s about time PBOT started factoring that into Portland’s lane allocation choices. One of the biggest complaints against road diets/diversion (albeit mostly from people grasping at straws trying to preserve existing auto capacity) is about emergency vehicle access: “What if someone dies waiting for the police/EMTs to arrive following a heart attack/armed robbery? [Followed by a legitimate rant about 911 and response wait times]” We should be converting a lane on every overbuilt street in the city for bus/turn/emergency vehicle access. While it wouldn’t provide quite the same degree of benefit as a straight-up road diet, it would still help, and for a much lower political cost. It’s a lot harder to say no to “this will allow ambulances, fire trucks, and police vehicles responding to calls to bypass congestion” than “this will allow public transportation to bypass congestion,” because while drive-everywhere types may give two shits about the 50 people on the bus stuck in traffic, they DO care about emergency services being able to get to their house quickly (doubly so for Boomers and older). Considering older folks are generally more vocally resistant to changes that affect auto capacity, speeds, and on-street parking, I’m stunned that PBOT (in collaboration with PPB, PFB, etc) have not yet framed the conversation in this way.

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    • Chris I July 2, 2018 at 8:26 am

      Do they actually care, or do they just use it as a convenient excuse? I guarantee you would still get pushback from the same people if you propose converting general purpose lanes into bus lanes. They just want to drive places quickly, they don’t care about anything else.

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  • Maddy June 30, 2018 at 7:56 am

    Assuming that people are “drive everywhere types” by choice and not necessity is counter productive. Most of my friends drive to work because their jobs are now in Deep SE, Gresham or Beaverton. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t rather take a bus or a train to work if it didn’t take hours each way.

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    • Chris I July 2, 2018 at 8:27 am

      Yes, but would they support the adjustments in lane allocations on east Portland streets that would actually bring transit and drive times closer to each other?

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  • Jim Lee June 30, 2018 at 11:30 am

    Lane changes on Foster have begun.


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  • Zaphod June 30, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Is there anything preventing PBOT from setting up cones along 11th for a month to gather data on road diet impacts? It would be enough time for behavior change and some level of equilibrium. Minimal cost and validates what the best course of action should be.

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    • soren June 30, 2018 at 5:18 pm

      “Is there anything preventing PBOT from setting up cones along 11th for a month to gather data on road diet impacts?”

      Yes. Hypocrisy and political corruption.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty June 30, 2018 at 8:43 pm

        The way forward is to convince stakeholders to advocate for themselves, rather than telling them what you think is good for them. Or, you know, we could just not have any car-free streets at all, which is what the impose-it-from-above approach will accomplish.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty June 30, 2018 at 8:44 pm


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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty June 30, 2018 at 8:45 pm

        Probably covered up by the fake media.

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