The Portland Bureau of Transportation is forming an official advisory body to oversee implementation of the Central City in Motion plan. That plan includes 18 “transformative” projects aimed at improving the efficiency and safety of key central city corridors. Among the changes will be transit lanes, protected bike lanes, updated crossings, and more. Taken together, the projects represent the most ambitious re-thinking of roadway space in decades.
Suffice it to say, there’s a lot riding on this effort. Perhaps that’s why PBOT has taken this step of convening a formal Working Group. According to the announcement released today by the Office of Community & Civic Life, the group will be an official city advisory body and will, “offer strategic advice to help the project team successfully implement projects.
Specifically, members of the group will:
Provide input on priorities for project design and construction
Connect the project team with key stakeholders and community representatives and identify opportunities for public engagement on project design
Identify opportunities for the private sector to leverage public investments
Monitor project delivery
Evaluate project performance
PBOT will be especially interested in your application if:
You have an interest in Portland’s transportation system in the Central City
You have an expertise or interest with the design of transportation projects, particularly transit-priority, bikeway, and pedestrian safety improvements
You believe in the value of public participation in government process
You are an advocate for racial equity
You are available to attend all meetings and participate in the discussions
You are a problem-solver and big-picture thinker, willing to help PBOT evaluate project designs, weigh trade-offs, resolve conflicts, and move forward with implementing projects in a timely manner
You bring unique perspectives and can offer input on specific issues while considering the good of the Central City as a whole
The group will meet quarterly for two years. Applications are due March 21st. You can view the official application and all eligibility requirements here.
This working group is an interesting development. I don’t recall us having a similar working group for other implementation plans. This plan already had a lengthy public outreach process that included a “Sounding Board” advisory committee to vet the projects. The implementation plan passed council with a 3-0 vote. Typically we’d move forward with construction and each project would go through its standard design/outreach phase prior to construction.
Speaking of construction, PBOT Capital Projects, Assets and Maintenance Communications Coordinator Hannah Schafer shared with me today that three projects will begin construction this summer. Details are still being worked out but Schafer says the projects will be a partnership with TriMet and Multnomah County and will focus on improving capacity on the Hawthorne, Burnside and Steel bridges. Stay tuned for more information in April.
It’s not clear to what extent this new Working Group will influence the final projects.
What is clear is that is there will be strong representation from groups like the Central Eastside Industrial Council and the Portland Business Alliance on this Working Group — both of whom will be eager to join and do whatever they can to weaken the projects and make sure PBOT does not constrain automobile parking or driving convenience. (I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the CEIC and PBA who encouraged PBOT to create this committee in the first place.)
That should be all the encouragement you need to apply. Here’s that link to the application one more time\.
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