Did you know that’s the official Oregon Department of Transportation parlance for the category of spending that includes bicycling, walking, and public transit infrastructure?
“I agree it’s not ideal.”
— Travis Brouwer, ODOT Deputy Director of Revenue and Finance
It’s uninspiring. It defers so much to “highway” it’s almost offensive. It does nothing to boost the political power or public image of these beautiful, life-affirming modes of transportation and it certainly doesn’t match their inherent (dare I say revolutionary) potential. Ask yourself: Would any powerful policymaker or elected official — especially ones from rural places — have the guts to cast a vote that aggressively prioritizes Non-Highway spending over categories with bread-and-butter names like “Enhance Highway” or “Fix-It”?
This has been on my mind as I cover the current debate around STIP spending. When I shared something about it today on Twitter, I cc’d Travis Brouwer, ODOT’s Deputy Director of Finance and Revenue. He’s a smart and open-minded guy who actually engages online (thanks Travis!) so I figured it was worth a shot.
Turns out Brouwer’s open to a new name. “I agree it’s not ideal,” he typed in a reply.
I suggested “Bike/Ped Enhance” (better yet, “Bike/Walk Enhance”) and “Active Enhance” to put the category on equal footing with the all-powerful “Enhance Highway” moniker.
Let’s come up with more ideas. To help get your creative juices flowing, here’s how ODOT defines the Non-Highway category:
Non-highway funding supports biking, walking, public transportation, transportation options/transportation demand management projects, investments and programs. Mandatory biking and walking funding is included per the Bike Bill (ORS 366.215). Other funding is discretionary and support off-system paths, elderly and disabled transit service and more.
Our friends at No More Freeways said the new name should prioritize climate. “That way it’s abundantly clear whether ODOT is serious about redirecting policies/revenue to honor a commitment to not burning down the state,” they said.
How about “Enhance Climate”?
No name will be perfect, but anything would be better than a non-name.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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