Next month will be the one-year anniversary of City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty being in charge of the Portland Bureau of Transportation. In that time she’s gone from leading a bureau she had almost no experience with (the fact that Mayor Ted Wheeler assigned it to her was even seen by some as a punishment), to referring to herself in this interview as “the big dog” in city transportation.
It took a year for her and I to sit down together and I’m excited to finally share this interview with you.
Jonathan Maus: Why are more people choosing to drive instead of choosing to bike?
Jo Ann Hardesty: Because honestly, we don’t charge people for the use of our roads with automobiles. People get a free ride and that free ride is going to end relatively soon. And that’s the reality.
We spent over an hour in her City Hall office on Thursday (12/2) discussing a wide range of issues. We talked about everything from automated enforcement cameras (she supports them but said PBOT might have to fire the current vendor for delays), to the decline of biking in Portland (which she attributes to driving being way too cheap), her position on ODOT’s freeway expansion projects in Portland, the role of police in transportation safety (she is “appalled” at their press conference last week), her feelings about a new “civilian traffic force”, what she considers an ideal street design, and much more.
You can view the full transcript here or scroll through the PDF below.Hardesty-Transcript