“Just because she thinks a compromise is the best that can get done doesn’t mean we have to accept it. We can and should still say “no” if we aren’t satisfied.”
Welcome to the Comment of the Week, where we highlight notable comments. You can help us choose our next one by replying with “comment of the week” to any comment you deem worthy.
This week we highlight a comment “Ross Williams” wrote in response to our story on Metro President Lynn Peterson’s State of Transportation in the Region address at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit earlier this week.
There were a number of strong comments to choose from, but Ross’s comment stood out for a couple of reasons. Not only did it specifically address issues raised in the article, it also stepped back to take a longer view of megaprojects and public support in general. Ross’s comment brought perspective to the topic, and maintained a reassuring and respectful tone.
Here’s what Ross wrote:
If the need is real, “No” is always a temporary answer and it often leads to a much better “Yes”. You can see that with the light rail lines to Clackamas County. A good creative solution to I5’s real problems will eventually come out of a determined “No” to bad solutions that will simply make the situation worse. Part of the problem now is that the region said yes to the ill-considered decision 20 years ago to widen I5 at Lombard. That generated extra traffic both at the bridge and at the Rose Quarter.
While I understand the appeal of congestion pricing, I don’t think it really fixes the problem. It assumes that there will always be enough people who are price sensitive and will change their behavior in the way you want in order to save some money. And it assumes that the only problem exists when too many people use the bridge at the same time. But even more free flowing traffic is a problem both for the climate and for people who live in Portland.
The idea that if someone can afford it we should let them do it is not going to solve the climate problem. As an extreme example, you aren’t going to get Bill Gates out of his private jet by raising the cost. But you don’t need Bill Gates wealth to not let a toll inconvenience you.
Lynn Peterson is doing what good politicians do, trying to bring people to YES so we can move forward. As activists we can demand the project we want or no project at all, but leaders eventually need to get to 50%. That involves compromises. I certainly trust her more than most politicians to make that judgment. But just because she thinks a compromise is the best that can get done doesn’t mean we have to accept it. We can and should still say “No” if we aren’t satisfied.
Thank you Ross!
You can help us find future comments by replying with “comment of the week” to any comment you think deserves the recognition.
Lisa Caballero has lived in SW Portland for over 20 years. She is on the Transportation Committee of her neighborhood association, the Southwest Hills Residential League (SWHRL) and can be reached at email@example.com.