Governor Kate Brown spent about an hour with members of the City Club of Portland today. At the event, a preview of the 2020 legislative session, Brown fielded two questions about the controversial I-5 Rose Quarter project.
As we reported Thursday, the Oregon Department of Transportation and their bosses at the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) are facing an intense barrage of questions and concerns from elected officials and community groups over their plans to expand I-5 between I-84 and I-405.[Read more…]
This story is by northwest Portland resident, Planning & Sustainability Commissioner and devoted civic activist, Chris Smith.
I confess, I’m a heavy user of Amazon Prime. Not in the “I’m too lazy to go to the grocery store” way, but more of a “there’s so much selection, I can get exactly the thing I’m looking for!” way. If I can buy what I need locally, I definitely do.
I’m aware of the potential negative impacts of this convenience: exploitation of workers at Amazon warehouses, impact on local retail and — especially given the focus of my activism — last mile impacts on the local transportation system.
It’s been a long time coming, but Portland is finally about to take a big step forward in road safety. The Bureau of Planning & Sustainability (BPS) announced today they’ll propose a change to the City’s administrative rules that would require all garbage and recycling contractors to fill gaps in the sides of their trucks by 2022. The new mandate would apply to about 195 vehicles that currently don’t meet federal safety standards.
“What do the neighbors have to be afraid of? It’s buildings, people or cars.”
— Chris Smith, Planning Commissioner
An earlier version of this post was published by the Sightline Institute. It’s by BikePortland’s former news editor, Michael Andersen, who started covering the need for “missing middle” housing — especially in Portland’s most bikeable neighborhoods — for us in 2015. We last covered this issue in May, just before the crucial public hearings described here.
The most provocative housing policy event of this week in the Pacific Northwest started happening four months ago.
Noted transportation activist and Portland Planning and Sustainability Commissioner Chris Smith made a bold move Tuesday night that could have thrown a wrench in the works the State of Oregon’s top transportation priority.
Smith put forward a motion at a work session meeting of the Planning Commission that would have taken the I-5 Broadway Weidler Facility Plan out of the City of Portland’s Transportation System Plan. The TSP is Portland’s road investment guidebook and any major project that wants funding must be listed in it. As we reported yesterday, this $450 million (estimated) project is one of three freeway mega-projects lined up to receive significant funding in the transportation package currently being negotiated in Salem.
Smith was the sole PSC Commissioner to vote against the project when it was passed as part of the N/NE Quadrant Plan (a component of the Central City 2035 Plan) back in 2012. Judging from his pointed remarks about the project Tuesday night, he still hasn’t warmed up to the idea.
BikePortlanders may remember that a few years ago, Portland Planning and Sustainability Commissioner Chris Smith approached us with an idea: he felt the city’s bike parking rules needed an update, and wanted help proving it.
So we teamed up with our friends at Lancaster Engineering to host a “wonk night” at which 30 attendees broke into groups and brainstormed ideas for updating the city code that tells developers how to design bike parking and how much of each type to include.
Smith wrote us this week to share some good news: Tomorrow night is the first meeting of the Bicycle Parking Stakeholder Working Group, which has been officially tasked with rewriting the city’s code.
Commissioner Fritz questions city plan to legalize tiny homes near property lines, a perk currently given to auto storage
(Photos by M.Andersen/BikePortland)
Until this week, Portland seemed poised to eliminate one of the many ways it prioritizes housing for cars over housing for people.
For decades, there’s been exactly one way to build a 15-foot-tall structure up to the edge of most Portland property lines: put a car in it.
Want an accessory dwelling unit the same size as a garage? Sorry, that’ll have to be set back five feet from the property line, even if it has no windows or doors facing the property edge.
Bike sheds currently face the same restriction: unlike garages that were designed for cars, bike sheds must be at least five feet away from the property line in all single-family residential zones.
(Photos: M.Andersen and J.Maus/BikePortland)
Last year, Portland hired a top-dollar consulting firm for advice on the best way to manage the auto parking that’s become increasingly scarce in a few neighborhoods.
Twelve months later, the city is taking steps toward some of its recommendations: for example, proposing an opt-in parking permit system that would let residential neighborhoods block their street parking spaces from being used by people living or shopping on commercial corridors.
But at the moment, Portland is on course to ignore a different suggestion made very clearly by the firm, Nelson\Nygaard: that elected officials should “never, ever” be the ones to set the price of parking.
How much is a bike lane worth?
As the City of Portland begins moving toward an overhaul of its auto parking policy, the people on two massive parking-reform stakeholder committees (one for the central city and one for neighborhood commercial districts) are beginning to confront an interesting problem.
If modern acolytes of market-priced street parking are correct, it’s actually not hard to discover the economic value of an on-street auto parking space: use meters or permits to raise the price of parking until 15 percent of spaces in a given area — about one per block — are always empty and available. It’s the curbside equivalent of a store that’s acquiring new inventory at the same rate that it sells its current stock.