congestion pricing

Council session reveals City’s commitment to I-5 congestion pricing

Avatar by on October 25th, 2017 at 11:35 am

I-5 north of Weidler overpass.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“I’m fully cognizant of the fact that [congestion pricing] may not happen before this project and I certainly don’t want to see this project fall by the wayside because of that.”
— Dan Saltzman, City Commissioner

As the Oregon Department of Transportation tries their best to move forward with a project to widen Interstate 5 through the Rose Quarter, there remains broad support from experts, activists, insiders — and even politicians — that charging a toll to drive on the freeway is the most sensible way to respond to congestion concerns.

But until last week it had been all talk and posturing. That was before City Commissioner Dan Saltzman (who oversees the Portland Bureau of Transportation) drafted an amendment to an action item on the project in the Central City 2035 Plan. At their October 18th work session on the plan, Portland City Council agreed with Saltzman on an idea we first reported on back in September: That ODOT must implement congestion pricing on I-5.

But the devil is in the details. When would the tolls start? Would they be legal? How committed is the City of Portland to congestion pricing on I-5? Are they willing to risk the entire project if it doesn’t happen? [Read more…]

Lawmakers weigh in on bus-only lanes, Powell Blvd, and more at east Portland forum

Avatar by on August 4th, 2017 at 1:24 pm

Oregon State Rep Janelle Bynum last night. Seated are Congressman Earl Blumenauer and County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Transportation is such a hot topic in east Portland right now that, “We need to be inside with the air conditioning,” said Lee Cha last night in the gym of the Immigration & Refugee Community Organization, located near the intersection of 102nd and Glisan. Cha, IRCO’s executive director, welcomed a panel of three lawmakers to a public forum on the topic: County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, Oregon State Representative Janelle Bynum and U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer.

The trio shared their perspectives on the issues and were asked questions by the audience.

Blumenauer played emcee and kicked things off. A veteran bike advocate and the face of cycling in Congress, Blumenauer knows the big picture here: He went to high school nearby and served as both a county and city commissioner before moving to D.C.

One-by-one he checked off some of the big problems. “Since the first light rail and a few freeway projects, there’s been very little federal investment east of 82nd,” he said. “And the 205 freeway was a mixed blessings in terms of what it did to the neighborhoods it was dropped into. It took a lot of time for the communities to recover… This area has been sort of a stepchild.”

Blumenauer added that “orphaned highways” like Powell and 82nd are “stuck in limbo” and “aren’t much different from when I went to high school out here and that was a long, long, long time ago.”
[Read more…]