Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman’s chief of staff has been hired by Oregon Governor Kate Brown. Brendan Finn, who’s worked with Saltzman since 1999, will be Brown’s new transportation policy advisor.
“We don’t want it [pricing] as a poison pill for the entire project. We want to be at the table with them [ODOT] as the process happens.”
— Matt Grumm, senior policy advisory for Commissioner Dan Saltzman
Just three months ago Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman was seen as a bulwark against the I-5 Rose Quarter project. Since then he has completely backed away from his insistence that congestion pricing be implemented before any lanes are added to the freeway.
The State of Oregon and the City of Portland are itching to spend $450 million to add lanes to I-5 and make changes to surface streets around the Rose Quarter. The project faces staunch opposition. Many of the critics think widening a central city freeway in 2017 is a bad idea and before doing so, it makes sense to implement congestion pricing. If people have to pay to use the freeway, the thinking goes, perhaps demand will decrease so much that current traffic problems will disappear and we’ll save millions of dollars.
On September 1st, Saltzman agreed with them. Three months later, not so much.
Saltzman’s initial statement on this issue was clear. He wanted to, “Include congestion/value pricing before the project breaks ground to ensure maximum congestion relief and overall environmental benefits.” That statement was heralded by transportation reform advocates and especially the group No More Freeways PDX. It put Saltzman on the other side of the Oregon Department of Transportation who has made it clear they don’t feel this section of I-5 is the right place to try congestion pricing.
Include congestion/value pricing before the project breaks ground to ensure maxim congestion relief and overall environmental benefits.
— from a statement drafted by Commissioner Dan Saltzman’s office
Will the City of Portland sit idly by and allow new lanes to be added to a freeway in the urban core? Not if the commissioner in charge of the transportation bureau has his way.
Prior to a public hearing on the Central City 2035 Plan slated for Thursday (September 7th), City Commissioner Dan Saltzman will issue a statement about the Interstate 5/Rose Quarter freeway project. According to his Senior Policy Director Matt Grumm, Saltzman has been watching the dialogue on the project unfold over the past week. Among the work they’ve done to understand the issue is to meet with leaders of the No More Freeway Expansions coalition — which includes Joe Cortright, an economist and expert on congestion pricing.
While Grumm hasn’t said Saltzman will agree to remove the freeway project from the Transportation System Plan (as No More Freeways wants), he will do something that many feel is just as important: Require congestion pricing before the tractors roll in and construction starts on the new lanes.
Here’s a snip of an early draft of the statement Saltzman’s office is working on:
Include congestion/value pricing before the project breaks ground to ensure maximum congestion relief and overall environmental benefits
City of Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman says despite investing $12,000 in the creation a traffic safety public service ad campaign, he has advised city staff to not use the video or link to the accompanying website.
There’s a new voice for businesses in Portland and they are focused on two issues that could make or break the future of cycling in our city. As we just reported with the City of Portland’s proposal to lower its bike mode share goals due what their analysis tells them is a lack homes in proximity to jobs, the issues of affordable housing and cycling are closely intertwined.
A business lobby group could help bend this trend in a different direction; but only if it wants a future with housing for everyone and more people on bikes.
Hoping to get out in front of what many see as an inevitable tidal wave in vehicle technology that will transform our streets, the City of Portland has announced the Smart Autonomous Vehicles Initiative (SAVI).
The announcement was made this morning at the Portland Business Alliance’s April Forum Breakfast event. Mayor Ted Wheeler and City Commissioner Dan Saltzman spoke at the event and formally launched the initiative via the Portland Bureau of Transportation (which Saltzman oversees). By the end of this year the city will develop a suite of policies and review proposals from private companies that want to test AVs on Portland streets.
“My goal is to have an autonomous vehicle pilot program in Portland, working for Portlanders, by the end of the year,” Wheeler said in a statement. “To the inventors, investors and innovators, I’m here to say that Portland is open for business. By working with private industry, we can make sure that cutting edge technology expands access to public transit and reduces pollution and congestion.”
The City of Portland has unleashed a barrage of attacks against a key rival in their fight against speeding.
With Vision Zero firmly planted as a top priority at the highest levels of city government, the Bureau of Transportation has turned their attention to two of our most dangerous streets: SE Division and SE 122nd.
Here are updates on several speed-related items we continue to track…
Portland City Council just voted unanimously to enact an emergency state law to drop the speed limit on outer Division Street — a road recently referred to as a “death corridor” by City Commissioner Dan Saltzman.
As we reported earlier this month, the move comes as the Bureau of Transportation reacts to a spate of deaths and injuries on the street. The move also comes as the latest example of PBOT flexing its Vision Zero muscles.
Since this passed as an emergency, it can go into effect immediately. PBOT crews will be out on Division Street tomorrow taking down 35 mph signs and replacing them with 30 mph signs. Once the signs are up, the new speed limit will be in place for 120 days. If all goes according to PBOT’s plan, they’ll never have to remove the signs. Upcoming changes to the street intended to slow people down are likely to reduce average speeds to an amount compatible with what the Oregon Department of Transportation prefers to see before granting an official, permanent speed limit change.
Here’s more from PBOT as shared in a press statement following today’s Council vote:
Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman apologized to residents of the Jade District in person last night for a spate of fatal traffic crashes on outer Division Street.
Speaking as the new commissioner-in-charge of the transportation bureau, Saltzman stood in front of a mostly Chinese-speaking crowd and said, “We’re sorry and we’re bound and determined to do something about that.”
18 months ago in the exact same room as the meeting Saltzman attended last night — the Jade/APANO Multicultural Space on the corner of 82nd and Division — the City of Portland launched their Vision Zero effort. The Bureau of Transportation didn’t plan on coming back, but since that celebratory launch five people have died and three others have suffered life-altering injuries on outer Division. When two Chinese immigrants died trying to cross the street in separate collisions within just hours of each other back in December, PBOT swung into action and has been listening and formulating plans ever since.
Last night in a meeting hosted by the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, PBOT kicked off a community process slated to end with a plan adopted by City Council this fall.
After severe storms unleashed havoc on our roads and heaps of criticism on the City of Portland’s response, Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman laid out a new plan at a city hall press conference a few hours ago.
PBOT Director Leah Treat told us last week the City was, “Specifically going to look at expanding our de-icing and plow routes to include neighborhood greenways.”
Unfortunately, this new plan doesn’t do that. Instead of plowing residential streets that are the backbone of our biking network, Commissioner Saltzman announced two other changes to the City’s storm response plan. After resisting the use of salt due to environmental concerns, PBOT now says they plan to use up to 100 tons of it on at least three major roads during upcoming storms. This “largest use of road salt in the modern history of Portland,” will be a test to see how effective salt is at keeping roads free of ice and snow. In addition, they’ve announced an 30 percent expansion in the number of lane miles that will be plowed.
We knew the salt decision was coming; but it’s the plow route we were most curious about going into today’s press conference. As we reported last week, not only were bike lanes and bikeways left piled with snow during the storm, they’ve been covered in gravel for weeks.
City Commissioner Dan Saltzman has been given a new assignment by Mayor Ted Wheeler: the Portland Bureau of Transportation. Wheeler announced the bureau assignments via executive order this morning.
Saltzman has had his council seat since 1999 — the longest of any other member — and this is his first time having control of PBOT. The bureau was previously led by Steve Novick, who lost his re-election bid to Chloe Eudaly in November. In Portland’s form of government, each commissioner (and the Mayor) are given oversight of city bureaus. They then advocate for policies and funding plans that are advantageous to their bureaus.
Also as commissioner of PBOT Saltzman will represent the City of Portland on Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, a body made up of elected officials that sets transportation policy and priorities for the entire region.
With PBOT in his portfolio, Saltzman can now guide one of the city’s largest bureaus and one that has a vast impact on people’s everyday lives. It’s unclear where exactly Saltzman stands on major transportation policies since he hasn’t played a pivotal role on the topic for many years.
A quick look at the BikePortland archives however does give us some clues.