Sunday Parkways, bike boulevards among “painful” PBOT budget cuts

Leaves in bike lane on Naito

With budget cuts to bike lane
cleaning, you might want to
carry a broom.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has unveiled a list of proposed cuts intended to slash their discretionary budget by $15-16 million. The unprecedented cuts — which amount to about 20% of $70 million in discretionary revenue — comes as PBOT grapples with how continue providing services while revenue sources have failed to keep pace with demands and commitments made in previous years are now coming due.

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PBOT unveils major reforms to address budget crisis

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Map shows PBOT’s new “streets of
citywide significance”.
– Download PDF-

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has released an update on their 2012-2013 budget situation. As we suspected, a major shrinking of their budget has resulted in a restructuring of how the bureau will prioritize spending. In other big news, PBOT Director Tom Miller has unveiled a set of “organizational evolutions” that will change the face of the bureau.

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Union group, PBOT maintenance workers to speak out on budget cuts – Updated

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Maintenance workers say potholes will
get worse, and people on bikes will
pay the price.
(Photo: Heather Andews)

With massive cuts coming from the Bureau of Transportation, there’s one group that is ready to stand up and defend their piece of the pie: maintenance workers. And people who bike should support them, says organizer Erica Askin.

According to a statement released by Laborer’s Local 483, PBOT maintenance workers and their community supporters will pack into City Hall this morning to “demonstrate opposition to the proposed $16.2 million in cuts to the Bureau’s ongoing budget.”

Askin, who plans to represent the workers with testimony at the City Council meeting this morning, met with PBOT staff yesterday. According to a union spokesperson, Askin brought up two key reasons for protecting the maintenance budget: emergency vehicle access and “cyclists depend on the roads too.”

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Mayors Adams still committed to sidewalk funding

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Street Smart campaign launch event-7-6

Adams says sidewalk spending
commitment is rock-solid.
(Photo © J. Maus)

A story in The Oregonian published Friday (and an irresponsible Tweet by BikePortland) might have you thinking that Mayor Sam Adams — grappling with a tight budget at the Bureau of Transportation — has broken a promise to invest in sidewalks in East and Southwest Portland.

“Cracks have appeared in Portland Mayor Sam Adams’ pledge to build new sidewalks” is the opening line in The Oregonian story. In a Tweet about that story, I wrote “Mayor Adams backed off promise to build sidewalks due to budget.” “Not true at all,” Adams replied, “but I agree that is the impression the article falsely conveys.”

With historic cuts coming to PBOT, many in the community are watching Adams’ spending decisions — especially those that impact biking and walking — very closely.

What follows is more context behind Adams’ decision and how a local walking advocacy group is taking the news.

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Editorial: Amid historic cuts, thoughts on “fundamental restructuring” of PBOT

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bike traffic in Portland-2-2.jpg

Severe cuts will force us
to make bold decisions on how
we prioritize funding.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation made an historic announcement on Monday. In order to balance their budget, the agency needs to make $16 million in ongoing cuts. Not one-time cuts to patch a lean year, but ongoing and permanent into the foreseeable future.

This is a very big deal that is likely to fundamentally change how PBOT does business (read that sentence again). It’s also an opportunity to consider a complete restructuring of how the bureau goes about its business, where funding should be cut, and what expenditures should be prioritized.

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PBOT must slash $16 million to balance budget

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Transportaiton Safety Summit-22

PBOT Director Tom Miller says
“tough decisions” lie ahead
for his agency.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has projected $16 million in cuts to balance their 2012-2013 fiscal year budget.

As we reported earlier this month, the cuts are necessary due to a variety of local, regional, and national issues and Portland Mayor Sam Adams is asking all bureaus to do their parts to weather the storm.

In a statement issued today, PBOT said they’ve gotten even lower than expected gas tax receipt projections from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). State gas tax revenues are PBOT’s single largest source of funding and they’ve been dwindling as people decide to drive less and drive more fuel-efficient cars.

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Looming budget cuts could force tough decisions at PBOT

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Sunday Parkways SE-3-2

Budget cuts could force hard decisions
on popular programs like Sunday Parkways.
(Photo © J. Maus)

As reported last week by The Oregonian, the City of Portland faces steep cuts in its 2012-2013 budget.

“As a result of global, national, and local factors that may impact the City and the uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook,” reads a memo sent to all agency directors from City Council last week, “we are asking bureaus… to prepare significant program cuts for FY 2012-2013.”

While a more detailed analysis of the revenue forecast isn’t expected until December, the writing is on the wall — cuts will have to be made. The big question for is, where?

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Budget office: PBOT should scale back Sunday Parkways plans

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Sunday Parkways-25.jpg

PBOT might have to look elsewhere
to pay for five Sunday Parkways this year.
(Photo © J. Maus)

[Hat tip to the Willamette Week]

The City’s Financial Planning Division is recommending that the Bureau of Transportation scale back their planned five Sunday Parkways to just three, the same number held last year.

According to the City’s budget office, the five events planned this year will cost a total of $475,000. PBOT put in a budget request in hopes that $217,000 of that amount could be paid through the City’s General Fund.

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City budget hearings begin tonight: Take survey before you go

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Community Budget Hearing

Strategy session prior to a
budget hearing in 2007.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Tonight in Northwest Portland the City will hold its first of three Budget Hearings. To coincide with these hearings, the City has launched an online survey to find out how citizens feel about spending priorities.

With the recent passage of the 2030 Bike Plan, there has been a lot of headlines and discussion about transportation funding. These hearings are an excellent opportunity to tell Mayor Adams and City Council members what their priorities should be.

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BTA votes no on PBOT’s proposed budget

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bike lane on Naito Parkway

A freshly paved Naito Parkway
came with new bike lanes.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation submitted their proposed 2010-2011 budget to City Hall today and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance is not happy with it. Michelle Poyourow, advocacy director of the BTA and member of the PBOT Budget Advisory Committee, was the 13-member committee’s sole no vote on the budget proposal.

“Our interest is for the City to make strategic transportation investments, not the ones we’ve made in the past which have resulted in the current problems we have. We want strategic investments for the future we are aiming for… Where people can be active, and not use fossil fuels.”

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