October 30, 2006
RTP Exercise - What's Working? - Compact Development
So we now begin the 2nd phase of our RTP exercise, by assessing what we're already doing that helps advance us to our desired outcomes.
My set of desired outcomes follows below. I've credited the original author and linked to the comment where it shows up in the prior phase.
The ground rules for this step are that you can't criticize the outcome described (instead, feel free to contribute to the implementation questions about a different outcome set since we will have three). The trick here is to figure out how we move toward the stated outcomes.
"Compact Development" scenario outcomes (it was hard to keep it to 12!):
- A seven-year-old on a bike should be able to safely and comfortably travel from his/her home to an elementary school, a park and a grocery store. (Chris)
- When moving about from place to place, citizens have the opportunity to make eye contact and communicate with each other in normal speaking voices. (Clay)
- 90% of households and 100% of businesses with employees in Metro area are a 10 minute walk from frequent, reliable, useful public transportation. (djk)
- Most qualified graduates from local colleges and universities will be able to find sustainable employment in their field within 6 months of graduation, and are able to live within walking, biking, or a 15 minutes or less single-seat transit ride of their employment. (Garlynn, Chris)
- Increasingly efficient use of existing roadway capacity through expanded transportation options will allow the region to continue to shift public resources away from transportation and toward education in order to "grow" and attact talent essential to a 21st century economcy based on adding value and innovation as opposed to the movement of cheap commodities. (Lenny)
- Outside of peak commute times, freight flows freely past areas of SOV congestion through tools like queue-jump lanes, differential pricing or truck-only lanes. (Chris)
- Run-off from transportation facilities is eliminated (that is, fully absorbed) through "green street" techniques. (djk)
- Air pollution from transportation facilities is at or below the absorbtion capacity of vegetation in the Metro area. (djk)
- 90% of Oregon children regularly travel self-powered to and from school safely without parental assistance. (mykle)
- The quarter of the region's residents who cannot drive have a substantially similar quality of transportation choices as those who can. (Evan)
- Traffic deaths are no longer the leading cause of death among ages 1-34 years old. (Evan)
- Roads and other infrastructure receive the regular maintenance that will prolong their life in the most cost-effective manner. (Ross)
Again, the question for this phase: What is working well to achieve the outcomes?
October 30, 2006 10:58 AM
Chris Smith Says:
It's a matter of focus. You get what you focus on. In Portland we've focused on bicycle lanes and boulevards and we've increased cycling dramatically (at least in the denser parts of the city, there's still lots to do in the East and Southwest).
We focused on building light rail in our region, and the corridors that have light rail are more livable.
We need to continue that focus and expand it to issues like safety (we're just getting started) and the pedestrian environment (how do we justify having residential streets ANYWHERE in the region that don't have sidewalks?).
October 30, 2006 11:08 AM
Paul Edgar Says:
Compact development that creates new high density housing must have a balanced mix of affordable units that address young and growing families (3 and 4-bedrooms) or these families will be forced to move to suburbs and that helps create a transportation nightmare.
Currently virtually none of the bragged about new housing units in the core of Portland have greater then 2-bedrooms and most all of them are far to expensive for the young family to buy.
The proof of this statement is in how many school age children live in the Pearl District? How many school age children are anticipated to live within the south water front area? How many school aged children will live in any of the new transit center housing or high density housing that is not subsidized? The answer to all of these questions is that the number is just a little greater then you can count on your hands!
What percentage of the new high density housing units are not in UR Districts? Maybe 5% to 10%!
This is very important because most all real property tax collected in these UR Districts does not flow to the cities general fund that is used to pay for public safety (police and fire) and that means that everyone else who are not in a UR District are picking up the tab for any and all public safety and general service obligations provided within UR Districts and that is WRONG.
The City of Portland and many others jurisdictions in and around in the Metro area have gone to using UR Districts to fund a high percentage of their new transportation infrastructure because of the limitations to charge adequate of System Development Fees and because of limitations on the use of gas tax revenue to fund most anything other then roads and highways.
Tax-fairness has to be part of any RTP Exercise addressing Compact Development in the Metro Area.
A percentage of all real property tax that is collected that flows into a UR District must be taken off the top, to fund all general service obligations that are manidated or made available in UR Districts, there should be NO-FREE-LUNCH off the backs of everyone else who does not live in a UR District.
A percentage of all real property tax that is collected that flows into a UR District should fund general transportation infrastructure like streetcars, lightrail, buses, bike and PED paths, and major arterials gateways needed for a balanced compact development area.
October 30, 2006 1:32 PM
Lenny Anderson Says:
Neighborhood schools that are outstanding attract families with school age children. Alameda and Chapman schools are examples. Investing more in pre-K through 12 public schools creates a key attactor that fuels increased density, housing diversity, and transportation options.
Paul...TIF (Tax Increment Funding) only takes the increase over the base year for projects within a URA; so the lion's share of most URAs' taxes continue to go to cities, counties and schools.
October 30, 2006 2:43 PM
Lenny Anderson Says:
As I recall there is pretty strong data to demonstrate a very significantly lower number of auto trips by households in Portland's older close-in neighborhoods than in newer suburban neighborhoods. This reduced use of automobiles is just due to the fact that retail and services are closer by and street connectivity more complete.
Likewise, both data from TravelSmarth in Interstate as well as PDOT before & after vehicle counts show approximately 10% reduction in vehicle trips in the Interstate Corridor after Interstate MAX opened. Lightrail gets some of the credit, but so does New Seasons Market...N. Portlanders were no longer having to drive over to 33rd & Killingworth to shop. There are gradually more worthwhile destinations in North Portland that can be reached easily by a variety of modes, not just motor vehicle trips.
As Mississippi, Alberta, MLK, Lombard, Killingsworth and other Main Streets continue to develop from streets with boarded up windows into thriving retail/service streets, pedestrian safety must be addressed with the ususal tools. Here NW 23rd & 21st show us the path we need to follow...curb extensions, crosswalks, etc....and by and large where you look at eastside Main Streets, local business districts and neighborhoods are in line on this approach. But there remain things to be done to make these Main Streets even more effective as centers of a community...central "town squares" where key intersections are transitioned into welcoming pubic spaces for all modes.
But NW isn't affordable any more...well neither is Manhattan. Make an attractive place, and it attracts, prices go up. The answer is not to "run down" places like the Pearl, it is to emulate them out beyond 82nd and the westhills, and by and large that is happening.
October 30, 2006 5:17 PM
Paul Edgar Says:
Lenny, Tax Increment Financing (TIF) or UR Districts and in Portland case, Portland Development Commission (PDC) most often establish their boundary with little or no real assessed tax value base.
This TIF assessed tax base is the only property tax dollars collected that passes through to fund general fund services.
So if we were to look at the the assessed tax value of the Pearl District was before it had any of the new building built on it there was not much assessed tax value.
Now we have 100 of millions in investments in new building and out of the real property tax paid on these new building approximately 95% (this is my guess) goes direct to the PDC/TIF/UR Pearl District encumbered fund and 5% to cover all public safety and all service obligations and needs rendered by the City.
This means that if the real and fully burdened cost to provide public services to the Pearl District or any TIF District are greater then the pass through dollars coming from the district then everyone else is picking up the tab or services levels are reduced across the board.
This is the real world of TIF/UR Districts and who pays for the expansion in needed services once the tax base has been established.
When we do not have enough money to perform reasonable street maintenance in the City of Portland, yet we know that our total tax revenue received has gone up, we should look at where most of the new property tax money is going to and that is TIF/UR District encumbered funds accounts.
October 30, 2006 6:44 PM
Ron Swaren Says:
"As I recall there is pretty strong data to demonstrate a very significantly lower number of auto trips by households in Portland's older close-in neighborhoods than in newer suburban neighborhoods. This reduced use of automobiles is just due to the fact that retail and services are closer by and street connectivity more complete."
Having a bar or cafe close doesn't hurt either. Plus a high enough income to afford deliveries. True, the New Seasons in Sellwood is close enough for me to walk to, but I usually drive to the truly multi-cultural discount markets in Oak Grove like Grocery Outlet.
"As Mississippi, Alberta, MLK, Lombard, Killingsworth and other Main Streets continue to develop from streets with boarded up windows into thriving retail/service streets, pedestrian safety must be addressed with the ususal tools."
And well they should. We're sinking plenty of money into those areas. Such as a $350 million MAX. Just hope I get my share.
October 30, 2006 7:02 PM
The urban growth boundary is protecting farms & forests outside of the urban-limit area from development, and development within the line is now more concentrated than it might have been without the line.
Transit Oriented Development is building new neighborhoods within walking distance of fast, efficient regional transit systems.
Mixed-use zoning in neighborhood centers is allowing essential services... like grocery stores and brewpubs... to be located within walking/biking distance of most homes, even outside of Portland.
Transportation infrastructure choices have allowed carbon dioxide emissions to fall below 1990 levels ahead of schedule.
October 30, 2006 7:27 PM
But NW isn't affordable any more...well neither is Manhattan. Make an attractive place, and it attracts, prices go up.
Unless you regulate those prices.
Manhattan is very affordable, if you've got a rent-controlled apartment. That small percentage of affordable housing is one reason why art and culture thrive in NYC -- which in turn helps Manhattan remain attractive. It's a odd but successful recipe.