January 30, 2009
Earlier this week, I was invited out to Oregon Iron Works to check out progress on our first locally produced Streetcar. With a little bit of luck, you'll see this out on the streets of Portland in March for burn-in testing.
More after the jump...
The vehicle is painted Blue and Orange from the existing Streetcar palette. "Made in USA" decals will be applied later :-)
Oregon Iron Works was kind enough to pass on some of their own photos without all the scaffolding around the car...
January 29, 2009
Metro has scheduled a public hearing for next week for a resolution instructing Metro President David Bragdon on how to represent the agency on the project sponsors council during the discussion on the number of lanes for the Columbia River Crossing.
What: Metro Council Meeting regarding the number of lanes on the CRC, with public testimony
When: Thursday, February 5, 2:00 pm
Where: Metro Council Chamber, 600 NE Grand Ave., Portland
January 28, 2009
Today I joined several folks from the Streetcar Citizen Advisory Committee for a preview ride on the new Westside Express Service (WES).
More after the jump.
January 27, 2009
From the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition:
Director, Willamette Pedestrian Coalition
The Willamette Pedestrian Coalition (WPC) Board of Directors is looking for an enthusiastic advocate for accessible and livable communities to fill an immediate opening for its part-time Director position.
The Willamette Pedestrian Coalition (WPC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, community based membership organization in the greater Portland metro area. The WPC has been dedicated to promoting walking and making the conditions for walking safe and attractive since 1991. A Board of Directors oversees the operations of the WPC and relies on a Director for carrying out the day-today operations and promoting the mission of the WPC.
The Director must exercise a passion for pedestrian accessibility, equity and community livability. The Director manages the day to day affairs of this pedestrian advocacy organization, provides general support to the Board, prepares written and oral communications, coordinates and schedules organization activities, performs outreach and awareness clinics, manages grants and related reports and products, maintains an organized office and supervises an intern position.
The salary is $18.00 / hour for a 15 to 20 hour work week with some schedule flexibility. Health benefits are not provided. The WPC office is near downtown Portland. A detailed job description is available at www.wpcwalks.org.
A responsive letter of interest, current resume and a list of three (3) references must be received before February 20th at 5 pm at firstname.lastname@example.org or:
Willamette Pedestrian Coalition
Attention: Philip Selinger
P.O. Box 2252
Portland, OR 97208-2252
Questions may be also e-mailed or call Phil at 503-224-5122. The Board of Directors expects to fill this position by the end of February 2009. Please pass this announcement to others who might be interested. Thank you.
Update: 7:18pm - Apparently this will go to a floor vote in the house tomorrow. 1000 Friends has published a local alert:
Friends and Allies,
Please take action now to help secure increased funding for public transit.
We've just been informed that Congressmen Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR) have introduced an amendment to the American Economic Recovery and Investment Act that will go to the floor for a vote tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon. It would add $3 billion in additional funding for public transit above and beyond the $9.5 billion in the original economic recovery bill. This is our best chance to influence the outcome of the legislation.
Congress will consider and VOTE on this amendment in the next 18 hours. Please encourage your Representative to vote YES on this important amendment. (Click here for background information.)
Please act now! Call tonight or first thing tomorrow morning. Urge them to support the Nadler/DeFazio amendment, and don't forget to thank Rep. DeFazio, particularly if you live in his district!
First District -- Congressman David Wu -- (503) 326-2901
Second District -- Congressman Greg Walden -- (541) 389-4408
Third District -- Congressman Earl Blumenauer -- (503) 231-2300
Fourth District -- Congressman Peter DeFazio -- (541) 465-6732
Fifth District -- Congressman Kurt Schrader -- (503) 588-9100
The Team at 1000 Friends of Oregon
P.S. Oregon could receive up to $30 million or more for Tri-Met, Cherriots, Lane Transit District and others if this amendment passes. Please call today!
Republished from Streetsblog:
We're at a critical moment for green transportation in the stimulus package. The key piece on the table now is Jerrold Nadler's amendment to boost transit investment by $3 billion. A decision could be reached as soon as today, so now is the time to make those phone calls. The people to reach are the House leadership and the Appropriations Committee, who must be persuaded to allow more transit investment into the bill.
As things stand, only one percent of the total stimulus is devoted to transit, while highway spending and all the traffic-generating boondoggles that come with it stand to receive more than three times that amount. If you want to see a stronger recovery bill that does more to curb oil dependence, reduce pollution, and enhance the livability of America's cities, here are the key numbers to call. Tell these representatives that the Nadler amendment must be allowed to reach the floor for a vote (check after the jump for talking points). If it can reach the floor, we're told, the amendment has a very good chance to pass. Drop us a line in the comments about how things go.
Nancy Pelosi (202) 225-4965
Steny Hoyer (202) 225-4131
James Clyburn (202) 225-3315
Chris Van Hollen (202) 225-5341
David Obey, WI (202) 225-3365
John Olver, MA (202) 225-5335
James Moran, VA (202) 225-4376
Lucille Roybal-Allard, CA (202) 225-1766
Barbara Lee, CA (202) 225-2661
Talking points courtesy of the National Association of City Transportation Officials:
* Transit is the future of our nation's metropolitan regions which represent 80% of the US population. Public transit ridership has been surging over the last year, but instead of capitalizing on the public demand for more and better transit, cities are being forced to curtail service and cut jobs.
* These modest adjustments will result in far-reaching impact on mobility, pollution reduction, and economic stimulation in metropolitan regions.
* Discuss the transit need in your city and the fact that federal resources for transit can absolutely be spent within the timeframes set out by the bill. House leadership in particular needs to hear the case for transit. The White House is pushing them to make no changes. The leadership needs to hear from the cities about why these amendments are critical.
Via Planetizen, 15 Creative, Innovative & Hilarious Parking Solutions from WebUrbanist.
January 26, 2009
I attended the joint Portland City Council/Metro Council work session on the Columbia River Crossing this morning. It was interesting to watch the two groups interact directly (something that has only happened once before, on the occasion that Portland sold the St. John's landfill to Metro).
The main topic was intended to be the number of lanes for the bridge, but the conversation covered a lot of territory. The only one to really tip his hand on the lanes issue was Commissioner Leonard who suggested that since the difference in cost between 8 and 12 lanes was relatively small (only $250M!) we should build the 12-lane bridge but stripe it for 8 lanes and change the striping later if needed.
(That strikes me as being analogous to buying a belt 3 sizes too big on the theory that you can "just cinch it in unless you happen to gain 20 pounds.")
There were at least two elephants in the room:
- The rationale is that any of the bridge scenarios will have less greenhouse gas emissions than the no-build because the increased capacity will eliminate congestion, while tolling prevents induced demand from congesting the new capacity. Missing from the discussion, because it was eliminated earlier in the analysis, was what might happen to congestion and emissions if the same tolling was applied to the existing bridges.
- There was zero mention of freight rail capacity in the corridor.
Some other interesting points that came out in the discussion:
- All configurations increase VMT compared to the no-build. VMT is only reduced if you toll both the I-5 and I-205.
- Transit usage will not be determined by the toll price, because transit ridership will largely be constrained by two factors: the amount of park-and-ride capacity Vancouver will accept without overwhelming its urban form and the amount of feeder bus service that CTRAN will provide.
For me, I think Councilor Carl Hosticka made the most salient points about risks:
- Modeling demand elasticity based on pricing is relatively new and there is risk that at the projected toll rates, induced demand will still occur.
- We may lack the political will to raise or maintain tolls at the necessary level to constrain demand in the future.
- We may lack the political will to maintain land use policy in the future.
Any of these could result in the sprawl scenario that many of us fear...
Rescued from obscurity on OregonLive.
Ronald A. Buel is a Portland business executive and published writer on transportation.
The Oregonian continues its campaign for the $4.2 billion Columbia River Crossing (CRC) with a January 18 editorial, and with a January 22 My Opinion piece by James L. Huffman. These two follow a column by Dave Lister. All three have the same "eliminate congestion with more capacity" theme.
Here are the parts of The Oregonian editorial that are most foolish: "the bridge...must be built with the capacity to handle traffic for as many years as possible. And that means making the bridge 12 lanes, not 10 or eight...If it's too small, transportation models indicate hot spots of congestion would re-emerge by 2030. A 12-lane bridge, in contrast, would be built for generations."
There is a fundamental fallacy in the CRC modeling that The Oregonian cites. The current modeling is based on land-use that is the same in 2030 both with and without the 12-lane bridge. This means that there would be no more people living in Clark County if we build the big new replacement bridge than if we don't.
This false assumption means that the 12-lane bridge will induce no new travel and therefore will not be as congested at rush hour. It means that the 5,000 un-developed acres zoned for housing, in the urban growth areas off I-5 of Vancouver, Battleground, La Center, Ridgefield, and Three Rivers, will be built out for housing at the same rate, whether or not we build the big, new bridge.
New freeway capacity, like this bridge, is proven to induce new travel in every part of our nation. In the case where we have all this sprawled-out, undeveloped-but-zoned-for-housing land, the assumption that the CRC will not induce more travel from new development is so wrong as to be a fatal error under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).
One need only look at the 20-and-30-year projections for the Glenn Jackson Bridge across the Columbia on I-205, which was opened in 1982. Those old projections, done in the same way with fixed land use, are now low by nearly 50%. That's because thousands of people moved to sprawled-out East Clark County, knowing they could easily commute by single passenger vehicle across that big new bridge. This huge, multi-lane freeway bridge is now congested at rush hour. That's called induced travel.
Instead of favoring relieving congestion with more capacity, The Oregonian should be asking why every major environmental and land-use organization in Oregon argued against the big new 12-lane bridge.
One answer is that the current fleet of fossil-fuel vehicles in Oregon emits 40% of our global warming pollution. Our only hope for cutting this major cause of climate change, in order to meet both Oregon and Washington's aggressive climate change goals, is to reduce vehicle miles traveled. New electric vehicles and new fuels won't help in time. CRC consultants, hoping to favor the big new replacement bridge and satisfy developers, truckers and construction interests, lied about the bridge impact on vehicle miles traveled and global warming pollution, even considering planned mass transit and tolls.
Metro and the City of Portland called for new climate change analysis, but we haven't seen that yet. What we see, instead, is this push by the pavers for settling the number of lanes now -- at 12 lanes all the way across the River. This is a foolhardy campaign for winning the argument, without the new global warming analysis and without a completed Environmental Impact Statement. The eventual resulting lawsuit will doom any new bridge for many years.
January 25, 2009
Two City Council meetings focus on the Columbia River Crossing this week, both at City Hall in the Council Chambers:
- Monday, 10AM - Joint work session with the Metro Council:
I. OPENING REMARKS BY MAYOR ADAMS AND COUNCIL PRESIDENT BRAGDON
II. COLUMBIA RIVER CROSSING PRESENTATION
• Review of two Council's resolutions, progress report on what has been completed
• Review of Induced Demand and Greenhouse Gas Reports
• Report on Tolling work to date
III. COUNCIL DISCUSSION AND QUESTIONS
• Number of lanes
- Thursday at 2PM: Public Hearing - see the Coalition for a Livable Future Action Alert
January 23, 2009
From the Southeast Uplift online newsletter:
Sunnyside-Centenary United Methodist Church 3520 SE Yamhill Tuesday, February 17
Transition Sunnyside is a project of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association's Sustainability Committee to inspire a community-level conversation about how to begin shifting our patterns of living away from a heavy reliance on fossil fuels (oil, gas, grid-supplied electricity) and toward more local alternatives for food, transport, household energy and water.
The lecture series will feature films, guest speakers, round table discussions and workshops.
The February conversation will feature a round table on living and getting around car-free in Portland.
For updates and more details visit their website and click on Sustainability.
Bring your friends!
Questions? 503-231-5059 or e-mail email@example.com
Reported in the Daily Journal of Commerce.
January 21, 2009
TriMet has limited space for members of the public on Westside Express (WES) preview rides:
In addition to free WES rides on January 30 as part of the WES Commuter Rail Grand Opening Celebration, we're now offering a limited number of preview rides on January 23, 26, 27 and 28 between 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Space is limited, so act quickly to reserve your ride! RSVP now by calling 503-962-6474 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 20, 2009
City Council is holding a hearing on the Columbia River Crossing at the end of the month:
Portland City Council Hearing With Public Testimony
January 29, 2pm
Portland City Hall, 1221 SW Fourth Ave
This will be a critical opportunity for public input on the number of lanes and other major project decisions. Get the full scoop via the Action Alert from the Coalition for a Livable Future.
January 19, 2009
Just in from regular reader Jason Barbour:
Please allow me to interrupt the stream of recent "All CRC All the Time" comments in the aforementioned thread, and in "8, 10, 12?," for the following late-breaking news regarding the Sellwood Bridge Project:
The Community Task Force has met as the CTF for the final time, and is presenting the following recommendations to the Sellwood Bridge Policy Advisory Group. As a CTF member, I'm pleased to announce the results here."D" Alignment (current alignment, extended to the South)Signalized westside interchangeBike/Pedestrian signal on the eastside intersection of SE Tacoma and SE 6th Ave.No clear consensus between a 64' 2-vehicle land bridge and a 76' 3-vehicle lane bridge (both have separate adequate bike and pedestrian facilities across the bridge). There is consensus that the recommendation is against a 4-lane bridge of any configuration (includes extra lanes disguised as "transit lanes"). Serving on the project has been absolutely incredible. I wouldn't trade it for any other experience I could've had during the time. I also thank everyone else who's been involved, including members of the public who've attended meetings, provided candid testimony, sparked vigorous debate, and asked us to consider their position while we made our decision.
As for me, everyone keeps saying "see you around town...," but I have a feeling they haven't seen the last of me. ;) (In a good way, OK?!) Now, back to your regularly-scheduled comments, already in progress.
Now back to CRC coverage...
The City Club is about to study transportation governance. Here is the charge for the study (PDF, 58K) (full disclosure - I was a member of the committee that drafted the charge).
City Club is poised to launch two new comprehensive studies and is looking for volunteers to serve on research committees.
The first of these studies will examine if the governance structure for transportation in the Portland metropolitan area is adequate for tackling the challenges of population growth, aging infrastructure and climate change. The topic of the second study will likely be announced in the coming months.
For more information or to request a volunteer application, contact City Club's research and policy director, Tony Iaccarino, at email@example.com or 503-228-7231 x103. Applications are due January 23.
January 16, 2009
Lynn Lindgren-Schreuder is executive director of the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition
Do we need better infrastructure for pedestrians? Should new infrastructure spending be primarily on roads? What do we tell the young girl whose mother died on January 7th while walking along Columbia Boulevard in an area that is dark, with no sidewalks or crosswalks?
Where is the public outrage when a pedestrian is killed? The driver was not impaired and was not charged with a crime. Pedestrians in the roadway have no legal footing. The least we can do is insure there is a safe place to walk. And make sure that infrastructure investments improve safety for everyone.
January 15, 2009
Lots of Columbia River Crossing stuff today:
- A front-page article in yesterday's O asks whether the CRC is sustainable, or is just being painted that way.
- The independent critique of the greenhouse gas analysis (PDF, 196K) has been released. Fundamentally it supports the analysis in the DEIS. On the other hand, if you believe the DEIS gets it wrong on induced demand...
- A series of public meetings has been announced regard the number of auxiliary lanes:
Learn about the tradeoffs with an 8, 10 or 12 lane bridge at upcoming session
The public is invited to learn more about the tradeoffs associated with an eight, 10 or 12 lane Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River at two informational sessions. Project staff will provide a presentation, answer questions and accept public comment.
A replacement I-5 bridge will have three "through" lanes in each direction and up to three lanes in each direction to connect interchanges in the five-mile project area. These connector lanes are known as add/drop or auxiliary lanes. No add/drop lanes are proposed north or south of the project area. The upcoming question and answer sessions will focus on the number of add/drop lanes in the project area and will explain the choices and potential traffic and environmental effects of the eight, 10, and 12 lane scenarios. Information presented will include data on the purpose, safety and efficiency of add/drop lanes and the decision making process for determining the number to be included in the project.
Comments received will be provided to the CRC's Project Sponsors Council. The Council will use the comments to aid in their recommendation for the project's number of lanes, expected in early February.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Clark County Elections building
1408 Franklin St., Vancouver, WA 98660
Saturday, January 24, 2009
9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Kaiser Town Hall
Conference rooms A & B
3704 N. Interstate Ave., Portland, OR 97227
January 13, 2009
Pedestrian Rights Clinics
Have you been waiting to attend a Pedestrian Rights Clinic? The next two clinics are scheduled for January 22 & Feburary 2.
Do you like to walk, but feel ignored by cars? The WPC invites you to learn about your rights as a pedestrian. Did you know that pedestrians have the right of way in all crosswalks, marked and unmarked? Learn about your rights and how to prosecute dangerous drivers.
Ray Thomas will present from his book "Oregon Pedestrian Rights: A Legal Guide for Persons on Foot".
Dates and Locations:
January 22, 2009; 6:30 - 7:45
Hosted by Southeast Uplift - SEUL
3534 SE Main, Portland
February 2, 2009; 6:30 - 7:45
Hosted by Neighbors West / Northwest - NW/NW
Location: Northwest Neighborhood Cultural Center
1819 NW Everett St., Board Room
The WPC would like to thank Southeast Uplift - SEUL and Neighbors West / Northwest -NW/NW for hosting the clinics.
Portland State University
Center for Transportation Studies
Winter 2009 Transportation Seminar Series
Dave Unsworth, TriMet Sr. Manager of Transit Development & Guenevere Millius, Principal at SRM Architecture and Marketing, Inc.
Topic: Willamette River Crossing
When: Friday, January 16, 2009, 12:00-1:00p.m.
Where: PSU Urban Center Building, SW 6th and Mill, Room 204
January 12, 2009
Apparently there was a fair amount of disagreement over home many lanes the Columbia River Crossing should have at Friday's Project Sponsors' Council meeting.
According to the Oregonian, Portland was trying to eliminate the 12-lane option, while Vancouver was trying to eliminate the 8-lane option (while holding out for 12). Ah, harmony...
My favorite quote is from Mayor Sam Adams regarding one of the 4-mile long "auxillary" lanes:
"It begins to walk like a duck and quack like a duck as another through lane on the freeway," Adams said. "I have concerns about how that will work out in the real world."
January 9, 2009
The Daily Journal of Commerce reports that Sellwood Bridge Advisory Group is nearing a decision on a recommendation for a preferred bridge option.
The T4American coalition, presumably having recognized that the stimulus would not contain a shift in policy towards transit, is now advocating for an emphasis that road funding go to maintenance rather than expansion.
January 8, 2009
Michael Ronkin is the former Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator for the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to suggestions on how best to invest in our infrastructure. You have heard from many about repairing bridges and highways. You have been receiving many "shovel-ready" wish lists of projects. Big highway projects are rarely shovel-ready; there will always be legitimate environmental and political hurdles to overcome, requiring robust public debate.
However, there are many small-scale projects that require little or no red tape, provide tremendous benefit/cost, and create the greatest number of local jobs per dollar spent: sidewalk repair, infill and construction, and bringing existing sidewalks up to ADA compliance. Sidewalk projects provide many economic benefits for communities large and small:
- Most of the sidewalk cost is labor (60-80%);
- The labor force is usually local; the bulk of the materials (sand and gravel) can be found locally too;
- The wages are living wages, but not too high for financially strapped communities;
- The minimal amount of design needed can be done in-house or by small local engineering firms.
- Local small contractors can perform the work;
- This provides work for small contractors hurt by the housing downturn, as they are doing less small concrete work for house foundations, driveways etc.;
- These are opportunities to make good use of existing incentive programs such as Emerging Small Businesses, Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, Minority-Owned Businesses;
- But most important are the positive results for the community:
Sidewalks improve property values, make it easier to walk for short local trips, reduce municipal liability for trip and fall injuries, and help make the transportation system accessible to all pedestrians, including those the Americans with Disabilities Act was intended to help bring into the mainstream.
The backlog of sidewalk infill and repair is huge in most cities. When I worked as Pedestrian and Bicycle Program Manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation, I managed a small grant program (approximately $3,000,000/year statewide) that funded sidewalk infill projects. Every year we had to turn away many worthy applicants, as the requests exceeded available funds at a 5:1 ratio.
Designing Streets for Pedestrians and Bicyclists LLC
1602 Center St NE
Salem OR 97301
The Meeting is 10-noon at the WSDOT HQ in Vancouver:
10:00 - 10:10 a.m. Welcome and Introductions
10:10 - 11:30 a.m.
Add/Drop Lanes Decision Process (Cont.):
• Response to Action Items from Last Meeting:
- Travel Demand & tolling
- Additional Operational Differences
- Transit Impacts
- Environmental Differences
- Cost Related Issues
- Induced Land Use
• Presentation and Discussion on Greenhouse Gas
Expert Panel Findings
11:30 - 11:45 a.m. Discussion on Recommendation Process for Add/Drop Lanes
11:45 - 11:50 a.m. Communications Update
11:50 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Next Steps and Next Meeting Topics
12:00 p.m. Adjourn
WSDOT, SW Region Headquarters, Room 124
11018 NE 51st Circle
Vancouver, WA 98682
The meeting packet (PDF, 318K) is worth a read, it includes the minutes from the last meeting, where VMT projections were reviewed.
January 7, 2009
For its next leg of light-rail, TriMet is proposing what will be downtown's first new river bridge in 35 years--and the nation's first-ever transit/pedestrian/bicycle bridge. It's a trophy in the making to add to Portland's ever-growing mantel of green alt-transport innovations.
But, not surprisingly, a debate is emerging over cost and aesthetics. So for the first Bright Lights city design discussion of the new year, we've invited the project's designer, Boston-based architect Miguel Rosales. He's trying to create a beautiful bridge TriMet can afford.
Presented by Portland Spaces magazine and the City Club of Portland--and sponsored by the Architecture Foundation of Oregon--the Bright Lights series features conversations with the designers, planners, elected officials, and other movers and shakers affecting the city. The discussions take place every second Monday of the month at Jimmy Mak's, 221 NW 10th Ave.
Rosales has designed such sublimely elegant bridges as the Puente Centenario over the Panama Canal and the Zakim Bridge in Boston. Over the past six months, in collaboration with German engineering firm Schlaich Bergermann and Partners, he has studied a dozen types of bridges for TriMet and the Willamette River Transit Bridge Advisory Committee. The final two contenders could not be more different: a cable-stay bridge with towers reaching 270 feet high and a wave bridge that echoes the surrounding hills with an undulating open-web truss pattern. A more standard bridge, the cable-stay is estimated to cost between $89 million and $93 million. The wave bridge, which has never been built before, could run from $93 million to $119 million.
At Bright Lights, Rosales will speak about the merits and risks of each design, as well as his own career in bridge design. In particular, he will address the challenges of designing unique structures like the wave bridge. The Guatemalan-born, MIT-educated Rosales has led the design of more than 15 major bridges, including the new Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge in Washington, DC, and the Liberty Bridge in Greenville, South Carolina.
Doors open at 5:00 p.m. Presentation begins at 5:30 p.m.
Listen to the show (mp3, 27.6MB)
Wow! What a banner year for cycling! The KBOO Bike Show celebrates LIVE on the air with our New Year's Open House. Blind Pilot, a Portland-based rock band that tours by bike, performs live in the studios. We invite people on the air to share their favorite moments of 2008 and hopes for 2009.
January 6, 2009
Even as the New York Times editorializes for a greater role for transit, the buzz in the blogosphere notes that the President-elect again mentioned "roads and bridges" but not transit in his weekly address.
The line now being heard is that the stimulus will preserve the existing split between roads and transit and that policy change will need to wait for the reauthorization bill later this year.
Meanwhile, the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission appears poised to recommend a significant gas tax increase.
Lots of noise. I'm looking forward to some actual legislation!
Kicking off the spring PSU seminar series:
Portland State University
Center for Transportation Studies
Winter 2009 Transportation Seminar Series
The Winter 2009 Transportation Seminar Series begins this Friday!
Speaker: Alison Wiley, Transportation Options Program Manager, Oregon Dept. of Transportation
Topic: Global Warming Transportation Solutions Via Social Marketing
When: Friday, January 9, 2009, 12:00-1:00p.m.
Where: PSU Urban Center Building, SW 6th and Mill, Room 204
January 5, 2009
On Thursday, JPACT will review regional priorities for the next transportation reauthorization, the once-every-six-years setting of Federal transportation policy.
I've extracted the draft policy document (PDF, 362K) from the meeting packet.
While I'm sure our approach will be much more progressive that most other regions, there is still room for improvement. Here are a few gripes:
- "Metropolitan Mobility" means roads - the section on Metropolitan Mobility loftily starts out talking about a multi-modal transportation system, but all the projects listed in the section are road projects. Transit goes into a separate section and if freight rail appears in the document, I didn't see it.
- A special call-out for "Mega-projects" looks like a way to put Columbia River Crossing funding in its own bucket that won't impact other allocations.
- One of the great cop-out lines on climate change:
Provide a clear integration with federal climate change policy. Individual projects cannot be held accountable for meeting regional greenhouse gas reduction targets. However, the overall regional system can be held accountable and the federal transportation programs should ensure this accountability (much like the current air quality conformity requirement). [Emphasis mine]If we allow mega-projects that negatively impact climate change in significant ways (ala the CRC), it's going to be very difficult to produce an overall transportation system that reduces greenhouse gases significantly. We need look no further than the RTP process, where the scenario modeling is showing how difficult it is to keep VMT from growning.
Now to be sure, there's a LOT of good stuff in this policy including lots of worthy transit investments. I'm particularly pleased by the emphasis on doing the Sunrise corridor as a parkway (it probably helps that the chief proponent of the parkway approach is now Clackamas County Chair).
But we have room for improvement.
January 4, 2009
There's an interesting post on Intermodality that places the idea of 'Rapid Streetcar' on a spectrum from buses up through Light Rail.
January 2, 2009
The region has been gradually building out our high capacity transit (HCT) system based on a plan that is now about a quarter century old, and much of that vision has been fulfilled. So what happens now?
Metro and TriMet have undertaken a new High Capacity Transit system plan effort, and I've been involved peripherally on one of the advisory panels. I wanted to highlight a couple of interesting documents that are now available on Metro's web site:
- Preliminary Screening Memo (PDF, 13M) - The first report on a wide range of quantitative factors that will go into corridor selection. If provides interesting insights on a variety of levels.
- "World Class" Consultant's Presentation (PDF, 3.7M) - one of the more interesting discussions in the advisory panel, this PowerPoint looks at what makes HCT successful across the world. My big take-away was the importance of integration with land use. Here in our region, LRT has generally been built where right-of-way could be acquired most inexpensively (both in dollars and political costs). We then try to develop land uses along the line at station areas.
The lesson from other cities seems to be that HCT is most successful when it serves existing land uses - and this often requires converting auto right-of-way to dedicated transit lanes (i.e., less light the Blue line and more like Interstate).
Food for thought... (and thanks to project staff for putting these documents online).
January 1, 2009
Dear Friends in Cycling,
Wow! What a banner year for cycling! The KBOO Bike Show is inviting you to come celebrate LIVE on the air with us at our New Year's Open House.
Blind Pilot, a Portland-based rock band that tours by bike, will perform live in the studios. We're inviting people on the air to share their favorite moments of 2008 and hopes for 2009.
What got you excited?
Was it going platinum?
Bike shop growth?
A reduction in accidents?
Laughing as the gas prices rose?
Seeing more people on bikes?
Having more fun on your bike?
KBOO Studios, 20 SE 8th (8th and E. Burnside) Wednesday, January 7th 9-10am
Come down for the party. Grabbing the mic to share your thoughts is OPTIONAL. You may also call in at 503-232-8187 during the show.
We'll have coffee and pastries.
Come see where the magic that is the KBOO Bike show has been happening every month since 2001!
9-10AM, Wednesday, January 7th
KBOO FM 90.7
Streamed live at KBOO.fm
Podcast here later that day