Archive | February, 2009

Coming Up on the KBOO Bike Show: New Time Slot!

Note new time slot: 11am – Noon

Let’s Celebrate Amazing Cyclists!

Oregon is an amazing place to ride a bike not just because of the work of local and state governments.

Ordinary citizens like you and me have worked tirelessly over the years in their own unique ways to improve the cycling landscape.

Tune in to the KBOO Bike Show in March to learn more about these bike heroes and the upcoming Alice B. Toeclips awards ceremony that will honor their good work. When faced with adversity, why did they keep fighting? Where does the spirit come from? Why do they love bikes?

Tune in and call in to tell us about your bike heroes.

11AM-Noon, Wednesday, March 3rd
KBOO FM 90.7
Streamed live at KBOO.fm
Podcast here later that day

T4America Launches Campaign for Reauthorization Bill

Transportation for America has launched an advocacy campaign for the new transportation reauthorization bill:

As debate opens on the next transportation spending bill, a poll released today by the National Association of Realtors and Transportation for America found that the American people overwhelmingly favor a more diverse and smarter portfolio of investments in public transportation, walking and biking, and strongly prefer to repair and maintain our roads before we build more of them. Nearly a third support expansion and improvement of bus, rail, and other public transportation options as a top national priority, while 16 percent said the same for expanding highways.

Full details here.

Development-Oriented Transit: Bus, Trolley Bus and Streetcar

How do we create pedestrian-friendly mainstreets and 20-minute neighborhoods? At the beginning of the last century Streetcars were the preferred tool, and here in Portland they are again at the beginning of this century here in Portland and increasingly in other U.S. cities.

Of course it is not simply a matter of installing rails in the street – the successes in the Pearl District, the West End and the developing South Waterfront are based on planning, zoning and a combination of public and private investments including Streetcar.

But skeptics continue to ask whether the intense capital cost of Streetcar is necessary to achieve the results:

  • At the extreme end of the spectrum, it’s been suggested that simply the right mix of streetscape improvements and amenities could be sufficient:

    And if it is government investment, could we make such investment without the streetcar component? Could we invest in streetscape improvement, façade improvement programs, development of strategies to create a unique character (or “brand” if you are a marketing person) for a street or neighborhood, public art, civic buildings, etc. and achieve the same results?

  • Locally, sometimes Portland Transport contributor Jim Howell has pointed out that blossoming neighborhood main streets like Albert and Mississippi are succeeding only with frequent bus service. But the bones of these neighborhoods formed in Portland’s first Streetcar era. Do we have examples where a bus line has created such a neighborhood?
  • In Cincinnati, Streetcar opponents have trotted out the Trolley Bus question. Could catenary wires allow a rubber-tired vehicle to bring the same benefits that we’re extracting from Streetcar?

So how much investment, and which components, are really necessary to create a 20-minute neighborhood? How could we construct a test (preferably by surveying existing examples) to guide us?