August 31, 2009
August 27, 2009
Apparently truckers like plugging in their big rigs once they try it, but getting trial is a little tricky.
The program is funded by PPS and State Energy Tax Credits.
August 26, 2009
NAVEEN LAMBA GLOBAL EXPERIENCES IN CONGESTION PRICING
Learn about congestion management programs around the world at this installment of Metro's Transportation Speaker Series featuring Naveen Lamba from IBM's Global Business Services.Stockholm, London and Singapore are three cities with prominent congestion charging programs. IBM has a significant role in all three projects and a wealth of lessons learned from these successful implementations. Mr. Lamba will also discuss examples of cities that have unsuccessfully tried to implement congestion management programs. Finally, the presentation will discuss innovative approaches to developing the next generation of congestion pricing solutions.
noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009
Metro Regional Center, council chamber
600 NE Grand Ave., Portland
About Naveen Lamba
Mr. Lamba is IBM's global industry leader for intelligent transportation and is based in the Washington D.C. area. He has spent the last 18 years working on intelligent transportation projects around the world for governments and private sector organizations. Mr. Lamba's work focuses on developing business and technical models suitable for varying economic and social environments.
Free and open to the public. This lecture is part of Metro's Transportation Speaker Series. Reservations are not required. For more information, call 503-797-1916 or visit www.oregonmetro.gov.
August 25, 2009
A few weekends ago, we were treated to demos by four bike sharing vendors. You can find my photos and notes after the jump, and Willamette Week has a nice roundup.
The common factor among all the vendors is that they won't espouse a preference for a business model - they all say that's up to the City, which points to the underlying problem: bikesharing probably won't be self-funded, it will require some kind of subsidy. In other cities the subsidy has been generated by allowing the selling of advertising in public space.
But that's not a fit for Portland - we have a lower tolerance for display advertising, and what we do allow is already booked up.
So here are some thoughts and questions (by no means comprehensive - just a prod to stimulate conversation) on what it would take to make such a system thrive in Portland:
- A lower cost model - the leading contenders all have an initial installation cost of $4K per bike. Somebody has to figure out a cheaper entry strategy that takes less hardware.
- Do we need lockers? Lockers are an answer to the vandalism problem, which seems to vary tremendously by city. Would vandalism be an issue here in Portland?
- A way to leverage our vibrant bike culture. Current cyclists are NOT the market for a bike sharing system, but my gut tells me that we need to find a way for the cycling community to take some kind of ownership for the success of any system. What might that look like?
- A Raison d'être. Why would we do this? Cycling is growing rapidly without such a system. What role does a bike sharing system play beyond being cool? Whatever policy basis we find for this needs to align with a funding stream.
- Upgraded bike facilities in the central city. I think the target market for a system would be the "interested but concerned" category of potential riders who need facilities that feel safe and comfortable. Confident cyclists find downtown's streets accomodating, but casual riders don't. We're going to need many more facilities like the protected lane planned for Broadway.
Portland Bicycle Tours will text you the location of a bike and the combination to the lock - this is the hyperlocal, grass roots end of the spectrum.
August 24, 2009
An interesting corollary to the last post is that there is now evidence that homes with a greater range of services in walking distance fetch higher prices.
Bicycle-based vendors are making their mark on Portland's street culture and business landscape. Elly and Sara host a discussion with local two- and three-wheeled shopkeepers. Can you fit an entire convenience store onto a bike? What does it feel like to pedal a coffee shop over the Hawthorne Bridge? How is the city permit office handling these new kinds of mobile businesses?
11AM-Noon, Wednesday, September 2nd
KBOO FM 90.7
Streamed live at KBOO.fm
Podcast here later that day
An article on "grist" makes the case that the transition from neighborhood-based retail to big boxes is one of the contributors to increasing per-capita vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and makes the case for a return to neighborhood retail as a way to combat global warming.
August 21, 2009
- ODOT is taking $35M saved from lower than expected bids on Federally funded stimulus project and is using it to buy trains for the Eugene-Portland run.
- WSDOT is putting on a second train daily to Vancouver, B.C. (starting at Portland)
I mentioned that I was reading Resilient Cities.
From the book, here are the key elements for a resilient transport city:
- A transit system that is faster than traffic in all major corridors.
- Viable centers along the corridors that are dense enough to service a good transit system.
- Walkable areas and cycling facilities that can mean easy access by nonmotorized means, especially in these centers.
- Services and connectivity that can guarantee access at most times of the day or night without time wasted.
- Phasing out freeways and phasing in congestion taxes that are directed back into the funding of transit and walk/cycle facilities as well as traffic-calming measures.
- Continual improvement of vehicle engines to ensure emissions, noise, and fuel consumption are reduced, especially a move to electric vehicles.
- Regional and local governance that can enable visionary green transport plans and funding schemes to be introduced.
What do we think of the list?
August 20, 2009
Local mayors are griping that they are too far down the list of projects in the regional High Capacity Transit plan.
Cool ... these folks used to fight about highway dollars!
Apparently the Columbia River Crossing is a "A Model for Collaboration and Environmental Stewardship".
What planet does the FHWA live on?
August 19, 2009
I'm going to have to figure out how that's going to affect my blogging.
That's $30M of our gas tax dollars going to finish the planning of the Columbia River Crossing.
How much more do we have to spend to get a responsible plan?
That's what ODOT appears to be thinking.
August 18, 2009
T4America has a comprehensive report on the nationwide impact of transit service cuts and fare increases.
From the Coalition for a Livable Future:
What: Contact the Oregon Transportation Commission and express your opposition to funding for the Columbia River Crossing Project.
Who to Contact: Email the Commissioners c/o Amy Merkling, ODOT Commission Assistant and Citizens' Representative, Amy.MERCKLING@odot.state.or.us
Gail Achterman, Oregon Transportation Commission Chair
Michael Nelson, Oregon Transportation Commission Vice-Chair
Janice Wilson, Oregon Transportation Commission
Alan Brown, Oregon Transportation Commission
David Lohman, Oregon Transportation Commission
Background: The Oregon Transportation Commission will be discussing the allocation of state funding for the Columbia River Crossing at its August 19th meeting, even though the legislature did not fund the CRC in the last session, signaling a lack of statewide support for the project. This omission is particularly notable as an intentional choice of the legislature, as it earmarked almost $1 Billion for other projects in the Jobs and Transportation Act.
Coalition for a Livable Future is urging the Oregon Transportation Commission to not fund the CRC until the project is designed in a way that will help Oregon meet its global warming goals. As possibly the largest infrastructure project in the state's history, this project should be the first major example of how to build infrastructure to help reduce VMT from today's levels. The current project design allows an increase of greenhouse gases by over 30% by 2030, working in direct cross-purposes to the state's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. In order to reach this goal, the project needs to be dramatically modified and scaled appropriately to reduce future vehicle miles traveled at or below today's level. Join CLF by discouraging OTC from supporting the allocation of funds for the Columbia River Crossing project as currently designed.
August 17, 2009
Returning from yesterday's final Sunday Parkways of the season in SE Portland, I've noticed that my approach to the event has changed.
Last year and for the first event of this year, I focused mostly on riding the loop, enjoying being out there with the throngs of cyclists, walkers, runners, skateboarders, etc.
The last two events, perhaps because I've had volunteer shifts (last time as an 'intersection superhero', today at a Stop the CRC table), I've been a little more focused on the happenings along the route, and in neither case rode the full loop, but still enjoyed being in the non-auto flow of traffic.
My favorite part is definitely seeing all the kids out there (loved the skills area set up by the "Gateway Green" folks who hope to include a skills park in their project). Let's start the kids early! (Even saw some pregnant ladies participating today, that's about as early as you can start the kids.)
The Mayor has announced that we will do five events next year, which is fantastic. One change I'd like to see is to include some business districts on the loops next year. I think we've stayed away from business districts on the theory that we don't want anyone to say we're chilling business by keeping the cars away. But I suspect a supportive set of merchants would find they could drive business WAY up on a parkway Sunday with the right kind of sidewalk presence. Anyway, let's try and find out with a willing business association.
August 14, 2009
Some of you noticed (and thanks to those of you who wrote) that the site has been down for most of the last 24 hours.
Our web host shut us down yesterday after we spiked their server load - we suspect we were under a comment-spam attack. They've turned us back on today.
I'm off to enjoy the weekend, including Sunday Parkways in SE! Back to our regular posting schedule on Monday.
August 12, 2009
The Daily Journal of Commerce reports that our intrepid Congressman is sponsoring a bill that would look at a national study along the lines of ODOT's pilot program to use in-car GPS systems to track Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) to allow a VMT tax as an alternative to the gas tax.
But all of you who are convinced that this is a secret plan to track your every movement, relax - the article reports Congress is looking at a "a five- to 10-year period of study and slow integration."
Personally I think congestion pricing is a more practical and effective way to achieve similar policy goals, but if a VMT tax is where we're headed, Oregon may as well be the leader (propelled by Federal funding for development).
August 11, 2009
Show off your communication skills:
- APTA (the American Public Transportation Association) is soliciting YouTube videos for their "Dump the Pump" campaign. Check out contest rules here.
- Transportation Alternatives, the NYC advocacy organization is soliciting PSAs for their "Biking Rules!" campaign.
Interesting uses of crowdsourcing...
[Update 2009-08-12 from Bob R.]
I've decided to enter the "Dump the Pump" video contest, and could use the help of PortlandTransport readers... view this comment for details.
August 10, 2009
An article in Citiwire suggests that Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) are actually pretty good at planning, but lack the authority to put their plans into action.
Portland, where Metro plays the federally-mandated role of MPO, is one of the few places where the MPO has real authority.
But even here the politics are tough. Local governments are loathe to surrender what they perceive as their local needs to a greater regional good. Witness the local flap over adding industrial land to the UGB in Cornelius.
With or without statutory authority, the politics of regional planning are hard.
Friday brought the news that former Sate Sen. Gary George is starting a referral drive to repeal the gas tax increase that was one of the cornerstones of the transportation package adopted by the Legislature.
This is somewhat surpising because supposedly the anti-tax groups agreed to hold their fire in exchange for the Newberg-Dundee bypass being included in the package. It doesn't sound like the repeal has legs (the mainline anti-tax groups have bigger fish to fry), but it's interesting that the deal seems to be fraying at the edges.
August 7, 2009
The Daily Journal of Commerce reports on the search for funding for the Sellwood Bridge.
If ever there were a place where tolling made sense...
August 6, 2009
Apparently about 1000 will be deployed in the Willamette Valley thanks to some stimulus funding.
In the form of Rob Bertini, PSU Professor, transportation researcher and Director of the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC). Per the Oregonian:
Robert L. Bertini will be the deputy administrator of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, which includes more than 700 employees who study everything from bridge and highway safety to flight delays at airports.
Rob will be replaced at OTREC by Jennifer Dill, another PSU transportation prof, who among other things has done very interesting research on where folks in our region ride their bikes.
August 5, 2009
Listen to the show (mp3, 27.5MB)
This August the Bike Show gets down and dirty exploring why mountain biking could make or break Portland's cycling future and what some folks are trying to do about it. From Forest Park trail usage to the Gateway Green, the fight for more trails is heating up this summer.
The Tribune (or one of its affiliated neighborhood papers) looks at potential investments on Barbur.
August 4, 2009
The Oregonian has a remarkably frank editorial on the need for tolling to make the Columbia River Crossing work, and even takes on the beneficial effects of tolling to manage demand - not just to fund construction.
But they also suggest that local (State) government is going to come up with 1/3 of the project funding - I doubt it.
August 3, 2009
This first came across my desktop as a podcast, which intrigued me enough to track down the video. There are several great visualizations related to transit included, one from our own back yard. Worth a look.
The news was a-twitter (no, not Twitter, the old-fashioned a-twitter) this weekend that the "Cash for Clunkers" program from the Stimulus is apparently so popular that it blew through the available funding in 5 days and Congress is tripping over itself to approve another $2B in funding (or as we say around here, one-half of a CRC).
Is this good or bad?
Good: Total fuel economy of fleet will improve
Bad: Standards for improvement of fuel economy are not high
Good: Sell more fuel efficient cars
Bad: Makes cars cheaper
Good: Turned in cars must be scrapped
Bad: Scrapping turned in cars wastes the energy that when into building them
Good: Extended program may include higher fuel economy improvement standards
Good/Bad??? Funds to extend the program are apparently being take from ethanol subsidies
My head is spinning...