December 31, 2009
A suggested New Year's resolution from the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition:
If you're still racking your brain for New Year's resolutions that will make you the toast of every neighborhood, allow me to suggest one of my favorites: "I resolve to share the road."
It's a simple resolution, really, but it has far-reaching consequences for everyone. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States for all age groups from 1 through 34 years, and almost half of these fatalities are alcohol-related," according to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control. "New Year's Day has the greatest relative increase in traffic fatalities compared with all other holidays."
Your road-sharing resolution can begin New Year's Eve, when you decide how to bring in 2010. If you know you'll be drinking, pocket those car keys and take transit or a cab. Think there's no such thing as a free ride? TriMet offers free service New Year's Eve after 8pm, and Yellow, Blue, and Green MAX lines run until 3am. RideOn Portland (503.235.RIDE) is also a useful service from a great nonprofit for those who find themselves drunk and with car. They'll drive your car and you for a bargain $10 from SE Portland or a number of sponsoring bars.
Then start 2010 off right by complying with the new cell phone. As you may have heard, on January 1st, 2010, Oregon's new distracted driver law takes effect, which prohibits driving while dialing, texting, or talking on a cell phone, with fines starting at $90. While a person who is 18 years or older can use a hands-free device, studies have shown that hands-free provides the same mental distraction as holding a cell phone. Save the call for the destination.
Here are a few other resolution ideas from WPC:
If you drive:
- "Stop and Stay Stopped" for pedestrians in crosswalks until they have cleared the driver's lane and the adjacent lane
- Remember every intersection is a crosswalk, whether it is marked or unmarked
- If a car is stopped at a crosswalk, you must stop, too
- Keep intersections and sidewalks clear so that people can walk safely by
- Be alert for people walking during low-light conditions, especially in areas where they are likely to cross the road, or you might not see them until it is too late to stop
If you walk:
- Allow cars time and opportunity to stop before crossing the road
- Make eye contact with other road users, and continue to look as you're crossing the road
- Don't assume that because one car stopped, the car in the next lane over sees you
- Remember to cross only at legal crosswalks and with the light
Here's wishing everyone a happy, prosperous and SAFE New Year!
December 30, 2009
Too good to ignore, "The Twelve Lanes of CRC" (to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas), posted by Vancouver's Todd Boulanger as a comment on a Bike Portland post.
December 29, 2009
Some entrepreneur has painted their own crosswalk on E Burnside at 8th. It happened on or around Christmas, according to the reader who tipped us to this.
The straight-line-challenged person responsible has not stepped forward to take credit yet.
City Traffic Engineer Rob Burchfield is quoted on Bike Portland about what will happen to this improvement in the future...
Personally I did not feel any safer crossing the street there. Four lanes of fast-moving traffic is still four lanes of fast-moving traffic.
December 28, 2009
2010 brings an election for a new Metro President - current President David Bragdon is term-limited. Three very serious candidates are in the hunt for the May primary:
- Councilor Rex Burkholder - a 10-year Metro veteran and former chair of JPACT. Previously he founded the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.
- Bob Stacey - most recently Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, he has also served as Portland's Planning Director and in Congressman Blumenaur's DC office.
- Mayor Tom Hughes - recently retired as Mayor of Hillsboro
The winner of this race will have significant influence on transportation policy in the region, possibly for many years to come. While Portland Transport as a non-profit cannot endorse candidates, we can help educate voters.
I propose that Portland Transport create a questionnaire on transportation policy for this race and publish the responses.
What should we ask? Be specific!
December 23, 2009
Transportation for America is hiring a field organizer for Oregon.
The position will be hosted at 1000 Friends of Oregon.
- Convene and provide staff support for a diverse coalition of partners and allies.
- Provide assistance with local education and outreach efforts of Oregon groups.
- Develop educational tools and materials on campaign goals and issues (in coordination with other local coalition partners and other T4America campaign teams).
- Engage in policy advocacy, media outreach and organizing public events.
- Support and strengthen creative partnerships and grassroots transportation reform campaigns in Portland, Eugene and other Oregon cities.
- Build and manage a powerful field operation to mobilize "grasstops" supporters of campaign, including local business leaders, environmental organizations, labor unions, the real estate sector, equity and health groups, elected officials and others.
- Expand the capacity of local and state campaign partners to engage with state and federal leaders on transportation and other related policies.
- Analyze and translate federal policy goals and "best practices" in transportation reform into a Oregon-specific context through outreach to local groups and allies.
Unless some breaking news comes along, this will be my final pre-holiday post, so I'd like to take this opportunity to extend wishes to all our readers for a joyous and safe holiday season!
See you on Monday.
December 22, 2009
From Coalition for a Livable Future:
Transportation Health Equity Series: Save the Date
A partnership of organizations in the Portland Metro region is proud to announce a series of events around Transportation Health Equity on January 28 and 29, 2010.
An emerging working group of Metro Portland-Vancouver organizations announce a special series of community events on the issue of Transportation, Health and Equity January 28th and January 29th, 2010. We believe the Portland Metro region is ready for a healthy, equitable, world class transportation system in which success is measured by fairness, safety, and accessibility.
We are pleased to have Shireen Malekafzali from PolicyLink, a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity. Ms. Malekafzali is editor of Healthy Equitable Transportation Policy and The Transportation Prescription, and is working to create environmental and policy changes aimed at addressing health disparities.
The Transportation Prescription: A Dialogue with PolicyLink
Brown Bag Luncheon
Thursday, January 28th
11:30 AM -1:00 PM
OTREC, 1930 SW 4th, Suite 300, Portland, OR (tentative)
* Learning and Discussion on Opportunities to Advance Health Equity in Transportation Planning and Policy, including in the Federal Transportation Authorization.
21st Century Civil Rights: Transportation Health Equity Community Forum
Thursday, January 28th
Native American Center, Portland State University
* An opportunity for diverse communities to come together to learn about how improving our transportation systems can improve our lives.
Organizing for Health Equity in Transportation
Leadership Training (Invitation only through Sponsoring Organizations)
Friday, January 29th
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
TBA Portland, OR
* A special opportunity to become more deeply educated and engaged on issues of health and equity related to transportation policy. New community activists welcome. Participants must register through one of the co-sponsoring organizations.
Co-Sponsors: OPAL (Organizing People Activating Leaders), Coalition for a Livable Future, Ride Connection, Oregon Tradeswomen Inc, Portland Transit Riders Union, Upstream Public Health, Portland State University Native American and Student Community Center. Organizations, academic and government institutions interested in co-sponsoring, please contact us.
For more information please contact Rev Joseph Santos-Lyons email@example.com / 503-512-0490
December 21, 2009
Metro and its partners continue to work to develop a transit project that meets future travel demand between Lake Oswego and Portland, supports local and regional land use plans, and garners public acceptance and community support. The transit project is now preparing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement, studying the potential benefits and impacts of three alternatives in the corridor. The DEIS analyzes the direct and indirect effects of the alternatives.
After the DEIS publication, anticipated for summer 2010, public events will offer an opportunity to share information and solicit comments about the no-build, enhanced bus and streetcar alternatives and design options based on a comparison of potential benefits and impacts. The project steering committee will rely on public input and the analysis results to select a Locally Preferred Alternative in fall 2010.
The project partners have just published the latest newsletter for the project, outlining the alternatives and design options being analyzed in the study. The newsletter has been mailed to residents and businesses in the corridor as well as people who have signed up to the project's interested persons list and have provided their mailing addresses.
A web version of the newsletter is available at http://library.oregonmetro.gov/files/lopt_newsletter-112409-web.pdf.
December 18, 2009
On Wednesday, Dec. 17, the High Capacity Transit Subcommittee agreed to recommend the Barbur Boulevard corridor as the next regional priority to advance to high capacity transit project development. Project development will determine the HCT option, light rail, bus rapid transit or rapid streetcar, in the vicinity of Barbur Boulevard that will offer the best transit solution. Transit in the corridor needs to meet future travel demand while promoting, encouraging and leveraging other transportation and land use investments. The subcommittee's recommendation will be taken up by the Transportation Policy Alternatives Committee on Jan. 8.
December 17, 2009
America Walks is celebrating the work of the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition in forming partnerships to promote safety, including:
- Share the Road Safety Class is a first-offense diversion course for road users who have impeded another's right of way
- Eye to Eye is a campaign that has raised awareness about our shared responsibilities on the road
- WalkSmart Classes help senior citizens and recent immigrants feel more confident, safe and engaged as walkers
- Safe Routes to School encourages walking and cycling through education and improved infrastructure
We are lucky to have such dedicated advocates here in Portland!
December 16, 2009
This evening on my streetcar ride home, a young woman attending the pastry program at the Culinary Institute boarded and shared her day's class work with everyone around her, giving the whole train a sugar high.
Has that ever happened on your car commute?
December 15, 2009
Each year I like to single out one class presentation from the PSU/PBOT Traffic and Transportation class. This year David Sweet's presentation (PDF, 800K) stands out.
David's neighborhood (David is the land use/planning committee chair) wants crosswalks at several points along NE Fremont. When PBOT told them that existing policies did not support crosswalks, they didn't take 'no' for an answer.
Instead they leveraged Bureau of Environmental Services resources, matched with some private fundraising to create and fund a design using bioswale curb extensions to anchor their crosswalks. The result, fewer puddles during storms, cleaner storm water AND safer pedestrian crossings.
One location is in the pipeline and a second location is being planned!
The key lessons here:
- Don't accept 'NO'!
- Look for "twofers" - solve multiple problems with one expenditure
- Think outside the box, especially when looking for funding
December 14, 2009
As we wind down 2009, it's time to talk about that uncouth topic: money.
Portland Transport is run on the cheap, so our needs are minor, but they're not zero. Equally important the IRS wants to see that we have a diversity of supporters to let us keep our 501(c)(3) status.
So if you're feeling appreciative for the conversation here, generous in the holiday season, or just want a year-end tax deduction, please hit the "cash contribution" link in the upper right and share whatever feels appropriate. Even $5 goes a long way.
December 10, 2009
The folks who brought you WalkScore now bring you City-Go-Round which will help you find transit information applications for your city or region (also biking, walking and driving apps) and will further tell you which transit agencies near you provide open data (kudos to TriMet for starting the trend).
The Portland Mercury is reporting that at this morning's Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation meeting, the committee rejected an amendment from Mayor Adams to review the project list for climate impacts, while adopting a weaker amendment by Councilor Rex Burkholder.
The weaker language postpones any real impact by climate analysis on actual investments until the 2014 Regional Transportation Plan update.
December 9, 2009
Every December I look forward to reviewing project presentations at the PSU/PBOT Traffic and Transportation class, and then publishing them here.
Another great crop of projects this year. Here are six of them. I will feature one special one in a few days!
- Alexis Grant wants to make rail crossings around the city safer for bikes (PDF, 778K)
- Bressa Culver proposes better lane markings to ease bike-auto conflicts at the eastern approach to the Broadway Bridge (PDF, 1.2M)
- Carter Cummings would help humanize 82nd Ave with bicycle connections (PDF, 1.4M)
- Donna Cohen would prioritize improvements to make N Fessenden safer for pedestrians and a little less welcoming to the trucks that are not supposed to be there (PDF, 1.6M)
- Dustin Posner is tackling a policy change with the Fire Bureau to expand the range of available traffic calming tools in his neighborhood (PDF, 635K) [Good news for Dustin, my fellow panelist, mayoral chief-of-staff Tom Miller, agreed to push the issue!]
- Roger Averbeck ponders the challenges to creating pedestrian infrastructure on SW Garden Home Rd (PDF, 3.7M)
Well done all around Another class of transportation activists ready to keep improving our City!
One of the questions asked at the Portland Plan workshops is where the City should focus its limited transportation resources.
Different groups have had different top priorities: some favor transit, some sidewalks, one group said bikes.
But in all six workshops so far, congestion mitigation has been near the bottom, including at the downtown workshop focused on the business community (chart above).
Someone tell ODOT, please.
December 8, 2009
Read this very carefully.
On Thursday, JPACT will consider conflicting Climate Change amendments to the Regional Transportation Plan from MPAC and TPAC.
The attached memo (PDF, 143K) makes this even more confusing, but fundamentally the folks on the Metro Policy Advisory Committee, which is focused on land use and community building have proposed a more aggressive stance toward labeling some projects as having worse impacts on greenhouse gases. The Transportation Policy Alternatives Committee adopted a watered-down version of the same.
In both cases the City of Portland proposed the amendments.
The Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation will sort this out Thursday at 7:15AM and send the whole bowl of alphabet soup to the Metro Council.
Bottom line: even though the RTP has some tough policy language about Climate Change, we won't really be looking at significantly changing the project list until 2014.
Meanwhile the challenge will be to make sure none of the really ugly projects move into construction before then...
December 7, 2009
Apparently, there are iPhone apps that will let you signal other drivers when you're about to leave a space, and apps that will map out parking regulations for you.
I think I'll stick to the transit apps, thank you very much!
Still, these are interesting applications of crowdsourcing...
December 4, 2009
Citizens signing up to testify at this morning's Project Sponsors Council meeting for the Columbia River Crossing were told that 10-15 names would be selected at random to testify in the limited time available.
This evoked loud protest at the start of the meeting and co-chair Henry Hewitt announced that everyone who signed up would be allowed one minute - I think somewhere between 30-40 people ultimately spoke.
More troubling was the fact that CRC opponents were told that they could not bring placards with opposition slogans into the meeting, and in fact I saw three people removed from the meeting for displaying placards. Local press appear to be all over this - thankfully, as it seems to me a clear violation of first amendment rights. It's less clear if this action was directed by the CRC project, or by the Port of Portland, in whose building the meeting was held.
My own 60 seconds was focused on the impossibility of judging the proposed project changes under the current "Purpose and Need Statement" which focuses on congestion and does not mention either Global Warming or Peak Oil. Since many of the governments represented on the Council have adopted Climate Action Policies since the Purpose and Need statement was written, I urged the Council to amend the Purpose and Need and then produce a supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement based on the revised objectives.
Much of the testimony was focused on the impacts of the revisions on Hayden Island and some of it was quite emotional.
The meeting itself consisted of a brief review of the proposed cost reductions followed by a lot of positioning by the Council members. Adams and Bragdon successfully pushed for a delay in any action on the recommendation and called for more information and in particular a proposed funding plan.
ODOT Director Matt Garrett was at pains to try to keep the process from being overly delayed, but did not succeed in getting any action today.
There did seem to be general consensus that the Hayden Island concerns needed to be addressed.
Stay tuned in January - meanwhile there will be lots of staff-to-staff meetings...
At the conclusion of the meeting, I joined much of the rest of the room in a standing ovation for Mayor Royce Pollard of Vancouver, who was attending his last Council meeting as Mayor. While I disagree 180 degrees with Pollard on CRC Policy - he again made an impassioned speech for 12 lanes today - I respect him as an honest public servant who narrowly lost re-election, at least in part because he told the truth about what it would take (tolls) to get this project done.
They issued a joint statement late on Thursday, including:
A change in direction is needed for the Columbia River Crossing Project to be successfully accomplished. The current proposal is mired in financial challenges, and the region risks missing critical federal deadlines unless we change course. The project refinement recommendation before the PSC would defer or remove certain elements of the proposed project and result in a cost reduction of $515 - $650 million, or roughly 15% of project capital costs. We believe that this is a step in the right direction, but more fundamental change is required...
December 3, 2009
Musings at my other venue.
Friday is D-day! This from the Coalition for a Livable Future:
Protest and Testify at the CRC Project Sponsors' Council meeting
When: Fri, Dec 4
9:30 am - action before the meeting
10am - public testimony
Where: Port of Portland
121 NW Everett St, Portland
Cuts have been made to the Columbia River Crossing megabridge project, but the total cost is still a whopping $3.6 Billion. The project is still taking an approach that harms our communities and fails to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect health, or support vibrant, walkable, livable communities.
The Project Sponsors Council is meeting this Friday to discuss and possibly vote on these changes. (See the cost-cutting recommendations at the first bullet here).
What We Can Do
Join grassroots opposition group Stop the CRC! on December 4 at the CRC Project Sponsors' Council meeting to demand that we start over with a smarter project built upon shared goals.
Some Things To Consider for Testimony During the Hearing
About the project
- We shouldn't waste more time and scarce transportation funds cutting elements one by one from an unpopular plan that we can't afford.
- This region deserves a real choice about how to fix I-5, not a false choice between nothing at all and this still-a-megabridge project.
- This project still does not advance regional goals on climate, livability, transportation and equity.
- There has been no real, proactive engagement of the public about what average citizens want from this project.
About the project changes
- Ten lanes is still a major expansion that fails to meet our needs, and the new design is still wide enough to restripe at 12 lanes at any time.
- The project has also made major changes that appear to harm livability on Hayden Island, plus several other significant changes.
- Major project decisions should be based on what leads to the best outcome for the region, not avoiding environmental review. The project has admitted that they decided the hundreds of millions of dollars in changes based on what they thought would get them out of having to do additional environmental impact analysis. That's just wrong.
- The project needs to do an environmental analysis of these changes. The changes may lead to additional impacts, and the public deserves to know and comment on them.
December 2, 2009
Listen to the show (mp3, 27.0MB)
Sara and Tori are joined by Roger Geller, City Bicycle Coordinator in the Office of the Director and creator of the Bicycle Master Plan. The 2030 Bicycle Plan is the crystal ball to the future of cycling and the city's goals. We talk with him about where we are now and where the city hopes to be by 2030. Also joining is Michelle Poyourow from the BTA to bring us their own version of where they see Portland now and what they hope to see in the new plan.
Are we dreaming too big or not big enough? Have we got all we need or is this only the beginning? Join us for an in-depth discussion and bring your own questions, concerns and vision of the future of Portland transportation.
December 1, 2009
Via Congressman Blumenaur's Office:
Secretary LaHood announced today that the FTA will make $280M available for competitive grants for urban circulator's (they don't have to be Streetcars, but...) as part of the administrations urban livability initiative.
A big chunk of the money is previously allocated transit dollars the Bush Administrative never spent.
I wouldn't be surprised if Portland submitted a strong application to this program to fund the 'close the loop' project to get Streetcar across the new Light Rail bridge and connected at either end.
Now could we please get a similar amount allocated for bike projects under the same banner of urban livability?
Portland State University
Center for Transportation Studies
Fall 2009 Transportation Seminar Series
Speaker: Jennifer Dill and Chris Monsere, PSU
Topic: Initial Assessment of Portland's Green Bike Boxes
When: Friday, Dec 4, 2009, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Where: PSU Urban Center Building, SW 6th and Mill, Room 204