Archive | January, 2006

Re-thinking Social Justice

Some time ago I blogged about the “Wheels to Wealth” conference, which postulated that auto ownership is a key rung on the ladder out of poverty.

I’ve been mulling that one ever since, and I’ve come to a tentative conclusion:

Car-free by choice is great thing, because it means that you’ve managed to organize your life in a way that keeps the essentials (including employment) in walking, bike or transit range.

Car-free by necessity is an injustice, and probably means you don’t have a lot of choices.

I’m not necessarily going as far as to say we should help folks buy cars (I’ll keep thinking about it). But I’m thinking we should spend more time worrying about making places where all the essentials are closer together, including better job-housing balance in different parts of the region.

So I’m a bit less skeptical about the thesis of the conference.

I-5 Delta Park Open House and Hearing Today

This afternoon from 3:30 to 6, there is an open house on the I-5 Delta Park widening project, followed by a public hearing at 6:30. Both are being held at:

Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs
4134 N. Vancouver Ave, Portland

This afternoon from 3:30 to 6, there is an open house on the I-5 Delta Park widening project, followed by a public hearing at 6:30. Both are being held at:

Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs
4134 N. Vancouver Ave, Portland

more details…

We’re at the tail end of the public input process on this project. If you have an opinion, now is the time to voice it.

Introducing Transit Board

We’re rolling out a new transit tool today, called Transit Board.

Contrasted with Transit Surfer, which is designed to be used on portable devices by people on the move, Transit Board is designed to serve fixed locations. It provides arrival times for buses and trains on a selected set of lines at a selected set of stops. The first instance we have deployed is for the Swan Island TMA. The Swan Island example is shown below.

We’re looking to deploy this where ever it can be useful. Our initial outreach efforts are focused on Transportation Management Associations, but we’re open to other locations. Want one on your corporate intranet? Or your coffee shop home page? Just let us know, we can tailor one for you. Right now we need to do the setup, but down the road we may offer the ability for users to define their own personal (or company) Transit Board.

Please share your ideas for where Transit Board can be useful!

Urban Renewal For Transportation Advocates

I’ve raved here before about the PSU/PDOT Traffic and Transportation Class. It’s a great way for citizens to learn how the transportation system and bureaucracy work.

Last year, I had the chance to take the inaugural version of a similar class that explains the inner workings of urban renewal. And it’s about to run again.

I’ve raved here before about the PSU/PDOT Traffic and Transportation Class. It’s a great way for citizens to learn how the transportation system and bureaucracy work.

Last year, I had the chance to take the inaugural version of a similar class that explains the inner workings of urban renewal. And it’s about to run again.

So why am I writing about this on this blog? Because of late, urban renewal has become a regular component of funding big transportation projects (think Interstate MAX and the Streetcar). So I would encourage all transportation advocates to consider learning about how it works.

And the facilitator, Carl Talton, knows almost as much about Urban Renewal as Rick Gustafson does about Transportation.

Details follow…

Urban Renewal and Redevelopment Class
Spring Term 2006

What: A 10-week course sponsored by the Portland Development Commission and PSU’s Urban Studies Program
When: April 4 to June 13
Tuesdays, 6:40-9:00 PM
Where: PSU Campus
Classroom to be determined
Who: This course is designed for the community activist, new or experienced, who wants to learn about and be involved in urban renewal activities in their community.

How is urban renewal performed in Portland? How is it continuing to create new community facilities, open spaces and transportation options, as well as stimulate new jobs and housing opportunities in the City? How is it funded? And how can citizens impact urban renewal policies and projects in their neighborhoods and business districts?

Explore the history of urban renewal in Oregon and Portland, and talk to the real policy-makers to discuss the basics of how it works and why it is the preferred tool for revitalizing some areas. They will talk about the costs, benefits and trade-offs of urban renewal, and PDC’s continuing role in investing in the projects and programs that help shape our city.

The class brings together people to ask the tough questions with those who have to make the tough decisions about spending and project priorities and the trade offs involved.

Speakers include elected officials, PDC Commissioners and directors, neighborhood activists, housing advocates, business owners and land and building developers. The class is facilitated by Carl Talton, a former chairman of the Portland Development Commission, the City’s urban renewal agency.

Limited space is available for the ten-week class during the Spring Term. Full scholarships are available to qualified City of Portland residents for the non-credit course. To be eligible for a scholarship, applicants must live in the City of Portland and not be a PDC employee. Deadline for scholarship application is March 17, 2006.

PSU Tuition is $147 for non-credit or one credit and $293 for graduate credit.
To register or get more course information go to www.pdc.us/uraclass, or contact Kim McFarland at (503) 823-3289 or mcfarlandk@pdc.us

Third Time the Charm?

After being rained out two weeks in a row, Multnomah County is going to try one more time this weekend to close the Burnside Bridge to setup for the upcoming maintence project. Good luck…

After being rained out two weeks in a row, Multnomah County is going to try one more time this weekend to close the Burnside Bridge to set up for the upcoming maintence project. Good luck…

The Burnside Bridge will be closed to road and sidewalk traffic from 8:00 pm on Friday, January 20 until as late as 6:00 am on Monday, January 23 to allow a contractor to set up traffic control and a work zone for a two-year construction project that begins this month. The bridge will be closed to motor vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians but will still open for river traffic. TriMet bus routes 12, 19 and 20 will use the Morrison Bridge during the closure. The bridge will reopen before Monday if work is completed early.

The start of field work has been postponed twice this month due to inclement weather. The contractor has made arrangements to set up the work zone and place new lane stripes in the rain if necessary, so this weekend’s closure will not be postponed.

When the bridge reopens there will be a single lane of traffic in each direction and a path for pedestrians and bicyclists on each side of the bridge. Several traffic lanes will be closed so that the contractor can begin to replace the worn concrete deck on the lift span. The $9 million project will also repair or replace parts that allow the 79-year-old bridge to open. Both repairs are critical to the drawbridge’s operation.