Not a Satellite

At MPAC last night we had a very interesting presentation. The mayors of Sandy and Estacada presented about what’s happening, particularly with growth, in their cities.

At Metro we use to talk about cities like these (Canby, Newberg and St. Helens are other examples) as “satellite cities” since they were outside Metro’s UGB. Apparently this term rankled (it implies they orbit around Portland). We now use the more neutral “neighbor cities”.

One key issue for both these cities is that they want to retain their individuality and character. They definitely DO NOT want the UGB to grow out to swallow them.

I was intrigued by the transportation challenges of these two cities. One issue is that both are cities on highways. It’s not so bad for Estacada, since the city center is on one side of the highway, but for Sandy Highway 26 divides the city. It makes for interesting challenges in laying out things like bikeways.

The other interesting thing I heard is that Sandy, like Wilsonville, has opted out of TriMet and has their own local (and free) transit system that provides a lot more frequency than TriMet did (and also connects to Estacada). In fact it appears to me that there are a number of these transit systems on the periphery of TriMet’s service area and they tend to interconnect with each other. So for example Wilsonville sends a bus to Canby, and Canby sends a bus to Oregon City, and I suspect you could circumnavigate the southeast quadrant of the region without getting on TriMet if you wanted to.

It makes me wonder if we shouldn’t have some mechanisms for better making these connections. For example, a regional trip planner that integrated route info from all of these systems.

Hmmm…

Anyway, it was a lot less dry than the topics at many MPAC meetings.

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