Oregonian “Gets It” on Freight

On today’s editorial page, the Oregonian has figured out what the freight community keeps ignoring: shifting SOV drivers to alternate modes is good for freight!

As gas prices hit $3 per gallon, it’s not just individual motorists rethinking their way of getting around the region. Businesses are, too. And as an understanding of the region’s freight economy dawns on more Portlanders, more will awaken to the inefficiency of gratuitous single-occupancy vehicle trips, chewing up road capacity that the economy needs.

That’s what the Netherlands concluded many years ago, driving the country to create a bike-friendly system, taking cars off the roads, freeing precious road capacity for trucks that are vital to the economy. In Portland, some motorists and bicyclists still view each other as adversaries. Last year, when a Portland delegation visited the Netherlands, Dutch officials found that baffling.

Why be at odds? In the Netherlands, people view the transportation system as all working, or maybe we should say rolling, together.

There’s no question Portland needs to do a better job of prioritizing transportation improvements that help to move freight. But it would be wonderful if the city’s new freight plan also helped change our gears, and our minds, in other directions, too.

It should increase our sophistication about how all the region’s transportation modes, glamorous and nitty-gritty, fit together — and enhance each other.

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