Archive | May, 2006

Oil Supply Uncertainty

The rising demand for and declining supply of oil will likely have tremendous impacts on land use and transportation planning efforts in the Portland region for decades to come.

This will be an issue of ongoing concern to Metro as we work with the public, businesses and other governments to shape regional transportation planning and growth management policies in the years ahead. Increasing volatility in oil prices could have serious effects on every industry, from health care to agriculture to high technology, and it may impact citizensĀ¹ commuting options, home heating sources, and other uses of oil as well. How we as a region respond through our transportation and land use policies to the growing uncertainty in the supply and cost of oil will have a direct impact on our economy and quality of life for many years to come.

At my request, Metro policy associate Daniel Lerch developed a white paper outlining some of the policy challenges and opportunities the region faces if we wish to maintain our quality of life in the face of a more unstable and more expensive supply of oil. The white paper discusses how Metro may respond to future uncertainty in the supply and price of oil. It identifies oil supply uncertainty as a timely risk management issue and establishes a basis for the Metro Council to consider possible policy and program responses.

It is clear that we will need to be prepare for uncertainty in the supply of oil in our transportation and land use planning decisions.

Stranger Danger and Transportation

I came across an interesting blog post from a family trying to live car-free for a year.

One of the interesting aspects is getting the kids to various places. This launches into the topic of “stranger danger”, the fear that someone is going to abduct our kids. Certainly I know that when our kids were younger, they did not have the same range of self-mobility that I had when I was their age (lo those many years ago). Yet the statistics on abduction by a stranger show that the real risk is much lower than many other risks we accept regularly.

I wonder how much of our congestion is due to parents driving kids on trips that they could really make themselves on foot, by bike or on transit? The consequences in terms of childhood obesity and other health issues are very real as well.

I wonder if this is going to change with technology (or with peak oil)? As the post mentions, there are a range of new technologies coming online that will let you track your child’s location via GPS (including implantable devices!). Will this put parents’ minds at rest and let kids take more trips under their own steam? I want to be hopeful about this…

Eastside Transit Alternatives Open House

Mark your calendars. This Wednesday (May 3) there is an open house at Metro (room 370) from 4 to 7pm to review options for circulator transit service from dowtown to the east side. Options include Streetcar and a bus circulator (or doing nothing at all).

There will also be a public hearing on May 10th (5-7pm) at the Portland Building on the same topic, leading up to a recommendation on a locally preferred alternative.

Learn more at http://www.metro-region.org/article.cfm?articleid=13800.