Archive | May, 2006

‘Tis the Season

Memorial Day is the traditional opening of the summer driving season and Saturday’s O takes a look at whether high gas prices are changing behavior.

Apparently not. Demand for gasoline is has not significantly changed. The hypothesis is that consumers adapt to gradual changes in price, even signfiicant ones, by readjusting their spending in other categories. This is contrasted with behavior changes in the 70’s when price changes were sharper and supplies were limited.

One rational note: GM is discontinuing the Hummer H1, apparently for lack of demand.

The Economic Development Benefits of Streetcar

This comparison of the development along Streetcar alignments in various cities showed up in my e-mail box this week, courtesy of the national Community Streetcar Coalition.

Streetcar Benefits to Investment
  Start
of Service
Initial Track Miles Initial
System Cost Per Track Mile (Millions)
Initial
System Cost (Millions)^
Development
Investment (Millions)*
Return
on Investment (%)
Expansion Planned
Kenosha 2000 2.0 3.00 6.00 150 2400.00 Yes
Little Rock 2004 2.5 7.84 19.60 200 920.41 Yes
Tampa 2003 2.3 24.35 56.00 1000 1685.71 Yes
Portland 2001 4.8 11.38 54.60 2300 4112.45 Yes
^ This represents
the total costs of the project including maintenance facilities and in
Tampa’s case, land acquisition.
* This represents planned and existing development investments
directly related to the lines. Numbers
were through interviews in Little Rock and Kenosha, a development study in
Portland, and calculations of new planned development located three blocks or
less from the streetcar in Tampa.

TriMet on Bikes on Bus

Apparently TriMet is following some of our discussions here about maxing out capacity for bikes on bus and MAX.

Here’s a note I recently received:

This is Kiran Limaye, bicycle coordinator for TriMet. I believe we met at a TPAC meeting some time back.

A while ago there was a post on your blog about how much we can scale the bikes on transit concept. With higher bike mode shares, most ‘platinum’ level cities focus on high quality parking instead of allowing bikes on board.

With that in mind, I wanted to let your readers know about recent efforts to improve our bike parking. They include:

  • On-demand smart card lockers,
  • Leveraging light rail project funds to support attended bicycle parking facilities downtown and,
  • Attended bike parking for Rose Festival & Pedalpalooza

Kiran also points out that TriMet now has an e-mail notice list specifically for Bike on Bus issues. You can sign up for it through their e-mail subscription page.

I’m glad to hear TriMet is thinking about this, but I’d still like to see them look at putting triple racks on frequent service routes!

First Major Public Event in RTP Process

The “New Look” process, the update of both our regional land use plan and our Regional Transportation Plan, calls for a wide variety of public outreach methods. Included are three major “regional forums.” The first has been scheduled:

New Look at Region Choices
Regional Forum 2006
Save the Date
8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, June 23, 2006
Oregon Convention Center
$30 per person (lunch provided)

More than one million more people will be living here during the next thirty years. Join the Metro Council and public and private leaders as we respond to the unprecedented opportunities and challenges we face as a region.

Details about the program, registration and payment will follow soon.

For more information about the Metro Council’s New Look at Regional Choices, visit www.metro-region.org/newlook.

For information about the Regional Forum, contact:
Metro Planning Department
(503) 797-1864

Frankly, I’m a little concerned that such an important forum carries a cover charge for citizens to participate, but it is important and I hope Portland Transport readers will consider attending.

This seems like a good time to make Portland Transport’s tracking of the RTP update a little more official – I’ve created a category for tracking it.