RTP Exercise: Vibrant Communities

This is the first in a series of six posts in the first phase of our online RTP policy exercise. Your job is to describe what the outcomes will look like if the RTP succeeds in producing the 2040 objective of Vibrant Communities:

A vibrant place to live and work, and compact development that uses both land and infrastructure efficiently and focuses development in 2040 centers, corridors, and industrial and employment areas.

To remind you of the rules for this exercise:

– An ‘outcome’ must be reduced to a single ‘bullet’, i.e., a one sentence statement. You may follow that with a single short paragraph providing further explanation if you want.
– If you have multiple outcomes, submit one comment for each.
– If you agree with someone else’s outcome, quote it in your comment (my preference is italics for quoting) and say you agree and elaborate (no more than one paragraph) on why if you want.
No criticism of other people’s proposed outcomes
– If you have questions or comments about the exercise or rules, comment on the exercise overview post, not here please.

I will be a comment Nazi to enforce these – thanks.


24 responses to “RTP Exercise: Vibrant Communities”

  1. Here’s an example of the way I’d like these formatted (from an answer I gave to this exercise at a recent MPAC meeting):

    – A seven-year-old on a bike should be able to safely and comfortably travel from his/her home to an elementary school, a park and a grocery store.

    Explanation: if a seven-year old can do this, then any user of the transportation system should be able to (including disabled). This also says we’ve managed to get land uses right so these services are located at an accessible distance.

  2. – Our standard of living will be reduced by the increased cost of housing, leaving less money for other necessities.

    Explanation: High density housing costs more to build than low density. Each added story costs more, per sq.ft. then the previous one. As land demand continues to build and supply is held tight by Metro, higher land prices will further adding to the cost of housing. See table 1 and 2 of the executive summary of:
    (Note that the reduced per unit cost of some higher density is only because they ARE SMALLER units.) Thanks, JK

  3. OK, so to poach an example from another region — the ice cream cone test:

    * Somebody should be able to walk to a local retail center from their house, buy an ice cream cone, and walk all the way home before it melts all over them (on a day that’s under 100 degrees, obviously).

  4. Jim,

    Could you turn that bullet around from something negative into something you want to see, e.g., our standard of living will be increased by…

    Comment Nazi

  5. Our standard of living will be reduced by the increased cost of housing, leaving less money for other necessities.

    I agree with this. Many people today pay more for transportation than they pay for housing. This is the first time in history this has happened. A better developed transportation system that reduces reliance on individual motor vehicles, combined with compact development, can help restore the historical balance between housing costs and transportation.

  6. Here is one that some on this blog and some elected officials want to see:

    – Traffic congestion will go up.

    Explanation: Higher densities tend to reduce driving, but at lesser rate than the population increases, thus there are more cars per lane-mile, resulting in more congestion.–Thanks, JK

  7. Virbrant Community is addressing congestion as the killer that it is on our roads and highways by creating new capacity equal to demands.

    This means that we can not keep on having transportation planners or public officals lying to the public that getting Light Rail Transit extended into Clark County will eliminate congestion in the I-5 corridor.

    Most knowledgable transportation authorities will tell anyone that extending LRT into Clark County will only remove or displace 1% to 2% of the vehicles that choke the I-5 corridor.

    Population growth in Clark County is in double digits and compounding with the majority of these people coming from Oregon. The problem is that their jobs, their place of employment is still in Oregon and they become part of the approximate 135,000 and growing who commute into Oregon most everyday.

    We need new local and regional north/south corridors, more bridges across the Columbia River, radical enhancements to regional heavy capabilities, targeted new freight specific capabilities, LRT into Clark County (It will help in the long term), changes in Comprehensive Planning on both sides of the Columbia River

    The core of Portland can not base its future on high density and expensive housing that is not addressing the needs of the young family that need affordable 3 & 4-bedrooms units. Without addressing this we will continue to see an exodus of these young families to the suburbs which perpetuates and extends congestion.

  8. chris –

    I did. Higher housing prices are a positive outcome as are lower releative transportation costs. I did exactly what you said we should do – I agreed with someone and expanded on my reasons for agreeing.

    The reality is that compact development combined with improvements in transportation ought to push up prices for housing in the urban areas. Its one of the reasons that preservation of low income housing in Portland needs to happen outside the market.

  9. – I’d like to know that the moral integrity in the funds taken from me are utilized accordingly for defense of my nation and my person as outlined by the original intention of this Republic, the United States of America.

    Which doesn’t include Iraq, does not include most of the welfare state and welfare/socialist services and manipulations that are taken upon by the city, but instead natural growth and market relevance – i.e. what people want – is actually weighed upon and aloud to occur.

  10. – Housing that isn’t regulated, encouraged, or forced on the area but instead able to build according to market demand.

    Housing prices decrease. Urban environment stays profitable and alive (why wouldn’t it?). Suburban housing prices drop and or average out closer to the national average. Thus more people can afford that home they want. They can afford that land they want. People from all over the country can afford then to come to the region if they want, or not.

  11. I’d like to be able to step outside my house and walk to work, a bookstore, 25 resturants and coffee joints without seeing, hearing or smelling an automobile. :)

  12. Attractive & affordable neighborhoods with lively Main Streets having lots of shops (useful & useless) and services (schools, parks, libraries), easy and safe access for all ages where all transportation modes (walk, bike, transit & private motor vehicles) share the public space.

    Housing density really drives all this…retail and services need customers, etc., but a mix of housing types & sizes at a range of prices is critical as well as public investment in schools, libraries and open space/parks. By encouraging attractive and affordable neighborhoods throughout the region, residents can more easily choose to reside in closer proximity to employment.

  13. A motorist should be able to drive across town free of congestion and not be subsidizing alternative modes of transport with taxes that are associated with driving.

  14. – a person traveling a mile will pass at least two people per block who are using the sidewalk

    To have a “vibrant community,” there must be constant opportunity for members to interact with each other.

  15. – Community members spend time each day chatting with other community members.
    – The community’s income is roughly equal to what is spent in the community.

    The idea here is that vibrant communities have many small businesses that serve the community.

    – Community members say hello, or more, to five other community members, not members of their own household or workplace, each day.
    – A community member can list a dozen other community members that he or she has helped in the past 30 days.

    These require opportunity to interact. I think they require limited auto use.

    – Residents can do all but extraordinary activities without leaving the community.

    – Community members spend an average of an hour a day out of their homes but in the community.

  16. Portland embraces accommodating housing for families by nurturing the construction of single family homes that include attached yards where children can be active close to home and in their own neighborhood.

  17. — Available free time increases for 3/4 of Oregon residents.

    “Free time” means not at work, not shopping for necessities, not in transit, not asleep, not at the doctor’s … time you have the option to use as you like. Communities can’t thrive when everyone is too busy to get involved with each other.

    — Available social time increases for 3/4 of Oregon residents.

    “Social time” is different, it’s time people spend in their community, having interactions. Public transit, shopping *in your community*, volunteer time spent locally, as well as local cultural stuff, hanging out in bars …

    Not sure how to measure these, but they seem important.

  18. * When moving about from place to place, citizens have the opportunity to make eye contact and communicate with each other in normal speaking voices.

  19. – every neighborhood has a safe, usable park and a variety of public and private institutions that act as community centers.

    – all neighborhoods divided by freeways are reconnected through multiple pedestrian viaducts and/or other crossings

    – all neighborhoods have local business/retail districts to provide goods, services, and employment at a local level