Archive | January, 2007

Roadways and Safety

The final white papers for the Regional Transportation Plan update are out:

The first paper has the predictable review of congestion, but I found two interesting factoids as well: it’s not just the road systems that’s aging, but also our drivers, and this will affect everything from engineering stopping distances (our reaction times will be slowing) to putting bigger type on road signs. The other is a concise little graph on p. 24 showing the efficacy of ramp meters in keeping travel speeds up.

On the topic of safety, the paper reflects the need to make this a greater area of focus in all our transportation planning and operations. We need to introduce a culture of safety throughout.

KBOO Bike Show:

Listen to the show (mp3, 13.2M)

BikePortland has created a forum for people of all bikey stripes to come together and talk about issues, share information and culture. People may not always agree, but I think that’s a very good thing. Jonathan talks about the success of his site, how he has filled a niche in the bike communications network and plans for the future (all of Oregon?).

Sustainable Advantage: Sort of

It seems that the leaders of the Oregon Business Plan took Harvard Professor Michael Porter’s advice from last year to heart: they have provided an overarching focus for the Business Plan: Sustainability.

The ‘play book‘ (PDF, 869K), released in advance of Thursday’s Business Plan Summit, sets this out on the first page:

As last year’s audience will recall, Dr. Porter challenged the Business Plan and Oregon to develop a distinct competitive advantage that complements the Business Plan framework, our industry cluster network, and our culture of innovation. Porter suggested sustainability as a competitive strength for Oregon, noting that the state already has an international reputation as a leader in sustainability. It’s true. Sustainability is woven into the fabric of our public policy, many of our products and services, and the business practices of our industry clusters and individual firms. Therefore, we present a section here on the potential of making sustainability a competitive advantage for Oregon and a part of the Business Plan.

All well and good (indeed, Bravo!), and the business press is tripping over itself to reinforce the message. Friday’s Business Journal carries with it poll results that say that 63% of readers agree that sustainability is a good way to grow Oregon’s economy.

And this month’s Oregon Business (issue not yet online), also triumphs sustainability.

So where’s the problem? The play book chapter on transportation does not mention sustainability at all, other than to talk about sustainable funding. It goes on to call for new capacity. Apparently, using our existing transportation infrastructure more efficiently is not part of our sustainability plan.


Alternative Forum on the Columbia Crossing

The Coalition for a Livable Future is holding a forum on the CRC Thursday evening. Yours truly will be one of the panelists. Here’s the complete skinny:

You may have read in the paper recently that the options being studied by the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) Project – a transportation project focusing on the 5-mile stretch of I-5 that spans the Columbia River – are narrowing. Projected to cost a whopping $2 billion to build, and $1 million/month to plan, the proposal on the table is to get rid of the old bridges and replace them with one huge span. What are the implications for our health and our neighborhoods? What sort of economic impacts can we expect? What can we really afford? What other ideas should be considered? Come learn about this project and engage in a discussion about the pros and cons of the staff proposal. CRC staff will present their proposal followed by a response panel and open discussion. What: Columbia River Crossing Forum, sponsored by Coalition for a Livable Future, Environmental Justice Action Group, Friends of Clark County, and the Columbia Group of the Sierra Club

When: Thursday, Jan. 4, 2007, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

We encourage you to bike, walk, take transit, or carpool to:

New Columbia Community Education Room, 4625 N. Trenton St., Portland
On TriMet line #4, near line #1 (see for trip planning)
For those of you coming from Vancouver, you can take TriMet #6 to #4 (both of these lines run late).

For more background on the project, go to Or, download staff recommendations at:

Forum Moderator: Ethan Seltzer, Portland State University
Joe Cortright, Economist, Impresa Consulting
Bruce Podobnik, Lewis and Clark College
Steve Stuart, Clark County Commissioner (invited)
Chris Smith, Citizen activist and Portland Transport founder

Questions? Contact or (503) 294-2889.