At the Crux of Transportation and Land Use

So here’s a paradox. In Portland we attempt to build Transit-oriented Development near Light Rail stations. But the LRT corridors often parallel freeways (both because that’s where the demand is, and because we often find right-of-way we can use next to freeways).

As a result, these developments are often near freeway interchanges. But the “Transportation Planning Rule” (TPR for short) often restricts our ability to build near interchanges, in an attempt to protect the capacity of freeways for longer trips. The TRP does not do a good job of recognizing that a lot of the demand for travel will be accommodated by transit.

According to this note from our Eugene correspondent, Rob Zako (via the OTRAN list), it appears that the Land Conservation and Development Commissions and Oregon Transportation Commission may be getting ready to tackle this:

Dear OTRAN friends,

Another important round of changes is statewide transportation policy is getting underway. The following information is taken from the report referenced below.

The Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) and the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) established a joint subcommittee in response to concerns from local governments and others, and a recognition that existing rules and plans are having unintended consequences. Specifically, the interaction of Section 0060 of the Transportation Planning Rule (TPR) with the mobility standards in the Oregon Highway Plan (OHP) can complicate the local process to balance multiple objectives. These objectives include economic development, compact urban development and the need for additional transportation infrastructure to keep highways functioning, which brings benefits to the state overall and especially to traded?sector business activity. The discussion about balancing, clarifying and streamlining TPR 0060 and OHP mobility standards was organized around three questions:

(1) Whether to initiate formal rulemaking on OAR 660-012-0060 and/or whether to request that the OTC consider amending related provisions of the Oregon Highway Plan.

The committee recommends that LCDC initiate rulemaking on TPR 0060 (OAR 66?12?0060). The committee recommends that OTC initiate amendments to the mobility standards in the OHP and associated guidance documents (e.g. OHP Mobility Standard Guidelines).

(2) What are the highest priority issues that should be addressed?

The committee recommends that the topics listed below be included in the scope for an initial phase (approximately 6 months) of amendments. Including a topic on the list does not indicate that the committee has reached a conclusion on the merits of any specific proposed amendment, but rather that the committee believes it is an important and potentially fruitful topic to pursue. The topics are divided into two categories based on whether it would be primarily addressed through the TPR or through the OHP; however, many topics will involve both TPR and OHP.

A. TPR Amendments
A1. Exempt rezonings consistent with comprehensive plan map designations
A2. Practical mitigation for economic development projects
A3. Exempt upzonings in urban centers
A4. Address traffic at time of urban growth boundary (UGB) expansion
A5. Technical clarifications: transportation system plan (TSP) update and multiple planning periods

B. OHP Amendments & Guidance Documents
B1. Exempt proposals with small increase in traffic
B2. Use average trip generation, not reasonable worst case
B3. Streamline alternate mobility standard development
B4. Corridor or area mobility standards
B5. Standardize a policy framework for considering measures other than volume to capacity ratios (v/c)

(3) How should the process be structured to recognize the joint authority of LCDC and OTC concerning these issues?

The committee recommends that these two lists be addressed in parallel coordinated processes with several check?in points, including further meetings of the committee. Draft amendments would go to the respective bodies for formal hearings with a target date of December 2011.

In particular, LCDC will need to appoint a rulemaking advisory committee (RAC) consisting of 12-15 members representing a wide range of interests including:

* City planners (a variety of sizes and regions)
* County planners
* Metropolitan planning organizations
* Developers
* Consultants
* Freight
* Advocacy organizations
* Citizen Involvement Advisory Committee (CIAC)
* Small business representative (especially important for the fiscal impact statement)
* State agencies: DLCD, ODOT, Business Oregon

The RAC would be chaired by an LCDC commissioner. The RAC would meet monthly to prepare draft amendments and to review the fiscal impact statement.

For more info, see:
http://www.oregon.gov/LCD/docs/rulemaking/2009-11/TPR/Recommendation-Final.pdf

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