Archive | 2013

New Year’s Resolution: Honest Traffic Forecasts

Via Sightline:

No, that’s not my resolution, it’s one I’m proposing for Federal and State DOTs.

The State Smart Transportation Initiative has looked at 61 years of traffic forecasts and found that in all 61 cases, actual VMT was less than the forecast. This graph makes the case for reforming the forecasting process in the starkest terms possible:

VMT-C-P-chart-big1-541x550

Locally, we know that ODOT has done the same with projections for the Columbia River Crossing, sticking to a curve with a slope that’s been been demonstrated to be wrong each year since the projection was made (even before the projection was included in the EIS for the project).

So how about it, DOTs? For 2014 can we all resolve to acknowledge reality in our forecasting?

If you should happen to see…

A silver/gray Trek 7000 hybrid with a black Soma porteur rack on the front, it’s probably mine.

Last night someone literally ripped the door of my bike shed off of its hinges and took my main ride and a few accessories.

I’m off to buy bigger hinges now…

(Yes, I’ve listed it on the BikePortland stolen bike page and filed a report with PPB – since it’s a “break-in” an officer came out to check it out.)

Is it Time for Our Own “Grand Bargain”?

No, not between the Democrats and Republicans…

Between the City and ODOT.

A little background – a week and a half ago, I took a tour with some ODOT folks of 82nd Ave and outer Powell to talk about what might be in store for these areas as part of our Comprehensive Plan update.

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Valentine Khubeyev’s daughter speaking at the vigil in her honor

A few hours later, Valentine Khubeyev was struck by an SUV on the stretch of Powell I had toured, and died of her injuries a hours later. This past Friday evening, I attended a vigil commemorating this tragedy. A lot of frustration (link not working at the moment) was directed at the state of the street and at ODOT.

Now I don’t want to point fingers specifically at ODOT. There are certainly safety issues on City of Portland streets in East Portland as well, and there was a pedestrian fatality recently on Division. Lack of funds for safety improvements is a problem for all jurisdictions in Oregon. But I can’t help wondering if City policies that treat streets as places, not as highways, may ultimately create a better context for investments in safety. The Mayor has posed a similar question.

I recently raised the same point about Barbur Boulevard, where it’s clear to me that it would be much better off as a City street.

So here’s my “grand bargain”. Instead of dealing with these corridors one-by-one, should the City and ODOT negotiate the transfer of all the “orphan highways” in Portland, perhaps as part of the Comp Plan? The obstacle is probably not ownership, but rather funding. In the past, the City has been unwilling to accept these roads until they have been brought up to a certain standard. Maybe it’s time to look past this, and as the first order of business, get these corridors under a better set of policies?

 

Happy Holidays and a Merry Tax Year

On behalf of all of our contributing writers here at Portland Transport, let me wish our readers and their families a happy and safe holiday season and a joyous and prosperous new year!

And if you’re looking at those year-end tax deductions, please don’t miss the opportunity to put a little something in Portland Transport’s stocking, via PayPal. Our needs are not great, and your support goes a long way to help meet them.

Thank you all for another great year.

Chris