Twenty-three Powell Boulevards

Last week I wrote about research into likely patterns of bicycle growth in Portland, and complementary transportation and land use choices that would be required.

Roger Geller’s analysis also turns to what happens if we don’t get the intended growth in active transportation. If mode splits stay where they are today Portland will see more than 1 million additional auto trips each weekday by 2035, or as Roger puts it, “23 Powell Boulevards”.


So what would that look like? We are not likely to actually construct 23 high-volume arterials, nor are we likely to re-open discussion of additional freeways like the Mt. Hood Freeway.

I hope that somebody will actually model this, but my guess is that we would see this as increased congestion throughout the City’s street network. It would be very interesting to take out the model used for the “Cost of Congestion” study and apply it to a projected future state. What is the economic value of avoiding that congestion? The original study used the number $844M annually throughout the region. We could build a lot of sidewalks, bike facilities and transit infrastructure for that!

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