Author Archive | sbricker

BTA Advocates Bike Boulevard Project

Update 10/11/06:

Over at the BTA Blog, they’re reporting that this is still up for grabs in the next round of decision making and have suggestions for the next steps for advocacy.

Original Post 9/29/06:

We heard from you and hundreds of other cyclists that you strongly prefer cycling on low-traffic bicycle boulevards.

Here’s your first chance to help get a new Bike Boulevard funded!

The project is called the “70’s Bike Boulevard.”

The City of Portland has requested $3.8 million from Metro to fund a new 7.8-mile north-south route in Northeast and Southeast Portland along the streets in the 70’s (71st to 76th, depending on the area). This project would run almost the whole length of the city, connecting the Springwater Corridor to NE Killingsworth.

A group of regional leaders is meeting THIS MORNING to make some decisions on regional projects, including this project.

While one boulevard project in the East 50’s is likely to get funding, the 70’s Bike Boulevard project is slated to be cut – so we need YOUR help to get it back on the list for funding.

Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams and the City of Portland should be making sure this project gets funded – call his office and urge him to step up for bike boulevards!

ACTION
Call and email Commissioner Sam Adams TODAY and urge him to support the 70’s Bicycle Boulevard.

Phone: (503) 823-1121
E-mail: samadams@ci.portland.or.us

More about bicycle boulevards:
http://www.bta4bikes.org/at_work/bikeboulevards.php

Citizen Activism – Our Chief Blogger Recognized

This morning the Oregonian recognized Chris, our tenacious PortlandTransport.com founder and sustainer. Anna Griffin did a nice job on this article, read it at http://www.oregonlive.com/search/index.ssf?/base/news/115491751959360.xml?oregonian?lcfp&coll=7.

In the honor of Chris’s community mind, spirit, and 30 hour “real” work week, please let us know how you feel about citizen activism, public involvement, and corporate activism in our transportation world.

Balancing Regional Transportation Outcomes, Priorities, and Costs

An important component of Metro’s Regional Transportation Plan update is to plan for outcomes, not just develop a project list. Metro’s Discussion Draft 2035 RTP Update Work Program states:

The clear desire is to move away from a plan that is a compilation of locally desired projects with an unfunded cost, to one that focuses on delivering specific results (e.g., outcomes) that citizens value (e.g., priorities) at a price they are willing to pay.

Will Metro be able to do this? Not only is this politically difficult – every jurisdiction and modal advocate wants their project – but it may not be realistic – the ability to post outcomes might not match up with the public’s priorities and willingness to pay.

Consider this very realistic scenario, public opinion research shows that people want:

  1. To move freely around the region;
  2. Without congestion; and
  3. At virtually no additional cost.

No implementation strategy could meet the public’s desires and willingness to pay. The public would have to pay a lot more, double or triple current levels, in order to scratch the surface of congestion in order to meet these desired outcomes.

What should Metro do? I believe that Metro will have to objectively look at the strength of the public’s desires and match them with certain price tags or other regulatory / programmatic approaches. If the public really, really, really wants no traffic Metro will have to create scenarios that could post these results. Metro should analyze innovative and cost-effective techniques that we don’t currently use and move past just lane construction. Of course these tools might be unpopular with the public; what a quagmire.

Metro should also get behind funding approaches that leverage public investments the furthest. For example, due to the way ODOT funds its regions, Metro should push for regional bond measures and pricing tool over state tax increases. Metro should leverage outside sources such as federal monies; in the past this has made light rail and transit a good deal because the bulk of these funds flow right from the USDOT to Metro or the transit agencies. Metro should also analyze how different types of transportation investments create other economic and development investments that could ease traffic congestion.

What are your ideas, how will Metro solve this inevitable rift of public desire, project effectiveness, and willingness to pay?

Perspectives on the RTP Update

Last Thursday Metro held a workshop to begin scoping the process for updating the Regional Transportation Plan. A number of Portland Transport contributors participated, and you’ll be reading a number of perspectives on the update over the next few days.

Last Thursday Metro convened 100 leaders and local politicians to kick off the Regional Transportation Plan update process. Metro President David Bragdon and Councilor Burkholder reflected backwards and discussed the coming of a new era of transportation and public works. They talked about finite resources – both financial and natural.

Next they held a facilitated input process. We sat around tables while facilitators prompted us for general themes that would help guide the two-year long planning process; they asked for methods by which Metro could public comment.

I heard two primary themes among participants: ‘bang for the buck’ and ‘outcomes based’. Ironically these are two of the things that transportation engineers do worst. I’ll illustrate by example:

Circle-peg and Square-hole
If I said “boy the freeway is congested” a highway engineering would add a lane; however once built the congestion would not be eased. Many transportation academics believe that you literally cannot build your way out of traffic congestion, it’s a low bang for the buck and lacks desired outcomes.

Square-peg and Square-hole.
If I said “boy the freeway is congested” an economists would add a pricing system where the price increases with congestion and therefore easing congestion. While perhaps politically difficult, from a resourse and result standpoint it achieves the objective while raising resources, a great bang.

As it goes I am encouraged by this trend. I believe that bicycle, pedestrian, transit, and other non-auto investments are the way of the future, a great bang for the limited public buck and clearly moves us towards desired outcomes of improved economy, livability, and efficient transportation systems.