Category: Transportation Politics

  • Cars are from Mars, Busses (and Bikes and Trains) are from Venus

    In the open thread, I mentioned that a Clark County legislator (Republican Liz Pike) wanted to “restart” the CRC project.  The Columbian has the scoop–and not surprisingly, Rep. Pike’s opening bid is to get rid of light rail.  Obviously, such a proposal isn’t going to be acceptable to those of us in Oregon–a state of […]

  • Transit and those dependent upon it

    There’s been quite a bit in the national press this week about the subject. Amanda Hess, writing for Atlantic Cities, penned an article called Race, class, and the Stigma of Riding the Bus in America. This article drew quite a bit of attention, including a somewhat scathing criticism from Jarrett Walker, who objected to the article’s focus on “white people” as a proxy for higher economic classes, particularly in a the context of a majority-minority city like Los Angeles (on which the Hess article focuses). Not to be outdone, the long-time transit and poverty advocates supporters at Reason (yes, that was sarcasm) penned an article called How Rail Screws the Poor, accusing LACMTA of building rail projects to wealthy communities while cutting bus service elsewhere. Zooming out, a new Brookings Institute report looks at employer access to labor via transit in major US cities. (Portland does quite well on this report, actually). The issue of whether how well transit systems ought to be optimized to focus on the “transit-dependent”–those who generally don’t have reliable alternatives to public transit for journeys too long to walk or bike–is a major topic in local transit debates. OPAL got started as advocates for those in poverty (though they’ve expanded their focus to all transit riders), and service to the poor is still a major issue. TriMet, for its part, claims that “equity” is a big part of their mission, though many of the agency’s critics would likely dispute that (or argue they are failing to carry this mission out). Unfortunately, the subject is frequently a major source of heat rather than light.

  • City of Portland engages in outrageous $2M power-play against TriMet.

    In a move which apparently came as a complete surprise, Portland mayor Sam Adams has proposed levying/hiking various fees on TriMet, related to things like benches and shelters. The amount of the proposed fee hike is 8000%, or about $2M; intended to cover the cost of the YouthPass program, which was cut by TriMet in the latest round of budget cuts, after the Oregon Legislature last year stopped funding for the program. State funding ended in 2011, and TriMet has been subsidizing the program for the past half-year. TriMet reports that it was caught off guard by the measure, and is studying its options. Thoughts after the jump:

  • WeAllRideTheBus and reform at TriMet

    One of the interesting developments of the past few weeks is that the organizational efforts of OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon seem to be bearing fruit. TriMet’s recent scaled-back service cuts seem to take many of OPAL’s concerns into account (notwithstanding the warning that additional cuts may be back on the table if labor negotiations don’t go TriMet’s way), and now OPAL has managed to recruit some more serious political muscle into its advocacy, with its new campaign, We All Ride The Bus. In this organizational effort, OPAL is joined by several heavier hitters, including Gunderson (a railcar manufacturer in NW Portland, adversely affected by proposed reductions to Line 17 service) and SEIU Local 49, to campaign for improvements to TriMet’s basic transit service, primarily the bus system.. This past week, We All Ride The Bus held a press conference in which they released their proposed Alternative Solutions for the TriMet budget, which are reproduced after the jump. (They can also be read at OPAL’s Facebook page).

  • Mayoral debate Monday, Feb 6, on active transportation issues

    From Evan Manvel on the O-TRAN mailing list: For those near Portland, there’s a debate between Smith, Brady, and Hales on active transportation issues this upcoming Monday. Feb 6, 7pm Lincoln Performance Hall Portland State University A forum for Mayoral candidates Eileen Brady, Charlie Hales, and Jefferson Smith to answer questions regarding their priorities and […]