Author Archives: Steve

Submit Your Comments on the Comprehensive Plan by Dec 31

According to the Comp Plan Website, "The Comprehensive Plan is a state-mandated land use and conservation, transportation, and capital projects plan for Portland. It is one of a set of important tools for implementing the Portland Plan priorities and guiding policies, both of which provide significant direction for the content of the Comprehensive Plan."

According to the Comp Plan Website, “The Comprehensive Plan is a state-mandated land use and conservation, transportation, and capital projects plan for Portland. It is one of a set of important tools for implementing the Portland Plan priorities and guiding policies, both of which provide significant direction for the content of the Comprehensive Plan.”

A reminder to get your comments in on the Comp Plan map website before Dec 31, 2013 when the comment period ends.

What’s Inside?

  • The Map App is a way for you to explore maps of the city and help determine what Portland could look like and how it should grow over the next 20 years.
  • Use the Map App to learn more about anticipated new housing or job development and where the City may want to invest in new infrastructure, like water, sewer, parks and streets.
  • Your ideas can shape how Portland will grow over the next 20 years.
  • Leave your comments on the maps to inform the City’s Comprehensive Plan Update.

I-5/RQ and CRC Freeway Expansions: At the Crossroads of Portland’s Future

From experiences in the past, the Clackamas bike/ped bridge is likely to be deleted for cost savings as the project cost soars with inflation.

UPDATE: AROW joined the neighborhoods in voting NO to the freeway widening proposal.  The proposal still passed but will be up for future votes within the SAC and at City Council.  Further coverage:


The I-5/Rose Quarter highway expansion project presents a crossroads for Portland and the entire region. Much as the CRC is problematic, this project would further entrench our city in a piece of infrastructure destined for obsolescence.

Demolishing three good bridge structures to add one lane in each direction–while possibly receiving a few bike/ped improvements in the process–is absurd.

While there are certainly safety improvements worth making, ODOT itself admits that freeways are essentially their safest form of infrastructure in this 2009 report:

The number of crashes per million vehicle miles traveled on non-freeways for 2009 was 1.22. This is more than three times higher than the interstatefreeway crash rate of 0.38, and twice as high as the crash rate of 0.61 for other freeways and expressways. The difference between non-freeway and freeway crash rates indicates that freeway travel is safer.*

This statement, along with Metro’s recent report that main streets are deadlier than highways, raises important questions about how ODOT is choosing to spend $400 million for such small safety gains.  I think we could do a lot more to improve traffic safety with such a large pot of money. For instance, you could build out almost the entire Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 which would bring improvements to neighborhoods across the city.

Please write your comments on the proposed plan to ODOT Senior Project Manager Todd Juhasz or attend an upcoming public comment meeting.

Photo: Greenberry INC

In CRC news, today we’ve heard that River users said Columbia River Crossing too low, and planner ignored them

“The concept of taking a bridge and making it lower is so contrary to common sense,” said Tom Hickman, vice president of sales and marketing for Oregon Iron Works. “We’re kind of baffled how they got this far down the road without listening to the concerns. They seem to have just ignored us.”

Last summer, another review instigated by Kitzhaber and Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler deemed the CRC’s toll revenue projections to be inflated by nearly half a billion dollars. The CRC was relying on outdated and inaccurate traffic numbers, the review found.

Not surprisingly, the CRC is fielding some pointed criticism from area politicians, not a good thing for an organization reliant on the goodwill of Washington, D.C. and Salem and Olympia for financing.

“We are at a loss as to how such an oversight in this design could have occurred,” stated U.S. Rep. Jamie Herrera-Buetler and three other Washington Congress members in an April 30 letter to the CRC. “Given the importance of navigation to our region, we believe it is imperative that a new bridge not limit future river commerce.”

and If you’re still on board with the CRC, you’re doing it wrong.

Funding for the project seems to be in doubt as well. The feds just rejected the ask for a $1 billion loan, citing the lack of funding support from the Oregon & Washington state legislatures.

Many of the premises used to convince Oregonians that the bridge is vital and necessary have been outed as false.

And that barely scratches the surface. It’s been a hot mess for many months.

Help Build a Comprehensive Resource on the Case for Investing in Bikes

If you’re into numbers, citations and other fun data related to why investing and encouraging bicycling is the most super-duper thing cities can do, it would be great to have your contribution to this collaborative project!

The Case for Cycling is destined to help inform the City Club of Portland’s research study on bicycling and will also serve as a comprehensive reference to help cities navigate the political and social challenges of building out their bike networks.

Chris Smith writes:

The City Club of Portland recently announced a research study: BICYCLING IN PORTLAND: A SERIOUS LOOK AT TRANSPORTATION POLICY AND PRIORITIES .

Here are the objectives of the study:

  • Make a recommendation on the role bicycling should play in Portland’s transportation system, based on review of existing criteria, available studies, and witness testimony.
  • Based on the committee’s recommendation for the role bicycling should play in Portland’s transportation system, make further recommendations on the goals the city should set for bicycle ridership and the necessary improvements to reach those goals.
  • The committee must identify the level and sources of funding necessary to achieve the identified goals.
  • The committee is encouraged to make recommendations in related areas, including safety, governance, traffic enforcement, economic development, and community outreach.

You can’t lobby a City Club research committee (and I wouldn’t want to – having participated in a couple and chaired one – I respect the process greatly), but you can make sure they have good information, and we’d like to make sure they have lots of it!

“We” in this instance is a cooperative effort of Portland Transport, the Bicycle Transportation AllianceBikePortlandPortland Afoot and AROW.
And we’d like you to help us.

We’ve launched a Wiki site: The Case for Cycling and we’re asking your assistance in populating it with the best arguments, statistics and research making the case for why cycling is good for our city, region and country.

While the motivation for this site is immediate and local, we’d like this to be a high-quality effort that can take on a longer life and be a resource for other communities.

Please check out the site, sign up for an account, and contribute your best arguments and data!

Update on the Studded Tire Ballot Initiative

Jeff Bernards came to an AROW meeting years ago to gain support on his effort to ban studded tires in Oregon. Turns out we waste a lot of money re-paving our roadways because of the unnecessary use of metal-studded tires. Jeff and a cadre of volunteers set forward a communications and fundraising campaign to help end this era of wastefulness.

While a large fundraising goal stands in the way of getting on the 2012 ballot, there is hope that State Represenatives in Salem who will face significant budget shortfalls in 2013 will be inspired to take up the appropriate legislation.