Getting to 2100

 

Getting to 2100

City Planning Archive

19 March 2013

Over 20 years ago, the City of Portland removed off-street parking requirements for residential development along streets served by transit. Check out this photo essay on how off-street parking (for years required by cities) disrupts the “traditional” neighborhood character, community interaction and aesthetics…
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Traditional development along transit streets

18 March 2013

Portland is heralded for its strong investment in bicycle facilities and is being copied around the continent (think NYC, Vancouver, BC and Chicago). Can’t even remember how many times Bicycling Magazine has called Portland the Best Cycling City in North America. In the past 20 years, Portland has built over 300 miles of bicycle facilities and much of the Portland metropolitan area is not far behind. Well, has it worked? Let’s find out…

7 March 2013

Once considered the disease of the affluent, obesity and its attendant dysfunction is spreading across the world. The culprits? Nike jumps into the fray in a big way, find out more…

26 February 2013

2013-02-19 14.17.49 HDRWith transportation making up about 20% of a city’s carbon contribution, changes in how we move are critical to address climate change but also, if done right, can make our cities safer, cleaner, quieter and more livable.

30 January 2013

Who has a fat butt?
Time to look in the mirror and take responsibility for our carbon excesses.

Some would say that we shouldn’t have to cut fossil fuel use to reduce carbon emissions until every country commits to doing the same. But what would you think if you knew that those countries suffering most from severe climate disruption aren’t causing the problem? Countries in the tropics and the global south produce relatively little carbon yet are suffering severe flooding, water shortages and catastrophic storms…
Country size represents total carbon emissions. Source: Worldmapper.org Country size represents total carbon emissions. Source: Worldmapper.org

30 January 2013

In a dog bites man story, the Oregonian reports on the latest report that the City of Portland’s vaunted transportation department lacks focus, overspends and doesn’t achieve its goal. Not a big surprise to Portlanders who know too well the energizer-bunny characters of the ex-Mayor (who headed this bureau for 8 years) and his doppelganger, […]

11 December 2012

Even if the world were to stop burning fossil fuels tomorrow, the momentum of rising global temperature caused by too much carbon in the atmosphere demands on the ground responses if we are to keep our cities livable. How can we cool our cities and keep them healthy?

11 December 2012

Bicycle use is experiencing a resurgence in much of the world – even the French are riding! In the USA bicycling is on the cusp of even greater growth, rating the attacks of House Republicans who eliminated funding in the latest transportation bill. Yet, most cities still are hostile to experienced riders much less the average person. What do you find that works to give this affordable, convenient, healthy transportation option a leg up?

22 October 2012

IMG_0032Whew! It was almost 12 years ago that I took my first oath of office as Metro Councilor from District 5. Now, I’ve reached my 12 year, 3 term limit and I want to say goodbye and thank you. I’ve had a great time representing you and working to make this an even better place to live. And to make Metro a better agency, providing great service to the more than 5 million people we touch every year through the Oregon Zoo, the Oregon Convention Center, our parks, solid waste services and more…

20 September 2012

(In September, 2012, I was acclaimed 2012’s Most Effective Elected Official in Transportation by the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations. I gave this acceptance speech on the subject of regional planning (so needed in our megapolitan regions!) and basing transportation investments on our shared human values.)

Thank you very much for this incredible honor. And thanks to my colleagues at Metro who nominated me, and did a very good job of keeping this a secret!

I see this as an award for asking awkward questions, and for knowing when to clear the way, and for knowing when to get out of the way.

My habit of asking awkward questions (why, daddy, but, why?) led to study and work in the sciences, then to neighborhood and civic activism and on into a political career. Somewhere along the way I learned the important lesson of leadership—its not enough just to question but one must create a vision, learn to communicate this vision clearly and compellingly and to ask others for help.

My agency, Metro in Portland, Oregon, has a reputation for innovation, leadership and controversy. Yet, despite spearheading regional land use planning, comprehensive recycling and light rail, until I got elected we pretty much planned and put together our RTPs and MTIPs like everyone else—collect a list, collate and print it then divvy up the dough. And heaven help anyone who got between a mayor and his pet project! Not everyone was happy but it was a comfortable groove.

Enter this asker of awkward questions. Being a community activist and not a professional planner or administrator I didn’t know that it was enough to have a world-class model (designed by rocket scientists at Los Alamos, no less!). So I asked why. Why do we spend our money the way we do when we are getting results we don’t like? Like growing traffic congestion, sprawl and collapsing rates of kids walking and biking to school.?

So, I asked why. And, because I was now able to open some doors (and some budget amendments) we went to the public and asked them directly: We collectively spend over $700 Million of your money every year on transportation: are you getting what you want?