Posted by Michael Andersen (News Editor) on January 27th, 2014 at 12:47 pm
The City of Portland is getting ready to write its most important transportation wish list in years.
A trio of town halls next month — one east of Interstate 205, one in outer Southwest Portland and one in middle Southeast — will help determine which projects the city will publicly commit to when it proposes a new revenue plan to the public.
As we first reported last month, the city’s leading option is a per-household and per-business “street fee” that would probably come out to several dollars per month per household. The city hopes to raise about $25 million a year to spend on street repairs, sidewalks, safer crossings, multi-use paths and other amenities.
Earlier this month, Mayor Charlie Hales and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick convened an impressive 27-person committee expected to help select the projects, determine the fee structure and ultimately make the case to the public.
The city’s preliminary project lists so far have not included the word “bicycle,” though mixed-use paths such as the North Portland Greenway and various measures in the East Portland in Motion plan would certainly improve bike transportation.
Hales, Novick and city transportation staff will attend the three town halls “to discuss current unfunded transportation needs,” the city wrote on its website this weekend:
- Thursday, Feb. 20, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Sunnyside Environmental School, 3421 SE Salmon St.
- Tuesday, Feb. 25, 6:30 to 8:30 at Immigrant & Refuge Community Organization (IRCO), 10301 NE Glisan St.
- Thursday, Feb. 27, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Highway
Mark Lear, who staffed the transportation bureau’s similar “Safe, Sound and Green” street fee effort in 2007, is returning as the city’s point person on this project. You can contact him at (503) 823-7604 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a happy occurrence. It means that for once bicyclists and motorists will have to sit down alongside pedestrians and hash out the nature of the improvements that are likely to be adopted by an given municipality. Because cyclists are generally outnumbered by their driving and walking counterparts it will mean too that they will no longer be able to rely on a dictatorial mayoralty to give them what they want regardless of the objections of others.
It would seem that we might finally be entering the age of accountability where bicyclists are concerned. Bravo!