Somebody forgot to tell the transportation bureaucrats to switch it off.
Seems Portland’s green goals – everything from increasing bike commuting and telecommuting to ensuring jobs and groceries are close to homes – have met up with the city’s ambitious $20 billion transportation “wish list.”
Darn it. A new study shows that the city’s population growth coupled with the goals in the proposed Regional Transportation Plan would result in so much increased traffic that greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles will jump 49 percent. That’s 49 percent. And it was just a couple weeks ago that Portland and Multnomah County adopted its Climate Action Plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. And just a couple weeks before that the city vowed to get 25 percent of its commuters on bikes by 2030, as InvestigateWest reported on and heartily endorsed here.
Environmentalists say the new Metro analysis confirms the folly of spending $4 billion on a new, wider Columbia River bridge – the largest project in the Regional Transportation Plan – as well as projects to widen some suburban roads to seven lanes. “We need solutions that don’t lead to more driving,” says Mara Gross, policy director of Coalition for a Livable Future, which represents about 90 organizations.
In the “wish list,” roads, bridges and highways would get 57 percent of the $20 billion in the Regional Transportation Plan. But to be fair, transit, pedestrian and bicycle projects would receive 37 percent of the money.
— Rita Hibbard