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With his 2011 book, “Human Transit,” consultant Jarrett Walker provided planners and community members with a new way to think about the choices transit planning requires. Since that time, Walker has focused on what transit actually delivers. He calls this concept “abundant access”: how much of your city is available to you in a short amount of time.
“Abundant access is an interesting way to think about transit and something that brings it into the personal frame of liberty that is missing from most analysis of urban outcomes,” Walker said. “How we talk about sensations of freedom, so that we don’t just sound like bureaucrats who know what’s good for everyone.”
Urbanist leaders go astray, Walker said, when they put other goals ahead of the liberty and opportunity that useful transit provides. That could mean catering to developers or creating a symbolic transit system that is fun to ride but doesn’t serve regular transit users well.
Walker calls the New Urbanist conceit of prioritizing an aesthetically pleasing...Read more
The Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation has received a gift to support an annual transportation lecture at Portland State University. The gift, which establishes the Ann Niles Transportation Lecture Endowment, was finalized last month.
Created by Philip Niles in memory of his late wife, Ann, the endowment will bring a speaker each year to address transportation and planning issues for students, faculty and the community. Ann Niles was a strong advocate for livable neighborhoods and served on many transportation-related boards and committees in Portland.
Ann Niles grew up in Grants Pass, Ore., and graduated from Reed College in Portland, where she met Philip. She earned a graduate degree in library science from the University of Minnesota and began her career at the Carleton College library.
Ann and Philip retired in 1999 and returned to Portland. Ann developed a second career in unban development and transportation and worked with the city of Portland and the Pearl District Neighborhood Association. She chaired the Pearl District Transportation Committee for eight years, promoting better sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians and better bicycle routes and parking throughout downtown Portland. Ann also represented the Pearl District on the Portland Streetcar Citizens Advisory Committee and the advisory committee for Portland’s transit mall revitalization.
Details on the lecture series,...Read more
In a tent in a parking lot under a freeway bridge, Ray LaHood saw the future of the country’s transportation network Tuesday. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation spoke to reporters, dignitaries and construction workers in the muddy work zone of Southwest Moody Avenue.
Last year, the project to rebuild Moody Avenue received a $23.2 million grant from the federal stimulus package. The project will double the streetcar tracks and add a cycle track and sidewalks. It will also ease connections to a new transit bridge that will carry the Portland-Milwaukie light rail line, the eastside streetcar loop, cyclists and pedestrians.
LaHood, joined by the area's congressional delegation, city and state officials, stressed the jobs the project is creating and the boost for the mix of transportation modes it represents. The project will also reduce congestion, LaHood said, by making transit attractive to current and future residents and employees.
Before construction started along Moody, automobile congestion was virtually nonexistent. However, it’s a heavily trafficked bicycle route connecting Portland’s cycle-friendly downtown bridges with its largest employer, Oregon Health and Science University.
By allowing choices of light-rail train, streetcar, bicycle and shoe leather, the project stands to boost those forms of transportation. If commuters leave their cars at home, that represents a reduction in congestion elsewhere. Of course, the project will also add...Read more