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Portland Stands to Set a Public Policy Example

In a couple of hours, a public forum will start at the Merrill Auditiorium to discuss the Portland Peninsula Transit Study, which needs to be approved by the city council before it can be implemented. Some of the most intriguing proposals (put together by Boston-based Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates) include:

-- Getting city employees to set an example by providing universal transit passes, installing bike racks and showers at city buildings, and promoting carpooling.

-- Establishing a "Sustainable Transportation Fund" and a "Transportation Resource Center" (which sounds similar to city council candidate Tina Smith's idea for an alternative transportation hub.)

--  Increasing parking rates in highly desirable areas, decreasing rates in areas where no one parks; establishing a program that would force residents pay to park on the streets in their neighborhoods.

-- Creating a car-sharing collaboration between the city and private institutions.

-- Marketing the regional transit system with better maps, quicker service (through dedicated bus lanes and the like).

-- Upgrade pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, such as crosswalk markings, bike parking and lanes. 

The ultimate goal, as stated in the Portland Press Herald today, is to make cars "second-class citizens on Portland's peninsula" (strange wording, no? almost as if they oppose the idea?); what an example we'd set if that happens!

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