I've been the Commissioner-In-Charge of the Portland Bureau of Transportation since September 2018. It's a huge and challenging bureau, but it's quickly become one of my strongest areas of interest. Solving our transportation challenges is deeply entwined with solving our housing challenges. It's critical to safety, equity, and sustainability. As PBOT considers every major project or policy development, we ask ourselves two questions: How will this advance our climate change goals, and how will this advance our racial equity goals?
After decades of neglect and underinvestment, PBOT has a daunting $1B backlog in deferred maintenance. We've made real headway in the past three years since the passage of the Fix Our Streets Gas Tax.
✓Developed the Rose Lanes Project which aims to increase the reliability and efficiency of public transit by re-allocating right-of-way to buses and streetcars with transit priority treatments.
✓ Aligned bureau programs with an equity lens to work towards affordable and equitable access to transit.
✓ Reformed the abandoned auto program to be more responsive during our housing crisis to people using their vehicles as shelter. Our staff work with people to access resources and more sustainable shelter options and minimize interventions that are disruptive or take away their property.
✓ Started the Pricing Options for Equitable Mobility Task Force to dig deep into how transportation causes inequitable outcomes and make recommendations around pricing that reflects more progressive and innovative models. Nothing like this exists in the country and many cities are looking forward to their recommendations.
✓ Fought against the I-5 Rose Quarter Project without real reparations attached that will allow the Albina Vision to be realized and deliver real benefit.
But, we're not done! We have so many exciting projects and plans ahead of us, all aimed at reducing emissions, making our roadways safer for all users, and creating an equitable transit system for all Portlanders, including:
The Greenways Project is the next transportation project that will focus on improving pedestrian and cycling opportunities within neighborhoods while decreasing car traffic volumes and speeds on residential streets
Develop innovative transportation demand management measures hand-in-hand with community to keep us moving toward our carbon emissions goals while ensuring equitable outcomes
Consider alternatives to sidewalk and street tree management, which is currently the responsibility of adjacent property owner and leads to inequities in our pedestrian infrastructure and urban canopy.
Continue working toward Vision Zero safety goals through improved and safer infrastructure
Aligning our transportation equity goals with our housing goals so that we’re not displacing vulnerable populations from the central city into areas with inadequate public transit and active transportation infrastructure.
Pass the Fix Our Streets Gas Tax