Portland Plan Declares Cars Lowest Priority
“The ordered list is a radical change for the community, to say this is the direction we’re going,” says Dr. Gary Oxman, a member of the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission.
The list is included in the recommended Comprehensive Plan update the commission approved last year and sent to the City Council for adoption. Oxman spoke to the council about the list during a work session on the update last week. He warned that sticking to the list could anger motorists, and he urged the council to educate the public about it.
“I think we’re going in the right direction, but there is some fine-tuning to do,” said Oxman, the former tri-county health officer for Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties.
Commissioner Steve Novick, who is in charge of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, explained the priorities are intended to guide those planning future transportation projects. He said it would result in more elevated sidewalks and bicycle paths that are physically separated from streets.
According to Novick, one goal is to encourage Portlanders to walk on trips up to a mile, use bikes on trips up to three miles, and take transit for longer trips.
Proposed priority uses for city streets, in order:
- 1. Walking
- 2. Bicycling
- 3. Transit
- 4. Taxi/ commercial transit/shared vehicles
- 5. Zero-emission vehicles
- 6. Other single-occupancy vehicles
According to the strategy, implementing this prioritization is intended to ensure that:
• The needs and safety of each group of users are considered, and changes do not make existing conditions worse for the most vulnerable users.
• All users’ needs are balanced with the intent of optimizing the right of way for multiple modes on the same street.