Thursday, August 17, 2006

"Crossdressing" Portland

For all the pissing and moaning that some do about Portland's liberal politics (and their implementation), it seems at least in some ways to be working like a charm.

The BBC is in the midst of a series on the world's best public services, and Portland ranks its own article because of public transportation:

In Oregon they were 'cross dressing' as far back as the 1970's when the Republican Governor, Tom McCall, took radical steps to prioritise public transport over roads, using the freeways levy to invest in the foundations of what is undoubtedly one of the most integrated and dynamic public transport provisions anywhere in the world.

Today, the city still invests its share of federal tax dollars into multiple modes of transport, and its long-term vision has paid off.

Over the last 10 years, public transport use has gone up by 65% and they have managed to avoid a predicted 40% increase in congestion.

And, incredibly for a city in the world's most car dependent nation, they're eradicating over 62 million car trips a year, which means car use is growing at the slowest rate anywhere in the United States.

So despite best efforts by local conservatives to shitcan light rail and public transportation infrastructure, its apparently working.

But it isn't just getting out of cars and onto light rail, its the local development mindset that's pushing things along:

But Portland isn't just about successfully getting people out of their cars. What's really clear, is the extent to which transport is the absolute bedrock of community development.

The city is an international pioneer in transit orientated developments, high-density, residential and business units around light-rail stops and transit centres.

The piece also cites Portland's push to empower local communities' and business' voice in city government. With everyone rowing in the same direction--Portland is a public transportation model for the world, it seems.

[via Lynn Evergreen Politics]