Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Portland as an illustration of the best (planning/infrastructure) and worst (how the hell to fund transit) in transportation planning

Governing Magazine has an article, " Portland Struggles to Remain a Leader in Public Transit," on the conundrum faced by Portland, Oregon, poster child for great transportation planning, coordinated land use planning, vision, etc. in the United States, but how the transit system is facing massive service cuts and fare increases because the system's funding sources (primarily a withholding tax on wage income) have diminished significantly during the recession, to the point where the city's heralded fareless square--free transit downtown--is facing extinction.

This dire financial situation is not unique, as most every transit system across the country, whether it is expanding its footprint or not, faces similar budgetary exigencies.

Portland Aerial Tram and Portland Streetcar
Governing Magazine photo by David Kidd. The Portland Aerial Tram, which runs between the city’s South Waterfront district and the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) campus, is part of Portland's public transportation network that includes the Portland Streetcar, MAX Light Rail and TriMet buses. This is only the second commuter aerial tramway in the United States. The Roosevelt Island Tramway in New York City is the first. Fearing lower property values and possible loss of privacy, many residents of the neighborhoods under the tram opposed the tram’s construction, but those fears appear to have been groundless. The two Swiss-built cars opened to the public in January 2007.

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