Tuesday, October 3, 2023
HomeCyclingMetro President Peterson desires us to say 'sure' to regional megaprojects

Metro President Peterson desires us to say ‘sure’ to regional megaprojects

Photo of Lynn Peterson talking into a mic and text that reads: "We can't let 'no' get in the way of progress."

(Photograph: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland, 2018)

The 2022 Oregon Lively Transportation Summit hosted by The Road Belief kicked off on-line this morning and the featured speaker, Metro Council President Lynn Peterson, urged attendees to assist three megaprojects presently being deliberate within the area — and all of them embrace wider freeways.

Three initiatives Peterson talked about in her speech this morning. (Supply: ODOT)

Peterson was talking from Vancouver, Washington the place she’s attending a piece session as an Government Steering Group member of the Interstate Bridge Substitute mission, a joint effort of the Oregon and Washington departments of transportation to increase 5 miles of I-5 on either side of the Columbia River.

That was one in all three particular initiatives Peterson touched on in her keynote which was billed as a “state of transportation within the area” tackle.

Peterson has a protracted resume within the transportation area that goes again over 30 years — from being a site visitors calming intern for the Metropolis of Portland within the mid Nineties, to stints with land use planning nonprofit 1000 Associates of Oregon and TriMet earlier than moving into politics as a Metropolis of Lake Oswego councilor within the early 2000s. Her most up-to-date authorities job previous to Metro was as Director of the Washington Division of Transportation (a job that led to a openly political stunt by detractors of the governor who appointed her).

There have been two main components of her speech that caught my consideration this morning.

First, she made a really compelling case for why ostensibly non-transportation points are central to fixing our transportation points. And second, she articulated why she thinks it’s time to assist the I-5 Rose Quarter, Interstate Bridge Substitute, and I-205/Abernethy Bridge initiatives.

In a bit of her speech the place she mentioned our area doesn’t have sufficient funding to handle our mobility infrastructure wants, Peterson related that “lack of assets” to the necessity for a regional funding bond measure and widespread security fears. “Voters should really feel secure in choices earlier than they vote to pay for them,” she mentioned. Peterson targeted totally on considerations cited by many individuals (as many as 76% of individuals within the area in accordance with one ballot she cited) that they don’t really feel secure driving transit — particularly Black folks and different communities of colour. “We don’t meet our local weather targets with out addressing these fears. We don’t move the transportation funding measure with out addressing these fears,” she mentioned.

“Voters should really feel secure in choices earlier than they vote to pay for them.”
— Lynn Peterson, Metro Council President

Then Peterson mentioned transportation advocates ought to use a much wider lens in the event that they need to get their points over the end line. For Peterson we have to “restore the social contract” and take a holistic take a look at neighborhood well being earlier than there’s any area to handle transportation challenges. She mentioned so long as there’s financial injustice, housing instability, and worry of transferring by means of our communities, nearly all of folks gained’t be keen to alter the transportation established order.

Metro is doing its half by shopping for and restoring pure areas and parks all through the area like Newell Creek Canyon and Chehalem Ridge Nature Park. Peterson likened these parks as a part of Metro’s effort to “rebuild the inspiration of Maslow’s hierarchy.” “If we need to achieve success in funding our transportation priorities, we’ve got to construct the bottom of the pyramid first.”

Peterson additionally mentioned progressive transportation activists will proceed to be upset with progress until they discover methods to compromise with people who disagree with them.

Citing a current ballot the place folks had been requested if Metro ought to prioritize site visitors aid investments that put local weather change mitigation first, or whether or not they need to do no matter it takes no matter local weather impacts, the end result was cut up 45% to 45%. “And I remind you that we’ve got to get to 50% for a poll measure to move,” Peterson mentioned.

In the case of the three regional megaprojects that embrace freeway expansions, Peterson expressed her assist for transferring them ahead. After itemizing all three initiatives, she mentioned, “You may hear this checklist and fear that the floodgates are opening for extra driving. Know that we’ve got a strong instrument at our disposal, one which I do know can mitigate that concern: and that’s congestion pricing.”

Peterson didn’t say in her speech this morning that she would oppose these initiatives in the event that they didn’t embrace some kind of toll or congestion pricing program first, however she has mentioned that previously. And whether or not ODOT ever truly launched a pricing program on their interstates stays unsure (a Metro vote to implement tolls on the I-205 mission was just lately delayed).

What Peterson was clear on, nevertheless, was that she’s able to say “sure” to those three initiatives and that individuals who oppose them are getting in the way in which.

“We will’t let ‘no’ get in the way in which of progress. Too many nos means Washington once more pulls out of the I-5 bridge dialog… Too many nos drives up the price of the Rose Quarter mission making something greater than a bare-bones I-5 crossing infeasible. And too many nos makes it tougher and tougher to get a regional transportation funding measure handed.”

If a majority of the area can get to “sure,” Peterson believes the Interstate Bridge mission may be “right-sized for the way we need to reside now and into the long run and meets the Metro Council’s fairness and local weather targets,” and the I-5 Rose Quarter mission can result in a “Restored Albina neighborhood that doesn’t see Interstate 5 as a canyon however as a substitute as an afterthought buried beneath the neighborhood.”

Another excuse Peterson might need yeses and nos on her thoughts is that voters will face the identical resolution about her bid for one more time period as Metro president when ballots arrive subsequent month.