Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Transit - Regional High Capacity Transit Plan (Part 5)

Metro has not left us to fend for ourselves when the hordes of climate refuges come pouring over the border from California to avail themselves of our moderate weather and clear water.  (See page ).  Metro has been busy planning how to cope with the masses of people who will be instant Oregonians by creating the high-capacitytransit systems and transit-oriented development,vertical housing in compact, mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods (which includes bicycles) with easy access to employment, healthy foods, parks, trails and affordable housing options.

Metro will spread out the "benefits and burdens" of density so all cities and town centers are ruined equally (social equity).  Auto traffic will be discouraged by lack of parking, priced parking, rising road fees and road lane removal for Gold Level, dedicated HCT.  Metro's regional influence (if not boundaries) will extend into Yamhill and Columbia Counties, and perhaps north into Clark County as well.  This is your future.  Just try to get out of it.  But it will be Utopia, so go with the flow - what choice do you have?  That's the Plan - no choices about how to live since every place will function pretty much the same, but maybe where to live - even Europeans get to decide that.

Before you get into the Plans, you need to know a few terms.  You no doubt know what a watershed is... but have you ever heard of a "travel shed"?  Imagine people are drops of water and we all flow on transit routes to wherever we are going.  We come from dispersed locations and move toward collector streams of transit where we join with other drops of people moving in our direction.  Simple enough, but the term "shed" really annoys me.  Then you have your "walking sheds" and "biking sheds".   I have yet to see a "car shed" or a "bus shed", but maybe I missed it.  In order to be a good "walking shed", the start and finish of a trip should take no longer than 10 minutes on these maps (20 minutes in the New Urbanism 20-minute walkable neighborhood plan), and 10 minutes by bike for a "biking shed".  See pages 59 - 60 of the High Capacity Transportation System Plan.  

As they say, you can't make this stuff up, and the planning has been in the works for decades, on
how they have the political and financial means figured out how to do it.  Metro creates the policies and regulatory framework that will put local governments in a choke hold.  Local governments will be forced to change their comprehensive plans and write land use codes to accommodate Metro's rules.  Then Metro will require each city to hand over their tribute, taken from unwilling and cash-strapped citizens (hardly seems fair to call taxpayers citizens anymore), and combine it with Metro, State and Federal grants (more taxpayer money) to complete their goals.  Read the Plan and see what it tells you about the future of everywhere.

Selected excerpts from the Plan:
  • High capacity transit is an important tool for building vibrant, walkable and affordable communities.  Transit-oriented developments are large- or small-scale developments organized to take advantage of high quality transit service. 
  • The complete high capacity transit system facilitates access by bicycling, walking and transit to provide an integrated system of transit options.
  • The decision-making process for the High Capacity Transit System Plan was framed within the existing Metro advisory committees.
  • Potential Regional Support - Create land use and TOD plans for centers and stations.
  • Potential Local Actions - Create multimodal station access and parking plans.
  • Mixed land uses concentrated within walking distance of HCT stations are critical to fostering walkable communities where transit is the most convenient mode available for longer trips. 
  • See Page 42 for dwelling units per acre for each type of HCT
  • HCT alignments and stations should provide direct access to compact mixed-use districts while also opening up new development and redevelopment opportunities.
  • ...the stations fulfill distinct roles or market niches and are often revered to as a "string of pearls."  For instance, some station areas are primarily employment areas, while others are small scale urban villages with an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants. 
And the list goes on.  And a chicken in every pot.  Please let me know if you disagree with my take on our future with Metro as our collective leader.

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