Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Monday, December 12, 2016

The same old gang decides the region's future

The Southwest Corridor Light Rail 
While you sleep, Metro plans. 

Where busses suffice for mass transit - a lot more busses for many more people - light rail is needed to encourage developers to build housing and more hideous TODs - Transit Oreinted Development.  Light rail (and streetcars) are not built to ease traffic congestion, nor are they the best transit option in most cases.  They are desired by Central Planners because they encourage the type of  dense development they want to see: Ultra Compact Form, Smart Growth, New Urbanism.  Metro is the Soviet Bunker Funder.

Developers are not satisfied with light rail - they want, and sometimes need - public subsidies in order to build the mixed use development wants.  It doesn't make sense, but that's how Central Planning work: Build what people should have, not what people want, as decided by the Regional Overseers.  Efficient transit - relieving regional congestion - is secondary to the grand plan of creating a wheel of connecting TODs, formerly called neighborhoods and suburban communities.

Does PCC need transit enhancements? 
Should the community college be in the business of affordable housing?

Below is an example of how transit and affordable housing for PCC students are being pushed as  benefits of the SW Corridor light rail plan.  The problems with this are:  1) PCC campuses are well-served by transit now; 2) the only way to get affordable housing where you want it is to mandate it through regulatory action and/or subsidize it ("affordable" housing is not a by-product of transit); and 3) PCC's mission is education, not housing or social work.

The Barbur Blvd. Transit Center is close to PCC Sylvania and is a local hub for busses to the region. Discounted Trimet passes are available to PCC students. AND, what most people don't know is that PCC runs shuttle busses between all its campuses and PSU downtown making it super easy for students to get to at least one of the campuses and then ride for free across the region to another with very few stops.  If student can get to Portland State University (how hard is that?), getting to a PCC campus is a breeze!

So what are these PCC Board of Directors/Staffers talking about?  Are they supporting students, or a particular vision of regional Smart Growth development?  Is this about needed transportation for students, or a more flashy transit option for the prestige of the school?  Community colleges are not responsibile for housing students.

From The Southwest Corridor Steering Committee Meeting of November 17, 2016

6.0 Public Comment 
Ms. Kathleen McMullen, PCC, applauded the efforts of staff and partners for campus transit improvements and emphasized the importance of having affordable, accessible, and reliable transit connection for students and staff to be able to connect to the college campus. 

Ms. Sylvia Kelley, PCC, emphasized that many PCC students face numerous challenges including lack of reliable and affordable transportation to and from college campus. She expressed support and excitement for the FTA TOD grant received by Metro and how it may be used in terms of the community equity. 

Ms. Denise Frisbee, PCC, commented on the launching of the PCC master plan and getting involved with the local communities. She pointed out that some of the community’s concerns  included housing affordability and availability, need for improvement of campus access points, need for improvement of bicycle and pedestrian access, and high transportation costs. In conclusion, Ms. Frisbee thanked the committee for considerations and stated that she is looking forward to working together. 

From the PCC Website:

In addition, to help meet the demand for public transit, PCC has increased the number of TriMet premier subsidized passes to 1,200 a term for use by students, who might not be able to use the free shuttles.

The PCC shuttle was established in 1993 to help meet the growing need for alternative transportation at the college and to meet its mission of being more green. Today, with parking spaces at a premium, the shuttle service has grown dramatically with the Sylvania-to-Downtown route (orange line) being the most popular. The Parking and Transportation Office also is expanding the shuttle fleet and has converted all of the current buses to run on BioDiesel fuel.

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