Saturday, September 25, 2010

A 20-minute city plan - Portland USA

How do you convince people to see what isn’t there? When you’re talking about the future of transportation, there is more than one city planner or politician who wishes they had a magic wand. More than a hundred years of a towering car culture has left many citizens unable to envision a different future, much less plan for it. Getting people to see fewer cars can seem like an insurmountable challenge. For Portland, Oregon, creating a sustainable city with sound policy and smart transportation has proven to be not just economically viable, but popular.  Portland, a city of 537,000, now has a combined total of 500 kilometres of bike lanes, off-street paths, signed connections and car-free boulevards.How do you sell a bicycle-friendly plan when voters have never been more polarized? Mayor Adams knew he had to convince everyone, whether they rode a bike or not, that it was in their best interest. Becoming a cycling Mecca would only make good policy if it made good economic sense for Portland. The foundation for the future of this western seaboard city is comprised of tight unity between economic development, climate action and the bicycle plan. Portland had to see these planning decisions create jobs, achieve prosperity and social justice. The cohesion of all these requirements under a 25-year strategic plan is bearing fruit. Read on in Wheels.