The Urban Growth Boundary worked. Metro Portland’s population (1.58 million) has grown by 50 per cent since 1973, its land area has only grown by 2 per cent. Portland occupies about one-third the area and its population density is double that of Metro Vancouver. Infilling rather than sprawl has been the rule.
Hans Tammemagi looks at some of the keys to making the Urban Growth Boundary work, including a comprehensive transportation network.
And now a statistic unmatched anywhere in North America: from 1996 to 2006 transit ridership increased 46 per cent while automobile miles driven per capita dropped eight per cent! Another spin-off — with huge health-care savings — is that air quality consistently improved from 1990 to 1999 with bad air days decreasing from 11 to only two per year.
As in Europe, bicycling is a way of life with a full 16 per cent of Portlanders commuting on two wheels. Portland was recently named the “most bike-friendly city in the U.S.” But it hasn’t happened by accident. A bill in the 1970s allocated one per cent of state highway funds for bike lanes and paths; the result is more than 435 kilometres of bikeways in the city. And Portland’s education program builds for the future by teaching young people that biking is the preferred way to travel.
The article also examines Portland’s efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, increase the number of LEED-certified building, and the preservation of farmland close to the city.
Read the whole article here.