Portland began its divergence from the typical American city’s transportation model in the 70s, when federal highway dollars were diverted to light rail construction. Since then 300 miles of bike lanes, several more light rail lines, the streetcar, and changes to land use patterns have contributed to a transportation transformation.
The Boston Globe asks if this model can catch on elsewhere:
Officials in Portland say the recognition from Washington is long overdue after years in which federal bureaucrats were indifferent or hostile, even as the city’s emphasis on “livability’’ became widely admired among urban planners and environmentalists. And while boasting of Portland’s transit-oriented culture, officials largely reject the idea that there is something special in the Oregon air that can’t be replicated elsewhere.
“We happen to have gone down a path that was very prescient,’’ said the city’s mayor, Sam Adams, formerly a city transportation official. “We get high praise on a very low standard.’’
The Obama administration’s focus on Portland, which US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood dubbed the “capital city’’ of transportation policy during a visit last month, comes as Congress begins work on a new six-year highway and transit bill. Advocates hope the law, which could be voted on as early as this fall, will be the most sweeping overhaul since 1991.
Read the rest: In one city, at least, two-wheelers welcome.