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Meeting Summary 11/10/09 – Bicycle Plan Endorsed

November 10, 2009

What we did today (all on 5-0 votes);

1) Recommended the updated invasive plants policy and code to City Council, including some technical amendments provided by staff.

2) Enthusiastically endorsed the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030, including changes proposed by staff and the following specific recommendations:

Strategy

We agree with the recommendation of the Plan to focus initial investments in Bicycle Boulevards to rapidly bring a comfortable cycling experience to as wide a portion of Portland as possible. But we also agree with testimony that other investments are essential as well. We recommend that the black and white labeling of funding priority tiers be removed and that immediate programs be established to:

  • Fund project development of major off-street trail corridors in concert with Metro’s Intertwine effort so that these projects will be ready for implementation when construction funding becomes achievable in the future.
  • Develop and implement a list of high priority pilot corridors for separated in-roadway bikeways that can be initially created with ‘software’ (paint, signal timing changes, plastic pylons) rather than ‘hardware’ (concrete, asphalt, new signals). Based on the results of these pilots, consider prioritizing permanent build-out of these corridors and construction of additional separated facilities.

Equity

Consistent with our recommendation on the Streetcar System Concept Plan, it is important that the benefits of our investments in cycling be distributed equitably in all areas of the City and are accessible to all members of the community. The following actions should be prioritized:

  • Schedule early implementation of the following item from Action Plan 5.1E:
    • “Fund and perform a study of opportunities to increase access to bicycling in East Portland”
  • Emphasize the following from Action Plan 4.2B:
    • “Develop culturally specific outreach and education programs
  • Anticipate the impact that the rapidly developing category of electric-assist bicycles may have on the practicality of cycling in SW and NW Portland and prepare supporting facility recommendations.
  • Support the work of community organizations that are making bicycles available to youth and low-income populations.

Portland Plan

The Portland Plan should support and incorporate the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 with the following work plan items:

  • Designate a set of current and future 20-minute neighborhood centers and designate a set of corridors interconnecting these neighborhood centers, Region 2040 Town and Regional Centers and the Central City. Corridors connecting these centers should be priorities for separated in-roadway bikeways and to the extent possible should be coordinated with the Streetcar System Concept plan to create continuous multi-modal mobility corridors between centers.
  • Consider whether all Region 2040 Town Centers should be classified as bicycle districts.
  • Examine space devoted to vehicle parking (both motor vehicles and bicycles) in the public realm, in commercial parking facilities and in accessory parking to all types of land uses and recommend policies to ensure that space is allocated appropriately between vehicle types to accommodate parking needs while to the extent possible reducing the total square footage required for parking.
  • Conduct research to comprehend the impact of cycling infrastructure and mode share on property values and make recommendations on the viability of value-capture funding methods (Local Improvement Districts, Tax-Increment Financing) along the lines of those used for Streetcar development.

3) Forwarded two out of three schools zoning changes to City Council. We supported:

  • Removing a conditional use trigger on student population (on the theory that this didn’t need to be reviewed until you added enough students to need a new classroom, which would typically trigger a review based on floor area anyway)
  • An extension of how long a school can be vacant before it needs a new conditional use review if put back into service as a school

We did not approve a change that would have allowed grade changes within grades K-8 without review. Concerns were expressed specifically about transportation and more generally about impacts when changing the population from younger to older kids and vice-versa. Staff was asked to bring back a proposal that would draw a conditional use trigger line between grades 5 and 6, comparable to the one proposed between grades 8 and 9. This will come back to the Commission in January along with further work on the fields issue.

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