Three Elements of Portland’s Success

Portland's Pearl District is one of the truly unique neighborhoods on the West Coast

I recently returned from a few days up in Portland, a city well-known as being decades ahead of its peers when it comes to urban planning.  While I wont go into as much detail as my examination of innovative urban policies in Colorado, I took away three primary elements of Portland’s planning paradigm which have helped it to earn the title of most sustainable city year after year.

Element #1: The Urban Growth Boundary

Portland's UGB is the single most important policy in understanding the region's successes.

In Portland, land is a limited resource.  For the past 30 years, Portland has protected farmland and open space by limiting the development of sprawling suburbs and exurbs through strict controls over the location of growth.  When done right, an urban growth boundary can be the single most effective policy to create a livable and sustainable city and region.  By containing sprawl, Portland makes the most of its built environment, which mostly resembles a less-congested Berkeley density-wise.  What really blew me away was the sheer number of vibrant neighborhood commercial streets that were often within only blocks of one another–NW 21st and NW 23rd, Hawthorne and Belmont, not to mention the entire Pearl District–something which could not occur in a more heavily suburbanized region with a greater presence of strip malls.

There are a number of misconceptions that result from Portland’s UGB.  Contrary to the claims of libertarian critics, the UGB has not stopped all growth and led to an unaffordable region; Portland is actually one of the most pro-growth cities in the nation and has made it easy (through progressive zoning codes and parking requirements–see below) for developers to construct high-quality yet affordable housing to meet the demand of the market.  As a result, Portland experienced much less of a boom and bust than cities in California, and currently has a median housing price is 40% that of San Francisco, 60% that of LA, and 80% that of Seattle, making it one of the most affordable cities on the West Coast.

Element #2: Smart Parking Management

A village of food carts lining a surface parking lot in Downtown Portland.

In the Bay Area, parking can turn conservatives into progressives and liberals into Teabaggers.  Because land is a limited resource and Portland must make the most of existing space, Portland has pioneered a number of interesting and innovative parking management practices.  The two most noticeable of these practices are the adaptive reuse of surface parking lots with food carts and the parking management policies around transit.

Unbeknownst to me before my visit, Portland is famous for its food carts, second to only New York City (which has about 14 times the population).  The 400+ carts range from Indian to Cambodian to Mexican to Brazilian and boast some of the best food in the entire city for a price of $5-$7 dollars.  What do food carts have to do with parking management? Whereas surface parking lots are traditionally one of the single biggest causes of blight in cities, Portland’s food carts play a vital role in fostering a vibrant street life where there otherwise would be none.  Food carts make surface parking lots work.

Portland is also a leader in smart parking policies around transit.  While many local governments maintain high parking requirements even in transit-rich areas, new developments in Portland near frequent transit (buses, light rail, and streetcars) have no parking requirements whatsoever.  Keep in mind this does not mean developers have stopped building parking altogether; it simply gives the power of determining parking ratios to developers and the housing market rather than local governments.  Since an average parking space adds $40,000 to the cost of a housing unit, allowing for unbundled parking with lower ratios has a huge effect on housing affordability near transit.  Even in booming areas such as the Pearl District, condos and live-work units currently start under $200,000–try and find that in San Francisco.

Element #3: Cost-Effective Transportation Choices

The Portland Streetcar is the epitome of development-oriented transit.

Portland’s transit system is geared toward providing the greatest amount of economic growth and mobility for the lowest price.  Over the past 15 years, Portland has had an extraordinary streak of New Starts-funded projects, having built five major MAX light rail extensions totaling nearly 38 miles (not to mention the 15 mile regionally-funded WES commuter rail and the 4 mile locally funded Portland Streetcar).  Yet, Portland’s still not finished, with the 3.3 mile Small Starts-funded Eastside Loop for the streetcar, and the 7.3 mile Milwaukie light rail extension, set to be completed by 2012 and 2015, respectively, as well as a 5 mile rapid streetcar extension to Lake Oswego (essentially a cheaper alternative to light rail) currently in planning and aiming to open in 2014.  The total cost of the 68 miles of rail that Portland will add between 1995 and 2015 is about 25% less than the cost of the 32.5 miles of BART extensions that the Bay Area will have had in the same time period (keep in mind these are just rough estimates adjusted for inflation).  Portland has also achieved better returns on its investment, with around three times the ridership as BART’s extensions (once again, semi-rough estimates).  Even with the fuzzy math, twice the mileage and three times the ridership for 3/4 the price is outstanding for TriMet and embarrassing for BART. As I’ve written too many times before, this enviable cost effectiveness is nothing new for other metro regions, but back to transit in Portland…

The most interesting aspect of Portland transit is its use of streetcars.  Portland’s streetcar system has a very specific function not as an urban circulator or glorified bus, but as a tool of placemaking.  When coupled with a progressive form-based zoning code and market-based parking requirements, the results of the streetcar have been staggering.  Since opening in 2001, 10,000 housing units and $4 billion in economic development have occurred within three blocks of the four mile streetcar line, and new districts have emerged such as the Pearl District, which I found to be one of the best urban neighborhoods I’ve ever been to.  For anyone who believes that streetcars are just glorified buses, I urge you to travel to Portland and see the clear difference for yourself.

Conclusion

Portland is still by no means perfect–there are still numerous aspects of the city’s urban fabric that could be improved.  Portland still has it’s fair share of surface parking lots, at times comically surrounding a streetcar line or light rail stops, and transit mode share is still rather low (13% within the city) considering the city’s reputation (non-commute trips seems to be a big source of ridership as well).  I would have liked to see some nicer buses–Portland was one of the first cities to invest in low-floor buses in the 1990s, but now they look pretty outdated compared to AC Transit’s Van Hools.  Portland could also use a greater investment in Rapid Bus/BRT for some of its major corridors.

Above: Portland’s Lloyd District–Surface parking lot heaven, in spite of ample transit access (three light rail lines and a soon-to-be streetcar line)

Nevertheless, Portland has accomplished a feat which few other cities can attest to: creating a compact, affordable region with the right mix of densities and transit modes.  Unlike the Bay Area, Portland doesn’t have “www.trimetrage.com,” “www.trimetsucks.com,” or “www.rescuetrimet.com”–transit just works.  I was not able to spend too much time exploring Portland’s bicycle network, though it’s platinum rating, 8% mode share and ambitious plan for 25% of all trips by 2030 could fill up a number of posts themselves.  Overall, Portland is well on its way to becoming “the best European City in America,” leading other regions (such as the Bay Area) to seek to emulate its success.

More photos on the 21st Century Urban Solutions Flickr.

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23 responses to “Three Elements of Portland’s Success

  1. Statement: Portland’s transit system is geared toward providing the greatest amount of economic growth and mobility for the lowest price.
    JK: I wonder how you can say Portland’s transit provides “mobility for the lowest price” when Portland’s bus system costs $0.83 per passenger carried per mile? The light rail cost $0.43 ($1.11 with construction costs included) and the streetcar costs around $1.67 per passenger-mile. Compare this to AAA’s inflated cost of driving a car at around $0.50 or the actual USA cost per passenger-mile at about $0.25. See: portlandfacts.com/transit/cost-cars-transit%282005%29b.htm

    Statement: When coupled with a progressive form-based zoning code and market-based parking requirements, the results of the streetcar have been staggering.
    JK: You left out the urban renewal money taken from schools police and fire department to finance the district. (See SavePortland.com) You also left out the low interest loans, below market value land and tax abatements that were the real stimulosus. See: portlandfacts.com/developersubsidies.htm

    And the list of streetcar caused development includes a church parking lot and a university building on the university campus!

    Statement: For anyone who believes that streetcars are just glorified buses, I urge you to travel to Portland and see the clear difference for yourself.
    JK: Better be at double the cost! And it is slower than the bus too!

    Thanks
    JK

  2. Jim, your statements make a lot of fallacious assertions and fuzzy calculations which skew reality fail to see the bigger picture. The true cost of driving goes way beyond the AAA calculations, which do not factor in health or environmental externalities and hidden costs. A more realistic estimate is around $1.35 per mile: http://www.commutesolutions.org/calc.htm. And it’s very hard to take you seriously when you try to include construction costs for light rail while completely ignoring the billions and billions in construction costs for roads and highways.

    As far as streetcars go, there is simply no empirical way that you can argue that the Pearl District and streetcar-induced development as a whole has not benefited the city from an economic and environmental standpoint. More people live, work, and shop in and around Downtown Portland than ever before, contributing millions to city coffers. If you want to live in your pseudo-libertarian paradise in which transit is starved and sprawl is heavily subsidized with billions invested in freeways, low-interest suburban single family homes, artificially low gas prices, and free parking, why don’t you go back to 1980s Los Angeles or Houston and see how that worked out (heavy smog, gridlocked roads, ballooning asthma and obesity, unabated oil consumption, and decaying downtowns as businesses and residents moved to the suburbs).

  3. Amanda in the South Bay

    As a former Portlander transplanted to the Bay Area for the past 4 years (and before that living in unsavory places thanks to the Army) its been a while since I’ve lived there, but overall I agree with your take…to a point.

    My main concern is gentrification and a certain..well, the Pearl District really started taking off after I left, but I worry that Portland is turning into SF lite, with influxes of young urban professionals who can afford nice condos in the Pearl, and not much room for lower income folks who want to live in the city.

    I used to take MAX somewhat regularly to commute from Hillsboro to downtown, and I enjoyed the fact that it actually worked; it takes people from where they live in the suburbs to downtown pretty efficiently. Compared to the VTA and the south bay in general, I miss that very much.

    But really, I think its almost apples and oranges comparing BART (or Bay Area public trans in general) to Portland. Yeah, the Portland Metro Area consists of three different counties, but they are much more nicely seamed together than the four that make up BART. We live in a much larger region, both population and area wise, and Portlanders don’t have to deal with crossing a massive body of water, competing and non-cooperating transit agencies spread out over several counties, counties that are so different in many ways that its a wonder stuff like BART and Caltrain can really function as well as they do.

    BART carries three times as many riders overall as MAX light rail does, over a much, much larger region, and Caltrain really isn’t a slouch either (have you been on an early morning northbound baby bullet?) over a distance that, if it was in Oregon, would stretch from Corvallis to Portland.

  4. Amanda in the South Bay

    And, lets face it, its the culture of driving that makes Bay Area public transportation so woefully underutilized. So many people (especially affluent Silicon Valleyites and people who live in the Peninsula) aren’t gonna take public trans in a million years.

  5. Very true, although I’m not entirely sure about the concerns over gentrification. When it comes to the Pearl District and South Waterfront, there wasn’t really a population to displace in the first place, plus the housing prices that I saw were still low enough that a wide range of people could buy/rent in the area (you definitely can’t find anything under 200K in SF). In general, the city’s encouragement of multi-family housing seems to have kept housing prices fairly low as well.

    The unique challenges of the Bay Area should mean that we act even more carefully when it comes to transit spending, yet we still pour billions and billions into small BART projects or the VTA disaster. Transit ridership has the potential to significantly increase if we can make transit as easy and convenient as it is in Portland, but the shortsighted and heavily politicized decisions by MTC and BART (and others) make that a difficult task.

  6. Daniel The true cost of driving goes way beyond the AAA calculations, which do not factor in health or environmental externalities and hidden costs. A more realistic estimate is around $1.35 per mile: http://www.commutesolutions.org/calc.htm.
    JK: I checked that link. I’ll admit that you have a good sense of humor! Why not compare those “Direct Driver’s Expenses”, line by line, with the AAA method? Or better yet reconcile them with the Federal government’s actual cost of driving data for the real world. See portlandfacts.com/transit/cost-cars-transit-details%282005%29.htm , (the cost of Cars block which provided links to the federal reports that show the real cost to the average American is actually $0.202 per passenger-mile.)]

    PS: That $1.35 per mile you quote comes out to be about $0.86 per passenger-mile, far less than toy trains, streetcars and about what Portland buses cost a few years ago as I mentioned earlier. More recent data shows the average big city bus is $1.01/pm with Portland being $0.93/94. See: portlandfacts.com/top10bus.html

    As to your section called “Your Indirect Costs”, do the same calculation for transit and get back to us.

    Daniel And it’s very hard to take you seriously when you try to include construction costs for light rail while completely ignoring the billions and billions in construction costs for roads and highways.
    JK Of course the difference is that those “billions and billions in construction costs for roads and highways” come from users of same while the construction costs of LRT mostly comes from NON USERS, and in Portland, partly from schools, police, fire departments and other basic services. And those road users also pay a big chunk of transit costs. See highlights of U.S. Department of Transportation data: portlandfacts.com/roadsubsidy.htm which will inform you that road users pay MORE than their actual costs and pay for transit too!

    Daniel As far as streetcars go, there is simply no empirical way that you can argue that the Pearl District and streetcar-induced development as a whole has not benefited the city from an economic and environmental standpoint.
    JK I didn’t mention “environmental”. Why don’t you show us some data?

    As to economic – Portland is paying developers out of school, police, fire department and other basic services money. Are you trying to say that is a good thing?

    Daniel More people live, work, and shop in and around Downtown Portland than ever before, contributing millions to city coffers.
    JK: Lets look at shopping downtown:
    Olds&King, a large department store: Long gone.
    Lippman Wolfe, a large department store: Long Gone
    Meier & Frank, a large department store: Mostly converted to upscale hotel with many millions of city dollars.
    Hilton Hotel: temporarily closed.

    Jobs have been leaving downtown for decades, however minimum-wage jobs may be rebounding.

    Daniel If you want to live in your pseudo-libertarian paradise in which transit is starved and sprawl is heavily subsidized with billions invested in freeways, low-interest suburban single family homes, artificially low gas prices, and free parking, why don’t you go back to 1980s Los Angeles
    JK: Ohhh! You claimed that LA, the highest density MSA in the country sprawls. That’s pretty good! Do you actually believe that the highest density urban area in the entire country is an example of sprawl?

    Daniel or Houston and see how that worked out (heavy smog, gridlocked roads, ballooning asthma and obesity, unabated oil consumption, and decaying downtowns as businesses and residents moved to the suburbs).
    JK: I just love it when people cite Houston as undesirable while Houston is growing FASTER than Portland. Someone must like it!! One of the pillars of smart growth is that the planners know better how people should live than the people themselves do. That is why Houston is a real thorn is their side and they keep badmouthing it! Of course this just shows how out of touch with reality planners are.

    BTW, I noticed a couple of elements of religion in your responses and would like you to tell me:
    1) What is wrong with “sprawl”?
    2) What is wrong with oil consumption?
    3) High asthma rates are associated with low pollution, so you must be saying Houston has low pollution.
    4) What is wrong with people moving to low cost, less congested suburbs where the schools are generally better and crime is generally lower and journey to work times about the same?

    Thanks
    JK

  7. Sorry Jim, but I don’t have the time to explain things like “what’s wrong with oil consumption?” I suggest you start here:

    http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/kids/energy.cfm?page=oil_home-basics

    Also, as someone who’s grown up with asthma from living near an oil refinery, don’t try to pull out this B.S. on me about how pollution doesn’t affect asthma: http://kidshealth.org/kid/health_problems/allergy/asthma_triggers.html?tracking=K_RelatedArticle. Luckily you’re fighting a losing battle with more and more Americans realizing that the problems of Climate Change, oil dependency, and declining public health are directly related to the backwards policies that you’re advocating. Our conspiracy to create a Marxist utopia is almost complete!

  8. Amanda in the South Bay

    I suppose the existence of Pioneer Place has completely eluded JK?

  9. Danual: Sorry Jim, but I don’t have the time to explain things like “what’s wrong with oil consumption?”
    JK: I scanned your link and only found a few unsupported claims, especially a repeat of the common fallacy that CO2 causes warming! Frankly, I can’t believe anyone ever took that seriously since:
    1) No one has ever shown CO2 to cause warming in a real atmosphere and
    2) No one has ever shown that man’s CO2 release is causing the atmospheric CO2 increase.
    3) Man’s annual release from fossil fuels is around 2% of the total annual CO2 release. 97% is from natural causes, not man.

    To believe that man’s tiny release is tipping the balance is to believe crackpots like Al Gore who thinks the interior temperature of the earth is millions of degrees and has refused to correct the many error in his video. Of course he stands to make millions from his spreading panic, as does the head of the IPCC.

    Even the head of the CRU and IPCC lead author, Phil Jones, recognized that the climate has been cooling for the last 11 years:

    Jul 5 2005: “The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said
    the world had cooled from 1998. OK it has but it is only 7 years of data and it isn’t statistically
    significant.”
    (email id: 1120593115.txt) —-Note: in 2009, it is now 11 years of cooling.—

    Add in all the admissions of data manipulation, hiding data, fraud and manipulating the scientific journals, and there is simply NO case for global warming. Although you may be slow to realize this: the release of the emails was the beginning of the end of the global warming fraud.
    For real information on climate, see: http://www.SustainableOregon.com”

    As to “oil dependancy”, what dependancy? It is not a “dependancy” , it is using a very useful resource to improve people’s living conditions. Would you rather see us living in caves?

    To believe in peak oil you have to deny economics, chemistry and history:

    economics (supply goes up, consumption goes down with price)
    That is why we have recently had a series of dramatic announcements of new discoveries – the recent high oil prices have brought much new exploration which has found more supplies.

    chemistry (you can make the stuff)
    The Fischer–Tropsch (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fischer%E2%80%93Tropsch_process) (also: fischer-tropsch.org) process and the Bergius process (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergius_process), both used from the 1930s on, make li quid fuels form coal. Methane instead of coal can also be used a starting point. Sasol (sasol.com/) has been producing commercial quantities of oil from both processes for years. Also from natural gas.

    History (Hitler ran a war on manmade oil).
    The Role of Synthetic Fuel In World War II Germany Said this: “The percentage of synthetic fuels compared to the yield from all sources grew from 22 percent to more than 50 percent by 1943″ airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1981/jul-aug/becker.htm

    Thanks
    JK

  10. Daniel:

    Nice post and a good write up. For the most part I agree with you, but the picture is perhaps slightly less positive from here on the ground.

    For one, you really can’t judge the metropolitan area on what you see downtown. Downtown is a wonderful place, special, an area I always enjoy spending time in, but it is not representative of the rest of the region. We have plenty of low density suburbs (I live in one) and unwalkable areas.

    For another, I’ll echo some of the concerns about the Pearl District. I do agree with you that it was a stunning success, but it isn’t exactly too affordable. The only reason it is “affordable” at all is due to the (limited) presence of some subsidized housing. A good development? Yes. Something that ought to be repeated throughout the metro area? Perhaps not.

    The last and only other comment I will disagree with is this one:

    “Unlike the Bay Area, Portland doesn’t have “www.trimetrage.com,” “www.trimetsucks.com,” or “www.rescuetrimet.com”–transit just works. ”

    Like all cities, Portland (and its metro area) is highly self-involved. When things go bad people here think it’s the next step towards armageddon. Case-in-point, the melee caused by a snowstorm (that left all of about an inch of snow) during rush hour a week or so ago. Busses got caught in traffic and in ice and the transit system in general experienced severe delays, and TriMet is taking a beating in the media for it.

    Also, public transit is so interwoven with the politics of our growth management policies that opponents of those policies shrilly lambast TriMet. Case-in-point: Jim in this very thread, who is a well known anti-transit activist. By linking transit with growth management, it is politicized, and although progressive growth management is the majority viewpoint, the debate is not always so clearly on the side of transit.

    Good to discover your blog, I’ll be adding it to my RSS reader.

  11. Jim in this very thread, who is a well known anti-transit activist.
    Jim: Are you suggesting that transit:
    IS NOT more expensive than driving?
    IS NOT slower than driving?.
    IS NOT more energy intensive than small cars?

    Just what is the case for transit, except as mobility for the low income (which might be better handled through a system like food stamps)?

    Maybe I should, more correctly, be called transit realist.

    Thanks
    JK, transit realist.

  12. Daniel, where did you get the figure that Portland’s transit mode-share is only 13%? That’s pretty bad. Their bike share isn’t all that high either. I did a Google search but I can’t find recent mode-share numbers.

  13. 13% comes from the 2008 ACS figures (on the American Fact Finder site), which hasn’t really taken into account the massive LRT expansion that has occurred in 2008 and 2009. Still, it’s probably no larger than 18% or so, which isn’t that impressive compared to Oakland and SF. Portland’s bicycle mode share is actually pretty extraordinary–8% of residents commute daily by bicycle, while another 12% or so use it as a secondary commute option. This data comes from their extensive yearly bicycle reports, which have shown a huge growth in bicycling from something like a 3% mode share in 2000 (a figure confirmed by the census). I can’t find the report right now, but if you dig around Portland’s DOT website you can probably find it. I’ll try to post it up later.

  14. Here’s the link to the FY 2007-2008 Service Efforts and Accomplishments report prepared by the City of Portland’s Auditor’s office: http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=46297&a=228475

    On page 42, there’s a great chart that shows the city’s transportation mode shares–their methodologies are a little better than the ACS and Census, so they’ve come up with about 15% transit and 8% bicycling, with another 18% and 10% taking transit or bicycling as their alternative mode, respectively. This is by far the best source for data on the city.

  15. Daniel: On page 42, there’s a great chart…they’ve come up with about 15% transit and 8% bicycling, with another 18% and 10% taking transit or bicycling as their alternative mode, respectively.
    JK: Lets look a little closer at Portland’s spectacular success: (First recognize that these are journey to work numbers, not all trips)

    From the citation [total drive summation added]:
    Year…………………99….00….01….02…..03….04….05…06…..07…..08
    Drive alone……….70%.69%.70%.71%.72%.72%.71%.72%.70%.65%
    Drive with others…8%.. 9%.. 8%…8%…8%…8%…8%…8%…7%…8%
    [Total Drive……….78%..78%.78%.79%.80%.80%.79%.80%.77% 73%]

    Transit……………..12%.12% .11%.10%.10% .11%.10%..8%.10%.11%
    Walk………………….4%…5%….4%…4%…3%…3%….3%..3%..4%….4%
    Bike…………………..3%…3%….4%…4%…4%…4%….4%. 5%..6%… 8%

    Sumary:
    * Drive to work held at 79% for 8years then dropped 3% and 4% in the last two years as gas prices went up.
    * Transit dropped from about 12% to 10%.
    * Walking held steady at 4%
    * Bike went up from 3% to 8%

    But it isn’t just Portland, Portland’s regional government, Metro, applies its smart growth ideology for the whole Portland area so lets look at how successful they are:
    Area wide transit market share is just 2.1% of all trips and 6.8% of work trips. Down from 2.8% and 9.5% in 1980/82 according to http://www.publicpurpose.com/ut-porshare.pdf

    BTW, these policies have destroyed housing affordability. See http://americandreamcoalition.org/penalty.html

    Much more at http://www.portlandfacts.com/

    Thanks
    JK

  16. % of Portland residents that commute by transit : 13% by ACS, 11% (+18%) by Auditor’s office

    % of District 45 residents that voted for Jim Karlock in the 2008 Oregon house elections: 11%

    Ironic?

  17. Daniel: % of Portland residents that commute by transit : 13% by ACS, 11% (+18%) by Auditor’s office
    JK: Yep, that’s what spending a couple of BILLION on toy train gets you (soon to be 4 Billion). Of course offering a ride that costs $10 for $2 probably also helps ridership.

    But to get the real result of METRO’s policies (and these are actually Metro’s policies forced on the cities), look at the area wide ridership (single digit) and the trends (down). They show the utter failure of trying to force people out of their cars in favor of something more expensive, slower and wasteful of energy. (BTW, did I ever ask you if you knew of any social good of mass transit compared to small cars and transportation subsidies for the poor?)

    Daniel: % of District 45 residents that voted for Jim Karlock in the 2008 Oregon house elections: 11%
    Ironic?
    JK: Naw, getting personal usually just means you are unable to make rational arguments.
    PS: What % did YOU get when you ran for office? (Spending a couple thousand against some guy that just spent $100k in the primary.)

    Thanks
    JK

  18. Daniel:

    Don’t feed the trolls.

  19. “Don’t feed the trolls.”

    *JK:* Telling.
    One who presents facts opposing your view is a troll. Can’t have any opposition to wasting BILLIONS on pet projects.

    PS: Don’t look at the evidence, it may expand your world view.

    Thanks
    JK

  20. Jim, frankly I don’t have the time to argue with you on this stuff. The reality of the situation is that no matter how much time we spent going back and forth, we’d never get anywhere because you deny the existence of issues such as Climate Change or the impact of sprawl on public health. You believe that the trillion(s) of federal, state, and regional funds that have been put into our heavily subsidized, car-dependent highway system has been a worthy investment with no consequences, while the comparatively minuscule investment in alternative modes that reduce congestion and pollution and promote a more active lifestyle has been a complete waste. Yet, in spite of your “rational” arguments, only a small minority of people actually agree with you in your own region (shown by the decisions of voters in passing regional smart growth initiatives and electing leaders that will create policies which promote energy efficient and healthy neighborhoods, as well as your own campaign). The point is, people in Portland recognize the benefits of preserving farmland and open space, creating strong neighborhoods with thriving local business districts, and being able to ride transit or bicycle to their destinations even if they don’t do so everyday.

  21. Daniel: Jim, frankly I don’t have the time to argue with you on this stuff.
    JK: But, you should take the time to look at the other side’s arguments. If you did that, you might quit being wrong on so many issues.

    Daniel: you deny the existence of issues such as Climate Change
    JK: You have to be kidding! That was self evidently a gross exaggeration, even before the release of the CRU emails which showed it to be mostly fabricated with fraudulent data and hidden with criminal activities such as destroying data when the skeptics requested it.

    Even the top IPCC climatologists are starting to abandon this sinking ship. For instance see
    30 Years of Global Cooling Are Coming, Leading Scientist Says http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/01/11/years-global-cooling-coming-say-leading-scientists/?test=latestnews
    Note that 30 years of cooling on top of the recent 11 years of stasis would be longer than the last warming cycle.

    Daniel: or the impact of sprawl on public health.
    JK: Got any evidence of this? Here is some counter evidence:
    whether the focus is friendship-oriented social interaction or measures of group involvement, the empirical results show a negative, rather than positive, effect of density on interaction. The paper’s findings therefore imply that social-interaction effects cannot be credibly included in the panoply of criticisms directed toward urban sprawl. In fact, the results suggest an opposite line of argument. With a negative effect of density on interaction, individual space consumption would tend to be too low rather than too high, tending to make cities inefficiently compact.. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=946914

    Daniel: You believe that the trillion(s) of federal, state, and regional funds that have been put into our heavily subsidized, car-dependent highway system has been a worthy investment…
    JK: Sorry to pop your bubble, but that money was from user fees, NOT taxes. The difference is who pays. Users pay user fees for roads. Everyone pays taxes for transit.

    Daniel: [You believe that]… the comparatively minuscule investment in alternative modes that reduce congestion and pollution and promote a more active lifestyle has been a complete waste.
    JK: Can you offer any proof that “alternative modes reduce congestion and pollution” outside of a few high density cores like NYC, Chicago etc.? BTW, 4 BILLION in Portland on toy trains is NOT “comparatively minuscule” compared to road spending in Porltand.

    Any how can transit reduce pollution when it uses more energy than small cars to transport each person each mile?

    Daniel: Yet, in spite of your “rational” arguments, only a small minority of people actually agree with you in your own region
    JK: Facts are facts. Reality is reality whether or not the majority believes it.

    Daniel: The point is, people in Portland recognize the benefits of preserving farmland and open space, creating strong neighborhoods with thriving local business districts, and being able to ride transit or bicycle to their destinations even if they don’t do so everyday.
    JK:
    Sure helped our employment rate (among the nations highest).
    Sure helped our cost of housing (among the highest in the country.)
    Great idea is to replace $0.25/mile cars with $1 per mile trains that are slower!!

    Thanks
    JK

  22. “Daniel: or the impact of sprawl on public health.
    JK: Got any evidence of this? Here is some counter evidence”

    2009 CDC Report cites over 100 medical studies by doctors (rather than the theoretical paper by economists that you provided) which provides a 24 point plan to healthier communities. Among them:
    17. Communities Should Enhance Infrastructure Supporting Bicycling
    18. Communities Should Enhance Infrastructure Supporting Walking
    19. Communities Should Support Locating Schools within Easy Walking Distance of Residential Areas
    20. Communities Should Improve Access to Public Transportation
    21. Communities Should Zone for Mixed-Use Development

    “Daniel: You believe that the trillion(s) of federal, state, and regional funds that have been put into our heavily subsidized, car-dependent highway system has been a worthy investment…
    JK: Sorry to pop your bubble, but that money was from user fees, NOT taxes. The difference is who pays. Users pay user fees for roads. Everyone pays taxes for transit.”

    Only 51% of highway costs are currently paid with user fees, while 36% are paid by non-users and 13% by bonds. MAX’s farebox recovery ratio is about 46%. Looks like we’re paying about the same share, buddy.

    Daniel: [You believe that]… the comparatively minuscule investment in alternative modes that reduce congestion and pollution and promote a more active lifestyle has been a complete waste.
    JK: 4 BILLION in Portland on toy trains is NOT “comparatively minuscule” compared to road spending in Porltand.

    Portland has about 130 miles of grade-separated freeways, which cost approximately $100 million per mile in urban areas. That’s a total cost of about $13 billion if that system were built today.

    We’ll let the readers judge if Climate Change was “fabricated with fraudulent data and hidden with criminal activities,” since I’m just “wrong on so many issues.”

  23. Hi Danial,
    no time to properly respond to all your errors. I’ll just point you to a good summary of why the current climate change concern is a fallacy:

    http://www.sustainableoregon.com/

    Thanks
    JK

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