Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tell ODOT the Draft State Bike Plan is Slack and Toothless - Comment Period Ends Tomorrow

The Public Comment period for the draft statewide biking and walking plan closes tomorrow, so the next 24 hours is your last opportunity to comment.

Tell them to fix the damn thing!

Online "open house"
The plan is slack and toothless and it's very hard to nutshell what is wrong and how to improve it. It's not just being cranky here. There's a broad consensus that the Plan is not very good.

Here's what others have had to say:
The draft plan represents a thorough failure in imagination and verve. It's a giant nothingburger, full of fluff and rhetoric, but little on vision and inspiration, on resolve to change, on funding plans, and ultimately on action.

So it's not like there's a single key that will transform the document. In many ways "do-over" might be the best comment.

Fundamentally it's constrained by autoist assumptions: We will only work on walking and biking when it doesn't inconvenience auto travel. Walking and biking remain fringey things, not core instances of transportation, heath, and lower-carbon living behind which we will mobilize the full resources of the State.

As long as we still subsidize parking,
transit is not attractive enough - via Citylab
At Citylab, they recently discussed a study that concluded "Commuters Don't Stop Driving to Work Unless You Take Away Free Parking."

If we are serious about carbon reduction and more walkable communities, we have to get the incentives right, and right now we subsidize the drive-alone trip too deeply. The incentive here (a Federal one, it's true) is completely misaligned with our policy goal.

In general, at the State level, this plan fails to make clear policy goals, to identify ways we need to change incentives, and to outline clear actionable paths to achieving the policy goals. It's written by the Highway agency, not a multi-modal mobility agency.

In the end, it's not interested in trying very hard. "Knock yourself out," it seems to say. (While we watch you flail and wonder why you aren't successful.) It's not a Plan that positions the State, and its cities or counties, for success.


Jim Scheppke said...

It would be interesting to take an inventory of major Salem employers who provide free parking to their employees. Salem Hospital still does, right? Does Willamette? It seems to be a big problem here that drives a lot of other negative consequences.

Anonymous said...

Willamette does charge for parking. But it is such a small amount that it hardly makes and impact.