Wednesday, July 13, 2011

ODOT to Create Active Transportation Section - Prelude to Full Division?

Yesterday Oregon Department of Transportation Director Matt Garrett announced his intention
to create a new “Active Transportation” section that will bring together separate programs into a more effective and efficient whole. Eventually, I would like to see a division reporting to the Deputy Director for Operations, but for now, we will start with a section.

The vision is to integrate programs and funding sources to support the selection and delivery of projects that are multidimensional transportation projects, not just a “highway” or “bikeway” or “transit” project. We want strategic project selection that provides complete transportation solutions for communities and takes advantage of the unique features of each program and funding source.
This sure sounds splendid! It looks like a new emphasis on complete streets and getting away from the highway and auto-centric view of bike projects as frills.

But given the Mica Federal House proposal to eliminate separate funding for bike/ped projects, it's not clear that this would actually align with and better manage the funding streams.

ODOT "Kremlinologists" will no doubt weigh in with more analysis and opinion. The plan could be a way to starve non-highway programs, or it could be a move towards a visionary rethinking of transportation and mobility choice. The new appointments to the Oregon Transportation Commission, Tammy Baney and Mark Frohnmeyer, come from public health and electric car backgrounds respectively, and they suggest the possibility of visionary change. Here's BikePortland's first take.

But for the moment, cautiously optimistic is probably the place to be.

1 comment:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

From a news release today. More probably an another post...

"SALEM – The Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee will hold its next meeting from 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Friday, July 22 at the ODOT Technical Leadership Center, 4040 Fairview Industrial Way in Salem. Agenda items include a presentation by Oregon Department of Transportation Director Matt Garrett on the agency’s new Active Transportation Section, a discussion on bylaws, and information about the latest League of American Biking rankings.

All Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public. Time will be available at the meeting for committee members to hear public comments. Those who wish to testify are encouraged to sign up on the public comment sheet provided at the meeting. General guidelines: provide written summaries when possible and limit comments to 3 minutes. If you bring written summaries or other materials to the meeting, please provide the chairperson with a copy prior to your testimony.

Accommodations will be provided to persons with disabilities. To request an accommodation, please call ODOT’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Program office at (503) 986-3555 (TTY: (503) 986-3854)."