Tuesday, September 25, 2018

At the MPO: DLCD Postpones Rulemaking on Greenhouse Gases

The Policy Committee for our local Metropolitan Planning Organization meets today, Tuesday the 25th, at noon, and while there's no important decision on the agenda, some of the information items as well as last month's minutes might deserve a few comments.

Probably the most interesting is the announcement from the Department of Land Conservation and Development that the current "rulemaking should wait until after the 2019 legislative session, which we anticipate will include greenhouse gas-related legislation."

Part of letter from DLCD announcing postponement
on rulemaking involving greenhouse gas emissions
In the supporting materials there is much longer letter from the Portland area MPO, METRO, in which they say the proposed rulemaking was heading in the wrong direction, weakening efforts on greenhouse gas emissions.

By contrast, Marion County sent a short and cranky letter in opposition to anything that involved greenhouse gases.

From Marion County opposing transportation planning rules
that reference greenhouse gas emissions goals
The County Commissioners write:
The Marion County Board of Commissioners believes in improving the lives of our county residents. The transportation planning rules you are proposing to implement run counter to this...[they will] result in added time, cost, and inconvenience to the count and its residents, with no appreciable positive impacts to the environment....We believe you are far overreaching the authorization of the legislation. Your commission has no mandate to hold individual member governments in ransom to further your political goals...[all this] constitutes an unfunded mandate...[and we will] have no alternative but to seek legal relief from this unfunded mandate.
This also is the position, then, of someone we have appointed to the Stakeholder Advisory committee for "Our Salem," our update to the Comprehensive Plan.

That does not seem like a very open-minded stance or one conducive at all to productive inquiry and debate.

In the discussion of potential legislative priorities and positions, it was interesting to see more disconnect. While increasing funding for "Safe Routes to School" programming was most popular, associated topics like improved transit, funding for youth bus passes, more bike lanes and sidewalks, passenger rail, improved speed enforcement and local control of posted speeds, as well as climate change efforts, did not command equal assent. Safety for kids is gaining traction, but not changing the system - we're still fiddling on the edges. Sometimes it's more about signalling and symbol than real change.

Is the City of Salem still opposed to local control of speed?
Councilor Lewis also said he was "not in favor of allowing local authority of speed limits," but it's not clear that Council has formally given direction on this subject.

Finally some schedule adjustments.

Minor adjustments
  • Marine Drive, Glen Creek to Cameo has preliminary design and right-of-way acquisition slipping another year to 2019.
  • The Doaks Ferry intersection at Highway 22 has its right-of-way acquisition slipping again, to 2019
  • The enhanced crosswalk along the RR at Mill Street, between the Esplanade and Depot, is slipping construction to next year.
Look for the historic sign
next to the entry
You can download the agenda and meeting packet here.

SKATS Policy Committee meets Tuesday the 25th, at noon. SKATS is at 100 High St. SE, Suite 200, above Table Five 08.

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