Portland’s Epic Fail on The Hawthorne Decision – The Planning, Engineering, and Decider Disconnect

Portland has been a leader in the discipline of Planning for decades, and still is, but the disconnect is between Planning, Engineering, and the Deciders, and it’s systemic.  We cannot get to where we want until the system is fixed, and PBOT now has the right leader to do it, Commissioner Hardesty.  

Last month, PBOT (Portland Bureau of Transportation) had the chance to set the new paradigm for street space allocation, and it failed miserably.  Epically.  This project could have been a model example locally and nationally, but instead PBOT continued its decade-long trend of car-oriented street decisions.

While Portland has plans to aggressively reduce transportation-induced GHGs and traffic violence, neither of these are decreasing at all; they are increasing.  Why? Because the good plans do not trickle down to the Deciders who decide what happens on the ground, and those people are car-centric. 

To cause the mode shift necessary to meet the GHG and Vision Zero targets, massive changes in pavement reallocation to other modes is necessary.  The mode shifts necessary are explicitly described in the 2015 Climate Action Plan, and mode priorities are explicitly described in the Transportation System Plan (TSP), and these were completely ignored and left out of the decision criteria for The Hawthorne Decision. 

As usual, the results from Deciders (Alternative 2) will be: no change in mode and almost no change in safety. Had they chosen Alternative 3, it would have initiated a serious road space reallocation, it would have maximized safety, and it would have had a seriously positive effect on the street environment, business, and on Portland’s future.

The Hawthorne Decision is on the wrong side of justice.  This is not a legal decision that requires an appeal process, it just needs one or two deciders to understand the implications, and The Hawthorne Decision can be reversed … now. 

Continue reading “Portland’s Epic Fail on The Hawthorne Decision – The Planning, Engineering, and Decider Disconnect”