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Beaverton plans in line with Metro climate-based goals

Agencies seek publics help with survey on ways to reduce vehicles on the road


Metro's climate-based goals are aimed at reducing vehicle use, from which rush-hour gridlock on Highway 217 through Beaverton is but one of many problems. File photoThe state wants you to drive less, and Metro has to make that happen.

The state’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are believed to contribute to climate change. Metro, the regional government that includes Beaverton, Aloha and Washington County, is required to present its plan to the 2015 Legislature. The cities and counties within Metro are then expected to adopt it.

As part of the planning process, Metro is considering many ideas to encourage you to reduce your driving. They include increasing the cost of driving, making transit more convenient, building more bike and walking paths, and encouraging you to live closer to where you work and shop.

Kathryn Harrington, the Metro councilor who represents Washington County’s District 4, including Beaverton, said the city’s comprehensive urban revitalization and transportation plans are very much in line with the Legislature’s and Metro’s goals for the future.

“The city of Beaverton is doing great things,” she said, citing the recently unveiled plans for the Creekside District, which includes various improvements to the congested Canyon Road corridor. “Through the Creekside District and Canyon Road improvements, they’re talking about changes in transportation connectivity to create a better grid for cars and to make people feel safer and more comfortable whether they’re on foot or bicycle wheels. It also (promises) to have more interesting stores, restaurants, businesses and more housing in that area. Those are terrific ambitions. We should have dreams like that. I applaud the city’s work in exploring them and how we make the community’s vision” become reality.

Metro is calling its new project Climate Smart Communities. Some of the proposals reflect Metro’s existing policies. A local example of an approach the project envisions is Beaverton’s Creekside District.

A manifestation of the city’s comprehensive 2011 Civic Plan, the district is a multifaceted redevelopment project encompassing 49 acres bound by Canyon Road between Hocken and 117th avenues, Cedar Hills Boulevard to the west and Hall Boulevard to the east and north. With funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the city and others, planners are working on a master plan to concentrate on redeveloping vacant lots in the area, improving safety, transportation and pedestrian/bicycling amenities.

Initial plans to route midtown bicycle traffic from Canyon Road to new “bikeways” on Broadway Street and Millikan Way — as well as improvements to Canyon Road to improve its safety, walkability and attractiveness to new development — will begin to take shape in the upcoming fiscal year.

Metro plans to discuss the current Climate Smart Communities research in May. The discussions will take place at two standing advisory committees that include elected officials from throughout the region, the Metro Policy Advisory Committee and the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation. They will make recommendations to the seven-member elected Metro Council, which will decide where to focus the research.

Metro wants to hear from you before that decision is made. It will be conducting an online survey on the issues and ideas under discussion in the first week of April. The results will be presented at the advisory committees and council. Metro has used such Opt In surveys in the past to measure public opinion on issues ranging from neighborhood satisfaction to maintaining its parks and natural lands.

You can register and take the survey at climatesmartsurvey.com.

Your personal information will not be sold or shared with other governments or private companies. For more information on the surveys, visit optinpanel.org.

Growing population

State government has been fighting climate change for years. The 2007 Legislature approved the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emission in the state to 75 percent of 1990 level by 2050. The 2009 Legislature directed Metro to help achieve that goal by reducing emissions from cars, light trucks and sport utility vehicles. The target was eventually set at 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2035.

Scenario C

Metro completed the first phase of the project in January 2012 and published a report titled Understanding Our Land use and Transportation Choices. It included the results of tests six potential techniques for reducing driving. The incentives are: community design, fleet mix, marketing and incentives, pricing, roads, and technology.

In the report, Metro staff looked at how three different levels of each technique could produce three different scenarios, which were labeled A, B and C.

Scenario A reflects current plans and policies. Among other things, they include increasing the area within the urban growth boundary from 257,569 to 257,680 acres, keeping the bike mode share at 2 percent, maintaining projections for transit use, keeping the 48 cent-per gallon gas tax the same and not imposing a road use fee.

Scenario B reflects more ambitious policy changes. They include the same urban growth boundary increase but raising the bike mode share to 12.5 percent, increasing projected transit use 2.5 times, raising the gas tax by 18 cents a gallon, increasing the workers participating in employer-based commuting programs from the current 20 to 40 percent, and imposing a 3 cents per mile road use fee.

Scenario C reflects policy changes Metro admits are even more ambitious. They include no expansion of the urban growth boundary, increasing the bike share mode to 30 percent, increasing projected transit use four times, changing the mix of autos to light trucks/SUVs from the 57/43 percent split to 71/29, more than doubling fuel economy from current levels, and imposing a $50 per ton carbon emissions fee.

The Opt In survey will help Metro decide which scenario to present to the 2015 Legislature. Options include a new one based in part on the survey results.



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