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Slow down on the transportation plan

It appears that the transportation system plan has been designed by city planners to modify the lifestyle of the citizens of Lake Oswego, rather than lay out a plan to fit the needs of the city.

One assumption is that we can fund and spend $180 million over the next 20 years just for bike paths and pathways to “connect” our community. The terrain, the narrow nature of our streets and the estimated 100 days of foul weather a year makes this plan simply unrealistic, especially when you consider less than 2 percent of the population rides their bikes in Lake Oswego.

The premise is that walking, cycling and (bus) transit need to be made more convenient in order to get people to use their cars less.

There are other considerations that raise concern about the TSP, namely:

  • A profile of the citizens (age, health, etc.) and their preferences for modes of transportation is lacking.
  • There is no referral to the spike in maintenance costs for the upgraded pathway system nor how it is to be funded.
  • “Time” required to travel is not entertained in the plan when selecting a mode of travel.
  • The “reason” for selecting the appropriate transportation mode is not mentioned (e.g., bikes can’t be used for carrying loads, driving through snow or meeting time-sensitive situations).

  • The need to improve the traffic flow and reduce congestion for vehicles is grossly understated.
  • No consideration for separating trip origins and destinations and increasing average trip lengths, which makes walking and bicycling less convenient. Lower densities also make it more difficult to sustain bus transit service. The TSP even suggests dropping three bus lines when the plan advocates the need for connectivity.

    The claim in the TSP that the population will increase to 50,000 in 2035 is an assumption used to justify this grand plan. The staff’s TSP consultant, Kiddleson & Associates, in its memo dated July 20, 2013, (refer to TSP p.35) indicates that “there is no need to go to the expense to upgrade the transportation system since the city is built out and consequently Lake Oswego will experience a relatively slow population growth.” This is supported by the Baseline Transportation Revenue Forecast in the TSP that states: “Lake Oswego is a community that is relatively built-out with moderate growth expected over the foreseeable future in population, households and employment; as a result, limited growth in revenue is anticipated from the current funding sources.” So why advocate building 140 pathways and bike lanes with money we don’t have?

    We are hopeful that the planning commission uses some common sense by addressing some of these issues and developing a plan that is more realistic and oriented to what the citizens want rather than to the needs of a few employees at city hall, some of whom do not even live here. Let’s get our priorities straight.

    Dave Sengenberger is a resident of Lake Oswego.




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