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Portland can lead in environmentally-friendly transportation options.

Section Summary

Portlanders think of transportation as an interconnected system of “multi-modal” methods where people move from one place to another. They value transportation because it helps them stay connected to each other and the places they love in Portland, but they also worry about the effects of transportation on the environment, which they cherish. Portlanders imagine a future in which travel is safe, convenient, stress-free, affordable and low-impact or even no-impact on the environment. They therefore advocate for expanding mass transit services and increasing the use of alternative methods of transportation, including cycling and walking.

At the same time, many Portlanders recognize that cars (whether gas-running, bio-fuel or electric) will not disappear any time soon and that transportation planning must be realistic in acknowledging this. They advocate for innovative, “out of the box” thinking and a system-approach in the pursuit of transportation options that work equally well for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and mass transit users from all sections of the city. When it comes to transportation, Portlanders are surprisingly passionate; they interface with transportation every day and its impact on their lives is enormous. Portlanders see transportation as a key quality of life issue and expect the City to address transportation issues proactively, thoughtfully and creatively.

Summary of Main Ideas

  1. Transportation should be thought of as a single, integrated system.
  2. Transportation issues have a direct impact on quality of life.
  3. Portland should be a leader in the promotion of environmentally-friendly transportation options.
  4. Transportation planning should be proactive and creative.


  1. Transportation should be thought of as a single, integrated system.
  • The majority of people want to see a system approach taken to solving transportation issues.
  • People express frustration over a system that feels like it has been pieced together, rather than designed from the start to work as an integrated whole.
  • Frequently-cited system issues include:
    • MAX lines that are not connected to nearby neighborhoods via busses, streetcars or other forms of public transit (and that lack parking which would allow neighbors to drive and park their car);
    • Bus routes that work well between neighborhoods and downtown, but poorly between the suburbs and downtown or between Northeast and Southeast neighborhoods; and
    • A general lack of integration between bus routes, streetcar routes, and MAX lines.
    • Improvements in transportation should not affect just one or two modes, but rather should have a system-wide effect.

  1. Transportation issues have a direct impact on quality of life.
  • People use transportation every day, and therefore want it to be easy and stress-free.
  • People want to spend as much time as possible doing the things they enjoy and as little time as possible in their cars or on public transportation.
  • Transportation issues like road conditions, traffic light synchronization, cleanliness of the MAX, efficiency of bus routes and the safety of bike lanes can directly enhance or detract from people’s quality of life.
“[In 2030] lots of intelligence and money have gone into designing and maintaining the road ways, so a ten minute trip to the store does not end in road rage and a commute to work leaves you feeling like a human being at the end.”

  1. Portland should be a leader in the promotion of environmentally-friendly transportation options.
  • People are worried about peak oil and population growth and want Portland to prepare by focusing on transportation infrastructure now and reducing or eliminating dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Portlanders are aware of the adverse effects of transportation on the environment in the forms of pollution and the consumption of fossil fuels.
  • Many people appreciate the alternatives to driving that Portland offers and advocate for the expansion of these alternatives, especially mass transit.
  • Many people think Portland should lead the way in promoting environmentally sustainable forms of transportation such as cycling, walking and mass transit powered by clean, renewable forms of energy.
“I love that you don’t need a car to live in Portland. You can bike/streetcar/max/tram anywhere you need to go in town, including the airport. It just amazes me.”

"[In 2030] we lead the country in creative ways for people to get from one place to another in the city.”

Sample Strategies:

  1. Many people suggest finding more ways of educating the public on transportation options and the effects of these options on the City and environment.

  1. Transportation planning should be proactive and creative.
  • Portlanders desire creative ways of addressing transportation issues and want the City to embrace innovative technology and planning approaches.
  • Thinking out of the box is vital to building a stronger, more nimble system of transportation.
  • Portlanders want to anticipate and prevent issues such as traffic, rather than reacting once the situation has become intolerable. They point to cities such as Seattle as examples of what can happen when transportation issues are neglected for too long.
  • Portlanders want the city to promote alternative methods of transportation while at the same time planning realistically for the continued use of automobiles.
“[In 2030] most people get around by bike and transit most of the time…When you need to drive, the roads aren’t clogged.”

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