Portland Urban Policy
LOS ANGELES CORRIDOR DENSITIES MUCH HIGHER THAN PORTLAND
According to 1990 US Census Bureau data, census tracts in Los Angeles with a population density of more than 22,858 per square mile contained 924,000 persons (Portland's most dense census tract was 22,858). This contradicts the view of Portland planners who have advanced the opinion that Portland corridor or pocket densities were higher than that of Los Angeles.
The 2000 census shows a slight decline in Portland's densest 1990 census tract, while the densest tract in Los Angeles rose to a density of more than 94,000 (from 80,000).
PORTLAND MAYOR RIDICULES MIXED USE
Mayor Vera Katz expressed her opposition to an expansion of the urban growth boundary near Hillsboro that would have improved the match between residences and employment. Mayor Katz was qooted in an Oregonian story as indicating that she "doesn't buy the argument that different areas around Portland need a balance of jobs for their housing or housing for their jobs. Mayor Katz has generally been considered a supporter of so-called "smart growth" policies that place a premium on balancing residential and employment uses, so as to reduce the need for automobile travel.
Hillsboro has experienced strong employment growth, as the home of "Silicon Forest." Following Mayor Katz's lead, Metro, the regional land use agency, has not expanded the urban growth boundary. The effect will be to lengthen average commuting times to Silicon Forest, to which the overwhelming majority of commuters use cars. (Source: Oregonian, 27 July 2000)
PORTLAND FALLS INTO AIR QUALITY VIOLATION
Portland has been declared in violation of air quality standards by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Portland has adopted the nation's most severe land rationing strategies, claiming that they will reduce air pollution and traffic congestion. Portland officials have also implied that the city's air quality improvement from the 1970s to the 1990s was a result of the addition of light rail. No quantitative data has been produced to support this, claim. Moreover, public transit's work trip market share dropped 36 percent in the 1980s, the decade in which light rail was opened. It is likely that at least part of Portland's new air quality difficulties results from the fact that Portland's per capita use of automobiles has risen so rapidly during the 1990s, following only Atlanta and Indianapolis. (Sources: Oregonian, 7 July 2000 and The Public Purpose)
PORTLAND AUTO USE RISING RAPIDLY
The Portland area experienced the third largest increase in per capita automobile use from 1990 to 1997 among urbanized areas with more than 1,000,000 population. Portland, with an increase of 25.7 percent, narrowly trailed Atlanta, where per capita vehicle mileage increased 26.2 percent. Indianapolis lead all urbanized areas, with a 32.6 percent increase. (Source Highway & Motorway Fact Book)
PORTLAND: PRIVATE TRANSPORT ENERGY HOG
Portland is has the sixth highest consumption of energy for private transport (excluding public transport) use out of 46 international urban areas surveyed in a new compendium of transportation and environmental indicators. In 1990, Portland consumed 57,699 megajoules per capita. This finding may be surprising, because Portland has adopted the most prescriptive land rationing policies in the United States, and has made inferences to the effect that its light rail system has eased traffic congestion and air pollution (though supporting data has never been provided). Another light rail urban area, Sacramento, consumed the greatest energy per capita, at 65,351 megajoules. Other urban areas ranking above Portland were Houston (63,800), light rail area San Diego (61,004), Phoenix (59,832) and San Francisco (58,493), which has both light rail and heavy rail. Auto oriented Denver, Los Angeles and Detroit consumed less private transportation energy per capita than Portland. The international survey included 13 US urbanized areas (Source: Jeffrey R. Kenworthy, Felix B. Laube and others, An International Sourcebook of Automobile Dependence in Cities: 1960-1990.).
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