Tell City Hall: Rose Quarter Freeway Is #NotAnImprovement

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JOIN THE NO MORE FREEWAYS CAMPAIGN the morning of TUESDAY, JANUARY 16 as we serve coffee and donuts on the Flint Avenue Bridge to protest this unnecessary, counterproductive $450 million freeway boondoggle and protect the Flint Avenue Bridge. Information on our facebook event page.

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SIGN OUR PETITION BY WEDNESDAY, JAN 17 AT 2:00PM
for your comments to be included in our coalition letter to Portland City Hall.


The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), Portland City Council and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) can’t make up their mind on which talking points to use in their support of their half-a-billion dollar freeway boondoggle. Since the transportation package passed in Salem last July, we’ve seen legislators and policymakers claim this project is going to help alleviate a “traffic bottleneck,” although decades of research in cities across the world show that freeway expansion only induces traffic demand and makes congestion worse. ODOT then pivoted to claiming this half-a-billion-dollar freeway expansion was a safety improvement, a claim which Willamette Week thoroughly debunked by noting how many other streets in Portland have witnessed numerous fatalities (including some, like 82nd Avenue and Powell Boulevard, that are owned by ODOT) .

The latest talking point used by Portland City Council and ODOT in supporting this project lies in their assessment that this massive freeway expansion is justifiable because of the “local improvements” to the streets of the nearby neighborhoods; Mayor Wheeler spoke on OPB last September noting that the freeway expansion would  “reconnect the community” because of the proposed partial lids over I-5 and changes to the bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

Despite these claims, the notion that the community would receive any benefit from this massive boondoggle is easily refutable with any meaningful review of the project’s plans.

The No More Freeways Coalition and our numerous transportation, environmental, public health and  neighborhood activist partners want to be loud and clear: the Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion’s proposed changes to the local streets are #NotAnImprovement to the neighborhood.

Community leaders who have reviewed the proposed plans have raised the following concerns about the impact to the local streets associated with ODOT’s proposal:

Flint Bridge

  1. Removal of the Flint Avenue Bridge. Perhaps the most significant of the changes proposed by ODOT, the massive onramps included in the freeway expansion necessitates the removal of the Flint Avenue overpass of I-5. This bridge is currently a low-stress neighborhood greenway route that connects many eastside bicyclists to downtown (see map); the city’s annual bicycle counts suggest that it’s one of the busiest bike commuting routes in the city. In addition, the Flint Avenue bridge connects the soon-to-reopen Harriet Tubman Middle School and local businesses, like Ex-Novo, the nonprofit brewery, to the Rose Quarter. As local economist Joe Cortright writes at City Observatory, “Rather that “connecting” the community better, the project actually disconnects it …this project is a step backwards, concentrating more vehicle movements as well as more bicycles on main arterial streets, and eliminating a slower-speed, local serving street.” Eliminating a low-stress, important connection to downtown jobs for Portland’s bike commuters is #NotAnImprovement for this neighborhood. 

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    ODOT’s Proposed Freeway Cover is merely a set of disconnected triangles, that, combined, won’t produce any urban space that invites more housing and development. These caps will also be unsupported, meaning that they won’t allow development on top of them, and are therefore incompatible with the Albina Vision. (Schematic produced by Jim Howell)
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    Schematic shows the overlay of the oversized overpasses, and the Flint Avenue bridge that would be removed (image credit Jim Howell)

    Freeway “Caps” Leave A Lot to be Desired. Many proponents of this freeway expansion has been sold a vision of a “freeway cap” that would cover I-5 and help “reconnect the community.” Unfortunately, any review of the proposed “caps” shows that ODOT is not planning for a comprehensive cover for the freeway but merely incomplete concrete platforms that will be floating over the expanded freeway. These bizarrely-shaped caps won’t create vibrant, livable urban spaces that will encourage more housing, livable streets; they will be floating green islands surrounded by multiple lanes of congested traffic. One only needs to look a few blocks east, to Martin Luther King Junior Blvd, for an example of how ODOT designs park space for whizzing automobiles but not for the community members walking, biking, taking transit and living in the immediate neighborhood. As Cortright writes, “When you look closely at the project’s own illustrations, its apparent that the covers are actually just slightly oversized overpasses, with nearly all of their surface area devoted to roadway.” Replacing a gaping cut of a freeway with “oversized overpasses” full of the noise and noxious fumes of freeway traffic is #NotAnImprovement. 

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    Aerial view of “Albina Vision,” Photo by Jonathan Maus.

    Freeway Expansion Impacts  directly hinder Ambitious “Albina Vision” Plans.
    Community advocates have been drawing up bold, ambitious plans to more sincerely attempt to rectify the historic injustices of urban renewal in North and Northeast Portland. Dubbed the “Albina Vision,” (pictured), the proposal calls for massive new housing and office space redevelopment around and on top of the existing freeway. The renderings of these ambitious and exciting plans for new housing and redevelopment in Albina, writes Cortright, “has neatly made both the Interstate 5 freeway and its extensive on- and off-ramps disappear under a welter of new high rises” which are “…details very much at odds with the project proposed by the Oregon Department of Transportation.” Paving over the neighborhood with offramps and excess freeway capacity that won’t solve traffic congestion in a manner that prevents future ambitious, restorative justice development is #NotAnImprovement.

     

  4. Advocates are deeply skeptical of impact of the proposed bike and pedestrian facilities. Mayor Wheeler stated on OPB that he supported the $450 million Rose Quarter project because he believed it was “mostly a bicycle and pedestrian play.” However, many prominent, engaged and respected grassroots advocates for livable streets signed our letter in opposition to the freeway because of their sincere skepticism that the project represented an “improvement” for local biking and walking conditions, especially one worth of half a billion dollars of investment. Michael Andersen at BikePortland has written a definitive articulation of what little work ODOT has actually undertaken to consider the bicycle and pedestrian implications of this plan. Despite ODOT’s rhetoric, it’s clear that very little of this project has been designed for bicyclists and pedestrians in mind; if the ODOT were to spend $450 million on improving access for bicycles, pedestrians, and transit users to the Rose Quarter, it’d certainly look a lot different than this. As Andersen reports, the proposed Hancock-Dixon crossing will be too steep (beyond ADA grade) for comfortable bike-riding, and the proposed NE Clackamas crossing of I-5 will be similarly steep and connect directly to an underdeveloped parking lot.  The current plans are #NotAnImprovement for anyone hoping to bike and walk through the neighborhood. 
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    Turning Radii: Is this a neighborhood, or a series of onramps? (image by Doug Klotz)


  5. Diverging_Diamond_DetailIt sure seems like the street grid design aspects of this project were drawn up solely to move automobiles quickly through the neighborhood. As Joe Cortright wrote in a separate article in City Observatory, the “diverging diamond” series of onramps to the freeway near N Broadway and Williams create a significant hazard for people walking in the neighborhood. Longtime pedestrian advocate Doug Klotz also notes that the streets leading to the onramps are designed with an increased radius of curvature at the intersections; this is a really wonky way of saying that these streets are designed for cars to rapidly accelerate on their way around the intersections and down into the freeway. It sure seems like a dangerous proposition to design the streets for such ease of automobile speed, considering the thousands of Blazers and Winterhawks fans that pass through these intersections after games and the daily foot traffic towards local businesses. It’s safe to say that these plans are prioritizing the mobility of car traffic over the safety of pedestrians, which is #NotAnImprovement for a neck of town with aspirations of becoming a vibrant, walkable, engaging neighborhood.
  6. Tubman-Exterior-800x450PX
    Harriet Tubman Middle School

    And Oh Yeah, there’s significant implications for the air quality for the whole neighborhood, especially a soon-to-reopen Middle School with historic connection to Portland’s African American community. Freelance journalist Daniel Forbes has covered air quality issues in Portland for years; he broke many of the stories regarding the Bullseye Plant and their unhealthy air emissions in Southeast Portland back in 2016. He published a story in the Cascadia Times last week exploring the significant implications that the freeway expansion will play in adding more pollution to the air quality around Harriet Tubman, a soon-to-reopen Middle School that PPS has prioritized in their efforts to establish middle-level education for students in Northeast Portland.  According to Forbes, Portland Public Schools’ plans to build remediation walls to improve air quality for Tubman’s students will be demolished by ODOT’s freeway expansion proposal, which in fact expands Interstate 5 eastward and closer to the students at the school.

    Our coalition is in the process of building stronger relationships with PPS officials, Tubman families and neighbors to more accurately identify the scale of the public health risk associated with the freeway expansion next to the middle school. For the time being, though, it’s safe to say that expanding a freeway so more diesel trucks and polluting automobiles can sit in gridlock and contribute to unhealthy air immediately under a middle school is #NotAnImprovement for the neighborhood.

Our coalition remain convinced that the only way to address growing congestion on our busy freeways is to implement congestion pricing, and to direct revenue raised from pricing into robust investments in public transit, biking and walking. No freeway expansion should take place until congestion pricing is implemented on this corridor first. It remains the request of our organization that City of Portland remove the I-5 freeway expansion from the Transportation System Plan (TSP) update of the Comprehensive Plan, and that any freeway expansion should not take place until congestion pricing is implemented and it’s impacts studied first.  A collection of letters we’ve written to City Hall and ODOT’s Congestion Pricing Advisory Committee are available here.


 

ACT NOW: TELL CITY HALL ODOT’S $450 MILLION PLANS ARE #NOTANIMPROVEMENT

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Attend our Rally to Save The Flint Avenue Bridge from 7:30 to 10am on Tuesday, January 16th. (Facebook Event Page HERE)
  2. Sign our petition and include your comments about why you’re concerned this expansion is #NotAnImprovement. We’ll deliver them to City Hall in advance of the January 18th Hearing.
  3. Share on Social Media! We’re on facebook and twitter, and using the hashtag #NotAnImprovement to discuss why this project is bad for the streets of inner North/Northeast Portland.
  4. Testify! We’ll be testifying at the Central City Plan hearing at 2:00pm at Portland City Hall. If you’re available, we’d love for you to join us; sign up on the petition and we’ll be in touch if you’d like some assistance.
  5. Donate! This entire campaign is run by scrappy community advocates; if you donate $15 we’ll send you a button.

Let’s go kill a freeway!

City Council’s Backing Down. Can you help us stand up?

Pricing Before Expansion

TL;DR: Wanna sign our new letter to Portland City Council asking them to prioritize congestion pricing over freeway expansion? Read the letter HERE  and add your name to our letter HERE.

We wrote last week about the opportunity to support a forthcoming amendment in support of congestion pricing as a cost-effective, climate-smart, sensible policy alternative to be implemented first before any half-billion dollar freeway expansion.

Unfortunately, since then, Commissioner Dan Saltzman backed down from his draft resolution language back in September. As BikePortland.org reported yesterday,

Just three months ago Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman was seen as a bulwark against the I-5 Rose Quarter project. Since then he has completely backed away from his insistence that congestion pricing be implemented before any lanes are added to the freeway.

Today, No More Freeway Expansions is sending this letter to City Hall asking for a brave City Commissioner to request an amendment to Saltzman’s resolution. We’ve already received 170 signatures in support of our request for the city to consider congestion pricing ahead of freeway expansion. Our letter highlights how ODOT’s current freeway expansion proposals will inevitably be based on outdated data with congestion pricing spurring new traffic patterns, how the equity benefits of congestion pricing are lost with freeway expansion, and how ODOT needs to be held accountable to actually implementing congestion pricing. Our letter concludes:

Our coalition is convinced in the profound shortcomings of this proposed freeway expansion mega-project to bring congestion relief, traffic safety or any other benefits to aggravated regional commuters. With that said, we believe even a sympathetic supporter of the Rose Quarter Expansion proposal would have to see the benefit in the City of Portland adopting a “pricing before expansion” policy as a fiscally-responsible, equitable, and climate-smart approach to addressing congestion on this corridor and throughout the region. There’s no reason to let ODOT continue to advance a solution that requires $450 million of Oregonians’ tax dollars and compromise on our climate, air quality, public health, affordable housing and equity goals when there’s an alternative that is orders-of-magnitude cheaper and demonstrably proven to actually have success addressing congestion. Political leadership can provide the one thing that freeway expansion cannot: a greener, cost-effective transportation system with less gridlock.

We’ve also had some great coverage in Sightline Institutewith an article that highlights why it makes no sense to move forward with freeway expansion without trying congestion pricing first:

Congestion in the I-5 Rose Quarter Freeway is causing pain for drivers. Taxpayers could try one of the following options to try to reduce drivers’ pain:

1. Shell out at least $450 million for a mega freeway expansion. That’s a lot of money, and the project will likely cause other problems like increasing air pollution and climate pollution, and lots of experience (and here and here) says it won’t decrease congestion.

2. Try congestion pricing first. It is proven to reduce congestion, it could also reduce pollution, and the region (possibly subject to legal constraints) could use the revenue to give non-drivers more mobility options. Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) can still expand the freeway later, but by trying congestion pricing first, it could at least re-size the project to address whatever congestion remains after pricing.

3. Pay out the money to expand the freeway, but also try congestion pricing. All the risks and costs of freeway expansion, but with congestion pricing too.

It’s not too late for you to join the 170+ community members who have signed our letter.. Click the green box below and add your comment; we’ll submit it City Hall before our testimony tomorrow.

Pricing Before Expansion

 

ACTION ALERT: Public Feedback Needed for City Hall Congestion Pricing Resolution

SIGN HERE TO TELL CITY HALL TO PRIORITIZE CONGESTION PRICING BEFORE FREEWAY EXPANSION

Last September, Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman told BikePortland.org that he intendedto introduce a resolution supporting the implementation of congestion pricing ahead of any construction on the proposed Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion. Unfortunately, his resolution, slated for a vote November 30, supports congestion pricing but is missing language about the Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion.

Congestion Pricing is a fiscally responsible, climate-smart, technically-competent, and ethically just alternative to freeway expansion within the City of Portland. The numerous benefits to the region provided by successful implementation of congestion pricing – significant mitigation of recurring traffic gridlock, reliable commute times, increased relative competitiveness of transit alternatives, reduction in carbon emissions, improvement of local air quality, decreased incentive for exurban sprawl, predictable commute times for freight interests – are heavily negated by continued, unchecked expansion of lane miles of our region’s freeways and arterials.

SIGN HERE TO TELL CITY HALL TO PRIORITIZE CONGESTION PRICING BEFORE FREEWAY EXPANSION

We’ll be testifying in support of an amendment to Commissioner Saltzman’s resolution in support of prioritizing congestion pricing before freeway expansion on Thursday, November 30th, at 2:00pm. We’d love to have you sign our letter in support: Here’s our google form; we’ll officially send in our letter on Wednesday, November 29th at 5:00pm. Please join us at City Hall next Thursday if you’re able as well!

ODOT’s Value Pricing Committee

The Oregon Department of Transportation held the first meeting of the Portland Region Value Pricing Committee yesterday. The No More Freeways Coalition submitted this letter in support of congestion pricing as a policy to implement instead of expensive and unnecessary freeway expansion. We’ll be following this committee closely. stay tuned (and check out OPB’s coverage, which gives us a shoutout).

Recent Media

Support our cause, get a button

Our Coalition has met with State Senators, State Representatives, City Councilors, County Commissioners, Dozens of Community Advocates and Nonprofit Organizations and organized rabblerousers to show up at numerous hearings and open houses over the past four months. This is a labor of love for us, and our entire campaign to bring attention to the need to stop this freeway has been run for less than $450. As we gear up for 2018, we could greatly use some additional funding to help us host events, launch aggressive advertising campaigns, and cover our costs. Donate $10 or more and get your very own emoji-filled No More Freeways Button. We’re hoping to get $1500 to keep our website afloat, continue paying for our email service, and to cover the costs for some freeway opposition events in the year ahead.

(Have you signed our letter to City Hall yet?)

 

Letter to ODOT’s Portland Region Value Pricing Advisory Committee

dt.common.streams.StreamServerThis morning, the Oregon Department of Transportation is convening it’s first meeting of the Portland Region Value Pricing Advisory Committee. Spurred by the Transportation Bill passed in Salem last June (HB 2017), ODOT is convening transportation advocates from across the Portland Region to discuss the viability and efficacy of establishing congestion pricing as a mechanism to address recurring gridlock across our region’s freeways. (Read more about ODOT’s committee here).

No More Freeway Expansions is eager to see ODOT begin conversations to explore congestion pricing in earnest. From commuters to shoppers, freight trucks to tourists, everyone is impacted by traffic congestion. The unreliably variable and increasing travel times imposed by our policy of heavily subsidizing unfettered access to our major arterials and freeways during peak hours significantly hinders our regional and state economic potential, contributes to atrocious public health outcomes in terms of both air quality and sedentary behavior, and distributes the biggest burdens of congestion disproportionately to low-income, vulnerable Oregonians and Washingtonians who need improved mobility options for economic opportunity and quality of life.

It is with this perspective that our coalition submitted a letter this morning to the Committee asking them to use this platform as a forum to advocate aggressively for congestion pricing policies as a fiscally responsible, climate-smart, technically-competent, and ethically just alternative to freeway expansion within Portland’s Urban Growth Boundary. The numerous benefits to the region provided by successful implementation of congestion pricing – significant mitigation of recurring traffic gridlock, reliable commute times, increased relative competitiveness of transit alternatives, reduction in carbon emissions, improvement of local air quality, decreased incentive for exurban sprawl, predictable commute times for freight interests – are heavily negated by continued, unchecked expansion of lane miles of our region’s freeways and arterials. We strongly object to potential revenues raised from congestion pricing being used to finance further freeway construction and expansion, and ask committee members to advocate for any potential revenue to be reinvested in transit, biking, and walking infrastructure and programming that provides cost-effective, healthy alternatives to freeway expansions that will actually address our region’s congestion woes.

We’ll be following the Portland Region Value Pricing Advisory Committee closely in the months ahead; addressing our underpriced freeways (if done equitably, thoughtfully, and with an intent to direct revenue to biking, walking and transit initiatives and infrastructure) represents the most cost-effective and sustainable way to manage traffic congestion while providing mobility options that serve Portlanders needs.

 

Our letter to the Value Pricing Committee on the importance of establishing a regional policy of instituting congestion pricing ahead of freeway expansion is available HERE.

We’ll have information available soon detailing how the community can engage with Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman’s proposed November 30 resolution on Congestion Pricing.

 

ODOT wants to know how you *really* feel about a $450 million freeway expansion.

ODOT wants to know what we think about their proposal for Freeway Expansion.

Let’s tell them!

The Oregon Department of Transportation is asking the community to weigh in on their proposal to spend nearly half a billion dollars to expand the Rose Quarter Freeway. We know that this freeway expansion won’t solve traffic congestion, will be terrible for nearby air quality, is opposed by local neighborhoods, and won’t address the actually-dangerous traffic conditions in low income communities in East Portland.

So let’s tell ODOT how we really feel!

The public comment period for this round of community engagement closes this Friday, October 6th at 5:00pmCan we count on you to spend thirty seconds today emailing ODOT and officially filing your concerns with the project? Click the button above to queue up an email to the Freeway Expansion Project Team. You can also fill out their online card.

Wondering what to write? Speak from the heart, and feel free to mention how this freeway project is antithetical to our carbon emissions goals, our air quality initiatives, won’t solve congestion, isn’t a Vision Zero safety priority, and shouldn’t be undertaken until congestion pricing has been studied and implemented to determine if there is truly a need for a half-billion dollar freeway expansion.

NO MORE FREEWAYS, IN THE NEWS

We’ve been staying busy after our successful rally at City Hall last month. There’ll be more information to come as we figure out the next steps for stopping this freeway and proposing sane, cost-efficient, equitable, climate-smart and healthy alternatives to solving congestion in the Portland Metro region. In the meantime, here’s some headlines highlighting what we’ve been up to:
  • City Observatory crunched the numbers; Portlanders who commute to work with an automobile (especially during peak hour congestion) have a much higher median income than those who take transit.
  • The Audubon Society, Neighbors for Clean Air, and 350PDX cosigned an editorial in the Oregonian that breaks down how this project fails our region. We’ve also had a few letters to the editor published.
  • CityLab, a national urban issues magazine, called our work “The Freeway Fight of the Century.
  • Mayor Ted Wheeler made quite a few unusual claims about the freeway expansion project on Think Out Loud. The Portland Mercury and BikePortland fact-checked him, and the results weren’t pretty.
  • ODOT’s town halls about the freeway expansion have been met with plenty of opposition from community members.
  • The Southwest Examiner also expressed concern about our project as well.
  • Finally, we have an updated FAQ page!

 

NEXT NOMOREFREEWAYSPDX MEETING:
THURSDAY, OCT 5

Our group of engaged citizens, advocates, and rabblerousers meet roughly twice a month; if you’d like to get more involved, we’d love to have you join us. We’ll be meeting TOMORROW Thursday, October 5th at 6:00pm at the AORTA office in Union Station (800 NW 6th Ave).

Drop us a line at nomorefreewayspdx@gmail.com if you’d like to attend and help us stop a freeway.

HAVE YOU EMAILED ODOT YET?

City Hall Recap, ODOT Open House Deets, and Last Chance to Submit Testimony 🏙🛣❌😖

Thanks for an amazing turnout last Thursday! 

We had a wonderful crew join us for our #steptemberpdx walk on Thursday to City Hall; thanks to Ron Buel and Joe Cortright for telling us about the history of Tom McCall Waterfront Park and to Oregon Walks for hosting us on their #steptemberpdx walk series.
Charlie Tso testifying at Portland City Hall.Over 35 individuals signed up to testify in opposition to the Rose Quarter freeway widening. Our letter has been signed by over 440 community members and 26 community organizations.
We had a busy week in the media as well. Check out the coverage of our nascent campaign in The Oregonian, BikePortland.orgThe Portland TribunePortland Mercury, and The Association Press; and thanks to Portlanders for Parking Reform for uploading video of all of our testimony onto youtube.


What comes next?

Turnout for ODOT’s Open House on Freeway Expansion Tonight in Northeast Portland

ODOT is holding an open house on the Freeway Expansion Project at the Matt Dishman Community Center TONIGHT, September 12th. We’ll be showing up to leave comments about our concerns about traffic safety, the inability of this project to address recurring traffic congestion, air quality considerations, and more.

Matt Dishman Community Center
September 12th; 5:00-7:00pm
77 NE Knott Street, Portland OR
(Accessible via TriMet Bus lines 4, 6, 44 and the Rodney Avenue Neighborhood Greenway)


Testify on Thursday; Contact City Hall by Friday

Miss your chance to testify last week? City Council will be holding an additional round of public testimony on the Portland Central City Plan on Thursday, September 14th, at 2:45pm. Individuals signed up last week will be given preference to testify first.

If you can’t make it this Thursday but still want to help, please consider sending in your own testimony to City Hall expressing your concerns with the project. Click HERE to queue up an email to your elected officials. Public testimony on the Central City Plan closes by Friday, September 15 at 5pm.

If you haven’t already, please sign our letter and ask your friends and colleagues to do the same. We’re just short of 500 signatures; can you spread the word on facebook and twitter to help us get over the top?

Down the Road

It’s been a busy couple weeks over here at No More Freeways HQ! We’ll have more to share soon about the next steps of our 21st century freeway revolt; we’ll continue to ask City Council to remove this project from the Transportation System Plan, and we’re interested in learning more about the Council Resolution proposed by Commissioner Dan Saltzman to ensure that congestion pricing is studied and implemented before freeway expansion. We’ll be conducting further outreach to bring more community organizations on board, to explain our opposition to this expensive boondoggle to elected officials, and to stand on the shoulders of a previous generation of Portlanders who prioritized building a city for people instead of paving a city for cars.

In the mean time, reach out to us at nomorefreewayspdx@gmail.com if you’re interested in becoming a regular volunteer with our coalition. We have meetings approximately twice a month, and would welcome new members to join us.

On behalf of all of us at No More Freeway Expansions: Thanks for your continued support.

Let’s Go Stop a Freeway!

375 signatures! 26 organizations! And one $450 million freeway officially in the crosshairs.

The No More Freeway Expansion Coalition submitted a letter to Portland City Council and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability on August 30, 2017 outlining our concerns for the Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion and the project’s inclusion in the Transportation System Plan update in the Central City Plan.

Our coalition greatly appreciated the time afforded by Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman and the staff of Mayor Ted Wheeler to discuss our concerns with the inefficacy, price tag, public health implications and expected carbon emissions associated with the proposal to add an additional line of freeway to Interstate 5 from the Fremont Bridge through to Interstate 84.  We wish to thank Commissioner Saltzman, in particular, for his comments given to BikePortland.org last Friday, in which his office shared that they intend to issue a statement prioritizing ‘congestion/value pricing along the I-5 corridor before the project breaks ground.’ We welcome this acknowledgement that congestion pricing is a cost-effective, proven and (if done appropriately) equitable approach to solving the traffic congestion that Portlanders currently face; however, we continue to encourage Commissioner Saltzman and the rest of the City Council to evaluate whether this $450 million freeway expansion is appropriate for inclusion in the Transportation System Plan update, in the name of honoring our city’s commitments to action on climate, traffic safety and equity.

Since the public launch of our campaign, response has been enthusiastic. We provide you today with the names of 375 community members and organizations including Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Portland Democratic Socialists of America, and the East Portland Air Coalition who have signed on since the letter was sent to City Hall. You can see our full list here.

Our petition includes 62 residents of Inner North/Northeast Portland who live near the freeway, 52 self-identified small business owners, 18 self-identified residents of East Portland; 95% of our signatures stated they lived in zip codes with Portland addresses (and 98% in the state of Oregon.)

The “No More Freeway Expansion” Coalition solicited signatures from Portland community members concerned with the plans to spend half a billion dollars on a freeway expansion that won’t solve congestion over the past week. Below are the names, zip codes, and additional comments of the citizens and organizations who have signed on to our letter in advance of today’s City Council Hearing.

We look forward to continuing to engage with Portland City Council on constructive, healthy, cost-effective alternatives to this $450 million freeway expansion, and are eager to work collaboratively to determine a course to support equitable, climate-friendly, and common sense transportation investments for this corridor and for our region’s future.

To see the full comments and additional testimony provided by community members, please see our document HERE, submitted to City Council and the Bureau of Planning on Sustainability on September 7th.

We look forward to seeing you this afternoon at our #steptemberpdx walk 1:00pm at Salmon Street Springs Fountain (1000 SW Naito Parkway) and at the City Council Hearing at 2:00pm.