Land Use and Climate Change

Climate change has been top of mind a lot for me recently. I used to think that individual consumption choices could help make a change, but recently I’ve adapted more of the mindset that we need to advocate for systemic changes that enable people to lead more sustainable lives and help make sustainable choices the default. Luckily, the city has been pushing for some land use and transportation policies recently that will help achieve more sustainable outcomes.

I’m personally excited about the Residential Infill Project. I will admit that it has flaws, but I think the positives far outweigh the negatives. At a high level, it ends the ban of building 2, 3, and 4 plexes in single family zoned lots. By allowing for the construction of higher density living arrangements, heating will be more efficient (less energy usage!), and transit, walking, and bicycling for daily errands become more viable (less fossil fuel consumption!). Another benefit is that the requirement for off-street parking is removed which will hopefully lead to more tree coverage as there will be fewer driveways and more space for trees. The city’s own analysis also showed that this proposal would decrease displacement in Eliot which is a huge win for the neighborhood.

Another policy proposal the city has recently put forth is the Rose Lane Project. The aim with this proposal is to get busses out of car traffic on the most utilized routes. By helping the bus move more quickly, we’ll be helping move people more quickly and we’ll make taking the bus a more viable alternative to driving for more people. The more people who choose taking the bus over driving leads to less emissions. This project will also benefit Eliot as some of the busses to be prioritized are the 6 on MLK and the 4/44 on Vancouver/Williams.

It’s an exciting time to be involved right now as a lot is changing and there are some projects that make me feel optimistic which can be hard to come by right now. If this kind of thing sounds interesting to you, we’d love for you to come to our Eliot Neighborhood Land Use and Transportation Committee meetings on the second Monday of the month at 7pm at St Philip the Deacon.

Letter from the LUTC Chair

This has been an interesting fall for the Land Use and Transportation Committee. Lots of neighborhood developments have been presented to us along with some pretty dramatic policy changes on the horizon.

In the neighborhood, we’ve seen small scale housing developments being proposed on the southern part of Vancouver and on MLK, discussed doing a street vacancy in lower Albina where Earthquake Tech has a new property on a dead end street with room for some creative use of space, heard updates on the Emanuel hospital’s renovation plans, and followed the developments on the Lloyd-to-Woodlawn greenway. I’m excited to see much-needed housing coming to the neighborhood and start to see empty lots being developed. On the Lloyd-to-Woodlawn greenway, while the changes won’t be exactly what we hoped to see, they’ll be a step in the right direction for making it safer for everyone to get around.

The proposed housing changes coming before City Council soon will also be a great step forward for improving housing choices for Portlanders and would-be-Portlanders. Better Housing by Design, the Residential Infill Project, and the associated antidisplacement measures will help make it easier to build “Missing Middle” housing – often the most affordable type of housing – and help to minimize displacement. I’m thankful to be seeing the city pushing for policies that will help make housing in Portland more affordable for more people.

Land Use and Transportation Committee Agenda

November 11th, 2019 7:00-8:30 pm

Location: 120 NE Knott St

  1. 7:00 Open meeting, Welcome guests, Introductions (5 mins)
  2. 7:05 Discuss agenda and accept any additions (5)
  3. 7:10 2306 N Vancouver Proposed Development (35)
  4. 7:45 Emanuel updates (35)
  5. 8:20 Discuss upcoming projects and if we want to get involved (5)
    1. Residential Infill Project, Better Housing by Design, and Anti-Displacement measures
    2. Lloyd-to-Woodlawn greenway and Safer 7th improvements.
    3. Broadway Toyota’s proposed parking structure
  6. 8:25 Approve Minutes (5)

LUTC Minutes for August 12

Attendees:
Mark, Brad, Monique, Zach, Phil, Jonathan

Welcomes
Want to add discussion of Rodney letter to meeting

3019 NE MLK. Design hasn’t changed since we last chatted. They applied for Land Use Adjustment. Completed application July 28th and will hear back within 120 days. Then will adjust designs or scrap the project based on results. If all goes well, they hope to break ground Q1 2020.

Rodney letter. Folks were happy with result from the city. With traffic engineer coming to the neighborhood, folks also wanted to let them look into:
1. Rodney greenway. There’s a lot of car traffic and it seems like cars are speeding. Still folks might not feel like biking on it. Is there an opportunity to reassess how well it’s working?
2.The turn lane on NE MLK when driving northbound and turning left onto Morris. The sensor doesn’t seem to work all the time. Noted that multiple folks have noticed having to wait through multiple cycles for it to turn.

Didn’t get to approve the minutes from last time since we didn’t have them.

LUTC Agenda for October 14th, 2019

Land Use and Transportation Committee

7:00-8:30 pm

Location: 120 NE Knott St

  1. 7:00 Open meeting, Welcome guests, Introductions (5)
  2. 7:05 Discuss agenda and accept any additions (5)
  3. 7:10 Earthquake Tech expansion plans (20) 
  4. 7:30 Discuss upcoming projects and if we want to get involved (50)
    1. Residential Infill Project, Better Housing by Design, and Anti-Displacement measures
    2. Lloyd-to-Woodlawn greenway and Safer 7th improvements.
    3. Broadway Toyota’s proposed parking structure
  5. 8:20 Approve Minutes (10)

Letter from the LUTC Chair – Traffic Safety is a Must

Safety is a priority for the Land Use and Transportation Committee, and we want to make sure that folks in our neighborhood safely get to the places they want to go to. 

In the last year, we’ve had two students at Tubman hit by cars as they were walking to school. About a month ago, a woman was hit and killed on NE Broadway and Grand. Generally in Portland, “pedestrian fatalities have trended up over the last five years” according to PBOT’s Vision Zero website. Finally, over 50% of car crashes happen within 5 miles of home.

There are many potential reasons why things are getting less safe out there for people on foot. One possible reason is that cars are getting bigger and taller which means a more powerful impact. Also, the economy is doing well which means people are driving more. More driving, in general, leads to more crashes. 

There are many long term solutions that will ultimately make it safer for people. If the city and the neighborhood continue to work for the city to be more friendly for walking, biking, and transit, there are two benefits. Better biking, walking, and transit infrastructure typically means having some separated, safe place to travel by those modes which means you’d be less likely to be hit. Also, with more people taking those modes there will be fewer folks driving and fewer opportunities for folks to be hit. These are the types of things the Land Use and Transportation Committee usually advocates for.

So in the short term what can we do? Try to drive less. It’s summertime and the weather is great, so hop on a bike, walk or take the bus to the grocery store, or try out an e-scooter. Every trip that’s made outside of a car leads to a safer city for everyone. If you’re car shopping, consider getting a smaller car or a car with a lower bumper. Think about where your bumper would impact a kid if the car you’re driving came into contact with them. Finally, if you’re going to be driving around in the neighborhood, be safe: drive slow and stay alert.

Have a wonderful and safe summer!

LUTC Agenda for June 10th

Eliot Neighborhood Association

Land Use and Transportation Committee

Agenda June 10th, 2019

7:00-8:00 pm

Location: 120 NE Knott St

  1. 7:00 Open meeting, Welcome guests, Introductions (5)
  2. 7:05 Discuss agenda and accept any additions (5)
  3. 7:10 Discussion points (30)
    1. Should we write a letter of support for enforcement of m-overlay zones? (15)
    2. Letter about dangerous crossings in the neighborhood (15)
  4. 7:40 Other updates? (parking permit, N/S Neighborhood Greenway on 7th or 9th Ave, improving intersections around Tubman, state housing bills) (10)
  5. 7:50 Approve Minutes + confirm emails of new members (10)

Letter from the LUTC Chair — A Variety of New Developments

A lot is changing and more is going to be changing in Eliot neighborhood, in the city, and at that state level.

It’s a great time to join the Land Use and Transportation Committee to be part of the conversations around how we can influence these changes to help make our neighborhood better.

Continue reading Letter from the LUTC Chair — A Variety of New Developments

Area Permit Parking Update

After the parking election in South Eliot, we have the results. As a reminder, the requirements for forming an area parking permit district were that 50% of ballots had to be returned and 60% of the returned ballots had to be in favor. From our election, we had 53% of ballots returned and 54% were in favor. Although the majority (54%) of ballots were in favor, this is below the 60% threshold so the Area Parking Permit (APP) didn’t pass.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation shared the results by block with us and the general trend was similar to our experiences chatting with folks. The further south people lived, the more in favor of forming APP folks were. There were blocks that voted overwhelmingly in favor of forming an APP.

The next step is PBOT is exploring launching a pilot program that would allow for smaller APP. Right now the APP must be at least 10,000 linear feet. The pilot would allow for a minimum of 5,000 linear feet. They’re doing this to help support us since there are small areas in our neighborhood that really want this. Once PBOT gets City Council’s support of forming pilot APPs, we could consider restarting the process.

Eliot’s Suggested Contacts for the Freeway Expansion

The proposed I-5 expansion through Eliot and the Rose Quarter will have a dramatic impact on our air quality, traffic, and safety. ODOT is asking for feedback now through April 1st.

In addition to sending your feedback to ODOT, please also consider sending feedback to our elected leaders who also have sway over the project.

Continue reading Eliot’s Suggested Contacts for the Freeway Expansion

Call for New Members for the Land Use and Transportation Committee

The Land Use and Transportation Committee is looking for more neighbors to join our group. Anyone who works or lives in the neighborhood is welcome to join. Whether you’ve been in the neighborhood for a week or thirty years, regardless of if you’re an urban planner or are just curious to know about upcoming projects in the neighborhood, we’d love to have you join. The time commitment is fairly light with only one two-hour meeting a month.

The Land Use and Transportation Committee or LUTC is a group that participates in neighborhood review of land use, zoning, building and transportation regulation and planning. What that essentially boils down to is when a new project or policy is proposed that will affect the neighborhood, the group proposing the change with come to LUTC and ask for our input or feedback. LUTC then voices our opinions on what can lead to the proposed project having the largest positive impact on the neighborhood.

If this sounds interesting we’d love to have you. If you’re worried that you don’t have the right “background,” don’t let that stop you from joining. We’d be happy to train you and get you up to speed on things so that you can be a contributing member.

So if you’re interested in helping shape the direction our neighborhood and city grow, please consider joining. Our meetings are open to everyone, so if you’re interested in checking them out to see if you want to get involved, they’re the second Monday of the month at 7pm at 120 NE Knott. The next meeting is Monday, March 11.