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TriMet GM boosts e-bikes as leaders weigh in on congestion pricing

TriMet GM boosts e-bikes as leaders weigh in on congestion pricing 2020-09-21Leave a comment

electrical bike TriMet GM boosts e-bikes as leaders weigh in on congestion pricing

Urgency for brand spanking new transportation funding choices has by no means been higher.
(Picture: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

“The vary of e-bikes is exploding proper now. I actually suppose it’s a new variable within the dialog.”
— Doug Kelsey, TriMet

Even earlier than the Covid-19 pandemic took a cleaver to municipal budgets and dramatically impacted mobility patterns regionwide, congestion pricing was already a sizzling subject. Now there’s new urgency across the thought of charging individuals to make use of roads.

At the moment Metro, the Oregon Division of Transportation and the Portland Bureau of Transportation are concerned in separate — however associated — discussions about if and tips on how to implement tolls.

On Thursday Metro’s Joint Coverage Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) was briefed on the Metro Regional Congestion Pricing Study (to not be confused with PBOT’s Pricing for Equitable Mobility or ODOT’s I-5 and I-205 tolling efforts).

(From Metro’s Regional Congestion Pricing Examine)

Metro Planner Elizabeth Mros O’Hara introduced the research to JPACT members and stated, “The logic behind congestion pricing is admittedly easy. For those who cost motorists a charge to make use of roadways and use the cash on the issues that you simply care about, persons are more likely to change their habits.”

That change in habits can have wide-ranging impacts not simply to budgets and mobility, however to well being outcomes. Mros O’Hara instructed JPACT members that after Stockholm applied congestion pricing, acute bronchial asthma circumstances for younger kids in adjoining areas dropped by 50%.

Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas.

Metro is exploring whether or not or not 4 several types of pricing methods can assist the area’s transportation priorities: A automobile miles traveled charge the place drivers pay for each mile they journey; A “cordon pricing” scheme the place drivers would pay to enter a pre-determined space (like downtown Portland); A hall pricing strategy the place drivers would pay a charge to drive on a selected highway, bridge, or freeway; or good, old school parking pricing.

Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas expressed issues about equity primarily based on his view that individuals he represents don’t have the identical breadth of transportation alternate options as those that life in Portland. “The transportation choices in Portland are incredible in comparison with what we’ve in Clackamas County,” Savas stated. If viable alternate options to driving are usually not in place earlier than tolling begins, Savas added, “It feels extra like extraction of {dollars} than it’s a change of habits as a result of there aren’t any choices.”

“65 to 75% of our of our inhabitants leaves the county day-after-day and doesn’t have entry to these alternate options,” Savas defined. “All they’ll do is drive a automobile.” If individuals don’t have any different choices however to drive, Savas warned that any pricing scheme would stay “extremely unpopular and extremely controversial.” “I simply wish to simply put it put that on the market that that it is a massive deal, and it’s going to be extremely, extremely politically charged,” he warned.

TriMet GM Doug Kelsey.

TriMet Common Supervisor Doug Kelsey echoed Savas’ issues. He shared the instance of Copenhagen and Stockholm the place congestion pricing has already been applied and the place viable alternate options to driving are properly established. Kelsey stated the potential of pricing “is completely immense” however that to achieve success we should spend money on alternate options beforehand.

Kelsey then introduced up — quite unexpectedly — the potential of electrical bikes and biking normally. “I actually encourage us to additionally contemplate e-bikes in right here. The vary of e-bikes is admittedly… it’s exploding proper now. I actually suppose it’s a new variable within the dialog.” “However even with out e-bikes,” Kelsey continued, “the Copenhagen’s and the others of the world, they actually factored biking in…not simply transit.”

“The e-bike phenomenon, I believe, is right here to remain. And it’s simply going to be nothing however development. So I wouldn’t underestimate or encourage us to be as a part of our consideration to factoring the gap and energy that e-bikes would possibly have the ability to convey,” Kelsey stated.

“This isn’t ideological. That is existential.”
— Chloe Eudaly, Metropolis of Portland

Portland Commissioner Chloe Eudaly.

Portland Metropolis Commissioner Chloe Eudaly is an enormous fan of congestion pricing; however she stays involved about its equity. She additionally thinks e-bikes can play a major position in permitting extra individuals to maneuver round with out having to drive — and pay new tolls that include it. “We now have a full e-bike fleet [as part of the newly expanded Biketown bike share system] and we’re deploying that fleet in east Portland, which is tremendously increasing bicycles as a viable transportation possibility for commuters throughout the town,” she stated.

Eudaly reminded JPACT members that each determination they make should needless to say 40% of greenhouse fuel emissions in Oregon come from transportation emissions. “This isn’t ideological,” she stated. “That is existential.”

Eudaly stated tolling has potential to assist the area obtain each local weather and income objectives; however it should be carried out rigorously to not unfairly influence individuals who depend on vehicles. “The Metropolis of Portland, regardless of how dense it’s, regardless of our nice transit system, regardless of how walkable and bikeable a lot of our neighborhoods are — we’ve an extended approach to go earlier than we might contemplate implementing congestion pricing on our roadways,” she stated. “There’s lots of work to do, individuals want alternate options, however that is completely the time to begin contemplating these choices.”

Metro plans to proceed learning choices by means of the top of 2020 and determine on subsequent steps early 2021.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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