In anticipation of the winter ski season…
Normally I’m not a big fan of the interminable planning processes that drive decision -making in PDX. Not that I think civic action should be imposed via dictatorship, but a metropolis that has taken four years to put together the Portland Plan, with no tangible results–well, let’s just say that there’s no surfeit of leadership in the Rose City.
Having rendered unto that disclaimer, I’d like to undercut my own argument by proposing the creation of yet another citizen advisory committee, this one to study recreational transportation.
Everyone knows that Oregon’s natural beauty–ocean, mountains, rivers–attracts tourists and residents by the tens of thousands. But there’s dirty little secret lurking behind our recreational treasures. With few exceptions, the only way to get to Mt. Hood, the coast, rivers, etc is via single occupancy vehicle. No trains, and only a smattering of buses.
All those hipsters and families who are living car free in inner pdx? Come the weekend, they (we?) hop in the car to go skiing, mountain climbing, backpacking and the like, creating bumper to bumper traffic on Highway 26, be it from Mt. Hood or Cannon Beach.
Driving to the mountains to ski or to hike is the equivalent of driving to a gym to exercise–one of those healthy/environmental living paradoxes that cannot be reconciled.
So I call on Portland planners to put together a recreational transportation survey, then use that survey to jumpstart a first of its kind regional recreational transportation plan.
Because imagine taking a ski train to Mt. Hood or a beach train to Astoria, modes that not only reduce traffic and pollution but also nurture the kind of spontaneous social interaction that defines great cities—and mass transportation experiences.