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Archive for the ‘hillsboro’ Category

Its time to starting thinking about the ‘I’ word.

Posted by Peter W on December 10, 2007

The Oregonian had an article about Washington County thinking about the ‘A’ word: Annexation. The county will be having discussions in 2008 to talk about how to provide urban services and so far it sounds like they’ve just been discussing annexations (which of course Beaverton and Hillsboro are happy to talk about too).

Might it also be time to start talking about the ‘I’ word: incorporation? Perhaps it doesn’t make sense to have just two sprawling cities. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to have Aloha, Reedville, South Hillsboro, and North Bethany urbanize and become towns or cities.

The advantage of incorporation over annexation is that citizens would have more voice in what their tax money goes to (which seems to be people’s biggest reason to resist annexation – they don’t want the cities to siphon off tax money without providing something valuable in return).

Of course, people may not even feel the need to be incorporated, since they currently get ‘urban’ services from non-city sources such as the Parks District (THPRD), the Fire District (TVF&R), the county’s enhanced sheriff patrols in urban areas, Clean Water Services (sewage and storm water management), and a county wide library service. In addition, the county provides urban transportation infrastructure and is now doing urban planning for North Bethany and West Bull Mountain.

It seems like the two options are:

1. Combine all the currently urban, unincorporated area into a new mega-city.

Basically the county would spin off its urban services into a new city that would serve all of the urban unincorporated area in the county.

2. Encourage incorporation of separate cities.

The best way to encourage this would be to make it known that the county wants this, let people know what they need to do for this to happen, and most importantly, the county would scale back the urban services it provides. I think scaling back services would have the biggest effect. What if the library system only served people within city boundaries? What if the sheriff patrols were equalized between urban and rural areas? What if when the county planned for new areas, they also planned for them to incorporate as a new town? Finally, what if the county declared that only areas inside cities would be eligible for urban transportation infrastructure improvements?

The main advantage of having many smaller towns or cities is that they could each be designed to be self sufficient, with a good jobs/housing mix and a town center with grocery stores and markets, restaurants, a library, fitness centers and other things people use often. That would make peoples communities more livable, make it easier to walk or bike to commute or for errands, and would reduce cross-county automobile trips.

This is wishful thinking now, but they could also link up each town or city center with high speed and frequent rail service to make getting around easy for folks who need to. This is even more wishful thinking, but if there was green fields between towns, you would be just a short walk away from the country, and people could get food from very nearby local farms (can you imagine what will happen when we run out of oil, gas costs $30 a gallon, and our society still depends on trucking in food from even just 20 miles away?).

I’m looking forward to bringing these ideas to discussion next year.

Posted in beaverton, hillsboro, north bethany, parks, planning, washington county | Leave a Comment »

Climate Change, Transit Development in the News

Posted by Peter W on October 29, 2007

We’ve got to do something about climate change:

The planet is in danger of crossing a “tipping point” of irreversible damage to its atmosphere, climate, water and ecosystems unless governments can develop comprehensive strategies to promote growth and sustainability, warns a new report released on Thursday by an environmental advocacy branch of the United Nations.

(full article)

California is trying – with the recently passed Global Warming Solutions Act they plan to “reduce the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.” But hybrids alone won’t solve the problem.

We need to do a lot more if we’re actually going to reduce our emissions. We’ve got to reduce the amount we drive.

To do that, we need to build in a way that makes it easy to get around. We need to build more homes near jobs, and make sure people can afford those homes. We need to build neighborhoods with shops, services, good public transit, and parks – all within easy walking distance of homes.

[…]

It’s time to turn the Bay Area’s innovative talent to the question of how to use our land well. Instead of saying, “We have to drive, but maybe we should drive a different kind of car,” let’s ask, “How can we make it easier to get where we want to go?” Let’s envision a better way to live for people and the planet, and let’s start making it happen.

(see full article in the San Francisco Chronicle)

Luckily it isn’t just a few newspaper editors that favor smarter growth (more compact cities served by more transit).

Three-fourths of Americans believe that being smarter about development and improving public transportation are better long-term solutions for reducing traffic congestion than building new roads, according to a survey released today by the National Association of Realtors┬« and Smart Growth America. […]

As evidence of the traction the issue has gained in the last few years, nearly three-quarters of Americans are concerned about the role growth and development plays in climate change. Traffic congestion is still a concern to many Americans as it continues to worsen in most cities in the country. Half of those surveyed think improving public transit would be the best way to reduce congestion, and 26 percent believe developing communities that reduce the need to drive would be the better alternative. Only one in five said building new roads was the answer.

Eight in 10 respondents prefer redeveloping older urban and suburban areas rather than build new housing and commercial development on the edge of existing suburbs. More than half of those surveyed believe that businesses and homes should be built closer together to shorten commutes, limit traffic congestion and allow residents to walk to stores and shops instead of using their cars. Six in 10 also agree that new-home construction should be limited in outlying areas and encouraged in inner urban areas to shorten commutes and prevent more traffic congestion. […]

The 2007 Growth and Transportation Survey was conducted by telephone among 1,000 adults living in the United States in October 2007. The study has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

(via Planetizen).

If Oregon is such a green state, and the majority in the US understands that better transit and smarter development can help combat climate change, why is Washington County continuing to build bigger roads that serve greenfield subdivisions on the urban fringe instead of focusing on better transit, more bike and pedestrian traffic, more compact centers, and urban renewal[1]?

1: Note that I mean urban renewal in the traditional sense: “renewing aging urban places”, not the Washington County Planning dept.’s definition: “supporting greenfield development in future suburban places”. If you don’t already know… the County is considering using “urban renewal” as a source of funds for the North Bethany development, which is a suburb on former fields at the North edge of the county.

Posted in climate change, hillsboro, north bethany, planning, transportation, washington county | Leave a Comment »

Hillsboro Bike Update

Posted by Peter W on August 14, 2007

Last Wednesday, August 8th, I had a great meeting with Don Odermott, the City of Hillsboro’s Transportation Planning Engineer. He discussed the history of Hillsboro’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Program, and told me that the city is interested in starting it up again. Even though I’ll be living in Portland soon, I said I’d be glad to help out … perhaps I can help import good ideas from over the hill.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in bikes, hillsboro, planning, transportation | 2 Comments »

Ideas Needed for Bike / Pedestrian Meeting in Hillsboro

Posted by Peter W on August 6, 2007

Do you have ideas for what Hillsboro needs in order to be more bike friendly? I’d like to hear them! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in bikes, hillsboro, planning, transportation | 2 Comments »

SMALL MUSEUMS BY BIKE: EXPLORE HILLSBORO

Posted by Peter W on August 2, 2007

I just got word of this fun bike trip in Hillsboro from the SHIFT email list. Sounds fun and I would definitely do it if I weren’t going bike camping at Oxbow Park. The details of this bikey museum trip are below: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in bikes, hillsboro | Leave a Comment »

Pedicab in Hillsboro!

Posted by Peter W on July 27, 2007

Who woulda thunkit? The Oregonian reports that downtown Hillsboro now has Pedicab service! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in bikes, hillsboro | 1 Comment »

Crash due to construction sign in Hillsboro

Posted by Peter W on July 11, 2007

According to an article in yesterday’s Hillsboro Argus, Hillsboro resident Steven Dowis had a bad crash on NW 231st Avenue at Campus Way [the article refers to Campus Court which I don’t think exists] just south of Cornell in the Orenco Station area.

Intersection of NW 231st and Campus Way, near Orenco Station A Hillsboro man was Life-flighted to Oregon Health Science University hospital Monday morning after crashing his bike into a construction sign on Northwest 231st Avenue near Northeast Campus Court.

Steven Dowis, 51, and another cyclist were northbound on 231st when Dowis struck a construction sign that was on the side of the road approximately 18 inches into the roadway, said Hillsboro Police Department Lt. Michael Rouches.

“This collision caused Mr. Dowis to tumble over the handlebars and strike his head on the road surface, causing head trauma,” Rouches said.

I’d be interested to know more about what happened – like what kind of construction is going on out there
(that section of road needs bike lanes and sidewalks, so I wonder if that is what they’re doing) and more importantly, why couldn’t they get the construction sign out of the way? Also, the article says no vehicles were involved but I do wonder if Steven had to swerve to avoid getting rear ended or something.

Posted in bikes, hillsboro | Leave a Comment »