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Summary Meeting Notes: January 15, 2013 Networks PEG meeting

January 15, 2013 from 1 to 3:20 p.m.

PEG Members Attending: Aaron Brown, Ivy Dunlop, Eric Hesse, Keith Liden, Linda Nettekoven, Lidwien Rahman, Allan Schmidt, Chris Smith, Peter Stark, Pia Welch, Eric Engstrom, Courtney Duke, Patricia Neighbor

PEG Members Absent: Bill Beamer, Mike Faha,Denver Igarta, Gavin Prichard, Irene Schwoeffermann, Jay Sugnet

Other Attendees: Alan Lehto, TriMet; Art Pearce, PBPT; Mary Vogel; Roger Averbeck; Salim Mayberry

Facilitator: Jim Owens

Key Points and Outcomes: The meeting focused on TriMet’s approach to service enhancement and how frequent transit and streetcar service is a key tool in planning for future growth in the City. Key points included:

  • There is interest in exploring a role for the City in establishing standards for high capacity service, a la the City of Seattle.
  • Planning for future growth and high capacity transit service needs to recognize that the City’s land use patterns will be affected by new transit connections to Vancouver and Milwaukie, as well as by Southwest and Powell corridor improvements.
  • With closing of the Central City streetcar loop, the City can begin to assess whether the streetcar is an appropriate tool to affect growth patterns in areas such as Outer Southeast.
  • Transit is only one tool for encouraging development and what’s already in place determines what type of transit works best.
  • Equity considerations include the impacts on housing affordability from transit improvements. Major transit investments shouldn’t be made without corresponding housing investments.

Presenter: Jim Owens, Facilitator
Summary: PEG members, staff and members of the audience were asked to introduce themselves.

Review of Meeting Agenda and December Meeting Summary
Presenter: Jim Owens
Discussion: There were no requested adjustments to the agenda other than combining the schedule for upcoming meetings with the update on the draft Plan review schedule. Other than minor edits, there were no comments on the December 12 meeting summary.

Related Materials:

Update on Draft Plan Update and Schedule for Upcoming Meetings
Presenter: Eric Engstrom, BPS, and Courtney Duke, PBOT
Description: Eric and Courtney provided an update on the schedule, general contents, and process for PEG review of the Working Draft Comprehensive Plan Update. Plan policies are the focus of the first part of the review process. “Scenarios” will be available for PEG review in early March, followed by the TSP, mapping and project identification this coming summer.

Modal committees will receive presentations in February-April.

Three PEG meetings are assumed for the review of the Working Draft, beginning with the previously-scheduled January 30 meeting. There was consensus to modify the regular schedule of PEG meetings in order to facilitate PEG member attendance at the upcoming public workshops on the Working Draft Plan:

  • Cancel the regular February 27 and March 27 meetings
  • Reschedule these meetings for early-to-mid March and for early-to-mid April based upon the results of a doodle poll of PEG members.

Courtney will email PEG members as to their availability to attend the upcoming public workshops as observers. It is hoped that each member will be able to attend at least one workshop and report back to the group. The schedule of workshops is:

  • February 19; 6:00-9:00 pm; Multnomah Arts Center
  • February 26: 5:30-8:30 pm: De La Salle North Catholic High School
  • February 28: 5:30-8:30 pm; Franklin High School
  • March 2: 10:00 am-1:00 pm; David DouglasHigh School
  • March 5; 5:00-8:00 pm; Smith Memorial Student Union, Portland State University
  • March 9; 10:00 am-1:00 pm; Beaumont Middle School

There was general agreement to focus PEG review/discussion on the topics in the Working Draft Plan identified by staff for review. Jim Owens indicated that it is entirely appropriate to raise other network-related topics for discussion. Individual comments on non-network topics, however, would not be slated for discussion but rather forwarded to the appropriate PEG.

In response to a request that On-Street Parking be added to the list of discussion items, Eric indicated that City Council has indicated an interest in addressing this issue in the short term. He will keep the PEG posted.

Related Materials:

  • Memo on Working Draft Release and Review (PBOT)

Frequent and High Capacity Transit
Presenters: TriMet’s Approach to Service Enhancement -- Eric Hesse and Alan Lehto, TriMet
Portland’s Approach to Implement Regional High Capacity Transit Plans -- Art Pearce, PBOT, and Eric Engstrom, BPS
Role of High Quality Frequent Transit and Streetcar Service in Growth Management -- Art Pearce, PBOT, and Eric Engstrom, BPS

Description: A presentation by TriMet staff on that agency’s approach to service enhancement was followed by City staff explaining how the City integrates transit into planning for growth. Service restoration is a goal of service enhancement planning.
Questions and discussion included:

  • How are the responsibilities for planning for and operating high capacity transit divided among the various entities? Planning is a cooperative exercise. TriMet is wholly responsible for the bus and light rail system. Management of the street car system is split among TriMet, City and Streetcar, Inc. While WES started as a Washington County project, it is now fully managed by TriMet.
  • It was requested that the PEG be briefed on the results of the upcoming visit with Seattle Metro Transit System, especially as it relates to that city’s role in establishing and enforcing standards for high capacity service.
  • How is the level of service for industrial areas determined? Each area within the City is individually assessed to determine demand for service, timing factors, etc. A challenge in providing services to industrial areas is insufficient densities to support transit.
  • The City’s land use patterns will be affected by new transit connections to Vancouver and Milwaukie, as well as by Southwest and Powell corridor improvements.
  • There is a two-way relationship between development capacity and transit capacity.
  • With closing of the Central City streetcar loop, the City can begin to look to other areas for their potential to accommodate streetcar service. Is the streetcar a tool to make radical changes in the transportation system in areas such as Outer Southeast?
  • What is the latest thinking about the differences/advantages of bus rapid transit, light rail and the streetcar as development catalysts? There are numerous variables associated with each type of transit. It matters what’s already in place in determining what type of transit works best. Transit is only one tool for encouraging development. A greater challenge is how to achieve higher densities in areas without transit.
  • Consideration is needed of how bicycle facilities can in themselves foster development.
  • How is high speed rail being integrated into the Comprehensive Plan? While the Plan will not directly address high speed rail, the City is participating in the state’s planning process.
  • Equity considerations include the impacts on housing affordability from transit improvements. TriMet is forming an equity advisory committee.
  • Major transit investments shouldn’t be made without corresponding housing investments. Notes from the Infrastructure Equity PEG’s discussion on this subject will be provided to the group.
  • Rather than fixed route service, a “cloud of service” concept is being explored to serve areas without high ridership.

Related Materials:

Public Comment
Roger Averbeck: Some proposed frequent service routes would be on state highways, which poses functional issues. What will service enhancement plans entail; how will they address other potential frequent service routes?

Tyler Bump, BPS: When considering growth, it is not just growth in the housing stock but also employment growth. There is a mismatch between commute trips and the origin/destination of trips.