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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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Build a Future

Portland is a growing city. We are expanding both population and employment and attracting more visitors each year.

We are moving more goods and seeking ways to strengthen our economy further still. We have worked hard to develop a diverse transportation system that truly provides choices in travel and we have been rewarded for that work.

We are a multimodal city that enjoys a high level of connectivity, due in large part to our dense grid of streets. This grid makes Portland a place where it is easy to walk, bike, drive, or efficiently take one of our many forms of transit.

We are among the top 20 cities in terms of both transit and walkability. We continue to improve our walking environment by building missing sidewalk links, enhancing crossings, and improving the pedestrian experience. We have the highest bike-score® in the nation and are ranked the second most bike-friendly city.

The last three decades saw a staggering 500% increase in daily bike trips with a doubling of our bikeway network. We have made transit investments for the long term, expanding our streetcar system and partnering with TriMet to expand light rail. The Portland Milwaukie Light Rail, which will commence service in 2015, and the anticipated full Loop streetcar service expected in 2015, are both evidence of this.

While we are proud of all we have done, we know not all Portlanders are enjoying the fruits of this growth or the benefits of this system to the same degree. We know that portions of the city face mobility challenges—incomplete pedestrian networks, fewer bicycle connections, and higher levels of auto use and greater distance or less adequate access to transit. We know that areas that have the most unimproved or substandard streets also rely on driving on these facilities the most.

We know that while growth benefits our city, it also leads to additional demands on our limited roadway networks—added congestion and right-of-way demands that challenge our ability to efficiently move goods coming into port or out of our manufacturing sectors. We need to grow and want to, but we must plan for and anticipate this growth to ensure we are serving all corners of the city and the needs of users who drive our economy.

We are committed to improving connectivity and thereby improving the opportunity to reach jobs, schools, and housing within an affordable transportation budget. We are committed to sensibly and efficiently getting goods to market to expand our economy further. Merely acknowledging inequity is not enough; we are seeking real ways to address it in our system, our culture, and our agency. We know we can’t build this future alone so we must reach out to partner agencies, the development community, and our neighborhoods to help us address this need and achieve this vision.

We've outline four central goals that will help us build a future where all can grow and thrive:

  • Build a Better Portland Together: PBOT does not act alone, but within a network of actors— developers, employers, other city bureaus and partner public agencies—who all rely on and contribute to transportation infrastructure and operations. We are known for our commitment to providing “20-minute neighborhoods”—community units where all the necessities of life can be had within a 20-minute walk from home. Providing a complete and connected network is essential to this, but so is good land planning, attractive retail markets, inviting parks, and great schools.
  • Institutionalize Equity: Equity is a term often heard in Portland and a value closely held by many. But it is rarely clearly defined. Equity does not mean the same transportation system everywhere—natural topography, variations in roadway widths, and unique local context will inevitably result in different solutions in different places. What equity does mean, though, is having the same functionality, the same connectivity, the same opportunity to access the goods, services, and opportunities to enable individuals and communities to thrive.
  • Connect Portlanders to Economic Opportunities: Transportation is not an end in itself, but a means to access jobs, schools, housing, goods, and services. The Portland metropolitan area has over 1.1 million jobs (June 2014), yet we maintain an unemployment rate of 6.4%. While slightly below statewide (6.9%) and national (6.7%) averages, we can do better. We can improve the efficiency, reliability, and convenience of transportation connections for the region’s workforce.
  • Get Goods to Market: Freight and manufacturing are critical to the Portland economy. Our port is a major source of economic activity to our city and region—in fact it is the fourth largest on the west coast with activity rivaling regions with larger populations or economies (Phoenix, Denver, San Diego). Manufacturing remains an important employment sector, one where wages tend to be higher than average and where one manufacturing job can support three more jobs in the regional economy at large.