Monday, May 21, 2012

"The City That Won't Leave People Alone"

Which city is that? This post from Jack Bog's Blog strikes some familiar notes---that the project is a done deal out front, the phony "public participation" process, and the green bullshit as justification, etc. But it's actually about Portlandia, not Progressive Land, though the modus operandi is familiar:

Some nice middle class folks along NE 77th Avenue in the Rose City Park neighborhood are suffering from a case of jangled nerves this week, after having received this missive from the City of Portland late last week. It seems that their street has been selected to be some sort of "neighborhood greenway," which is the modern city code for a bike boulevard. And they're being given little if any details about what that implies, which means that they now will have to make time for multiple neighborhood meetings and a lot of inconvenient yada yada to find out what's going on.

Whenever we open the mailbox and see a flyer from the City of Portland, we wonder, "What garbage are they foisting on us now?" We are never pleasantly surprised by what we find.

As usual with Portland City Hall shenanigans, there are a couple of charades in play in the Rose City deal. The first is the canard that no decisions have yet been made. The arrogant 20-something bureaucrats are going to take the neighbors' input at an open house, you see, and then, only then, will they decide what to do. Oh, and the input meeting is this Thursday night, on the eve of the Memorial Day weekend. Uh huh. Give us a break. The maps are drawn and the plans are all set---all that's left is crafting the thin veneer of public participation.

The other fakery is the coating of the plan with heavy "green" overtones. Mostly they do this to justify spending sewer revenues on what is essentially a bike project. There's currently a lawsuit pending about the legality of such maneuvers. But it's also an effective way to persuade wide-eyed Portlanders to go along, because for most people in this town anything "sustainable" must be a good idea.

How bad will the "improvements" be? Well, part of the "greenway" is Sacramento Street, which sits on the northern border of the Rose City Golf Course. It is unusually wide and already has speed bumps, and so "greening" it up may not effect residents on the north side of the street much.

But 77th is just a normal, quiet little Rose City street, and it's not wide at all. Channeling a lot of bike traffic onto it, installing bioswales and curb bubbles, and adding who knows what other noise, isn't likely to make residents' lives any easier. It can already be a little tough to get out of one's driveway at times, and adding more entitled cyclists to the traffic mix can't make the situation better. Maybe the city will try to remove parking on one side of the street or the other; that ought to go over like a lead balloon.

Anyway, good luck to the residents in the affected neighborhood, as they are probably going to need it. The City That Won't Leave Normal People Alone strikes again. As one neighbor said to us over the weekend, "It never ends."


Bay to Breakers survey

Photo by Phildub

The folks at NOPNA send along this survey for the neighborhood on yesterday's Bay to Breakers race.

Labels: ,