Postcard from Portland

Portland has something of a reputation as an urbanists poster child and my first impression is that it is indeed doing things right. Portland’s renaissance stems back ultimately to a local government amalgamation in the early 90s that led to a compact city master plan for the region that could actually be put into place (well the bits within Oregon state at least).…
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Let’s define “congestion” properly

An article in Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper just over a week ago, using the rather provocative title of “Sick of Congestion: build roads not transit” has unsurprisingly led to a lot of fisking of the information contained in the article – particularly around the different ways of defining congestion and how easily they can be misused.…
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Highway Teardowns

Location of former freeway, Harbor Drive, Portland Unfortunately, while freeways did provide vehicular access to downtown, they also disrupted the existing urban grid and street system. Freeways severed local commercial activity from customers, and many once vibrant streets now stand with shuttered businesses and negligible street activity.…
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More on the costs of parking

Development/parking scenarios tested (Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability) Here’s some interesting new research from Portland, Oregon where they have been thoroughly investigating the role of parking policy in relation to housing affordability, neighbourhood impacts, and car ownership. This useful report, Cost of Onsite Parking + Impacts on Affordability (PDF), identifies the costs associated with providing various types of car parking for a mixed use project.…
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Zero Parking Developments

For good reason there has been a lot written recently about the influence of parking policy on good urban outcomes. Parking policy strongly affects trip generation, mode choice, urban form, and housing affordability. While parking reform may seem radical today in Auckland, it is already being widely implemented across North America.…
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Auckland’s PT: expensive and poorly used

An Auckland Council report on various aspects of our transport system makes a number of comparisons of Auckland’s public transport system with various cities in Australia, Canada and the USA – as well as Wellington. The cities used to compare Auckland against, including their population and what different technologies their PT system includes, is shown in the table below: These are a good range of cities to compare Auckland’s performance against, in my opinion.…
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Is there a place for light-rail in Auckland?

Land-based public transport in Auckland is currently provided in two ways, through buses and trains (don’t let anyone tell you that taxis are public transport, they’re for-hire private transport that don’t offer any of the efficiency gains of real PT). Over the past 10-15 years there have been on-off arguments in Auckland about whether there’s a place for something to sit between trains and buses: in the form of light-rail.…
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Is New Zealand Falling Behind the US? Part 1

This is my first post on Josh’s blog – hopefully over time having two perspectives (though generally similar, but potentially slightly different on some matter) on Auckland’s transport will lead to even more posts, even more discussion and debate and even more knowledge about where Auckland’s transport is going wrong and how it could be made better.…
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Portland’s Transport Plan

Portland, Oregon – in the northwest corner of the USA – is a relatively similar sized city to Auckland. The ‘actual city’ (probably their equivalent of “Auckland City”) has a population of around 575,000 while the whole metropolitan area has a population of around 2 million.…
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