Friday, January 19, 2007


A clever plan to solve Portland's increasing traffic congestion has been quietly implemented by the City of Portland, Oregon. Faced with a rapidly growing population (another one million people in the next 20 years) and a limited capacity to handle traffic, the new City plan makes mass transit use a more attractive option for commuters. The plan is ingenious in it's simplicity: make travel by automobile so difficult, people will flock to mass transit or other options.

Evidence of the Plan is visible everywhere in the city. Closures or lane restrictions on one or more Willamette River bridges, streets closed for construction without adequate warning or signage, detours that lead nowhere, areas of the city that seem impossible to get to from where you are. The frustration of all this makes drivers think about the bus, light rail, streetcar, bicycling, walking, and even The Tram. Brilliant!

The only possible down-side of this plan is the transit mess downtown resulting from new light rail construction. Oh well, nothing is perfect.

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