If you live in Portland (or maybe if you don’t) and care about livability, clean air, and not building bigger freeways, PLEASE consider submitting a comment to ODOT about their proposed I-5 Rose Quarter Expansion Project. By January 3rd.
No More Freeways has an excellent website with lots more details, some great potential talking points if you need ideas, and a super easy way to submit.
Please help! Again, that link is here: https://nomorefreewayspdx.com/lidsnotlanes/)
Here’s what I wrote, which is a little clunky and also way more than you need to say (and I wish I hadn’t been so snarky about California, which definitely has nice things about it, although not its relationship to roads and cars;) — but if it helps you, by all means read on.
I am incredibly disappointed that ODOT persists in pushing for this freeway expansion. One of the reasons I moved to Portland 23 years ago is its progressive policies, bicycle-and-bus friendliness, and, I thought, focus on environmentally conscious living. Things like expanding freeways in no way fit into the Portland I believe in OR the Portland we should be aiming for.
Climate change is real, and burning fossil fuels is one of the biggest drivers of climate change. If we are to be true climate leaders, we need to discourage single-occupancy driving, encourage alternate modes of transportation, and invest in a sustainable future for our region. Expanding a freeway is not any of these things.
Coming from California, I’ve seen first-hand what happens when freeways get wider: more people drive on them, and then they are still clogged. When I look at this project, I think of everything that is wrong with California: the supremacy of planning for automobiles, the never-ending expansions that decrease livability and make air quality a disaster, the egregious effects on people’s heath as it becomes less and less possible to even conceive of traveling by a mode different than single-occupancy vehicles. As an immediate solution, congestion pricing is a more viable option than expansion to curtail the current traffic on I-5. More long term, we should be spending our money on truly making Portland a city where people don’t feel like they need to drive by bettering our transit, bicycle, and walking options. Again, there is no place for freeway expansion in this.
I am incredibly disappointed by this proposal, which seems like something entirely backwards that we might have entertained in the 1950s. Times have changed, and the solutions to our problems need to change too. Please get with the times, ODOT. Conduct a full environmental impact statement, listen to the data, and listen to those of us who care about the world we live in and the impact our decisions have on the future.
Please submit your own comment, by January 3rd! :)