Friday, December 08, 2006

They aren't usually this honest

They don't usually come right out and say it. Usually we have to dig around a bit to reveal their real goal, or even read between the lines to surmise what they really mean.

For instance, usually you have to wade through the hundreds of pages of Metro's "2040 Plan" to find that their plan calls for tripling congestion in the Portland area. Or you have to interpret strange statements from Rex Burkholder such as "Every penny spent on transportation is wasted."

So it is oddly refreshing when one of the "smart-growth" zealots actually comes right out and says it. It happened today in the Portland Tribune.

It came from Chris Smith. He's the guy who writes the ever-so-entertaining Portland Transport blog that chronicles all the goofy tram/streetcar/light rail/tax abated condo/traffic calming/couplet/and every other anti-car project in the city.

He was talking about Sam the Tram's new plan to put a streetcar in the middle of the city's only east/west arterial, which everyone admits would reduce Burnside Street's capacity to carry automobiles and move people where they need to go.

Big problem, right? How to balance things such as the streetcar with the need to move people efficiently around the region?

Not for the likes of Chris Smith. No, for him and those like him (which means the PDC, Tri-Met, Metro Council, Portland City Council, Multnomah County Commission, and the rest of the Portland area political establishment) the fact that the streetcar would hinder automobile traffic is just another of the many benefits that come from installing 19th century technology in Portland.

Explaining why he thinks the feds should loosen their guidelines that require a minimum cost effectiveness for transit projects in terms of how many people get moved, Smith said:

“The easier it is to move people from point A to point B, the harder it is to contain sprawl.”

There you have it. Congestion is a strategy to prevent sprawl. If we make it easy to move around, people will choose to live in the suburbs. So we have to muck up the region's transportation system so badly that people will be forced to live close to downtown.

These are the same people who constantly accuse conservatives of wanting to use public policy to "tell people how to live."

And sadly, these people are in charge around here.


Anonymous said...

Social engineering, plain and simple. It would be OK if Smith's views were an anomaly, but in this area they are squarely in the mainstream.

Very sad. This was once a very nice city. Now it is fast becoming a playground for the salon set.

Goodbye families.

Dare!PDX said...

His opinions are not in the mainstream. The real issue is that they are in power.

Dave Lister said...

Based on my experience running for city council, the challenge is getting the folks in the mainstream to vote. Most people know this stuff is crazy, particularly out on the east side, but they don't vote.