Portland is a City that Doesn’t Work?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on

I walk to work, and I cannot for the life of me understand how people can sit in traffic for hours.

I love cars–especially fast cars.

Schizophrenic? No, just a pretty even-handed observer of the Smart Growthies’ passion for mass transit and walkable cities and the car-lovers’ and business’ passion for get up and go.

I have given up on seeing an absolutely objective narrative of how well or poorly Portland’s Urban Growth Boundary/transit-oriented development experiment has gone. I would note that Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute, long-time resident of Portland and author of the about to be released The Best-Laid Plans: How Government Planning Harms Your Quality of Life, Your Pocketbook and Your Future, is as systematic an analysis as I have seen. And he has some pretty compelling evidence that the Portland experiment is failing by many key measures.

O’Toole concludes in Debunking Portland:

Far from curbing sprawl, high housing prices led tens of thousands of families to move to Vancouver, Washington, and other cities outside the region’s authority. Far from reducing driving, rail transit has actually reduced the share of travel using transit from what it was in 1980. And developers have found that so–called transit–oriented developments only work when they include plenty of parking.

More soon…