Let Metro Know You Want Healthy, Livable Neighborhoods

Mary Kyle McCurdy
Tue, 11/25/2014 (All day)

Your comments still needed!

On December 18, 2014, the Metro Council will make a decision with far-reaching implications for our communities today and for generations.  Whether that decision boldly addresses climate change or is merely nice words on paper depends on each of us.  So, we are asking you to take just a few minutes now to make sure our children and grandchildren will be as thankful for the region they live in tomorrow as we are today.

The Metro Council has before it the proposed Climate Smart Communities Strategy.  Over the last 4 years, thousands of the region’s residents, elected officials, organizations, scientists, and businesses have contributed their time, expertise, experiences, and perspectives to Metro’s effort to craft a plan by which the region can meet its fair share target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars and light trucks.

The resulting proposed Strategy meets that target, but also achieves much more That’s because meeting our climate target also means improving transit throughout the region; building a connected sidewalk network so all neighborhoods are safely walkable; providing more bikeways; providing affordable housing near transit; cutting air pollution; improving health, including reducing childhood obesity; saving families money by reducing the need to drive; and saving taxpayers money by more efficient use of our existing roads and other infrastructure.

The region can meet most of its greenhouse gas reduction target by implementing the land use and transportation plans already adopted, because those plans call for walkable neighborhoods that don’t require a car to get everywhere.   However, the region’s cities, counties, and transit agencies, are not fully implementing their adopted plans now.  Therefore, the region will not meet its GHG emission reduction target if we simply conduct business as usual.  We won’t even come close.

That’s where Metro’s Climate Smart Communities Strategy comes in.  The Strategy includes a “Toolbox” of specific investments and actions to ensure the region actually carries out its plans for better bus service; more walkable, mixed use communities; safe sidewalks and bicycling facilities; and affordable housing focused on transit and bicycling corridors.  

However, vested interests are pushing back because they do not really want to change from doing business as usual – meaning some do not want to fund transit, walking, and biking more, and do not want to provide housing for all, in every community.

It’s time for every level of government to put their actions and investments where their “mouths” are.  Starting with Metro.  Please e-mail, call, or write the Metro Council and let them know:

  • You support Metro’s Climate Smart Communities Strategy.

  • The Metro Council should adopt the full Toolbox without any further watering-down of the proposed “tools.”

  • Metro should lead by example by using the Climate Smart Strategy as a filter for Metro’s land use and transportation policy and investment decisions.  Each of those decisions must be measured against whether it helps or hinders achievement of the GHG reduction target.

  • You support Metro’s commitment to restoring all affordable housing tools to local governments. Providing local governments the full array of tools to provide for affordable housing is critical to a successful transit system, to the ability of the region’s residents to meet their daily needs, and the region’s employers to have a sufficient workforce.  

  • Metro should pledge regional flexible transportation funds to walking, bicycling, and transit facilities.

  • You support Metro’s commitment to seek new sources for transit funding and to obtain reduced fare programs for youth, seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income residents.

  • Major investments in transit and other community development projects should be accompanied with policies that protect against economic displacement of lower‐income residents. Lower income and elderly residents ride transit at a greater rate than others, and are often transit-dependent.  Only by meeting the transportation needs of the most vulnerable will the region meet its climate target.

 

Metro contact information:

Metro Council general email: metrocouncil@oregonmetro.gov

Metro Council office phone: 503-797-1540

If you want to individually contact your Metro Councilor, you can use your address to find your Councilor and his or her contact information here.

 

Post from October 27th:

The Metro regional government is on the verge of adopting an exciting strategy to bring walkable neighborhoods, better transit service, cleaner air, and housing choice to our communities, which will also result in decreasing greenhouse gases.

However, to be successful, Metro and the region must invest more in sidewalks, bikeways, transit, and affordable housing.  If you want to see safe sidewalks in every neighborhood, better bus service so more people have options for getting to work and other daily needs, and neighborhoods so people who work in our communities can also live in them, then let Metro know you support its Climate Smart Strategy.  You can learn more about Metro’s Climate Smart Strategy at http://www.oregonmetro.gov/public-projects/climate-smart-communities-scenarios

Please take a few minutes now to do the following:

1. Take the Metro survey at http://makeagreatplace.org/

2. Email climatescenarios@oregonmetro.gov  and share your thoughts about what makes a livable community.   We hope you will ask the Metro Council to commit to the following:

  • Increase transportation spending on safe sidewalks and bikeways.
  • Increase spending on transit.
  • Ensure affordable housing is maintained and built in neighborhoods well-served by transit.
  • Support making all affordable housing tools available to cities and counties, including inclusionary zoning.
  • Use the Climate Smart Strategy as a filter for Metro’s land use and transportation policy and investment decisions.
  • Establish a public engagement process that is diverse and inclusive, which will oversee implementation of the Climate Smart Strategy.

To read the full testimony submitted by 1000 Friends to Metro, click here -- 1000 Friends comments on Metro's Climate Smart Communities Strategy.