Labeled an unconference, this workshops was designed to get teams from 15 different communities across the country working together to brainstorm ideas for moving people more efficiently. One of the most clear message taken from the meeting was that the language we use with our projects is very important. In most communities, you can't lead with Climate. It has to be about improving our communities, being more inclusive of all modes (as opposed to exclusionary), and building consensus.
We had an opportunity to hear from members of a wide variety of organizations including ReConnecting America, Center for Neighborhood Technology, Smart Growth America, and PolicyLink. Christopher Leinberger was another provocative speaker who had several points worth considering.
One of my favorite quotes from the conference was Victor Obeso from King County Metro, who after all of the talk about the success of Portland said: "we're Seattle, the city just north of Portland" poking a bit of fun at our stature as a model for others.
When I was asked to report back about our key challenge AND our successes in 1 minute.... I reflected on our UGB (land use laws), Bicycle Bill (up to 8% mode split), and the 12 rail lines that have been built or are underway. Gresham, Hillsboro, PDX (Red), Interstate (yellow), Streetcar (is that 2 lines with the expansion to South Waterfront?), Westside Express Service (WES), Eastside Streetcar, and the ones in planning (Portland to Milwaukie, Lake O, CRC, SW & Corridor).
I also enjoyed the presentation from the DC Director of Planning, Harriett Tregoning who described her biking outfit as her dress and heels and looked like someone stepping out from Copenhagen's cycletracks. She cited the planning work that has been part of the DC regional process and how it has informed the importance of land use, similar to what Portland had done twenty years ago with LUTRAQ.