Lake McTighe is a senior transportation planner at Metro, our regional government.
Have you heard of active transportation?
It’s something really simple: getting to where you need to go actively. Walking and riding a bike are active transportation. So are rollerblading, using wheelchairs and strollers, and skateboards–let’s call it “walking and rolling.”
Taking TriMet is also active transportation because most trips made by bus, MAX, WES or streetcar include walking or rolling. Public transit helps people to make longer trips than they could by just walking or rolling. That makes transit an important part of the regional active transportation network—the regional network of streets, paths, trails and bridges that connect the cities and communities of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties.
I’m a transportation planner at Metro, and right now I am working on a project that I am really excited about. It is an action plan to prioritize and complete the regional active transportation network, making it easier, safer and more comfortable to get around without a car.
Why is this important? When we use active transportation we are healthier, experience less stress, save money and time, and keep our air and water clean.
Imagine the Portland area knitted together by a seamless and continuous network of bicycle and walking pathways and districts integrated with public transit. If you had the time and inclination, you would be able to walk or bike comfortably and safely from one end of the region to the other!
While we generally think of walking and rolling as local activities (going to the grocery store, school or a friend’s house), many active trips are also made between cities and towns in the region, and many more could be made with a complete and seamless regional network.
The region’s long term vision for transportation, the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan, has a target to triple the number of people walking, biking and taking transit by the year 2035. The regional Active Transportation Plan we’re working on will provide a strategy to get us there and beyond. One important objective of the plan is to identify priorities for future investments. With limited funding it is important that we invest wisely and carefully.