Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Representing the City, or Just Embarrassing?

At a meeting of the Urban Design Advisory Group last week, Vancouver’s incumbent Mayor once again embarrassed the city he is supposed to represent. The group was discussing bike/pedestrian facilities on the proposed I-5 river crossing, and had an intense debate about the bike lane’s location and quality.

In Columbian reporter Jeff Mize’s April 18 story about the meeting, Portland Mayor Sam Adams expressed valid concerns about the bike path. It’s already been agreed that any new bridge needs to have “world-class” bike and pedestrian facilities—which is entirely sensible for our active, outdoorsy population (a population that lives on BOTH sides of the river). This is a matter that deserves debate and discussion, and it would be a mistake to brush it aside—especially if the current “stacked” plan would make the bridge a haven for vagrants and criminals. However, brushing it off is precisely what Vancouver’s incumbent Mayor did.

In response to Adams’s concern about a decision-making process that led to the stacked option without looking closely at others, Pollard quipped: "Sometimes I'm not sure what the hell 'world-class' means.”

There isn’t much that the incumbent gets right these days – but he nailed that one.

Vancouver needs a Mayor that does understand the concept of world-class, and who is ready to work in partnership with others to find solutions. The Columbia River Crossing project is on thin ice – and Pollard is pushing it forward relentlessly, with little concern for making sure that every choice is the right choice, no regard for the costs that taxpayers will end up bearing, and no respect for the collaborative process that this project will have to be in order for anything to get done. If this continues, the entire project is doomed to failure, and we simply cannot let that happen.

One of the reasons I am running for Mayor is because I have a proven history of “playing well with others,” and I am determined to bring this project back into focus and take a hard look at needs and costs so that we build the right bridge for the future, and for a price that we can afford.


Bob said...

Pollard appears to cling desperately to the 20th century transportation ideology that a city can simple build more roads to fix transportation issues. Such is simply not the case. There is just not enough area to build endless roads, not enough oil to fuel an endless number of motor vehicles and the planet does not have an endless ability to absorbed carbon dioxide-- And a more critical point for the average person; the public does not have an endless ability to be taxed to pay for roads.
Vancouver needs a long term transportation system that realistically takes into account the limits of available space, fossil fuels and monetary resources available. I am not sure what the best long term solution to Vancouver’s transportation needs are, and it’s a topic worthy of public debate—but the tradition solution of building more roads is not the answer.

Anonymous said...

I remember the excitement of the Fourth of July fireworks celebration the same way you do, Tim. Family, barbeques and the smell of the hand held fireworks. I also remember watching the fireworks but from the Oregon side on Hayden Island. My boat is moored there (frankly because there isn't a decent boat moorage on the WA side) and the island was completely gridlocked from all the Portlanders who flocked to watch the show from their shores. I have always wondered why we provided that marvelous show to the Oregonians for free when they charge us so liberally with income taxes. We might be able to continue putting on the event if Oregon paid their fair share. What do you think Mayor Adams would say? (We KNOW what R. Leonard would say)