When Fritjof Capra (physicist, philosopher, and the author of The Tao of Physics) last spoke in Portland, he talked about the findings of a thought experiment he and his colleagues researched. This thought experiment ranked which human activities pose the greatest ecological impact to our planet. Based on Capra’s findings, having a child causes the greatest impact, followed by eating meat and driving. For many people, these are tough activities to avoid. Capra’s advice: Strive to minimize participation in one of these activities.
Capra claims to drive a first generation Prius, has two daughters, but is a vegetarian. I, on the other hand, have a two children and am a full fledge meat eater. (In college, I experimented with vegetarianism to no avail.) So according to Capra’s ideology, if I want to save the world I need to drive less. Fortunately, I live in the Buckman neighborhood where walking and biking can meet most of my daily transportation needs. Buckman and its surrounding neighborhoods, are close to downtown; have good mass transit service; and include great schools, restaurants, entertainment options, coffee shops, grocery stores, hardware stores, second hand stores, retail, not to mention a vital bar scene.
Currently, a couple efforts are being made to improve pedestrian and bicycle access throughout the Buckman neighborhood. Buckman Community Association chair, Susan Lindsay and I recently participated in the Routes to the River stakeholder’s workgroup lead by PDC and its team of consultants. In a nutshell, Routes to the River was a promise made by the City to the Eastside neighborhood during the planning of the Eastbank Esplanade, to provide better connectivity from the neighborhoods to the River. A final draft of recommendations that were developed during the stakeholder workgroup sessions is due out in early September.
In addition, I am currently working with the Kerns Neighborhood, HAND, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, and the PDOT to designate SE 9th Avenue (or other near by north/south Avenue) as a bicycle boulevard. Bicycle boulevards are low traffic streets that are designed to encourage bicyclists and discourage thru motorized vehicle traffic. SE Ankeny and Clinton streets are good examples of two existing bicycle boulevards. The boards from Buckman, Kerns, and HAND have all recently made motions to support this effort.
Next up – contacting the Central Eastside Industrial District (CEID) regarding this proposal.
– Adam Zucker