orb URBAN PLAN Portland Oregon - A Sense of Place pbs-e2 #4.08 2009

Eat your heart out, St Petersburg.
I may be metro-prejudiced as my son lives here, but the recent history of Portland is one of constructive contrarianism. From the mid-70s on, the city (and state) mothers and fathers consistently said "No!" to Levitt-style, Potemkin "communities" in BFE,  Robert Moses Bantustans and big box moonscapes, opting time after time for human-scale development. All this while most of the rest of the nation took the money and allowed the Gangs of America (corporations) to have their way with the people's Commons.
Last month, a 75-year old grandmother was run over while attempting to cross U.S. 19 in Palm Harbor. The Post-mortem was that she simply wasn't spry enough to make it at one go in the time allotted (2.75 minutes). At that point, US 19 is 6 lanes across, plus double "storage" or "collection" (turn) lanes, plus a "service" lane on its eastern border - 9 lanes across, in total, each approximately 11 feet wide
, for a total road width of roughly one-third the length of a gridiron. Could you make a 33-yard dash in 2.75 minutes? How about in a motorized wheelchair at 5-6 MPH?* 
Oh, yes, i forgot to mention... no median strip. What were they thinking? Obviously, not of humans.
     4 mins

*This "event" above is complete fiction (but saved me a bunch of irrelevant research). However, it tragically represents real events that occur with criminal regularity in urban areas every day from sea to shining sea. The details are always similar to the ones above. The fact is that non-human-centric urban planning kills; both body and spirit. A recent study (a real event this time) showed that road design was the proximate cause of, and/or a heavily contributing factor in, better than 50% of all highway fatalities; in or out of the car.
That is what Portland is about.
Nigel Watson  freethinker  727.493.1990

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
– Krishnamurti

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