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WWL: Blazing the Trail to Smart Growth
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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In this episode:

Transportation lessons from Portland, Oregon


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49:00 minutes (23.52 MB)
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Forty years ago, downtown Portland, Oregon was losing residents and businesses to housing developments, shopping malls, and business parks in the suburbs. Sound familiar?

But then Portland made a series of decisions: They decided not to build a new freeway. They decided to eliminate a freeway along the Willamette River. And then they went to work, and created a regional public transit authority called TriMet that now oversees the operations of a commuter rail line, a bus system, a lightrail system, and most recently, The Portland Streetcar System. It’s all part of an integrated approach to public transit that’s made Portland an admired example of smart growth.

Today, Where We Live, we’ll take a look at Portland and ask which of their solutions might apply here in the Hartford region and across the state. Rick Gustafson from Portland Streetcar, Inc. joins UConn’s Norman Garrick and the Courant’s Tom Condon in studio.

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Great show!

Two points:  First, I'm grateful that you replay the show in the evening, because we almost

never get to listen during the day.  Please continue to rebroadcast in the evening.

Second, the key take-away message is "Leadership".  I was particularly struck by Garrick's

point about route 195 at UConn being widened.  Can this plan be any more short-sighted?  

How about building a Berlin Wall down the middle of the road to further discourage any

foolhardy pedestrians who attempt to cross the street?  Or maybe guard dogs to warn

pedestrians away?  Surely ConnDOT will fund this as well.

Leadership is crucial, and it is lacking at the state level, particularly in the Transportation

Committee, where all the "leaders" seem to know about is how to add lanes to highways.

I find it difficult to understand how it is that 35 years can go by since Portland's

courageous initiatives and we still do not have any regional and local transportation

system here in central CT.  At bottom is, I think, a simple lack of imagination.  I wonder

how many members of the Transportation Committee actually listened to your show,

let alone attended the gathering on Smart Growth sponsored by 1000 Friends of CT.