Letters: Infrastructure must meet density needs
Before moving any further with this one-size-fits-all effort to increase density, please look at how the city of Portland's existing infrastructure and current efforts to increase density are functioning.
The city already allows duplexes on every corner lot and accessory dwelling units on every lot; how successful has that been? It does not look like these options to increase density are being used. The city should seek to make these existing efforts effective before proceeding any further with the Residential Infill Project (RIP).
The city must look at the existing infrastructure and whether that infrastructure can support any growth. The plan must improve the existing infrastructure. Congestion on Portland's roads is increasing. How does this project improve traffic?
RIP must quantify the impacts of increasing density to the city and state infrastructure and then fund and build the infrastructure improvements necessary to support RIP.
The city must include TriMet in this project. An affordable, convenient and reliable public transportation system is required to allow any increase in density to work for average citizens.
How much of the new housing being built in Portland is affordable? Buying a $400,000 home, demolishing it and replacing it with an $800,000 home is what I see happening now.
How will RIP be different? RIP fails to ensure housing affordability and will likely result in continued demolitions of affordable housing, and the rebuilding of unaffordable housing, which will continue to drive up the cost of housing in Portland.
RIP's one-size-fits-all approach will ruin the unique character of Portland's neighborhoods, which are clearly desirable to the growing population.
The city should not move forward with the Residential Infill Project until it is put to the citizens of Portland for a vote. The city clearly has its hands full right now and must engage all citizens in a vote of confidence in its efforts at this critical time in Portland's history. It is the citizens that make a city great; allow them to vote on RIP.
Tim Van Wormer,
Road tolls are fine if you're well off
Regarding "Freeway tolling can shrink congestion" (Nov. 28 My View, John A. Charles Jr.): It is curious that Charles, of the Libertarian advocacy company Cascade Policy Institute, would promote a policy based on government planning rather than a vaunted market mechanism.
Perhaps it becomes less surprising when we reflect on the fact that, while toll roads would alleviate traffic congestion, they would do so at the expense of those less able to pay. In other words, tolls would impose a regressive tax.
Charles thinks that toll roads would give motorists what they want, free-flow driving conditions. That's fine for those for whom their wealth and income make the tolls little different than free. For those below the median income and no wealth, it would be a hardship. People at the lower end of the economic spectrum might be priced out of the "market" for using the roads, which is probably not what they would want and what their taxes pay for.
Toll roads, self-driving cars, higher vehicle taxes and so on are rationalizations for keeping a transportation system that can no longer be scaled up physically or economically. The auto and road system has created enormous economic growth, but we cannot let the tyranny of sunk costs distort our options for the future.