Urge Metropolitan Policy Committee to adopt goal or objective to slow climate change

Central Lane MPO Area
Eugene-Springfield-Coburg Metropolitan (Central Lane MPO) Area

UPDATE 11/5/2020: Added BEST’s recommendations … and a summary of MPC’s action and a link to the video of the meeting.

  • BEST and other community leaders are pushing local officials to slow climate change, which the recent wildfires underscore is already happening.
  • The Eugene-Springfield-Coburg Metropolitan Policy Committee (MPC) is looking to add a goal or objective to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the next Regional Transportation Plan (RTP).
  • On Thursday, Nov. 5, at 11:30 a.m., testify virtually to tell MPC to take action, or just tune in to bear witness.
  • BEST notes that climate change is already reflected in the draft goals, but recommends making it explicit. BEST also recommends later develop performance measures to guide actions.
  • At their meeting, MPC ultimately directed staff to add language to the draft 3rd goal: “Transportation greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.” They further directed staff to add an objective: “Strive to reduce vehicle-related greenhouse gas emissions and congestion through more sustainable street, bike, pedestrian, transit, and rail network design, location, and management.”

Meeting details

Date: Thursday, November 5, 2020
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Agenda
Watch & listen via web: metrotv.ompnetwork.org
Call-in to testify: (571) 317-3122; Access Code: 914-785-701
Alert staff in advance: Paul Thompson, pthompson@lcog.org, (541) 682-4405

New goal or objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

The Eugene-Springfield-Coburg Metropolitan Policy Committee (MPC), a.k.a. the Central Lane Metropolitan Planning Organization (CLMPO), is developing the region’s 2045 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP).

At the meeting on Thursday, Oct. 1, MPC heard public testimony and began discussing RTP goals.

At the meeting on Thursday, Nov. 5, staff will look for direction on
how the 2045 RTP addresses greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions:

  1. Goal: Make GHG emissions reductions an explicit goal.
  2. Objective: Include GHG emissions reduction objectives to support the other goals, particularly the Transportation Choices, and Healthy People and Environment goals.

Establishing goals is a key step in developing the 2045 RTP as they will provide focus and direction throughout the Plan. The goals will generally represent and define our region’s desired results related to transportation planning and investments. As defined in the current 2040 RTP, a goal is a “Broad statement of philosophy that describes the hopes of the people of the community for the future of the community. A goal may never be completely attainable but is used as a point towards which to strive.”

For each goal, objectives will be established and will provide additional details, or strategies, on how the RTP strives to achieve the goal. Objectives are defined as “An intermediate point that will help fulfill the overall goal.”

Performance measures will be tied to specific objectives to assess their effectiveness.

Goal

One option is to make GHG emissions reductions an explicit goal. This goal’s objectives would allow flexibility for member agencies to pursue it as appropriate. Goals in the RTP are not weighted or prioritized in any context throughout the RTP and other work of the MPO. An explicit GHG emissions goal would stand equivalent to the other goals in the RTP.

Some examples:

  • (MPO staff): Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction: The region reduces emissions of transportation related greenhouse gas.
  • (MPO staff): Consistent with the minimum GHG reduction goals set forth in ORS 468A.205(1)(c), and consistent with the Governor’s Executive Order 20-04, work to support Oregon’s GHG reduction goals of reducing GHG emissions by at least 45 percent below 1990 emissions levels by 2035 and by at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
  • Eugene Transportation System Plan Goal 3: Strengthen community resilience to changes in climate, increases in fossil fuel prices, and economic fluctuations by making the transportation networks diverse, adaptable, and not reliant on any single mode.
  • Metro’s RTP Goal 8: Climate Leadership: The health and prosperity of people living in the greater Portland region are improved and the impacts of climate change are minimized as a result of reducing transportation related greenhouse gas emissions.

Objective

Another option is to include GHG emissions reduction objectives to support the other goals, particularly the Transportation Choices, and Healthy People and Environment goals. These objectives would allow the same flexibility for member agencies to pursue the objectives as appropriate.

Some examples:

  • Support State targets for reducing transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Reduce vehicle miles traveled per capita.
  • Promote green infrastructure, including improved stormwater management and wildlife habitat.
  • Support safe, comfortable and convenient transportation options that produce zero or low GHG emissions to meet daily needs and access services.
  • Support State efforts to transition Oregon to cleaner, low carbon fuels and increase the adoption of more fuel-efficient vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles, including electric and hydrogen vehicles.
  • From Springfield TSP Policy Chapter: Strive to reduce vehicle-related greenhouse gas emissions and congestion through more sustainable street, bike, pedestrian, transit, and rail network design, location, and management.

(Source: Lane Council of Governments)

Other goals

In addition to a possible goal or objective to reduce GHG emissions, MPC will also provide direction on the other goals in the plan:

  1. Transportation Choices: People throughout the region have access to affordable, healthy, active, and shared transportation options that safely and conveniently connect them with their destinations while reducing reliance on driving alone and minimizing transportation related pollution.
  2. Safety, Security and Resiliency: The transportation system is resilient, safe, and secure for people and goods.
  3. Healthy People and Environment: The regional transportation system provides safe and comfortable travel options that support active and healthy living. Central Lane’s biological, water, cultural and historic resources are protected and preserved. Lower-polluting transportation options are encouraged.
  4. Equity: The regional transportation system eliminates transportation related disparities and barriers and ensures equitable access to destinations.
  5. Economic Vitality: The transportation system is reliable, affordable, and efficient. It supports the prosperity of people and businesses by connecting them to destinations throughout the region and beyond.
  6. Reliability and Efficiency: The region prioritizes a range of travel options to manage and optimize the transportation system as well as ease congestion so people and goods can reliably and efficiently reach their destinations.
  7. System Asset Preservation: Strategically preserve, maintain, operate, and plan for current and future system assets to maximize transportation investments.

(Source: Lane Council of Governments)

BEST’s recommendations

After carefully reviewing meeting materials, BEST submitted testimony at the MPC meeting on Nov. 5, 2020:

Climate change is already reflected in the draft goals. Thus we can go a long way as a community not talking about (global) climate change but rather about our own (regional) goals:

(Joel Pett, 12/7/2009)

Nonetheless, BEST suggests adding language to the third draft goal:

Healthy People and Environment: The regional transportation system provides safe and comfortable travel options that support active and healthy living. Central Lane’s biological, water, cultural and historic resources are protected and preserved. Lower-polluting transportation options are encouraged. Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

Later, develop performance measures to guide actions.

MPC’s actions

MPC unanimously directed staff to revise the third draft goal:

Healthy People and Environment: The regional transportation system provides safe and comfortable travel options that support active and healthy living. Central Lane’s biological, water, cultural and historic resources are protected and preserved. Lower-polluting transportation options are encouraged. Transportation greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

MPC also unanimously directed staff to include as an objective language from Springfield’s Transportation System Plan (TSP):

Strive to reduce vehicle-related greenhouse gas emissions and congestion through more sustainable street, bike, pedestrian, transit, and rail network design, location, and management.

Next Steps

Staff will return to MPC in December and January to seek guidance on objectives and performance measures. Community outreach will continue and include online open houses, mailings, and meetings with key partners and community groups.

See also

Further reading

  • 11/5/2020 meeting (Metropolitan Policy Committee)
  • 10/1/2020 meeting (Metropolitan Policy Committee)
    • Agenda
    • Item 6.b: ODOT Climate Office Update (Amanda Pietz)
    • Item 6.c: 2045 Regional Transportation Plan Goals
    • Video
    • Minutes
      • Matt McRae, Eugene, asked that the MPC consider incorporating an explicit goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the updated Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). He said the plan should reflect the values of the region’s residents, a majority of whom understood the risks of climate change and need to change the transportation system. He cited recent surveys of Lane County residents indicated that level of concern. He hoped the millions of dollars of transportation investments would reflect both the realities of today and the goals of tomorrow.
      • Claire Roth asked that a specific goal related to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions be added to the RTP. It was past due for the type of climate attention the world deserved. Transportation accounted for about 28 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. She said greenhouse gas emissions must be included in discussions about transportation. In many respects it was too late to reverse the devastating effects of climate change; it was a question of how much more would be lost. Adding a tangible goal of greenhouse gas emissions reduction into the 2045 RTP was a step in the right direction
      • Kelsey Zlevor, Eugene, she said it was imperative the 2045 RTP include the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. She said recent wildfires were fueled in part by climate change which was tied to greenhouse gas emissions. Not including a greenhouse gas emissions goal in the plan would be disrespectful to the victims of the fires, the wildfire crisis and young adults of the future. She strongly encouraged including a greenhouse gas emissions goal in the plan.
      • Terry Parker, Eugene, spoke as a representative of 350 Eugene. She encouraged the MPC to fully acknowledge the climate crisis and the significant role that transportation planning and policy changes could make in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. She asked that greenhouse gas goals and objectives that supported and aligned with other local plan be adopted. It was critical to work together to make significant changes. The MPC had an obligation to apply both the science of climate change and social equity in its important work.
      • Corey Parrish asked the MPC to consider adding an explicit goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the 2045 RTP being developed. Without an explicit climate change goal two other goals listed in the plan could not be achieved. The first was an integrated transportation and land use system. Transportation was the primary polluter in greenhouse gas emissions and that fact had to be addressed. The second goal was sustainability of transportation and sustainability was built on the premise of climate change; without a greenhouse gas emissions goal sustainability could not be achieved. Without addressing explicit goals for climate change other objectives in the plan were not being addressed, including an environmental commitment, economic vitality and equity and public health.
  • 9/3/2020 meeting (Metropolitan Policy Committee)
  • 7/9/2020 meeting (Metropolitan Policy Committee)
    • Agenda
    • Video
    • Minutes
      • Rob Zako, representing Better Eugene-Springfield Transportation (BEST), stated he was following up on a letter sent to MPC members from himself and other community members in reference to the Central Lane MPO’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. He said the MPC had discussed the matter at length during its June 4 meeting and two points were noted: 1) there was insufficient funding for active transportation projects and more was needed, and 2) the MPC did not have land use authority. He said while those points were accurate, the MPC spent 25 minutes discussing what it could not do. It was long overdue to take action on climate change and Oregon was aware of the problem in 1988 and 30 years ago there was a plan to take integrated land use and transportation action seriously with a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by the year 2005. He said the letter listed four areas for action: compact urban development, parking policies, active transportation, and integrated planning and measuring. He urged the MPC members to take action separately and coordinate activities.
  • 6/4/2020 meeting (Metropolitan Policy Committee)

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