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September 2020 BBAC Meeting Notes

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PBOT Staff  Present: Demetri Finch-Brown, Catherine Ciarlo, Ryan Kinsella, Matthew Grumm, Ty Berry, Katie MacDougall, Jermay Patton, Noah Siegel, Love Jonson, Jacob Sherman 

Committee Members Present: Douglas Armstrong, Eric Wilhelm, Farrell Richartz, Lauren Bates, Meesa Long, Maria Hernandez, Josh Linden, Pia Welch, Rob Martineau, Ruthanne Bennett, Ryan Hashagen, Samuel Gollah, Thomas Karawaki 

Welcome & Public Comment - 10 minutes  

 - Welcome   

- Vision Zero- Reading of the Names 

- Moment of silence in memory of Tony Lamb.  

- Public Comments 

- Comment: Hawthorne Paint and Pave is missing the connection to Climate Change Acts, doesn’t prioritize the safe movement of people, missing methods of analysis, doesn’t account for the cost of moving these cars. How can we make the plan deliver on our priorities?  

Update from the Director - 10 minutes  

- Presenter: Noah Siegel  

- Materials:  Safe Street Healthy Business Update  

- Acknowledgement that we’re all under a tremendous amount of stress at the moment. PBOT will face budget cuts in the future, but we are working hard to continue serving the city. It’s remarkable the way that we’ve made space in our streets. It shows that we can be creative and pull together, delivering people and freight to where they need to go. 

- We’re committed in the coming months to pursuing the anti-racist agenda. Everyone should feel safe in the Right-Of-Way.  

Budget Process Kick-off - 60 minutes  

- Presenter:  Jeramy Patton and Ryan Kinsella 

- Materials: slides  

- Projected Revenue Shortfall for PBOT. Transportation receives 14% of the city’s budget.  

- Question: Have the travel restrictions played a role in the lost of budget? Yes, we lost about $17 million in revenue loss as a result of COVID. Over the 5 year revenue plan, this translates to a loss of $40-45 million dollars. That’s just a projection, though. 

- PBOT, even pre-COVID, had a structural deficit due to stagnant revenue and increasing costs. There were immediate revenue losses due to COVID (just under $18 million dollars from discretionary revenues). Up to 90% decline from parking revenues. There will be significant ongoing losses in FY 2020-2021 and it looks like there will be a protracted recovery. It will take multiple years to return to the baselines. The baselines also may have shifted.  

- Mitigating factors: one-time savings from hiring freezes, COLA freezes, and furloughs. The Fixing Our Streets 2 measure also passed. We have 150 vacant positions in the bureau. Our goal is to retain as many vacancies as possible because it reduces costs and generates savings. Because of these strategies, we’ve been able to avoid having the make deeper cuts.  

- There are a whole lot of unknowns in this measure.   

- Question: Do those 10% reductions include vacant positions? As we look to next year, assuming the group managers are keeping the positions vacant, they would be able to eliminate a vacant position in order to hit the 10% reduction target.  

- Question: Is PBOT limiting the scope of program offers? That’s a good question. We are going to look at 10% reductions, which means looking at how projects deliver on goals.  

- Question: How has the Director stressed or promoted equity in the submission of the 10% reduction budget? We have done so much to diversify our workforce. Our equity goals will feature into the equation when we’re looking at reducing the budget. Any time you talk about “cuts”, you have to make sure that you’re not justing cutting the people who were hired first. It’s a tough one. Because the city’s diversity efforts are relatively recent, layoffs and hiring freezes may disproportionately impact people of color.  

- Can PBOT’s focus on transportation justice and equity influence the way that other bureau’s look at making cuts? PBOT’s Equity and Inclusion team has been instrumental in promoting an equity lens. We’ve had a very strong hand in shaping the COVID response with an equity lens.  

Fall BMP Submission – 10 minutes  

- Presenter: Jeramy Patton and Ryan Kinsella  

- Materials: Slides  

- How does BBAC want to engage with PBOT’s budget process? How do we prioritize goals? How does this approach equity, climate, and safety in a way that is all interconnected? 

- 57% voted for BBAC to choose 6-7 program offers for a deep dive, with separate discussions focused on each program as an independent unit. Discussion topics would include performance measures and focus on 3 priority goals of Safety, Equity, and Climate. 43% voted for BBAC to have separate discussions focused on the 3 priority goals of Safety, Equity, and Climate. Discussion topics would be around the performance measures and programs that most affect the outcomes you want to see in those goal areas.  

E-Scooter Pilot Program – 25 min.  

- Presenter: Jacob Sherman, Love Jonson, and Catherine Ciarlo  

- Materials: Report  

- PBOT published a report looking at the relationship between e-scooters, BIKETOWN, car share, and private-for-hire (Uber, Lyft) trips. It serves as a starting point to understand how these modes impact our goals.  

- Portland didn’t embrace technology for technology’s sake. We had a pilot program in 2018. Late last year, we realized that 2020 was bound to be a volatile year for the e-scooter and microtrip market, with mergers and business shutdowns. COVID has also impacted the scooter industry.  

- Question: How do UBER and Lyft reduce congestion? Private for Hire services like Uber and Lyft can reduce congestion if they replace trips that would otherwise be taken by single occupancy vehicle - for example, mid-day work trips if a person walked or took transit to work. But they can also increase congestion under some circumstances, since more vehicles may be circulating. The New Mobility Snapshot tries to highlight both possibilities, and set the stage for management decisions that maximize (over time) the potential for those services to reduce rather than increase congestion. 

- PBOT recommends longer-term projects with fewer (1-3) companies. PBOT wants to strengthen engagement with communities, particularly stakeholder engagement groups like Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Seniors/Elders, people with disabilities, BIPOC Portlanders, Central City. 

- Question: Has there been any consideration to having e-scooter needs being included in one of the modal coordinator's portfolios?
 There are always questions about where something belongs in the bureau. Things can move around, where staff and skills are needed to support e-scooters.  

- Question: Given that the pricing structure of these programs is so important to deciding which people can use these programs and where they can, I’d love to hear more about future pricing incentives as the program evolves. We actually did a price experiment with BIKETOWN. In April and May, we waved a bunch of fees on the scooter side in exchange for a decrease in cost to ride. We saw an increase in ridership. That raised questions as to whether and how we might influence costs.  

Committee Updates and Closing - 5 minutes 

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