As you may already know, I am an intern at the Portland Bureau of Transportation. One of the most interesting parts of my internship is seeing how Portland is planning its future, especially with urban development and TOD (transportation oriented development.) This past week, Portland hosted the Rail~Volution conference, a TOD conference with people from around the country gathering to discuss the future of urban development and our nation as a whole (in terms of transportation and its alternatives). Portland hosted the first Rail~Volution conference back in 1995 and have been a leader of transportation and alternative means of transit for many years.
I was able to attend two parts of this conference, one being at the actual conference, and the other at the New Rail~Volutionaries film festival. The festival took place at the Bagdad theater and played a number of transit-oriented films. At first sight that probably sounds incredibly boring, but the films were actually very entertaining informative. The films included samples of cities around the globe that are leading the way in alternative means of transportation as well as a lot about the soon-to-be new high-speed rail line running throughout our country (this is going to be big!).
This conference really opened my eyes to how a city, not just Portland, grows. Many examples were given about poor urban developments and seeing how bad they really are makes me glad that I live in a city that prides itself in alternative means of transportation and smart urban development. I never took so much interest in the development of our city but after this event I can now say I am a New Rail~Volutionary.