Metro receives national EPA Smart Growth award
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency yesterday chose Metro as one of five national Smart Growth award winners. Metro received the Policies, Programs and Regulations award for “Making the Greatest Place” – an effort in 2009 that helped put into action the regional plan for growth, known as the 2040 Growth Concept.
Metro Councilors Kathryn Harrington and Robert Liberty traveled to Washington D.C. to accept the award. “This is a great honor for our region, and validates the policies and investments we have made to make our communities better and connect them with many types of transportation,” Liberty said. “The award is shared with all the community members who have provided political support and helped us tackle tough issues and change how our region grows.”
“Making the Greatest Place” an integrated planning project to create livable communities
The three main decisions that made up this shared decision-making effort included the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan, urban and rural reserves, and a commitment to effectively manage 20 years of growth by focusing development in centers, corridors and job areas.
The 2040 Growth Concept makes better use of land and improves ways to get around. As a result, land is used at a slower rate and farms and forests at the edge of the urban growth boundary are protected. The policies also increase travel choices where people live, which means they don’t need to drive as much. The average Portland resident drives four miles less per day than people in other U.S. cities of similar size. Transit and cycling are increasing faster than population growth, with more than 90 percent of the region’s residents living within one-half mile of transit lines.
“I am especially proud of the progress we have made in the last few years to provide a more predictable path for growth that will enhance our economy, sustain great communities, reduce our impacts on the environment and protect valuable farmland,” said Harrington. “It is nice to be recognized at the federal level for the groundbreaking work our region is undertaking.”
EPA created the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement in 2002
The award recognizes exceptional approaches to development that protect the environment, increase jobs, and enhance quality of life. Over the past nine years, almost 700 communities have applied to the EPA for this award.