December 8, 2005
More on the Oregon Transportation Plan
A few days ago we reported on coverage in the Oregonian about the Oregon Transportation Plan update.
We got the full dog and pony show at TPAC last Friday, and want to point out a few things of note.
First, for opportunities to see the plan presentation, and to learn how to provide comment, visit the outreach page.
We were also interested to note that a sensitivity analysis was conducted for high fuel prices ($5/gallon gas, I believe). It's buried in the technical appendices (PDF, 788K) on page G-5:
Increasing fuel prices would dampen economic activity in Oregon. Growth in employment and gross state product would slow for the state overall. The Portland region would be less affected than other regions due to its large size and more compact development pattern. The further an area is from the major trade hub of Portland, the more high fuel prices would lead to economic concentration and isolation. A rapid fuel price increase could have significant impacts on choice of mode for both passengers and freight, with more passengers choosing, for example, public transportation and more freight moving to rail.
The conclusion was that businesses would likely locate closer to their markets and that generally it would be pretty bad for the overall economy. But the suggestion was that it would not greatly impact statewide transportation facilities. Hmmm...
December 11, 2005 10:21 PM
I was just reading the most recent Portland Tribune article on this subject and they made it sound like it's too bad they couldn't just take all the money away from transit to build more roads. They reported that the Oregon Transportation Plan (or maybe just the recent report depending on how you interpret the wording) says that up to $8.1 Million can be taken from transit, but it's not nearly enough.
Unbelievable! Who in their right mind would solve traffic by taking money away from transit!? The way to solve it is to do the reverse. Take money away from roads and invest it in transit. Simply amazing.
December 11, 2005 10:22 PM
P.S. the article can be found here.
December 12, 2005 2:00 AM
We got some people up here who would do just that, even after the voters said they did not want that. THere were a few in Olympia that thought it would be a good idea to enact I-745 Legislatively despite the fact that the only counties that voted yes were the ones that did not have transit systems, and the money would have gone to high priority road projects, i.e urban areas.
Washington I-745 would have required 90% of all transportation funding, no matter where it came from, to go to road construction and maintenance, fareboxes were to be exempted, though. It failed in 26 of the 28 counties with transit, and the two of those it passed in, Chelan and Douglas, were too small to have swayed the vote. Unlinke the earlier I-695, it was not King County vs the rest of the state. The State Legislature attempt to ignore the voters got nowhere. The Author of I-745 was Tim Eyman, who authored I-695 that took away most of the money the DOT was going to use for a massive road-improvement package, approved by the voters in 1998. The voters seemed to have learned from that mistake, as in the case of I-912, it was a tax that could only be used on roads thanks to the State Constitution, and accountability was built in with Performance Audits, as well as a statewide intiative requiring them anyway(I-900, Eyman stayed out of the ruining of transportation funding fray this year, left it to a couple Radio Talk Show hosts to do it for him).
The argument on where the monorail money should go is already begining, and so far, adding more lanes to the Ballard Quasi-Expressway(15th Ave NW is kind of grade-seperated from the Ballard Bridge to Interbay), and the West Seattle Bridge is not an option, unless they are bus-only lanes. All other modes that were studied in a city-study back in 2000 are on the table, which were Light Rail, Streetcars, Bus Rapid Transit.
December 12, 2005 8:01 AM
Ross Williams Says:
We can see the costs of congestion in the downtown REI store. REI closed its Jantzen Beach store and moved to a much more expensive location in downtown Portland in part because congestion on I5 limited access to Jantzen Beach from the bulk of its market in central Portland. They also opened a store in Hillsboro so that people on the west side would not have to drive to their stores in downtown Portland or Tualatin. I suspect Portland will continue to see these costs rise as merchants provide multiple locations close to their customers rather than relying on large centralized facilities that people can access by freeway.
Its just awful. :)
December 12, 2005 9:10 AM
Additionally, since the population of the Portland Metro area keeps rapidly increasing, even if a company needs to open multiple stores, they may end up in the end each handling more customers than the single super-store in the past.
December 12, 2005 9:36 AM
Lenny Anderson Says:
We have a small auto parts distributor (a co-op)on Swan Island that tackled the "congestion problem" by opening satellite warehouses in Hillsboro and Vancouver. Their competitors continue to operate out of single locations. UPS has a "sub-hub" in Vancouver, so its deliveries are not subject to I-5 delays; 100 new jobs to Clark county.
Innovative businesses will adjust and benefit from the facts on the ground. Big inflexiable ones which try to get their solution from the public trough, will fail and go out of business.
Hey, that's capitalism!
December 12, 2005 9:46 AM
Chris Smith Says:
Congestion really is terrible, now I can walk to REI :-)
When the Pearl REI opened they had the biggest opening weekend (in sales) of any REI location up to that time.
The parking structure was never more than 2/3 full.
Location-efficient recreation equipment!
December 12, 2005 2:16 PM
Lenny Anderson Says:
Or how about adidasAmerica....they relocated from Beaverton to North Portland. Many of their employees purchases houses in the neighborhood. adidas' "drive alone" mode split on the most recent ECO survey was 57%, ...all the rest bike, walk, ride transit and carpool; and adidas built a ton of free parking to boot. Compare that to the other shoe company still lost in the burbs. Location, location, location.
December 27, 2005 3:41 PM
Jason McHuff Says:
For a while, I was pretty unhappy with the fact that Portland would not let Columbia Sportswear build their HQ over by OMSI; specifically the fact that some people who might have taken alternative forms of transportation would be driving out to Washington County.