Can Someone Tell Me What Happened at Metro?

I wasn’t able to stay to the end of the Metro hearing on the Columbia River Crossing yesterday because of two other prior commitments.

While I was there, there was certainly a lot of testimony favoring more alternatives.

I saw lots of Portland Transport contributors and commenters in the room. Can someone tell me what they finally voted? And what the rest of the testimony was like?

45 Comments

45 Responses to Can Someone Tell Me What Happened at Metro?

  1. David Bragdon
    February 23, 2007 at 8:42 am Link

    I don’t recall when you left so I will cut to the chase – we passed res 3782A, amended by Newman Amendment #1 which called for discussion of land use measures to reduce the increase in commuter (single occupancy vehicle) traffic.
    It was a great discussion. I don’t think I have heard such a compelling stream of testimony for a long time. It indicates a lot of debate to come, considering where the process stands. (Remember, yesterday’s vote was just advisory with regard to the 39 member task force, so there’s a lot more discussion to come.)

  2. Chris Smith
    February 23, 2007 at 9:28 am Link

    I wasn’t expecting a response from such an authoritative source :-)

    Thank you, President Bragdon.

    And thank you to the Metro Council for providing a forum for this important discussion. The resolution sounds like a great foundation for the next steps in the discussion.

  3. Jonathan Maus
    February 23, 2007 at 9:39 am Link

    And thank you Chris, and all the other folks who gave such compelling and thoughtful testimony.

    I look forward to future discussions…

  4. Ross Williams
    February 23, 2007 at 10:20 am Link

    Its good to see having good people elected make some difference. Since everyone seems to agree that the staff’s options will go forward, I hope people will now focus on the merits of other options rather than on the costs of the staff’s recommendation.

  5. Paul Edgar
    February 23, 2007 at 10:32 am Link

    I added my two-bits but what was compelling was the testimony from Africian American Lady who has related to her person health problems of her self and her children who live next to the I-5 corridor. She gave everyone in the room first hand discription with revelant discussion with her facts of what happens in a real cost in human life with the development of cronic illnesses like asthma and lung and heart disease that come from living next to this level of congestion in the I-5 corridor.

    The think the next most important event to me was the ammendment offered to Rex Buckholders, 4th alternative coming from Councilor Robert Liberty. His presentation was wonderful, factual and turned down by the majority who want apparently more of the same – oh, same – oh.

    When one leader goes to the effort read and research the facts of what has happen with the CRC Task Force, at a greater level then any of the others and for the majority to not consider his testimony, information and disire for greater open process to vet out what is correct for our region was very disappointing to me.

    Rex Buckholder’s alternative is too narrow in scope and he knows it. It will lead to nothing and he knows it. More of the same – oh, same – oh

    The I-5 corridor is broken and the CRC Project only makes it worse with more induced vehicles, that kill people, the environment, businesses, opportunity to correct the problem and bring on defeatism and to me that is the worse.

    We see the hand writing on the wall, a humongous project that drains the limited pool of money away from real needs options and alternatives that could have provided real relief to a I-5 corridor problem.

  6. Ross Williams
    February 23, 2007 at 11:26 am Link

    Paul -

    I think it is time to see if there will be any real solutions offered. The staff’s suggestions are going to move forward. The focus needs to be on the merits of other solutions or there won’t be any to consider.

    Metro only recommends. Its the task force that decides. Robert Liberty’s suggestions have a lot of merit and they haven’t really been considered. That ought to be pressed with the task force as a whole.

    This vote was a shot across the bow. You might have preferred a direct hit, but what is reassuring is that a majority at Metro is not willing to roll over. In the past they would have.

  7. Adron
    February 23, 2007 at 1:55 pm Link

    One positive thing, if the 6 Billion Dollar bridge gets built, is that no anti-transit people will be able to say transit is the most expensive option anymore. The per person cost on a $6 billion dollar bridge will blow a huge hole in that whole argument. :o

    Strange perspective, but hey, at least it’s a positive!

  8. Will Macht
    February 23, 2007 at 4:59 pm Link

    The Task Force is advisory to the two DOTs. The staff director has said they have not made any cost estimates and will only do so after the option is selected.

    That means that not a single one of the alternatives have been tested by, or selected on the basis of, a cost benefit analysis.

    If the Metro resolution were to lead to some consideration by the CRC staff, one would need a cost benefit analysis of that alternative versus all the others. It is unlikely that will be done now in an impartial manner, if at all.

    Therefore Metro and the other jurisdictions that are elected need to perform their own cost benefit analyses and delay the process long enough to do so.

    Robert Liberty’s analyses should be posted on this and the Metro site. I could not even find the text of the resolution on the Metro site and the news coverage is conclusory, not articulated.

  9. jim mayer
    February 23, 2007 at 5:07 pm Link

    Will: What is “conclusory, not articulated” news coverage?

  10. Ross Williams
    February 23, 2007 at 5:09 pm Link

    The Task Force is advisory to the two DOTs.

    In theory, but I think in practice the proposals that go forward into the EIS process will be those chosen by the task force.

  11. Matthew
    February 23, 2007 at 5:16 pm Link

    Paul, unfortunately, you are right. It did occur to me though, Buckholder has to be aggressively in support of Liberty’s alternatives to really do them justice in the CRC meeting. So simply getting them passed at Metro wouldn’t have been enough, I didn’t get the feeling that he’d be able to do them justice if they had been. I mean, no offense to Buckholder, but to convince the CRC to truly consider a land use only solution would probably require more of a presentation than Liberty gave at Metro, so it is probably just as well that those didn’t pass.

    Now, I do have to ask the obvious question: Why in the world can’t Vancouver get their act together and create some jobs for their citizens? They complain that their tax money ends up in Oregon’s coffers, but they don’t seem to be doing anything about it.

  12. nuovorecord
    February 23, 2007 at 6:00 pm Link

    “Robert Liberty’s analyses should be posted on this and the Metro site. I could not even find the text of the resolution on the Metro site…”

    It’s there. Click the link below and download the Feb. 22 meeting packet.

    http://www.metro-region.org/article.cfm?ArticleID=7720

  13. Ross Williams
    February 23, 2007 at 6:11 pm Link

    Now, I do have to ask the obvious question: Why in the world can’t Vancouver get their act together and create some jobs for their citizens?

    I think this is misreading the situation. They have all those citizens because they have access to Portland’s job market. I suspect a good percentage of those using the bridge had a job in Oregon before they had a home in Vancouver.

  14. Paul Edgar
    February 23, 2007 at 7:37 pm Link

    Ross, again you are right. I do not have the number anymore but the number of Oregonians moving into Clark County and turnign in their Oregon Drivers license is a big number. The precentage of ex-Oregonians living in SW Washington, that moved into Washington in the last 10-years is a big number, maybe close to 25%.

    For most of these ex-Oregonians they do not have good vibes about Oregon and that would play out in any special election, like establishing a Bi-State Transit Taxing Authority with Tri-Met as the lead agency which would be needed to fund MAX/LRT operation in Washington.

  15. Jason McHuff
    February 23, 2007 at 7:40 pm Link

    Chris, et al, who missed (part) of the meeting, I encourage you to watch the replay of the testimony and debate on TV. Rex Burkholder actually mentioned you by name during the debate (regarding the land use problem)! And I can’t blame anyone who left early. It wasn’t till about 7 PM that the resolution passed, but it passed unanimously, though I think it was Mr. Liberty who expressed reservations with it.

  16. Ross Williams
    February 23, 2007 at 8:10 pm Link

    For most of these ex-Oregonians they do not have good vibes about Oregon

    You may be right, but be careful about judging that by anecdote. There are a lot of those folks who think Clark County should be more like Oregon too. They just aren’t as vocal.

  17. Ross Williams
    February 23, 2007 at 8:30 pm Link

    One other thing for people to remember. This would not be the first time that a project went through a EIS process and was never built. At some point a $6 billion solution requires a $6 billion problem. My guess is this project fails that test when set up against other regional transportation needs, much less other potential public investments in things like early childhood education.

    The unfortunate thing is that light rail to Vancouver is now hostage to this process and its outcomes as well. Which probably means at least a ten year delay before other alternatives for getting it across the river will be considered.

  18. Will Macht
    February 23, 2007 at 9:52 pm Link

    The news coverage mostly reports what people say without getting into the details of the issues. That is what I meant that the issues are not articulated.

    Yes the role is advisory and the DOTs will go along with it as long as it says build a 10-lane bridge as a total replacement for the existing bridges. There are not the votes to do something different and the staff has already reached the DOTs desired conclusion.

    With respect to the antipathy towards Vancouver, I find that extremely parochial. Downtown Vancouver is the same size as downtown Portland, has the same 200′ x 200′ blocks and has enormous potential to create new jobs IF a gargantuan bridge is not its only access to the regional market and IF a tariff barrier in the form of $4 tolls are not imposed on both I-5 and I-205. Imagine downtown Portland with its only connection between east and west being the Marquam bridge.

    So I encourage you to be more creative and positive in your criticism and figure out how to arrive at a different result. The CRC process, unfortunately, is not the vehicle to get there.

  19. Ron Swaren
    February 23, 2007 at 11:12 pm Link

    Will,
    I appreciate your comments. Have looked at your waterfront proposal for Vancouver and agree it could be a showpiece, I would also add some hotels because events at the Expo Center attract a lot of out-of-the-area visitors; they could travel by AMTRAK and stay in Vancouver, thus helping out that town’s economy, too.

    I keep saying on this forum that waterfront property seems inevitable to accelerate in value–and desirability to high-end developers. I’ve been saying that Vancouver to NW Portland could have its own Streetcar route–really just an(other) extension of the Central City line.

    I hope you will post more about your ideas on this forum.

  20. David Johnson
    February 24, 2007 at 10:09 am Link

    If Tolling booths establish on I-5 and I-205, so allow motorists purchase a monthly toll pass, so it let easing to use a tolling pass compare to bus pass. Please let pass this word to everyone! Have a good day!

  21. Wells
    February 24, 2007 at 12:13 pm Link

    I spoke with Robert Liberty early in the week and offered my two cents worth: mainly that I thought the light rail bridge should be built first, alone if necessary. And, that the MAX extension would likely create jobs in Vancouver, more two birds with one stone: new Vancouver jobs, services and amenities decrease commuting to Portland; MAX further reduces commute traffic volume on I-5, I-205 and the Banfield; Vancouver tax base increases. I call getting MAX to Vancouver, “Operation 6-Flags Jantzen Beach”
    “How many Big Box shoporamas do we really need?”

  22. Doug Roberts
    February 24, 2007 at 1:02 pm Link

    With regards to that last comment, hasn’t it been established already that the ped/bike/transit span will be seperate from the auto span in the existing option? Maybe it’s way too late in the game, but couldn’t it conceivably be built first? Maybe, with transit available, the traffic issues would be mitigated more than expected and the scale (and budget) of the auto span could be reduced. Is that crazy talk?

  23. Ross Williams
    February 24, 2007 at 1:29 pm Link

    Is that crazy talk?

    Yes. An arterial bridge that handles light rail, pedestrians, bikes and local traffic makes a lot of sense. But there are plenty of people in the DOT’s who understand quite consciously that light rail is being held hostage to a new freeway bridge. They aren’t going to agree to separate the two.

  24. Giacomo
    February 24, 2007 at 2:13 pm Link

    Interesting article on the safety credentials of the makers of the Pendolino train

  25. Ray Whitford
    February 24, 2007 at 3:20 pm Link

    Sorry I wasn’t able to attend. But was there any comments about the CRC decision to not include capacity for High Speed Rail? This lack of planning for the future by the DOTs disturbs me.

    Their decision dooms us to a separate bridge of $1 Billion (or higher twenty years from now) just to clear up the PDX bottle neck for rail freight and Amtrak.

    The DOTs never bought into the idea of high speed rail and with Pearson Airpark (waste of prime real estate for a few hundred individuals that needs to evolve into parks and housing/offices) ruining a suspension design (5 tower design) we have lost a Grand Design that would have been one of our iconic “Cascadia” symbols.

    Now we get more concrete and a local rail extension. Not Good Enough for 2 to 6 Billion Dollars!

    Ray Whitford

  26. Nick
    February 24, 2007 at 6:04 pm Link

    Ross says:

    “The unfortunate thing is that light rail to Vancouver is now hostage to this process and its outcomes as well. Which probably means at least a ten year delay before other alternatives for getting it across the river will be considered.”

    >>>> I would consider this a very FORTUNATE thing–the last thing we need is more money wasted on inflexible light rail.

  27. Erik Halstead
    February 24, 2007 at 10:46 pm Link

    I too would have to agree that Ross’ statement about light rail being held hostage – it’s the OTHER way around; that other transportation projects are being held hostage because someone wants to force light rail to be interjected.

    Imagine if the question of MAX wasn’t introduced – the Sunset Highway would have been widened probably a full decade or so more earlier. We would already begin design and construction work on the CRC. And TriMet would have new busses (and articulated busses) and the 1400s, 1500s and 1600s would be retired; and likely the 1700s, 1800s and 1900s too.

    Further we would be discussing other alternatives as well, whether it be BRT, commuter rail, etc., but instead we are forced into discussing light rail, light rail only, and nothing can proceed unless light rail is part of the project. LRT might have been a better solution to the Sunrise Highway (I wouldn’t really know, at the time my “transportation” concern was that I hated riding a school bus to school because it was “uncool”, and the (coincidential) solution was that we moved into a new home within walking distance to school, so that the school bus wasn’t even an option anymore even if I wanted to ride it) – but it seems as though if a project doesn’t include MAX, it’s as good as garbage.

    There have been only THREE exceptions to this rule:

    1. Washington County Commuter Rail – a sleek “snake oil-esque salesman with a ‘genuine, bonafide, dieselfied, one car DMU’ (to parody the line from an Simpson’s episode) sold the Commuter Rail and the DMU project, and TriMet had it shoved down their throat. TriMet wasn’t even interested at first but after the county, Metro, and the city of Wilsonville bought in (along with ODOT which just happened to own half of the right-of-way), TriMet got involved.

    2. The OHSU Tram. Because there’s NO way a LRT could climb a 9% grade.

    3. The Portland Streetcar. This is because the ‘snobs’ on 23rd Avenue, Riverplace, SoWa, and Lake Oswego, saw MAX as the train of the ‘lessers’ and didn’t want their real estate values diminished. So they came up with a “European designed’ train and called it a “Streetcar”, although in reality it is still light rail, just a smaller vehicle, with a lower top speed, no couplers, and weighs less and therefore requires less track structure underneath it. But a Streetcar can travel on the MAX tracks and go all the way to Hillsboro or Beaverton (albeit at no faster than 40 MPH). (Ironically, the design of TriMet’s type I LRV is shared by a Brazilian design; but I guess Brazil isn’t as fancy as the Czech Republic.)

    I would like to see Metro, from now on, require that any transportation project that is going to interject a mass transit project, to require the following options:

    1. No-Build
    2. Highway only (no mass transit)
    3. Highway only, with improved bus
    4. Highway plus BRT
    5. Highway plus LRT (5a: Streetcar. 5b: MAX)
    6. Highway plus other transit option
    7. BRT only
    8. LRT only (8a: Streetcar. 8b: MAX)
    9. Other transit option only

    And to do a cost comparison of each, followed with a complete user/ridership analysis of each option; along with an analysis that shows number of people who would be disaffected/disserved by each option (to see which options are the most exclusive).

  28. jim karlock
    February 25, 2007 at 2:17 am Link

    For cost comparisons of transit see:

    DebunkingPortland.com/Transit/Cost-Cars-Transit.htm

    Other stuff at:
    DebunkingPortland.com

    Thanks
    JK

  29. Anon
    February 25, 2007 at 9:55 am Link

    It’s OK everybody, Jim has done the benefit/cost analysis already. No point in objecting to the CRC process any more, Jim’s got it covered.

  30. Ross Williams
    February 25, 2007 at 10:18 am Link

    Imagine if the question of MAX wasn’t introduced

    The only things that are certain are that there would be a freeway through southeast Portland just south of Division out to Gresham and the Banfield would have fewer lanes.

    As for speculation of other impacts, mine would be that Intel would never have expanded locally. One of the driving forces in that decision was the desirability of the Portland region to the best and brightest employees they were trying to recruit. Those folks might like taking their kids on MAX to the zoo and then go shopping at Saturday Market, but they aren’t very likely to think a bus trip was such a great outing.

    It isn’t about transportation, its about creating great places to live.

  31. Nick
    February 25, 2007 at 11:23 am Link

    It isn’t about transportation, it’s about making railfans happy. Based on my experience in the “hobby,” I have a strong suspicion that they control/influence the transit agenda here, based on what I have seen.

  32. Ross Williams
    February 25, 2007 at 12:59 pm Link

    Nick -

    There is no doubt that “railfans” influence the transit agenda. The real question is why are they railfans. I think you would find most of them are not train hobbyists. They are fans because rail solutions have been very popular with the public, because they reduce operating costs, because they spur development and because they make the region a better place to live.

  33. Wells
    February 25, 2007 at 1:38 pm Link

    Wait until Operation 6-Flags Jantzen Beach goes into full swing. I’m thinking hybrid: 6-Flags amusement park/multi-story shopping mall (with lots of glass) where now stands an assortment of glorified warehouse big box retailers and acres of asphalt parking lot.

  34. Terry Parker
    February 25, 2007 at 8:19 pm Link

    Light rail is held hostage by its own two billion dollar price tag to get to Vancouver, the unwillingness of a the Oregon side social engineers to set a political agenda that would stipulate transit fares that better reflect the costs of providing the service and would help fund the river crossing, the expectation of those same social engineers that motorist tolls should help fund light rail crossing the Columbia (NOT), the likelihood that Clark County residents are unwilling to finance the capitol costs and pay the operational subsidies required, and the simple fact that light rail serving Clark County is a decision to be made by Clark County, not the people of Portland. Bottom line: with all the costs and taxpayer subsidies involved, it has yet to be proven as cost effective.

  35. Ben
    February 25, 2007 at 9:45 pm Link

    Ross wrote,
    “The unfortunate thing is that light rail to Vancouver is now hostage to this process”

    That is 180 degrees from reality.

    The unfortunate thing is that a new bridge and additional road capacity is being held hostage by rail to Vancouver.

    Ross, “The real question is why are they railfans. They are fans because rail solutions have been very popular with the public, because they reduce operating costs, because they spur development and because they make the region a better place to live.”

    Good greif have you no shame?
    Why don;t you just say becasue rail fans are smarter?

    If “rail solutions are so popular with the public” why don;t we get to vote on them any more? Hmmmmm?
    “reduce operating costs” ?
    What a whopper Ross.

    “because they spur development”
    huh? That’s one of the biggest lies around the region. The only thing spurred is mammouth Urban Renewal and TOD spending.

    “they make the region a better place to live”

    What a pipe dream. The region has not been enhanced at all. Take away the few who live next to and ride MAX and what’s left is a big bill and gridlock everywhere.

    Ross, you have no learning curve.

  36. Adron
    February 26, 2007 at 1:29 am Link

    DebunkingPortland.com/Transit/Cost-Cars-Transit.htm

    As for speculation of other impacts, mine would be that Intel would never have expanded locally. One of the driving forces in that decision was the desirability of the Portland region to the best and brightest employees they were trying to recruit. Those folks might like taking their kids on MAX to the zoo and then go shopping at Saturday Market, but they aren’t very likely to think a bus trip was such a great outing.

    Exactly. I like to point out every once in a while, I might not like the funding mechanisms, I might not like the politics involved with transportation in general these days, but I do like the choices. Without light rail there would be a LOT of people like me that wouldn’t be here (you know, that upper 10% income bracket that enables Portland & Oregon to do all the stuff it does, since we pay over 50% of the taxes for all this stuff!)

    Without light rail (& Streetcar), with the burden of the automobile, there are a lot of other places I just as well live that are about 1/2 to 1/3 as expensive as Portland. Light rail even though not directly, pays for itself by the higher incomes it attracts along with the biking, techie industry, geek population that has moved here in the last 20 years. Without it, the state would probably be as poor as Mississippi (they have about the same population, and collect about 1/2 the taxes).

    …and Nick, the plain simple truth is, whether the railfans are part of the influence or not, is that upper income people will ride a Streetcar or Light Rail, but they wouldn’t be caught dead on a bus! That’s already been covered very well in the US (it’s empirical in evidence and obvious in observation). I can almost promise Tri-met would have about 20-30 THOUSAND less trips per day by passengers without light rail! Busses are a bane of most peoples existence. One might get “slightly” better responses from trolley busses but evidence shows that it isn’t particularly true. Light Rail and Streetcars however, have proven an entirely different situation.

    …or simply, what Ross Williams said. I don’t like the things cuz they’re trains, I like them because they are a REAL solution and alternative to fossil fueled, noisy, clunky, expensive (in the long term) busses with throw away infrastructure (roads).

    it has yet to be proven as cost effective.

    Actually Terry, it has. Dollar for dollar, thus the reason it will soon be easier to list the cities in the US without light rail than it is to list the cities WITH light rail. Technically the subsidies account for about 10-20 cents in total difference per rider per mile than road subsidies, when the per mile subsidy is already at least 30-40 cents per mile an additional 10-20 cents to save on infrastructure, sewage, and other maintenance nightmares is more than worth it in most situations. If one accounts for the better maintenance and stability of light rail infrastructure, the better designed transit oriented development, and other such costs, light rail and TODs are WAY WAY cheaper than sprawl and interstates/highways/deluges of roadways. Thus the reason cities with real urban/night/life within the downtown cores and an intention to be a an involved, growing, and prepared city are moving forward with light rail infrastructure. Light rail also offers decades of growth potential without the major overhead costs of subways and heavy rail double tracked implementations within cities.

    I know Terry that you disagree with those findings I would suspect, especially with the continued statement that fuel taxes cover road construction, which is factually impossible (fuel taxes cover maybe 20-40 billion a year, while 100-140 billion per year is spent on roadways – slight disparity there).

    Anyway – I digress – I’ve gotten enough of an entry written here, and a dozen more unit tests to write before going before the executive board tomorrow.

    rail solutions are so popular with the public

    Ben – they are popular with the public. That’s why they get voted on (who isn’t getting to vote on it?), but also why light rail and commuter rail has popped up in many cities throughout the country. It is also why many cities are planning these things throughout the country. From Nashville to Albequrque (the number 1 rated business city in America by Forbes Magazine) they are getting everything from Streetcars to Light Rail to Heavy Rail Commuter Trains. Because simply, special interests have encouraged and gained the support of millions throughout the country for these projects. Those millions have voted on these things and are pushing them forward. In other cases it is our elected officials that we have voted into power in this Republic of ours that are pushing for state sponsered expansion of passenger rail in a growing number of states (from California to Illinois to Washington’s support of the Cascades trains).

    …and Ben, no need to insult Ross’ personally (learning curve or not). Chris tends to like to keep things polite, yet conversational. Please, a bit o’ respect on that note.

    Thx

  37. Ross Williams
    February 26, 2007 at 6:32 am Link

    Good greif have you no shame?
    Why don;t you just say becasue rail fans are smarter?

    Ok, rail fans are smarter. But again, they are rail fans because they are smarter, not smarter because they are rail fans.

  38. Ben
    February 26, 2007 at 8:18 am Link

    Adron wrote,
    “That’s why they get voted on (who isn’t getting to vote on it?)”

    I must have missed the public vote on Airport MAX, Interstate MAX, 205 MAX, and the Washington County Commuter Rail, SoWa Street car, Tram, TODs and a few other schemes.

    Perhaps you can clarify what the heck you are talking about?
    Is the propoganda machine so effective that you thought there were public votes on these?
    Any of them?
    I’m really more curious about how you came to think so, because so much thinking here on other aspects is equally wrong.

  39. Paul Edgar
    February 26, 2007 at 9:40 am Link

    Ross’s statement: It isn’t about transportation, “its about creating great places to live” and this to me is the core of the debate about the CRC Recommendations, thanks Ross.

    We cannot keep trying to put more vehicles into the I-5 corridor and anyone with any common sense has to understand that when you build a new 10 or 12-lane wide humongous I-5 bridge it will induce more vehicles into this corridor, period.

    We also know, without question that this will create additional congestion and the subsequent assult on the environment, health of anyone and everyone near to the I-5 and all stakeholders of the I-5 corridor.

    Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart in concert with his fellow commissioners agreed that every effort has to be taken to get people and cars out of the I-5 corridor first.

    Metro Councilor Robert Liberty basically agreed and offered up alternatives, that get people and vehicles out of the I-5 corridor.

    Most everyone knows that any recommendation that focuses on putting more people into the I-5 corridor mess, is wrong, it should Dead on Arrival.

    Yes, AGRESSIVE NEW AND AFFORDABLE TRANSIT OPTIONS has to be on the table. There has to be a primary priority to get people/commuters to there places of employment, timely and with reliability and not in the I-5 corridor. That cannot happen with current transit priorities, methods, products, recommendations and financial assets available. Something has to change!

    On a note to the exemptions that currently pay NO Payroll Transit Tax, 90% of these expemptions must end now! No entity, no matter who, should be exempt that has greater then 25-employees.

    This would bring in money to expand transit services without increasing fares. Lets let all of these currently exempted BIG PLAYERS, like OHSU, schools and governments who’s employees use transit services or could use expanded transit services, get them into this mix to where we can start solving this transportation problem.

    We need new additional Columbia River Bridge crossings, connected to new multi-mode corridors that have “NO CONNECTION AND/OR INDUCE OR PUT MORE PEOPLE AND VEHICLES INTO THE I-5 CORRIDOR” and that has to happen first before we consider anything like these CRC Project recommendations. That just makes common sense!

    If, I had a new arterial multi-mode corridor and bridge complex to the west, that is built in conjunction with replacing the BNSF RR Bridge that extends from Mill Plain Extension to Hayden Island, connecting with and to Marine Drive, to Columbia Blvd, to Lombard to Highway 30 on the westside of the Willamette River positioned along the BNSF tracks and north Portland Street, we would have one piece of a winning combination of alternatives that get people out of the I-5 corridor. This new alternate corridor could be built (PLEASE NOTE: in a “PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP”) at a significant less cost then what the CRC recommendations will cost government and the public.

    This new alternate multi-mode replacement Rail Road Bridge changes the navigation channel and makes navigation on the Columbia River safer, for barge traffic.

    This new alternate multi-mode replacement Rail Road Bridge reduces the number of I-5 bridge lifts, which results in reduced congestion in the I-5 corridor as a bi-product.

    This new alternate multi-mode replacement Rail Road Bridge increases critically needed heavy rail capacity in the north/south rail corridor. With added capacity it will eliminate any queuing of passenger/commuter trains, verses heavy rail trains on the BNSF bridge and within the Union Pacific and BNSF rail corridor.

    This new alternate multi-mode replacement Rail Road Bridge would have the capacity to enable putting MAX/LRT on to this same bridge, allowing us to kill multiple birds with one stone. This gets MAX/LRT into Vancouver and opens the door to new transit options and the creation of a new MAX/LRT Transit Center without any devisiveness.

    It lets MAX/LRT build out in an orderly process, in Clark County to where it can be integrated into new “Land Use Plans and Policies” that take time and money to happen in Clark County.

    I-205 can be and should be a big part of getting people and vehicles out of the I-5 corridor. Anyone who has any common sense knows that we have a wonderful existing bought and paid for very large Right-of-Way that can be more affordably expanded, that will create a safe alternative that can result inducing a large number of vehicles away from the I-5 corridor and that is what we want!

    I keep on hearing people say that if you build it they will come and use it and I agree. You build a humungous new CRC Bridge with 10 or 12 lanes it will induce more traffic into the I-5 corridor, where we do not want it. If you were to expand the I-205 corridor out to 4-lanes (eliminating the all 2 and 3-lane sections) and in some places 5-lanes (where it is now 4-lanes) you will create an effective alternative to the I-5 corridor and that is good!

    This does not mean that we do not make necessary improvements to the I-5 corridor that just need to take place. We just make smart improvements that eliminate choke points and take steps to reduce and eliminate on and off ramp congestion and turbulence. This means taking every step to get the I-5 corridor free flowing to where it can handle more traffic and result in producing less vehicle emissions and harm to peoples health.

    To make this all come together we impose new Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Tolls only on the I-5 corridor. Lets say that in the extended AM Peak Period, Washington places $2.00 toll on all Single Occupancy Vehicles (SOV) in the 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM time frames. They could also consider a $20.00 to $40.00 TDM Toll on all trucks in the I-5 corridor.

    Oregon do could the same thing and put in place TDM Tolling effort just north of the Freemont Bridge on all SOV’s and Trucks in the I-5 corridor between 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM and that would change traffic patterns and reduce congestion and save the air and reduce health problems for all.

    This will work and people and businesses will agree if you provide reasonable alternatives like; MAX/LRT, agressive new Transit/Bus alternatives and a new westside alternate multi-mode corridor next to N. Portland Street and the BNSF tracks, tht gives everyone the needed Freight Mobility and cars options that gets people to their jobs and freight flowing without the need to get on to I-5.

    We do not want to expand the I-5 corridor through the these neighborhoods and we do not want to induce more vehicles into the I-5 corridor because we know that doing will result in high costs to the environment and people health.

    This is a plan that work’s for everyone except the Big Bridge Builders that are part of the CRC Task Force recommendations.

    But Win – Win is not what they are looking for, they are not concerned about the health of our communities and creating a great place to live and work on both sides of the Columbia River.

    When I say this, I am talking about these people on the CRC Task Force Staff who have told me that there are NO considerations or alternatives with any of this, WE ARE HERE TO BUILD A BRIDGE!

    It is time for all of us to remind them (the CRC Task Force and all of our elected officals) that we almost had a Mt. Hood Freeway that would have done the same thing that is currently happening in the I-5 corridor, that is killing people and businesses alike with the same level of stupidity.

    We can do better then then what these CRC recommendation are and we can provide real solution to the I-5 corridor.

  40. Nick
    February 26, 2007 at 10:08 am Link

    Adron said:

    “and Nick, the plain simple truth is, whether the railfans are part of the influence or not, is that upper income people will ride a Streetcar or Light Rail, but they wouldn’t be caught dead on a bus! That’s already been covered very well in the US (it’s empirical in evidence and obvious in observation).”

    >>>> Then please explain to me why in New York City, there is a plethora of express buses (of the tour coach type) for which commuters pay $4 each way, DOUBLE the subway fare of $2). Only people who make a fair amount of money can pay this. Many of these routes are operated by the NYCTA in direct competetion with subway routes to boot, something I cannot understand. When I was living in New York and working in Wall Street, I knew a good amount of people in my office who used express buses and paid the premium fare.

    The problem with buses, as I see it, is the type of vehicle that is used. Today, there are far better BRT coaches available as opposed to the typical Trimet “tank.”

  41. Matthew
    February 26, 2007 at 12:20 pm Link

    Paul, one thing of note: The (heavy) rail problems in this area aren’t actually on the bridge, the two tracks on the bridge are fine. It is everywhere else that has the problems, for instance, the yard north of the bridge needs a better bypass track, the UP/BNSF interchange just south of the bridge needs a longer siding, the Kenton Line just past that interchange on the UP side, the yard in NW Portland, (BNSF,) etc, but the bridge itself has enough capacity for the next 20 years. (The tugboat operators don’t like it, but that is a very different issue…)

    I do have one question for the newinterstatebridge.com people, (that want to raise the railroad track up 200 feet in the air to avoid the lift span.) What does the railroad think of that? I don’t get the feeling that the average bridge lift/swing (10 minutes) is having a significant impact on their schedules, but having a 200 ft bump in their track may not make them happy… (There is a reason they went to all that effort to build the cut…)

  42. Erik Halstead
    February 26, 2007 at 9:05 pm Link

    The problem with buses, as I see it, is the type of vehicle that is used. Today, there are far better BRT coaches available as opposed to the typical Trimet “tank.”

    Agreed.

    Just today on my commute on the dreaded line 12, there were plenty of “suits” comingling with the “dreadlocks and ripped shirt” crowd.

    When I was in Seattle a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to ride a Sound Transit express bus from King Street Station downtown. The first thing I commented to my wife was how nice it was – on the outside it was your run of the mill Gillig Phantom (note to TriMet riders: 1400s, 1500s, 1600s, and 2100s are the same make/model of bus); on the inside had long distance style seats, reading lights, overhead racks (no advertisement panel), air conditioning, etc.

    Some of the other Sound Transit commuter busses include MCI D4500s (similar to what RAZ Transportation, Oregon Coachways, or Greyhound would use).

    TriMet? The only claim to fame that they have are low floor busses, and finally realizing a few years ago that air conditioning wasn’t just a luxury. (Summer is coming up, and if your bus starts with a number ’1′ instead of a ’2′, be ready to get hit with the sun.)

    Are trains sexier than busses? Sure, but they don’t have to be. More “rich folk” own motorcoaches than own private railroad cars…

  43. Paul Edgar
    February 27, 2007 at 10:06 am Link

    In an answer to Matthew on the Swing BNSF Heavy Rail Bridge:

    You are correct on problems associated with both the needs north and south of the BNSF Bridge but as meeting the needs for the 20-years NO!

    The Washington State Rail Study just completed does not support that comclusion. The Port of Vancouver sees it needs and growth in Rail usage, growing by approximately 80% in the upcoming years. This will place un-believable stress on this BNSF Bridge and everything associated with it.

    Currently we are faced with a queuing problems assocated with passenger rail needs with heavy rail needs this creates problem and costs.

    Most people that I have talked to on what a replacement heavy rail bridge might look like have suggested that it will probably have some simulary to the Steel Bridge with a lift span for heavy rail. I am know expert but they tell me that we do not take heavy rail up and down. So the options are to build up the ramping a long way out to this replacement BNSF Bridge which is inconsistent with the needs of the users on both ends and in the middle. So if we can’t build up the ramps we keep it as low as possible and have a lift span for the river traffic that cannot otherwise get under it. Every effort would be taken to find the natural middle ground that gets the most river traffic under it with a new center channel and heavy rail is as close to the river to facilitate its practical needs.

    The beauty of this location is that it has so much potential as an afforable alternative multi-mode arterial that may not be everything to everyone but in combination with a lot of other changes and improvements, it is one piece of the puzzle that can play a role in getting trucks and cars out of the I-5 corridor and that is something that the CRC Project does not do.

  44. Matthew
    February 27, 2007 at 11:53 am Link

    Paul: Do you have a link to the Washington State Rail Study? The I-5 rail capacity study done by HDR in 2003 (PDF) says that the existing bridge needs $8M in work in the next 20 years. To put that into perspective, say you had a car that was going to need new tires in the next couple of years. You wouldn’t say you needed a new car, would you? Proportionally, that $8M compared to the price of a new bridge, is about the same ratio as new tires to a new car. (If we keep the I-5 bridge, I believe it need $20M in work in about 20 years too.)

    However, page 5-3:
    Could another track be added to the existing BNSF Columbia River railroad bridge? Would
    this require construction of a new bridge?

    This analysis did not identify the need for another bridge. If a new track were required on
    the existing bridge, there are a number of alternatives. One alternative would, in effect,
    build a new bridge next to the existing bridge by placing new pilings downstream from
    the existing bridge. It would appear to the casual observer as one bridge, but would be
    two separate structures. Another possible alternative would be to reinforce the existing
    piers and replace the existing two track spans with three track spans. The exact solution
    will require more study when a third track is needed.

  45. lw
    February 28, 2007 at 10:46 pm Link

    Concerning Ben’s questions, comments on public votes on mass transit, when have we voted on his list? From my understanding, having a neighborhood association voting on the Milwaukie line leaves much to be desired for constituting as a “public vote”.

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