July 3, 2008
A Little Daylight in Council Consideration of CRC
The Portland Mercury is reporting that Commissioner Dan Saltzman is shopping the idea of withholding Council support for the Columbia River Crossing Locally Preferred Alternative until the independent analyses that both the Portland City Council and Metro Council have requested are complete.
Apparently it's dawning on these guys that once they approve the LPA they may never get another bite at this thing regardless of what any additional analysis may say.
July 4, 2008 2:04 PM
Terry Parker Says:
One issue that has been totally left out of the equation is the impact of motorist vehicle only tolls on small businesses. Interstate commerce on the on the I-5 Columbia River Crossing bridge is not just about big trucks carrying freight. It is about small businesses too, such as service techs that routinely cross the river to make service calls. It is about manufacturing representatives and sales people that make premise sales calls on both sides of the river. It is about retail sales – people from Clark County coming to Portland to shop and people from Portland, including Hayden residents, doing business in Clark County. Interstate commerce is also about that SUV loaded with merchandise for a trade or retail show at the Expo Center. It is about multi-day exhibiters at the Expo Center having overnight accommodations in Vancouver and eating at downtown Vancouver restaurants.
How will this all change if the proposed bridge tolls are implemented for motor vehicles that possibly will be subsidizing transit commuters and freeloading bicyclists? Will small businesses no longer be able to afford to serve both sides of the river? Fuel costs are already eating up small business profits and creating a negative impact as it applies to doing business at Expo Center events. Many of these shows are already in a downward spiral decline. How will tolls further negatively impact both doing business at the Expo Center and even renting the Expo Center complex? Will small locally owned businesses and restaurants in downtown Vancouver suffer due to less people willing to pay tolls to cross the bridge? Will tolls mean that less out-of town visitors exhibiting and/or attending events at the Expo Center be willing to stay and eat out in Vancouver? Will tolls cause attendance at both Expo Center and Clark County Fairground events to drop? Where is the economic impact statement that investigates how bridge tolls will affect small businesses? Why isn’t this being discussed?
A new bridge should be bringing the two sides of the river and the region closer together, not farther apart with government manipulated motor vehicle tolls. The political dragnet for motorist paid tolls is all about dictatorial control and emptying the wallets of commuters who travel to their jobs by motor vehicle, but the negative affects of motorist only tolling will undoubtedly negatively affect small business too.
With the sky rocketing costs of motor fuels, NO outdated, dictatorial and subsidized incentives are needed to promote alternative forms of transport. A real bridge in a reality check world necessitates an equitable cost sharing financing plan with transit users and bicyclists paying a proportionate share of bridge costs for the infrastructure they use. The City Council and Metro are taking a step backward and behind the times supporting motorist only tolling. Both need to be looking at the impact tolling will have on small businesses and the region's economy instead of attempting to be the controlling autocrats of lifestyle, housing and transport choices.
July 5, 2008 12:18 PM
"Will small businesses no longer be able to afford to serve both sides of the river? Fuel costs are already eating up small business profits and creating a negative impact as it applies to doing business at Expo Center events."
I think that with 20 hours of congestion the small business would never be able to make it over the bridge without the bridge....
"NO outdated, dictatorial and subsidized incentives are needed to promote alternative forms of transport. A real bridge in a reality check world necessitates an equitable cost sharing financing plan with transit users and bicyclists paying a proportionate share of bridge costs for the infrastructure they use."
Well if they go ahead and use property taxes to pay for the bridge then everyone does pay for an equal share. Transit users already do have to pay a higher fare to cross into different zones and this could easily be applied (and most likely would if C-Tran was involved). The tolling pedestrians and bikers seems a bit idiotic, they will most likely get less the size of one lane of traffic to share and there toll on the ground is going to be MUCH MUCH less then a truck ever would be, and as a side note not everyone can afford to go over the bridge, especially those who may be walking, shouldn't they have at least one free way to get into Oregon/Portland/Vancouver/Washington?
Its one thing to toll the transit but to toll the pedestrians just seems a bit ludicrous. Not to mention if they got an area the size of one lane on the bridge that would be 1/13 of the bridge (not including LRT) so that would mean if the toll was $1 they should pay 8 cents to go across, it seems that we would have to hire a person to do this which would most likely negate the cost of tolling them in the first place.
July 5, 2008 9:33 PM
Michael H. Wilson Says:
And a funny thing happened on the way to city hall: Almost everyone on the task force, even those who signed up with visions of rail-cars in their eyes, decided that whatever happens with the Interstate 5 Bridge, the interior of Clark County won’t be ready for light rail for 20 years or more.
Instead, the group emerged last month with conclusions that a fleet of extra-large buses running in dedicated lanes — called bus rapid transit, or BRT — would be cheaper, more likely to win federal funding, and almost as fast as trains.
July 6, 2008 10:52 AM
Michael: BRT would be better for movement within Clark County for now, absolutely.
BRT down Hwy 99/Main St from WSU Vancouver to LRT brought across by the CRC connecting directly to downtown PDX from there would be a great option. Then those looking to get to downtown PDX directly wouldn't need to transfer, and it could help develop downtown Vancouver.
Add a second BRT route from WSU Vancouver down I-205 to Gateway (possibly with an airport transfer at Cascades Station) and the region could likely satisfy demand while the areas build out. If the ridership warrants it then it would make sense to worry about LRT.
July 6, 2008 12:17 PM
Douglas K. Says:
I wouldn't bother even with BRT on I-205. Instead, just provide more bus service. Use as many as a dozen collector bus lines that collect traffic around Vancouver and channel onto express HOV/HOT lanes on I-205, traveling non-stop to Park Rose TC.
To add a BRT-like component, build left-side bus-only off-ramps from the HOV lanes to Killingsworth and a bus-triggered traffic signal on the viaduct, as well as a new bus-only access to Park Rose TC from Killingsworth. This will allow access and egress to the HOV lanes with no need to cross traffic in Portland. The various express buses can get off there to support transfers to the Red Line.
This wouldn't require much capital investment beyond the HOV lanes and the new ramps and roadwork at Park Rose. It would be up to C-Tran to provide the bus service -- mostly a built-up version of what they are doing already.
July 6, 2008 12:22 PM
I would say skip the LRT and transfers all together and run a BRT down I-5 on a brand new HOT lane (4th lane in each direction) all the way downtown (or other destination).
Of course something like this is never suggested because it will directly compete with the Interstate light rail and show how slow the glorified streetcar really is.
July 6, 2008 6:37 PM
Erik Halstead Says:
Douglas K. wrote: I wouldn't bother even with BRT on I-205. Instead, just provide more bus service. Use as many as a dozen collector bus lines that collect traffic around Vancouver and channel onto express HOV/HOT lanes on I-205
Actually you can get both in one - just separate the HOV lane with jersey barriers from the mainline lanes. You have positive separation so that in most cases a collision that shuts down the mainline would not affect the HOV lane (unless a car flew onto the HOV lane...but cars have historically jumped the jersey barrier and onto the MAX line too.)
July 7, 2008 4:52 PM
Terry Parker Says:
There is absolutely no way spending hundreds of millions of dollars to include bicycle infrastructure on the I-5 Columbia River Crossing can even be considered economically cost effective. Therefore, if bicyclists do not pay their own way with a toll, and motorists are charged a toll that would in any way subsidize such a boondoggle for a limited number of bicyclists that may actually need to use the crossing, then any bicycle infrastructure ought to be eliminated from the project. It would be far less expensive for the people paying for the bridge to require bicyclists to use transit and pay a fare, including an extra charge for the bicycle as it should be throughout the TriMet system.
July 8, 2008 9:27 PM
As a property, income and gas tax payer, I will be funding part of a bridge I never use - I live in NE and take 205 if I go north. That does not, however, mean that I think I'm being cheated. If they can actually manage to decrease congestion - a major cause of pollution - I'm good with it. I'm also good with it being multi-use - it's not exactly a place I'd want to walk or bike as-is.
We all pay for things via taxes/fees/tolls that we probably wouldn't choose to. Fact of life. Get over it. No part of this bridge is likely to be cost effective. Has anyone ever seen a public works project that was? (Possibly Hoover dam - under budget and completed early)
July 8, 2008 9:57 PM
Erik Halstead Says:
lunaclara wrote: Has anyone ever seen a public works project that was?
Most, if not all, of the Columbia River dams, have been.
The National Highway System turns an "operational profit", meaning that it takes in more revenues from the gas tax than it spends on maintenance of the same highways.
The government bailout of Conrail was somewhat successful.
Until the 1980s, the Forest Service and BLM raked in the dough, until most of its lands were put under severe restrictions.
There is at least one TriMet bus line (yes, you read it right) that is "profitable"; meaning it takes in more in farebox revenue than its operational costs and its' "shared system" costs (it's share of TriMet corporate overhead). Several other bus routes come close.
But whether government is "cost-effective" isn't the entire issue; government exists to serve the public, so value is also described in how well a government service serves the public. A bridge that serves nearly 200,000 people a day, versus a Streetcar line that serves less than 10,000? The bridge collects revenue (through the gas tax) but the Streetcar only collects fares from a few of its passengers? The bridge that is a cog in the regional transportation system? The Streetcar system whose contribution to the regional transportation system is sketchy at best, but is built as a transportation system component?
I don't question the value of libraries which are indisputably not "cost-effective"; they generate very little if any revenue but provide far greater public benefit. The Multnomah County library system checks out 28 books per Multnomah County resident; while TriMet provides 62 rides per tri-county resident; therefore should we shut down the Multnomah County library system because it isn't as effective as TriMet? On the other hand, a book can be checked out for three weeks, so 28*3=84 weeks of reading pleasure - those 62 rides on TriMet provides for one round-trip a day for only two months.