June 25, 2010
Merc Covers 8-lane CRC Discussion
Sarah Mirk continues her excellent coverage of the Columbia River Crossing - the best of any of our mainstream media.
June 25, 2010 7:19 PM
Just Saying Says:
The article says the current plan is to reduce the number of trips across the bridge by 15 percent and an 8 lane bridge would require 37 percent. Is there really a plan for achieving even that 15 percent reduction that has been modeled and approved? My take is that there hasn't. It is just a number to plug into the models to allow the DOT's preferred option to meet air quality standards.
It is assumed that higher transit and alternative goals are good. But not if there is no realistic plan for achieving them. They become a way to avoid actually addressing the real impacts of the project.
As the head of WashDOT makes clear, there really is not political will on the Washington side for any constraints on the amount of traffic that crosses the bridge. Which is why there is no specific plan for achieving those goals. Its just an empty promise.
Once you start talking specifics, the political price is the same whether you are trying to get to 15% or 37%. The difference between a $2 toll on both the I5 and I205 bridge and a $3.50 toll is not going to matter to people in Washington who oppose ANY tolls that are designed to reduce traffic.
The 8 lane plan is actually the way you determine how high the tolls need to be. You first decide how much traffic the system can handle, then you set the tolls to achieve those numbers. The problem with that method is that it may mean you raise less money than you would with a lower toll and more traffic.
June 25, 2010 9:08 PM
There are only two things that could decrease demand of the bridges by any measurable amount: Negative population growth or an even worse economy. I don't think either of those are a goal for the region so it doesn't make sense to make traffic reduction a goal.
The bridge should be built in terms of "How can we move X cars past this point with minimal congestion?" The X should be a realistic number that follows historical trends, not some wishy washy number that is unrealistic.
I think what we will find is that the demand for road space X is going to be much larger then the entire I-5 through Portland can handle, and the price tag just to meet that demand is going to make even the bicycle riding greenies wish that we hadn't neglected the highways for so long.
June 26, 2010 8:01 AM
Just Saying Says:
"There are only two things that could decrease demand of the bridges by any measurable amount"
Actually that isn't true. How many people use the bridge depends on the attractiveness, cost and convenience of alternatives. There are a lot of things that can change how people make that evaluation.
June 26, 2010 12:39 PM
Douglas K. Says:
There are only two things that could decrease demand of the bridges by any measurable amount: Negative population growth or an even worse economy.
Other options: more bridges elsewhere across the Columbia and a dramatic increase in telecommuting.
"How can we move X cars past this point with minimal congestion?"
Peak pricing, if the goal is simply to get to minimal congestion. Also incentives to get employers to stagger their shift times to move more traffic off-peak, and greater use of carpooling. You don't need to do anything with the bridges except part-time tolling if the only concern is congestion.