Willamette Week Tracks the CRC

WWeek has two blogs posts on the Columbia River Crossing today:

The drama continues…

51 Comments

51 Responses to Willamette Week Tracks the CRC

  1. al m
    December 10, 2012 at 9:45 pm Link

    So far, Oregon and Washington taxpayers have paid about $160 million for planning costs; construction has been delayed to 2014 at the earliest.

    What do you expect out of gubmint? Nothing but waste and cronyism.

  2. ws
    December 10, 2012 at 10:32 pm Link

    The wasted costs are something liberals and conservatives should both agree on.

  3. al m
    December 10, 2012 at 10:36 pm Link

    The wasted costs are something liberals and conservatives should both agree on.

    YUP!

    What in the world did they spend $160 million on, insanity right before our eyes. Think of all the people that are cashing in on this!

  4. Bob R.
    December 10, 2012 at 11:05 pm Link

    What do you expect out of gubmint? Nothing but waste and cronyism.

    I expect much more, as do others… which makes it all the more necessary to hold feet to the fire (metaphorically, of course).

  5. Nick theoldurbanist
    December 11, 2012 at 8:29 am Link

    Like I’ve been saying all along, this project is never going to be built in our lifetimes.

  6. igor
    December 11, 2012 at 10:29 am Link

    This whole process has been entertaining, but the ticket price is a bit high.

    Digging a tunnel seems like a better and better alternative. The current bridge could be left for local traffic and bikes.

  7. Max D
    December 11, 2012 at 11:07 am Link

    Does anyone know of any organized protest to this thing? I think the ORegon Democrats are simply blinded by the allure of so much federal money to see this fiasco for what it is. I also fear that they will stop at nothing (including Common Sense!) to build it.

  8. Chris Smith
    December 11, 2012 at 11:21 am Link

    There is an effort to lobby the legislature. Contact me offline if you’d like to get involved.

  9. Ron Swaren
    December 11, 2012 at 2:20 pm Link

    Good luck with your lobbying—- since METRO area voters turned out CRC opponents Katie Eyre Brewer, Shawn Lindsay and Matt Wand, you have made it much tougher. And getting more power will be CRC staunch supporters Tobias Read and Tina Kotek.

    Luckily two counties in the area—-Clackamas and Clark—-now have conservative, anti-CRC majorities, but these don’t have direct decision making authority on the CRC. But I am hoping they will still issue clear statements to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee for the CRC, and also to the new OR House speaker. ( the aforementiond CRC proponent Kotek). We will have to wait and see who actually lands on the Oversight Committee, but Rep. Nancy Nathanson, Rep. Cliff Bentz, Sen. Lee Beyer and Chuck Thomsen have tended toward the skeptic camp. But now we are missing some clear opponents, as mention in par. 1.

    But with Intel announcing a huge new expansion a month ago that may eventually spin off 20-25,000 jobs its just more clear evidence that Beaverton Hillsboro is the fastest growing area and the least served by transportation connections. Since even a CRC replacement would probably be a decade away how are the new commuters going to get there?
    Clark COunty residents working in Oregon already bring in $150 million/yr, so this figure should grow with this new expansion. Why should the State turn this extra income away?

    You don’t really think there is going to be any change in this trend over the next twenty years? Really? And even a CRC project with its 1.5 mile MAX line in Vancouver would just give commuters a long complicated ride, that would still begin and end by car.

    The CSA is basically a non starter. It’s too limited in the modes it would encompass. Better would be a new interstate bridge and a highway that can be used by mass transit and cyclists, also.

    Vancouver to Hwy 26 is six miles less this way than via I-5 and US 26.
    http://oregoncatalyst.com/9174-time-west-side-interstate-route.html

    This could both be an express transit route, and also provide needed links to US Hwy30, I-405 and US 26. The measurably shorter route makes it also cyclable.

  10. al m
    December 11, 2012 at 2:25 pm Link

    I expect much more, as do others.

    I think we all expect it, but do we ever get it?
    NO!

    Don’t forget who gubmint ‘works’ for!
    It is NOT the citizens that is for sure.

  11. Chris I
    December 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm Link

    Why would anyone buy a house in Vancouver if they work at Intel? This behavior is baffling to me. Let them sit in their cars. We don’t need to spend $4 billion dollars when there is plenty of available land in Washington County…

  12. Chris I
    December 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm Link

    Why would anyone buy a house in Vancouver if they work at Intel? This behavior is baffling to me. Let them sit in their cars. We don’t need to spend $4 billion dollars when there is plenty of available land in Washington County…

  13. Allan
    December 11, 2012 at 4:33 pm Link

    Less people will do that commute if it sucks more. Use congestion to limit the number of Clark county commuters – unless you see them as more desirable than equally-rich oregonians

  14. Lenny Anderson
    December 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm Link

    Actually, not many do. Most commuters from Clark work in N and NE PDX. Building a freeway for the relative few that make that poor decision makes no sense at all, less even than a new bridge for I-5.

  15. Allan
    December 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm Link

    Lenny- you have repeated that claim often and I’m inclined to believe you. However- do you have a link to statistics?

  16. al m
    December 11, 2012 at 8:06 pm Link

    Lenny got no links but he does a good STAND UP ACT!

  17. Ron Swaren
    December 12, 2012 at 9:35 am Link

    Andersons statistics, when he has them, are from 2000, so a lot has changed and a lot more will. The Intel expansion kicked off in the late 1980′s and triggered both a growth wave AND the the new level of congestion on I-5 and the bridges. Before that it was tolerable; Now it’s a total pain. If you can get someplace where you can look (like from Kaiser, for example) you can see a bigger stream of traffic in the afternoon coming off i-405 northbound than coming through on I-5.

    Anderson expects people to bicycle, but he expects more big rig trailers on the highways at the same time? That’s where the traffic fatalities are. What about getting it on rail instead?

    People buy houses in Vancouver for a number of good reasons: 1. Lower costs 2. Lower taxes 3. No tax on retirement income (helps for military or civil service retirees, many of them get a secon career )3. Residences are being built in scenic areas, and presumably the waterfront development will have them, w/ Columbia R and Mt Hood views 4. New condos in the existing downtown are much less than in Portland 5. Maybe they don’t like Portlanders? I don’t think you can know all of the reasons unless you ask them. And personally, I am even looking at the possibility of a floating home in Ridgefield, at least as an option.

    Finally, since some people can’t read apparently, a third bridge and a route to US 26 would also connect to Hwy 30 and to the West side Bike Trail that METRO is planning, so this should be a winner for all sides. When you establish a shorter route it is not just for cars’ benefit. Bus trips take less time, too. And bike trips become feasible for more people.

    There is also a more distant possibility of commuter travel on AMTRAK. Therefore the small, mile and a half stub of the MAX that CRC proposes to Clark College, and the multibillion future extension eastward and then to PDX should not even be given any serious consideration.

  18. Lenny Anderson
    December 12, 2012 at 6:09 pm Link

    Metro had a consultant crunch 2000 census data origin and destination of 16 employment areas in the region. The clustering was impressive…people do live close to where they work. Time for someone to crunch 2010 data for the same info. I would argue that there are no strong trends, except more demand to live closer in…based on housing prices, etc.
    Its important to note that the obstacle to moving freight is too many SOVs in the peak hours. Helping folks discover the joys of biking or transit for their commute makes room on key freeways and arterials for essential trips, including freight. Its a low cost win-win. Why not?

  19. Nobody
    December 12, 2012 at 6:34 pm Link

    Reducing the commute for a Clark County -> Beaverton commuter isn’t really worth the price tag of this bridge. The people who do this commute will either a) decide that the congestion is worth it because of the reasons that Ron states or b) decide they’d prefer to reduce their commute and live somewhere closer to where they work. People make such choices all the time. If this bridge got built you’d still have to widen I5 from the bridge all the way to 405 (and probably beyond), otherwise the bottleneck just shifts to the other side of the bridge, so the bridge cost is only a portion of the total cost for a quicker commute.

    It’s hard for me to understand why this should be a priority for the state of Oregon.

  20. al m
    December 12, 2012 at 6:49 pm Link

    is too many SOVs in the peak hours.

    Yes indeed.
    I would argue that the SUV is to personal mobility vehicles as streetcars are to mass transit vehicles.

    All about opulence, luxury and ego

  21. Nick theoldurbanist
    December 12, 2012 at 9:54 pm Link

    ” Helping folks discover the joys of biking or transit for their commute…”

    >>>> What, the joys biking in cold rainy weather or riding the pokey inflexible MAX and crowed buses that don’t show up on time? Gimme a break! It’s a good I retired before I moved here as I would never want to depend on Trimet to commute to work.

  22. Bob R.
    December 12, 2012 at 11:47 pm Link

    Al, FYI, SOV refers to Single-Occupancy Vehicle, a technical way of saying a car driven alone. Lenny wasn’t referring to SUVs, although obviously many SUVs are being operated as SOVs much of the time. But if I continue prattling on about this, someone may apply the SOB moniker to me, and then I’d be SOL.

  23. Chris I
    December 13, 2012 at 9:36 am Link

    Nick,

    My bike is more reliable than any car I’ve ever owned. My commute always takes the same amount of time, as I can bypass any and all car traffic along the way. Once you get over the problems with weather and exercise (which some people view as a negative, oddly), you discover an amazing feeling of freedom. We should be doing everything we can to foster a safe environment for cyclists so more people can discover this.

  24. Lenny Anderson
    December 13, 2012 at 11:14 am Link

    The old downhill ski racer in me loves winter bike commuting. Hey is this Oregon! Buy a jacket and suck it up. re transit, its great to know that I have a 72 leaving Swan Island every 12 minutes or an 85 that gets me to the RQTC in about 8 minutes. We have a great transit system in Portland; let’s celebrate it. I hear this all the time from new Swan Island employees from cities around the world.

  25. Allan
    December 13, 2012 at 11:25 am Link

    In order to reduce congestion only some people need to shift modes because congestion is non-linear. People like Nick never need to bike in the rain for congestion to be reduced.

    If congestion is reduced some non-drivers will find driving more appealing. The current tools we have for reducing congestion (like this bridge) are counter to the goals of building a city. If we succeed at building a great place, congestion will get worse, not better. This will lead to more people choosing to bike/take transit/walk even in the rain. If the alternative (driving) doesn’t get worse (traffic, costs, etc) why would we expect anything to change?

    The CRC will make it more convenient to drive across the river (a goal for some), which will delay congestion and enable more SOV’s to cross the Columbia. But, all the people who choose to use their time & money making that commute are people not spending their money on housing, shopping and everything else in urban spaces and this will not help the cities thrive.

    Why would that be something we want to spend $4 Billion plus interest on?

  26. al m
    December 13, 2012 at 12:12 pm Link

    Oh, haha….

  27. al m
    December 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm Link

    We have a great transit system in Portland; let’s celebrate it.

    It’s certainly one of the more expensive to ride.

    Too bad it hemorrhaging ridership

  28. EngineerScotty
    December 13, 2012 at 2:32 pm Link

    October ridership was down about 1% from the prior year (with an increase in bus usage, and a decline in MAX usage). TriMet attributes that to the end of Free Rail Zone.

    That’s actually better than I would expect, due to the severity of service cuts.

    Haven’t seen any November numbers yet, though they should be out Real Soon Now… the recent drop in gasoline prices might have a negative impact on ridership, as it makes cars look a bit more attractive.

  29. EngineerScotty
    December 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm Link

    October ridership was down about 1% from the prior year (with an increase in bus usage, and a decline in MAX usage). TriMet attributes that to the end of Free Rail Zone.

    That’s actually better than I would expect, due to the severity of service cuts.

    Haven’t seen any November numbers yet, though they should be out Real Soon Now… the recent drop in gasoline prices might have a negative impact on ridership, as it makes cars look a bit more attractive.

  30. al m
    December 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm Link

    Bike Portland did an article that showed that year after year Trimet share of commuter market is decreasing compared to every other type of mobility!

    And that chart covered more than 10 years if I remember correctly

  31. al m
    December 13, 2012 at 6:52 pm Link

    And the ridership numbers are suspicious anyway.
    One person doing one round trip= 4 trips the way Trimet counts trips. Every time you get on and off a bus is two trips. So somebody taking the bus multiple times a day would be counted twice each time they boarded.

    In reality the actual number of people using transit is hard to quantify.

  32. Bob R.
    December 13, 2012 at 8:13 pm Link

    Every time you get on and off a bus is two trips.

    That’s just not true at all. Source?

    In reality the actual number of people using transit is hard to quantify.

    Actually, TriMet also keeps track of linked journeys (one-way trips which require a transfer between multiple vehicles). These are called “originating rides” in the statistics. That way, you can compare boardings to originating rides and figure out how many transfers, on average, a typical one-way journey takes.

    TriMet also does periodic surveys to produce demographic profiles, and to determine how many people in our region ride transit. (Because not everyone rides transit every day, the number of people who utilize transit in some form at some time or another is greater than the percentage of the population served on any given day.)

  33. EngineerScotty
    December 13, 2012 at 10:29 pm Link

    A crude way to estimate trips is to count morning commuters and multiply by two (or some coefficient close to two), on the assumption that a) most trips are round trips, and b) the return journey is likely to be also counted in the survey.

    Obviously, that methodology is highly unsophisticated, and I hope TriMet is more sophisticated in its analysis. Given that automated passenger-counting technology is available (and in TriMet’s possession), there’s no reason to limit counting to one time of day and double; passenger counters (whether automated, or bus drivers with a clicker) running full-time is entirely practical, and this technique gets both legs of a round trip.

    The distinction between “boarding rides” (everytime someone steps on a transit vehicle, whether at the start of a journey or after a transfer) and “originating rides” is well-known and standard in the industry; it is not a nefarious plot to boost ridership statistics to publish boarding-ride figures. Boarding rides are easier to count, as a driver or APC will in general not know if a passenger is transferring. The passenger may have a pass, or be boarding a vehicle that uses proof-of-payment fare enforcement; in either case a transfer slip will not be produced.

  34. Lenny Anderson
    December 14, 2012 at 9:26 am Link

    I just got the Fall 2012 numbers, and what really jumps out is that there are about 20 bus routes that carry at least 4,000 riders per day, the bulk of bus riders. The 4 bus tops the list at about 17K; about the same as the relatively short MAX Yellow Line. MAX ridership is impressive (more than 1/3 of all riders) when you note that its really only one east/west line with a couple of branches and half a north/south line. Completion of the system will easily take it to about half of TriMet’s ridership.
    Are there some federal standards for these counts so that every recepient of FTA funds counts in the same way? That makes city to city comparisons valid in which Portland scores quite well for a medium sized city. Likewise if a methodology is relatively constant over time, regardless of variability, trends are valid.

  35. Lenny Anderson
    December 14, 2012 at 9:43 am Link

    Allen’s comment is right on! If everyone switched from private cars to transit, bike, etc., we would have a real mess.
    Its important to remember that about 1/3 of the trips in the I-5 corridor across the River are local. A good chunk for the CRC proposal is for freeway interchange expansions to accommodate all those Ons and Offs while keeping all of the interchanges which are much too frequent by any standard. Why not a “Broadway Bridge” over the Columbia with an extension of MLK to downtown Vancouver, light rail and good bike/ped facilities? That alone would reduce trips on the existing freeway bridges enough to make them last another 50 years with a seismic retrofit. Hayden Island could be served by the local bridge and those freeway ramps closed. It might even be doable without tolls using federal New Starts and existing state DOT funds.

  36. al m
    December 14, 2012 at 12:19 pm Link

    MAX ridership is impressive (more than 1/3 of all riders) when you note that its really only one east/west line with a couple of branches and half a north/south line. Completion of the system will easily take it to about half of TriMet’s ridership.

    ~~> And that somehow justifies the dismantling of the bus service and the billion and half dollars?

    And Bob,Can you explain to me how trimet is able to track ‘linked’ journeys?

  37. Bob R.
    December 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm Link

    the dismantling of the bus service and the billion and half dollars

    Bus service is certainly feeling a strain in the past 4-5 years, but it is not being “dismantled”. Cutbacks, yes, but there have also been MAX cutbacks.

    And Bob,Can you explain to me how trimet is able to track ‘linked’ journeys?

    From what I understand it’s from periodic on-board rider surveys, a scientific sample. The number has remained relatively stable over the years.

  38. Nobody
    December 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm Link

    al m: I’d take anything Bike Portland publishes with a grain of salt. Jonathan is first and foremost a bike advocate (by his own admission), he cherry picks information that makes bikes look better and frequently ignores information that runs counter to his point. When he’s called out he usually says, “I’m only one person” or “I’m not the Oregonian,” in other words, he can’t be held responsible for his own shoddy journalism.

  39. Bob R.
    December 14, 2012 at 2:17 pm Link

    “Nobody” — are you the same person who has posted here previously under that moniker? If you intend to comment more often, perhaps an alternate (but permanent) screen name is appropriate, especially if you are calling out the actions of other people by their real name.

  40. al m
    December 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm Link

    BUS- Quarterly trips were up 2.9 percent to 15,350,500
    MAX-Quarterly trips were down 7 percent to 9,662,600

    From what I understand it’s from periodic on-board rider surveys, a scientific sample.

    Whatever you say Bob, they (trimess) certainly would not manipulate facts to make things look different from the way they are would they?

  41. al m
    December 14, 2012 at 8:18 pm Link

    Doesn’t anybody else find it funny that since rail ridership is crashing hard Trimet decides to go quarterly on their statistics.

    They sure enjoyed bragging month after month about the rail when the ridership was going up.

    TriMet is shifting from monthly ridership reports to quarterly numbers to “get a broader view” of trends, Fetsch said.

    Ya right, a broader view, ya that’s it.

  42. Nobody
    December 14, 2012 at 8:40 pm Link

    Bob R.: Same person. I prefer to post under this screenname.

    Per the rules:

    “If you prefer to use a pseudonym, please use the same one consistently.”

  43. al m
    December 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm Link

    BTW ‘nobody’ I have never found Jonathan Maus to intentionally distort any of his articles.

    Actually he is one of the better researchers out here.

    I’ve been reading his stuff for years and have never had an issue with any of it.

    Of course he’s pro bicyclist!
    That’s who he is!
    Nothing wrong with being pro bicyclist.

  44. Bob R.
    December 14, 2012 at 9:18 pm Link

    Just wanted to make sure you were the same person and not someone else showing up anonymously.

  45. Bob R.
    December 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm Link

    You can find the monthly reports here:

    http://trimet.org/about/performance.htm

  46. al m
    December 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm Link

    Bob you’re not even paying attention.
    Sheesh!

  47. Bob R.
    December 17, 2012 at 10:29 am Link

    I asked TriMet for confirmation on how “originating rides” are calculated… the answer:

    The transfer rate is based on data from the fare survey. We ask respondents about if they transfer (and how many times) to complete the trip they get the survey on. We have used the same question for about 20 years and the results have been quite consistent from year-to-year. Currently the transfer rate is about 1.27 (i.e. divide boarding rides by 1.27 to get originating rides).

  48. al m
    December 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm Link

    Currently the transfer rate is about 1.27 (i.e. divide boarding rides by 1.27 to get originating rides)

    ~~~>whatever….

  49. Bob R.
    December 18, 2012 at 10:58 am Link

    It’s an important number, Al.

    If changes to the network over time cause more people to have to transfer, that number would gradually increase. But in TriMet’s case, the number shows that on balance, changes to the network have not resulted in that increase (it’s a frequent criticism).

    Put another way, for every route change that inconveniences a single-seat rider by introducing a transfer, there are riders whose journey has been improved to a single-seat ride.

    It’s also very likely the case that a subset riders themselves organize around routes … this number can indicate the tolerance level for transfers. So some discretionary trips by non-transit-dependent riders may be abandoned, while others are embraced.

    On the other hand, a very low number (such as 1.00) could actually be a bad thing… Unless you’ve got point-to-point service for every rider (think LIFT, which is very expensive per-ride), a 1.00 number is a sign of a network that never connects — transfers are impossible — so therefore the only rides that take place are on a single vehicle with few possible destinations and ridership would plummet.

    Interestingly, the number could never drop below 1.00, even in the event of spontaneous human combustion or rapture, as the calculation is based on boardings. Once you step on, you could teleport away without affecting the value.

  50. Bob R.
    December 20, 2012 at 10:09 am Link

    From TriMet today:

    We’ve updated our Performance Dashboard with the latest data for November 2012. The dashboard provides a visual snapshot of ridership, cost per ride, on-time performance, revenues and safety, along with analysis and data. Updated monthly, these key indicators help us identify trends and measure our efficiency and effectiveness.

    http://trimet.org/about/dashboard.htm

    It appears TriMet is continuing to publish monthly figures.

  51. Nick theoldurbanist
    December 20, 2012 at 10:29 am Link

    Where can I find the ridership figures, line by line, that Lenny mentioned?

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