February 2013 Open Thread

Is it groundhog day yet? Is it groundhog day yet? Is it groundhog day yet? Is it groundho….

Regardless of whether or not Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, ’tis time for another open thread.

  • Longtime Portland Transport reader, and former TriMet bus driver Al Margulies is the lead plaintiff in a pending class action suit against the agency. The suit alleges that TriMet does not, and has not, adequately compensated drivers for so-called “start-end time”; time spend traveling between the start and end of their shifts, when their last route ends somewhere other than where their first route starts. TriMet is required to pay for this time–drivers remain on the clock until they get back to wherever their shift started. The suit alleges that when runs are late, TriMet pays based on scheduled time rather than actual time, does not adequately keep records to compute actual time, and makes it difficult for undercompensated drivers to make up the difference.
    Al has indicated that due to the legal process, he is unable to comment on the specifics of this case.
  • Portland mayor Charlie Hales is proposing dropping the YouthPass program, which was a source of some controversy last summer when former mayor Sam Adams strong-armed TriMet to keep the program in place. Apparently, the city’s contribution last year was from a one-time revenue source. A petition has been started to keep the program.
  • The new Clackamas County Commission is sending a letter to TriMet asking that PMLR stop at the county line; the report hints at further legal difficulties. The letter being drafted doesn’t make any demands, apparently–just a polite request. Of course, construction is proceeding in the county as I write this, none of the variants proposed in the FEIS (either the full line or the minimum operable segment) limit themselves to Multnomah County, and Clackamas County has already given TriMet their contribution to the project…
  • Metro with an interesting article on suburban transit. Getting suburban commuters out of cars can have significant environmental benefits–but the problem, of course, is that the development patterns in most of Portland’s suburbs are car-friendly and transit-hostile, and as a result, transit service outside the core is spotty.
108 Comments

108 Responses to February 2013 Open Thread

  1. Chris I
    February 1, 2013 at 9:31 am Link

    Do Clackamas county representatives really believe that they would be better off if construction was halted? They would be left with the blight of partially completed construction sites, bridges, cleared land, condemned businesses. Is there something in the water out there?

  2. EngineerScotty
    February 1, 2013 at 11:18 am Link

    Apparently, there are a few outstanding items from the County due to TriMet:

    1) A few parcels of real estate along the line, and

    2) Annual operations payments of ~$1M for once the line opens.

    Neither of these, of course, is a back-breaker for county finances. County officials have often expressed concern about “Portland creep”, but since conservatives now control the county commission, they can essentially block upzoning in any of the unincorporated areas of the county (including around the Park Avenue station). Zoning within city limits is the business of city governments, not the Commission.

  3. al m
    February 1, 2013 at 11:55 am Link

    Not everybody buys the “portland is a paradise” paradigm that has been relentlessly sold over and over by the various government propaganda departments.

    Then there is the issue of Trimet tyranny, which I know members of this site poo poo.

    What nobody over here seems to understand is that there is a revolution out here in America against the government shoving projects down the citizens throats.

    And its the democrats that are doing the shoving.

    It’s the democrats that lose these elections, not the republicans that win them.

  4. jimbobpdx
    February 1, 2013 at 12:15 pm Link

    So, Al, how’re the Republicans working out for your brothers and sisters in Michican, Wisconsin, Indiana? Best of luck in your new adventures with the GOP!

  5. EngineerScotty
    February 1, 2013 at 12:19 pm Link

    Firstly, “paradise” is in the eye of the beholder. Some people define paradise as the Pearl District, others define paradise as a nice two-story suburban home on a large lot, in a nice gentrified neighborhood with good schools, and a quick drive into downtown if you want to go the opera. Much of the disagreement over “portland creep” is over visions of what the community at large should look like. Many in Clackamas County seem to fear that places such as Oak Grove or Damascus will soon one day turn into SoWa–a prospect that seems to be rather unlikely. Even with smart-growthers on the Commission, it didn’t happen; for a SoWa to develop there needs to be a large demand for housing in a particular spot. And unless the Portland metro population were to increase several-fold, SoWa-style density throughout the suburbs is simply not possible–density requires that the “people” numerator be raised, after all. Simple math.

    As far as a “revolution”, no. What is going on is democracy in action. If Clackamas County doesn’t want to densify, they don’t have to. MLR is too far along to stop now (and the city of Milwaukie seems to want the project), but it’s safe to say that further extensions of LRT into the county won’t happen for quite a while, and not unless and until the political culture accepts it. If Tootie and company were on the county commission ten years ago, PMLR likely would not have happened, or it WOULD have stopped at Tacoma Street; but during the process that the project was being planned, county leaders supported it, and there was little organized opposition.

    As far as your partisan positions–I’ll simply note that the GOP is equally guilty of “social engineering” in places where it has power; only it seeks to promote more freeways and more sprawl in many such places. Neither party, unfortunately, seems to embrace good governance as a fundamental creed (they may give lip service to it, but that’s all). Both have their patrons and paymasters who demand pork. All in all; I personally find the Democrats’ patrons (including public employee labor, as well as the “smart growth” lobby, such as it is) to be far less obnoxious than those of the GOP (in particular, Wall Street, big oil, and the military-industrial complex). Since there is no election upcoming, I don’t mind saying this–obviously, my statement should not be considered an endorsement for any particular candidate for public office, as this IS a 501(c) blog…

    As someone noted in another thread: The true cons and larceny happen in Washington DC. In a sane world, TriMet, its union, and its riders would be cooperating to grow the pie, and getting new sources of revenues to pay for both expansion of service, as well as improving the quality of the service we have today, rather than fighting among themselves over the crumbs.

  6. Lenny Anderson
    February 1, 2013 at 3:42 pm Link

    Thanks ES, all well said. Now, back to Streetcar and tax abatements. In addition to affordable housing, one can receive an abatement for restoration of historic structures. Offering such incentives are policy matters based on broadly accepted goals: we need more jobs, more affordable housing and want to preserve historic structures. I think there is some confusion re abatements and URAs that use tax increment funding for projects, including Streetcar. Actually, abatements reduce TIF income in URAs, but policy drives both. If you don’t like the policy, run for City Council! Most of the capital costs of the original NS Streetcar line are being paid for by an LID of property owners adjacent to the line. What’s the beef there?
    URA funds came into play for the SoWa extension and that plus federal money (its either Portland or Salt Lake City) for the Loop. Both had their origins in the Central City Plan…a vision with from the 80’s that had broad input and support.

  7. dwainedibbly
    February 1, 2013 at 5:58 pm Link

    I could swear that I heard on OPB the other morning that both Clackamas and Washington counties were become more Democratic. Can this be true?

    The Clackistan Commission wants to remove choice from those residents there who want to use PMLR. I can’t understand how the opposition doesn’t seem to understand that people on light rail mean fewer cars on the road.

  8. EngineerScotty
    February 1, 2013 at 6:41 pm Link

    TriMet and ATU757 have apparently reached an agreement limiting “double-back” shifts, a major source of safety concerns as exposed by Joseph Rose’s reporting.

    TriMet’s annoucement: http://media.trimet.org/trimet-and-atu-reach-tentative-agreement-on-bus-operators-hours-of-service/

    ATU’s announcement: http://www.atu757.org/PressRelease020113.pdf

  9. Erik H.
    February 2, 2013 at 9:04 pm Link

    •Metro with an interesting article on suburban transit. Getting suburban commuters out of cars can have significant environmental benefits–but the problem, of course, is that the development patterns in most of Portland’s suburbs are car-friendly and transit-hostile, and as a result, transit service outside the core is spotty.

    What I got out of that article was not the same tired “the suburbs are car-friendly not transit friendly” cop-out excuse, but rather TriMet has not been receptive, thanks to Portland and Metro dominated planning, to providing a good high quality of suburban service.

    Sherwood is actually a remarkably pedestrian friendly community and it’s getting better. But the transit sucks. Not because of how it’s planned, but because of TriMet. The crappy, unreliable 94 bus makes transit suck – not the city’s planning.

    Why should some residents of Tigard have to take a bus to downtown Portland, in order to get to some of Tigard’s industrial areas? Why is there no service between Tualatin and Sherwood, despite a road that carries over 30,000 vehicles a day with just two travel lanes (whose functional capacity is around 24,000 vehicles per day). Why is there no service to the industrial areas along Herman or Tualatin Roads? That isn’t poor zoning, it’s poor TriMet.

    Why can’t a Tualatin resident commute by bus to Oregon City, without taking a 30 mile detour? Not planning – TriMet. Why can’t a Sherwood resident who works in Hillsboro take transit without four transfers? The Forest Grove resident who lives in a densely developed residential neighborhood that TriMet refuses to extend a bus to, but the folks in downtown Portland claim that they are owed the Streetcar because TriMet had an “obligation” to enhance service beyond the six bus routes that they could – but refuse – to use?

  10. Ron Swaren
    February 3, 2013 at 9:19 pm Link

    Looks like they’re getting creative on the bus routes in Central Oregon:
    http://www.kgw.com/news/local/1M-in-drugs-seized-from-bus-in-C-Oregon-189380221.html
    I’d be supportive of some sort of state funding for long distance bus travel in this state. (But this funding source is one I hadn’t considered ;)

  11. Jason McHuff
    February 4, 2013 at 12:52 am Link

    But the transit sucks [in Sherwood].

    I would think that a good amount of people are coming from/going to areas outside of the TriMet district given that it’s on the edge.

    Why should some residents of Tigard have to take a bus to downtown Portland, in order to get to some of Tigard’s industrial areas?

    What origin/destination pairs require going all the way to downtown Portland and back?

    Why is there no service between Tualatin and Sherwood, despite a road that carries over 30,000 vehicles a day

    TriMet has considered this in the past. Besides many of these vehicles probably not representing commuters/people who could possibly take transit, there’s the issue of collecting/dispersing riders at either end.

    Why can’t a Sherwood resident who works in Hillsboro take transit

    Really, a Hillsboro employee shouldn’t be living in Sherwood. It’s not the best use of resources whatever mode they’re using.

    the six bus routes that they could – but refuse – to use?

    Given the immense employment and residential increases in South Waterfront (which is somewhat isolated), isn’t it reasonable to expand transit service to the area? Now Portland chose streetcars instead of more buses, but since they paid for construction and contribute to operations, that’s their issue.

  12. chrisw443
    February 4, 2013 at 3:09 am Link

    I love portland and now am very happy to say I live here. Indiana isn’t this mild half the year! So portland really is a paradise for folks who have been stuck in cartopia. Why people in clackmas county enjoy sitting on the 33 for an hour to get 8 miles is beyond me. That orange line will be built, and as the green line will slowly become a part of life. I have a very interesting question however.

    WHY IS THE 58 ALWAYS LATE? Seriously theres only a few stops.

  13. Nick theoldurbanist
    February 4, 2013 at 8:15 am Link

    “WHY IS THE 58 ALWAYS LATE?”

    >>>> It runs on Highway 26 for part of the way.

  14. EngineerScotty
    February 4, 2013 at 9:00 am Link

    Actually, I’ve long thought that better SW transit connections would be useful–particularly, as Erik notes, a route serving Sherwood, Wanker’s Corner (careful where you put the apostrophe), Willamette, West Linn, OC, and on to Clackamas. A route from Sherwood up Roy Rogers Road into South Cooper Mountain/Progress Ridge might be useful as well, even though much of that route is rural.

    How much local service places like Sherwood and Tualatin should receive, is an interesting question. Periodic circulator service in the two cities (whether connecting, or separate) is probably justified) on coverage grounds–which is more than TriMet provides today.

  15. Douglas K
    February 4, 2013 at 10:18 am Link

    I wonder: would it benefit Tualatin and Sherwood to leave Tri-Met and join SMART? I’m sure somebody’s looked at this already.

  16. EngineerScotty
    February 4, 2013 at 11:12 am Link

    I wonder: would it benefit Tualatin and Sherwood to leave Tri-Met and join SMART? I’m sure somebody’s looked at this already.

    SMART is a department within Wilsonville city government, not a standalone transit agency. Wilsonville is unusual for its high payroll/resident ratio, which made leaving TriMet a financial no-brainer for it. Both Tualatin and Sherwood are much more bedroom communities (particularly the latter)–I’m not sure the city of Wilsonville wants to subsidize transit in these two burgs any more than it wants to subsidize transit in Portland.

    One other interesting tidbit: The Tualatin Chamber of Commerce runs a free shuttle connecting TriMet to various local employers presently not served by transit.

  17. EngineerScotty
    February 4, 2013 at 11:13 am Link

    I wonder: would it benefit Tualatin and Sherwood to leave Tri-Met and join SMART? I’m sure somebody’s looked at this already.

    SMART is a department within Wilsonville city government, not a standalone transit agency. Wilsonville is unusual for its high payroll/resident ratio, which made leaving TriMet a financial no-brainer for it. Both Tualatin and Sherwood are much more bedroom communities (particularly the latter)–I’m not sure the city of Wilsonville wants to subsidize transit in these two burgs any more than it wants to subsidize transit in Portland.

    One other interesting tidbit: The Tualatin Chamber of Commerce runs a free shuttle connecting TriMet to various local employers presently not served by transit.

  18. Douglas K.
    February 4, 2013 at 2:17 pm Link

    SMART is a department within Wilsonville city government, not a standalone transit agency.

    Given that, it seems to me that the name “South Metro Area Regional Transit” is just a bit misleading in its implied mission and scope.

  19. Allan
    February 4, 2013 at 2:36 pm Link

    Given the number of jobs in Hillsboro and limited service hours, would they try to opt-out as well or is there some reason why they don’t. Also- why would a revenue-generating area like Wilsonville be allowed to get out of the system? It seems like this is a potentially easy way to dismantle quality transit service – segmentation

  20. EngineerScotty
    February 4, 2013 at 2:43 pm Link

    Well, it used to be called WART (seriously) but that name didn’t go over very well.

    Hillsboro, at least, has a MAX line and a frequent service bus passing through. And regarding the issue of “segmentation”; that about sums up the past several decades of suburban capital flight: haves segregating themselves from the have-nots.

  21. EngineerScotty
    February 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm Link

    Also, keep in mind that when Wilsonville left TriMet in 1987, it was, essentially, an incorporated exurban industrial park. I’m exaggerating, of course, but the city back then only had 6k-7k residents, rather than the 20k or so it has today. While some of the tax savings garnered from withdrawing from TriMet were used to fund SMART, much of it was instead simply used to lower corporate payroll taxes.

    That said, SMART provides decent service–intra-city routes are free, and rides to Canby, Salem, or Tigard/Barbur TC are cheaper than a TriMet pass. OTOH, there’s no Sunday service, no frequent service, and given Wilsonville’s sprawling nature, the city is much easier navigated by car.

  22. EngineerScotty
    February 4, 2013 at 4:37 pm Link

    LRT opponents in Clark County, angry that the city of Vancouver rejected a recent initiative petition to ban city funding of LRT due to insufficient signatures, as still at it; with Tim Eyman (Washington’s equivalent of Bill Sizemore, more or less) joining the ranks. (Unfortunately, a few less savory characters seem to be also getting involved…)

  23. Aaron Hall
    February 4, 2013 at 5:40 pm Link

    LESS savory than Tim Eyman? Is that possible? Now that’s scary.

  24. EngineerScotty
    February 4, 2013 at 5:51 pm Link

    Apparently a few big-time birthers are involved…

  25. Anandakos
    February 4, 2013 at 6:03 pm Link

    @al m,

    To what elections are you referring? In 2010, yes; Republicans were rampant on the back of the Tea Party “revolution”. But 2012? Not so much. Not only did 4 million more people vote for President Obama but also 2.5 million more voted for Democratic Senate candidates, and 1 million more for Democratic House candidates.

    Yes, the anti-democratic funders of ALEC and the SuperPAC’s kept the state houses at pretty much a standstill. That was largely helped by the egregious Gerrymandering by the post-2010 legislatures, but all’s fair in politics. Democrats have in the past and still do Gerrymander also.

    But it’s a bit of a stretch to blather about “all these elections that Democrats are losing”.

  26. Erik H.
    February 4, 2013 at 8:38 pm Link

    Really, a Hillsboro employee shouldn’t be living in Sherwood. It’s not the best use of resources whatever mode they’re using.

    [personally directed comments removed]

    SMART is a department within Wilsonville city government, not a standalone transit agency. Wilsonville is unusual for its high payroll/resident ratio, which made leaving TriMet a financial no-brainer for it. Both Tualatin and Sherwood are much more bedroom communities (particularly the latter)–I’m not sure the city of Wilsonville wants to subsidize transit in these two burgs any more than it wants to subsidize transit in Portland.

    TriMet was also taken over by the City of Portland; there’s no reason SMART could not be split from the City of Wilsonville – or, a new agency that would take over the SMART name be created, and Wilsonville would then turn over its transit services to the new SMART.

    Tualatin is also regarded as “job heavy” and has more jobs than population, I would likely believe Tigard is pretty close as well.

    OTOH, there’s no Sunday service, no frequent service, and given Wilsonville’s sprawling nature, the city is much easier navigated by car.

    Still, a thousand times better than what TriMet gave the city of Wilsonville when the 96 ran into town (weekday rush hour only service) – same with TriMet’s pathetic level of substandard service given to Canby and Sandy.

    Can you honestly say that Sherwood has “frequent service” – it’s now hourly or worse, except during weekday rush hours. And large parts of Sherwood lack service altogether – Wilsonville has made a very good effort of extending bus service throughout the town; and Saturday service is far more than TriMet’s total lack of weekend service. Is SMART perfect? No. But it’s better than TriMet’s status quo level of service.

  27. Ron Swaren
    February 4, 2013 at 9:47 pm Link

    Big money projects will be impossible to sustain:
    -CRC
    -SW Light rail
    -Clark Co. Light rail
    -Federal Way (WA) Light rail
    -Oregon High Speed rail
    -Washington High Speed rail

    Doing all of these things together is an impossibility. Please do the math.

  28. EngineerScotty
    February 4, 2013 at 10:14 pm Link

    Let’s keep things civil, gents.

    At any rate, if someone wants to work in Hillsboro and live in Sherwood, that’s their business. OTOH, it’s not unsurprising that there isn’t a direct TriMet route–most of the direct route between the two cities (Roy Rogers/Scholls Ferry/River Road) isn’t even in either the TriMet service district or the Urban Growth Boundary.

    TriMet was also taken over by the City of Portland

    Are you referring to the circumstances of TriMet’s founding–or is this a complaint that most of the service is concentrated in the urban core?

    At any rate, it is likely possible that SMART could be spun off as a transit district, and take over pretty much all urban transit south of the Tualatin River (and possibly pick off Durham and King City as well). Whether it is likely, I don’t know–there doesn’t seem to be any movement to do so. And yes, I agree–service to Wilsonville was poor back in the 1980s, and connecting service to Wilsonville still is.

    I don’t see anyone in this thread suggesting the 94 is frequent service. Back when the 12 ran all the way, one could get that impression if one didn’t check the schedule and note that the 12 short-lined at King City or thereabouts–but nobody pretends the 94 is frequent.

  29. Chris Smith
    February 4, 2013 at 10:15 pm Link

    Erik, I have edited out your ad hominem remarks, please don’t continue in that vein.

  30. al m
    February 4, 2013 at 10:50 pm Link

    @Anandakos

    us house:
    232 Republicans
    200 Democrats

    us senate:
    53 Democrats
    45 Republicans
    2 Independents

    majority in senate not enough to pass legislation due to senate rules and the house, we already know about that.

    Oregon is barely blue, I detailed that in some other post.

  31. Jason McHuff
    February 4, 2013 at 11:27 pm Link

    Still, a thousand times better than what TriMet gave the city of Wilsonville when the 96 ran into town

    And things were a lot different then. If Wilsonville was the size it was when TriMet left (1989 I think) and didn’t have the residences it has today, would it really make sense to run more than rush hour service?

    Also, I’d like to note that it seems that Wilsonville has had not only a high number of jobs, but a high number of higher-paying jobs, which further produces an unusually high amount of payroll taxes. I’m not sure an area consisting of retail jobs could do the same.

    And Canby transit service isn’t exactly excellent nowadays.

    But TriMet now has mid-day service along Airport Way, which is totally industrial and not exactly transit conducive.

  32. al m
    February 5, 2013 at 1:30 pm Link

    Much truth to THIS article

  33. al m
    February 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm Link

    Ya I know who wrote it but you can’t discount everything in the article just because you don’t like the author

  34. al m
    February 5, 2013 at 2:05 pm Link

    Now take a look at THIS article!

    How can anybody continue to support this sort of thing going on with OUR TAX DOLLARS!

    It’s despicable and directly related to the article previously posted.

  35. Chris I
    February 5, 2013 at 2:26 pm Link

    Al, from that NR article:

    “When the federal government allocates funds for particular types of infrastructure, the states are eager to grab their share, discounting any concerns about long-term efficiency. For light rail, cities typically receive federal subsidies for up-front capital costs, but down the road these systems have higher operating and maintenance costs than do buses.”

    I understand that the opposite is actually true about light rail operating costs. Not sure where he is coming up with this, and no citation is provided.

    I do agree that we need to get the Feds out of the transportation business. It’s funny that he mentions housing projects and light rail, but fails to mention urban freeways, heavily subsidized rural highways, auto pollution, auto deaths, etc, etc. Oregon should have the flexibility to design our own transportation system.

  36. Allan
    February 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm Link

    I think given that there was a big investment made in national highway and rail links a few stipulations should be made by the feds to maintain them. But I think the feds should leave transportation up to the states and not fund things at all. I wonder if this necessarily means getting rid of the national gas tax or if there is another way to continue that tradition while giving the monies back to the states where they are collected

  37. al m
    February 5, 2013 at 3:00 pm Link

    Gee whiz, I thought the “jewel of a transit agency” along with Portlands #1 ranking for bicycles would have certainly been awarded THIS!

  38. EngineerScotty
    February 5, 2013 at 3:36 pm Link

    Gee whiz, I thought the “jewel of a transit agency” along with Portlands #1 ranking for bicycles would have certainly been awarded THIS!

    Well, the IDTP are boosters of bus rapid transit, so it’s not surprising that TriMet hasn’t (yet) won any awards from them, seeing that we lack the technology that IDTP seeks to promote. :)

    Of course, I would love for us to have some BRT, particularly on the longer frequent-service corridors. And I mean everything from more queue jump lanes and signal priority, to dedicated full-length bus lanes where it is warranted, and thereby get some love from IDTP.

  39. EngineerScotty
    February 5, 2013 at 4:10 pm Link

    An agreement between TriMet and ATU757 on limiting overtime and excessively-long shifts is now signed off on.

  40. Ron Swaren
    February 5, 2013 at 5:03 pm Link

    “Oregon should have the flexibility to design our own transportation system.”

    But having David Evans and Associates design it doesn’t seem to be working. Besides milking the CRC for all it’s worth, they are apparently into the HS Rail scheme, too.

  41. EngineerScotty
    February 6, 2013 at 3:32 pm Link

    Lake Oswego city council repeals Foothills urban renewal district; a likely further nail in the coffin to the LO Streetcar (among other things).

  42. al m
    February 6, 2013 at 3:44 pm Link

    Why people refuse to take transit-the extreme example:

    One of the Worst Mass Transit Commute Horror Stories You Will Ever Read – Commute – The Atlantic Cities

  43. EngineerScotty
    February 6, 2013 at 4:12 pm Link

    That seems to be a bigger caution about traveling through tunnels (or on any infrastructure on/in which it is possible to get stuck), though being trapped in the dark in a tunnel (even in the absence of real danger) is likely far more unpleasant than being trapped on a bridge or viaduct, or even in a freeway trench.

  44. al m
    February 7, 2013 at 10:40 am Link

    Hey they are catching on to the scam in Miami!

    A bad plan: make drivers miserable to shove us onto transit

  45. al m
    February 7, 2013 at 12:36 pm Link

    This is about the NYC school bus strike but the fundamental concepts are the same everywhere where workers are attacked.

    (remember its the message not the messenger as some will immediately be put off by who publishes this document. I use it just like I use Cascade Policy’s information if its relevant. Labels are not important, information is)

    Democrats join bid to strangle New York City bus drivers strike

  46. Chris I
    February 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm Link

    That opinion piece from Miami was amusing to read. It’s funny when people have to face the stark realities of their auto-dependent lifestyle. The author appears to be oblivious that cities do not have the money or space to continue expanding roads to accommodate more cars. Instead of rethinking the automobile, they blame “social engineering”, and urban planners. Very rich.

  47. EngineerScotty
    February 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm Link

    On the plus side, Al, at least folks (including you) can see what real socialists have to say. :)

    Socialists ≠ Democrats.

  48. EngineerScotty
    February 7, 2013 at 8:39 pm Link

    The results of public outreach for the Southwest Corridor have now been published by Metro. A detailed report, both with and without comments, is also available.

  49. al m
    February 8, 2013 at 11:18 am Link

    Here’s something interesting, it turns out Ray Lahood is not happy that roads were ignored during his term as TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY

  50. al m
    February 8, 2013 at 11:27 am Link

    I don’t subscribe to labels , ‘socialist”conservative’ etc.

    Don’t try to put me into any of those boxes.

    If anything I would describe myself as a anarchist who will question authority of any sort.

    All institutional bureaucracies are flawed and self centered.

    I subscribe to the freedom of the individual.

    Our society strives to remove individuality from people. We are pushed constantly to be the ‘BEST’, BEST athlete, BEST looking, MOST powerful, MOST wealthy etc etc. I reject all of that.

    To be an individual and have your own thoughts is to be an outcast from society.

    The Story of Your Enslavement

  51. EngineerScotty
    February 8, 2013 at 11:32 am Link

    Al, I wouldn’t take much stock in NewsBusters’ spin on LaHood’s remarks. My take is that he’s griping about the incredible difficulty in renewing the transpo bill, and such; certainly much infrastructure in the US is in a state of poor repair.

    NewsBusters’ take appears to be that stimulus money (and other funds) were squandered on things like mass transit (any of which they seem to regard as a boondoggle).

  52. EngineerScotty
    February 8, 2013 at 11:35 am Link

    Joseph Rose vs. Portland Streetcar.

    Joe wins.

  53. EngineerScotty
    February 8, 2013 at 11:38 am Link

    Of course, OMSI to Powells is probably not the fairest test, as the Streetcar has to double back somewhat (a race race from OMSI to 10th and Lovejoy would be more fair)… but still.

  54. EngineerScotty
    February 8, 2013 at 11:41 am Link

    The City of Portland has now released its Barbur Concept Plan.

  55. Allan
    February 8, 2013 at 2:58 pm Link

    Why does the streetcar have to stop if there’s noone at the stop? Buses just slow down

  56. Ron Swaren
    February 8, 2013 at 4:08 pm Link

    [Moderator: Inappropriate comments removed — ES]

  57. EngineerScotty
    February 8, 2013 at 4:54 pm Link

    TriMet responds to Clackamas County.

  58. Chris Smith
    February 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm Link

    Why does the streetcar have to stop if there’s noone at the stop? Buses just slow down

    Streetcar operators have the option of not stopping if no one is boarding or alighting.

  59. al m
    February 9, 2013 at 11:19 am Link

    Regarding the Trimet war against it’s workers the following passage, written for the NYC school bus drivers strike applies here. (and everywhere) Although the masses are fooled by relentless propaganda and distortions, the truth is actually there if people can free themselves from the blinders they wear.

    Throughout the globe, the banks and financial institutions are making the working class pay for the crisis of the capitalist system. In every country, social programs are being decimated, wages slashed, retirement ages increased and pensions destroyed, while public assets are diverted into the pockets of the super-wealthy. In every country, the politicians’ refrain is the same: there is no money, even as the stock market and corporate profits—along with the incomes of the rich—soar.

  60. dwainedibbly
    February 10, 2013 at 6:52 am Link

    News Flash! It’s faster to walk from the Art Museum to the Schnitz than it is to ride the streetcar!

  61. Lenny Anderson
    February 10, 2013 at 11:48 am Link

    I wish the militant public employee unions would start organzing drives at banks and financial insititutions. Or maybe start with private bus companies and private schools. Public institutions should be better funded, and I am all for it, but pay and benefits in much of the private sector are much worse, and that is were union organizing is needed. Its sad to see public employee unions slamming public institutions, feeding the R’s attacks.

  62. al m
    February 12, 2013 at 11:53 am Link

    This is for all you anti union zealots which are almost the entire membership of Portland Transport:

    Open Letter to Our TriMet Passengers and Community | MAX FAQs

  63. EngineerScotty
    February 12, 2013 at 1:14 pm Link

    The new 3000 busses are wired for sound.

  64. EngineerScotty
    February 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm Link

    A lawsuit has been filed in Vancouver by opponents of CRC/light rail, seeking to force the City to place an anti-LRT initiative on the ballot.

    The suit alleges that the city improperly disqualified signatures from an initiative petition. Duplicate signatures were found on some petition sheets, and the city attorney’s office disqualified ALL duplicate signatures (those signing more than once were not counted at all). Plaintiffs allege that while duplicates should not be counted more than once, they should be counted at least once. (Washington law may be ambiguous on the subject).

    Tim Eyman, who has joined the cause of the LRT opponents, did serve up a juicy soundbite regarding the number of duplicate and otherwise invalid signatures on the petition forms: “so many frickin’ people wanted to sign, it’s a sign that this initiative is popular.”

  65. al m
    February 12, 2013 at 7:40 pm Link

    THIS is not a happy article for ‘transit oriented development’ crowd.

  66. Chris I
    February 12, 2013 at 8:33 pm Link

    Quote from article:
    “That was then. Silicon Valley’s engineers already flee the suburbs at night, riding company shuttles and the Caltrain commuter rail system from the office parks home to hip neighborhoods in San Francisco. And the newer social-media darlings — Twitter Inc., Instagram Inc., Pinterest Inc. — are moving their offices to downtown San Francisco, cutting out the Valley entirely. Zuckerberg said that if he could do it over again, he would have stayed in Boston.”

    The fact that these campuses have sprung up in suburban greenfields speaks more to the desire of the founders to create an all-inclusive workplace. I have friends at Google and Microsoft, and the environment they describe is one where the company does everything to make working longer hours less painful. As the article states, this approach was misguided. If you want to attract the top talent, you need to go where they go.

  67. Lenny Anderson
    February 13, 2013 at 9:05 am Link

    Thank Tom McCall for our UGB!

  68. al m
    February 13, 2013 at 5:09 pm Link

    Oh Scott, Bob, Chris;
    Where is your post on the 70% cutbacks if the union does not concede?

  69. EngineerScotty
    February 13, 2013 at 6:11 pm Link

    Will work on one soon… was rather busy today. We’re not ignoring the issue.

  70. Jason McHuff
    February 13, 2013 at 7:24 pm Link

    Video of today’s TriMet Board of Directors briefing, including a presentation on The State of TriMet

  71. al m
    February 13, 2013 at 7:35 pm Link

    “Video of today’s TriMet Board of Directors briefing, including a presentation on The State of TriMet”

    ~~~>Makes a pretty good laugh, he is predicting the end of trimet unless the union concedes.

    Well Me and other retirees have no intention of committing seppuku due to mismanagement

  72. Jason Barbour
    February 14, 2013 at 12:46 am Link

    Makes a pretty good laugh, he is predicting the end of trimet unless the union concedes.

    “(Fare) Revenue up but still $1M below forecast and $2M below budget for FY13.”
    Perhaps due to no-show service, no notification of said no-shows, and when it does it’s a vehicle that looks like it hasn’t been cleaned since TriMet purchased the vehicle.

    McFarlane @31:06 of first video: “…I didn’t want to spend all the time on sort of the challenges and the threats…”

    The following sums up my overall reaction precisely (Apologies if the musical selections don’t fit one’s musical tastes):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LcAuQ_AT-s
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaYgBnLLpLM

    Try to have a nice 154th Anniversary of Oregon’s Statehood everyone.

  73. al m
    February 14, 2013 at 8:35 am Link

    The following sums up my overall reaction precisely (Apologies if the musical selections don’t fit one’s musical tastes):

    ~~~~>I would say your musical selections do fit the occasion appropriately although I prefer the Hokey Pokey

  74. al m
    February 14, 2013 at 3:39 pm Link

    Somebody here might be interested in this online transit studies school
    Center for Transportation Education and Development, School of Continuing Education, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

  75. chrisw443
    February 14, 2013 at 6:06 pm Link

    Here is something interesting I saw while navigating the new ATU site.
    http://www.atu757.org/docrequests/ConditionsLightRailTies.pdf

  76. al m
    February 18, 2013 at 7:24 pm Link

    While the good ole USA is screwing around with building rail and cutting bus and generally destroying its infrastructure, in Korea they are making real advances in transit technology.

    Korean mass transit moving towards wireless power – SlashGear

  77. al m
    February 18, 2013 at 8:14 pm Link

    Also in a somewhat RELATED event the NYC School bus drivers strike has ended in a complete disaster.

    Now there is a discussion about the ethics of the union involvement here. They hung their members out to dry basically.

    Other unions served as scabs, the entire thing was playbook on how to lose a strike.

    The thing that bothers me there, and is applicable here, is the conduct of the union.

    Now its pretty widely known that I have been very critical of our own union at times. And so far my very own union has been nothing short of a disaster for me personally. However I do understand the fine points of the argument here.

    The next ELRB ruling is the make or break for our unions strategy. It is my (and others) opinion that the next ruling will finally make it clear for all that Trimet has indeed been playing dirty pool and that everything they have done so far will be undone.

    And we all know they have set up a scenario to bail themselves out for their misdeeds with this intense anti union propaganda. And they will cry ‘we have to cut services because of the union’

    Now on the other hand, if the ELRB rules against the union, the union will have to get in the room with the tyrants. There is no other choice.

    And if they don’t, then we have to start wondering who it is they are really representing.

  78. Dave
    February 18, 2013 at 9:16 pm Link

    What’s up with the bizarre steps that I saw up the aerial tram from the freeway this weekend?

  79. EngineerScotty
    February 19, 2013 at 1:09 pm Link

    The Willamette Week is reporting that former Clackamas County chairwoman (and current Kitzhaber adviser) Lynn Peterson may be appointed Washington’s next Secretary of Transportation.

    This is interesting, because:

    * Peterson is (or was) a CRC critic; not that you’d notice from the direction the Kitzhaber administration has been moving on the project.

    * Washington still has a sitting Secretary of Transportation (Paula Hammond), a holdover from the Gregoire administration–apparently, Washington’s new governor Jay Inslee is going to announce the appointment of Peterson (and the dismissal of Hammond) rather soon.

    H/T to Portland Afoot.

  80. al m
    February 19, 2013 at 6:09 pm Link

    Argument for HIGH SPEED RAIL

  81. al m
    February 19, 2013 at 7:49 pm Link

    Anybody else notice something funny in THIS article praising the light rail over the bus rapid transit?

  82. al m
    February 19, 2013 at 10:16 pm Link

    No takers?

    In terms of capital cost, for “substantial” installations (5% or more of route length involving heavy civil works), LRT was a clear winner, with an average cost per mile of $80 million, less than a fifth of BRT’s average of nearly $452 million. (All costs in 2012 dollars.)

    What’s wrong with that?

  83. EngineerScotty
    February 19, 2013 at 10:49 pm Link

    $452M per mile for BRT?

    Yea verily, that sounds dubious. Of course, the source is a rail industry trade rag, so I won’t given them much credence.

  84. al m
    February 19, 2013 at 11:25 pm Link

    the source is a rail industry trade rag
    ~~~>It’s a rag mag huh? Had no idea, thanks.

  85. EngineerScotty
    February 20, 2013 at 12:09 am Link

    Bike Portland points to a fascinating memo written in 1971 by a staffer to Neil Goldschmidt, then a city councilman. The memo, “Disincentives to the Automobile”, outlines several ways that Portland (which at the time was extremely car-centric) could transform itself. Many of the suggestions have been adopted over the years; many others have not–and some would even today be considered quite radical.

  86. al m
    February 21, 2013 at 11:55 am Link

    What’s the matter with Portland and Trimess, oops, I mean Trimet of course.

    They believe in these little tiny capacity transit vehicles when they could be running 99 FOOT LONG STREETCARS and MAX trains.

    Who planned this mess anyway?

  87. EngineerScotty
    February 21, 2013 at 2:01 pm Link

    Al,

    Assuming you’re being serious–what is a MAX train but a 99′ long streetcar? (A single MAX vehicle, that is).

    Obviously, there are certain things that make MAX vehicles not suitable for mixed-traffic operation:

    * Their axle loads are too large, and they’re a bit too wide for in-street use (were MAX trains to have more trucks underneath, then maybe they could be used as streetcars)

    * They lack turn signals, and other signalling devices intended for mixed traffic operation.

    But would you want a 99′ Streetcar? The problems with Streetcar isn’t that it has insufficient capacity–indeed you could put steel wheels on a Chevy Suburban and run that up and down the CL route and not have capacity issues :)–but that mixed-traffic rail is a slow and expensive way of building transit. I’ll let Chris and others defend the land-use side of Streetcar.

  88. EngineerScotty
    February 21, 2013 at 2:20 pm Link

    Jarret tweaks Metro’s nose about a poorly-designed Opt-In survey. (In particular, the survey asks respondents if “expanding MAX” and “expanding Streetcar” ought to be priorities going forward; but says nothin’ about the bus system).

  89. al m
    February 21, 2013 at 3:08 pm Link

    Well the longer the better right? I mean if your gonna do the silly streetcars make them a whole block long!
    New Streetcars for Toronto

  90. Chris Smith
    February 21, 2013 at 3:32 pm Link

    Longer is not necessarily better. Longer means bigger stops and more parking removal. At the time we did the first alignment, the neighborhoods were definitely interested in limiting these effects.

  91. Ron Swaren
    February 22, 2013 at 12:43 pm Link

    A 260 mpg Volkswagen? (Maybe, if you push a lot and going downhill)
    http://www.gizmag.com/volkswagen-xl1-most-fuel-efficient/26367/pictures

  92. al m
    February 23, 2013 at 10:36 pm Link

    Another good read that definitely applies to Portlandia: Sanchez: Looking for the masses on mass transit | http://www.statesman.com

  93. Anandakos
    February 23, 2013 at 11:09 pm Link

    @Al,

    Why do you drive a bus? You clearly hate the people you work for and the people you “serve”. Dude, you are in the wrong line of work.

  94. EngineerScotty
    February 23, 2013 at 11:32 pm Link

    Anandakos,

    Al’s retired. His blog is nowadays called “Rantings of a Former TriMet Bus Driver”, at least on those days when it’s not called something more profane and derogatory to TriMet and its management… :)

  95. al m
    February 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm Link

    Why do you drive a bus? You clearly hate the people you work for and the people you “serve”. Dude, you are in the wrong line of work.

    ~~~>Never hated the job but did grow a pretty big disgust for the management that continues growing today.

    I’m sorry to have to tell you this but they lie,(management) they lied directly to me on several occasions, they concocted false reports about me, and they lie to the public on an ongoing basis.

    People that actually don’t know me have no idea who I am.

    My blog exists as a counterweight to the relentless propaganda that is spit out from that behemoth empire called Trimet.

    But bus driving, it used to be a great job, back in day day.

    Just so ya know, I worked 15 years for Trimet, never had one complaint that mattered, never had one accident, it was mostly enjoyable till Mcfarlane showed up on the scene.

    It’s evolved into one of the truly awful jobs in American society.

    And as they slowly strip away pay and benefits it will end up like a WalMart position where people work only because they have no choice.

    (I am used to personal attacks btw, I have been accused of much worst things than hating my management and my job)

  96. al m
    February 24, 2013 at 12:20 pm Link

    In other news y’all know Mcfarlane has threatened to cut 70% of service, well Mr Hypocrisy just got through giving RAISES to all his top executives.

    And he continues creating new executive positions.

    But the union is “strangling” Trimet, ya sure it is, just because Mcfarlane says it.

  97. al m
    February 24, 2013 at 1:32 pm Link

    And HERE is a movie that supports the concepts of transit oriented development.

    (I have not watched it yet but intend to, if only ‘transit oriented development” didn’t make so much money for the insider/developers I could get behind it more)

  98. John Powell
    February 26, 2013 at 8:25 am Link

    Light rail takes people off buses but not out of cars — The Atlantic Cities

  99. EngineerScotty
    February 26, 2013 at 5:51 pm Link

    A lot depends, I think, on where LRT is built.

    If LRT is built in a heavily-congested corridor, where existing bus service is undesirable (infrequent, slow, unreliable); it will attract riders. Westside MAX gets far more riders than previously used the bus system (though some of this may be due to population/employment growth in Washington County).

    If LRT doesn’t offer tangible improvements over the existing bus service, however, not so much.

  100. Lenny Anderson
    February 26, 2013 at 9:03 pm Link

    The old 5 Interstate carried about 5K/day and got you all the way to Vancouver. MAX Yellow Line carries 3x as many riders yet only gets to Expo. You can expect double those numbers when it crosses the River. There are a lot of folks out there who will not ride a bus, but embrace LRT.

  101. bjcefola
    February 26, 2013 at 9:31 pm Link

    A while back someone asked a question about how Baltimore rowhouses, as an example of tasteful urban housing, got built. I found a good source at Multnomah County Library but personal circumstances mean I won’t read it any time soon. An offhand remark was enough to make me chase it down, maybe this will provide encouragement to someone else to read it.

  102. Erik H.
    February 26, 2013 at 9:40 pm Link

    The old 5 Interstate carried about 5K/day and got you all the way to Vancouver. MAX Yellow Line carries 3x as many riders yet only gets to Expo. You can expect double those numbers when it crosses the River. There are a lot of folks out there who will not ride a bus, but embrace LRT.

    1. How many of those MAX riders refused to ride the 5I bus because it was an old, uncomfortable, cramped, crush load bus? And why did TriMet refuse to invest in quality buses?

    2. How many of those riders refused to ride the bus because of poor bus stops? And why did TriMet refuse to invest in quality bus stops?

    3. How many of those riders weren’t on the bus, because the 5I bus ran less frequently than MAX? And why did TriMet refuse to add/increase frequency on the bus?

    4. How many of those MAX riders go to the Expo Center, which the 5I did not? And why did TriMet not improve bus service to the Expo Center?

    5. How many of those MAX riders drive to the Vanport and Expo Center parking lots? Why did TriMet not offer a similar amentity for bus riders?

    The “people will ride MAX/won’t ride bus” argument is old and tired, it is not a symmetrical example because TriMet gold-plates MAX to no end, while bus service is always on the cheap – and then some. TriMet refuses to invest the money needed to make bus competitive – if all things truly equal, how many people who still say “I’m not getting on the bus, because it’s a bus” even if the stops were identical, the age of the vehicle identical, the in-bus experience identical, etc.? When GOOD bus service is offered, people DO ride it – it’s proven time, time, time again. It’s just TriMet refuses to even do it, because of the old and very tired anti-bus bias and TriMet’s willingness to give away corporate welfare to companies like Siemens, Stacy & Witbeck, etc., rather than focus on riders’ needs.

  103. EngineerScotty
    February 26, 2013 at 10:13 pm Link

    Erik,

    You partially answer your own question: If the old 5 was crushloaded, then increasing ridership would require running more service. Above a certain point, it becomes more cost-effective (from an operational point of view) to switch to higher-capacity transit.

    While MAX stations are a bit nicer than most roadside bus stops–and I think that many of those ought to be improved, particularly at transfer points–it’s not like MAX is a luxury conveyance. Many MAX trains are just as cramped (when full) as any bus on the system; it’s not like they’re decked out like WES (or C-TRAN’s express coaches, for that matter).

    Are you claiming that TriMet could dramatically boost ridership by fairly minor (from a cost point of view) upgrade of stop and in-vehicle amenities, without improvements to the right-of-way (such as signal priority or an exclusive lane)?

  104. Jason McHuff
    February 27, 2013 at 11:33 am Link

    And why did TriMet refuse to invest in quality buses?

    What problems do you have with the buses they have been buying?

    How many of those riders refused to ride the bus because of poor bus stops?

    Given that I’m pretty sure Interstate Ave had sidewalks even before MAX, probably not a ton. In addition, there are people that don’t like the increased walks required due to the lower number of stops compared with Line 5.

    How many of those riders weren’t on the bus, because the 5I bus ran less frequently than MAX?

    Probably none, because (according to the old schedules I’ve helpfully scanned in and uploaded), Line 5 ran as least as frequent as it does today.

    “people will ride MAX/won’t ride bus” argument is old and tired

    I personally know people who will ride a train but don’t want to ride a bus.

  105. Jason McHuff
    February 27, 2013 at 4:55 pm Link

    Today’s TriMet board meeting is becoming available here

Leave a Reply

By posting a comment, you are granting a license to Portland Transport for your comment. Please refer to The Rules.