April 2013 Open Thread

It’s tax month again…

  • Be sure to read our feature on the new Portland Hayride project.
  • Fares on LIFT are going up. This is a previously-announced fare increase, one that was not scheduled to take effect until this month.
  • ODOT is looking for ways to make Mt. Hood more multimodal (H/T to Bike Portland).
  • C-TRAN will start televising the meetings of its Board of Directors
  • Some interesting history on the steamships that used to ply the Willamette in the 19th Century
  • The Willamette Shoreline will once again host excursion trains starting this summer.
  • Metro, and the State of Oregon, are increasing pressure on local governments to reduce driving, in order to meet state vehicle emissions goals. This, of course, is rather unpopular in some parts of town…
67 Comments

67 Responses to April 2013 Open Thread

  1. EngineerScotty
    April 1, 2013 at 11:30 pm Link

    Some good news: YouthPass survives another year.

  2. Cameron J
    April 2, 2013 at 8:10 am Link

    Haha, I really don’t feel comfortable with you sharing such good news on April 1st. X)

  3. Douglas K
    April 2, 2013 at 8:57 am Link

    They’re running a Vintage Trolley on the Willamette Shoreline route? Well, I guess it’s good that the trolley is getting some use. Too bad the line isn’t electrified.

  4. Ed
    April 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm Link

    RE the City of Portland’s plan to massively increase their payment to Trimet for “support services” on the eastside streetcar, nearly doubling the amount from the previous agreement … why has the cost of those services ballooned so?

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2013/04/eastside_streetcar_project_cos.html

    http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=50265&a=442098

  5. al m
    April 2, 2013 at 3:19 pm Link

    HERE is one answer to your question ED

  6. Leanna Pohevitz
    April 3, 2013 at 3:57 pm Link

    Nine legislators will be joined by ODOT, PBOT, and the City of Portland at a Town Hall to discuss the transportation issues facing East Portlanders. We are hoping for a big turnout from the transportation advocate community – so please feel free to join and share this event!

    https://www.facebook.com/events/142227159289670/

  7. EngineerScotty
    April 3, 2013 at 4:45 pm Link

    Seattle Transit Blot with an excellent three-part series on the Columbia River Crossing, from their perspective.

  8. EngineerScotty
    April 3, 2013 at 4:46 pm Link

    Seattle Transit Blot with an excellent three-part series on the Columbia River Crossing, from their perspective.

  9. Anandakos
    April 3, 2013 at 10:38 pm Link

    Scotty,

    Aye, they are a blot, sir. But you beat ‘em, that’s for sure!

    ;-)

  10. al m
    April 4, 2013 at 7:46 am Link

    Great editorial by R.A. Fontes

  11. EngineerScotty
    April 4, 2013 at 8:00 am Link

    Er, Seattle Transit Blog…..

  12. Anandakos
    April 4, 2013 at 3:32 pm Link

    @al_m,

    Just the sort of thing one would expect from the Pampered Media Group.

    Notice his “solution” to a seriously clogged transit corridor with no decent road routes is to buy a bunch of automobiles. That will certainly reduce congestion.

  13. Anandakos
    April 4, 2013 at 3:36 pm Link

    @al_m,

    Just the sort of thing one would expect from the Pampered Media Group.

    Notice his “solution” to a seriously clogged transit corridor with no decent road routes is to buy a bunch of automobiles. That will certainly reduce congestion.

  14. R A Fontes
    April 4, 2013 at 5:42 pm Link

    Anandakos:

    The arithmetic is very simple on this one. WES provides less 1800 rides per day. That’s 900 commuters on a round trip basis. 625 cars in the pool fleet would provide transportation for 625 drivers and 1875 riders. That really is over twice as many cars off the road. Honest. And, as stated in the Tribune op-ed, no diesel burning DMU’s would be running back and forth, the 625 pool fleet would replace less efficient vehicles, and the absence of over 900 more vehicles would enable remaining traffic to operate more efficiently. Remember, too, that this scheme would cost only half what we’re slated to spend on WES through the end of its 20 year planning period in the FFGA.

    It’s not that this idea is good; it’s that WES is so ridiculously bad.

  15. EngineerScotty
    April 4, 2013 at 5:46 pm Link

    Of course, I’d rather plow WES funds into bus service–including increasing frequency on the 76, and extending it into Wilsonville…

  16. EngineerScotty
    April 4, 2013 at 5:46 pm Link

    Of course, I’d rather plow WES funds into bus service–including increasing frequency on the 76, and extending it into Wilsonville…

  17. R A Fontes
    April 4, 2013 at 6:15 pm Link

    I’d second that, Scotty.

    It would be great, too, if the 96 could get a full time schedule connecting Wilsonville and Tualatin with Portland. A lot of northbound 76 riders get off at the Tigard TC, at least some of whom transfer to the northbound 12.

  18. Douglas K.
    April 4, 2013 at 8:45 pm Link

    I’d trade WES for a frequent service 76 and a full-time 96 to Wilsonville in a heartbeat.

  19. Nick theoldurbanist
    April 4, 2013 at 9:37 pm Link

    One thing I’ve noticed about the 96 as opposed to other express bus lines is that it seems to have good ridership in both directions, making it more economical to operate.

  20. EngineerScotty
    April 4, 2013 at 10:17 pm Link

    TriMet doesn’t have many true express lines left–the 92, the 96, and the 99. (Did I miss any?) Many other lines run local routes with an express extension (such as the 94), these are the only limited-stop, peak-hour only routes that I can think of. (C-TRAN has several of its own).

    The 99 pretty much duplicates the 33. But the 92 and 96 both provide service for which there is no parallel all-day equivalent. If they were targeting specific destinations where longer hours don’t make sense, that would be one thing; but the unique areas they serve (Tualatin, and portions of South Beaverton) are residential areas.

    The portions of South Beaverton served by the 92 have the 62 nearby, which provides decent connectivity to the rest of the system. (Many of the neighborhoods served by the 92 also have quite a few apartments or other dense housing). The 96, on the other hand, has no real alternative south of Sagert. (And if TriMet is going to run the 96 into Wilsonville, why not continue to Wilsonville Station rather than stopping at Commerce Circle?)

  21. EngineerScotty
    April 5, 2013 at 5:12 pm Link

    Washington Republican legislators flog the CRC. They want a bridge, all right; just not one with tolls or trains on it.

  22. EngineerScotty
    April 5, 2013 at 5:13 pm Link

    Washington Republican legislators flog the CRC. They want a bridge, all right; just not one with tolls or trains on it.

  23. Anandakos
    April 5, 2013 at 5:34 pm Link

    Mr. Fontes,

    I agree with your basic assessment that WES is inefficient. If some sort of bus priority can be found in the section below the Tigard Transit Center — which is devilishly hard — then fine, sell the cranky, poorly built cars to some greater fool.

    I just don’t like your solution of more private vehicles, even if they’re semi-public by being owned by Tri-Met. It’s way too Cascade Policy Institute-y for my taste; it’s got a strong whiff of privileged suburban commuter rentier politics.

    Grant that WES is cushy and has some of that same odor, but at least there’s no mistaking it for giving Thurston C. Cruikshank buckos to drive the kiddies to soccer practice on Saturday.

    If you open the door of the agency providing vehicles for private use — and you specifically advocated giving them an allowance for non-commuting use — when does it end? Why don’t people who ride the buses on Powell get an opportunity to drive Tri-Met purchased automobiles?

    Scotty,

    Exactly. They want a bright shiny new bridge on which their constituents can commute paid by somebody — anybody else. Exactly what said constituents want — after they rant about the “Crime Train”. Craven misanthropes all, especially when the “anthropes” in question are tawny skinned or darker.

  24. Anandakos
    April 5, 2013 at 5:34 pm Link

    Mr. Fontes,

    I agree with your basic assessment that WES is inefficient. If some sort of bus priority can be found in the section below the Tigard Transit Center — which is devilishly hard — then fine, sell the cranky, poorly built cars to some greater fool.

    I just don’t like your solution of more private vehicles, even if they’re semi-public by being owned by Tri-Met. It’s way too Cascade Policy Institute-y for my taste; it’s got a strong whiff of privileged suburban commuter rentier politics.

    Grant that WES is cushy and has some of that same odor, but at least there’s no mistaking it for giving Thurston C. Cruikshank buckos to drive the kiddies to soccer practice on Saturday.

    If you open the door of the agency providing vehicles for private use — and you specifically advocated giving them an allowance for non-commuting use — when does it end? Why don’t people who ride the buses on Powell get an opportunity to drive Tri-Met purchased automobiles?

    Scotty,

    Exactly. They want a bright shiny new bridge on which their constituents can commute paid by somebody — anybody else. Exactly what said constituents want — after they rant about the “Crime Train”. Craven misanthropes all, especially when the “anthropes” in question are tawny skinned or darker.

  25. Anandakos
    April 5, 2013 at 5:35 pm Link

    Mr. Fontes,

    I agree with your basic assessment that WES is inefficient. If some sort of bus priority can be found in the section below the Tigard Transit Center — which is devilishly hard — then fine, sell the cranky, poorly built cars to some greater fool.

    I just don’t like your solution of more private vehicles, even if they’re semi-public by being owned by Tri-Met. It’s way too Cascade Policy Institute-y for my taste; it’s got a strong whiff of privileged suburban commuter rentier politics.

    Grant that WES is cushy and has some of that same odor, but at least there’s no mistaking it for giving Thurston C. Cruikshank buckos to drive the kiddies to soccer practice on Saturday.

    If you open the door of the agency providing vehicles for private use — and you specifically advocated giving them an allowance for non-commuting use — when does it end? Why don’t people who ride the buses on Powell get an opportunity to drive Tri-Met purchased automobiles?

    Scotty,

    Exactly. They want a bright shiny new bridge on which their constituents can commute paid by somebody — anybody else. Which is precisely what said constituents want — after they rant about the “Crime Train”. Craven misanthropes all, especially when the “anthropes” in question are tawny skinned or darker.

  26. Anandakos
    April 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm Link

    Apologies for the double post. Out here in the boondocks on sloooowww DSL.

  27. Allan
    April 5, 2013 at 5:48 pm Link

    going for the unique triple-post

  28. EngineerScotty
    April 5, 2013 at 6:10 pm Link

    PT’s having server issues, again. Hosting service has been notified, again.

  29. EngineerScotty
    April 5, 2013 at 6:10 pm Link

    PT’s having server issues, again. Hosting service has been notified, again.

  30. R A Fontes
    April 5, 2013 at 7:49 pm Link

    Anandakos,

    Please rest assured that the suggestion for TriMet to own a large carpool fleet and actually paying people to use it was only to demonstrate the absurdity of the logic behind WES. It was offered as an extreme example of an absurd alternative which would still be much more effective than WES at accomplishing the goals of reducing VMT, VHT, congestion, and all the things that come with them.

    I believe that, because of technological change [read primarily e-commerce and autonomous vehicles], the future of commuting will rely more on ride sharing than on large transit vehicles. If so, then we can reasonably expect society to use carrots and sticks to encourage commuters to share rides during congested periods.

    CTRAN operates a van pool which apparently is fully subscribed and charges users fees based on mileage. Whether TriMet decides to get involved with pools is kind of irrelevant.

  31. Anandakos
    April 7, 2013 at 2:27 am Link

    Mr Fontes,

    OK, thanks for the clarification. I did not know about C-Tran’s program. After searching I found that it’s only on the “How To Ride” menu, and I’ve been a transit user long enough that I know “how to ride”. So I don’t think I’ve ever pulled that menu.

    From a purely economic point of view (e.g. $ per passenger mile) vanpools are more efficient than “large transit vehicles”. The labor cost component is removed and the capital cost of delivery vans — even those with windows — is pretty low compared to that of FTA-compliant buses.

    But if they are replacing those large transit vehicles, rather than augmenting them with service for trips for which one end or the other cannot support fixed route service economically, then they’re increasing congestion, simply because they don’t hold as many people. That seems to be what you’re predicting will happen.

    Yes, they get those people to their destinations more quickly — typically much more quickly unless the destination is in the CBD — than does fixed-route transit. But then you have to park those vehicles at the destination, and again, if you are replacing fixed-route large vehicle service that would have to happen, you’re increasing the number of vehicles to be parked in valuable areas.

    Of course if a large number of current SOV drivers opted for the vans it would decrease the number of vehicles traveling and parking. I assume that you reference to carrots and sticks was in regard to accomplishing this diversion. I can envision the sticks, but considering what a good deal vanpools are now — whether subsidized or not — and how few folks avail themselves of them, it would seem that those “carrots” would have to be 24-carat. Perhaps a bit like WES?

    As an aside, I really don’t see how e-commerce would have an effect on the mode of transportation people choose to get to the office. Telecommuting? You bet.

  32. al m
    April 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm Link

    You might enjoy THIS little production.

  33. Anandakos
    April 7, 2013 at 11:14 pm Link

    @Ron,

    I refuse to get a Farcebook account because the place is infested with people exactly like the self-important, selfish people who made all those comments. So I can’t reply to any of the other commenters directly, so you get the honor.

    Claim #3 in your reply is on its face ridiculous. You state that a bridge about 3/4 of a mile west of the current bridge will be:

    “a far shorter route for Vancouver residents going to the Silicon Forest, making mass transit much easier”

    I worked in “Silicon Forest” for about five years and when I couldn’t ride the Max because of an early meeting, I tried both possible routes using the Saint Johns Bridge numerous times: Cornelius Pass Road and Germantown Road. Neither is very satisfactory. Germantown normally works westbound fairly well, but eastbound in the afternoon is an epic fustercluck. Cornelius Pass is longer than going through downtown Portland and the eastbound approach to the St. Johns Bridge is snarled with the same cars as is Germantown. The line is a little shorter, but you’ve driven fifteen miles farther to get to it.

    So any Valhalla of “a far shorter route blah-blah” will require a tunnel through the ridge below the park, probably costing three times what your “Third Bridge” dream will cost.

    Either that or — just like today — Portland Avenue leads to a congested dead end!

    And, the mileage from Mill Plain and I-5 to Marine Drive and Portland Avenue would be within 2/10 of a mile, so where’s the beef?

    To make your fantasy worthwhile requires spending vastly more than you admit, and the critical part would work just as well with the CRC itself as with a different bridge.

    Yes, such a tunnel route would be that vastly better route for Clark County commuters to get to Intel, but at a cost to Oregon taxpayers of a billion and a half to two billion dollars and a big new freeway through the belt just north of the UGB. Little wonder that they are underwhelmed by the idea.

    And when they hear the rabid ravings of this bunch of whiners in Clark County who don’t want to pay the reasonable cost for their decision to sprawl across the prairie — “No Tolls” — the Ducks rightly dig in their heels.

    So, here’s the skinny: no “LootRail” — no “Crime Train” — no Bridge. Oregon holds the high cards and all the trump.

  34. EngineerScotty
    April 8, 2013 at 10:29 am Link

    Today’s xkcd connects all the subway systems of North America. Light rail need not apply, as the SkyTrain Canada Line has a direct connection to BART–with no mention of either Link or MAX on the map (despite the fact that both systems have underground sections).

  35. EngineerScotty
    April 8, 2013 at 10:38 am Link

    That said, Randall Munroe does give Oregon a fictional nod–the Springfield Monorail (a short-lived rapid transit system from The Simpsons) is included on the map, and located in the Pacific Northwest…

    The Seattle Monorail, OTOH, is not.

    Light rail systems in cities with heavy-rail lines, such as LA’s Blue, Green, Yellow, and Expo lines, and Boston’s Green Line, are on the map. But not LRT systems in cities without heavy rail.

    Chicago’s El is prominently included, even though none of it is underground….

  36. EngineerScotty
    April 8, 2013 at 11:03 am Link

    TriMet is having an Open House to address issues in the current 12/94 corridor; including a proposal to add midday express service.

  37. EngineerScotty
    April 8, 2013 at 11:04 am Link

    TriMet is having an Open House to address issues in the current 12/94 corridor; including a proposal to add midday express service.

  38. Ron Swaren
    April 8, 2013 at 11:11 am Link

    Please call these Washington legislators regarding funding from House bill 1864 for Transportation. Please tell them to STOP further funding for the CRC. We need everyone to call as much as you can.:
    Monica Stonier – (D) (360) 786-7994

    Annette Cleveland- (D) (360) 786-7696

    Sharon Wylie (D) (360) 786-7924
    Clibborn, Judy (D) Chair JLOB 415 (360) 786-7926

    Fey, Jake (D) Vice Chair JLOB 330 (360) 786-7974

    Liias, Marko (D) Vice Chair JLOB 414 (360) 786-7972

    Moscoso, Luis (D) Vice Chair JLOB 332 (360) 786-7900

    Bergquist, Steve (D) JLOB 322 (360) 786-7862

    Farrell, Jessyn (D) JLOB 370 (360) 786-7818

    Fitzgibbon, Joe (D) JLOB 305 (360) 786-7952

    Freeman, Roger (D) JLOB 331 (360) 786-7830

    Habib, Cyrus (D) LEG 132D (360) 786-7848

    Moeller, Jim (D) LEG 430 (360) 786-7872

    Morris, Jeff (D) LEG 436A (360) 786-7970

    Riccelli, Marcus (D) JLOB 419 (360) 786-7888

    Ryu, Cindy (D) JLOB 324 (360) 786-7880

    Sells, Mike (D) (360) 786-7840

    Takko, Dean (D) (360) 786-7806

    Tarleton, Gael (D) (360 786-7860

    Upthegrove, Dave (D) (360) 786-7868

  39. Anandakos
    April 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm Link

    Scotty,

    The CTA Red and Blue Lines are in subways through the Loop, and several of the outer borough lines in the NYCTA are elevated at the ends. I expect that’s how Chicago got included.

  40. EngineerScotty
    April 8, 2013 at 5:06 pm Link

    Oregon Legislature considering a bill that would take away the planning powers of any city that fails to produce a comprehensive plan. The obvious target: Damascus.

  41. EngineerScotty
    April 8, 2013 at 5:07 pm Link

    Oregon Legislature considering a bill that would take away the planning powers of any city that fails to produce a comprehensive plan. The obvious target: Damascus.

  42. EngineerScotty
    April 9, 2013 at 5:53 pm Link

    KOIN-TV looks at “TriMet Tuesday” at Multnomah County District Court.

  43. EngineerScotty
    April 10, 2013 at 2:01 pm Link

    Metro passes out some grant money.

  44. EngineerScotty
    April 14, 2013 at 12:00 am Link

    One item I missed. TriMet has started augmenting its fare inspection program with plainclothes officers… apparently, there’s a few fare cheats out there who have learned to spot and evade uniformed inspectors.

  45. EngineerScotty
    April 14, 2013 at 12:03 am Link

    One more TriMet press release that is relevant: The beta test of the new bus transfer printers ended last Friday, but a fleetwide rollout starts in May. These printers will replace the tear-off transfer strips currently in use.

  46. EngineerScotty
    April 14, 2013 at 1:03 pm Link

    Two more items:

    The Oregonian has a feature story on the proposed Rose Quarter project which would widen I-5 and make numerous pedestrian/bike improvements. Chris Smith gets in a few licks in opposition.

    The AP reports on the large number of liability payouts that Muni makes as a result of mishaps on the San Francisco Cable Cars.

  47. EngineerScotty
    April 22, 2013 at 2:52 pm Link

    The Oregonian with more on TriMet’s recent focus on westside service, particularly in Hillsboro.

  48. al m
    April 23, 2013 at 7:29 pm Link

    This article is definitely worth a read:

    The Right Way To Subsidize Public Transit – Business Insider

  49. EngineerScotty
    April 23, 2013 at 10:29 pm Link

    OPAL may have won a tentative victory for riders, particularly poor ones–after some discussions with TriMet, the agency has tenatively agreed to an OPAL proposal (Facebook link) to extend transfer times to 3 hours during the day, and to all evening for tickets bought after 7PM. The proposal needs to be presented to the board, and still is not final (and may be contingent on some budget analyses), but if this holds, this is a big win for transit-dependent riders, espcecially those for whom buying passes is a financial hardship. With this proposal, more round-trips can be completed on a single fare.

    Frequent PT commenter Cameron Johnson was one of the key activists in developing and advocating for the proposal.

  50. EngineerScotty
    April 23, 2013 at 11:12 pm Link

    A press release from OPAL, for the Facebook-averse.

  51. al m
    April 23, 2013 at 11:33 pm Link

    Trimet has not committed to anything with OPAL.
    I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Of course this is a good time to hit up these aristocrats.

    They have been on the run lately with tons of bad press so maybe they might throw a real bone to the serfs now.

  52. Ron Swaren
    April 24, 2013 at 10:09 am Link

    NIKE’s announcement of further expansion on its Beaverton Campus just shows that we need to address west side growth. They are talking about adding 6000 jobs after awhile. Portland tried to lure them to using a Zidell Explorations owned site in South Waterfront, for their 500,000 sq ft. office expansion.

    Last fall Intel announced a 3600 job expansion in the same area.

  53. EngineerScotty
    April 24, 2013 at 10:16 am Link

    TriMet is now portraying (in comments offered at today’s board meeting) OPAL’s report as “premature” and “overstated”.

    Pity if it doesn’t happen.

  54. EngineerScotty
    April 24, 2013 at 12:41 pm Link

    Portland Afoot has some more.

  55. EngineerScotty
    April 24, 2013 at 5:42 pm Link

    And Neil McFarlane himself weighs in.

  56. al m
    April 24, 2013 at 8:19 pm Link

    Wherever I go in region, riders ask for more service, particularly to get access to jobs. Rightly so, transit play a critical role in our local economy. We are committed to increasing service, which is why we have focused on getting our cost structure under control, particularly our employee health care costs.

    F*K HIM!

  57. al m
    April 24, 2013 at 8:41 pm Link

    OPAL has a very short MEMORY!

    These are all the exact same people dealing with the exact same people today.

  58. al m
    April 25, 2013 at 8:31 am Link

    THIS is very cool!

  59. EngineerScotty
    April 26, 2013 at 1:21 pm Link

    KGW with a report on TriMet drivers being attacked.

  60. EngineerScotty
    April 26, 2013 at 1:21 pm Link

    KGW with a report on TriMet drivers being attacked.

  61. Jeff F
    April 26, 2013 at 1:33 pm Link

    Why do Scotty’s comments regularly show up with duplicates?

  62. EngineerScotty
    April 26, 2013 at 2:04 pm Link

    I’ve never figured that one out–I only log in as a mod if I need to, and I don’t do silly things like hit submit twice… :(

  63. EngineerScotty
    April 26, 2013 at 2:05 pm Link

    I’ve never figured that one out–I only log in as a mod if I need to, and I don’t do silly things like hit submit twice… :(

  64. al m
    April 29, 2013 at 11:37 pm Link

    RA Fontes says Trimet fares are DISCIMINATORY

  65. R A Fontes
    April 30, 2013 at 7:16 am Link

    al m -

    Thank you very much for posting the clip. I’ve been hoping to get a transcript of Neil McFarlane’s responses to Commissioners’ questions, particularly:

    -the implication that the March MPR report was a one-time anomaly [that WES requires 10 times as much subsidy per boarding ride as TriMet fixed route services as a whole]

    -the implication that WES isn’t meeting ridership projections primarily because of the recession

    -the inadvertent admission that WES ends up being somewhat less than ideal for almost all riders because they end up wasting time transfering to and from other transit services

    Thanks, too, for your kind words about the op-eds. Let’s hope they’re doing some good.

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