82 Responses to July 2013 Open Thread

  1. Jason McHuff
    June 30, 2013 at 11:08 pm Link

    Introducing my newest transit app: rosecitytransit.org SystemMapper

    See the location and details of all TriMet buses and MAX trains and check how well (or not so well) the TriMet system is functioning, or even the status of the vehicle you’re on.

  2. Bob R.
    July 1, 2013 at 4:13 pm Link

    TriMet wins a legal victory against Clackamas County in the dispute about the county’s contractual commitments for the Milwaukie Light Rail project. Whether this puts the matter to rest remains to be seen…

  3. Bob R.
    July 1, 2013 at 4:47 pm Link

    As I’ve noted in various other threads, TriMet has been making the rounds to various public meetings talking about the potential for an all-electronic fare system. And at these meetings, it’s been expressed that they want to begin rolling it out in 2015, but there was never a firm commitment to a date or the extent of the rollout.

    There still isn’t a firm commitment, but in a press release today about the new ticket printing system on buses, TriMet included this line near the end:

    … help us get to a state-of-the-art electronic fare system that we hope to begin implementing in 2015.

    If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time that TriMet has formally communicated directly to riders and the press there intention to implement such a fare system.

  4. al m
    July 1, 2013 at 5:47 pm Link

    I got to tell you folks over here that I have been listening intently to the trimetscanner since this heat wave started and these streetcars are doing really really poorly.

    It’s a constant fight to keep them moving

    https://twitter.com/PDXStreetcar/status/351863965422333954

  5. Bob R.
    July 1, 2013 at 5:54 pm Link

    Sounds like a substation problem (as opposed to a vehicle problem). There were substation problems on the CL line on opening weekend as well.

    There’s a Streetcar CAC meeting on Wednesday (open to the public and all are encouraged to attend) where I’m certain today’s power outage will be discussed with staff.

    I rode two MAX trains and two streetcars in yesterday’s heat (although most was before noon, before the heavy heat), including the CL line, without issues.

    Although I would say that MAX’s air conditioning is more effective than the streetcar’s. (These were the Czech-built streetcars. Haven’t ridden Car #21 myself service yet, but I did see it in regular service yesterday.)

    Also walked from the Pearl District to the South Waterfront for exercise. My internal air conditioning definitely did not perform well. :-)

  6. Bob R.
    July 1, 2013 at 6:01 pm Link

    Thankfully that was a relatively quick fix…

    “Power has been restored and streetcars are back up and running. Check reader boards for arrival times as we get back on schedule”

  7. al m
    July 1, 2013 at 6:54 pm Link

    I’ve been listening to this and there is constant problems with those streetcars!

    Actually its a never ending battle to keep all the rail moving.

    I never realized just how much is involved in keeping this stuff going until I started listening religiously to that scanner.

    And the streetcars are constantly stuck in traffic, about a dozen times a day.

    Just pointing out, as a transit mode its pretty silly. It’s got lots of riders over here in NW->PSU because its cheap (which I think is good btw) or even free. Has there ever been 1 citation issued for fare evasion Chris? I bet not.

    If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time that TriMet has formally communicated directly to riders and the press there intention to implement such a fare system.

    ~~~> How do you come to that conclusion? I don’t read anything in that press release that looks like they are ‘communicating with riders’.

  8. Bob R.
    July 1, 2013 at 7:23 pm Link

    Just pointing out, as a transit mode its pretty silly. It’s got lots of riders over here in NW->PSU because its cheap (which I think is good btw) or even free.

    It’s not “even free” nor has it been since the demise of Fareless Square.

    If it were “silly” as a transit mode, people wouldn’t ride it at all, no matter the price.

    If it were a bus, it would easily be tops for ridership and yet so many bus lines aren’t questioned in terms of cost and utility at this intensity.

    Has there ever been 1 citation issued for fare evasion

    (I’m not Chris, but I’ll take this one…) To the best of my knowledge, not yet, however here’s a blurb from the April minutes of the Streetcar CAC meeting:

    Recently a Streetcar Officer and Fare Surveyor have been hired. The Streetcar Officer has the authority to write tickets as do our Supervisors. To date Streetcar has taken more of an education/customer service stance rather than a harsh, ticket writing position. Ronchelli added that the fare surveys collected show that fare evasion on the Streetcar is around 7% and that many riders board with either a Streetcar Annual Pass, a TriMet pass or transfer or an employer ID pass which accounts for the observations of low ticket purchases onboard streetcar.

    I would say we can certainly do better than 7% but that’s way below people’s typical impressions of the extent of fare evasion.

    And then there’s people like me who had three active fare instruments for a single ride (yesterday) … I had a streetcar annual pass (provided to CAC members), an all-day TriMet fare (my own money), and a beta-test Globe Sherpa fare (testing the app, at my own expense). I also have a book of 10 streetcar fares in my desk somewhere, from testing the PayPal ordering system. Anecdotal and unique, I’m sure, but I like to think I’m personally making up for a tiny fraction of that evasion. (And I’ll gladly donate those 10 fares, should I find them, to a worthwhile charity that distributes transit fares. Any suggestions?)

    How do you come to that conclusion? I don’t read anything in that press release that looks like they are ‘communicating with riders’.

    Because those messages go out not only on the web site, and not only to dozens and dozens of press outlets, but directly to riders who subscribe to that section of TriMet’s rider alerts service. Maybe it doesn’t reach a huge number of riders, but certainly more than just those who monitor things “religiously”. :-)

    (I wouldn’t expect them to put posters and pamphlets on vehicles at this stage, as the system is not yet deploying.)

  9. al m
    July 1, 2013 at 7:33 pm Link

    Well I don’t want to get into yet another debate here and then find myself having to be in counseling with Chris again so I’ll let you have the last word on this

    but…….just because it goes out to riders doesn’t mean………. oh forget it.

    (will wait for state audit to delve into the issue of Trimet ‘transparency’ and honesty)

  10. al m
    July 1, 2013 at 7:39 pm Link

    This is a good time to re-post Bob and Al’s one collaborative venture together;

    5+ years ago!

    It’s illustrative of how far apart we are on certain topics. I know Bob loved this production!

  11. Aaron
    July 1, 2013 at 8:11 pm Link

    Haven’t ridden Car #21 myself

    I rode it home from work today for the first time. Not sure if it’s just my ears playing tricks on me but I thought it’s making a similar (a bit quieter but still there) screech to what I hear on #15 but not the older cars. The AC could be better but it was cooler than my sweltering apartment. Also, the LED display things in the car never showed any stops or clock or anything.

  12. John Dornoff
    July 1, 2013 at 9:47 pm Link

    I have had the opportunity to ride both 21 and 22 in the last couple of days. Both of them have a distinct screech to them but no where close to the level of the 15 car. I was attending a meeting in the courtyard of the Urban Center on 5/14 which was the first day I saw 21 in service. Several streetcars went buy including both styles of the Czech cars, 15, and the 21. The 21 didn’t sound that much different from the older cars but of course 15 was really noticeable.

  13. Bob R.
    July 1, 2013 at 10:41 pm Link

    When I saw Car #21 yesterday, I had just gotten off one of the Inekon cars (#9 IIRC) and yet another car of that set was going in another direction, and Car #21 definitely had a louder inverter whine to me, from my perspective on the street, than those cars.

    (The best-sounding cars, locally, in my opinion, if anyone cares, are the Type IV MAX cars. Nice and quiet. And TriMet’s new conventional buses seem quieter than the previous generation, just to bring buses into this.)

    I’ll ask on Wednesday about the interior real-time signage. But one thing I noticed immediately about Car #21 was the much larger and more readable exterior “rollsign” over the cab.

  14. EngineerScotty
    July 2, 2013 at 8:08 am Link

    Transit strike in the Bay Area shuts down BART this morning.

  15. Joseph
    July 2, 2013 at 11:40 am Link

    Streetcars 021/022 both make a funny noise that is a toned-down version of the noise made by 015 (aka “Christine”).

    However, they both have very, very good air conditioning, at least when compared to the other streetcars. I was on 021 during the evening rush (crush load) yesterday and the A/C was very comfortable.

    The other day (Sunday?) I think 022′s external display, internal displays, and automated stop announcements were not functioning. The next day it was fine.

  16. Jason McHuff
    July 2, 2013 at 1:08 pm Link

    And TriMet’s new conventional buses seem quieter than the previous generation, just to bring buses into this.

    Al’s noticed that, too, living almost directly above a bus line.

    Also, I just hope that the Tucson cars have good A/C!

  17. Bob R.
    July 2, 2013 at 1:46 pm Link

    Also, I just hope that the Tucson cars have good A/C!

    According to United Streetcar, the Tuscon streetcars are to have a “Hot Climate / HVAC” upgrade. How this specifically differs from Portland’s latest cars, I don’t know.

  18. Reza
    July 2, 2013 at 2:15 pm Link

    When I rode Car 021 I noticed that the electronic rollsign does not include a clock. Is it possible to program this in? That’s one of the features of Cars 009 and 010 that I find convenient if I need to know the time but can’t look at my phone because my hands are full.

  19. al m
    July 2, 2013 at 2:29 pm Link

    They don’t even know what’s wrong with these st cars.

    https://twitter.com/trimetscanner/status/352176899168014336

  20. Bob R.
    July 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm Link

    Al, following the trail from the link you provided reveals an audio recording that shows they do know what’s wrong … a “rail to earth” condition that’s causing power losses for streetcars passing it. What they don’t know (as of that recording) is precisely where, so they’re asking operators to make a note of it.

    It’s an unfortunate situation to have, and needs to be fixed ASAP, but your characterization of “don’t even know what’s wrong” is completely false, according to your own link.

  21. Jason McHuff
    July 2, 2013 at 10:39 pm Link

    My internal air conditioning definitely did not perform well. :-)

    I didn’t realize you even had it! My temperature doesn’t seem to go below 98.6°F…

    Also, the Streetcar Officer is a little harsh in his customer service, and not terribly friendly. But he did actually kick off someone who he had seen before and had a fare that was now expired by 15 minutes.

    Moreover, the fact that there’s a fare box on board and the streetcar is not “sealed” paid-fare-only like MAX and WES are can complicate writing citations.

  22. al m
    July 2, 2013 at 10:59 pm Link

    It’s an unfortunate situation to have, and needs to be fixed ASAP, but your characterization of “don’t even know what’s wrong” is completely false, according to your own link.

    Rail to earth, rail to earth, come in earth, this is rail calling!

    Rail Road Earth

  23. Bob R.
    July 2, 2013 at 11:52 pm Link

    Rail to earth, rail to earth, come in earth, this is rail calling!

    Mork calling Orson, come in, Orson!

    This is Ground Control to Major Tom!

    :-)

  24. EngineerScotty
    July 3, 2013 at 7:36 am Link

    I see you two are both well-grounded in pop culture.

    (Ba-da-BOOM!)

  25. Bob R.
    July 3, 2013 at 9:17 am Link

    I do try to stay current.

  26. dan w
    July 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm Link

    You’re really amping up the electrical puns.

    Any ETA on when the Sunrise JTA project is supposed to start? The latest info I could find is that construction is set to begin “this summer” and, well, summer’s here.

  27. Ron Swaren
    July 4, 2013 at 11:51 am Link

    On the trend to natural gas vehicles. Customers of gas companies want fuel stations:
    http://www.sustainablebusinessoregon.com/articles/2013/07/nw-natural-customers-demanding.html

  28. al m
    July 9, 2013 at 5:52 pm Link

    While we are fixated on getting people out of their cars the rest of the world is buying cars like crazy:
    Car Ownership May Be Down in the U.S., But It’s Soaring Globally | Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  29. Bob R.
    July 10, 2013 at 7:03 pm Link

    TriMet releases outline of their proposed electronic fare system to begin testing in 2015 with limited customer use in 2016 and full implementation in 2017.

  30. al m
    July 10, 2013 at 9:01 pm Link

    begin testing in 2015 with limited customer use in 2016 and full implementation in 2017.

    ~~~>Subject to change depending on what happens with the union of course, the entire future of #trimet rests on them taking away Trimet union benefits. A GOVERNMENT THAT LIES

  31. al m
    July 11, 2013 at 3:11 pm Link

    The Portland Streetcar THEME SONG!

  32. Nick theoldurbanist
    July 11, 2013 at 10:00 pm Link

    Went up north today by transit to walk the beautiful Salmon Creek trail. Was able to get there with only two transfers using C-Tran #105. On a weekend, it would take me 5 buses, with 4 transfers! Talk about a fragmented system!

    BTW, C-Trans buses were mostly seriously late today – even worse than Trimet. No wonder transit mode share is so low around these parts.

  33. R A Fontes
    July 12, 2013 at 9:11 am Link

    Video and comments of an autonomous electric micro “bus” at the Circuit of the Americas outside of Austin:

    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1085519_driverless-electric-shuttle-bus-carries-racetrack-visitors-video

    Some of the key things:

    1. The alignment is a programmed route, not a physical guideway.

    2. The vehicle interacts with random pedestrian actions.

    3. The vehicle charges on its own without human intervention.

  34. Bob R.
    July 12, 2013 at 12:16 pm Link

    TriMet posts a blog entry touting replacing old fare machines.

    Regardless of what one may think of TriMet’s attention to such matters, past or present, I’m guessing that most will find the photo which TriMet chose to adorn the post quite satisfying.

  35. al m
    July 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm Link

    Regarding those ticket machines, there was a definite decrease in tweets and dispatch calls for about a month. Now we are seeing an increase again.

    There was a comment on my blog about that which should be considered so I am posting it here:

    Actually, the TVM ‘fix’ itself is not temporary…for once it’s not the actual hardware that is the biggest problem. Staffing in the fare maint. dept. is becoming a large issue-one worker retired and another bid into a different dept. in the last month, and no replacements available due to lack of foresight to start more apprentices a couple of years ago. And at least one more to bid out and 2 or 3 to retire by the end of the year. Also a problem is the spare parts situation…no (or very little spares for the new (refurbed) TVMs. And of course there are the famous ‘butt jammers’ who knock out the bill acceptors and not much is being done to remedy that, even though there are devices to limit the impact there. Of course the biggest problem is that none of these problems fall under capitol projects so good luck seeing any action there!!!

  36. al m
    July 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm Link

    You gotta see this, not really local transportation issue but its a classic.

    Asiana Flight 214 Pilot’s Names Released – YouTube

  37. EngineerScotty
    July 12, 2013 at 3:53 pm Link

    After watching that video, Al (and the station’s “don’t-blame-us-we-just-read-the-teleprompter” apology), this Don Henley classic has never seemed more appropriate:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46bBWBG9r2o

  38. al m
    July 12, 2013 at 8:55 pm Link

    Nice sound on that Scott! Really nice they remastered it!

    http://t.co/0Hos7Nl5Qz

  39. EngineerScotty
    July 13, 2013 at 9:07 am Link

    If you like electric vehicles, OMSI is having a one-day event on the subject:

    https://www.omsi.edu/events/drive-revolution/2013

  40. EngineerScotty
    July 13, 2013 at 1:31 pm Link

    Someone caught jamming cigarettes into TriMet ticket machines, apparently in a scheme to steal change.

    http://www.kgw.com/news/Suspect-arrested-jamming-cigarette-butts-into-TriMet-ticket-machines-215319121.html

  41. EngineerScotty
    July 14, 2013 at 12:43 am Link

    The Oregonian considers Gateway: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2013/07/broken_promises_gateways_lost.html#incart_m-rpt-2

  42. Ron Swaren
    July 14, 2013 at 9:48 am Link

    Y’know there are some lessons we could learn from our next door neighbor and soon to be First World country: Mexico. (First, let’s stop the flow of US dollars out of here, which is contributing to the current account deficit.)

    But here’s an interesting article—–kind of similar to their ability to build a lengthy mountainous pass with numerous bridges and tunnels ( the Devil’s Backbone) for $900 million US, while here in Oregon, Gov. Kitz and Speaker Tina try to stick us with a $4 billion replacement for a good, functioning bridge.

    Enjoy:
    1,200 miles by bus through Mexico? Bring your laptop.
    http://news.yahoo.com/1-200-miles-bus-mexico-bring-laptop-133600070.html

  43. al m
    July 14, 2013 at 11:15 am Link

    Here’s some real interesting options for transportation in the future:

    More details on Elon Musk’s 4,000-mph Hyperloop travel tubes [w/video]

  44. Ron Swaren
    July 14, 2013 at 12:25 pm Link

    Musk melon what? : )

  45. Ron Swaren
    July 14, 2013 at 10:05 pm Link

    OK, diesel truck haters, here ya go:
    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/07/brusa-20130713.html

  46. al m
    July 15, 2013 at 11:44 am Link

    Light rail bullies stopped in Hawaii:

    Eleven Hawaii Federal Judges Blast HART Rail Project Incompetence | Hawai`i News Daily

  47. bjcefola
    July 15, 2013 at 10:39 pm Link

    Some questions on the Oregonian series on Gateway based on what I’ve read so far:

    - The most prominent example of bad planning in the story was the use of urban renewal funds for purposes that offered limited direct returns to the neighborhood. Who exactly in city government pushed those decisions? Was it city council members, PDC, or a city bureau?

    - The Gateway Arch went up in 1954 and the urban renewal zone was established in 2001. What happened in between? When did the neighborhood start heading in the wrong direction and why? How did governing municipal policy (I assume county before annexation, then city of Portland) influence that trajectory? What role if any did private investment decisions have? What role if any did non-governmental community organizations have?

  48. EngineerScotty
    July 16, 2013 at 11:31 am Link

    Patricia McCaig, Gov. Kitzhaber’s CRC adviser, is the subject of an official ethics investigation.

  49. al m
    July 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm Link

    Light Rail or ULTRA LIGHT RAIL?

    There is no end to the possibilities.

  50. Nick theoldurbanist
    July 16, 2013 at 2:07 pm Link

    Ultra light rail = Just another obsolete trolley car?

  51. EngineerScotty
    July 16, 2013 at 4:23 pm Link

    Supposedly the thing weighs about 5 tons, as opposed to 15 tons for your standard city bus, or 50 tons for a standard LRT vehicle.

    What passenger capacity it gets in those five tons is an interesting question:

    Up in BC, on the SkyTrain (Expo and Millennium lines, not the Canada line) they use linear induction technology–essentially a bunch of electromagnets in the track that propel the train cars long; as opposed to having motors on board the train (motors being rather heavy components). These things weight about 2/3 of a standard railcar.

    I’d be curious as to how an “ultra light rail” weights a tenth of a standard railcar, and maintains structural integrity. The cited article gives no clues.

  52. al m
    July 16, 2013 at 8:31 pm Link

    I still like the TUBE THING!
    Apparently the stock market does too!
    Yay for the free market!

  53. Ron Swaren
    July 16, 2013 at 9:44 pm Link

    “I’d be curious as to how an “ultra light rail” weights a tenth of a standard railcar, and maintains structural integrity. The cited article gives no clues.”

    There is a lot of research into ultralight structural components.

    My concern with any vehicle that is too light—and also too big—-is that it is a wind target. This a real, practical limit in things like EV’s, aircraft, marine vessels. Despite technology the laws of nature don’t change.

  54. EngineerScotty
    July 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm Link

    TriMet bus driver stabbed in Lents. Taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

  55. Aaron G
    July 17, 2013 at 7:00 pm Link

    Heard a big crunch and went outside to investigate, streetcar 006 either smashed into or got smashed into by a white minivan that thought it could count on signal timing but got surprised by signal priority in the middle of the intersection at SW Mill & SW Broadway. Car’s yet to be moved, been sitting there about a half hour now.

  56. Aaron G
    July 17, 2013 at 7:03 pm Link

    Oh, there it goes. Slowly leaving on its own power.

  57. al m
    July 17, 2013 at 9:30 pm Link

    You should be listening to the TRIMETSCANNER and you might actually know what’s going on.

  58. al m
    July 17, 2013 at 9:33 pm Link

    It’s actually not listening its reading a twitter account!

  59. EngineerScotty
    July 19, 2013 at 12:17 am Link

    The city of Beaverton will be holding an Open House on its proposals for the Creekside District plan: http://www.beavertoncivicplan.com/oregonian-beaverton-to-present-plans-for-canyon-road-creeks-at-open-house-july-18/

  60. Ron Swaren
    July 20, 2013 at 4:47 pm Link

    Strathcona County (That’s Edmonton Alberta) is starting their double decker bus service:
    http://www.strathcona.ab.ca/departments/Transit/Double-Decker-Pilot-Project.aspx

  61. EngineerScotty
    July 20, 2013 at 4:53 pm Link

    TriMet wins (for the most part) ATU 757′s appeal of last fall’s arbitration decision. TriMet is not awarded retroactive health-care premiums (i.e. covered workers do not have to reimburse TriMet for three years worth of premium payments, even though the decision technically covers the entire contract period from 2009-2012), but the arbitration decision in favor of TriMet is otherwise upheld.

  62. Ron Swaren
    July 20, 2013 at 9:53 pm Link

    Strathcona County (That’s Edmonton Alberta) is starting their double decker bus service:
    http://www.strathcona.ab.ca/departments/Transit/Double-Decker-Pilot-Project.aspx

    “These buses will be the first double-decker transit buses in Alberta. However, after the County trial in 2011, a number of other Alberta communities are also considering the double-decker to suit their high-capacity busing needs. The buses are already in use in a number of Canadian municipalities including Ottawa, Toronto, Kelowna and Victoria. Las Vegas and Seattle also use the double-decker as a standard part of their transit fleets.”

  63. EngineerScotty
    July 22, 2013 at 5:46 pm Link

    Transit advocates are upset about the Southwest Corridor.

    The Minnesota project that goes by that name, that is–the project is long been controversial because it bypasses a transit-rich urban settlement south of Minneapolis (that could easily be served by an alternate alignment) to reach suburbanites more quickly.

  64. R A Fontes
    July 25, 2013 at 8:08 am Link

    TriMet is going with its own custom electronic fare collection system:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/commuting/index.ssf/2013/07/trimet_decides_to_forge_ahead.html

    There was some wisdom in TriMet’s holding off from jumping on the smart card bandwagon until the kinks were worked out. After all, it takes a while before the capital costs of these systems are recovered. TriMet might have saved some money by waiting another year or two, but the move is one in the right direction.

    I think that TriMet is right in going for a system which would eventually allow riders to use smart bank cards and not be stuck with yet another specialized card restricted to specific uses. Visa, Mastercard, etc. are working on converting US cards from magnetic stripe to embedded chip. It won’t be that long before we’ll be joining the rest of the world.

  65. EngineerScotty
    July 25, 2013 at 5:56 pm Link

    TriMet announces planned opening date of PMLR. (Sept 12, 2015).

    And Joseph Rose uses the word “Clackistani” in a news report. :) (Why do I suspect that this won’t appear in tomorrow morning’s paper?)

    (Joseph also refers to the “Orange Line”, though it still remains unclear how TriMet will ultimately brand the thing; TriMet’s press release studiously avoids mentioning the color…)

  66. EngineerScotty
    July 25, 2013 at 11:09 pm Link

    Here you go, Ron: TriMet receives a demo of electric bus technology. (Non-trolley variety). And these are production busses (though not configured for the US market), not prototypes, that were demonstrated.

  67. Ron Swaren
    July 25, 2013 at 11:26 pm Link

    Good. Then when the Third Interstate Bridge is built with a large center pier it can have underwater turbines to generate power from the Columbia. This will get Vancouver commuters to Beaverton Hillsboro jobs pollution free and take enough congestion off I-5 to restore it to 1980 levels.

  68. Ron Swaren
    July 26, 2013 at 7:58 am Link

    Here’s another item of interest in regard to electric vehicles. Now they are going to make the electric motors out of lighter weight material. I think this would be especially helpful with vehicles requiring large motors:http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/07/prlemo-20130722.html

    Project developing lightweight motors and their production technologies for EVs; fiber-reinforced plastics

    And now a “real snappy surprise” (as Gilda Radner would say):http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/07/jbei-20130726.html

    JBEI researchers engineer bacterium to produce diesel-range biofuel using CO2 as sole carbon source
    26 July 2013

  69. Ron Swaren
    July 26, 2013 at 8:06 am Link

    Maybe I can make that second link better:
    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/07/jbei-20130726.html

  70. Anandakos
    July 26, 2013 at 2:25 pm Link

    You gonna’ pay for that “Third Interstate Bridge”, Ron? ‘Cause your government isn’t.

    And rightly shouldn’t.

    The two existing bridges are completely adequate to any foreseeable freight and Puget Sound to the south private traffic, so anything built would be 97% for the convenience of Clark County commuters.

    Why would your representatives burden your taxpayers to satisfy the childish demands of rubber-tired foreigners taking jobs from their constituents while speeding through their neighborhoods?

    Doesn’t sound like much of a vote-getter to me.

    And, just to deflate your helium-filled happy-face balloon, the amount of power that a run-of-the-river installation across the Columbia at Vancouver could produce would not move all those commuters. The reason dams produce as much power as they do is more a result of the pressure head that they create than simply the volume of water that passes them.

    The amount of energy in six-mile-per-hour currents is not trivial when you’re talking about the volume in the Columbia, but neither is it enormous.

  71. Ron Swaren
    July 26, 2013 at 7:55 pm Link

    Greek Island where people get exercise through their work-a-day lives as opposed to gyms, cycling, yoga, etc.
    http://xfinity.comcast.net/video/the-island-where-people-live-forever/38814787789/

    “And, just to deflate your helium-filled happy-face balloon, the amount of power that a run-of-the-river installation across the Columbia at Vancouver could produce would not move all those commuters.”

    Most buses that are alternative to diesel are hybrids. Also, I know it will probably gall you, but under the Bush administration a National Labs engineer design a far lighter bus, and if you would stay up with the tech, you would see that there will be advances in all aspects of transportation engineering, rendering much greater fuel efficiency.

    You’re a sad case.

    “Why would your representatives burden your taxpayers to satisfy the childish demands of rubber-tired foreigners taking jobs from their constituents while speeding through their neighborhoods? ”

    Because Oregon is deriving $150 million of revenue from them, yearly.

  72. Anandakos
    July 26, 2013 at 10:58 pm Link

    @Ron,

    No, Oregon is not “deriving” one penny of additional revenue from Clark County commuters. You are a very nice person who has been completely misled by the shouters on cable news and the apologists for the truly rich.

    I believe you may also be a bit limited in comprehension or economic education because it seems you don’t understand that somebody will fill any job sited in Oregon, assuming that job is economically viable. If that person is a Clark County resident he or she takes somewhere on the order of 50% of her or his compensation back to Washington. If the jobholder lives in Oregon, that economic “leakage” won’t occur.

    The money the Washington commuter takes home is not recycled through the Oregon economy — except for that portion that the Clark County resident spends in Oregon for entertainment or sales tax avoidance, of course. Therefore there is actually LESS!!!!! net revenue for Oregon from most jobs held by a Washington resident. (See below for the exception).

    Heck we even get Oregon Unemployment if we lose our Oregon job!

    The income tax revenue for Oregon is the SAME whether the worker lives in Oregon or Washington. Why can’t you understand that? The tax rate is a flat 9% beyond a relatively low threshold, and for shared earner households where one spouse works in Washington, the exemptions, deductions and credits are all reduced in proportion to the percentage of income that’s earned in Oregon.

    Now, I will admit that a worker who is or is married to a “Quiverfull” religious maniac may well save Oregon the cost of educating her little robots, but chances are that SuperMom is home schooling them anyway to keep them away from the taint of Godless Science. So no skin off Oregon’s budgetary teeth.

  73. Anandakos
    July 26, 2013 at 11:11 pm Link

    @Ron,

    Your post about the biofuel is genuine good news. If the carbon cycle can be closed by recycling then liquid fueled vehicles are not so dangerous.

    I expect it will be quite a while before the “bacterioleum” is competitive with conventional ore even fracked diesel.

  74. Ron Swaren
    July 27, 2013 at 7:30 am Link

    There are numerous other reasons why Third Bridge makes sense besides job commuting for Washingtonians. In fact mentioning this to Mielke this week, he said “Why can’t Clark Co. have its own employment?” I suspect that if hat happens there will be even greater interstate commuting.

    However, people, apart from any effect on commuting jobs, a Ring Road is a Standard in urban planning. And this ring road section reduces travel distance from the vicinity of the present I-5 bridge by 6 miles, much of which would be through congestion through the US26 tunnel. If you could read I also stated that it would come very close to the upcoming West side trail system, and I certainly wouldn’t have anything wrong with a West Union bike rider, riding over to Pier Park, Jantzen beach shopping center, Hayden Island, Vancouver lake or even stopping to catch a salmon or steel head off the Third Bridge central pier. It wouldn’t bother me if a resident in the upcoming Vancouver waterfront project or the revitalized NW downtown Vancouver section rides over to Hwy 30 and Sauvies Island, or takes the Mill Plain or 4th Plain express bu and links to a corresponding service on us 30 or 26. Also, the Rivergate industrial area still has nearly a square mile of unused browmfield land, and this route would make it easy to get to, either from the north or from the western Beaverton Hillsboro area. In fact in a correspondence to one of your state senators (knowm now as the “bridge killer) I listed 14 routes that the Third Bridge could connect.

    Thanks for pointing out any deficiencies in economic understanding. In the State of the World Forum we place as a priority the social science first, namely getting people to get along with each other. And in the UN Urban Forum we entertain discussion from points of view all over the globe.http://www.worldurbanforum.org/ yet I would have hard time selling the multibillion dollar light rail schemes as an idea for all but few other cities. But usually there is a lot more to economics than meets the eye. There are Portlanders who don’t commute very far—–but their money sure does—– when they spend it on foreign products (including the $50-100,000 imported cars that they seem to like here.)

  75. Anandakos
    July 27, 2013 at 3:17 pm Link

    “Why can’t Clark County have it’s own employment?” That’s a very good question. I don’t know that answer, but I expect it has quite a bit to do with the blinkered lack of vision the County exhibits.

    Vancouver is older than Portland and sits at the base of the Cascades, with the East Fork of the Lewis River coming down from the mountains only a few miles to the. Surely it has a much water flow as does Bull Run. Yet nearly 200 years after the founding of the original settlement, we’re still drinking water from wells.

    It’s symptomatic of the tightwad, me-first attitude of so many Clark Countians. The place is crawling with transplants from Orange County, California, and they brought their Reaganite propensities with them. But if “government is the problem”, then needed infrastructure is either ignored or built shoddily by crony friends of the power structure.

    And regardless of what that jackass Glenn Beck tells you between gold commercials, the VAST majority of the power structure is Republican, not Democratic.

  76. Ron Swaren
    July 28, 2013 at 12:43 pm Link

    This is a rambling incoherent discussion. I don’t think you have addressed a single one of my points.

  77. Erik H.
    July 29, 2013 at 7:36 am Link

    “Why can’t Clark County have it’s own employment?” That’s a very good question. I don’t know that answer, but I expect it has quite a bit to do with the blinkered lack of vision the County exhibits.

    Because as Vancouver sprawled south to Portland, and then Portland kept sprawling south, west and east, the population center moved south from Fort Vancouver. Eventually Oregon City was declared the capital of the Oregon Territory (and that distinction would continue to move south, all the way to Salem) but the industrial center became on the Willamette River, not the Columbia River. As Vancouver could not grow to the west or east due to geography (a big river and a big lake to the west, big mountains to the east) and could not effectively grow north, Vancouver became secondary to the City of Portland, which filled in hundreds of acres of wetland and destroyed creeks and lakes in order to build what is now downtown and Northwest Portland. (And you thought Portland was the “green” community…)

    And where Portland International Airport is? That was all marsh and swamp land, filled in and diked. To this day, the Airport’s terminal building is built on a special foundation that is designed to float in the event of flooding. It wasn’t suitable for industrial use 200 years ago, nor 100 years ago, until we decided to tell the environment that our love affair with kerosene guzzling Boeing 727s and 737s was more important than chinook salmon. (But, hey, we’ve got a coal-powered MAX Light Rail train to take there!)

    Yet nearly 200 years after the founding of the original settlement, we’re still drinking water from wells.

    What does this have to do with anything? Many cities receive their drinking water from wells. Probably a good thing Vancouver was using well water instead of a Cascades range lake back in May 1980.

    It’s symptomatic of the tightwad, me-first attitude of so many Clark Countians. The place is crawling with transplants from Orange County, California, and they brought their Reaganite propensities with them.

    Much of OREGON’S growth came from transplants from throughout California, bringing north all sorts of problems. Like endless government spending without regards for economic sustainability. Ignoring basic maintenance while building new infrastructure. Expansion of government services, which have to then be cut. Such population movement is hardly a Clark County only concern. Look at Bend as a perfect example. The last time I checked a map, Bend was pretty darn squarely within the state boundaries of Oregon. Look at Medford and Grants Pass – they aren’t exactly doing so hot in any category, other than the anti-government folks. (God forbid your home is suspiciously burned down.) Forest Heights (within Portland’s city limits), and quite a few Southeast Portland subdivisions off of S.E. Foster Road, again within Portland city limits, make you wonder what city you are in.

    This is a rambling incoherent discussion. I don’t think you have addressed a single one of my points.

    Exactly right, Ron. Exactly right.

  78. EngineerScotty
    July 29, 2013 at 8:29 am Link

    Again, everybody, keep it civil. (This is not addressed to anyone in particular).

    And yes, environmentalism is a recent phenomenon in the US, including in Portland–whether the anti-urban, anti-density environmental ethic of the 1970s, or the pro-urban, pro-density ethic of today. The fact that our forefathers eagerly despoiled the earth, doesn’t make us all hypocrites today–you have to work with the cards you are dealt. (China has been known to object to pollution treaties, complaining that since the West got to pollute the earth during its industrial revolution, they have no grounds to object to China’s industrial excess).

    At any rate, Vancouver has succeeded in recent years at drawing industry within its borders, and there are suitable properties there for companies looking to expand. As noted in another thread, it may be a “red city” (though it’s not Vancouver itself that is so rock-ribbed conservative, but the rest of Clark County), but it’s still in a blue state, so the ‘Couv isn’t going to win any races to the bottom.

  79. Anandakos
    July 29, 2013 at 11:24 pm Link

    @Erik,

    The only reason that MAX is coal-powered to the degree that it is, is that Portland folks have failed to buy out PGE and make it a PUD. Then you could get a considerably higher proportion of your power from the BPA.

    That is the one way I can think of in which Clark County is more progressive than Portland, but it’s a very great pleasure to pay the utility bill monthly and know that 96% of it goes for power purchases or generation costs. No CEO bonuses, YES!

    So far as the water from wells it was to make a point that the County just doesn’t invest enough in itself. People have an “I’ve got mine; screw you” attitude.

  80. Chris I
    July 30, 2013 at 6:00 am Link

    Plus, Boardman will be closed in less than 7 years. Go ahead and milk the “Coal-powered light rail” as long as you can, Erik. You only have a few more years. How much of the bus fleet will be electric/natural gas by 2020?

  81. Ron Swaren
    July 30, 2013 at 9:40 am Link

    “The only reason that MAX is coal-powered to the degree that it is, is that Portland folks have failed to buy out PGE and make it a PUD. Then you could get a considerably higher proportion of your power from the BPA. ”

    And the Kafoury Bunch kept protesting outside of Trojan Nuclear, to the dismay of a lot of unionized employees in the Longview and Rainier areas.

  82. EngineerScotty
    July 30, 2013 at 11:03 am Link

    A dumb question: Is TriMet a big enough consumer of electricity that they could conceivably buy it wholesale (including directly from BPA, as many industrial consumers do), rather than dealing with PGE?

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