Archive | Open Threads

November 2014 Open Thread

Time to turn the clocks back, start thinking about shopping, and have another Open Thread.

  • Next Tuesday is election day.  If you haven’t voted already, there are many places to drop off ballots around town (it is likely too late for mail; ballots that don’t reach the elections office by the close of the polls on Tuesday are not counted).  Transportation/land use are on the agenda in several races:  Measure 34-221, a proposed motor vehicle surcharge in Washington County to pay for road maintenance; Metro measure 26-120 would continue a 12-year ban on Metro requiring cities to upzone, and the Tualatin mayor’s race includes a candidate who supports the city withdrawing from TriMet (though there are questions as to whether it legally can).
  • Metro is finalizing plans to reduce greenhouse gases.  And speaking of turning back the clock, Clackamas County wants to reduce greenhouse gases by building more roads.  It’s the old theory that reducing congestion improves air quality by reducing engine idling–which is kind of like an alcoholic trying to prevent hangovers by staying drunk all the time.   In case you’re wondering:  This ignores the issue of induced demand–rather than free-flowing roads, you instead get congested highways with more traffic.  Also, electric cars (and many hybrids) don’t idle when stopped.
  • Portland Streetcar recently passed the 20k weekday ridership  threshold (scroll down).
  • A recent bout of TriMet ticket fraud was apparently an inside job.
  • Halloween Night featured far too much carnage on our streets.  Four trick-or-treaters in Vancouver, and two children in Gresham, were seriously injured when struck by cars.  And two people were killed in Vancouver when their car struck a power pole.

Almost October Open Thread

A long nasty project at work has finally wrapped up; apologies for the extended absense.

  • Tualatin voters passed a public-vote-on-light-rail measure earlier this month.  Unlike a similar recent measure in Tigard, this one only affects LRT and not BRT, and does not require the city to issue pointless statements that it is “opposed” to light rail.  Tualatin’s mayor has indicated that any major capital improvements involving city funds would likely be referred to the voters regardless.
  • A major steering committee meeting tomorrow (9/29) for the Powell/Divison Project, one that is likely to narrow the scope of the project somewhat.  A separate post will cover this.
  • Last week there was a Portland Streetcar derailment, when a switch leading to the garage under I-405 was not properly closed, causing a N/S car to jump the tracks when reaching said switch.   A technical question:  MAX signals are designed to inform operators of the position of upcoming switches, and most (if not all) of the primary operational switches are electronically controlled and integrated into the signalling/dispatch system; a MAX operator will (or should) know if he’s about to be routed onto a siding or into a yard.  Does the PSC signalling infrastructure have the same safeguards?
  • A new hassle for the poor and credit-challenged (or at least those who have cars):  electronic repossession (or remote disabling) of automobiles.

MLS All-Star game open thread

Next week, Portland will host one a major cultural event, and you can take MAX to see it:  Ted Nugent is playing the Expo Center.  :)  Oh, there will be a soccer game at Multhomah Civic PGE Jeld-Wen Providence Park, too,

So, another Open Thread.

  • Portland has updated its Comprehensive Plan, and has a rather lengthy (and expensive) list of capital projects that the city would like to do in the next 20 years (not all of them will be done, obviously).   Regional projects that Portland is not playing a major part in (MAX expansions, the proposed I-5/Rose Quarter project) are not on the list, but the list includes lots of transit-, bike/ped-, and freight-related goodies.  Among the highlights are streetcar extensions to Hollywood, north up MLK, and to John’s Landing (LO-lite?); major renovation to South Portland in concert with the SW Corridor, major improvements to rail infrastructure on Delta Park, several bike boulevards, widening OR99E between Harold and Tacoma, and the western half of the Burnside Couplet.  Portland has also developed an interactive “map app” to document the plan and seek public comment.
  • Speaking of interactive transportation tools, Metro has one too.
  • Speaking of streetcars, the debate on this controversial technological tool exploded on the transit internets this past week, with contributions pro and con from Matt Yglesias, Robert SteutevilleJarrett Walker, The Overhead Wire, and Seattle Transit Blog.

Midsummer Night’s Open Thread

Been out of town, and been watching a little sporting event down in Brazil.  Now that that’s over, ’tis time for another open thread.

  • The Powell/Division project is starting to heat up.  A series of outreach meeting will occur in the next couple of weeks, and a few new documents are available.
  • Was in Seattle last week.  While there are parts of Seattle transportation planning that I’m happy not to see replicated here (such as the boring machine stuck below the harbor), I was constantly impressed by the amount of exclusive bus lanes, both on freeways and on surface streets.
  • Beaverton’s planning for the South Cooper Mountain area is also being promoted to the public.  Transit isn’t on the agenda directly, but the proposed street network includes several new arterial routes over Cooper Mountain, making bus service through the area potentially easier.
  • C-TRAN budgets $6.7M in matching funds for the Fourth Plain BRT project; the project (which unfortunately will be mixed-traffic BRT) will start construction next year, and open in 2016.   One interesting question:  The project has long assumed that the CRC and Yellow Line extension would get built, as of now, that’s not happening.
  • Some area freeways going high-tech.
  • Next week, the new SunLink streetcar line in Tuscon, AZ opens, featuring 8 new vehicles from Oregon Iron Works.

Rose Festival Open Thread

Time for another open thread.

  • The Portland City Council is delaying until November a vote on the proposed (and controversial) per-household street fee.  The Willamette Week has more hereWW‘s Aaron Mesh suggests that there weren’t yet three votes on the council (beyond Steve Novick and mayor Charlie Hales), and that councilor Amanda Fritz requested the delay.
  • Next Monday, Metro will formally approve the scope of the Southwest Corridor project.  As previously noted, TriMet has reportedly suggested a “split” line, with two branches diverging in the Tigard Triangle:  A short one across 217 to Tigard TC, and a longer one heading south to Tualatin.  And in a story that will get the motorists-first crowd up in a tizzy, Joseph Rose is reporting that the leading alignment being considered would use existing lanes on Barbur Boulevard, rather than a new alignment.
  • Metro has radically redesigned their home page.  So far, I like the old one better…
  • The Powell-Division Transit and Development Project (the “and Development” part appears to be a recent addition to the name of this endeavor, make of that what you will) now has a project atlas.
  • TriMet is looking for a few good hackers.
  • TriMet is considering closing a pedestrian path between Willow Creek TC and SW Baseline due to persistent vandalism and drug use.