$3.50 to Dundee


Yesterday’s O covers the report from Macquarie Infrastructure Group on finances for the Newberg-Dundee Bypass.

The core package would require $3.50 tolls on both the bypass and 99W, plus an up-front investment of $150M by the State. Local residents would get a discount, paying $1.00 to use the bypass (the article does not explicitly say, but seems to imply that residents could use 99W for free).

Alternately, ODOT could skip the up-front investment if tolls go up to $5.00.

Another option would be to vary the tolls by time of day. The peak-hour toll would be just over $6.10.

“It’s hard for me to sense how people are going to react to this,” said Yamhill County Commissioner Leslie Lewis, who said she prefers putting tolls on just the bypass. “Clearly, they reacted badly to tolling the entire corridor. Whether this will have any public acceptability, I don’t know.”

It’s also unclear where ODOT would get the $150M.

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73 responses to “$3.50 to Dundee”

  1. I would rather see $150 Million in public funding go to a new arena for so rich athletes can smoke weed and play ball in luxury than see it go to pay for a privately-owned, sprawl inducing toll highway.

    But really – we need to pony up so the 40-mile commute into Portland isn’t so slow, then add another $1,500 (in perpetuity) to our individual transportation budgets?

    I guess I see this bypass as a marginal improvement at substantial cost to everyone who could possibly enjoy the benefits (except, of course, the road owners). Even then, benefits could be short-lived due to the ‘Iron Law’

  2. From the Oregonian:

    “The report did not address the issue of drivers avoiding 99W and the bypass altogether if both have tolls.”

    Poor Gaston.

    I would hope that whatever agreement is reached there are protections for the public from any future market failure. If they didn’t take into account traffic diverting to other roads, did they consider how much that $5 toll will produce if people stop choosing to live in McMinnville and commuting to Tigard/Beaverton/Lake Oswego/Wilsonville? You can get a lot more house for an extra $200 per month, not including the other costs of commuting. And for people not headed to the southern part of the region, going north through Washington county is going to be a real option.

  3. So, it turns out that Newberg-Dundee is going to get some sort of a free pass, ODOT and Macquarie overstated the number of drivers that travel “to and from the Casinos and the Oregon Coast” by possibly a factor of 2 or even 3, and that residents of McMinnville (primarily), and Amity, Carlton, Yamhill, Sheridan, and Willamina (secondary) – as well as people travelling to and from those communities – will be the ones that have to pay.

    No where else in Oregon has “a congestion problem” declared one entity over another as a source (isn’t Newberg and Dundee’s continuing growth also a factor? Dundee’s blossoming wine tourism business? Newberg’s industrial base, of which only ONE industry bothers to use the railroad – McMinnville has a half dozen railroad users) of congestion; and no where else in Oregon is one community singled out and forced to toll – especially where another community is given a free pass.

    Quite frankly, the problem is that Newberg just wants a bypass (even though it received millions from ODOT in a recent rebuild of 99W from the ground up from west to east), and Dundee is just too freakin’ stubborn and doesn’t want a five-lane road through its town (which would provide the city with innumerous benefit). McMinnville has ALWAYS been there – why is McMinnville being forced to pay for a problem it hardly created? If I recall, Lafayette was the original town in Yamhill County; when the railroad (the Oregon & California) was built it went through McMinnville (we’re talking 1870s-1880s here) and so McMinnville became the county seat, and the largest community in Yamhill County. It wasn’t until later that the Oregonian Railway built its line, the present railroad over Rex Hill and through Newberg and Dundee.

    Why haven’t we instituted tolls on U.S. 97 through Bend and Klamath Falls – after all they both received massive new freeway style bypasses due to increased congestion. Will the expansion of the Eugene Beltway require tolls? What about the expansion of U.S. 26 (Sunset Highway) west from downtown, in some cases from two to four lanes in each direction – where’s the toll booths? The U.S. 30 widening project in Scappoose and St. Helens – no tollbooths there either. And the U.S. 20 relocation project between Corvallis and Newport – how is that being paid for? Or the Highway 22 projects east and west of Salem, that provided both Polk County and east Marion County with a freeway?

    Further – if, as Macquarie claims, over 15,000 cars a day are going “to the Casinos and the Coast” – how many of those cars are really going to sign up for an electronic tolling device, that works on only ONE road (the next nearest toll road is the Golden Gate Bridge), and most of the coast bound traffic is very infrequent. In other words, one must have a subscription to travel out Highway 18 – but Highway 22 is free, Highway 6 is free, and Highway 26 is free.

    If McMinnville residents are going to be forced to pay for a road that they have long owned and maintained (Highway 99W), I sure hope that they get some sort of a tax credit (income tax or gas tax) to offset the toll that they must now pay, that no other Oregon community is forced to pay. Or, since ODOT will no longer maintain Highway 99W, that Highway 47 be widened to four lanes and straightened, and that Carlton and Yamhill are bypassed, and Cove Orchard…well…relocated to make way for a straight, fast highway. (At least the railroad right-of-way still exists in this corridor to use.)

    Oh, wait, I forgot. McMinnville might get a choo-choo train. Somehow ODOT can find the hundreds of millions of dollars for a tourist train, because it might take 50-75 cars off the road, and only on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Too bad for those who work for a living.

  4. Dundee needs to grow up, needs a remade highway through town, since it is a major highway…plenty of room for this and then the bypass would not be needed…personally I prefer to go through Salem and use the highway from there to Valley Junction avoiding Hwy 18 pretty much altogether..

  5. That’s $150 Million plus it’s gonna take a toll to cover the costs.

    Again, the problems with road subsidies.

    A better way to get people to use transportation (and roadways) more intelligently is just to open it up to the markets. Slap a toll on there that covers 100% (wuz that about $8 bucks then?) of costs of maintenance, operations, and such and call it a day.

    Leave the taxpayers alone. The taxes should be for REAL Government mandated services, not for the continued monopolization of roadways.

  6. The Oregonian article said this is for a paltry 16,300 vehicles a day. That seems an absurdly low count for building a $350 million, 11-mile tollroad. What exactly is the point of this proposed road?

    -reduction of congestion
    -increased mobility of region
    -money maker for corporations
    -monetary self-sustenance for corridor
    -increased capacity to allow more suburban residents to locate in McMinnville and work in the Portland Metro area

    so which is it?

  7. so which is it?

    I think the reason that seemed to stand out a few years ago was that the communities of Dundee and Newberg want their downtowns back. The volume of traffic makes is damaging to the community’s livability. I think urban folks (and commuters) forget sometimes that people live in these towns, they aren’t just drive-throughs on the way to the coast. The problem is that we have made moving vehicles a priority over preserving the places they move through.

  8. If the bicycle mode of transport was taxed to pay for bike lanes and bicycle infrastructure instead of the money being siphoned off from the taxes assessed motorists, there would be more money available for projects like a bypass or improving 99W. Tolls need to be taken off the table until such time all taxes (including fuel taxes) and fees paid by motorists are dedicated for roads only; and not to subsidize development, trolleys, bicycle infrastructure, or any thing other than streets, roads and highways.

  9. Terry, I hardly think that $350 million have been ‘siphoned’ off to pay for bicycle improvements. I don’t think any city in the entire world has spent that much money on bicycle improvements!

  10. I wonder what $350 million could buy, if spent on a transit system that would have the same traffic reducing effect as a bypass.

    Let’s assume ODOT establishes daily hourly coach service the entire length of the Oregon coast with three connecting routes to Portland and one to Eugene. Let’s further assume that these buses will be carrying an average passenger load of 20%, paying an average fare of 20 cents a mile and the cost of buses and running the service is $5.00 a mile. The net cost would then be $3.00 a mile. [$5.00 – (.20 X 50 seats X $0.2) = $3.00]

    The total route length is about 690 miles. Let’s assume 16 round trips a day plus another 16 round trips a day between Portland and McMinnville. That comes to 23,360 bus miles a day. [(690 + 40) X 2 X 16 = 23,360]

    It would then cost approximately $26 million a year to provide this service. [23,360 X 365 days X $3.00 = $25,579,200]

    An endowment of the $350 million not spent on the bypass invested at 7.5% interest would yield approximately $26.5 million a year, enough to pay for an entire coastal transit system and 99W commuter service. This type of intensive transit service would not only substantially reduce traffic congestion on US 99W but also on US 101.

  11. Terry often brings up the cost of bicycle facilities in the context of paying for other projects, so I’d like to take this opportunity to bring up another cost, one that is slightly more costly than accommodating bicycles: The Iraq War.

    We’ve recently passed the $350,000,000,000 mark (350 Billion) for the monetary cost of the war.

    This money (assuming you believe that this war was not necessary) could have built all of the following at once:

    • 100 $350mil Newberg-Dundee bypasses (2 major bypasses in each state), no tolls needed.
    • 100 $350mil Interstate-Max style light rail lines (2 light rail lines in each state)
    • 50 $2bil Columbia-River crossings (1 crossing per major river in each state)
    • 400 $50mil Streetcar starter systems (8 streetcar systems per state)
    • 10,000 lane-miles of freeway at $10mil/mile (200 lane-miles per state)
    • 200 Aerial Trams @ $50mil/each (4 trams per state)

    And you’d still have $50 billion left over for contingency and future maintenance, or maybe you could reinforce a levee or two. (Operating funds are left as an exercise for the taxpayer.)

    My point? Not that we should build all those things in those precise numbers… rather that we are getting worked up over the cost of bike lanes and tramways without devoting (at least on this blog) the same amount of energy to stopping the #1 most costly expenditure this nation currently faces, by far.

    – Bob R.

  12. Just to clarify one point: The $150 million public subsidy would consist of $50 million for construction and $100 million for right-of-way. Since the state would own the highway, and Macquarie would operate under a concession agreement, I think both company and ODOT officials have assumed the state will purchase the right-of-way…but the commissioners still seemed taken aback by the figure.

  13. A. Phil Said: “I hardly think that $350 million have been ‘siphoned’ off to pay for bicycle improvements. I don’t think any city in the entire world has spent that much money on bicycle improvements!”

    B. Requests to Metro for bike projects that are on the recommended first cut list in the MTIP process have a total cost of over 8.7 million dollars alone. That would bring the 350 million bypass dollar figure down to 341.3 million. Then if the other non-road project total costs that are also on the recommended first cut list such as subsidies to transit, transportation dollars spent on development planning, pedestrian amenities, etc are added up; they have total project costs of 73.9 million further reducing that 350 million from 341,3 million to 267.4 million dollars. In other words, by redirecting motorist paid dollars back to an exclusive roads only fund, just from Metro’s pot of money, 82. 6 million dollars could be found, That is well over 20% of the estimated costs for a bypass. We all know Metro transportation dollars can not be transferred and used in Dundee. However, such an exercise demonstrates how easily money can be siphoned off from motorist paid taxes for socially engineering slush funds and projects other than roads. (Metro transportation money comes from the motorist paid federal tax on gasoline) Dig a litter deeper and the whole 350 million could probably be found.

  14. Funny how they can come up with the money to piss away in the wind for stupid train and bicycle projects all over the Portland area but then cannot afford to pay for the REAL projects that are needed around the state and can’t afford to fix the potholes in the streets, pay for bridge repairs and take care of the homeless. I grew up in the Dayton area and they’ve been talking about this fabled “bypass” for over 20 years now! Now it appears the Yamhill County locals are going to be punished because Portlanders like to go to the beach on the weekends! How many millions have they already wasted in study after study while doing nothing to actually start building this thing? I am really upset about the direction this city/region is going.

    I moved here a year ago from Beaverton to 7th and Halsey so I could be close to my work. I figured I could save around $200 in gas and parking. The rent was much more reasonable in the Lloyd District than in the Pearl District. When my rent just came up for renewal they raised it almost $200 a month. To add insult to that injury they are also eliminating the $15/year street parking permit program in this area? Why? Because they need to pay for the streetcar! Now I am going to have to pay almost another $100 to park in the underground structure! So there goes my “savings” to live in Portland. I am not renewing my lease and am being forced to move back to Beaverton and will go back to driving to Portland every day and spewing pollution into the air, while still saving money. I’m not going to stand in the Max packed in like a sardine and subject to harassment by the bums! And why should I have to be punished for living in Portland having a streetcar go right by my house when I don’t even use it? It especially upsets me that most people don’t even pay the fares when they DO ride the max or streetcar and enforcement seems rather apathetic.

    I wrote several e-mails to our commissioner Sam Adams about my situation. I didn’t even get an acknowledgement. Even the standard “we got your letter but are too busy to respond” would have been better than absolutely nothing at all. I say it’s time to impeach these idiots and their utopian ideals and tell them to build their overpriced communist gulag somewhere else. Enough is enough already.

  15. – Bob R.

    I gotta say that’s a pretty bad comparison. Really, that’s FEDERAL taxed money, not local money. Portland’s percentage of that amounts to maybe enough to build ONE or TWO of the hundreds of things you’ve mentioned.

    However I did mention the ridiculousness of the spending we’ve put into this war over on my blog. I’ve also listed in according order the most logical things that could have been done with the money instead of waging a highly to somewhat irrelevant war in a hapless country.

    – Terry Parker

    You do know (and I’m not trying to be a smart ass) that as long as the highway/roadways are handled by the Government monies will be horribly mispent. You won’t get decent funding and appropriations for such until the roadways are privatized and operated with real vested interests in their respective operations. Otherwise, what really does the Government have vested to keep them motivated to stay with the road system? They could at whim decide that everyone should have fying helicoptors tomorrow, or a personal mini-streetcar. Their isn’t logic to the process, never was, never will be, and as long as their isn’t market relevance to their decisions it will continue to perpetually deter private investment, interest, and efforts in any alternatives that are mentioned here on this blog.

    So I agree with your statements 100%, use taxes should be used to maintain and operate the systems they are collected for, but in the same turn, it will never happen from a functional point of view. Also by forcing EVERYONE (especially early when it started) to pay for something that wasn’t even a primary mode of transit and thus it gains the leading role isn’t realy honest either. A lot of people have to use cars that given another choice would change. There are a lot of people that would use transit if it where available. But their money along with millions of other people (like mine) goes into roadways that we don’t use. If I did I’d be happy to pay a toll, but I’d rather pay the direct cost of my ticket on the Streetcar or the Light Rail Vehicle. Pay per use, I like it, but it won’t be realized until the Government gets back OUT of the industry.

  16. Let’s assume ODOT establishes daily hourly coach service the entire length of the Oregon coast with three connecting routes to Portland and one to Eugene. Let’s further assume that these buses will be carrying an average passenger load of 20%, paying an average fare of 20 cents a mile and the cost of buses and running the service is $5.00 a mile. The net cost would then be $3.00 a mile. [$5.00 – (.20 X 50 seats X $0.2) = $3.00]

    The total route length is about 690 miles. Let’s assume 16 round trips a day plus another 16 round trips a day between Portland and McMinnville. That comes to 23,360 bus miles a day. [(690 + 40) X 2 X 16 = 23,360]

    Simply put, such service is unnecessary and more importantly unwarranted.

    Already, there is bus service from Coos Bay to Eugene, from Newport to Albany (one bus continues north to Salem, McMinnville and Portland), from Tillamook to Portland (twice daily) and from Astoria/Seaside to Portland. Although these busses have ODOT backing, not one of them receives any type of state support.

    Greyhound at one time had twice-daily service from Portland to San Francisco, via Highways 99W and 18 to Lincoln City then 101 straight shot down to the Golden Gate Bridge. Low ridership meant the busses were discontinued years ago.

    According to ODOT’s own numbers, the average number of cars that travels on Highway 18 south of McMinnville is less than 15,000. Subtract vehicles that are travelling only between Sheridan/Willamina and McMinnville (or better yet, look at the number of cars that cross the Coast Range on Highway 18, which is only 10,400) – that’s the true number of cars that is going to the coast. But that 10,400 also includes vehicles that take Highway 22 towards Salem.

    At Willamina, 8600 cars are on Highway 22 east of the junction, and 8000 cars are on Highway 18 east of the junction. I can only surmise that on average, 5,000 cars on Highway 99W through Newberg and Dundee are actually bound for the coast.

    A transit bus service isn’t going to do jack squat for the weekend coast traffic, unless one proposes a weekend bus service between Portland and Lincoln City.

    On the other hand, 13,800 cars are on the “McMinnville Spur” (the portion of Three Mile Lane that departs Highway 18 and continues into downtown McMinnville as Third Street) compared to 8,600 that use the McMinnville Bypass (the segment of Highway 18 between Three Mile Lane and Highway 99W). This of course doesn’t include traffic that comes out of McMinnville on 99W through Lafayette.

    A more reasonable approach to reduce congestion would be a combination of improving 99W through Dundee (to the contributor who says Dundee wants their “downtown” back, I ask – what downtown?!!) and a frequent and real transit service that connects McMinnville, Lafayette, Dundee, Newberg, Sherwood, King City, Tigard TC (connection to Commuter Rail) and downtown Portland (transit mall, connection to other bus lines, MAX and Amtrak, and airline service via MAX Red Line). Such a service would hardly cost anywhere around $26M.

    Today, the only “transit service” offered in this corridor is a once-daily “express run” that starts in McMinnville and drops one off in a parking lot in Sherwood at 7:06 AM; and six daily “Corridor Link” runs that serve both Lafayette and Dayton, and terminates in downtown Sherwood (?!!). Hardly a useful service; one who must be in downtown Portland by 8:00 AM must leave McMinnville at 6:30 AM, and hope that the bus is on time in Sherwood at 7:06 AM, as TriMet’s 94 departs the theater at 7:09 AM. Since TriMet drivers are notoriously uncaring (if you’re trying to catch the bus) or notoriously overcaring (if you’re on the bus and late, and the driver is wanting to keep the bus off-schedule to wait for more passengers) – you’re likely to miss that bus, and the next 94 won’t get you to downtown until 8:05 AM.

    But wait – you want to get to Beaverton? Good luck, because the 94 stops at Greenburg Road at 7:30, and the 76 doesn’t show up until 7:42 AM. And it doesn’t get to Beaverton until 8:07 AM.

    In short, since transit options are lacking in McMinnville, and it seems that most “planners” are only interested in a commuter rail solution to McMinnville instead of something that can be done today at very little cost (three highway coaches could be purchased brand spankin’ new for $1M total) – the only winners are the consultants and engineering firms; the losers are virtually everyone else.

  17. Hello! Great site by the way….

    I grew up in the Dayton area and have had to experience the famed Dundee Bottleneck most of my life. I now live in Portland near Lloyd Center but frequently visit my parents who live just south of Dayton between West Salem and Dayton on Wallace Road. When the Wheatland Ferry is open I simply go down 5 and take that across the river. Tonight that wasn’t an option as the ferry is closed due to high water. Here was my experience…..

    I left Lloyd Center around 4:15 PM. Traffic was not really THAT bad. I never travelled slower than 35 MPH until I got to the 205 Interchange. It slowed down to 20 for a while but not too bad considering the time of evening and perhaps Christmas traffic was an issue. Smooth sailing from Wilsonville all the way to the McKay Road, which I took into Newberg. Traffic wasn’t even that bad in Newberg on 99W. Then I got to the double lanes right before Dundee around 5:15 PM. Traffic was almost STOPPED and going about 2MPH!! It took me almost 30 minutes to go less than 3 miles. How ridiculous. They want us to spend all this money on a stupid bypass why don’t they just bulldoze that blighted town Dundee and widen 99W? With all the money they could spend on the bypass they could widen 99W all the way to the 18 interchange and widen 18 to 4 lanes all the way to Willamina! Heck, maybe even to Spirit Mountain! What good is the bypass going to do for the two-lane only traffic on 18 beyond Dayton towards McMinnville and beyond and what good is the bypass going to do for the traffic on 99 from Tigard to Newberg? The way I see it that it’s only going to move the bottleneck! With 350M it seems they could have a really nice widened 18 and 99 all the way to the coast!! I know the local residents don’t want to ruin the “charm” of their community by having a widened highway. They need charm to begin with. This community has absolutely no charm whatsoever! It’s blighted. I told my grandma this and her response was “what charm?” my dad said “All Dundee is a wart on the highway”. Anyway I really hope they don’t build the byass. I used to be a big proponent but now think the whole thing is a sham.

    –GREG–

  18. Many areas of the East Coast learned a long time ago that “roads” were not the long-term solution to transporting goods and people. Europe, China and Japan also know this. Why are we so stubborn in hanging onto our automobile culture. If anyone had any vision, they would spend three times, or even more on mass transportation, such as running rail down through this valley corridor. I would be willing to pay twice the toll to ride such a visionary transportation system. As it is I live in McMinnville and I will not pay one dime to this “backward” thinking toll road idea. I will go around through Yamhill Carlton to get to where I need to go.

  19. Anita,
    The cost of the commuter rail you suggest would be very expensive. The (being built) cost of the Washington County rail is $117 million for 14.7 miles. The hoped for daily ridership is 3,000 to 4,000 by year 2020. That is less than 1/5 of the daily traffic through Dundee. For most people the car offers flexibility that rail does not. I agree that the proposed toll road through Dundee is very expensive for a ten minute trip. I think most people will not accept this alternative.

  20. Anita,

    Pardon me if I sound rather direct, but it seems as though you would like to see more mass transit, but on the other hand you are attached to your automobile to the point that you would drive well out of your way to avoid an inconvenience such as a toll road.

    Since you are advocating more mass transit, do you/have you considered carpooling, or do you use what limited public transit service that exists in McMinnville? Judging from your post, it appears that you don’t.

    Public Transit is simple – use it or it goes away. That’s what happened to Greyhound; and before that the Red Electrics. The public stopped using it, because they demanded the flexibility and convenience of the private automobile. If you want public transit you must first step up and use it. (Note, I am an annual TriMet pass holder and use it a minimum of twice daily.) Only then, will the public (as a whole) understand the value of the system and be willing to fund it, whether it be enhanced bus/vanpool service or even rail service.

    Today – as it is – I couldn’t possibly fathom commuter rail in any reincarnation going to McMinnville. The busses that currently travel from McMinnville to the Portland area (Sherwood, to be exact) are poorly patronized at best. If the public can’t use what service is available, why should we demand the government spend hundreds of millions of dollars on trying to build up the service, when there are more pressing matters that require that same money?

    I agree that the toll road concept is ridiculous, and that it pointedly discriminates against McMinnville. But traffic congestion is a known issue in the 99W corridor, and we are still at a loss as to how it should be solved. Do we want more roads (or more capacity for the existing roads), better public transit, or a mix of both? Or maintain the status quo?

  21. This from the opinion section of May 23, Newberg Graphic.

    A March 28 letter from ODOT Region 2 Planning Manager Erik Havig to Newberg City Planning and Building Director, Barton Brierley, states the following:
    “ODOT has concerns about the implications of expanding the Newberg (urban reserve areas), and eventually the (urban growth boundary), as recommended in the Urban Reserve Area Justification report and the Newberg Southeast Land Use and Transportation Plan. While we are committed to continue to work with you as you plan for the city’s future, the transportation system impacts associated with the growth implied by these proposed land use changes is dependent upon construction of the Newberg Dundee bypass to avoid significant impacts to the state highway system. At this time, we are not able to identify the Newberg Dundee bypass as a planned facility that is reasonably likely to be funded and constructed within a 20-year planning horizon.”

  22. What a dramatic turnaround. Last correspondence I received from someone at ODOT in March suggested they had already started buying parcels. What happened? Did 1000 friends get an army of lawyers together to kill it?

    At any rate I am really thrilled they didn’t proceed with this gargantuan waste of money! I just wish they hadn’t taken so long to reach this conclusion. They just need to widen 99W through Dundee all the way to 101. Many other small towns in Oregon have wide highways running through their cores. Just what is “so special” about Dundee we’re trying to preserve? Is it Lumpy’s or the pretty purple house and its political billboards? I still think the long term answer is two more bridges in Yamhill County connecting to I-5. Salem needs a couple more, too and while we’re at it put a bridge in at Wheatland.

  23. Greg,
    The economics of the bypass were always out of reach. Last reports indicate the costs were approaching $600 million. That is a lot for a 10 minute ride through Yamhill County.

    I agree a $15-20 million 5 lane through Dundee is the best possibility. Or, perhaps a divided highway with two lanes close to the railroad tracks, and a parkway in the divide.

    The Bypass doesn’t solve the congestion getting to Portland, and could make it worse.

    I agree, a regional bypass that gets McMinnville and coast traffic to I-5 escaping Dundee, Newberg, Tualatin and Tigard would help everyone.

  24. a regional bypass that gets McMinnville and coast traffic to I-5 escaping Dundee, Newberg, Tualatin and Tigard would help everyone.

    There is one. It goes through Salem or Hillsboro. Neither one is very convenient for the trips currently using 99W.

    The problem with creating a convenient bypass to If is that I5 can’t handle more traffic either. So you are shifting the 99W congestion onto I5, which is a really bad idea.

  25. Ross,

    Then what would YOU propose? As long as the Californians keep moving here in hordes and want to go on their hoity toity outings to the wine country then we need to keep up with the growth to accomodate that activity. Adding extra lanes to I-5 would be easier than adding extra lanes to 99W through the middle of Tigard.

  26. As long as the Californians keep moving here in hordes and want to go on their hoity toity outings to the wine country then we need to keep up with the growth to accomodate that activity.

    No, we don’t. It just creates business opportunities for winery tours.

    Then what would YOU propose?

    To be honest, I don’t think there is a way to relieve congestion on 99W. The problem in Newberg and Dundee is not the congestion but the impact of all that traffic on the two communities. The proposed bypass would solve that problem. I doubt it would have much impact at all on how long it took to do a winery tour or to commute from McMinnville for that matter.

  27. It’s ironic that Newberg and Dundee are simply getting a free pass, and basically told “it’s not your problem” – they are a part of the problem too.

    In Newberg, only one out of four cars is actually headed to the Oregon Coast. That means three out of four is either local traffic, headed to McMinnville, Sheridan, Willamina, or potentially down Highway 99W towards Polk County. Since Lincoln City has an alternate route (Highway 22 to I-5 at Salem), the tolled bypass is a slap in the face to McMinnville and western Yamhill County, who have no other options other than Highway 47 through the Tualatin Valley.

    Newberg has grown significantly in the last 15-20 years and is putting pressure on 99W further north. Newberg is a significant bedroom community to Washington County and the Metro area. McMinnville is also, but to a lesser extent. While McMinnville has also grown significantly, more of McMinnville’s residents work in McMinnville (or in Newberg).

    To suggest that there isn’t a way to reduce congestion – there absolutely is. It’s called widening 99W through Dundee. It can be done with little impact to neighboring properties, and if done right (which ODOT has plenty of practice doing, and communities have generally benefitted from it) can actually improve the “downtown core” of Dundee which currently has little life. That there isn’t a way is simply the “no build” option – ironic, given that the “no build” option is rarely employed when MAX happens to be one of the “build” options in the Metro area.

    The problem is that Newberg and Dundee see themselves as the victim and not part of the problem, and their only solution is an overly expensive bypass – instead of a more sensible widening of 99W through Dundee that carries many benefits with very few drawbacks. If Dundee truly had a downtown district, I might feel otherwise, but just take a drive through Dundee. I’ve done it many times – it can be easily widened, and the only buildings that would be negatively impacted are buildings that are vacant, abandoned, derelict, or could easily be moved the 30 or 40 feet (or simply a new building build 30-40 feet away to replace the older building). The Argyle winery would lose its front landscaping but that’s it. About four homes would be removed. The fire department would not have a front parking lot and the apparatus doors would lead right to the road (I could point out several dozen fire stations that have the exact same configuration, so to suggest that is a problem is hogwash).

    I would estimate that the cost to widen 99W in Dundee is less than $10M, and probably even less than $5M. However I’ve also plotted an alternative Dundee bypass, that would skirt Dundee but not bypass Newberg (after all, ODOT rebuilt 99W through Newberg several years ago, and congestion has been greatly reduced to where there are few tie-ups within Newberg). However if such a bypass were built, I would want a law passed that would outright prohibit Dundee from having any direct access onto the bypass, rather that its only access be at the north and south junctions. (That way it couldn’t develop along the bypass and then build new intersections, the way that Sherwood did.)

  28. I agree with Erik. If ever there was a time to improve traffic through Dundee, it is now. Erik, did you read the statement from ODOT in my first post this morning. Perhaps, they are going to start this process over again with more economical reasoning. It will be interesting.

  29. I think it was a no-brainer that the funding wasn’t going to be found. Now Newberg is finally coming to its senses that this is a hare-brained idea.

    Dundee needs to realize that it has little to lose by widening the highway. Like I said, if there was a real “downtown” I’ve be beating to a different beat, but there’s nothing there. I could envision a four lane highway, with a landscaped median, attractive lighting with planters, sidewalks, off-street parking, and new development standards that emulate a “downtown” look and feel to Dundee. The area between 99W and the railroad tracks, which isn’t redeveloped, would become a park, with a concert lawn, gazebos, and a walking trail. A pedestrian bridge would be constructed near the elementary school. The old Red Electric substation near the fire station would be renovated as a community center or a visitor’s center. The fire station would be relocated. And there would be three signalized intersections.

    Instead, Dundee wants to maintain its wasteland…

  30. To suggest that there isn’t a way to reduce congestion – there absolutely is. It’s called widening 99W through Dundee.

    There is no reason to think that will reduce congestion on 99W, it will simply move it along the highway and encourage more people to commute from McMinnville.

    he problem is that Newberg and Dundee see themselves as the victim and not part of the problem,

    I don’t think so. I think the issue is that Newberg and Dundee are recognizing the costs of people’s decisions, including their own residents. They don’t want to continue to sacrifice their communities for the choices of people who work in Tigard and Beaverton and live in McMinville.

  31. Ross,

    It’s obvious where the problem is – Dundee! Have you actually ever actually driven out there or are you simply confined to the Streetcar downtown area? I think there are better roads in Mexico than that stretch of highway 99W. It’s shameful that they throw all this money down study ratholes but they can’t even come up with simple solutions like widening the road. I guess they would rather make rich consultants from Australia at the expense of local residents. As for the argument that Salem or Hillsboro are regional bypasses? Do you have any idea how BAD traffic congestion is through Salem to get to highway 22? Salem is already talking about building two more bridges – one around Salem Towne and another one down South Commercial. I didn’t mention you would drive almost 35 additional miles out of the way to go that route to get to Lincoln City or the casino. The whole problem is this state’s anti-growth stance even though growth is occurring at an astronomical rate. Not everyone is moving to Oregon so they can cram into the pearl projects. These politicians need to wake up and get out of the way and quit stalling progress.

  32. Ross,
    Are you suggesting that the now estimated $600 million project is the best approach? I guess the important part of that question would be, “from where will the money come?”. The toll road idea has really been shot down. It isn’t close to being economically feasible. Especially, when compared to a $10-20 million five/six lanes through Dundee. A regional bypass is the only long term solution, but that is not economically feasible, either.

  33. Are you suggesting that the now estimated $600 million project is the best approach?

    No. I don’t think there is a politically and economically palatable approach that solves the problem of congestion. And I don’t think there is a politically palatable approach that doesn’t solve the problem of congestion. An approach that embraced congestion as a metering device that limits traffic is not going to get past ODOT.

  34. So as a practical solution, you would support a $10-20 million expansion (most likely 5-6 lanes of Highway 99W through Dundee? This will be getting considerable attention once ODOT decides the Bypass is no longer a viable option. Or, is there the option to just leave it congested?

  35. So as a practical solution, you would support a $10-20 million expansion (most likely 5-6 lanes of Highway 99W through Dundee?

    Solution to what? I don’t see who that fixes the problems traffic creates for the communities of Dundee and Newberg. It will just make them far worse and increase congestion closer to town.

    Or, is there the option to just leave it congested?

    I don’t think there is any other realistic option to congestion. Expansion of the highway to 5-6 lanes through Dundee doesn’t solve the congestion problems on 99W, it just moves them somewhere else along the highway.

  36. So as a practical solution, you would support a $10-20 million expansion (most likely 5-6 lanes of Highway 99W through Dundee?

    Solution to what? I don’t see who that fixes the problems traffic creates for the communities of Dundee and Newberg. It will just make them far worse and increase congestion closer to town.

    Or, is there the option to just leave it congested?

    I don’t think there is any other realistic option to congestion. Expansion of the highway to 5-6 lanes through Dundee doesn’t solve the congestion problems on 99W, it just moves them somewhere else along the highway temporarily.

  37. Ross,
    I don’t think you understand the problem. 99W is 4 lane all the way from Portland to Dundee. It is choked to two travel lanes and a turnout lane in Dundee with a 25 mph speed limit. Then it widens to 4 lanes after Dundee. This is an interruption of the flow of traffic. Naturally, there will be congestion. There is no 2-3 lane highway in Oregon with the 30,000 per day traffic count matching Dundee. Cars are stacked up for miles in the summer and often all during the year in peak traffic. Your suggestion of just accepting the congestion doesn’t seem well thought out. What am I missing from your logic?

  38. It all depends on how much value you place on the viability of Dundee as a community. Ask the residents of Linnton what the widening of US 30 did for their town.
    Too many cars? Offer some options to driving. I like upgrading the rail line for commuters, tourists and steel scrape headed to the McMinnville steel mill.

  39. There is no reason for 99W to be less than 4 lanes through Dundee. It’s similar to the Delta Park bottleneck on I-5 where 3 lanes narrows down to 2 for about a mile or so before expanding back to 3 lanes. It’s an unnecessary obstruction to the flow of traffic. Building a 600 million bypass for something that could be resolved with less than 1/10th that (conservatively) seems like a huge waste of money. Dundee just needs to bite the bullet and let 99W be widened. Now, they can still demand landscaped medians, special pedestrian crossings, distinctive signage, even reduced speeds through their stretch of 99W. Heck, they could have the most beautiful stretch of 99W they could ever dream of, for a fraction of the price of a bypass. They just need to work with ODOT instead of against it.

    And just out of curiosity, exactly HOW does bypassing Dundee help Dundee’s businesses?

  40. Lenny,
    Rail for Yamhill County is a $150-200 million project. There is no money available (not even close). Using generous population projections, rail is about 40 years away, if ever possible.

    Are you, also, suggesting that the congestion now experienced in Dundee is acceptable? I am missing your logic, also. We have one of four choices: 1) a $500-600 million bypass, 2) 4 travel lanes in Dundee, 3) a regional, $450 million bypass, or 4) living with the congestion now in Dundee, that will be getting worse each day.

    The Washington County Commuter Rail project is expected to have daily ridership of 3,000 to 4,000 by 2020. That cost of that project is about $120 million. That amount of ridership would barely make a dent in the Dundee congestion. And the biggest hurdle would be NO MONEY. The Washington County project was grandfathered in with less strict requirements than Yamhill County would be facing.

  41. Ruh:
    You say that we don’t have $150-200M for rail to Yamhill County, so we aren’t allowed to consider that as a solution, but two of the choices you list as the ‘solutions that we are allowed to consider’ are more than twice that much.

    And yes, I understand Dundee’s desire to not become another Linton, so it looks like the only option that is left is #4, the no action alternative.

  42. Ross,

    Under your logic you support:

    1. Narrowing 99W to two lanes from Sherwood (the edge of Metro’s influence) to Dundee. Because people need to understand their decisions – choosing to live in Newberg or Dundee has just as many consequences; look at Sherwood, King City and Tigard. I’m sure Tigard residents don’t relish one out of every TWO cars being non-local transient vehicles.

    2. Forcing a tax onto people who live just in McMinnville. Never mind the hundreds of other communities that have similar problems and would get a free pass. Newberg and Dundee would get a free pass. So would every outer suburb of Portland – Forest Grove, Cornelius, Hillsboro, Tigard, Tualatin, West Linn, Lake Oswego, Oregon City, Gresham, etc. Or how about Polk County with their new freeway to Salem, or Stayton? Corvallis and Albany? Why should McMinnville be treated differently?

    Mind you, McMinnville residents pay the same gas tax on highways as anyone else, so if McMinnville residents have to pay for the highway, are we going to lift the gas tax on McMinnville residents as well?

    3. Newberg and Dundee are part of the problem. Newberg/Dundee are bedroom communities to Portland. Has there been discussion of creating a transit district, and taxing Newberg/Dundee residents to drive over Rex Hill? Of course not. So again, why should McMinnville residents be penalized?

    It all depends on how much value you place on the viability of Dundee as a community. Ask the residents of Linnton what the widening of US 30 did for their town.

    Big difference between Linnton and Dundee.

    Linnton is built on a hillside; there is nowhere to build on the west side of Highway 30. So the highway went there and took out all of the businesses that were there.

    Walk or drive through Dundee sometime and you’ll see it is a very different matter.

    In the land between Highway 99W and the Willamette & Pacific Railroad tracks, there are several houses, a winery, a fire station/public works building, an old railroad substation, a tavern, a restaurant, and a warehouse.

    Of those, four houses and a couple unused, abandoned buildings would have to be removed. In the remaining land (between the highway and the railroad) new development could be built. Most of the buildings are WEST of 99W. In fact, the entire highway could be shifted alongside the highway, but I don’t support that (because that space could be used for new development or a public park).

    Exactly ONE business would be adversely affected, the Lumpy’s Landing tavern. Everything else would be simply relocating parking lots, or the elimination of the front lawn of the Argyle Winery (but the buildings and parking lot would remain untouched).

    Dundee is not Linnton. There are many examples of where highways have been successfully widened, making a positive contribution to the city. Yes, Linnton was a failure, but because there was no where else for business to go.

  43. Matthew,
    Rail certainly can be considered, but it would be several decades out and extremely cost prohibitive. The rails would not make a dent in Dundee congestion.

    There is no comparison between Dundee and Linnton. What makes Dundee any different than all of the other cities/towns on 99W? Now is the time to fix 99W before real estate congestion makes it impossible, or very difficult.

    I am suggesting that the only prudent option is the $10-20 million widening through Dundee. The project can be a great asset for the city. As 99W is now, it is a growing problem. A divided highway would be great for Dundee and everyone else.

  44. How about bus service to McMinnville, Newburg, and Dundee, tolls on the highway, and potentially commuter rail to McMinnville -> BTC in the future?

    That should just about take care of the so-called congestion problem, without needing to build some billion-dollar cloverleafs. If they need dedicated bus lanes in the future… put in some HOT/tolled lanes for dual-use.

  45. zilfondel,
    Commuter rail would cost around $200 million and decades for approval. There is no money available. Tolls would be very high to cover costs of construction and operation, and not doable.

    Bus service would make sense if there was demand.

  46. It’s similar to the Delta Park bottleneck on I-5 where 3 lanes narrows down to 2 for about a mile or so before expanding back to 3 lanes. It’s an unnecessary obstruction to the flow of traffic.

    Not exactly. As people in North and Northeast Portland trying to get on the freeway will find out. With all three lanes full, they are going to have to crank up the waits at those ramp meters until they force everyone who has any alternative to take it.

    This is an interruption of the flow of traffic.

    Yes, its called the community of Dundee. The question is why it should be destroyed so people can get to the casino faster.

    I’m sure Tigard residents don’t relish one out of every TWO cars being non-local transient vehicles.

    Maybe not, but they like the tax revenue from the businesses in Tigard those people work at.

    Mind you, McMinnville residents pay the same gas tax on highways as anyone else,

    The gas tax they pay isn’t even covering the maintenance of the existing roads they drive on. They certainly aren’t entitled to a new road and, as the tolling studies demonstrate, they aren’t willing to pay for one.

    There are many examples of where highways have been successfully widened, making a positive contribution to the city.

    I would love to hear the list of communities that were improved by highway widening. In any case, the folks in Dundee don’t agree with you. And its their community.

    Bus service would make sense if there was demand.

    Congestion can’t be that bad then. Clearly its still at a level everyone creating it will tolerate rather than taking a bus. The people who don’t tolerate it have found alternatives.

    Which is the problem with this discussion. People largely suffer from congestion to the degree they create it. The suggestion is that Dundee should sacrificed for the convenience of the people who are creating the problem.

  47. The 1,000 people (haven’t found any yet) who live in Dundee who like the congestion, shouldn’t have the power to dictate what happens to the highway that 30,000 people use daily. Is it their highway?

  48. Part of the reason there is no demand for bus service is because the bus would be stuck in the same traffic that everyone else is stuck in. Would you rather sit in traffic for an hour, or sit on a bus for an hour? Neither. This is why rail is a good idea, it doesn’t sit in traffic.

    And the “it will take 20 years” argument against rail is silly. The road discussion has been going on for 20 years now, and look at how wide the road is today. If we started the rail project now, it would actually get done in 20 years, quite possibly before the road gets widened/bypassed/whatever, (and then some people will be able to stand around and say that “rail doesn’t work: we build the railroad, and we still had to widen the road,” like they do for 84 and 26.) That way everyone wins. People that like to complain will have something to complain about and people actually will be able to get to where they are going too.

  49. “The 1,000 people (haven’t found any yet) who live in Dundee who like the congestion, shouldn’t have the power to dictate what happens to the highway that 30,000 people use daily.”

    I think this is a good time for a Nazi analogy: “The 12M Jews in Germany shouldn’t have the power to dictate to the 70M people in the country who should be killed so that the unemployment rate could go down.” Yeah, thats right, when the Nazi’s came to power, unemployment was about 30%. Can you think of a better way to reduce unemployment than to just flat out kill a large portion of the population?

    (And yes, I think widening the highway through Dundee would help the employment of the people that are driving through, and would likely kill some of the residents of Dundee: through pollution or just flat out being hit by cars while trying to cross the street. So that analogy isn’t as extreme as you think it is.)

  50. The 1,000 people (haven’t found any yet) who live in Dundee who like the congestion, shouldn’t have the power to dictate what happens to the highway that 30,000 people use daily.

    Of course they shouldn’t. But they have a lot to say about it since they live there and those 30,000 people spend only a few minutes driving through in their cars.

    In fact, Dundee and Newberg have not tried to dictate what happens. They have put a lot of work into creating solutions only to have them rejected by the people who are creating the problem.

    The real question is whether those 30,000 people who are creating the problem are going to be allowed to dictate to the people of Dundee what kind of community they will have. Its their problem, they created it and they appear to be willing to live with it rather than pay for a solution. We should let them.

  51. Ross,
    Are you trying to suggest that every city with a four lane road is damaged goods? There are many people in Dundee who want four travel lanes. In the last Dundee ODOT meeting, most of the testimony was for additional lanes. How large of a population for Dundee is necessary before they become elibible for four lanes, in your mind?

  52. Matthew,
    The pollution from four lanes couldn’t be much worse than cars idling their way through Dundee at 5 mph.

    You suggest starting the rail project now. Who would start it? There is no government agency in Yamhill County that would consider putting any money toward rail, let alone the $150-200 million to make it happen. The up front cost of buying the rail from UP would be prohibitive.

  53. What prevents Yamhill county from creating a transit district and beginning bus service along 99W? Such an agency could then look for partners, industrial and tourism…including the casino down the road…,to figure out how to put service back on the existing rail line.
    If there is no will to do this, then Ross is right, things must not be that bad. Just picking the empty pockets of ODOT (ie the citizens of the state) to build your way out of congestion is an old and no longer useful idea that is destined to fail.
    Time to do more with less.

  54. Lenny,
    You ask important questions.
    1) The population of Yamhill County does not make it economically feasible for those people to support the cost of decongesting 99W.

    2) The “rail line” is a $150-200 million project. There is not even close to the population density to support rail. Rail has considerable construction and economic problems. Perhaps the greatest hurdle would just be getting approval/sale from Union Pacific.

    3) Is it too much to ask ODOT to widen the highway through Dundee? The highway is four lane all the way from Portland until Dundee. Then it is four lane on the other side of Dundee. The congestion is from the highway design. There is not a 2 travel lane highway in Oregon with as much traffic as that in Dundee. In other words ODOT has expanded every other highway in Oregon with similar, or less traffic flow. Why not Dundee, which would be relatively extremely easy at this point in time?

  55. Are you trying to suggest that every city with a four lane road is damaged goods?

    There are supposed to be numerous examples of communities where widening the highway made a “positive contribution” to the community. I can’t think of even one, can you?

    But, in any case, this conversation is about a 4-6 lane state highway. One whose traffic already divides two communities, Dundee and Newberg. In this case, I think an expansion in Dundee will damage both communities. The complaint that the traffic speed was limited to 25 mph is a good indicator that far from just relieving congestion, a four lane highway will increase both the volume and speed of traffic through the center of the community.

    But the real problem is that it is not clear it will do anything beneficial. The time saved going through Dundee will be lost at a stop light in Newberg or further up the highway.

    I would still love to hear that list of communities that have been improved by widening a highway through their center.

  56. Ross,
    Your logic is incredible. You seem to be suggesting that 99W should have been left at two lanes from Portland, south to Eugene. Is that correct? That widening should never take place until traffic is jammed to a standstill? Or, that ODOT should wait until those in the traffic are so miserable that they pay for the costs themselves?

    You ask, “I would still love to hear that list of communities that have been improved by widening a highway through their center.” Let’s see on 99W: Portland, Tigard, Sherwood, Newberg, McMinnville, Corvallis and Eugene.

    You say, “One whose traffic already divides two communities, Dundee and Newberg.” What kind of statement is that? The Willamette River divides Portland. Is that bad? The Columbia River divides Oregon and Washington, is that bad? Dundee and Newberg have voluntarily grown around 99W. The “division” wasn’t forced upon them, they have embraced it. Newberg wanted the recent widening of 99W. So did Sherwood, and so did McMinnville. Tigard is proposing the widening of 99W to Durham Road. Congestion is bad, ease of traffic flow is good.

  57. The Willamette River divides Portland. Is that bad? The Columbia River divides Oregon and Washington, is that bad?

    While I don’t necessarily agree with Ross that 99W through Dundee shouldn’t be widened (although I do agree that Dundee residents should have a strong say in the matter), I think the qualitative differences between a river and a highway going through a community are substantial.

    Human beings love living near, hanging out by, and recreating in, a river. The same is far less true for state highways. :-)

    – Bob R.

  58. BobR.,
    I agree in some respect, but there are thousands who love to get on the road/highways to drive/travel. Probably considerably more than get on the river.

  59. I agree in some respect, but there are thousands who love to get on the road/highways to drive/travel. Probably considerably more than get on the river.

    Well yes, that’s true, but I was speaking to the issue of how communities are “divided”.

    Another apparent division is that people generally want wider, faster roads through other communities, but given the opportunity to widen roads in their own literal back yards, there is usually opposition.

    – Bob R.

  60. I view this issue as more as an issue of efficiency rather than the usual “lets build us out of congestion” conundrum, which, as has been noted, doesn’t really work. The key difference here, as I see it, is that there is an existing infrastructure that is being inefficiently used. Historical investments have already been done to widen the highway on both sides of Dundee. These investments were not cheap, and they are permanent. Unfortunately the situation in Dundee has created a bottleneck that is severely limiting the ability of the existing infrastructure of 99W to be utilized in the most efficient manner possible. We can’t go back in time to create a regional transit system that SHOULD have been built, and due to current financial constraints I don’t see that being created any time soon. Rather (in this specific case) I think we are limited to working with, and utilizing, the infrastructure we currently have. I don’t view the widening the highway to 4 lanes through Dundee as a project to make someone’s commute from McMinnville faster or solving congestion (which it won’t). What it would do is fundamentally increase the efficiency of a transit infrastructure that is already in place and in a cost effective manner.

    In regards to sense of community and quality of life, I’m not a citizen of Dundee so I cannot ascertain what they desire. Personally though, given the choice of doing nothing or widening the road, I’d much rather have a broad 4 lane boulevard with landscaped sidewalks and a tree-lined median than the current generic, barren, asphalt ribbon that currently goes through town.

  61. You said, “but given the opportunity to widen roads in their own literal back yards, there is usually opposition.”

    Perhaps our experiences differ, but I haven’t found that true. My experience has been 30 years of road construction (and planning) in many, many cities in Oregon. I have had considerable contact with the cities and particularly the immediate people affected. Naturally, there will be some opposition to about anything. And, there is sometimes short term discontent. But, long term I have found that most people are very happy with road/highway improvement. Few things worse for cities than stagnate/congested traffic.

  62. In fact, Dundee and Newberg have not tried to dictate what happens. They have put a lot of work into creating solutions only to have them rejected by the people who are creating the problem.

    Can we get off the “everyone else is causing the problem” – it’s an interconnected environment, and Dundee and Newberg are just as much to blame.

    Again – why should Newberg and Dundee get a “free pass” and McMinnville (which, by the way, was incorporated as a community LONGER than either Newberg or Dundee) get the screw-job out of this? If McMinnville is to lose access, then every other community that has been given access should be retroactively taxed, and that includes Newberg and Dundee for their four-lane divided access highway to Portland.

    But the real problem is that it is not clear it will do anything beneficial. The time saved going through Dundee will be lost at a stop light in Newberg or further up the highway.

    Flat out incorrect and anyone who’s driven 99W knows it. Newberg used to be a somewhat of a bottleneck until ODOT rebuild the highway through downtown. Anyone who drives 99W on a Sunday afternoon knows that the jam starts at McDougall’s Corner (junction of 18 and 99W) and clears at 5th Street in Dundee (where the traffic light is). Past 5th street it’s smooth sailing into Tigard, barring a major traffic collision.

    I would still love to hear that list of communities that have been improved by widening a highway through their center.

    I had posted such a list, including communities like Scappoose, St. Helens, Lincoln City, Newport, Philomath, Lebanon, Sweet Home, etc., but it mysteriously disappeared.

    Anyone who wants to say that Dundee will be divided – does anyone even know what or where Dundee is? Look at the 99W corridor. It is dead. There are wide undeveloped lands, a number of unused buildings in very poor condition, and absolutely no sense of community pride down 99W. Dundee obiviously hasn’t done anything to change their image; at least my proposal to widen 99W would provide, at state expense, some beautification to Dundee for which it would certainly benefit from, and would open developmental opportunities (i.e. tax dollars).

    Frankly, right now Dundee has all the ambiance of Willamina. (And Willamina has a bypass. The only reason Sheridan got anywhere is the massive infusion of federal dollars thanks to the prison.)

  63. Maybe we need a “slow road” movement to go along with the “slow food” movement. What’s the rush?
    Surely the destination casino down the road in Grande Ronde…second only to Multnomah Falls?…can step up and help facilitate a solution that creates transportation choices for travelers in Yamhill county.
    Times have changed since we built the highway network…which destroyed half a dozen Portland neighborhoods…energy dependence, global warming, to name a few techonic shifts. Time to forget the old solutions and have some fun with the new possibilities.
    I wonder how much it cost to start the Mt Hood RR from Hood River to Parkdale?…probably not much more than a million bucks; also former UPRR tracks.

  64. Lenny,
    You are being vague. What are you suggesting? That congestion is a good thing? The casino is already busing as many who desire to ride a bus from the Portland area.

    Rail to the coast? Costs would be “out of sight”. And, the usage would be insignificant.

  65. ruh –

    Here is where you started:

    “I agree a $15-20 million 5 lane through Dundee is the best possibility. Or, perhaps a divided highway with two lanes close to the railroad tracks, and a parkway in the divide.”

    If, instead, we are talking about a four lane boulevard with parking, trees and sidewalks on either side with regular stop lights to allow pedestrian, bike and vehicle crossings then I think that probably makes some sense. And I admit, I am not familiar enough with Dundee to know whether that is realistic or even desirable.

    The question of how best to move traffic through Dundee is really a question best left up to the residents of Dundee. As people have pointed out, it is not in Dundees interest to create congestion. The question is how best to balance the need to move traffic with other community values. It is the residents of Dundee and their leaders who are in the best position to strike that balance. The problem is that ODOT is not about to let them make that decision.

  66. “Commuter rail would cost around $200 million and decades for approval. There is no money available. Tolls would be very high to cover costs of construction and operation, and not doable.”

    I didn’t mean to build it now, but it may be needed sometime in the future. $150-200 million is also far less than a bypass route, but does that cover the cost of a tunnel?
    Oregon’s population is growing… who knows how large these satellite towns may grow? McMinnville might have a Bend-style boom and hit over 200,000 in 10 years – you never know!

  67. zilfondel,
    I am with you that traffic planning is important. It is always good for every community to have a 10,20 30, etc. plan for their transportation system.

    What I am suggesting is that Dundee will grow, just like many towns in Oregon. It will be considerably better to have a nice 4 travel lanes put into Dundee at this time rather than to disrupt the growth in ten years. As said previously, there is no more congestion in Oregon than the two travel lane road (99W) in Dundee at present. The time is now for the widening to happen.

    The problem with rail is that there would still be a 99W congestion problem after the $150-200 million is spent on the rail. The suggested commuter rail would not make a dent.

  68. So one of my coworkers lives in McMinnville and works in Beaverton, and loves to complain about the traffic on his commute… And guess what? There is a new high school going in in McMinnville, and the parking lot is going to dump onto the, currently quiet, street in front of his house and as such he is moving… (Not to someplace intelligent, like Beaverton, but somewhere else in McMinnville.)

    I don’t have too much pity on these people, they got what they wanted.

  69. Let me just put this out for you guys… I used to be quite evil, as I commuted from Corvallis up 99W through McMinnville using the back roads all the way to Hillsboro. There was a line of (the same) cars 5 miles long all the way from McMinnville all the way to Hillsboro… (2 hour drive each way)

    That’s almost an abuse of roadway, as the road wasn’t really designed to act as a major commuter corridor for people working in the Metro area.

  70. Matthew,
    There is not a new high school going in McMinnville. It is staying in the same place. The parking lot will “dump” onto the same street it has “dumped” onto for the last 30 years..

  71. I wonder how much it cost to start the Mt Hood RR from Hood River to Parkdale?…probably not much more than a million bucks; also former UPRR tracks.

    I’ve heard estimates to rebuild the route from Sherwood to Grande Ronde (actually, Fort Hill, the line into Grande Ronde was abandoned in the early 1980s, and part of the railroad grade was removed when building the Spirit Mountain interchange) for tourist railroad service (top speed of 20-25 MPH) was running about $20-40K.

    However, Rex Hill has a number of tall trestles that would require substantial repairs which would push the cost higher.

    Sure, this could be done – but every improvement necessary to rebuild the line to “tourist railroad” standards would not get the route one inch closer to being a commuter line. In fact, from McMinnville south to Corvallis already could host a tourist train with absolutely no improvements to the track; P&W is rebuilding about 10 miles of the Willamina Branch that will make the entire Willamina line suitable for tourist trains (although P&W is doing it to improve train speeds, and allow increased car weights.)

    But, what is the value in a slow train that would take three hours to get from the metro area to Grande Ronde? And why should any form of government put dollars in such a project; there would be next to zero benefit to Yamhill County. (Just ask Amtrak; it’s “slow” long-distance trains handle less than 1% of all intercity traffic in the United States, and its trains operate at up to 79 MPH. – at a cost of $300-$600 million annually.)

    There was a line of (the same) cars 5 miles long all the way from McMinnville all the way to Hillsboro… (2 hour drive each way)

    Two hours each way between McMinnville and Hillsboro? What did you do, drive through Tillamook? McMinnville-Forest Grove is only about 25-30 minutes, and it doesn’t take an hour and a half to go the extra several miles east to Hillsboro.

    Nor is Highway 47 a “back road”, although there are plenty of “back roads” east of Gaston that are hardly decent “commuting” roads.

    and the parking lot is going to dump onto the, currently quiet, street in front of his house and as such he is moving…

    As a former MHS student, I feel sorry for any person who lives within three blocks of the high school. Essentially the high school isn’t moving, but a portion of the current parking lot is being located – and yes, it will have a different entrance/exit that will route onto a street that currently does not have vehicular access to the high school. But whether it’s a “quiet street”… (I guess now that FCC no longer has their air horn, it’s a little more quiet now.)

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