Alternative Forum on the Columbia Crossing

The Coalition for a Livable Future is holding a forum on the CRC Thursday evening. Yours truly will be one of the panelists. Here’s the complete skinny:

You may have read in the paper recently that the options being studied by the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) Project – a transportation project focusing on the 5-mile stretch of I-5 that spans the Columbia River – are narrowing. Projected to cost a whopping $2 billion to build, and $1 million/month to plan, the proposal on the table is to get rid of the old bridges and replace them with one huge span. What are the implications for our health and our neighborhoods? What sort of economic impacts can we expect? What can we really afford? What other ideas should be considered? Come learn about this project and engage in a discussion about the pros and cons of the staff proposal. CRC staff will present their proposal followed by a response panel and open discussion. What: Columbia River Crossing Forum, sponsored by Coalition for a Livable Future, Environmental Justice Action Group, Friends of Clark County, and the Columbia Group of the Sierra Club

When: Thursday, Jan. 4, 2007, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

We encourage you to bike, walk, take transit, or carpool to:

New Columbia Community Education Room, 4625 N. Trenton St., Portland
On TriMet line #4, near line #1 (see for trip planning)
For those of you coming from Vancouver, you can take TriMet #6 to #4 (both of these lines run late).

For more background on the project, go to Or, download staff recommendations at:

Forum Moderator: Ethan Seltzer, Portland State University
Joe Cortright, Economist, Impresa Consulting
Bruce Podobnik, Lewis and Clark College
Steve Stuart, Clark County Commissioner (invited)
Chris Smith, Citizen activist and Portland Transport founder

Questions? Contact or (503) 294-2889.

5 responses to “Alternative Forum on the Columbia Crossing”

  1. Chris, you forgot to close the blockquote tag for the CRC notice, which is altering the layout of the entire site.

  2. Most of the traffic problems are caused by people going to work in Portland and outlying areas of Portland. I have yet to see any mention of express lanes, with no entrances, just exits, starting on the WA side, and ending south of Portland,and vice versa.

    Having these express lanes would move traffic past downtown, easing up a lot of the traffic problems associated with the downtown area.

    One other way to help ease the traffic mess that is currently happening is let the semi tractor and trailers use the carpool lanes. It takes a while for 60,000lbs of cargo to get moving again after being stuck in traffic, whereas most cars and pickups can get back up to freeway speed a lot faster.

    Simple solutions are out there, but with the taxpayers money to spend, time will tell if the commission will waste the money or do the job correctly. Also, plan for the next 75 to 100 years down the road, as this area will be growing more and more.

  3. Having these express lanes would move traffic past downtown, easing up a lot of the traffic problems associated with the downtown area.

    I think the traffic studies show the majority of the traffic across the bridge is going to the Columbia Corridor, Rivergate etc. It doesn’t get past Delta Park. There aren’t many trips from Clark County going beyond downtown.

    I think the primary need for express lanes is for people who live in North and Northeast Portland who are trying to get to locations beyond downtown and can’t get on the freeway because of the Washington traffic. That problem will really get exacerbated when Delta Park is widened.

  4. Ross W., for 14-years I commuted into Portland from Vancouver on I-5 and most of the time went across the Freemont Bridge into NW Portland and what you are suggesting is completely wrong, 80%+ of the vehicles in the AM Peak Period travel to points past Rivergate and BIA exits.

    I have the latest (Oct. 2005) vehicle counts done and certified by the David Evans Tranportation consultants and they show that you are very wrong in your preceptions. Not to point a finger at you or anyone else because I make just as many mistakes as anyone.

  5. have the latest (Oct. 2005) vehicle counts

    Vehicle counts do not show the starting and end points of trips.

    According to the CRC web site link over a third of the trips across the bridge start or end within the “bridge influence area” which does not appear to include the Columbia Corridor, Lombard or Portland Avenue. Nor does it include trips to Swan Island, Lloyd Center or downtown Portland. These would be “regional trips”.

    You may be right, that it is not a majority of trips before Lombard. But it is still a relatively small number of trips that would be served with some kind of bypass of north/northeast Portland neighborhoods.

    There is a real danger that in its obsession with transit, Portland will sit by while these neighborhoods’ auto access to regional business centers is sacrificed to Clark County commuters. Improving transit service is important, but its also important to realize that many trips in the region depend on automobiles.

    There are a lot of households where one person drives to work and the other uses transit or alternatives. You don’t want to drive those families out of the neighborhoods with transit because the one using the car can’t get to work in a reasonable fashion. Nor do you want to drive out businesses because they can’t get to their customers efficiently.

    And, frankly, its just not fair to sacrifice these neighborhoods access to the freeway for the benefit of the Clark County exurbs. And tell the folks who chose to live in North and northeast Portland, close to their jobs, that they should use the bus so they don’t delay their Clark County co-worker’s commute.

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