Groups Weigh In on CRC Impacts

As we head into the decision process for the next round of study on Columbia River Crossing options, various groups are beginning to weigh in.

From the Coalition for a Livable Future:

The CRC project staff has recommended that the task force, which advises local and federal authorities overseeing the project, advance “three” alternatives for detailed study in the draft environmental impact statement process. These three alternatives include two with the same 10 to 12-lane replacement bridge idea coupled with different transit options, and a no-build option, which federal law requires. In essence, this proposal is a recommendation of only one alternative: a colossal and costly replacement bridge. We believe that proposal is too narrow, too expensive and poses significant threats to public health, the environment and our region’s economic vitality. Instead, we want to ensure that less expensive, greener and people-focused options are on the table.

From the Urban Greenspaces Institute:

From the information we have received, it appears that the current Columbia River Crossing purpose and need statements preclude consideration of alternatives that would undoubtedly have significantly lower environmental impact and cost than the proposed freeway bridge options. Therefore, we urge Metro Council to adopt a resolution that recommends adoption of a revised purpose and need statement that allow for a more diverse array of options in the DEIS.


If this project moves forward in its current form, it will have a huge, negative impact on the development of our transportation network, will harm community livability, and will be a step backwards for our region.

See you all tomorrow at Metro!

10 responses to “Groups Weigh In on CRC Impacts”

  1. Bravo to the Coalition for their stand; likewise kudos to BikePortland for getting this issues to its readers.
    The basic question for Portland residents, especially those of North & Northeast, is “how will 20k to 60k more motor vehicles per day across the Columbia help to make our neighborhoods more livable?”
    To Clark county folks I offer a paraphrase of Tom McCalls famous invitation to Oregon…”we love to have you come to Portland to work, shop and play, but please don’t bring your car.”

  2. if you don’t want them to bring their cars how are they to get a round?

    You would be surprised how well you can get around Portland without using your car very much. Of course it depends on where you want to go, but most of downtown, Lloyd Center and the close-in neighborhoods hardly require a car at all.

    Trimet to very limited.

    I agree. Trimet needs to increase service to a lot of parts of the region. They need to be given more resources to do it.

  3. You would be surprised how well you can get around Portland without using your car very much.
    I’ll vouch for that… I do it everyday!

    Trimet needs to increase service to a lot of parts of the region. They need to be given more resources to do it.
    100% Agreed! And, they definitely need to hear from people who use the system but feel it could do a better job if… (examples: direct route between x and y; more service on route z); and those who would like to use transit more (or at all), but the current system doesn’t work at all for them.
    Also, more resources to promote the neighboring systems (C-TRAN, SMART, SAM, CAT, South Clackamas, Columbia Co. Rider; and to a lesser extent, Cherriots), so everyone knows all the different routes there are out there.

  4. A lot has been made of getting light rail to Vancouver. But the current reality is that many of the jobs people in Vancouver have are in areas that are poorly served by transit on the Oregon side of the river. They also lack pedestrian environments that are necessary to use transit.

    If you are really looking at reducing reliance on autos from Clark County the place to start is by providing at least one alternative. For many trips, there really aren’t any right now. If you don’t have and use a car you can’t work there.

    I don’t believe the CRC has ever looked at a transit system on steroids in the Columbia Corridor connecting to Vancouver. Its not just express buses to downtown Portland that are needed or just MAX that provides service to both downtown and points in between. Its also east-west service all along the river.

    And don’t get folks in Washington County started on the spoke-hub system. It has many of the same problems with pedestrian facilities that make it difficult to provide transit. But the “local” service really needs to be expanded if it is going to be a reasonable alternative.

    I hope at some point the commuter rail project can go to all-day service with 10 minute headways. I think that would promote ridership on the entire system. Especially if it drives the creation of a better pedestrian environment in the commercial areas near the stations.

  5. Ross,

    I don’t intend to sound argumentative, but go to the Tualatin commuter rail station site. Stand there for 20 minutes.

    You’ll find PLENTY of sidewalks – even the ArtWalk that connects two apartment communities, a park, the Commons, the shopping center, and City Hall/Library.

    You’ll find PLENTY of bike paths, on every street. There’s even an existing bike park facility (which is seldom used, but never the less is there).

    This is what you WON’T find:

    1. Transit. The nearest bus is five blocks away. Again, I quote TriMet’s commuter rail project manager, when asked about expanding transit in Tualatin: “We hope to.” No, should have been done as part of Commuter Rail, not as an afterthought (just as you want pedestrian connections to be planned as part of any transit project).

    2. Jobs. There’s a lot of the service industries (Haagen, McDonald’s, Outback, etc.) near the station. None of Tualatin’s major employers (Meridian Park Hospital, Levitron, GE Infrastructure, UPS) are anywhere near the rail station site. Nor are they reachable by public transit (only the hospital is reachable using current bus service).

    Wilsonville is in the same boat – it’s location is at a dead-end, well off of any major street and isolated from the business center.

    Washington Square’s station is accessible by two bus lines that don’t offer local service to the business centers (i.e. the nearby Nimbus Business Center).

    Commuter Rail will be good for Beaverton and Tigard, but only by chance. If Commuter Rail is going to succeed, TriMet needs to start improving bus service.

    TriMet has EVERYTHING they need to improve bus service; except they have blown away their entire capital budget on projects like Interstate MAX, Airport MAX, and I-205 MAX. As a result, new bus purchases have been cancelled (including articulated busses which are despirately needed), no new local bus routes, and the reduction of service frequency on many bus routes. There is zero interest in TriMet in improving the regional mass transit service; only more MAX/LRT. They are ONLY building Commuter Rail because it was shoved down their throat by Washington County and Wilsonville.

  6. Ross W., you are right on when you talk about how effective all of the transit options are that have even a potential of servicing the needs of the Clark County commuter going to their job in Oregon.

    Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart and Metro Councilor Robert Liberty brought that to the Metro, CRC Hearing last night and called for new studies and efforts to look at “Transit Systems on Steriods” and I agree.

    The CRC Task Force is so hell bent to build a bridge that they forget that this Big Monister that they propose is going to induce more traffic into this very small and limited I-5 corridor and destroy what little balance we have in our region.

    Transit has to be funded in Oregon and Washington and built out to where it can be consider relevant and that has to be a higher priority then making congestion on I-5 worse with this proposed CRC Project.

  7. Erik:

    Your entire post above is why I am not in favor of rail projects for Portland Metro–they are just too damn INFLEXIBLE. Just think how far ahead we would have been, transit-wise, if we had invested in BRT; we had a great start with the bus mall in 1978, which will now be decimated by MAX tracks.

    To be fair, Trimet did increase (1/14/07) the service on #9 Powell at night (even on weekends!) to 15 minutes, up ’til about 9:30 – 10 PM.

  8. Actually access to jobs in N. Portland from the MAX Yellow line ain’t bad. Expo Center: 16 peak hour service to Rivergate…needs more service, but its a start. Kenton Station: 6 & 4 lines, both Frequent Service. Lombard: 4,6,75 lines, all Freequent Service. Portland: 44 line to U of Portland (5 minutes). Killingsworth: 72 Killingsworth Frequent Service to Swan Island and east to PCC. Albina/Mississippi, 33, 35 & 85 to Swan Island (every 20 minutes) plus 1,000s of jobs within walking distance. Not to mention jobs along the Interstate corridor at Kaiser, Fred Meyer, New Seasons, etc.
    The problem is C-Tran’s failure to provide frequent service from Clark county locations to MAX at Delta/Vanport where 3 bus bays sit unused to this day. They are expected to begin to correct this in September with the 4 and 4 limited. The C-Tran downtown express buses do nothing for all the trips to non-downtown destinations in N & NE Portland.
    Not only has C-Tran cut service in the last few years, but the southbound HOV lane on the WA side was elimnated, adding 5 minutes travel time to several Swan Island vanpools.

  9. ust think how far ahead we would have been, transit-wise, if we had invested in BRT;

    I don’t see how BRT is any more “flexible” than light rail if you are talking about the dedicated right of way version. You still have feeder buses that deliver people to the stations where they are consolidated onto higher capacity vehicles.

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