Archive | February, 2007

Previewing the Decision

Jim Mayer’s article in the Sunday O (“Next I-5 chokepoint: $6 billion“) puts the choices nicely into perspective:

The proposal from the task force staff boils down to a choice between committing the region’s energy, money and political will to a single megaproject — “Gargantua, the Bridge,” according to one critic — or doing nothing.

And regional leaders worry that the sheer scale and cost of the project could doom the entire enterprise politically, leaving a clogged, aging, accident-prone bridge in its wake.

Metro President David Bragdon said he doesn’t want to narrow the bridge options too quickly. “It would be a fiscal mistake and a political mistake.”

The key task force meeting is tomorrow at 4pm (even in our Google Calendar tells you a different start time) at:

Oregon Department of Transportation
123 NW Flanders St., Portland

Editorial Boards Say We Can Find the CRC Cash

Both the Tribune (“Money can be found for bridge“) and the Oregonian (“Build a bridge to better economy“) have editorialized that we should move ahead with the big bridge option.

From the Trib:

The economic value of reducing congestion on Interstate 5 between Portland and Vancouver is incalculable, but there will be environmental benefits as well. Once a new bridge, interchanges and expanded mass transit are built, tens of thousands of cars will spend less time idling in traffic jams – and less time spewing pollution into the air.

From the O:

Today, freight haulers and the region’s freight-dependent industries can plan their schedules to avoid rush-hour traffic. A few decades hence, that will be impossible. The I-5 bridge will be, for all practical purposes, uncrossable. Freight-dependent industries will choose to expand in regions with swifter, more reliable connections.

Apparently based on assumptions that the this change in capacity has no relationship to the rest of the transportation system (we’ll move the chokepoint to the Rose Quarter), or that development and trip choice patterns won’t respond to the new capacity and simply fill the bridge again (as the I-5 Partnership report warns will happen if land use is not carefully controlled).

Both editorials embrace tolls as part of the funding solution. If we’re willing to go the toll route, why not start now with high-occupancy toll lanes to give freight priority through the crossing outside of peak commute hours?

Can Someone Tell Me What Happened at Metro?

I wasn’t able to stay to the end of the Metro hearing on the Columbia River Crossing yesterday because of two other prior commitments.

While I was there, there was certainly a lot of testimony favoring more alternatives.

I saw lots of Portland Transport contributors and commenters in the room. Can someone tell me what they finally voted? And what the rest of the testimony was like?