Milwaukie LRT Crossing Options


milwaukie_crossings

At a recent Streetcar meeting, we got a briefing on the crossing options (PDF, 3.4M) under consideration for the Milwaukie LRT EIS process. The set to be studies in the EIS will be narrowed soon (indications favor the middle two), so weigh in soon if you have an opinion.

Here’s the project page at Metro.


85 responses to “Milwaukie LRT Crossing Options”

  1. Why is MAX being extended to the SoWa?

    MAX and Streetcar will simply duplicate services to that area; why isn’t a new crossing simply attached to the bottom of the Marquam Bridge (the supports will hold it and without a massive/tall approach span on either side); and simply build a span that can swing out to provide necessary passage for tall sailboats and the occassional Ross Island barge?

    As for the Ross Island Bridge, if MAX will eliminate two lanes of traffic across that bridge, then where is the traffic going to go? More local traffic on the freeways? (I think we’ve killed that topic and we’re still trampling on the corpse.) More traffic on the Sellwood? (I thought everyone was against that!)

    On a positive side, taking the Ross Island Bridge off the state highway system (read: statewide “subsidy”) and reallocating it to City of Portland/Multnomah County seems nice; although Clackamas County would end up with a free ride.

  2. I see that on the map there are no stations on any of the southern alignments, but it may be too early for them. Also, it would be nice for MAX to get close to OMSI, since people would (hopefully) be willing to ride it there, but I don’t know how they’d fit it on River Pkwy. There’s not a lot of room between the hotel and the building across the street.

    Lastly, will the bridge be streetcar/MAX only?

  3. I am not one usually to argue for auto capacity. But if you are going to build a bridge to SoWa, I don’t know why you wouldn’t include traffic lanes to extend Division across the river. There may be some reason, but it seems that given the difficulties of transportation into and out of that area that any bridge ought to provide as much capacity as possible of various kinds. That includes bike and pedestrian facilities as well as transit and motor vehicle.

  4. At the Planning Commission hearing today, PDOT recommended only advancing the middle 2 alignments into the next phase. They had some great graphics that addressed all the questions raised here, and many more. Hopefully they will be available online at some point. A lot has changed since the LPA was adopted…I think a main point was having an at-grade station in SoWa that is close to the tram station. A lot of OHSU employees live in SE PDX.

  5. Erik wrote: Why is MAX being extended to the SoWa? MAX and Streetcar will simply duplicate services to that area

    Even if the southern-most alignment is selected (which would have the most overlap with South Waterfront), service would only be “duplicated” between SoWa and the Transit Mall, maybe 3 or 4 station areas.

    On the east side, there would be no duplication: MAX goes south to Milwaukie, streetcar goes north through Central Eastside to the Lloyd District.

    Ross –

    I agree that some kind of accommodation to vehicular traffic should be included. It may be that they are trying to keep costs down by limiting the size of the bridge.

    I would oppose a shared lane: If MAX has to share a lane with auto traffic (like the Steel Bridge), MAX trains would have to operate more slowly.

    However, perhaps Bus Rapid Transit and regular buses could share with MAX at higher operating speeds. At the very least, the bridge needs to allow rubber-tired vehicles access in the event of emergencies… the more river crossings we have in our seismically active region, the better…

    Regarding the final alignment choice, I wouldn’t terminate any further south than Division on the east side… I think it is vitally important to maintain good connections with inner SE.

    – Bob R.

  6. It may be that they are trying to keep costs down by limiting the size of the bridge.

    The original bridge was transit only – including allowing buses to use it to deadhead over it. I think that made sense given its landing point on the west bank. But South Waterfront is cut off by freeways with very few access points. If you are going to go to the expense of building a bridge to provide transit access, you ought to spend the money to improve other modes as well. Including automobiles. My concern is that having moved the bridge south to provide access to the SoWa they should at least reopen the question of whether a new multi-purpose bridge makes more sense than a transit bridge.

    I agree that light rail needs its own ROW, although sharing it with buses and/or streetcar would probably not seem out of the question.

  7. This LRT alignment was voted down twice.

    Why its being studied is beyond me.

    What pot of money is this study being funded from? Are there more worthwhile projects that could use this money? [such as maintaining and expanding roadways, improving bus service, etc]

  8. I have heard that there are serious concerns about how any non-rail traffic will connect to the existing street system. Both sides of the river have a tangle of highway ramps, railroads, and utility lines that would have to be moved or built over the top of. Division street is already severly congested, and a bridge connection will make this only worse. These factors could quickly multiply the cost of the project.

    However, I think that a bridge that would serve all modes of transportation is worth a closer look. It seems to me that this proposal is worthy of modeling and conducting a cost analysis review. Maybe rail fans and road capacity advocates can come together for once around a common project.

    The main opponent to any bridge may be the property owners on either side of the river. I doubt that OHSU wants a multi-lane highway bridge running through their proposed Schnitzer campus. There are development projects lined up for the east bank as well.

  9. I recommend putting MAX as far south into CTLH as possible before crossing through SoWa (whatever happened to the ‘river blocks’?) and to the east side. I’m convinced that CTLH is about to explode in population (current zoning in that area means that even the new condo/townhome development on Corbett & Hamilton is still insufficient density) and could definitely use an in to downtown without dealing with the Broadway/Barbur mess during rush hour. Ditto for getting to the eastside.

    More importantly, can the city do something about the 26/Naito/Macadam inter-f@$*! before adding MAX to the mix?

  10. I still favor running service south on existing track to LO bridge and then back on the south bank on existing tracks. would serve much more neighborhoods and negate the need for another bridge…

  11. It looks to me like the distance between the tram and the Meade location is about 1200 feet, with the distance from the tram to Ross Island Bridge being half that. I suspect that the people who are unwilling to walk 1200+ feet are probably unwilling to walk 600+ feet as well.

    In my opinion the furthest south alignment either is too far south or isn’t far enough. The advantage of the northernmost option is they should serve OMSI, (and the future OHSU campus on the Meade alignment, according to the map).

  12. While people did vote this down in the past, they’re now looking at it again because they’ve come up with other potential routes through the area on the eastside that residents there can live with. Their concerns were a big reason why this project has failed in the past.

    A lot of people out that way can’t wait for this project to go through. Right now it’s just in the study phases, though, since it can’t be funded until the MAX line to Clackamas Town Center is complete. Then the source of funding for that project can be moved onto the MAX line into Milwaukie.

    Speaking of MAX… I sure wish they’d look at extending MAX on the east side, even if it was just a bit further — like to Mt. Hood Community College. There are always huge amounts of people out here along Stark and Kane waiting for buses. It would be great if you could catch the MAX within a quick walk from the campus. Then maybe some of those bus routes that are needed to deal with the amount of bus riders (many of which are heading to the nearest MAX stop, which are also our transit centers) could then be used in other parts of town.

    People always wonder why folks out this way are so against public transportation. But it could be because they get the short end of the stick. We don’t have that many routes out this way, many major routes are completely uncovered (a large section of Burnside, for instance), and many of our routes only run commuter hours. That stinks if you need to get groceries or run other errands. And as anyone who has canvassed out in Gresham can tell you, walking somewhere isn’t always that easy. Maybe one day we’ll actually get sidewalks along some of these major roads.

  13. I think the best alignment is the Ross Island Bridge with the westside route covering the neighborhood that will see major residential development. Instead of buildng another bridge (another eyesore like the Marquam), can using cantilevered rail lines be added to each side of the RI Bridge?

    Having a Transit Station above the Tram and Streetcar just makes so much sense!

    OMSI can be supported by Streetcar and a future Eastside MAX line if needed.

    I still think tunnels will be needed to get traffic through PDX on both sides of the river and under it.

    Ray

  14. Division street is already severly congested, and a bridge connection will make this only worse.

    I drive Division many times a week during peak periods.

    Division has almost no traffic west of 11th/12th. Almost all of Division’s traffic turns north onto 12th towards the Hawthorne bridge, or south onto 11th towards the Ross Island.

    A small amount of traffic continues west to 99E. After that there is no one.

    In that area there is Water (the street, not the liquid), 99E, and 7th.

    A small auto-included bridge connecting the SoWa / Riverplace area to Division would take some load off the Ross Island bridge and it’s insane west side interchanges. Traffic would not need to come exclusively from Division – it could easily come from 99E, and 11th/12th.

    The biggest problem with the west end of the Ross Island is the connection to 405/26West which has to snake through. Some bus drivers can stay in their lanes, some can’t. Traffic is always hideous there during peak – both directions. I have switched my travel to bridges farther north that are significantly out of my way just to avoid that mess.

    I have no idea how it could be implemented – but some sort of tunnel connecting 405/26West to the Ross Island bridge would get rid of 75% of that traffic trying to connect from the West Side to Southeast Portland.

    A small bridge that allowed autos with separate ROW from trains/busses would help provide much needed access to the area between SoWa and Riverplace, and help feed the tram and streetcar lines as well. But it should be designed in such a way that it encourages local use over cross regional use.

  15. Hmm, now I remember the issues.

    I still think the Locally Preferred Alternative has that title for a reason. Residents of South Waterfront can catch the streetcar to MAX and then transfer — or walk, or ride their bikes. They’ll be well-served by transit. This more northernly MAX alignment is the only one that conveniently serves OMSI, which I think we all agree is important, especially considering the amount of vacant/under-developed land surrounding OMSI.

    Adding one lane of automobile traffic each direction across a new bridge sounds reasonable, but I think it’s more critical to ensure bicycle and pedestrian access across the bridge. Rest assured that the bridge will *not* be an eyesore like the Marquam. That bridge was built many decades ago; times and styles have changed. The designs that I’ve seen proposed for the new bridge are actually quite eye-catching, and Portland would be honored to have an example of yet another bridge style crossing the river.

  16. VR, I am actually in agreement with you on this. I should have specified that Division Street between 12th and 39th streets is congested. You are right, most traffic at the 11th and 12th intersections then heads north or south in order to access a bridge.

    I also largely agree with you about the US 26 / I 405 connector through the Arthur Street curves. This area is a huge bottleneck for all forms of transporation. Although I think a tunnel may be prohibitively expensive, ramps or lanes could be added along 405 to address this issue. Most of the right of way needed is already in public ownership and not being used for anything other than poorly maintained landscaping.

    Ray, I have been told that the Ross Island crossing would also require a new bridge to be built to the immediate north of the existing bridge. When that bridge was rehabilitated a few years ago, it was found that it was already close to its weight limit. There isn’t even enough capacity to carry a larger sidewalk, let alone a light rail line.

    Adding a set of rails to each side of the exisiting bridge would be prohibitively expensive for a number of different reasons. Right of way would have to be acquired on each side of Powell and a large number of businesses would have to be relocated. The historic landmark Inman-Poulson house would likely have to go as well. Most of the existing on and off ramps would have to be reconstructed too, although that is not entirely a bad thing.

  17. Regarding the mess associated with a touchdown on the west side of the river:

    One lane of auto traffic in each way only require one lane of approach in each direction. River Parkway would thus suffice for the bridge approach on the west side. No need to involve the freeway — this bridge would be strictly for local connectivity only.

    Similarly, on the east side it would make sense to just have traffic routed on surface streets over to Division. One lane in each direction would work fine.

    With bike lanes and wide sidewalks, of course. :-)

  18. It’s interesting that with the Interstate Bridge, the general consensus on this forum is that more road capacity is bad.

    With SoWa/Ross Island Bridge, they’re getting TONS of transit, and it turns out that all the transit in the world (Streetcar PLUS MAX, plus Aerial Tram, plus three bus routes on Macadam and three on the Ross Island Bridge) isn’t enough – that gulp! – we’ll have to actually deal with the roadway problem because no amount of transit will solve congestion problems. (Although I’m surprised no one has suggested a Monorail or a subway that would directly link SoWa with Nordstrom’s and the Pearl, nonstop.)

    Plus – SoWa was supposed to be designed so that the majority (over 50%) of trips were transit based; but now we’re talking about giving them direct access to a bridge.

    That SoWa has been given huge amounts of subsidies to be built; that it failed to meet its targets for affordable housing – seems to suggest that there should be no further need for accomodation for them. As Ross states – people create congestion. Too bad that there is only one way in and out of SoWa – we learned that in Pearl Harbor over 50 years ago. Let them sit in their own congestion; their own stuffy and crammed-packed Streetcars; or they can buy the Ross Island Bridge from ODOT (because the state could use the additional money on transportation projects that serve everyone statewide, not just doctors and those who can buy expensive condos.)

  19. But the Ross Island Bridge lines don’t actually SERVER SoWa (thus Jim Howell’s suggestion for a building abutting the bridge that serves as an escaltor down to the district).

  20. It’s interesting that with the Interstate Bridge, the general consensus on this forum is that more road capacity is bad.

    No, that’s not the general consensus. Nearly everyone opposed to a massive CRC bridge replacement has suggested alternatives which include other local connection bridges.

    The rest of your post consists of absurd straw-man arguments.

    The fact that transit supporters are discussing the possibilities for automotive lanes on a new bridge is proof that transit supporters are not categorically “anti-road”.

    – Bob R.

  21. “that it failed to meet its targets for affordable housing”

    Come on Erik–

    There are 2 occupied residential buildings in South Waterfront. Granted none under construction are affordable either, but I think it is a bit early to be using the past tense when referring to SoWa. Come back in ten years and, well then you’ll probably be right.

  22. I think that it is overly simplistic to define people as being either for or against all added capacity. The devil is in the details, meaning that both design and location are everything.

    I think that one can make a reasonable arguement for adding capacity in one place but not another. It seems to me that a new arterial bridge across the Willamette in the heart of the city that is directly connected to the existing street grid is quite different than an eight or ten lane freeway bridge with limited local access that would primarily serve suburban commuters.

    The roadway capacity issues around South Waterfront have little to do with the new development that is occuring there. Traffic was clogged in this area when this land was all but vacant. A large percentage of the new residents appear to be using the public transit that has been provided, hence the discusiion last week about the streetcar having “crush loads” during peak commute times.

  23. Whether we like it or not, Portland is investing huge sums of money in SoWa. The die has been cast on SoWa, the question is how best to make it work. It may be that SoWa is a complete boondoggle, but even a complete boondoggle is better than an incomplete one.

    One of the reasons SoWa hasn’t developed before is that it is isolated from the transportation grid. While I prefer the current locally preferred option, I think it is likely that they are going to run a bridge to SoWa and I think a lane for auto traffic that connects across the river makes sense. I agree that adding more than a lane probably doesn’t work for approaches on either side.

  24. Wait so, 7 auto bridges in a 2-3 mile stretch isn’t enough options for autos? Why bog this bridge down with auto traffic that already has an abundance of choices. Keep it simple, a transit bridge with lightrail, pedestrian and bike access and let buses share the lightrail area. We can at least have 1 bridge for transit only.

  25. Craig Wait so, 7 auto bridges in a 2-3 mile stretch isn’t enough options for autos?
    JK: It isn’t for autos – its for people who use autos because they are cheap, convenient and fast.

    Thanks
    JK

  26. “they are cheap, convenient and fast.”

    Erm. I think that prostitution and meth probably fall under that standard as well ;)

    Seriously, we have designed our landscape over the past 50 years around the auto and not people. The consequence is a dependency, which is pretty much a false choice. Do you really think that people are happiest needing to drive everywhere or that they are happier with choices, of which driving is but one?

    I’d say it’s much better to work for balance in our transportation system- and right now it is (in most places) seriously out of balance.

  27. Craig, you might be right about this bridges being better for bikes/peds/transit only.

    I was just pointing out that one lane of auto traffic could conceivably integrate into the street grid on both sides of the river at that location.

    Sure, I’d prefer to have no autos on the bridge as a bicyclist.

    But, as somebody who also drives a (biodiesel) car sometimes, I recognize that it’s currently a tad bit difficult to get to SoWa from the eastside by car. I think there’s a way to get there using the Ross Island, but I would be hard-pressed to tell you what it is exactly. I’d probably use the Hawthorne, because I know that I can get there from Naito easily. You can forget using the Marquam to get there.

    I don’t think you have much to worry about, though — my understanding is that Tri-Met and Metro are already on the path of a transit-only bridge. And if this is what gets built, I would applaud the first transit/bike/ped-only bridge across the river!

    Maybe keeping it really difficult to drive to SoWa is the best solution for preventing traffic there and limiting the amount of additional auto trips created by that development concentration…

  28. 7 auto bridges in a 2-3 mile stretch isn’t enough options for autos?

    No, not really. From SoWa, on the west end of the bridge, to get to those other bridges you have to go north with very limited options.

    I don’t really think there is a need for Division to extend across the river. But there is a need for better access to SoWa and a bridge could help provide that. I wouldn’t advocate building one for that purpose, but if you are going to put in a bridge that connects directly to SoWa then allowing it to be used by autos may make sense.

    It also may make sense since the difficulty of getting out of SoWa to downtown probably will make that bridge an unlikely choice for people who are making that trip. They will continue to use Hawthorne or the Ross Island.

  29. Seriously, we have designed our landscape over the past 50 years around the auto and not people. The consequence is a dependency, which is pretty much a false choice. Do you really think that people are happiest needing to drive everywhere or that they are happier with choices, of which driving is but one?

    I’d say it’s much better to work for balance in our transportation system- and right now it is (in most places) seriously out of balance.

    Then why is it that there is an overabundance of transit options in a new development that receives substantial tax credits; whereas major suburban employment and housing centers are left to their own – despite paying taxes and being a member of the same transit district?

    I want choices too, but SoWa somehow has to come first. They got the Streetcar and they have several bus routes – and now they want more more more.

  30. Erik,

    First, to suggest that suburban development does not receive subsidies is flat out wrong. Second, have you considered moving? All place have pros and cons. Those people in South Waterfront won’t have the yards of the suburbs or the quiet streets. You can’t have it all- and frankly, you seem to want that.

  31. OK, build a second bridge just North of the RI Bridge that expands the sidewalk/bike lanes on the Westbound/North side and is usable for Light Rail and Buses only.

    I’m mainly for this route to get the major transfer station at Meade St. for Light Rail especially when Lake Oswego gets their line and in the future a Barbur Blvd line is needed (line would be started/save money!!!).

    Why should we have to go Downtown to transfer? Faster means more riders.

    Ray

  32. Maybe keeping it really difficult to drive to SoWa is the best solution for preventing traffic there and limiting the amount of additional auto trips created by that development concentration…

    If that were the desired outcome, the City wouldn’t have OK’d adding –and subsidizing– thousands of new parking spaces there.

    As for continuing Division across the river, METRO has recommended against the street improvements that theoretically went along with it’s “green streeting.” Division is already overused and at capacity. Diverting more traffic to it doesn’t strike me as terribly feasible or desireable.

  33. First, to suggest that suburban development does not receive subsidies is flat out wrong. Second, have you considered moving? All place have pros and cons. Those people in South Waterfront won’t have the yards of the suburbs or the quiet streets. You can’t have it all- and frankly, you seem to want that.

    Suburban development didn’t get the tax credits specifically given to the SoWa and Pearl District.

    I never said I wanted yards or quiet streets (frankly, I don’t have either right now where I live.)

    “You can’t have it all, and frankly you seem to want that.”

    All I have asked for is equality in transit options. That’s it.

    Whether you live in SoWa, Pearl, Tualatin, Hillsboro, Gresham, or Oregon City – we’re all part of the TriMet service district.

    SoWa was built, fully knowing that transportation options were going to be limited based upon geography, and that it is bordered by I-5 on one side (almost an impermeable wall) and the Willamette River on the other side (permeable but expensive).

    If “congestion is a choice” than SoWa deserves it.

    If SoWa is going to have transit options thrown at it (with substantive subsidy, and at the expensive of transit service elsewhere), why should I give up my transit options? No one would dare suggest that we build roads in one part of town to develop it but stop maintaining (or rip them up) in other parts – but that’s exactly how TriMet works.

    I already face choices – I don’t have MAX (understandable, there isn’t the density). I have to walk more than 50 steps to my bus stop (understandable, there isn’t the density). And I have to wait 30 minutes for a bus instead of 10 (understandable, there isn’t the density). But now SoWa is asking me to build a Streetcar and fund its operations, AND build a MAX line to support it.

    As for me moving, I’m sorry – I can’t afford a $300,000+ condo. So what, am I just F***ed because I’m poor? What is wrong about wanting a clean, safe place for my son to be raised – without having to resort to a home that is run down and is in a high crime area?

    Like I’ve said before, you can create decent housing, or you can create transportation to reach it. Unfortunately Portland is set to create transportation to help increase property values, which pushes people like myself further out. I guess when the electricity goes out in your neighborhood, you’ll have no problem not being able to reach anyone when you call the power company, because I would have been the one to answer your call and dispatch a line crew – but if I can’t get to work, too bad that your lights are out, your life support equipment’s batteries die, and your refrigerator warms up.

    Don’t believe me? That’s what I do – every day.

  34. Erik, I don’t think I understand you. A few weeks ago I directed you to home-buying resources available to help out people like us. I told you that I recently purchased a well kept 3 bedroom home with a big back yard in inner North Portland for FAR FAR less than 300K.

    And here you are talking about how buying a home is completely un-attainable using some strange 300K number as what it would cost to buy a just a condo, let alone a house in PDX.

    You know, I just did a quick search on rmls.com and there are 68 properties in just my zip-code alone (97217) for sale at under 275K and 58 that are under 250K. Of these properties, at least 51 of them are 2 bedrooms or more.

    Have you really checked out the market in Portland, looked at houses, and investigated what it would take to get you in a home? Or are you just repeating lines being fed to you about how “unnattainable” it is to live in Portland?

  35. Frankly I’m with Erik here. The people that are buying the (quite expensive) condos in SoWa should be doing so knowing that there are limited transportation options. Streetcar has already been built down to server the area, at most the nearest MAX station will be less than a mile away. Either they should take the streetcar and transfer or (gasp) walk there.

  36. I think we are losing sight of the issue here: this is a light rail line from Portland to Milwaukie, that will serve people in Brooklyn and other Se neighborhoods, will pass near Reed College and to the city of Milwaukie. This isn’t all about South Waterfront.

    But hey, since they are building a bridge anyway, why not locate it near a very dense emerging neighborhood, and provide greater access to the City’s largest employer? It would be silly not to. Does anyone disagree with that?

  37. Does anyone disagree with that?

    The devil is in the details… it’s all about compromises and trade-offs.

    If the line is located too far to the south, you have increased out-of-direction travel, decreased connectivity to inner SE Portland, and increased travel times through downtown.

    Now, a connection to a fully-developed SoWA, OHSU, and the new campus, may serve a number of riders, but a majority of the South Corridor LRT riders will be heading further north, either to immediate downtown destinations, transferring to other bus lines along the mall, or continuing on to N. Portland.

    Personally I’d be open to a landing somewhat south of the original River Parkway alignment, but still remaining north of the Ross Island Bridge and connecting to inner SE near Clinton/Division.

    – Bob R.

  38. Is it possible to leave the yellow line as is and make sure that there is SoWa access to the future green (Barbur Blvd?) line. By the time that line is built the density in SoWa should? warrant Max and the pedestrian bridge across I5 would get lots o’ use!

  39. I think Bob nailed it…a bit further south of the LPA to hit the new OHSU campus and get within shouting distance of the Tram, but not so far that OMSI & West Clinton get bypassed or that you feel like you have to get to Des Moines via Chicago if you are heading north.

  40. Is it possible to leave the yellow line as is and make sure that there is SoWa access to the future green (Barbur Blvd?) line.

    We’re in a pretty high risk situation with 4 light rail lines crossing the river on the Steel Bridge. Having a 2nd bridge creates more options if something happens to the Steel.

  41. The people that are buying the (quite expensive) condos in SoWa should be doing so knowing that there are limited transportation options.

    I think this misses the central point of the bridge discussion, which is access to the jobs and employment in SoWa from the rest of the region, not transit service for people who buy condos there. In fact, I thought one of the ideas was to make sure there was housing affordable to a wide variety of income levels to encourage employees to live in the area and walk.

    I think Bob nailed it

    I agree, although I am not convinced there is a huge advantage to a route just a little further south but not all the way to tram.

  42. Chris –

    I took Damani’s comment to mean stick with the LPA route, not to eliminate the bridge… but I could be wrong.

    It does raise the question of whether or not Jim Howell’s suggestion (originally a tram alternative) of a tunnel/elevator wouldn’t still be a viable connection for transit (of whatever form) on Barbur.

    Or, we could build a water slide along Barbur right up to the tram. It would be self-powered on rainy days. Perfect for waking up those tired morning commuters. :-)

    – Bob R.

  43. Looking at the alternatives map, it appears that a Meade alignment would be about 60% closer to Gibbs/the tram than River Parkway, and Porter gets you about 75% closer.

    Just guesstimating from the map, the distances from Gibbs appear to be:

    River Parkway: ~2200ft
    Meade: ~1000ft
    Porter: ~600ft

    Presumably, wherever the MAX bridge lands would the the location of a convenient Streetcar transfer stop as well. (Such was the plan for the original LPA landing at River Parkway.)

    I can envision that many travelers to Gibbs could routinely walk the equivalent of 3-5 downtown blocks (3 for Porter/5 for Meade), but not the 10-11 blocks from River Parkway. (Although a healthy minority would.)

    A critical part of this will be how fast MAX makes it up to Lincoln and then the Transit Mall after the waterfront landing. It looks to me like staying on Moody as much as possible would be the best bet for speed… heading up Kelly Ave. to Arthur St. (shown as a possible alternative on the map) would involved many intersections, a steeper grade, and a slightly longer distance.

    MAX has been compromised since the beginning by a slow river crossing and slow downtown running. The transit mall alignment partially improves things (stations every 4-5 blocks instead of every 2-3 blocks), and a new dedicated river crossing will sure help, but if we make the new Milwaukie line’s entrance to downtown too slow and cumbersome, we’ll be repeating the same compromised style of implementation — one which could last generations.

    – Bob R.

  44. Sorry I wasn’t clear in my choice: RI Bridge alignment. Best transfer points for Lake Oswego line and Tram and gets the Barbur Blvd line started. OMSI and Lower Eastside can be supported by streetcar lines on Hawthrone and by a future eastside Light Rail corridor. Plus I would like to see OMSI be a main water taxi stop (have two water taxis going North and South from OMSI).

    Ray

  45. this is a light rail line from Portland to Milwaukie, that will serve people in Brooklyn and other Se neighborhoods

    Remind me again how this alignment is serving my “other SE neighborhood” (Hosford-Abernethy) by coming nowhere near where we actually live?

  46. Frank –

    Isn’t the Clinton street stop in Hosford-Abernathy? I think failing to have a stop in the Central Eastside should be a deal killer. SoWA is projected to be a job center in the future, Central Eastside is a major job center right now.

    Providing transit services for future development at the expense of existing development would be the same kind of disinvestment that lead to the hollowing out of other urban neighborhoods. Only this time it would be transit investments. Its starting to look like the regional transit system is being deliberately routed around the Central Eastside area. Adding a steetcar connection to downtown and the Pearl is not an alternative to regional transit service.

  47. Plus I would like to see OMSI be a main water taxi stop (have two water taxis going North and South from OMSI).

    Ray – plans for water taxi are imaginary as anything other than a tourist operation. Water taxi does not work as transit because it doesn’t get people from where they are to anywhere close to where they want to go. To make the problem clear try walking from OMSI to the Multnomah Building sometime.

  48. Water taxi does not work as transit because it doesn’t get people from where they are to anywhere close to where they want to go. To make the problem clear try walking from OMSI to the Multnomah Building sometime.

    Typical opinion of anyone at Metro/TriMet:

    MAX = good.

    Anything BUT MAX (or Streetcar which is also a form of light rail) = BAD.

    Busses? Bad.

    BRT? Bad.

    Water Taxis? Bad.

    BTW, hasn’t most people called the OHSU Tram nothing more than a “tourist operation”, and yet ANOTHER subsidy to OHSU (who already have seven TriMet bus routes, and another one or two C-Tran routes, plus the various local government “veteran’s vans” that operate from outer areas)?

  49. I told you that I recently purchased a well kept 3 bedroom home with a big back yard in inner North Portland for FAR FAR less than 300K.

    Dan – SoWa isn’t in your ZIP Code, North Portland, or adjacent to North Portland. There is not affordable housing in SoWa, which was PROMISED by Homer Williams, the City of Portland, the PDC, OHSU, and every other entity responsible for the development. There is not going to be, because the sole “affordable housing” development is not getting built (because it won’t “pencil out”). In other words, Homer Williams won’t profit, so he won’t build it, even though he’s getting subsidies and getting rich off the other buildings.

    My wife has opted against moving to North Portland for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to distance to her work and to our son’s daycare (of which I have mentioned is affordable but a full-service daycare center – after all we’re too “rich” for the subsidized ones but too “poor” to own a house where we work and live.) BTW, isn’t that the point of many a discussion here, being close to work and your needs?

    The point is that SoWa is nothing but a massive subsidy for the rich, and now we’re giving them MAX. What happened to the idea of putting MAX on the Hawthorne Bridge – that was hyped up when the Hawthorne was rebuilt years ago? Or building a span off the piers of the Marquam Bridge, which would still be cheaper – and offer direct service to MAX and the downtown Goodwill store (and its myraid of public services – something that you can’t find in SoWa – as in “So What if poor people can’t find homes?”) It would eliminate a massive, huge bridge and use existing facilities at a fraction of the cost. It could even create an “Eastbank Transit Center” for which eastside busses wouldn’t even need to come into downtown – they could take MAX (which we all know TriMet needs to prop up its MAX ridership numbers by forcing connections.).

  50. Erik –

    1) I have yet to hear anyone at Trimet or Metro suggest buses are bad. Quite the contrary, I have heard Fred Hansen talk enthusiastically about past improvements to bus service especially upgrading routes to frequent service.

    2) Whether Metro and Trimet decide water taxis are a good idea or not, they aren’t. There are already a couple private companies that give people excursion rides on the Willamette.

    3) The suggestion of a stop at OMSI is indicative of the problem with water taxi. There really isn’t much within walking distance of OMSI. You can’t even really justify bus service to it.

  51. 1) I have yet to hear anyone at Trimet or Metro suggest buses are bad. Quite the contrary, I have heard Fred Hansen talk enthusiastically about past improvements to bus service especially upgrading routes to frequent service.

    17 year old busses are not an improvement.

    Painting busses blue and green instead of red and brown is not an improvement.

    New, pretty, rounded bus stop signs are not an improvement.

    Crowded busses, unreliable busses, and less frequent service in the suburbs are not an improvement.

    Lack of capital expenditures on bus service, in favor of a near total spending on MAX service, is not an improvement.

    Need I go on? The point is, “put your money where your mouth is” and Fred Hansen is personally responsible for cancelling bus orders, cancelling the articulated bus order, reducing bus orders (in several years TriMet ordered no new busses, despite his plan to stagger orders annually)… I’m sorry but when I don’t trust him because he’s lied or is manipulative.

    When I see the improvements, I’ll belive him.

  52. Sounds like we need another tax increment funding primer here. North Waterfront URA (Pearl District) is now generating more than enough property taxes to pay for street, transit and other improvements in that district. Prior to the URA much was virtually abandoned rail yards.
    SOWA is well on its way to do the same.
    We just have to be sure that at the end of 20 years the URA is ended and those taxes return to the general fund.
    Note that Lents is pushing for an extension that is hard for commissioners and others (our Chris Smith) to resist…note CEID extension last year which will help pay for Streetcar.
    Its not free money, but without URAs it is unlikely that development or re-development would be as intense.
    The City has density goals based on Metro’s 2040 plan which seeks to focus growth within the UGB.
    Rather than increase density willy-nilly, it is happening in new neighborhoods…Pearl, SoWa, and along transit corridors like Belmont, Hawthorne, Mississippi, etc., but not on Salmon or Clay or Washington, and so on; not in predominately single family residential areas in inner SE, NE and N. Density (both housing and job) and successful transit by whatever kind of vehicle go together.

  53. Granted, I don’t currently live in Portland, but I heard through the grapevine that when the SoWa developer figured out that they could sell all of their units at full price and essentially make a killing even without a subsidy, that they abandoned the subsidy and the affordable housing requirement that went along with it??

    Does anyone know what I am talking about or having any articles to reference?

  54. Ayleen, I think you’re referring to a market-rate rental building that City Council refused to grant an abatement for. I believe they will build condos instead, but this is not the same as the affordable housing plan for the district.

  55. Sounds like we need another tax increment funding primer here…Prior to the URA much was virtually abandoned rail yards.

    Sorry, Lenny, but it’s back to school for you.

    The “virtually abandoned rail yards” was land held for “railroad use” which earned it a very low property tax assessment set by the state, which allowed it to sit unused all those years while the railroad held it for speculative purposes. Government policy that kept development happening. Just as ODOT continues to hold huge tracks of land in the Central Eastside Industrial District for future “transportation needs” but which contributes to today’s blight, and does nothing for development or putting taxable property on the tax roles.

    Similarly, I can’t tell you how many property owners I contacted in what’s now the Pearl twenty years ago about buying their “abandoned” buildings. “No thanks” would be the answer, we’re waiting for PDC’s gravy train to pay for our new infrastruture. Of course they didn’t put it quite like that.

    I’m a big fan of government, but when you reach the point where almost nothing get’s built without subsidies of one sort or another…it becomes an addiction. (And your rosy predictions for SoWa Lenny don’t seem too well grounded in anything I can see coming.)

    While I’m a fan of the Milwaukie MAX line, frankly it’s never really served the CEID or Hosford Abernethy (I mean, stops at 12th & Clinton and OMSI, who’s there?)…but at least it was a flirtation with our neighborhood,if not a hug and a kiss.

  56. Question: why is Trimet proposing a slow route through downtown, when they could route it along 405 and allow highway speeds from PSU to Riverplace?

    Lincoln street as a stop would have absolutely no merit, besides slowing the entire MAX system down even more. There is a current streetcar stop only 2 blocks to the north along a parallel alignment! Not that many people live in the area, and most of the underdeveloped land is owned by PSU, which will develop classroom space, offices, and dorms according to their needs, irrespective of transit.

    MAX really needs to start living up to its name – Metropolitan Area EXPRESS!

  57. There is a current streetcar stop only 2 blocks to the north along a parallel alignment! Not that many people live in the area, and most of the underdeveloped land is owned by PSU, which will develop classroom space, offices, and dorms according to their needs, irrespective of transit.

    I know Max is supposed to spur development, but its also supposed to serve transit needs. A heavily developed college campus is a very appropriate location for a Max stop. A nearby streetcar stop is not the same as a direct connection to the regional transit network. The streetcar is a local circulator. It extends the pedestrian environment. But it is a mistake to see it as a replacement for regional transit whether that is MAX or bus.

    The exception to that is its use to Lake Oswego. That is really a unique situation where it will have its own ROW that is already largely in place.

  58. Tri-Met should allow cars on the proposed MAX/Streetcar bridge, subject to an electronic toll. Only cars with transponders could use it, and the toll could vary automatically according to demand — when lots of cars are crossing (measured by cars per minute through the gate) the toll goes up; when traffic dies down the toll drops. Fully automated, no need for toll booth attendants. The demand-responsive tolls would manage traffic to keep it reasonably free even at rush hour for rail and bus transit.

    The toll revenue would help build and maintain the bridge. Any motorists who don’t want to use it still have all the other bridges available.

  59. Ross,

    You proved my point without me asking the question. OMSI is a tourism stop. Why is Tri-Met willing to slow down MAX? Why isn’t the Ross Island alignment the primary alignment since it will give us the transfer station to streetcar and the Tram. The RI Bridge alignment can be used to start the Barbur Blvd alignment.

    This is the most logical alignment for tranfer points and cost for the MAX Program in Portland.

    We can use WATER TAXI’s; a streetcar alignment; buses; and the Springwater Trail (and cars) to support the tourism asset that is OMSI.

    Don’t penalize the system that should be used by commuters.

    Ray

  60. A nearby streetcar stop is not the same as a direct connection to the regional transit network. The streetcar is a local circulator. It extends the pedestrian environment. But it is a mistake to see it as a replacement for regional transit whether that is MAX or bus.

    Then maybe that is more proof that MAX shouldn’t duplicate Streetcar service.

    Rather, MAX should be relegated to a handful of downtown stops, with Streetcar (and busses) functioning as connectors between the MAX stations and the outlying points in downtown (and elsewhere).

    We could all but two stops in downtown, two of the four stops in the Lloyd District, and numerous stops both west and east. The Yellow Line should become a Streetcar line.

    At that rate, MAX wouldn’t even need to go to Milwaukie unless it would function as an express – and right now the busses on McLoughlin can actually beat MAX, because from Milwaukie to the Hawthorne Bridge are only a couple of bus stops (that busses aren’t required to stop at) while MAX will have a half dozen or so mandatory stops.

  61. It’s a mistake to think MAX should only be used for commuters. It is a regional network that should connect important places people want to go.

  62. (back from lovely Cannon Beach)

    I don’t think anyone ever answered the questions I raised previously concerning why close-in SE Portland even needs a MAX line: Isn’t this area either within bicycling or walking distance of downtown Portland, or close enough to the South end of the eastside Streetcar line that one could walk to it? Furthermore I agree with Erik H.’s observation that the Marquam Bridge is stout enough to handles something like a puny set of steel tracks for a streetcar, nonetheless.

    Drank Dufay says that the Milwaukie MAX doesn’t serve the Hosford Abernethy neighborhood. It certainly isn’t going to pick up a lot of passengers at Crystal Springs, Eastmoreland Golf Course or Westmoreland Park (these total about a third of the route), either. So who does it serve? Most likely transit planners and construction companies.

    Where do we need a new bridge? How about from SE Holgate to SW Bancroft? Going across Ross Island. It would give the peregrines something else to perch on, where they have a good view for their hunting. If there is a crossing with auto lanes it seems like it should integrate not only into Hwy 43 but also into the I-5. I believe there is a good possibility for an interchange in the SW Bancroft area that moves traffic to and from I-5, both north and south. It’s a little tricky (might have difficulty with a heavy crush of traffic) but could be done. Thanx, PT contributors for not totally writing out the need for auto traffic planning. I’m not a big car fan myself, but they seem to be a necessary evil.

  63. Ross:

    I know Max is supposed to spur development, but its also supposed to serve transit needs. A heavily developed college campus is a very appropriate location for a Max stop. A nearby streetcar stop is not the same as a direct connection to the regional transit network. The streetcar is a local circulator.

    Exactly. Note that PSU is already set to get two sets of MAX stops along the transit mall alignment: PSU urban center and the one between College and Jackson, which will be to serve the growing needs as the campus is extended further south. While there is a huge university property located south of Lincoln St between 4th and 1st. Note that it is underdeveloped, and even PSU does not yet have a plan for it. However, since when does PSU require its very own MAX stop for each section of campus? Students and faculty can – and do every day – easily walk across the entire campus in 15 or 20 minutes. In addition, why is a Milwaukie-downtown Portland light rail line dependant upon faculty members to be able to take a MAX train from the PSU Urban Center to as-yet undeveloped University Place? Anyways, it’s not like PSU is lacking in transit options – once the Mall is done, they will have 2 streetcar stops, 2 Max stops, and multiple bus stops!

    And I am not alone in wanting MAX to perform more like an express transit service rather than a slow streetcar system. This part of the route through downtown makes absolutely no sense from a transportation point of view, but it does from a ‘lets make downtown pretty’ one.

    The MAX system should utilize the fastest possible routes between stops, which should not be placed too close together, unless the speed of the network is to be sacrificed. While it has already been sacrificed for the downtown transit mall (although we are only getting 7 stops – not as bad as the streetcar), the network outside of the transit mall should allow speedy connections. The Lincoln stop is indicative of politically pandering to the wishes of all adjacent property owners: hey! I want my own MAX stop too! – with no gain: it is only a 4-block walk between 2nd and Lincoln and 5th and College… for the average person, that is a mere 6-minutes!

  64. You proved my point without me asking the question. OMSI is a tourism stop.

    Not hardly. It is a regional destination and it is located in one of the region’s densest areas of employment.

    Rather, MAX should be relegated to a handful of downtown stops

    Here, I agree. But downtown property owners believe, rightly, that being close to a MAX stop is an important amenity that increased the value of their property. Politics is driving that. Eventually the streetcar ought to take most of the MAX alignment through downtown and to the Lloyd Center. But that is a long way off.

    I don’t think anyone ever answered the questions I raised previously concerning why close-in SE Portland even needs a MAX line:

    Because the central eastside is a major employment center. People need to get there from all over the region, not just downtown. I think the better question is why does the north-south MAX line need to go downtown. And I think the answer would be the same, it needs to connect to a major employment center in the region.

    t certainly isn’t going to pick up a lot of passengers at Crystal Springs, Eastmoreland Golf Course or Westmoreland Park

    Are there stops planned for any of those places? You might as well point out MAX doesn’t pick up many people between Washington Park and Beaverton outside of the park-and-ride at the Sunset transit center or there are no passengers picked up from the Willamette river on the Steel Bridge. McLoughlin Boulevard is a major transportation corridor, it needs a high capacity regional transit facility.

  65. Does anyone know what this crossing will require as far as marine clearances? The Marquam and Ross Island are both high-level, wide-span bridges but it doesn’t seem to me that river traffic requires it that far upstream anymore. Could this bridge be more on the scale of the Hawthorne bridge, and if so, would it require a drawspan?

    This would seem to have bearing on the nature, location and quality of any RiverPlace/SoWa connections/stations.

  66. Bill –

    According to the February 13, 2003 Locally Preferred Alternative Report, (see p.27 of the PDF / p.23 of the report) the bridge would be a fixed span “to eliminate reliability issues due to bridge openings” and “The frequent openings of the Hawthorne Bridge would affect light rail service reliability where the Caruthers would be a fixed span bridge.”

    I don’t know if a fixed-span remains a requirement today, but that’s what I turned up while Googling around.

    – Bob R.

  67. Ross says, “You might as well point out MAX doesn’t pick up many people between Washington Park and Beaverton outside of the park-and-ride at the Sunset transit center”

    Westside MAX doesn’t have to, since it has plenty of other stops further west. This is a very poor analogy, comparing the MAX Westside Blue Line (18 miles) with the Milwaukie MAX (5.5. miles). And a lot of the Miwaukie line is over water.

    To approach this honestly, figure out the cost to take the Milwukie MAX all the way to Oregon City. Then watch voters vomit.

    A more likely scenario is that if the Milwaukie MAX is built, and then has little ridership, planners will whine and cry that what it really needs is an extension further south. Just another billion, please….

  68. This map which shows one alignment going to an “OMSI” stop obfuscates what Erik H has already pointed out; the Marquam Bridge goes much closer to OMSI. In fact it nearly lands on the doorstep of said Museum, so running a vehicle on tracks mounted onto the lower cross members could take “tourists” from downtown Portland—provided a very simple streetcar link is built between SW Harrison Street and the OMSI terminus of the Eastside SC. Carrying that further, said Eastside SC could be extended just a little further to pick up those close-in SE Portlanders who can’t or won’t bike, jog, walk or swim across the Willamette to downtown Portland. Oh yeah, Milwaukie could be connected, then, with an Express bus. I almost forgot that…I guess the cost is too negligible.

    By some simple—and very cost effective—connecting links this burgeoning streetcar system can do everything that future MAX trains are slated to do. With less cost and more saturation into underserved areas. Alternating destinations from the outlying terminuses (termini?) will double the potential destinations, giving riders more options. That should greatly increase the ridership. For example, Lake OSwego line could go all the way to NW Portland–or cross the Willamette on the Marquam and go to the Lloyd District.

  69. A more likely scenario is that if the Milwaukie MAX is built, and then has little ridership

    It won’t have little ridership. The ridership is already there. But I think you are correct that there will be a demand for light rail to Oregon City at some point. And, like every light rail line, it will have to justify the cost based on projected ridership.

    By some simple—and very cost effective—connecting links this burgeoning streetcar system can do everything that future MAX trains are slated to do.

    No, it can’t. Max provides regional access, streetcars provide local connections. They are different functions. The problem now is that MAX is being asked to function as a streetcar in some situations. But that doesn’t change the ultimate difference.

    The fact is that the Central Eastside has over 1000 businesses with over 17,000 jobs. I don’t believe there is a higher concentration of employment in the region that is not served directly by MAX. That provides 17,000 reasons for people throughout the region to want better transit access to the Central Eastside, not just a handful of people who want MAX near their property for development purposes.

  70. The fact is that the Central Eastside has over 1000 businesses with over 17,000 jobs. I don’t believe there is a higher concentration of employment in the region that is not served directly by MAX. That provides 17,000 reasons for people throughout the region to want better transit access to the Central Eastside, not just a handful of people who want MAX near their property for development purposes.

    But Tualatin’s several thousand jobs aren’t worthy enough for transit development.

    Hmmm. Besides, if certain planners get their way and locate I-5 from the waterfront inland, how many of those businesses will be permanently and irreversably eliminated? Another example that we need to stop planning in a MAX-centric world, and start looking at the transportation system as a whole – if we build A, then B, C and D need to be done or else we will have to fix A, replace B, eliminate C by building E, and rehabbing D to interconnect with B and E.

  71. “Streetcars provide local connections”

    I guess Lake Oswego is a local connection, then. I stand by my statement; (unfortunately very few people seem to see the utter simplicity of it. )We’re already well on our way to a viable commuter rail system, withhout further MAX lines, as some want to propose. The key, I think, is to have more than one destination from any outluting starting point. Therefore some central crossing of the Willamette is vital to accomplishing this. Since the Marquam Bridge is already there why not use it?

    I would also foresee usage of Front Ave, since it is crossed by the Central City car, it would be crossed by a SC to Lloyd District, it connects to Barbur Bv. and it could connect to Vancouver, up through Portland Rd.

    This could all be accomplished for under a billion dollars instead of the several billion that MAX proponents will eventually call for, to accomplish all their goals.

  72. I guess Lake Oswego is a local connection

    Well, no. As I said earlier, Lake Oswego is a unique situation because of the ROW. I suppose you could put a streetcar on a dedicated ROW to Milwaukie – at about the same coast as a light rail line whose higher capacity is warranted by ridership projections in the corridor. I am not sure why that is even worth considering.

    As for commuter rail, there will soon be one commuter line running in one corridor in Washington County. I am not sure how that is “well on the way to a viable commuter rail system.” There are some other opportunities for commuter rail, including one that would use of the existing rail bridge between Milwaukie and Lake Oswego. But there are a lot of barriers to commuter rail, including freight conflicts, in many parts of the region.

  73. I suppose you could put a streetcar on a dedicated ROW to Milwaukie – at about the same coast as a light rail line

    While it’s true that either Streetcar or MAX could be built on the Willamette Shores Trolley Line, the Streetcar is politically popular:

    1. Is seen as more “upscale” than MAX, making it popular in Lake O,

    2. The right-of-way is so encroached that high speed trains would be very undesirable. Streetcar doesn’t operate as fast,

    3. The ROW is there and owned by the consortium of governments specifically for mass transit use. Under federal law, if Streetcar were built on Highway 43, the landowners who are adjacent to the streetcar line have a RIGHT to demand that property revert to them, and they wouldn’t have to pay for it (because the land was acquired by the railroad through a land grant.) The only thing that protects the right-of-way is transit use (which is why the trolley operates right now, it’s there to demonstrate that there is active use of the line.)

    I don’t think a Streetcar line would cost just as much as MAX – the track construction standards are less (due to lower speeds and lighter weight of the cars), and the line would only be single-track. The catenary/overhead costs would be the same since MAX/Streetcar operate at the same voltage, but the track and signalling could be less expensive.

    But there are a lot of barriers to commuter rail, including freight conflicts, in many parts of the region.

    If we can build Light Rail, we can build a second main track from Portland to Salem for regional commuter rail. We are simply lacking the desire because of our addiction to light rail.

  74. If we can build Light Rail, we can build a second main track from Portland to Salem for regional commuter rail.

    And in another thread today, you wrote: “We can sit [for a long time and have] dreams about commuter rail, OR We can buy ten MCI D4500 coaches and start an intercity commuter bus route with frequent service NOW.”

    I know you’re talking about Salem vs Yamhill County, but wha??

    It seems to me we need to look at the Willamette Valley as a whole and get a basic intercity system up and running, mostly with buses for now with rail as required. There isn’t anyone looking at this scale. It is larger than Metro or the counties, and smaller than the state.

    We are simply lacking the desire…

    Possibly, although it sure seems like Salem is the logical extension of the Commuter Rail from Wilsonville south.

    …because of our addiction to light rail.

    I don’t see how this follows.

  75. Bill,

    Because of our obsession with light rail and nothing else, we refuse to look at other options, or even come up with excuses as to why we can’t even consider other options.

    It took Washington County to force commuter rail as an option, before TriMet relented and agreed to take it on. Metro and TriMet did zero of the planning work for it, it was all Washington County (and the City of Wilsonville)’s doing.

    We do need a regional transit system, not just for what is within TriMet’s service district but outside as well. Yes, busses would be the logical first step, even to Salem. Ultimately, if the need continues to exist and grow, rail would be a logical step to build to.

    Unfortunately, some groups supporting transit to Yamhill County refuse to even consider bus service, but would rather spend hundreds of millions to rebuild a railroad line that is generally a poor candidate for commuter service (due to excessive grades and curvature) – when there is virtually zero transit accessibility today.

    With regards to Portland-Salem, there is an existing rail line, that is already suitable for passenger service. In fact, it’s so suitable, that THREE Amtrak trains use it in each direction daily (travelling at speeds up to 79 MPH).

    I agree that bus service should be implemented now, so that someone can get between Portland (or Beaverton) and Salem without having to use three busses to do so. But the next logical step is using the UP mainline – NOT the Oregon Electric.

    Why?

    1. The OE requires a complete rebuild. The UP is already suitable for passenger service – as mentioned, three passenger trains each way already use it.

    2. The UP serves more on-line communities (namely: Milwaukie, Clackamas, Oregon City, Canby, Aurora, Hubbard, Woodburn, Gervais, and Salem.) The OE does not generally serve any communities between Wilsonville and Keizer (it does serve Donald.)

    3. By building a second main track on the UP line, the investment would benefit both passenger and freight mobility in the region. Rebuilding the OE track offers very little if any benefit to freight movement, since only one or two freight trains a day use the track.

    The ONLY benefits to the OE is that there is less freight congestion, and that the Beaverton-Wilsonville track already uses is. And in fact, there is an inexpensive way to connect the two, by building a new connector track about four miles in length from Hubbard to Charbonneau, using the state owned right-of-way alongside Highway 551 – which would allow trains from Salem and Woodburn to either travel to Portland (via Canby/Oregon City) or to Beaverton (via Wilsonville/Tigard).

    Unfortunately, our addiction to light rail has clouded any ability of the region (i.e. Metro/TriMet) to think of other transit options beyond light rail/MAX. Commuter Rail is not on the table; TriMet is certainly not considering it and neither is Metro. The only agency that is considering commuter rail is ODOT; however in the metro area Metro dictates transportation funding, not ODOT. (I don’t think that a commuter rail line from Salem to Donald makes much sense; or a line from Eugene to Newberg.)

    However, Metro/TriMet have no problems with forcing their decisions on state owned/maintained highways such as I-5, I-205, Highway 99W, 99E and 43 – although as state highways they legally must provide a “statewide benefit” and therefore aren’t limited just to the metro area.

  76. Because of our obsession with light rail and nothing else…

    …Unfortunately, our addiction to light rail has clouded any ability of the region (i.e. Metro/TriMet) to think of other transit options beyond light rail/MAX…

    I reject your assumptions and repeating it ad infinitum doesn’t make it so.

    Rules of Civil Conversation

    1. Constructive disagreement is welcome, but simply repeating your disagreement is not. If your disagreement is simply to protest our point of view, you should find another outlet for your views.

  77. Then Bill, please outline your specific disagreement, other than to say that essentially I’m wrong.

    Repeating something doesn’t make it right or wrong, but I have seen zero evidence to suggest that I am wrong.

    TriMet’s own planning documents refuse to provide meaningful insight into investments outside of MAX.

    Metro’s own transportation planning documents offer zero insight towards bus improvements, and generally favors MAX.

    In fact that was a key issue raised by the federal Department of Transportation in rejecting one of Metro’s planning document drafts.

    So if you want to disagree with me, fine. But please prove your point. Anyone can go to http://www.trimet.org or http://www.metro-region.org and see for themselves that neither government has an interest in developing anything BUT light rail.

    Just saying that I’m wrong, doesn’t make it a fact. It makes it an opinion of yours that you want to disagree with me but without cause or reason. My premise is based upon the actual actions and documents issued by the two governmental bodies. I have asked repeatedly for anyone to disprove it, especially anyone from TriMet and/or Metro, and nobody has stepped forward.

    I can only surmise that either I’m right, or everyone is afraid to say something that is counter to the official position taken by these two agencies.

  78. we refuse to look at other options,

    Erick –

    This is simply not true. In tact other options ahve been looked at and rejected for good reasons.

    TriMet’s own planning documents refuse to provide meaningful insight into investments outside of MAX.

    Metro’s own transportation planning documents offer zero insight towards bus improvements, and generally favors MAX.

    Neither of those two things are true. In fact there have been debates at TPAC over bus improvements and over pedestrian facilities to support transit. There are policies in the RTP on this.

    I can only surmise that either I’m right,

    I can only surmise that you haven’t read the documents very carefully.

  79. Ross,

    I poured over Metro’s planning documents earlier today.

    The only mention was funding for bus stops, of which the mention was that TriMet should complete the deployment of new bus stop signs by 2010.

    Bus stop signs are not an improvement. Reliable transit vehicles, vehicles that are matched to the required demand, schedules that are convenient for riders, and routes that take people where they want to go – those are improvements.

    Pedestrian improvements to bus stops mean nothing if the busses to the stops aren’t there, aren’t on time, are broken, or don’t get people where they need to go. Tualatin has very excellent pedestrian access (I’d say overall Tualatin’s pedestrian network is 100 times better than Portland’s, but of course Tualatin is a much, much smaller town) yet TriMet and Metro have not taken advantage of that. Has Metro considered paying the City of Tualatin back for all of the pedestrian improvements the city made without federal flex dollars? What about Tualatin’s ArtWalk, which incidently is routed past what is going to be the Commuter Rail station? Did Metro pay for that, which also connects three apartment/condo complexes to Commuter Rail?

    Once again I have asked for proof and interestingly the proof is somehow hidden. If there have been debates at TPAC, then why aren’t bus recommendations made public, and officially supported as recommended projects? Debate, and recommendation, are two different things. (If anyone needs proof, watch C-SPAN sometime, anytime.) Clearly, Metro’s public priorities are clear and they are anti-Bus. If Metro is hiding something that it isn’t making public, then I have to wonder why Metro is acting in an un-democratic manner, and why they can’t make the documents public. I have asked repeatedly for anything that shows that TriMet and Metro are devoted to improving the bus system, and I get a lot of hearsy evidence but nothing in stone. Meanwhile I can list TriMet and Metro documents that make scant if any reference to bus improvements, all available at http://www.trimet.org and http://www.metro-region.org.

    So, let’s see those mysterious planning documents that show that those two agencies are going to invest in the bus network. If everyone is sick and tired of hearing my complaints, prove that I’m wrong. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m wrong.

  80. “1. Constructive disagreement is welcome, but simply repeating your disagreement is not.:

    Does that include repeating a main thread argument over and over, too?

    ” I suppose you could put a streetcar on a dedicated ROW to Milwaukie – at about the same coast as a light rail line whose higher capacity is warranted by ridership projections in the corridor”

    I think Milwaukie Ave. was so designated for a specific reason. The ROW is already there, but not big enough for a MAX.

    ” I am not sure how that is “well on the way to a viable commuter rail system.”

    Blue and red and yellow and I-205 line MAX, Central City Streetcar plus Westshore plus Eastside. With a little tweaking these will “get her done!”

  81. I think Milwaukie Ave. was so designated for a specific reason. The ROW is already there, but not big enough for a MAX.

    The initial comparison was to the dedicated ROW for the Lake Oswego corridor. Milwaukie Avenue is not dedicated ROW. It would be a fine candidate for street car service at some point. But probably not a priority given that MAX will provide service to some of the same neighborhoods.

    Blue and red and yellow and I-205 line MAX, Central City Streetcar plus Westshore plus Eastside. With a little tweaking these will “get her done!”

    “Commuter rail” is usually used for passenger operations on heavy rail lines used to serve commuters during commute times. I think that was the intent of the statement.

    Portland has had a viable rail transit system for quite a while and continues to improve on it.

    Pedestrian improvements to bus stops mean nothing if the busses to the stops aren’t there, aren’t on time, are broken, or don’t get people where they need to go.

    What should be in Metro documents?

    As far as I know, Metro has no role in planning the purchase of buses. Its not surprising that there are no references to it in their planning documents.

    But they are going through a process to revise the Regional Transportation Plan right now. What language should be included in that document? What projects? Because any citizen can suggest specific language and projects be included. And usually you will get a written, public, response as part of the planning process.

    So Erik, if you think there are things missing, now is the time to let them know what you think they are.

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