Operations in Operation

Thursday morning, I was very fortunate to be traveling southbound on I-5 on my way to Wilsonville. I only had a brief delay as we rubbernecked at the tractor-trailer splayed across all the northbound lanes.

Folks heading north were being detoured off of I-5 at 217 based on a predetermined ODOT contingency plan. The fact that such a plan exists is part of an increasing focus on operations and ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) as a way to deal with non-recurring congestion.

Why 217? That logic is outlined in Friday’s Oregonian article by Jim Mayer and Steve Beaven.

9 responses to “Operations in Operation”

  1. There’s something insane about the fact the only detour to a 3 lane freeway is a nearly congested 2 lane freeway, connecting to US-26, which is known to be a rather congested freeway as well.

    Of course, the fact that I had to use a vacation day because I couldn’t get to my office before noon, even if I used mass transit since it doesn’t connect anywhere within the last mile, also adds to my frustration.

    There has to be a better way.

  2. ^^^^
    That’s the whole point of having options, so you don’t have to be so dependent on your car. Barbur MAX would have bypassed that mess. And there will be many, many more messes in the Terwilliger curves….

  3. Barbur MAX would have bypassed that mess.

    And Barbur MAX would reduce 99W from I-5 to downtown Tigard to one lane in each direction, displacing 25,000 cars a day with no alternative to go.

    Even if we assume that 7% of them decide to ditch their cars and ride MAX (based on the overall percentage of trips taken in the region on transit), that’s still >23,000 cars. What’s your solution to deal with that traffic; much of it that cannot effectively use MAX based on its origin-destination?

  4. “And Barbur MAX would reduce 99W from I-5 to downtown Tigard to one lane in each direction, displacing 25,000 cars a day with no alternative to go.” -Erik

    Uh, don’t think so.

    There’s enough space on both sides of 99W to add the 14′ (or whatever the MAX ROW is) without displacing a single building or losing any traffic lanes. A few signs may need to be moved, that’s it. But overall, MAX operating down the middle of 99W from I-5 to Tigard would be minimally disruptive.

  5. No, Aaron, there’s not.

    Even the City of Tigard readily acknowledges that just in the short distance between I-5 and Greenburg/Main Street, for the widening project that they are recommending, that numerous businesses would need to be removed.


    “Using ODOT standards, a typical cross-section of a seven lane facility in this area would be approximately 124 feet in width. Using this cross-section applied to the center line (center of the roadway) of Hwy 99W it was determined that the seven lane facility would impact approximately 53 existing parcels, of which 11 have existing buildings that would be impacted.”

    North of I-5 are numerous areas constrained by development that must be addressed; in many areas there is not a full center lane, nor are there full bike lanes/shoulders. Between Terwilliger and Hamilton are two viaducts that do not have any shoulder/bike lane, have only a very narrow sidewalk, and four lanes.

    North of the Barbur/Naito split, Barbur is only three lanes wide plus a center lane; MAX would require eliminating all left turn lanes, widening the street (which would involve relocating/replacing several large retaining walls) and in some areas mitigating a loss of on-street parking in a residential neighborhood.

    I highly recommend you take the 12-B line, that is, if you’re willing to actually get on a bus sometime. I do it twice a day, five days a week.

  6. Well, good for you, Erik. I happen to LIVE in Tigard, so I’m very familiar with 99W, thank you very much. I’m talking about the stretch from I-5 to 217, which is where downtown Tigard starts. NOT ONE single building would need to be removed from that stretch of 99W. And of course there would be many, many parcels “impacted”, in fact, EVERY parcel that fronts 99W would be “impacted” when you rebuild the street, sidewalks, utility poles, stoplights, stormwater drains, etc. That’s hardly a revelation.

    Now, once you get into downtown Tigard, yes, some buildings will need to be removed to get enough ROW. And there’s several issues along Barbur where it parallels I-5 that will have to be dealt with also. None of that will be any tougher to deal with than any other major construction project.

  7. BTW- The report you linked to has a lot of good information, but none of it relates to light rail and how that would be incorporated into 99W. It wouldn’t take 124′ of ROW to add MAX to 99W, unless you’re also adding a third auto lane in each direction and a 16′ wide turning lane, which is what this report specifically addresses.

  8. Regarding MAX on 99W:

    It could be easily done in 109′ or less for most of the ROW, plus 12 or so more feet at intersections where left-turn lanes are required. I’m sure there are various code requirements, and auto drivers would prefer wider lanes, etc., but I’m just exploring some ballpark minimums here:

    MAX: 27′
    (8.5′ for each track, 4′ safety zone between the tracks, 3′ safety and/or barrier on each side.)

    Auto Lanes: 48′
    (4 12′ auto lanes)

    Bike Lanes and gutters: 10′
    (4′ bike lane + 1′ gutter on each side of roadway)

    Sidewalks: 24′
    (12′ on each side of roadway)

    Total: 109′.

    If a safe, parallel bikeway can be routed within a block or two of the main alignment, you can shave of 8′, and the minimum safety clearances for the rail may be tighter than what I’ve stated, and in tight areas sidewalks can be narrowed to 8′-10′ and still meet most codes. In slower areas, 11′ auto lanes will do.

    All of those measures reduces the total to about 92′, which buys you more than enough room for turn lanes at intersections, for example.

    – Bob R.

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