Minneapolis


Our first thoughts of course are for the victims of the I-35 Bridge collapse, and for their families and loved ones.

The natural second thought is “could it happen here?” Local officials are rushing to tell the media that, no, it can’t, but given that we don’t know why the bridge failed, it’s hard to feel reassured.

And of course we can’t help thinking about the Sellwood Bridge, rated at 2 out of 100 on the Federal maintenance scale.

Is this a case of aging infrastructure (the I-35 Bridge was built in 1967 according to Wikipedia) like the steam pipe explosion in NYC? Or is this a design failure (the Marquam Bridge has the same basic design, although unlike the I-35 Bridge, it has mid-river piers)?

What are you thinking about?

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89 responses to “Minneapolis”

  1. I’m thinking I’m glad the Oregon legislature passed that $1.5 road & bridge maintenance bill a few years back… and that all states should do that, if they haven’t already.

  2. Or is this a design failure (the Marquam Bridge has the same basic design, although unlike the I-35 Bridge, it has mid-river piers)?

    Isn’t it clearly a design failure? Bridges are not supposed to fall down with no warning after 40 years.

    I suspect they will discover the problem is road salt, which is heavily used in Minnesota. They even recently installed an automatic system for pumping it onto the bridge that failed. But the use of road salt is not new.

    Its important to remember this bridge passed a fairly intensive inspection within the last two years. So there ought to be some concern about the Marquam. Maybe Riverfront for People will get iis wish and the Marquam will have to be replaced.

  3. Are you sure they use salt on 35w? My girlfriend’s mother claims that they have been using some sort of liquid deicer on that bridge, and that they’re only using it on that bridge. She thought the deicer might be the problem.

    Most midwestern cities HEAVILY salt their roads/bridges etc during the winter. If salt were a cause they should have been able to spot the corrosion well in advance.

  4. What I’m thinking is, we’d better replace the Sellwood bridge (and the Alaskan Way viaduct in Seattle) sooner than later. It’s not really important way 35W failed, because there are certainly failure conditions for both the aforementioned projects that really aren’t too out-of-the-question.

    The problem being, if one of those fails, it’ll be because our elected officials failed to act, as -everyone- knows they are disasters waiting to happen. If they turn it to the voters and they vote no, it’ll then require some serious soul-searching by the public and elected officials about how business gets done.

  5. Its important to remember this bridge passed a fairly intensive inspection within the last two years. So there ought to be some concern about the Marquam. Maybe Riverfront for People will get iis wish and the Marquam will have to be replaced.

    The Oregonian reported today that of the Willamette River crossings, that the Marquam Bridge is likely the safest crossing across the river given its design and recent seismic upgrades, and it’s not located on poor soil (such as the Hawthorne Bridge or the MLK/Grand Viaduct) or located in a landslide area (such as the Sellwood or St. Johns Bridges). Nor does it have any design features that could become a liability (such as a heavy suspended counterweight mounted above the bridge, such as on the Hawthorne, Steel and Interstate Bridges). (While it is of the same general design as the I-35W bridge, it also has notable differences such as having supporting piers in the river, whereas the I-35W bridge’s main span was supported strictly by piers on the riverbanks, not within the river.)

    Let’s hope that the short-sighted people whose only beef with the Macadam Bridge is that it’s ugly don’t have their way; after all we might need that ugly bridge to save the day. Frankly, when I’m driving over it at 55 MPH, I don’t care if it’s ugly. If you don’t like looking at it, move somewhere where you don’t have to see it. There are some north facing Pearl District condos that have some excellent views of the Northwest Industrial Area and some tank farms, and the south/west approach to the Fremont.

  6. What are you thinking about?

    I’m thinking that the public at-large shouldn’t be so resistant to paying for infrastructure improvements.

    There is at present NO EVIDENCE released to the public about the I-35W disaster to support any given theory over another, and we do need to keep that in mind. However, this should raise awareness to the fact that our transportation infrastructure – the EXISTING infrastructure – needs additional funds to be maintained, and in some cases, to be replaced.

    I think that it speaks very well for civil engineers of the past that their handiwork can outlast (sometimes by more than double) the intended lifespan for a structure. They took their jobs seriously and they delivered an excellent product, but I’m sure it worries them as much if not more than anybody else that these structures are still in use beyond the intended lifespan, and often with heavier use than intended.

    Ultimately the TRUE COST of our lifestyle choices needs to come to light. If we want to sprawl out and develop suburbs far from our jobs, then we need to understand what the cost of this decision truly is: that means maintaining the entire infrastructure that we need to use to get from our choice of residence to our chosen destinations. If we need to cross a bridge to get anywhere from where we live, then we need to pay our fair share to use that bridge. The fewer people need to use it, the greater the share for those that do.

    The real problem is that we built up this society and culture that thinks it is a constitutional right to own and operate a personal motor vehicle and that the government must be responsible for providing the infrastructure for us to use free of charge, and they facilitated us to build this infrastructure up without anybody knowing the true cost of sustaining that way of life. Now that we’re faced with the true costs, nobody wants to ante up to pay for it, but they all still expect it to happen anyway. Where’s that money coming from?

    I hate to sound like a broken record, but I truly believe that the answer is to charge tolls on these facilities. It honestly doesn’t get any fairer than “you use, you pay.”

  7. I’m thinking what I’ve been thinking for years: we need to maintain and upgrade all of our bridges now before an earthquake requires us to replace them or decades of maintenance deferral forces us to close more bridges to buses and freight.

    If we can’t find any other source of money, Multnomah County should toll the Sellwood, Hawthorne, Burnside, and Broadway Bridges — and maybe the Steel Bridge as well if the railroad is okay with that — and use the toll money to upgrade all of the county’s bridges, including the Morrison. Anyone who doesn’t want to pay the toll can cross the Ross Island, Marquam, Morrison, or Fremont Bridge. If the toll isn’t too high and is collected by transponder, people will still use them and we can get rid of the maintenance backlog and start doing serious seismic work.

    Let’s hope that the short-sighted people whose only beef with the Macadam Bridge is that it’s ugly don’t have their way; after all we might need that ugly bridge to save the day.

    The Marquam Bridge is ugly, but I don’t know of anyone out there who has that as their “only beef.” People who want to remove the Marquam Bridge have problems with its location, which is really a broader objection to the location of the east bank freeway.

    “Ugly” is easy to fix; a few million dollars of purely cosmetic (decorative) improvements and some good night lighting could do wonders. “Freeway in the wrong place” is a lot harder to solve; moving it to the right place will cost at least a billion dollars and probably more.

  8. I tend to think that in a seismic event, a foreseeable event in this region, that the heavier the traffic decks the more strain would be placed on the supporting structure and on joints. So something like the Hawthorne Bridge with its deck of steel grating might hold up the best. Just a theory. But if we took that a step further and were able to find lighter and stronger decking materials, via nanotechnology, I think we could produce some very safe, long lasting bridges.

    Sen. Wyden has wanted to see Oregon get the jump on nanotech research–I don’t know how that’s going–but sometime soon we will find some answers that are also cost-effective. New structural materials are coming. How well they hold up over time in the real world is out of my expertise. But I think planning should be taking this into account. Perhaps we will become the first area to employ high tech materials in public projects.

    You have to figure that in an earthquake a heavy concrete roadway, especially one on concrete or steel supports has a lot of inertia. If the ground starts shaking it will resist moving and then resist stopping. This has to place a lot of stress on connections so I would think a lighter roadway would present less stress on those connections.

    The I-35 was a concrete roadway on steel supports. But other modern freeway collapses like the SF embarcadero, have been reinforced concrete. The old Golden Gate held up pretty well. The Oakland Bay Bridge, even with wooden pilings did fairly well.

  9. DJK,
    I notice that your tolling idea would never toll a single suburban or out-of-county resident, who essentially never use the Hawethorn, Burnside, Sellwood, Broadway or Steel Bridger – overwhelmingly local options.

    Of course, that doesn’t make any sense. The people who aren’t paying taxes to fund out infrastructure should be the ones (if any, I think tolling is a poor choice for portland in almost every configuration) paying any potential tolls. Why should I have to pay twice for my local bridge while West Linn and O-City residents don’t pay at all?

  10. Manzel,

    It’s almost impossible to toll an Interstate without adding new capacity. The feds don’t want their investments becoming local revenue sources. There are exceptions that were grandfathered in, mostly on the east coast.

    Almost all toll roads created in recent years has had to be a state project, mostly funded by state money. Look at Florida, California, and Texas for examples.

  11. Manzell –

    I wasn’t looking at urban/suburban equity or social engineering or any of that other stuff. I was looking at a way to pay for necessary maintenance and upgrades to the bridges that need to be maintained and upgraded. The County owns those bridges, which means the County can act uniaterally.

    If you don’t want to pay the toll, don’t use one of the tolled bridges. The way I envision it, the tolls would be very low for cars with automatic transponders, maybe a quarter per crossing. Charge $2 to cross at the toll booth, to encourage people to buy express transponders. Assuming daily traffic of about 20,000 vehicles per bridge, that’s $10,000 per day or about $3.6 million per bridge per year. More than enough to catch up on deferred maintenance over time.

  12. “If you don’t want to pay the toll, don’t use one of the tolled bridges.”

    That is the problem, most people would indeed not use those bridges. There are huge problems in NYC caused be a few free bridges into town, (most of them are tolled,) so traffic backs up in those communities, similarly to how it backs up in Dundee… In this case, suddenly a significant portion of the traffic that was being carried by those bridges would be diverted to the nearest freeway ramps.

    “The way I envision it, the tolls would be very low for cars with automatic transponders, maybe a quarter per crossing.”

    For people without automatic transponders, the choice would be to have to pay a toll and wait in line at the tollbooth, or not paying a toll and waiting in line at the freeway…

    (Don’t get me wrong, tolling is a good idea, but we have to toll all the bridges to make it work…)

  13. It’s almost impossible to toll an Interstate without adding new capacity.

    I agree it is going to be difficult to get approval to toll existing capacity, that is a policy issue. Oregon is not the only state where congestion pricing or other tolling of existing facilities would improve traffic flows cheaper and better than new capacity. The feds regulations are archaic.

  14. What, no one wants to up the gas tax, or switch to a gas sales tax rather than a per-gallon charge?

    I still see the toll bridges as fundamentally flawed because they will exacerbate the suburban trend, increase VMT and increase costs. I also see bridge tolls as potentially destructive to downtown.

    Gas Tax.

  15. I would not want to switch to a percentage-based “gas sales tax” because gas prices are quite volatile and that would impact state revenue and the ability to plan, and if gas prices doubled suddenly, why should the state have double the money to spend on roads that would be receiving lower VMT?

    I do, however, favor raising the gas tax to pay for maintenance, provided that the tax measure clearly delineates what percentage of gas tax revenues will go toward repair/reconstruction and what percentage will go toward new capacity. We need a guarantee that the necessary maintenance will actually be completed.

    Given the above caveats, I would also support a gas tax that was indexed to inflation, which would probably provide the result you’re looking for from the gas sales tax idea. Better still, index it to some widely-accepted measure of civil engineering sector inflation costs based on concrete/steel prices and construction labor costs.

    – Bob R.

  16. Let’s see here: $250,000,000 is appropriated by the state of Oregon, from Lottery Bonds, to build a brand new bridge for an unecessary light rail line, while money cannot be found to replace the Sellwood bridge. Amazing!

    This just goes to show you the power of the rail cabal in this state. You can’t even get across the Willamette by transit between Ross Island and Oregon City now because of the condition of the Sellwood, but they want to build a brand new bridge for light rail only!

    Just remember, if anything happens to the Sellwood, God forbid, and lives are lost, it will be on your consciences because of warped priorities. It won’t be on mine.

  17. The money crisis required for maintaining existing infrastructure has more to do with resetting spending priorities and using transport dollars more wisely rather than continually calling for an increase in the motorist only paid gas tax. Motorist paid tax dollars should be returned to the communities in the form of projects that maintain roads and bridges making them function better for their primary financial stakeholders, the motorists and motor freight carriers, instead of spending highway and transport dollars on sound bite frills and photo opportunity aesthetics.

    It makes far more practical sense to spend 250 million lottery dollars to rehabilitate the Sellwood Bridge, or replace it with a higher capacity four full service lane structure, than to spend the money on a new Caruthers Street Bridge for Max, especially if keeping North-South light rail on the Eastside is factored in as an option because doing that would actually attract more cross town ridership than having the route be a snails pace detour through downtown. It is also far more reasonable to spend 5.6 million taxpayer dollars annually to upgrade and retrofit bridges to current safety standards rather than spending those same taxpayer dollars to subsidize Eastside Streetcar operations when the costs of streetcar operations should come exclusively from users through the farebox. Furthermore, it is logically prudent to spend motorist paid gas tax dollars on frequent street maintenance and keeping roadways in good condition rather than wasting funds to fabricate $40,000.00 a piece curb extensions and dumping money into bicycle infrastructure when bicyclists continue to freeload off of the rest of society and oppose directly taxing themselves to pay for the specialized bicycle infrastructure they continually rant about wanting.

    With Portland having a transport based economy, maintaining, refurbishing and enhancing our road and bridge infrastructure needs to be top priority with all motorist paid taxes and fees redirected so that funds can only be used for motor vehicle roadway and bridge infrastructure. Then require the alternative modes of transport to be financially self-sustainable whereby the infrastructure and operational costs are user paid without taxpayer subsidies.

  18. Terry –

    You could install a curb extension at all four corners of every intersection in Portland (and no, the city isn’t anywhere close to doing that) and it still wouldn’t add up to the cost of the automobile-only share of the proposed Columbia River Crossing bridge project.

    Summary: All the curb extensions in Portland aren’t preventing needed bridge repair/replacement.

    As for funding the Sellwood Bridge replacement, the groups involved have only recently narrowed down the options for a replacement project. Once the scope and cost of the project are identified, then the funding sources are identified. That’s the order in which these things usually work, including the light rail bridge.

    In case anyone missed it, Sam Adams gave a press conference about the Sellwood Bridge and others just a couple of days ago. The bridge is being (and has been) noticed and addressed.

    – Bob R.

  19. According to the Sellwood Bridge Project web site, the county has already secured $23 million in funding.

    The preliminary estimate for a complete replacement is $140 million dollars.

    Terry, if your “$40,000 curb extension” figure is correct, the city would have to have constructed 3,500 of them to equal that kind of money. From my observations, they’ve done fewer than 100 this year (including the Sandy and Hawthorne projects), so you’re talking a time period of 35 years of curb extensions adding up (at best) to one bridge.

    Your complaints are about budget items which cost a drop in the bucket compared to the massive revenue shortfalls caused by an insufficient gas tax which doesn’t cover the basics.

    – Bob R.

  20. Also, the cost of rehabilitating the Sellwood bridge is estimated at around $40 million. If the study ultimately settles on a two-lane option (which makes sinse, since the approach on the east is a two-lane street), rehabilitation might be the most sensible solution.

    Add another $28 million for a complete phase II seismic retrofit, and we have a not-quite-like-new bridge for half the cost of a replacement, with close to zero impact on the neighborhood or the environment.

  21. There are huge problems in NYC caused be a few free bridges into town, (most of them are tolled,) so traffic backs up in those communities, similarly to how it backs up in Dundee… In this case, suddenly a significant portion of the traffic that was being carried by those bridges would be diverted to the nearest freeway ramps.

    I would use New York as an example of how tollled and free bridges can work in the same area. The toll bridges are still heavily congested at peak hours, despite the presence of free bridges. People don’t refuse to use toll bridges when they have to drive too far for a “free” option. And that’s when the tolls are fairly steep next to what I’ve suggested. (To be sure, there are fewer nearby “detour” options at any given point in NYC than crossing the Willamette in downtown Portland.)

    I expect that if the cost of a transponder toll was very low (like a quarter) that plenty of people would be willing to pay it to avoid a detour to a somewhat-more-congested Morrison Bridge. Yes, some dedicated shunpikes will greatly inconvenience themselves to save a quarter or fifty cents. But as long as the cost for one particular crossing is low, a lot of people — particularly regular commuters — will pay it to avoid going out of their way. (Especially if a fair number of people are crowding the free bridges — any congetion that arises will make the toll bridges more attractive.)

    In other words, we don’t need to toll every bridge. But if we toll some and not others, we just need to keep the tolls low enough to raise enough money to keep the bridges maintained while not overly discouraging use.

  22. “I would not want to switch to a percentage-based “gas sales tax” because gas prices are quite volatile and that would impact state revenue and the ability to plan, and if gas prices doubled suddenly, why should the state have double the money to spend on roads that would be receiving lower VMT?”
    ….
    “Better still, index it to some widely-accepted measure of civil engineering sector inflation costs based on concrete/steel prices and construction labor costs.”

    Uhmm, the price of gasoline is a actually a fairly good indicator of that. :-)

  23. As for curb extensions, the figure I heard at one of Sam’s Town Hall meetings was they cost $20,000.00 to $25,000.00 each, and up to $50,000.00 if storm drains need to be realigned – basically the price of a new car or two.

    And as for the Columbia Crossing, the costs to have Max cross the river by one estimate are about the same as the automobile only share. Therefore, any costs for the transit portion needs to come from a ridership farebox tax. Additionally, there is a bicycle component, and that too should be user paid – by bicyclists only.

  24. Terry –

    Why did you claim (seemingly authoritatively) that curb extensions cost $40,000 when you were told at a meeting that they cost $20 to $25K? (Only very rarely do storm drains need to be realigned.)

    Furthermore, I specifically left transit and bikes out of the CRC discussion when I challenged your assertions, so I don’t know why you insisted on bringing them up again.

    How about you add up all the curb extensions you don’t like, bike lanes you don’t like, and any other items which were constructed specifically with gas tax revenue, and we’ll see how many bridges that would replace. Until then, you’re just picking nits.

    It appears that you’d rather let nothing be done than risk a horrid bicyclist or gawd-awful transit user or (cringe) pedestrian use a street that was paid for directly or indirectly by gas tax revenue.

    – Bob R.

  25. During the time period in which the city was apparently binging (according to Terry) on the very useless and dreaded (according to Terry) curb extensions, it seems that absolutely no work whatsoever was done to improve Portland’s bridges, except for the following few:

    • Ross Island Bridge: Renovated and re-decked in 2000-2001.
    • Marquam Bridge: Seismic Retrofit in 1995.
    • Hawthorne Bridge: Renovated and re-decked 1998-1999.
    • Morrison Bridge: About $10 million in upgrades from 2000-2007, but over $30 million more planned over next 20 years.
    • Burnside Bridge: Seismic retrofit in 2002, currently undergoing deck and lift mechanism replacement.
    • Steel Bridge: Pedestrian walkway and safety improvements in 2001.
    • Broadway Bridge: Renovated in re-decked in 2003-2005, viaduct replaced in 2001.
    • St. Johns Bridge: Renovated 2003-2005.

    So, except for those, absolutely nothing at all has been done in the last 10 years, due to those nefarious curb extensions.

    – Bob R.

  26. By the way, the amount of money we’ve spent in Iraq so far would install about 18 million $25,0000 curb extensions, or one curb extension for every 17 men, women, and children in this country.

    (And no, I do not think we need that many curb extensions. Sigh.)

  27. Put another way, we spend enough in Iraq every day to completely retrofit the Sellwood Bridge 4 or 5 times over.

    (Why have I been ranting for 5 continuous comments now? Because I’m growing very tired of misplaced priorities. Maybe people rally against the evils of curb extensions because they actually feel they have the power to put a stop to the practice, while the war rages on. But it does rage on, and it is costing us more than just money.)

    – Bob R.

  28. I’m thinking that the I-35 collapse may have provoked a larger than normal amunt of fear mongering about deteriorating infrastructure. Not that I don’t think a fair amount of our infrastructure is in need of replacement but let’s not get carried away.

    At least five people died in the I-35 collapse and several more are missing. WE were lucky I think. But a bridge construction project on I-280 in Florida three years ago claimed four lives. http://www.lhsfna.org/index.cfm?objectID=CD82A4CD-D56F-E6FA-9F9006A8417D36AD

    We should, and do, examine bridges for potential failure. Metal bridges have been built for the last 250 years, so we know something about them. We also know, at least I do, that construction of any sort, and particularly heavy construction has dangers, so a bridge building frenzy that is all out of proportion to the actual needs may take far more lives than it saves.

    The I-35 failure–tragic as it was- was one failure out of thousands of similar bridges across the US that have not failed. So now we have lawmakers, like Brian Baird (D-WA) claiming that this is evermore reason that bridges like the I-5 need to be replaced. Evidently in Baird’s mind a bridge with a nearly 2000 foot span (I-35) compares across the board with the I-5 at Columbia River where the average span is under 300 ft. and the one longest span is 531 ft.
    The Columbian newspaper of Aug. 4 chimes in with a blaring headline “Tragedy Adds Urgency to I-5 Project.”

    Construction of bridges over the water is considered particularly dangerous. There is a greater chance of bad weather, chill factor, potential of drowning because you fall in the water with your heavy tools or get hypothermia. Motor vehicles running into highway construction personnel–such as flaggers–take about forty lives each year. Expect more deaths, then, with more projects. Other deaths might occur when: heavy materials are dropped; fumes are inhaled;
    vehicles back up; loads accidentally shift; safety barriers fail.

    An accident after the Big Dig completion claimed a motorists life and gained national attention. But how many workers died on the construction of this project? I would like to find out. Those statistics don’t make it into the headlines.

    The Columbian then quotes Sen Patty Murray (D-WA):
    “The safety of our residents should be the top priority of our government; and in order to prevent future disasters we must invest the dollars needed to keep our communities safe.” Apparently a number of congressmen, and the Columbian too, are hoping that the I-35 incident will loosen the US Congress’ wallet and we will be able to afford a slough of new projects.

    Workers will still die; and a greater number of projects means a greater incidence of death and crippling injuries. And to pay the extra taxes for all of these projects means more people geting to work and—more traffic accidents. However we can easily replace dead workers, and taxpayers, too. No problemo–just open the border.

    Apparently that doesn’t factor in. Especially if non-experts determine we are unsafe. Let’s chech out our infrastructure and reair or replace the dangerous, obviously hazardous components. But let us not start finding other components guilty without a fair trial. The CRC has argued that the I-5 bridges are both on wood pilings. Thousands of bridges are. The newer one here is on steel pilings. Cold Columbia River water sometimes has a preservative effect on Douglas fir timber; a recent entrepreneur began to salvage decades old logs that were sitting on the bottom because they were very valuable and well preserved.

  29. Without going into Mr. Parker’s specific example, I do think Portland/Metro does have a history of being able to pull money out of nowhere to fund things that are “nice to have”, but not necessary. But when it comes time to have to spend money on things we have to have, the money can’t be found.

    For example, when something at my home breaks – say, the furnace, or the refrigerator – I can’t just ignore it, but then take the family out for a vacation to the Oregon Coast. (Well, I can, but then we’d have no heat in the winter and our food choices would be very limited. That wouldn’t be very responsible.) So I have to make a hard decision and put off the trip to the coast and fix what has to be fixed.

    Portland does just the opposite. We know we have a huge backlog of roadway maintenance projects. We know we have the Sellwood Bridge that requires replacement, and the Interstate Bridge that is functionally obsolete. The Sauvie Island Bridge was known to require replacement for years before the funds were finally made available. But the MAX line to the Airport (ahem, excuse me, IKEA)? That took no time, and on top of that was proclaimed to be a great private-public partnership (even though the private “partnership” was miniscule). Interstate MAX? Why, not a problem! And I-205 MAX? Of course, go right ahead.

    Never mind that both Interstate and Airport MAX had significant, lower cost alternatives available. And that I-205 MAX is purely new service that is essentially a parking lot shuttle for Clackamas Town Center with a token amount of “revitalization dollars” for Lents. But are these projects NECESSARY?

    This even extends outside transportation projects, to parks and libraries, to schools (there’s always plenty of money to re-turf an athletic field, but never enough money to remove leaded paint in 1950s era classrooms) and so on.

    Governor Kitzhaber was even targeted when he created a priorization list for all state spending and agencies, trying to determine what was essential and what wasn’t. Apparently, Oregonians would rather go to the beach than fix the broken furnace.

    The United States finally got that wake-up call, after being warned about it for decades. We can’t spend all of our times saying “we have no money”, but then having the money. It’s about spending the money where it’s needed. When we have the money to maintain everything AND do what we want, fine. But we don’t so we have to start with fixing what we have, and making sure what we have works. If we have $100 million dollars, do we fix a broken bridge that we need, or do we say “we don’t have the money”, walk down a few doors and sign a check for a new Streetcar line? If the argument is “we’ll receive more tax revenue than what we spent”, then are we simply going to cross-subsidize the entire Metro region, so that SW residents buy a Streetcar in a LID that funds the Sellwood Bridge, where its residents pay for the Lents revitalization that supports a neighborhood paying for Big Pipe? If that’s the case – what Christmas present am I getting in Far Southwest? A tram from Tigard (or Lake Oswego) to PCC Sylvania?

  30. I think the juxtaposition of the lottery dollars for the Milwaukie LRT crossing against the needs for the Sellwood bridge is interesting.

    Could we have summoned the political will to have the same coalition ask for Sellwood funding instead? If we had, would the legislature have responded? I’m not sure I know the answer to either question.

    [Part of the rationale for the LRT package was that the bonds for the Blue Line are being retired, so we’re essentially taking the same repayment revenue stream and dedicating it to a new set of LRT bonds.]

  31. I worked with a ministry to inner-city kids quite a few years back and our leader had a favorite saying “Work expands to fill the time alotted for it.” In other words, “Just get going and don’t dawdle around. You’ll take twice as long.” Or, as Larry the Cable Guy would say, “Git’r done!”

    I think we could draw an analogy to public expenditures. How often do projects expand, modify or drag on as more money becomes available? Public works programs increase as more money is budgeted to them. Exponentially it seems.

    I truly fear that there will be a day when the US will find it is out of money. Joe Sixpack-style consumerism–living beyond your means–well have become entrenched as doctrine at even the highest levels of government. A few years ago, while doing some research on property values around the world, trying to recover from an economic crime, I ran across a newsletter titled “The Daily Reckoning.” They were, as the name implies, predicting some dire financial events coming to America and since I was witnessing at that time the sharp decline in US dollar value due to Wall Street crime I started reading it.

    The predicted a sharp rise in gold prices. Gold was then $275/oz. They predicted a bubble in the housing market due to much too low Federal Reserve interest rates. They were predicting stiff foreign competition to unseat the US as the leading industrial power in the world. They were predicting a general “soft depression” in this new century evidenced by foreclosures, weakening dollar xchange rates, stocks selloffs, possible central bank dumping of US dollars and bonds.

    Four years later gold has climbed to $670/oz. Many home prices are falling and foreclosures are rising. Four years ago it took about $1.12 to buy a Euro. Now it takes a $1.37. There are more Chinese products coming on to US markets every month. Will the other predictions—stock market crash, housing price collapse to adjust to worldwide values, subservience to foreign interests–ever occur. I certainly hope not.

    Yet in light of how much money our government has already wasted I don’t want to see that continue. Most of the local projects I object to, I certainly wouldn’t care so much about, either way, did not the just mentioned condition exist. But it does. We simply cannot spend more money than we take in–the books must balance. If we have to pay for things that perhaps we don’t need revenue will need to be found. No mattter what you call them taxes are taxes.
    Certainly, jobs are created but that also may mean that this socsiety picks up a lot of new members it doesn’t need all that much. No other country seems to be doing this. And a sharply increasing population means that many components of the infrastructure become obsolete sooner. It could be a spiral—that gets out of control. Don’t expect the poltical ideologues to explain it to you, though.

    The flip side is that if investment in infrastructure is not made it will impede beneficial economic activity. That would weaken this nation, too. But we all face decisions like that: when do you replace something that has served you well. Some of us really have to stretch out those items, but it really doesn’t hurt. I have a lot of socks with holes in them.

  32. I’m not sure that my remark about a “nearly 2000 ft span” is totally accurate. The overall length is nearly that –1931 ft–but I see some piers or supports, I think, in the video. But still it looks like the trusses are very long indeed. Maybe someone has a good sideview photo.

    There is also an article that states that the I-35 traffic has grown phenomenally since implementation of NAFTA. And this bridge was never built with that in mind. Could be a combination of factors.

    However, there are tens of thousands of steeel truss bridges that have not collapsed. I’m not panicking.

  33. “For example, when something at my home breaks – say, the furnace, or the refrigerator”

    You rent.

    Next analogy.

  34. Bob R asked: Why did you claim (seemingly authoritatively) that curb extensions cost $40,000 when you were told at a meeting that they cost $20 to $25K?

    At the Town hall Meeting the $40,000.00 figure was also used to one point as an average cost.

    Bob R also said: I specifically left transit and bikes out of the CRC discussion when I challenged your assertions, so I don’t know why you insisted on bringing them up again

    And I did not mention the Columbia Crossing in my original post. Bringing it up in your response opened the door.

    Joseph wrote: The real problem is that we built up this society and culture that thinks it is a constitutional right to own and operate a personal motor vehicle and that the government must be responsible for providing the infrastructure for us to use free of charge

    Since motorists pay for roads through the gasoline and fuel taxes, license and registration fees with a considerable amount of those funds siphoned off to subsidize other modes of transport and non-roadway projects – an edited and better read is as follows:

    Part of the real transport funding problem exists because socialistic political forces are attempting execute their brand of social engineering by building up a society and culture that thinks there is a constitutional right to operate a bicycle, or ride mass transit, whereby the government must be responsible for providing the infrastructure for bicycling free of charge to the users, and give away transit rides for pennies on the dollar as it relates to the true price tag of providing the service.

  35. Nice try, Terry, but in all the years you’ve been repeating this assertion here, you have never documented or proven that the “socialistic” spending indirectly from gas taxes adds up to “significant”, nor have you shown that if all the curb extensions and bike lanes and other so-called diversions in Portland were not constructed that we could adequately fund our roads with the current level of gas taxes.

    Oregon’s state, county, and municipal roads are funded with much more than just gas tax revenues, and we still can’t keep up.

    – Bob R.

  36. Terry said, “Part of the real transport funding problem exists because socialistic political forces are attempting execute their brand of social engineering by building up a society and culture that thinks there is a constitutional right to operate a bicycle, or ride mass transit, whereby the government must be responsible for providing the infrastructure for bicycling free of charge to the users, and give away transit rides for pennies on the dollar as it relates to the true price tag of providing the service.”

    Terry,

    You seem to toss things like this out quite a bit.

    Please explain what exactly these socialistic political forces are. Which politicians would you define as socialistic? Which activists, movements and groups? What statements have they made that would cause you to classify them as socialistic? How are they able to exert such force when socialists have been a pretty marginalized group in the United States?

    You use the term social engineering frequently as well. Please define what this means to you. Is what you advocate social engineering? If not, why not?

    Exactly how are gas tax dollars being used contrary to the Oregon Constitution? Do you have specific examples? If this practice is so wide spread why have the auto advocacy groups such as AAA not filed a lawsuit?

    I understand that you want each user to pay “his or her own fair share.” Do you contend that automobile transportation has never and is never subsidized? If so, why do you not advocate for auto users to pay their “fair share”?

  37. Back to Minneapolis

    There are a couple things that are interesting. The first is that Minnesota, like Oregon, is talking about the need to raise the gas tax because it does not have enough money to maintain its roads.

    The other is that Minnesota, like Oregon, is none-the-less putting new construction ahead of basic maintenance, including bonding future revenue streams to pay the bills.

    But the initial engineering reports for the failed bridge recommended steel reinforcement plates. They were then asked to come up with something cheaper and came back with the same recommendation, but said MNDOT could do regular inspections in lieux of the repairs as a more “cost efficient” option.

    At the same time there ia a wave of new construction going on all over Minnesota, bypasses of local towns, roads being straightened and graded to improve site lines, turn lanes added, roads widened to four lanes, etc. So the argument is much the same, “We don’t have enough for repairs.”, but the politicians and highway engineers are using what money they have to build politically visible projects while the invisible cracks in the existing infrastructure continue to grow.

    What is unfortunate, is that lesson is not being taken from the Minnesota bridge failure. Instead it is being taken as reason to put more money in the pot with no real change in the priorities for how it is spent. Its like taking out a home loan to fix the roof and spending it on a new kitchen instead.

  38. The other is that Minnesota, like Oregon, is none-the-less putting new construction ahead of basic maintenance, including bonding future revenue streams to pay the bills.

    Can you name a single new transportation construction project happening in the Portland Metro Area?

    I can – I-205 Light Rail, and Portland Mall. Prior to that was Interstate MAX and Airport MAX, along with the long-vacant (until now when “Swedish Wal-Mart but acceptable to Portland” IKEA moved in) Cascade Station’s insane roadway system).

    However I can’t name a single new roadway project currently in progress, nor in the last few years; in fact the last new construction projects I know of is Roy Rogers Road (funded through Washington County MSTIP) and the Forest Grove/Highway 47 Bypass (an ODOT jurisdiction highway, but build and funded through MSTIP – not the state).

    I know of plenty of what ODOT calls “modernization” and “safety” projects, however – both of which must involve an existing road. But new construction?

    If Minnesota is building new roads in place of maintaining existing ones, well, I don’t live in Minnesota, and its voters will need to own up to that fact.

  39. Can you name a single new transportation construction project happening in the Portland Metro Area?

    Yes, the widening of I-205 from I-5 to Stafford currently underway.

    Depending on your definition of “happening”, the improvements to Hwy 26 and the Canyon interchange just wrapped up, and the Delta Park widening project just starting.

    The interchange work just south of Wilsonville.

    The widening of Hwy 219/Farmington Road to add new lanes. (Construction just begun.)

    The widening of Hwy 217 to add a third northbound lane (the reconstruction phase is underway but the widening phase has not yet started.)

    The widening of Hwy 213 near Conway Drive to add a continuous turn lane.

    The widening of Glencoe road and the replacement of the interchange with Glencoe and US-26. (Now in the EIS stage)

    I figured you would have at least known about the I-205 capacity project since you live in Tualatin.

    All of these projects represent new highway capacity here in the metro area.

    “New Construction” in this context does not need to be narrowly defined as purely new highways… what it represents is new capacity beyond basic maintenance.

    – Bob R.

  40. Ignore Ross Williams. I think he lives there and advocates for light rail.
    Just google search

    “minneapolis wastes money on light rail”

    And get the stories.

    “Over the past few years, we Minnesotans have spent something like a billion dollars of transportation money on a light rail system.”

  41. Hi Pat –

    Welcome to PortlandTransport.

    Thanks for jumping in and telling us to ignore Ross. You’re off to a great start.

    Ross has been posting here for years and has made many valuable contributions to various discussions. I hope you can do the same.

    Until then, I may just ignore you. Hope you don’t mind.

    – Bob R.

  42. Bob,
    Yeah you’re one to defend Ross. You’re even worse.
    That 217 widening is anticipated to be completed around 2080.
    The rest of the so called capacity increases are token in nature and not happening anywhere near the pace of growth in our traffic and commerce demands. And you know it. But as usual you want to push the false impression that those demands are not being wholy ignored. Which they are.
    217 is the perfect model of the agenda you represent. While road capacity waits indefinetly for funding and expansion Commuter rail gets funded and built. Commutter rail which will provide not a single benefit to the grwoing traffic and commerce needs in that whole area.
    That Washington County commutter rail was escorted along the funding path with distortions and falsehoods so often used for that agenda.
    Your associated spin is just more of the same.

    If the Sellwood Bridge had collapsed instead of the Minneapolis bridge you and Ross would be right here providing cover for those who pushed light rail, commuter rail, streetcars, Trams and all of the Transit Oriented (subsidized) Development instead of taking care of our infrastructure. And you’d be blaming the collapse on a lack of tax money.

    And yeah yeah yeah Ross, Lenny, Ross, Chris, you and a few others have been go to guys with the drum beat for years on how the anti-car rail/TOD world works.
    You may call it “valuable contributions” but I sure don’t. And I’ve lived here nearly 40 years.

  43. I googled it. This is the first hit:

    “Without Doubt, Rail Builds Better Economy
    Twin Cities soar with transit, Detroit sinks without
    By David Dempsey
    Great Lakes Bulletin News Service

    Within months of its launch, the Twin Cities’ new light rail system beat initial ridership projections by 61 percent.

    Just last June the Twin Cities, one of the Midwest’s fastest growing metropolitan regions, celebrated the first anniversary of the Hiawatha Line, a light rail route linking downtown Minneapolis with the region’s airport and the Mall of America.

    A few days later, the U.S. Census dropped Detroit — which has one of the worst public transportation systems of any major metropolitan region anywhere — from its list of America’s 10 largest cities.”

    It didn’t mention the word waste. Light rail helps the economy? Gee, do you think?

  44. Here is a solution:

    designate the existing I-405 as I-5, rip out the bridge and make the existing freeway a condo development.., think of the thousands or cars no longer needed, the folks can have a golf carts or bikes to commute to town on existing bridges…bogles the mind.. plus we gain a nice eastside waterfront to develop..

  45. Readers are of course welcome to ignore any comments they choose to :-)

    Recommending that others ignore a particular participant in the conversation is NOT in keeping with the rules by which we hold our conversation on this site.

    Let’s keep it civil! Thanks.

  46. Yeah you’re one to defend Ross. You’re even worse.

    Thanks – nice way to keep the discourse going.

    The rest of the so called capacity increases are token in nature and not happening anywhere near the pace of growth in our traffic and commerce demands. And you know it. But as usual you want to push the false impression that those demands are not being wholy ignored.

    Tell me, Pat, since you seem to have been paying such close attention to the discussions here, what Portland Metro Area roadway capacity increase projects have I opposed? I’ll give you one: The Columbia River Crossing project as currently configured. I support a supplemental arterial crossing rather than a giant new freeway bridge.

    I’ve supported the Sunrise Corridor, I’ve supported removing bottlenecks on central eastside I-5 (but this will likely not happen due to enormous costs), I support I-205 widening in some places (including where it is happening now).

    My support of various transportation projects and proposals has been pretty middle-of-the-road (at least for Portland), but that’s apparently not good enough for you.

    But you seem to know so much about me — why don’t you enlighten us?

    If the Sellwood Bridge had collapsed instead of the Minneapolis bridge you and Ross would be right here providing cover for those who pushed light rail, commuter rail, streetcars, Trams and all of the Transit Oriented (subsidized) Development instead of taking care of our infrastructure.

    But Pat, all those things you mentioned were funded from sources primarily other than state gas tax revenue. I guess you are at least admitting that state gas tax revenue has been insufficient to pay for required maintenance.

    – Bob R.

  47. No Bob, I am not and you are again trying to decieve people into thinking there hasn’t been enormous waste of our gas tax revenue.
    Just as you say “all those things you mentioned were funded from sources primarily other than state gas tax revenue” yo leave out that countless millions did come from gas tax revenue. From State and Fed sources.
    I am in no way agreeing with you that state gas tax revenue has been insufficient. It has been wasted, misspent, diverted and used to pay for priorities far beneath required maintenance.

    And so what if “primarily” those were funded with revenue other than state gas taxes? The point is countelss millions have been spent which could have replaced the Sellwood bridge several times over.

    If it is your intention to mislead people into beliving otherwise, in order to advance the call for new or higher taxes, big surprise.

    On current projects being discussed I’m more than sure you will oppose any Columbia crossing that does not include light rail. That’s what that “crossing” is all about.
    On the Sunrise Corridor you will no doubt advocate that it take a form of a streetcape, versus a highway, clogging and slowing traffic as so many of you like to see.
    Because of activist’s “contributions” that corridor will probalby happen around 2080 also.
    Along with the I-5/99 connector and Dundee/Newberg bypass sometime after 8 or 9 more light rail and streetcar lines are completed. Much to your approval.

    The reality we are facing is the growing congestion and it’s worsening costs, coupled with the reluctance and obstruction to do anything about it, means our region can’t even start construction on any real congestion and commerce needs for at least another 10 or even 15 years.
    Is it uncivil to point that out?
    Or not quite the right tone?

    “Light rail helps the economy?” Now that’s funny. The Beaverton Round economy? Cascade Station economy?
    Geeze. It just goes to show you how our public tax funded agencies like TriMet and Metro with their full time “public relations” staff can spin out any claims at all with full expectations they will rule the day.
    Marvelous!

  48. Pat –

    Nice try attempting to read my mind and predict my future actions. As I expected, you could not produce evidence of where I have opposed specific roadway expansion projects.

    I find it quite amusing that within the scope of one hour you have flamed Ross and then lamented the demise of the Dundee bypass. Ross was engaged in a debate here just a couple of days ago in which he expressed his support (although reluctant) for the Dundee bypass.

    Perhaps you shouldn’t be sniping at theoretical enemies and instead searching for real areas of common cause.

    – Bob R.

  49. The rest of the so called capacity increases are token in nature and not happening anywhere near the pace of growth in our traffic and commerce demands

    Some people may want to build more roads, that’s why the politicians continue to do that, but the reality is that the existing infrastructure in Oregon, like Minnesota, is not being properly maintained. And Oregon, like Minnesota, continues to spend its own resources from gas taxes on new roads even while it has a long backlog of neglected maintenance.

    One reason the Sellwood bridge hasn’t been fixed is that those who want four lanes are holding it hostage to their preferred solution.

    i’m more than sure you will oppose any Columbia crossing that does not include light rail.

    Actually Pat, I think many alternative transportation advocates oppose a new 14 lane bridge across the Columbia whether it includes light rail or not.

    The reality we are facing is the growing congestion and it’s worsening costs, coupled with the reluctance and obstruction to do anything about it

    I don’t think there is reluctance to do something about it. The difference of opinion is over what is to be done. Moving congestion around doesn’t solve the problem. Whereas providing attractive alternatives to driving will reduce congestion. Because the more attractive the alternatives, the less willing people will be to sit in congestion. The more trips where there are alternatives, the more attractive the alternatives are, the less congestion there will be for those who choose to continue to drive. That is a real solution, rather than an imaginary one provided by most road projects.

  50. Well Bob, I meant widening projects but since you wanted to call me on a typo:

    Yes, the widening of I-205 from I-5 to Stafford currently underway.

    Existing highway; this is akin to adding a new MAX car to every fourth train. By the way, how’s that project to increase capacity on TriMet’s bus network? (I believe TriMet budget entry is ZERO, and Metro’s budget entry is ZERO.)

    Depending on your definition of “happening”, the improvements to Hwy 26 and the Canyon interchange just wrapped up, and the Delta Park widening project just starting.

    And we all know about that Sunset Highway project that happened AFTER MAX was built, after the congestion that wasn’t supposed to happen because of MAX. The same is likely true of Delta Park, that all of that congestion was supposed to be relieved by Interstate MAX. Note that this investment, which did not result in new roadways, greatly relieved congestion on the westside, unlike MAX.

    The interchange work just south of Wilsonville.

    This is not a capacity project, it’s a bridge project. No new lanes are being constructed. And frankly, I hope that ODOT removes the passing lanes on the ramps to/from Wilsonville-Hubbard, they’re worthless (too short, and on a dangerous curve).

    The widening of Hwy 219/Farmington Road to add new lanes. (Construction just begun.)

    This is a safety (left turn lane) project, it does not significantly add capacity. This is akin to MAX safety projects (i.e. crosswalks, platform gates, railings, etc.)

    Besides, this is outside TriMet’s service district; how would any amount of transit dollars help here? Or are rural areas no longer worthy of public investment?

    The widening of Hwy 217 to add a third northbound lane (the reconstruction phase is underway but the widening phase has not yet started.)

    Again, I thought MAX was supposed to have eliminated the need for this project, but it didn’t.

    BTW, I was on 217 just last weekend. There isn’t any construction going on.

    The widening of Hwy 213 near Conway Drive to add a continuous turn lane.

    See the above comments regarding 219/Farmington.

    The widening of Glencoe road and the replacement of the interchange with Glencoe and US-26. (Now in the EIS stage)

    I thought all of those new residents were going to take MAX? I guess not. Also, North Plains is outside TriMet’s service district, so the comments about 219/Farmington also apply.

    Who’s paying for Glencoe Road, federal/state dollars? Or MSTIP? And I see according to Washignton County’s open government website (unlike TriMet) that construction isn’t even scheduled to begin until 2012. If TriMet/Metro used the same logic, it would take until 2012 to add just one MAX light rail station; and there would be no new light rail lines built.

    I figured you would have at least known about the I-205 capacity project since you live in Tualatin.

    You’ve named ONE true capacity project, and ZERO “new roadway” projects. (And I no longer live in Tualatin; nor was I a very heavy user of I-205. And, where’s that “excellent transit service” on the I-205 corridor between Tualatin and Oregon City? Anyone? Wait, there is NONE! Would have been a great place to have some quality bus service…)

    All of these projects represent new highway capacity here in the metro area.

    Wrong. They represent a combination of safety improvements, a bridge replacement project, and a few capacity improvement projects – all of which either are near or in two cases alongside a MAX route, or are in areas where transit service is non-existant (due solely to a lack of will by Metro to fund transit options such as improved bus service or BRT, and to only invest in rail projects, and of TriMet to refuse to invest in quality bus service and expanded bus services.)

    “New Construction” in this context does not need to be narrowly

    Because you say so? Well, if we’re anti-capacity, then I’m sure that we can table every MAX expansion project, because it’s built for capacity. Or is this another example of “it’s OK if it’s rail, but it’s bad if it’s road”?

  51. I guess my other posts with some news links didn’t make it on to the board. I was trying to show what some others are thinking about the US financial state, and why I believe we need to be careful in which projects we invest. Like they say “A few billion here, and a few billion there. Pretty soon we’re talking about real money.”

    Here’s Pat Buchanan’s take on it today:
    http://www.vdare.com/buchanan/070806_subprime.htm

    And the article from currency trader and WSJ writer Peter Schiff:
    http://www.safehaven.com/article-8105.htm

    I know that higher taxes and government spending can be used to create jobs. This was a brilliant strategy for FDR and enabled my parents to migrate to the West. However, I don’t feel that we need to continue importing more workers to fill these “created” jobs, and particularly not so that a politician can point to some meaningless statistics and say “See!!The Plan really is succeeding!! We now have many more people working–and also using our mass transit and they’re paying taxes and our economy is going into high gear!!!”

  52. Actually Pat, I think many alternative transportation advocates oppose a new 14 lane bridge across the Columbia whether it includes light rail or not.

    I thought it was going to be 10 lanes, plus transit? 10 lanes isn’t unreasonable, when you consider local trips between WA SR-14 and Hayden Island and Marine Drive. Coupled with the improvement for the Marine Dr interchange, and the Delta Park improvements (drop a lane at Interstate) it’s quite a reasonable investment.

    If it adds light rail, that makes it really viable to me. Give Clark County an inlet into the Max. They’ll build more once they get a good taste.

  53. “Existing highway; this is akin to adding a new MAX car to every fourth train.”

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it is currently possible to get everywhere, (that you’d “normally” want to go to: we aren’t counting the top of Mt Hood, or places like that,) via a car currently. As such, if you replaced Division/Clinton with a 4 lane freeway, it wouldn’t truly be “new construction” it would simply be an increase in capacity as well. You might argue that the difference is that the freeway would have faster travel times than the artery it replaced, but the same arguments are used for more capacity on the existing freeways, (or for MAX trains, given that some people wait for the next one, rather than get on a very full one,) those speed up travel times as well…

    [217 widening]
    “Again, I thought MAX was supposed to have eliminated the need for this project, but it didn’t.”

    30 seconds on Google turns up this:
    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION1/hwy217/

    “In 1991, a multi-modal partnership was formed among ODOT, TriMet, the City of Portland and Washington and Multnomah counties to address how transportation projects would be developed in response to the population growth in Washington County. As a result, the Westside Corridor Project was created as a long-range plan defining and prioritizing future transportation projects. Major projects already completed as part of the Westside Corridor Project are the Westside MAX, the Camelot to Sylvan project, and the addition of a third southbound lane on the north end of Oregon 217.”

    In other words, no MAX wasn’t supposed to eliminate the need for the project.

  54. ZERO “new roadway” projects.

    Isn’t that a new road ODOT is building out in Wilsonville to accomodate the Villabois housing development?

  55. The Villebois housing development is another Metro mixed use mess/Urban Renewal development promising to devour in excess of $120 million in property taxes.

    The Boeckman Road extension is way late, relatively insignificant and does not include the desperately needed new freeway access which ODOT said was needed to make Villebois/Wilsonville work.
    Wilsonville hired an outside firm to nix that fatal flaw by coming up with a comical Wilsonville road plan with 6 lanes in each direction under the freeway.

    Wilsonville recently dropped their vehicle trip alotments planning program once they realized
    they had no more capacity to allow mnore development since they had given away many years worth of trips to Villebois.
    It’s all about plannning chaos.
    And with their recent increasing of UR debt by another $39 million their city coffers, now so short they needed a new operating levy (failed vote), they’ll be back with another plea for more. $4 million per year is now diverted from their basic services and they don’t have enough money to pay their bills. BIG surprise.

    Wilsonville and their mayor is also attemting to stop the I-5/99 connector say it will add traffic to I-5 and cause trouble for their “well planned” city?

  56. It seems then that the issue is not that there is “zero” new roadways being built or “zero” capacity expansion of existing roadways, but that the expansion isn’t happening in ways which Pat and Erik approve.

    Tell me, Pat, just for the purpose of example, what city in Oregon is growing in a way that you actually like?

    – Bob R.

  57. It’s impossible to make even the most simple point with you dodging and twisting every one.

    All you operate on is theories like Ross and the rest. The UGB, Metro’s TODs, the push for higher densities, the claim that rail spurs development then millions are used to subsidize it, the cronic ignoring of traffic increasing while you enamour over your theories.

    At after clinging to theories and ignoring all of the most germane aspects you toss out these questions.

    For the most part all of our major cities are doing the same things. And it’s not good.
    You may think the Metro region’s so called choices are preserving or providing some higher livability but you are simply wrong.

    The biggest farce is this noition we MUST densify to avoid new cities or expanding into the abundant land we have. All ushered along with the misrepresentations that all of it is farm forest or wetland in need of preserving.
    Or that we are running out of land.
    Or that we’ll need it to feed us, or global warming and peak oil will reduce automobile use and public transit is the only way people willget around in the future.
    It’s all a load of bull, period.

    The rediculous claims made here about why road and bridge maintenance is lagging serves only to perpetuate more of the bull. The League of Oregon cities is hard at work doling out anouther round of bull too. Jumping on board Sam Adams push for more money to misspend now that Urban Renewal has been so abused and debt piled up.
    Light rail and the other choices simply don’t do what ya’ll preach or want them to.
    Traffic is and will continue to worsen just as it would be far worse now had we not built the Glenn Jackson and 205.
    But none of that matters to you as you echo out the same claims over and over again.
    Look at SoWa, the Round, Cascade Station and many others and they are not succes stories. Every one of them will generate more traffic in a system operating beyond capacity.
    But you have blinders on believing that those other choices will somehow suffice.
    They will not. As demonstrated by the severe changing of those SoWa, Round, Cascade schemes whihc were to make it all work.
    But you ignore those changes as well.
    You ignore every single piece of evidence which shows we are headed in the opposite direction you see.
    Instead you play ganmes with words and provide cover for our officials, planners and their agenda.
    In some cases incredible dishonesty is used to misrepresent Urban Renewal TIF and other tools of the agenda.
    We have some 500 planners in this region and not a single one of them or elected has any plan for meeting the needs of growth. Heck someone here I think, recently even said growth has no needs. Never mind the declining supplies of affordable housing, increasing traffic, vanquishing municipal budgets and backlogg infrastructure maintenance. It’s how can we get more streetcars and “center” makeovers?
    And how can we get more money to do it now that Urban Renewal is drying up?

    Use the maintenance backlog and blame inadequate tax revenue then raise more revenue and keep spending it the same way.

  58. Pat, why don’t you stop complaining about everything and put some suggestions on the table for making improvements? All I hear you saying is how everything is “wrong” but I haven’t seen a single recommendation from you about what we could do that is actually “right.” Abolishing everything you don’t like doesn’t produce results – you actually have to DO SOMETHING to get results. So in a perfect world, what would you do that would make things RIGHT?

    The fact is that no matter how many lanes you add to existing highways, no matter how many new highways you build through existing neighborhoods (of course, not YOUR neighborhood, but somebody else’s), no matter how much money you divert from the General Fund, Lotto revenues, Trimet’s payroll tax, the gas tax, vehicle registration fees, property taxes and all other revenue sources, you’ll never outpace the amount of new traffic. More cars will use the new lanes/roads, and you’ll have farther to drive and more people sharing those roads resulting in longer trip times, and we’ll still be in the same situation: not enough lanes/roads to keep traffic flowing everywhere all the time.

    Is Detroit, Michigan, your example of a model city? No rails, no real downtown, just a car-centric culture of highways linking suburbs?

  59. 3,130 characters of text in Pat’s latest rant, and no verifiable facts (unless you want to count the 500 unelected planners bit) and no answer to the question.

    Really, Pat, that’s just silly. How many elected highway engineers? How many police officers? How many fireman? How many building inspectors?

    None of these jobs are elected positions, but these people all work for us, under the direction of our elected officials. Sam Adams is an elected official. The entire Metro council is elected.

    What sort of conclusion are we supposed to draw from your “unelected” diatribe? That any government employee that is unelected is therefore necessarily operating against the will of the people?

    Sheesh.

    – Bob R.

  60. It seems then that the issue is not that there is “zero” new roadways being built or “zero” capacity expansion of existing roadways, but that the expansion isn’t happening in ways which Pat and Erik approve.

    No, Bob, it isn’t whether I approve of existing road projects or not.

    It is that TriMet and Metro unfairly promote light rail at the expense of other modes of transport, including both highway projects that can’t be funded (yet whenever a light rail project comes around, heaven and earth are moved to find money for it) and bus service (God forbid that anyone rides the bus, seeing how they cater to the lowest common denominator of public existance, are dirty and smelly and old (a direct reflection upon the lack of investment given the bus service).

    Light rail proponents clearly argue that MAX helps reduce congestion – in fact TriMet’s very own webpage calls it public benefit number one. (Source: http://www.trimet.org/pdfs/publications/factsheet.pdf ) Yet now you’re arguing that this isn’t the case; then what good is MAX if it isn’t to relieve congestion? To reduce the availability of public transit only to narrowly defined corridors? Further, light rail proponents claim all these new roads are being built in every which direction, when in fact these “new roads” simply don’t exist – at best they are adding one lane to an existing road, or a center left turn lane, or a paving job (which is ongoing maintenance) – they aren’t new roads. Otherwise, every time TriMet puts down a new rail or tie, or replaces a crossing panel or a run down crossing gate can I count that as a new light rail line and claim that needs to be approved by a vote of the public? Another example of a double-standard for light rail. (Speaking of run-down crossing gates, I wonder what TriMet’s response time is to respond to a gate problem vs. a broken down bus with passengers on board. I was told by a TriMet employee it was two hours for the bus.)

    Isn’t that a new road ODOT is building out in Wilsonville to accomodate the Villabois housing development?

    Nope, not an ODOT project. ODOT does not build local streets.

  61. OK, I have been on the sidelines for a couple of days but I have read all the posts since my last one. Hawthorne, as for your questions: you have posted on this blog for probably longer than I have so you should know I have answered most of these questions at one time or another in previous posts under other topics. Therefore, with so many questions, I am not going to be repetitive and take up space.

    However, what I find missing from the evolving conversation is the relevant fact that with most Portland area freeways already at capacity, PDOT is actually reducing motor vehicle capacity on city arterials, often under the masquerade of safety improvements, and therefore agitating the congestion issue. On the other hand, rather than building more freeway capacity, Metro is supposedly developing an arterial streets policy that would be designed to carry more traffic. This may however just be a charade by Metro to continue to sidestep the need for more motor vehicle capacity. Interstate Max for example reduced motor vehicle capacity on Interstate Avenue by one lane in each direction. In doing so the lane reduction forced many motorists to use parallel routes and made Interstate Avenue look more like a parking with cars having their engines running but not moving. Because of that, the huge price tag for Interstate Max had zero impact on regional air quality. Along Interstate Avenue itself, the air quality impact was in the negative column.

    Other examples of motor vehicle capacity reductions (just to name a few) are streetcars operating on high volume arterials, TriMet busses stopping in travel lanes and obstructing other traffic instead of pulling over to the curb and allowing other vehicles to pass, curb extensions, the Sandy Boulevard Streetscape Plan, the traffic constraints on Tacoma Street, and the proposal to widen sidewalks on upper West Burnside that would reduce motor vehicle travel lanes to only ten foot wide, six inches less than the width of TriMet’s busses mirror to mirror, and less than the width of many large trucks. All create more congestion even with the same amount of motor vehicle travel. Additionally, making over upper West Burnside into a potential crash alley can hardly be called a safety improvement, especially when Burnside is considered the alternative route to going through the twin tunnels on 26.

    From my prospective the reality check of balancing transport infrastructure is twofold. First and for most, the majority of new capacity constructed needs to be based on demand, not political desire. People vote by driving their cars. With regional growth occurring, just building more transit options and bicycle infrastructure will never replace the need for increased motor vehicle capacity. Furthermore, if a new transit option or bicycle route is built, neither should be displacing existing motor vehicle capacity. Second, with all the new transit options and bicycle infrastructure being constructed and planned, the region is being placed further and further in dept and reoccurring debt because the systems are not financially self-sustainable. Transit options and bicycle infrastructure must come under the tax fairness principal of user pays, and be weaned off of taxpayer subsidies. Additionally, a transit farebox tax needs to be established so that transit riders help pay for roadway, street and bridge maintenance.

  62. God forbid that anyone rides the bus, seeing how they cater to the lowest common denominator of public existance(sic)”

    A few days ago you were saying that people on MAX are a bunch of drunk bums and all they do is fight, sell drugs, and urinate on the floor, and that everyone on the buses are fine upstanding citizens that love the smooth ride. And now you are saying they do worse things on buses? I’m totally confused.

  63. Yet now you’re arguing that this isn’t the case; then what good is MAX if it isn’t to relieve congestion?

    MAX does not eliminate congestion, but it does relieve it. There is a distinct difference, and to this end, it is successful. Don’t forget that the MAX infrastructure should not need to be used to capacity in it’s first 5, 10, or even 20 years to be considered successful; it is an investment in our future.

    PDOT is actually reducing motor vehicle capacity on city arterials, often under the masquerade of safety improvements, and therefore agitating the congestion issue.

    You know, I couldn’t agree more. This is a very valid point, and something I’ve wondered about for over a decade now. Safety does need to be a concern, but not to the point of removing traffic lanes without at least adding lanes to parallel arterials. It does need to be a truly balanced network, and we seem to be going out of our way to decrease capacity in this sense.

    I’m one of the first in line to support light rail, commuter rail, and streetcars (read: alternatives to SOV’s), but we need to find ways to improve and add capacity to the road network as well (IMO setting up Burnside/Couch as a one-way couplet could work to this end, but I’m not sure that it will truly “add” capacity under the current plan).

    Personally, I find it more vital to provide a highway infrastructure that allows freight to move efficiently than intra-region trips in SOV’s. I would also love to see a tolled bypass of the Metro area for out-of-towners whose trips do not originate or terminate in the Metro area.

    And this is coming from a guy who hasn’t owned a car for several years.

    But how do we fund this, when the feds don’t want to contribute to toll roads? Raise the gas tax moderately, raise vehicle registration fees by a significant amount (remember, owning a car is a luxury and driving is a privilege, not a right), toll some existing roadways with adequate parallel routes (people WILL use tolls roads, whether or not anybody actually believes it), toll the bridges to fund their maintenance, and (gasp!) maybe even implement a statewide sales tax to help fund transportation and a mess of other things (get those tourists to pay for some of this, too). At that point, you could even decrease the state income tax for those earning under 65% of the median income. We’ve had a cheap ride for far too long, and it’s high time that we quit expecting something for nothing and started contributing to a better future.

  64. “If it adds light rail, that makes it really viable to me. Give Clark County an inlet into the Max. They’ll build more once they get a good taste.”

    >>>> WHAT GOOD TASTE? A taste of an pokey all- stop 40+ minute ride from Pioneer Square to downtown Vancouver? Anybody care to contradict this?

    An express bus on an HOV lane could beat the socks off MAX, anyday.

  65. Joseph said:

    “I’m one of the first in line to support light rail, commuter rail, and streetcars (read: alternatives to SOV’s),…”

    >>>> But absolutely no mention of bus and bus rapid transit in your post (as alternatives)? OK, I get the picture.

    BTW, I don’t have a car either. I rely on Trimet, and from experience, find that, AS A RIDER, rail operations here in Portland degrade the integrity of the transit system

  66. But absolutely no mention of bus and bus rapid transit in your post (as alternatives)? OK, I get the picture.

    D’oh! You caught me on that omission. I’m all for buses, too, trust me. I don’t promote neglecting any facet of the public transportation system (although it slipped my previous post; I left out bikes, too). I’m still uncertain about BRT en masse, but given the limited abilities of MAX to provide express service (without at least a third set of rails to bypass inner-city stops, which I would support), I think that BRT should be tested to Vancouver, Gresham/Troutdale, Clackamas, Oregon City/West Linn, Tigard/Sherwood, and Hillsboro/Forest Grove corridors. The problem is that they still share roads with cars, and without HOV lanes or dedicated ROW I question the ability for it to be reliably efficient. But it’s worth a shot, especially if they can do it with hybrid or biodiesel buses.

    I’ve lived all over Portland, and only when I lived in the W Burnside/Barnes corridor did I use MAX, but it was a much quicker trip than I could have made by bus even though I wouldn’t have had to transfer to get downtown. I’m a huge fan of the frequent service on Hawthorne (a daily rider of the #14) and moved away from Oak Grove before they implemented frequent service on McLoughlin Blvd, but I used daily and loved the option of the express route to Milwaukie.

    So yeah, my fault for not mentioning buses, but please don’t get the impression that I don’t support enhancing and expanding the bus service in our town. It is an inexpensive and vital component of the transportation network, if not “sexy.”

  67. An express bus on an HOV lane could beat the socks off MAX, anyday.

    No, it couldn’t, since it would not serve most of the trips MAX does. People aren’t just trying to et from Vancouver to Pioneer Square. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the people coming from Clark County are going nowhere near downtown Portland.

    There is really nothing that prevents running light rail and an express bus except the cost of providing duplicate service.

  68. For HOV lanes, I’d much rather see 2+ divided HOV lanes added than BRT lanes. Increasing the HOV designation to 2+ and making the HOV lane “real” and separated from the freeway has created an interesting phenomena in the DC area called “slugging”, where people hang out at transit centers to create ad hoc carpools that allow the vehicle/driver to utilize the HOV lanes.

  69. “D’oh! You caught me on that omission. I’m all for buses, too, trust me.”

    >>>> OK, Joseph, I stand corrected. I just was getting the impression that you might have been a hobbyist railfan who hates buses just because they don’t run on rails. I knew plenty of those in my 15+ years active in the railfan hobby, and there seems to me a lot of those are floating around Portland, and involved in transit.

  70. “No, it couldn’t, since it would not serve most of the trips MAX does.”

    >>>> That’s what the old #5 bus was for, and provided local service quite well. Plus, we also have C-Tran express bus, but I don’t know if it still runs in the HOV lane in rush hours. What I do remember that the express bus, in midday, made it from Vancouver to downtown Portland in 16-18 minutes!

  71. “If the Sellwood Bridge had collapsed instead of the Minneapolis bridge you and Ross would be right here providing cover for those who pushed light rail, commuter rail, streetcars, Trams and all of the Transit Oriented (subsidized) Development instead of taking care of our infrastructure.”

    >>>> Therefore, I propose, AS A MATTER OF PUBLIC SAFETY, that the $250,000,000 earmarked for the new LRT bridge, from Lottery bonds, be redirected to replacing the Sellwood Bridge (even if it kills some railfans!).

  72. Nick asks: “WHAT GOOD TASTE? A taste of an pokey all- stop 40+ minute ride from Pioneer Square to downtown Vancouver? Anybody care to contradict this?”

    Sure, Nick, I’ll refute it.

    Today, the peak hour runs from Pioneer Courthouse Square to Expo Center are exactly 30 minutes. (Off-peak can be a couple of minutes faster.)

    An extension to Downtown Vancouver would likely be entirely grade-separated (due to the bridges) and operate at full speed. The distance involved is almost exactly 1.5 miles. There would be only two additional stations in your scenario: Hayden Island (Jantzen Beach) and Downtown Vancouver.

    On the east side, the Blue Line already covers twice that distance with one additional station in 8 minutes at peak hour (Hollywood to Gateway, 3 miles, including stops at 60th and 82nd.) Or, from Hollywood to 82nd, which has the same number of stations as a downtown Vancouver extension but with over 50% greater distance, the current peak-hour travel time is 6 minutes.

    So even if they throw an extra station in and magically increase the distance to Vancouver, your assertion of a “pokey” 40+ minute ride time is unlikely at best. 35 minutes is achievable, 36-38 is very likely.

    Such a service would be 25%-30% faster than the old #5 bus and twice as fast as the current #6.

    The Yellow Line also has something that an HOV lane express bus doesn’t have – travel time predictability and reliability, and service to many destinations and transfer points in N. Portland — as Ross has pointed out, many Vancouver commuters are NOT going to Pioneer Courthouse Square. The Lombard TC station, for example, has over 1,750 daily boardings of the Yellow Line for that one stop alone.

    The Yellow Line now carries more than double the ridership of the old #5 bus. Clearly people are “voting with their feet” (to revamp an expression from Terry) when it comes to Light Rail.

    – Bob R.

  73. That’s what the old #5 bus was for, and provided local service quite well.

    Unfortunately for you, Nick, the people who ride and use transit in that corridor tend to disagree. As mentioned above, ridership has more than doubled over the old #5 since the Yellow Line opened, and has been shown in great detail to you before the Yellow Line provides faster service across-the-board for local trips.

    Unless, of course, you want to claim that half of the Yellow Line ridership is made up of your much-derided phantom “hobbyist railfans”, out for daily joyrides.

    – Bob R.

  74. Therefore, I propose, AS A MATTER OF PUBLIC SAFETY, that the $250,000,000 earmarked for the new LRT bridge, from Lottery bonds, be redirected to replacing the Sellwood Bridge (even if it kills some railfans!).

    Interesting that you would simultaneously propose killing a transit project and nearly doubling the highest proposed cost to-date of replacing the Sellwood Bridge. Are you aiming for 8 lanes through Sellwood?

    – Bob R.

  75. “Sure, Nick, I’ll refute it.”

    >>>> I know that we have been through this a number of times, Bob, but here we go again.
    (BTW, I printed out your analysis for future reference and keep it my cupboard.)

    Presently, MAX peak hour travel time is 30-31 minutes. Off-hour can vary between 27-30 minutes,
    Pioneer Courthouse Sqaure to Expocenter. Most common off-hour time seems to be 29 minutes.

    The 2001 schedule for #5 shows 33 minutes travel times base (most common), from Vancouver to 5th and Stark, and up to 39 minutes rush.

    Bear in mind that this was a local bus line! What happened to the people who used to board
    the bus between major intersections? And what about the people who now have to transfer
    at Lombard to go Jantzen Beach and Vancouver? They got the shaft! MAX can only give a
    5 minute advantage to riders going from downtown to Lombard (even less if you get off before Lombard) and alighting at a major cross street (and don’t forget about those who now have have to transfer at Lomard.

    So the MAX time savings is not 25-30% for any riders, and for many riders it is even less or even longer.

    So you are projecting 36-38 minutes travel time to Vancouver for a MAX line? Most likely as things end up it will be 40 and more minutes.

    If Trimet had decided to run limited stop buses on Interstate, the miniscule MAX time advantage would have been killed.

    IS THIS WORTH A HALF BILLON DOLLARS (for the whole project)?

  76. I think the basic point is being missed here in the rhetorical bantering. You can make a good argument for express buses for any trip. The problem is that providing that service is usually at the expense of providing service to someone else.

    Vancouver is a good example. You can run one express bus from Salmon Creek to downtown Portland or you can run that same express bus twice from Salmon Creek to Expo and let people transfer to the Max. People going downtown might prefer the express ride to their destination, but it is going to be at the price of less frequent service for them and no express service at all for people going anywhere else. And remember, the overwhelming majority of trips from Clark County are just across the river, they aren’t going downtown.

  77. “The 2001 schedule for #5 shows 33 minutes travel times base (most common), from Vancouver to 5th and Stark, and up to 39 minutes rush.”

    There are indeed a few 33 minute trips at extreme off peak hours, (i.e. when not that many people wanted to travel anyways.) However, look at the top line of page 3 of your schedule, the 4:32 trip from 5th&Stark to Vancouver took 47 minutes at rush hour.

  78. Thanks, Matthew for noting the actual long schedule times at peak, especially outbound.

    As for Nick’s latest remarks, 5th and Stark isn’t Pioneer Courthouse Square — depending on the direction it was 1 or 2 more stops down the mall from Stark. Add a minute or two.

    Nick appears to think that people won’t be well-served by a “pokey” 36-38 minute trip on Light Rail, but were served just fine by a fluctuating schedule of up to 47 minutes in mixed traffic on a bus.

    Furthermore, the Yellow Line’s ride time to Pioneer Courthouse Square will improve when the mall reopens, due to fewer stops. (For the Yellow Line, Pioneer Courthouse Square will become the 4th downtown stop rather than the 6th stop as it is routed today, saving a couple of minutes.)

    Nick has twice today overinflated project costs, first allocating $250 million to build a $140 million Sellwood Bridge replacement, and now stating the Yellow Line cost over $180 million more than it actually did. (In fact, the Yellow Line came in at $25 million dollars UNDER budget.)

    Nick also continues to ignore the enormous boost in ridership.

    My favorite quote: “Most likely as things end up it will be 40 and more minutes.”

    Way to be cynical, Nick… I based my figures on how TriMet actually has built and historically operated MAX.

    How about a bet? If MAX to downtown Vancouver is built, I’ll buy you an annual transit pass if scheduled peak-hour times are greater than 40 minutes between Pioneer Courthouse Square and the 1st Vancouver-side station. If it’s between 38 and 40 minutes, no winner. Less than 38 minutes, you promise to stop tossing around “railfan hobbyist” and similar nonsense.

    – Bob R.

  79. “Interesting that you would simultaneously propose killing a transit project and nearly doubling the highest proposed cost to-date of replacing the Sellwood Bridge. Are you aiming for 8 lanes through Sellwood?”

    >>>> I saw a projected cost of $237 million for a new Sellwood Bridge as as of 2012–let’s face it, it would not be finished before that time anyway, with all the “process” that goes on around here.

    And there is NO TRANSIT over the Sellwood now, whereas there was before: 1,000 riders a day.
    You cannot get across the Wilamette by transit now between the Ross Island Bridge and Oregon City.

    Anyway, I think public safety trumps all, and even if the cost is less, money should be repurposed from the LRT bridge project to a new Sellwood Bridge. But of course, you rail people would never hear of it because you might be deprived of your tracks and wires. Let the damn Sellwood fall down.

  80. There are several alternative still on the table for the Sellwood Bridge, and some do have realtively high estimates. I think the $237 million figure may be a bit on the conservative side for the most expensive option.

    In our neighborhood discussion we have generally been in favor of a simple reconstruction of the existing bridge, with expanded sidewalks. We also would like to see the Western Interchange improved. However, since the County has opened this process up to more imput, outside of the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood, other alternatives have been proposed, including a temporary bridge.

    Another important consideration is that we would like to see Clackamas County build a Willamette crossing somewhere between the Sellwood Bridge and the Oregon City area.

    Solving traffic problems in the Metropolitan Portland area needs to follow a balanced approach. It would ne nice if every auto trip could be replaced by walking, bicycling or mass transit. That might work better, even, where a greater number of trips are commuting to regular places of employment, such as in industrial areas. A middle class city like Portland, trying to encourage entrepreneurship and a “creative class”, should anticipate that there will be greater business vehicle and personal vehicle use.

    There are numerous, congested bottlenecks in our area and a lack of shortcuts. Some of these can be solved by better mass transit planning. However, some well placed roads and crossings could also alleviate congestion points and reduce both VMT and time wasted in traffic jams.

    My critical needs list? 1. Alternative Columbia River Crossing and new western route connecting to I-405 2. New bridge in Clackamas County in Lake Oswego vicinity. 3. Low cost trolley in South Portland area 4. Revitalization of Marquam bridge as Streetcar crossing 5. CEID streetcar

  81. Ah, the Sellwood bridge. Clackamas County’s free ticket to the westside… As a former Sellwood resident and a former Oak Grove resident, I’m fully aware of what a sticky situation this is for both neighborhoods: one has a bridge and doesn’t want to let anybody else use it and the other needs a bridge but refuses to let it be built there. There is no popular solution for this dilemma.

    Ron, I like your suggestion for an alternate Columbia River crossing to link up to I-405, presumably through the industrial area over there (reviving the old “I-505” and then some).

    Back on topic though, I also like your idea of an Oak Grove to Lake Oswego crossing, but that’s a generation out. In the meantime, do you increase capacity in the 99E corridor from Oregon City to I-5/downtown, or replace the Sellwood bridge and allow a four-lane bridge (along with four lanes to 99E, I’m sorry but it’d be needed; perhaps a one-way couplet of Tacoma & Spokane?) to be built there instead of the two-lane option that most Sellwood residents seem to favor? If Sellwood insists upon a two-lane bridge, I think we should insist upon it being a toll bridge, as that’s the only way to keep Clackamas County residents from using it (at least those that don’t want to help pay for it).

    I really don’t believe that this should come at the cost of rail along 99E to Milwaukie. Besides, we’re probably looking at a new federal high-priority bridge repair trust fund that DeFazio could put the Sellwood on the list for and get it fixed using new money (see link below), so I don’t believe that money for a new LRT crossing would have to go to replacing the Sellwood.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/08/AR2007080801781.html

  82. The era of giant freeway projects, even minor ones, is long over. Even on I-5 over the Columbia I would put my money on retrofiting the existing bridges, removing on/off ramps with no merge/slowdown lanes and building a bridge for just light rail, bike/peds and local motor traffic (2 lanes).
    Likewise, the real need in the south over the Willamette is between Oak Grove and Lake Oswego, not at Sellwood. But that will never happen because people in those communities…just like almost every other community… do not want all that through traffic. The freeway network was mostly built through poor neighborhoods who did not have the means to fight back. Those days are over, thank God.
    The freeway system is complete and needs to be better managed and maintained. That’s where ODOT’s resources should go, and they have enough to do the job.
    Light rail, meanwhile, is only half a system, if that, and needs to be built out, so folks have a choice…drive or ride. BRT is a waste of time, inefficient, and generally a second class version that nobody wants. High capacity transit has to be something that people want to ride.
    Portland is not very dense, is not congested, except for a few hours a day on a couple of roads where people…for reasons I can’t fathom…choose to congest. Why waste money to remindy their poor choices.
    Freight moves best when fewer SOVs are in the way…seems to work on Swan Island, but the largest traded sector employers in the region are moving more and more “product” via PDX. How many shoes does Nike ship out of Portland.

  83. “BRT is a waste of time, inefficient, and generally a second class version that nobody wants.”

    >>>> Please speak for yourself, Lenny. I, as a transit rider, feel that LRT is a waste of time, inefficient and second class (because of its inflexibility). I would have much preferred a BRT system, using more comfortable buses.

    “Portland is not very dense, is not congested, except for a few hours a day on a couple of roads where people…for reasons I can’t fathom…choose to congest. Why waste money to remindy their poor choices.”

    >>>> You just made my case against LRT!! I having been posting all along that Portland does not have the spatial characteristics and density for rail operations. Buses are a much more suitable choice for us. After all, Seattle has much greater density than Portland ans has been running only buses (except for the marginal ST commuter line) and garners almost 4% more transit percentage than Portland.

  84. LRT actually gives commuters a real choice that is competitive in time, comfort and reliability to auto travel at a very good cost/ride cost.
    But OK, let’s work out the real pluses/minuses of LRT vs BRT in the Barbur corridor…an offer I have made before to no avail.
    Bob has put up the numbers for the Yellow Line already…more riders, more reliability and shorter travel times than the wonderful old 5.
    Would BRT do as well as MAX? Maybe. At lower cost? at the front end, yes, but no way in operations. And to most of the riding, but more important not yet riding public, it would still be just a bus. But that horse is out of the barn, so let’s look at Barbur. You take the first shot.
    High capacity transit in the Barbur corridor…stations every 1/2 mile, exclusive ROW, feeder bus lines. Is it BRT or LRT?

  85. High capacity transit in the Barbur corridor…stations every 1/2 mile, exclusive ROW, feeder bus lines. Is it BRT or LRT?

    Does Barbur really need stops that close to each other? Especially with feeder lines? With either scenario you could send a bus out Multnomah Blvd and down 72nd Ave to provide high-quality service to currently underserved residential and employment areas.

    I’d think one mile apart would be sufficient. You aren’t going to replace the #12 bus for local trips, even if they’re “only” a half-mile apart, so I’d suggest we improve efficiency by reducing the number of stops to one every mile or so.

    If we stick to the half-mile requirement, then I think BRT; trains couldn’t even get up to speed in a half-mile without having to slow down almost immediately. You space them out to a mile apart and then I think LRT is more efficient, especially with grade-separated crossings.

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