Creeping Up To Dunthorpe

Update: 9/24/07

Here’s the full report (PDF, 67K) of the steering committee recommendation.

Here’s the critical language around the trail piece:

a. Metro, with assistance from project partners through the TAC and PMG, should develop a process to undertake the Trail Refinement Next Steps listed above. The result of this process would be to resolve key issues and determine the relationship of the trail and the transit project during the DEIS phase. Of particular importance are:

i. Involvement of the public and advocacy groups in improving the trail concept
ii. Definition of the lead agency for advancement of a trail
iii. Development of an approach to reduce capital costs
iv. Analysis of possible phasing of trail segments
v. Identification of potential trail capital funding sources

Original Post: 9/11/07

The steering committee discussion around the Willamette Shoreline transit Alternatives Analysis was fascinating as much for what wasn’t said as what was.

To end the suspense, the recommendation is to have both Streetcar and an “enhanced bus” option (defined as less capital intensive than a full BRT approach) proceed into a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. The recommendation also keeps a full set of options alive at either end: operating in either Macadam or the rail right-of-way through John’s Landing will be studied, as will terminus options at both Albertsons and Safeway in LO.

This contrasts with the project committee which recommended taking the Johns Landing rail and Safeway options off the table. The other major difference from the project committee recommendation was the adamant refusal of the steering committee to look at project terminus at Nevada St. (just north of the Sellwood Bridge). The EIS process will look at Nevada as a potential MOS (minimum operable segment – i.e., a potential phase in the larger project). This is about whether the project will get through Dunthorpe or not, and while the project committee could not get consensus on this (they split 10-9), the steering committee didn’t want to go anywhere near the idea of a shorter project. As Metro Councilor Brian Newman noted “these projects are about connecting Regional and Town Centers, if the project stops short of that I can think of lots of other projects to look at instead” (that’s a slight paraphrase, I’m not a stenographer).

Interestingly, it appears that the good folks of Dunthorpe now have a professional lobbyist on the job, who was there for the meeting.

This is an interesting contrast to the Streetcar Loop project, where the project advisory committee got to unanimous consensus, and no significantly different recommendations from the staff group. This is going to be harder…

One interesting big picture note: the committee took some pains to clarify that the suggested financial timing in the background materials did not imply that this was necessarily the next priority project after Milwaukie LRT, but rather a project that should be developed “so it’s ready for an opportunity” for Federal funding in the words of TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen. However, it would appear that all the planners available to do the EIS work for the project are tied up until 2008 – that should allow some time to find the funding for the next round of study.

Hopefully it’s also enough time to line up sponsorship for the trail portion of the project. The steering committee approved all the right words about continuing to study getting a trail through the corridor (as a separate project planned at the same time), but that’s also going to need funding.

Oregonian coverage of the meeting here.

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