Next Round of Open Houses on I-5/99W Connector

From the Oregonian:

All open houses are from 6 to 8:30 p.m.. Here’s the schedule:
–June 24, Archer Glen Elementary School, 16155 S.W. Sunset Blvd., Sherwood
–June 25, Tualatin High School, 22300 S.W. Boones Ferry Road, Tualatin
–June 26, Wilsonville High School, 6800 S.W. Wilsonville Road, Wilsonville

Apparently they’ve narrowed it to six alternatives. No word on funding sources…

0 responses to “Next Round of Open Houses on I-5/99W Connector”

  1. I find it odd that there is little to no mention of improved transit service in the corridor. Alternative #2 leads into it, but how are employer paid transit passes going to help when there’s no transit available?

    I also find it odd that two of the three open houses are inaccessible by transit (I’m not sure about Wilsonville High School), given that Metro usually wants to focus on the transit element and not the highway element.

    Metro could go far by simply spending a couple million dollars TODAY and add bus service in this corridor. Work with Yamhill County and add commuter bus service to/from Yamhill County on a frequent, regular basis (much like Seattle-Tacoma, Seattle-Everett, etc.) Work with private bus companies to establish services to Lincoln City and actively promote it.

    Will the connector still be needed? Likely. But right now one can’t claim that transit is even an alternative right now to driving, because it simply isn’t. The service that is currently offered by Yamhill County dumps you off in a parking lot in Sherwood – it needs to run at least to Tigard TC and preferably all the way to Portland. What happens (today) when you miss the 94 bus, have to catch the 12, it too is running late and you miss your Yamhill County bus?

    Add vanpool service for those who still claim that bus service isn’t an option. Unlike Seattle’s broad, successful program, Metro’s current vanpool program is tiny, and doesn’t even offer anything to Yamhill County (but there is one to Hood River.)

  2. Erik, the connector mostly serves travel across the boundaries of Metro and TriMet. It would not be appropriate under the current arrangement for either to develop transit to Newberg and beyond, unless requested to do so by Newberg, McMinn, Yamhill Co, et al. Then you have the larger question of whether or not these destinations can sustain transit, who pays, etc. Regardless, long-distance transit is not going to take the place of the connector.

  3. Erik, the connector mostly serves travel across the boundaries of Metro and TriMet.

    35,700 vehicles per day crossed over the Washington/Yamhill County line on 99W. The I-5 to 99W Connector is an Oregon Department of Transportation project as much as it is for Metro and Washington County.

    ODOT’s jurisdiction includes Yamhill County, as well as the 35 other counties within Oregon. So considering the needs of Yamhill County is entirely justified for this project; else ODOT should be removed from the project and Metro and Washington County can fund it themselves while ODOT can finally get around to rebuilding Oregon State Route 99W (also known as Oregon State Highway 91)between McMinnville and the Washington County Line with their share of the dollars.

    If the argument is that transit to Yamhill County is only a Yamhill County concern and is of no concern to Metro; then the same logic must be applied to the CRC project – and TriMet and Metro must immediately and swiftly remove themselves from all discussion of extending MAX north beyond Hayden Island; because it is not of either agencies’ concerns to provide public transit outside of the TriMet and Metro district (which happens to end half-way across the Interstate Bridge where Oregon ends and Washington begins).

    If Metro can get their hands messy in Washington, they can certainly do the same in Yamhill County. At least Yamhill County is still in Oregon; it’s even in the same area code (503).

    No, long distance transit is not going to take place of the connector. If we use that argument, then transit anywhere in the Portland metro area can’t be justified because not once has a Portland area transit project taken the place of any other form of transportation (let me recall that the Sunset Highway was widened after Westside MAX was constructed, therefore the introduction of light rail did not replace the need to widen the highway; likewise I-5 is being widened through Delta Park, which MAX failed to stop.)

    Similarly, what defines whether a destination can sustain transit? 5% of 35,700 is 1,785 (the likely number of trips that can be reasonably expected to convert to transit if it were available). Divided by 55 (the capacity of an MCI long distance coach) is 33, or 17 round-trips.

    One last comment – the I-5 to 99W Connector Project has nothing to do with TriMet. TriMet, unlike many transportation and transit agencies in the U.S., has zero juridiction over highway/road planning. A review of the most recent “Stakeholder Working Group” meeting minutes found no one from TriMet in attendance, further underscoring their lack of involvement in a corridor that they have no interest in serving thorugh transit services, despite being within their district.

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