CRC Oversight: New and Improved

The new 10-member “project sponsors council” for the Columbia River Crossing will hold its first meeting on November 4th at 3pm at WashDOT in Vancouver (details in the Trib).

Will this new group lead us to better results than the 30+ member stakeholder committee did? With David Bragdon now subbed in for Rex Burkholder, will some of the conditions Metro and the City of Portland put on their LPA approvals receive attention?

16 responses to “CRC Oversight: New and Improved”

  1. Make sure you check out Kemper Freeman’s slam on PDX in this debate yesterday:

    Kemper Freeman’s lies are similar to the lies he’s been telling for years:

    Washington Business Magazine
    March/April 2005

    Q&A with Kemper Freeman: Wasting Money on Mass Transit

    Q: Mass transit — subways — seem to work well in New York. Why does it work there and not here?

    A: You’re going right to the crucial point. I may be the only person in America who has done a study on the correlation of population density and transportation, which is a core issue.
    More than half of all the people in the United States who ride mass transit are within the city of New York. This is a great transportation solution for the great city of New York. To make it work, the population densities in New York, especially in Manhattan, range from 30,000 to 60,000 per square mile. That’s the kind of densities you need for successful mass transit.
    In Washington there’s a precinct or two — I think it’s on Queen Anne — that approaches the lower number, about 30,000. For most of us in the greater Seattle area, the average density per square mile is about 2,500 to 2,600.
    Our study showed that the mode of transportation used depended on density. We found that as density went up from 2,600 per square mile to 30,000, the use of roadways went up with it in a straight line. Only after reaching a density of 30,000 does the rising use of roads begin to slow down. Thus as you grow through these densities, your road system must grow along with the population density. As densities reach 60,000 per square mile, use of roadways declines. At 60,000 people per square mile, you’re back to needing the same amount of roadway you needed at 2,600 per square mile.

    Now, to put that in perspective, it takes decades to increase density in an urban area by 5 or 10 percent. It would be about a 1,200 percent increase to go from 2,600 to 30,000. What we learned is that you would have to increase population density over 1,200 percent in this region before other modes of transportation would begin to become more important that roadways.

    Q: In recent years I’ve observed the electric train system they’ve built in Portland, Oregon. Every train I see is running empty.

    A: They’re touted as being the poster child for politically correct transportation. They have less market share for public transit than we do. They bet the farm on light rail. Light rail is very expensive, very ineffective and less than 1 percent of trips are accomplished on the light-rail system in Portland. They’re an eternity away from 30,000 people per square mile where things start to change.

    Q: I think you just told me that Portland spent billions of dollars for no gain.

    A: Exactly. And yet you will see on late-night television [in Portland] government-produced videos that run all the time telling how wonderful it is, how wonderful transit-oriented development is. I can’t figure out where they got the pictures.

  2. “Kemper Freeman’s lies are similar to the lies he’s been telling for years”

    Where is the lie?
    1. Road DOES INCREASE with population from farmland density to much denser than Porltand. Above that there is slight decrease in per capita daily miles, probably because those densities attract the transit dependent.

    When you approach NYC densities driving per capita goes down a lot, probably because the roads are grid locked by all the capitas.

    2. Portland has wasted billions on light rail and still has tint transit ridership. I think he is also correct that transit in Portland has a lower market share than in Seattle. Also less than “sprawling” LA. Disgusting.

    Me thinks you should look elsewhere for the liar. Perhaps your information source.

  3. Q: In recent years I’ve observed the electric train system they’ve built in Portland, Oregon. Every train I see is running empty.

    Empty? Tell it to the morning commuters.

  4. We went over this on October 2nd, but:

    From published TriMet FY2007 data:

    • Light Rail Passenger Miles per Vehicle Hour (175,964,052 / 239,400) = 735.
    • Light Rail Boardings per Vehicle Hour (34,035,600 / 239,400) = 142.

    “Vehicle Hours” includes non-revenue travel, such as maintenance, going to and from a route-start or special event, etc.

    None of the discussion so far bears directly on the question asked:

    Will this new group lead us to better results than the 30+ member stakeholder committee did? With David Bragdon now subbed in for Rex Burkholder, will some of the conditions Metro and the City of Portland put on their LPA approvals receive attention?

    Anyone care to comment on the actual topic?

  5. “Will this new group lead us to better results than the 30+ member stakeholder committee did?”

    No – These are still the same group of inner circle, Goldschmit transit goons, that has been slowly destroying Portland’/Oregon’s economy for years to the god of compact cities, urban renewal, elite developers of wasteful condo towers and green this or green that. They all have the same philosophy of forcing people to act as these self appointed elites desire, instead of how real people in the real world need to get travel. But real world is merely an inconvenience to this lot of greedy profiteers who get their marching orders from the multinational, multi million dollar green corporations and rely on thoroughly discredited references like “limits to growth” and “the baby boom”.

    “With David Bragdon now subbed in for Rex Burkholder, will some of the conditions Metro and the City of Portland put on their LPA approvals receive attention?”

    Hopefully he is smart enough to realize that the conditions are completely contra productive to a higher standard of living. They are a waste of people’s time and money.

    Is that on topic?

  6. My husband and I keep puzzling over the desire for a new bridge. Maybe someone here can, in an objective manner, help give us some insight and understanding.

    We live in North Portland and frequently see the congestion beginning at 3pm. The hotspots are, of course, I-84 & I-5, I-5 & Rose Quarter/Broadway, and the Interstate Bridge/Jantzen Beach.

    Because there are more bottlenecks than just the I-5 bridge, we are quite confused at how a 12-lane construction would improve the situation. Especially since when we do drive over the bridge, we often witness traffic dispersing immediately when SR-14 opens up. We think that the mantra, “Build it and they will come,” will be the realization.

    Shouldn’t I-5/I-84 be discussed in conjunction with a new bridge?

  7. “Shouldn’t I-5/I-84 be discussed in conjunction with a new bridge?”

    Not really, the goal of the new bridge is NOT congestion relief, it is actually an excuse to extend light rail to Vancouver. No matter that it will cost over $10 per ride (if I recall) to ride from the expo center to the end of the line, which will be just across the river because of the extreme cost of going any further. Of course, the riders will not have to pay the $10, they hope to pay for that with tolls on cars.

    All this stuff makes sense when you figure out the real goal. In general the real goal of any mega-project is to spend money on the friends of the politicians, especially their campaign donors. Additional goals are to punish people who drive cars instead of subjecting themselves to mass transit. And to further the creation of a planner’s utopian idea of how Porlanders should be forced to live. Then, they think, this “compact urban form” utopia will spread across the world. Portland’s planners travel all over the world spreading false impressions of how great things work here. The always seem to forget to mention the massive taxpayer subsidies required to make the dreams work.

    If the project happens to serve a public need, all the better.

  8. A friend of mine tells me you can roll a bowling ball down any MAX train going downtown at the normal rush hour on a government holiday, such as Columbus Day, and not hit anyone.

    Just for the record does anyone know how many people ride Max on those days compared to other days?

  9. A friend of mine tells me you can roll a bowling ball down any MAX train going downtown at the normal rush hour on a government holiday, such as Columbus Day, and not hit anyone.

    Your friend is most likely mistaken. I’ve ridden MAX on such holidays and have found your friend’s description to not be the case. If you remind me next year a couple of days before Columbus Day, I’ll be more than happy to take a few photos or make a video for you.

    PS… Anyone throwing a bowling ball down a MAX train during normal revenue hours without authorization should be barred from the system, IMHO. Such activity creates a serious risk of injury. (Yes, I know your friend was merely being colorful.)

    PPS… What does this have to do with the topic?

  10. “PPS… What does this have to do with the topic?”

    Reason that the below is on topic:
    One justification for the light rail portion of the project is the rapid RISE in fuel prices.

    Gas was $2.43/gal at Costco tonight! Lets all celebrate!

    This is one less excuse to spend money on light rail.

    This is good news because it will lower the percentage of income that people, especially the low income, have to spend on gasoline & heating oil. It will increase their standard of living.
    PS: this is a good thing.

    The bad news is that at some lower price, oil from coal, shale and tar sands will become unprofitable, and these vast fuel sources (century’s worth) may be delayed in continued development.

  11. As someone who is an avid bus supporter and supports light rail but ONLY to the extent that it does not discriminate against bus riders, I’ll say this about MAX ridership:

    The Oregonian about a year ago did a ridership survey of MAX trains.

    It found that rush hour trains into downtown Portland in the morning, and out of downtown in the afternoon, were busy or packed.

    It found trains reverse-commuting to Gresham were, well, practically empty.

    It found trains reverse-commuting to Hillsboro were certainly less occupied, but hardly unused.

    It found that mid-day weekend trains were rather busy.

    My personal experience backs this up – yes, you CAN find an empty MAX train, if you know when to find them.

    Just as much – the anti-bus/pro-rail folks like to claim that nobody likes buses. Well, I’ll show you – on a regular, sustainable, and repeatable basis – that people DO ride the buses to the point that the Operator changes his headsign to “Arrivals Only” and can’t accept new passengers for fear of violating federal law. And on the flip side, I’ll show you a bus that doesn’t. I once rode a bus route (50S – Cornell Oaks) in which every single day, I was THE only rider on the trip. (And the 50s is no longer an operating bus line).

    Now, that has absolutely NOTHING to do with Bob’s perfectly reasonable request to keep this thread on topic. But it serves that, yes, SOME trains AND buses do run empty. And SOME trains AND buses do run full. If the argument is that public transit should only run at a high load factor, then that can be a new topic of discussion. But that has NOTHING to do with the new CRC panel…

    Now for my “on-topic” post:

    Portland’s requests are just as unreasonable now as they are then. Portland’s bully tactics to demand certain changes that amount to massive cost increases for the project and an unwillingness to compromise show Portland’s true colors with regards to this region’s planning. Instead of making reasonable suggestions, Portland is using its “veto” power to force everyone else to accept a bridge project that costs more, does less, and forces a choice on Vancouver that many Vancouverites (including a majority of its directly-elected City Council) do not want; much less residents of unincorporated urban Clark County.

    However, having a smaller, more managable commission may make it easier to negotiate resolutions to major differences. But this can only be effective if Portland lets this committee work it out instead of standing over the committee with a heavy hand (kind of like those anti-Jeff Merkley ads regarding the “Employee Forced Choice Act”.)

  12. Bob ask: “PPS… What does this have to do with the topic?”

    It has to do with the need for light rail which Portland wants to shove down Vancouver’s throat without determining who effective light rail will be.


  13. Bob R.:

    Whatever happened to the bus vs. rail permanent dedicated thread that we were supposed to have? Maybe that would help in keeping things on topic in threads like this one.


  14. “Will this new group lead us to better results than the 30+ member stakeholder committee did?”

    Only if they much more reluctant to swallow the BS of the “Rebuild America” lobby that is emerging as a dominant influence in US politics. Yes, I agree that some US infrastructure is wearing out and can even be dangerous. I also support a vision to improve mass transit, interstate travel and to prepare for our nation’s economic vitality. However, I don’t accept the $11 Trillion “job estimate” that the hacks in this club are asking us to sign on to.
    1. That cost estimate will undoubtedly climb.
    2. Those at the top of this club are already accepting big salaries and I think they want more. Mr. McCarron, president of my union is earning in the neighborhood of $400,000/yr. so it would be in his financial interest for his union to get more jobs and more dues paying members. He already dodged one bullet (US Congressional-style) for his insider trading
    3. Creating more jobs in rebuilding America’s infrastructure isn’t an end in itself. Restoring US economic health ( damaged by a rush to buy imported products such as foreign cars (you know who you are) and by inflexibility on the part of both labor and management in a number of industries) should be the real bottom line. We only need the infrastructure improvement that accomplishes that, not a lot of trial and error fixes.
    4. Creating jobs to accommodate a super accelerated population growth might be a way to forge a permanent political Machine but will wreak havoc on our natural resources and also our quality of life. It would be far more cost-effective to assist in sensible development strategies that are already underway overseas than to “welcome the whole gang in here” for their piece of the American Dream.
    5. Opting for elaborate expensive projects is one surefire way to guarantee that the area’s population grows real fast. People come in to work—–and they stay, thus requiring more infrastructure improvement.

    At a recent conference sponsored by METRO on “Is Business as Usual Good Enough” even our Democratic party elected officials couldn’t help but snickering a little when we were all told to prepare for a US population of one billion by 2100. No thanks. So I hope the Sponsor Council will take a miserly approach to allocating funds for transportation and infrastructure projects. Maybe Scrooge had a point….

    I don’t mean this to sound like a cranky, tirade against public works spending. Because, previously I have expressed my support for something like high speed regional rail, which wouldn’t be cheap. I am wary, though, of vested interests pushing us to things that don’t really fix the existing problems.

  15. Hopefully the common sense of Washington delegation to the CRC oversight committee will keep the Oregon representatives in line by making sure the Columbia River Crossing remains a bridge project that brings the two sides of the river closer together equitably accommodating all modes of transport and equally charging them any user fees rather than a social engineering project as proposed by Metro and the Adams regime.

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