Stimulating Portland Sidewalks

Reported in this morning’s O, the $101M in stimulus spending approved by the Oregon Transportation Commission yesterday includes about $2M for filling sidewalk gaps and improving curb ramps on streets like 82nd Ave and Barbur Blvd.

But the overall package still heavily favors roads. Given that this is a unique opportunity for ODOT to spend funds that are not restricted by the constitutional dedication of gas taxes, it’s a bit disappointing that alternative modes didn’t fare a little better.

Nonetheless, the sidewalk money is most welcome.


16 responses to “Stimulating Portland Sidewalks”

  1. Hey, they’re also planning to do some other non-road stuff:

    BNSF Railway, North Portland: Modernize railroad intersections, boosting Amtrak speed from 10 mph to 40 mph and boosting freight speed from 10 mph to 25 mph. $6.9 million.

    Milwaukie park-and-ride, Southeast Milport Road and Main Street, Milwaukie: Build a 315-space park-and-ride near downtown and Oregon 99E. $3.2 million.

  2. When it is factored in that no user paid bicycle tax exists to pay the maintenance for bicycle infrastructure and local match dollars for non-stimulus funded bicycle infrastructure, that transit riders pay only twenty something percent of transit operational costs, and that motorist paid highway dollars is continually poached to subsidize both bicyclists and transit; the distribution of stimulus dollars was more than fair and generous for non-roadway projects. Projects funded by stimulus dollars should have an adequate user only paid revenue tax/fare base to maintain/operate the infrastructure being constructed or purchased.

  3. Terry, the post was about sidewalks, not bike lanes.

    By the way, Chris, sidewalks can be built and maintained with gas tax money. Under Oregon law, they’re considered part of the road.

  4. I think I had a post blocked about how $21 million of the $101 million (just data from the link) was going to non-auto transport methods. That about covers it.

  5. Douglas, the second paragraph in the post spoke to stimulus funding for “alternative modes”. Bike lanes are considered infrastructure for an alternative mode.

  6. All I can say is a big kudos to the Oregon Department of Transportation for doing more to look out for bus riders in the Portland metro area than TriMet.

    TriMet is giving $250,000 to bus riders out of the Stimulus package (namely: “Transit Tracker” displays on cross-mall bus stops.)

    ODOT is giving bus riders, and other pedestrians, $2 million – EIGHT times as much as the so-called transit agency is giving towards transit users.

  7. “TriMet is giving $250,000 to bus riders out of the Stimulus package”

    I think they should dump all the buses and trains and give every citizen a bicycle!

  8. Grant wrote: Erik, TriMet just got a batch of brand new buses.

    1. The new buses were not funded through the Stimulus Package.

    2. TriMet is now FOUR YEARS behind on its bus replacement schedule. Yes they got some new buses. But nowhere near enough to retire the 1400s, 1600s, 1700s, 1800s and 1900s. And Fred Hansen is on record AGAIN for cancelling new bus purchases for the next TWO YEARS.

    3. TriMet, knowing its need for new buses, REFUSED to use stimulus dollars for bus improvements, so bus riders only get $250K for new Transit Tracker signs. Meanwhile, MAX riders will get a whole slew of station improvements in Gresham, Transit Tracker signs on the Green Line, added security on the Green Line; bicyclists will get something (not sure why), and the Portland Streetcar will get to expand with a promise of $1 million in additional TriMet subsidy (when TriMet can’t even afford to maintain its own services).

  9. This is just a hunch — I don’t have any inside information — but I suspect that a choice may have been made to spend the stimulus dollars locally as much as possible.

    New buses would have been terrific for riders (and as Erik may recall I listed buses in the top tier of priorities in the comments I submitted to TriMet), but those dollars would most likely have gone out-of-state.

    Nonetheless, I would like to see the bus fleet updated at an increased pace. However, I would not do so by cutting TriMet’s partial contribution to streetcar funding (as Erik seems to imply would be appropriate).

  10. Another note on the stiuimulus & bus riders:

    As mentioned in the article, the state money includes millions for a Park & Ride facility in Milwaukie. There won’t be a rail line there for years. Thus, at least in the near term, this is a proposed project which would benefit bus riders.

    In TriMet’s own stimulus budget, submitted to the board of directors, the following bus-related projects are included:

    • Bus street maintenance projects: Street Repair on SW 3rd and 4th avenues, and the construction of concrete paving at bus stops on Columbia and Jefferson. $650,000
    • Cross-mall TransitTracker: Install TransitTracker at 12 bus stops in downtown Portland not on the Mall. $250,000 (Already mentioned by Erik)
    • LIFT bus dispatch system replacement: The LIFT bus dispatch system replacement project replaces on-board mobile data terminals in all LIFT (para-transit) vehicles, and associated central equipment. The new para-transit specific mobile data terminals will allow for electronic manifests and turn by turn navigation, which allows for dynamic scheduling, greatly improving the efficiency of LIFT operations. $2,500,000
    • Merlo fuel/wash & lift
      buildings: Merlo fuel/wash & lift buildings construction of replacement bus fueling and wash facility and construction of a LIFT operations building. $13,500,000
    • Replacement of broken concrete at the Center Street Bus Facility: Bus parking and travel lanes are showing excessive wear and tear. Project includes removal of existing concrete, restructuring of sub-grade as necessary and placement of new concrete slabs. $220,000
    • Replacement of broken concrete at the Merlo Bus Yard: Bus parking and travel lanes are showing excessive wear and tear. Project includes removal of existing concrete, restructuring of sub-grade as necessary and placement of new concrete slabs $360,000
    • Underground storage tank replacement Center Garage: There are six single-walled tanks that are to be removed and replaced with four double-walled tanks with improved leak detection. The tanks aren’t known to be leaking but are reaching the end of their useful life and are due for replacement. $435,000

    [Comment edited to remove accidental duplicate bullet point.]

  11. “And Fred Hansen is on record AGAIN for cancelling new bus purchases for the next TWO YEARS.”

    Can you provide a link to that? I would like to read what he said.

  12. There won’t be a rail line there for years.

    My understanding is that there won’t ever be rail there (well, at least a station). In which case it seems odd to build the park & ride lot. In addition to the fact that it would be more ideal for people ride a bus to Milwaukie instead of driving to a park & ride on the far end of town. And the fact that I think Line 99 should use Mcloughlin through there, which would preclude serving the park & ride.

  13. In the last note by Bob R there is no mention of replacing the max ticket machines nor of replacing the antiquated fare boxes in all of the Trimet buses.

  14. “b h” –

    Although we do allow pseudonymous postings here on PortlandTransport, we ask that you stick with one identity. Please select from one of your identities and then stick with it. Thanks.

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