Archive | May, 2009

Why Local Governments are Likely to Get Onboard the Sprawl-Inducing Transportation Bill

In a word – Maintenance. The City of Portland, as one example, would see about a 40% increase in gas tax revenue available to fix potholes and rebuild streets that are too far gone for routine maintenance.

As one transportation official told me, this would “stop the bleeding”. The bleeding in this case being the $9-10M by which Portland’s road maintenance backlog grows each year. It would probably NOT be enough however to make significant progress in reducing the backlog.

At the County level, the bill would provide mechanisms (registration fee increases) that, coupled with the increased gas tax revenue, would let Multnomah and Clackamas Counties assemble funding for the Sellwood Bridge replacement (with Portland’s help).

So the local folks who understand the very negative greenhouse gas impacts of the bill are likely to do little more than mutter under their breath.

At the same time Democratic House leadership is strong-arming pro-environment Portland-area legislators over this bill. Freshman legislator Jules Kopel Baily, who ran on a strong environment platform, voted for the bill in committee. And he is not the only pro-environment legislator who has indicated probable support for the bill.

On the side of the good guys, Onward Oregon has joined the list of organizations calling for restoration of modal balance to the bill.

Two Special Transportation Seminars at PSU

Peter Furth from Northeastern is visiting PSU this week, leading to a couple of extra Transportation Seminars:

Speaker: Peter Furth
Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Northeastern University

Topic: Aggressive Signal Priority with Compensation: Maximizing the Transit Benefit Without Disrupting Traffic

When: Tuesday, May 26, 12:00 – 1:00

Where: ITS Lab (Room 315 in the Engineering Building)

Speaker: Peter Furth
Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Northeastern University
Topic: Cycle Tracks and Bicycle Priority Lanes: More Tools to Serve Traffic Intolerant Riders

When: Wednesday, May 27, 12:00 – 1:00

Where: ITS Lab (Room 315 in the Engineering Building)

Both are sponsored by the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium Visiting Scholar Program.

TriMet Responds on Bridge Design

Photomatch_Hybrid_NEW FINAL copy-cropped

Photomatch_V-Tower_NEW FINAL-cropped

TriMet spokesperson Mary Fetsch e-mailed me a few minutes ago with the photos you see here (click on the photos to view full-size, the thumbnails don’t really do them justice) and the following statement:

Chris: We have selected a bridge architect with more than 40 years experience working on signature bridges including cable-stayed , suspension and hybrid bridges, and also bike and ped bridges. His work includes the Golden Gate Bridge, the Oakland Bay Bridge and others. I’ve included a link to his website.

We have two bridge designs on the table and I have attached pictures of each. Next week the WRBAC (Willamette River Bridge Advisory Committee) will weigh in on these two designs and by the end of June we will select one to move further into preliminary engineering.

We are still in contract negotiations but the architect selected is Donald MacDonald.

Updated: A Transportation Bill for Yamhill County

Updated: 5/22/09

Track Joe’s latest updates as the bill is amended.

Original Post: 5/21/09

I blogged last night about the alarm bells going off over the transportation bill in the Legislature.

Local economist Joe Cortright has done an analysis of the earmarked road projects to look at who benefits, by county.

Everyone ready to watch the Sellwood Bridge fall into the river?

County Dollars earmarked Dollars per resident
YAMHILL $192.0M $2,036
MORROW $114.2M $1,137
TILLAMOOK $127.0M $1,036
BAKER $110.1M $1,000
WASCO $119.0M $786
GRANT $15.6M $744
WALLOWA $15.0M $703
HARNEY $15.0M $649
JACKSON $125.0M $609
UNION $112.0M $473
HOOD RIVER $110.0M $462
MALHEUR $112.5M $395
KLAMATH $123.0M $348
CLACKAMAS $122.0M $324
LANE $182.0M $237
UMATILLA $115.8M $218
WASHINGTON $108.0M $208
MARION $162.0M $197
DESCHUTES $132.0M $192
DOUGLAS $114.0M $134
JOSEPHINE $110.0M $120
MULTNOMAH $154.0M $75