Here Comes CRC 1.1

The Trib reports that according to “sources who declined to be identified” project staff are briefing local leaders on alternatives to trim the cost of the Columbia River Crossing project.

I thought we were supposed to have public process for this sort of thing? How about going back and doing a supplement DEIS to introduce some additional low cost options – like a supplemental bridge option?

We don’t need CRC 1.1, we need a full 2.0 treatment.

26 responses to “Here Comes CRC 1.1”

  1. Why don’t they just forget the whole thing!

    What bureaucracy!

    By the time the get done paying the expense of all this bickering they could have built the freaking thing!

    This is a casebook study of how inefficient government really is!

  2. IMO, the entire CRC process is a travesty. The ODOT report from 2005 has already determined that I-5 and I-405 through Portland (the Freeway Loop) is already at ITS LIMIT! No more traffic–NADA!

    It matters little what Portland does to get people out of their cars. I-5 in Portland will still be impacted by increased population on the whole West Coast, let alone the 1-2 million people expected to move here. The only thing that would reverse this is a general economic collapse, and people moving away from West Coast cities in droves—and as long as we are addicted to importing things from Asia this won’t happen.

    Nearly every other major city in the country has an Interstate “ring” road around the city. Ours, apparently, goes through the center of it instead (I-405) and then we wonder why it is congested.??

  3. The smarterbridge folks seem to forget one thing: There’s no room for a third bridge on the Columbia. I think their idea is even deeper wishful thinking than expecting WSDOT to do the right thing and reopen the WA-500 Ferry between Camas and Chinook Landing, Troutdale…

  4. Ron, we can (and probably should) just close the state borders. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be protectionist of our infrastructure and job limits, and if it means not allowing out-of-staters in and shipping the ones here out, oh well.

  5. Uh, Paul–what you suggest is rather highly unconstitutional. Besides, if we’re gonna build a fence, I want it on the state’s southern boundary, even if the lack of a river makes it harder to enforce. :)

  6. Since when did the US government care about what’s constitutional and what’s not? Why shouldn’t states return the favor?

  7. Uh, much of the US government cares very much about such stuff. Crack a history book, turn to the pages that say “civil rights movement”, and note how the Federal government dealt with states that were ignoring federal requirements on matters such as school integration.

    I’m well aware that many in DC view the constitution as disposable, or to be followed only when it supports their position. I’m well aware that the government has violated the civil rights of the people in many ways, many times. (State governments are often the worst offendors).

    That doesn’t change the fact that closing the border twixt Oregon and Washington isn’t going to happen. It’s illegal, there’s no political support for such a proposal even if it were legal, and I’m not sure what you think it would accomplish, unless you think Vancouverites need punishing for not marching to the beat of Portland’s progressive drum.

  8. “The ODOT report from 2005 has already determined that I-5 and I-405 through Portland (the Freeway Loop) is already at ITS LIMIT! No more traffic–NADA!”

    How can that be? Isn’t Portland a “model for the nation’ in transportation planning?

    But there’s nothing planned to add traffic capacity either. Only more rail transit and development schemes to increase densities.

    How is this good planning, let alone a model approcah?

    The approach relies upon the misguided notion that an emphasis on transit and TODs negates the need to consider traffic.

    Traffic? Oh that doesn’t matter, we’re designing a better community.

  9. Jason McHuff Says: But aren’t the interchanges, and the weaving their close spacing causes, part of the problem?
    JK: Look at the web site for how its done. Basically, since there are 5 lanes on the bridge they are allocated as follows:
    3 lanes – current thru lanes
    1 add lane from Victory Blvd.
    1 add lane from Marine dr.
    1 add lane from JB.
    Plenty of distance for lane changes – no weave problem
    Vancouver interchanges work OK. Not a big enough problem to justify $7.80 tolls each way.

    As the region grows, other work will be needed, but it makes no sense to bourdon people with over $15 daily tolls to build expensive projects years before need, especially LRT.

    My proposal is essentially the “supplemental bridge” without the LRT and un-needed interchange re-builds. The effectiveness of this can be seen by comparing the travel time charts of the “no build”, “supplemental bridge” and deluxe versions. A variation is to also replace the current bridge and do more reqork on the SR14 interchange because of the altitude difference.

    This should deliver 90% of the performance for 20% of the cost.

    Remember there are tow hidden agenda items here:
    1. Get the local match for light rail by counting a portion of the highway spending as LRT matching.
    2. Justify LRT by filling Vancouver with high density housing. Like the Pearl or SoWhat. (At taxpayer expense of course, since high density costs much more than sprawl.)


  10. Ron says: Nearly every other major city in the country has an Interstate “ring” road around the city. Ours, apparently, goes through the center of it instead (I-405) and then we wonder why it is congested.?

    Our bypass isn’t I-405 it is I-205. Just like I-405 in Seattle, I-215 in Salt Lake. The problem is what starts out as a “ring road” tends to become an “internal road” then you have to build another “ring road” to bypass the original ring road. For example, Houston’s I-610 is called the “Loop Fwy” now they are building the Houston Tollway or the “outer ring”.

  11. I think it would be best to have a Port of Portland to Port of Vancouver freight-bridge and let everyone else take the I-205 bridge.

  12. Why a freight bridge between ports? T-6 exports 1% of westcoast containers, if that, and most of them are empty. Wheat and auto imports move by rail and/or barge, not roads.
    Single Occupancy Vehicles in the peaks are what delay the movement of freight, and the solution, whether on Swan Island, Rivergate or across the Columbia is simple…give those folks in SOVs some real options: good, reliable transit, safer bike routes, rideshare incentives (read HOV lanes), and freight moves must fine.

  13. JK,

    You are wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! Sprawl is much more expensive to service than is density. Roads, utilities, public safety all can be provided less expensively when housing is clustered than when it’s spread out.

    Just think about it. What is more expensive to build? A mile of four lane arterial running between two square miles of low-rise mixed-use housing totaling 10,000 units or ten miles of two lanes with shoulders meandering through twenty square miles of semi-rural McMansions housing the same number of people? And which uses more gas, more insulation, more electricity for heating and cooling?

    I’m not saying “don’t have McMansions” for those who want them. But don’t subsidize that particular want by underpricing the public services necessary to protect and supply them.

    Now I do agree with you that $700 million (or more; there’s dispute about the actual cost) to bring Max over the bridge for the MOS is crazy. Since the RTC has decided that BRT is to be the trunk line mode for Clark County, LRT will be a silly little stub.

    Very few commuters would be willing to ride the BRT to Mill Plain and transfer to the many stops Max to downtown Portland. C-Tran will have to run very nearly as many express buses as it would in the no-build option.

    That said, what the f do you care whether downtown Vancouver gets dense or not? You probably never go there; there are some of those icky leftists around. I do and I’d be very happy to see more people living and working there. It would add a night life and some young hip people to the city.

    We have plenty of “I got mine screw you” selfish gnomes in Vancouver.

  14. I’m disposed toward the supplemental bridge idea, too, as a means of reducing the cost. However I do have a concern. When the 1917 span really does have to be replaced, how are you going to build the replacement northbound bridge? The 1952 span is closer to the supplemental bridge and that’s the one whose northern end would need to be removed in order to make the connection between the replacement bridge and the freeway.

    I’m sure some smart engineer can figure out something like the “S-Curve” on the Bay Bridge, but it’s something to think about if the supplemental is selected.

  15. Yeah sure sprawl is more expensive.

    As long as all the Billions spent on planning agencies, smart growth, Tax Abatement, Urban Renewal, rail transit and TOD boondoggles don’t count.

    Add up all those costs and there’s no comparision. The schemes hatched by left wing politics and central planning eat up billions which could have went to infrasructure and growth needs.

  16. Most trips on the Vancouver side of the river will probably be entirely within Washington, so the choice of BRT isn’t unreasonable.

    However, for those who DO have to get to the Oregon side–there’s no BRT on the Oregon side. And there isn’t going to be anytime soon. Thus a transfer to MAX will be needed at some point, unless you want to take a non-BRT bus into downtown.

    Given that Vancouver will eventually have multiple BRT lines convering on a downtown station, that’s the place where a transfer to MAX makes sense.

    And perhaps in the future, density in Vancouver will increase to the point that LRT makes more sense than BRT.

  17. Given that Vancouver will eventually have multiple BRT lines convering on a downtown station, that’s the place where a transfer to MAX makes sense.

    Wait until people find out that the plan is to ELIMINATE driving lanes from major roads for exclusive bus use.

    BTW, what is the point in trying to get people to switch from cars to transit, instead of to more efficient cars? All it does is waste money and energy.


  18. John,

    Even thumbsuckingly right wing places like Dallas, Houston, Phoenix and LA are gung-ho for light rail systems. Even San Diego County, Thumbsucker Valhalla, has built and continues to build them.

    That doesn’t mean it makes sense for a city the size of Vancouver separated from most destinations by a half-mile wide, forty foot deep river should be building it. It does mean that practical people who are 5000% for the free market recognize that streets and highways are non-productive real estate.

    Yes, they serve to get people around and deliver goods, so they’re necessary. But they are only a cost to government and return no revenue whatsoever, unless they’re tolled, of course.


    The proper declension of “to be” in the past participle is “have gone” not “have went”. That sounds really illiterate.

  19. Scotty,

    Yes, mid-day travelers to Portland will have to transfer to Max from the BRT’s. But why not save the $700 million and have the BRT’s cross the river at least some of the runs?

    If Vancouver grows in a sufficiently dense manner that it can replace the BRT’s with light rail at some time in the future (I have serious doubts), a bridge can be built at that time, or the HOV facility on the new bridge can be switched to rail like they’re doing on I-90 up in Seattle.

    Right now four runs of the #4 bus per hour cross the river in each direction, and they carry an average of about twenty riders per trip during non-peak times. That’s eighty trips per hour times two times eighteen for the hours of service for a very generous estimate of 3,200 trips per day bound for the Max. Not per hour; per day. Plus a couple of hundred from the “forties” express lines.

    Sure, as downtown builds out there will be more peak hour and some mid-day downtown to Portland trips. But I doubt that boardings and debarkations will ever reach 800 per hour during mid-day. That’s pretty thin gruel to justify spending three-quarters of a billion dollars.

  20. If I recall correctly, Vancouver is considering essentially 4 BRT routes–one along I205 from Salmon Creek to Parkrose (crossing the Glenn Jackson and connecting to the Red Line on the Oregon side), one from Salmon Creek to downtown, one from Vancouver Mall to downtown along Fourth Plain, and one from Fischers Landing to downtown along Mill Plain.

    Would all of these continue to the Oregon side to meet up with the Yellow Line?

    Or are you thinking that PDX-bound passengers should change busses in downtown Vancouver, hop across the bridge (in a regular lane, I assume), and then transfer to the Yellow Line on the Oregon side?

    Whether it is LRT or BRT, some sort of transitway on the new bridge is probably necessary. A) it would be cheaper to do it now, rather than trying to build Yet Another Bridge in the future.

    And B)–the bridge simply won’t be built otherwise.

  21. Scotty,

    Of course, include HOV on the new bridge whether supplemental or full replacement. And, if it’s a supplemental only, stripe the western lane of the 1952 bridge for HOV only. There should be some way to include a downtown HOV exit dropping down to the left below the supplemental.

    I expect that if the old bridges are retained for northbound, they’ll be re-striped to two driving lanes with a breakdown lane to the right.

    Yes, I would have every other one of the Mill Plain/SR99 BRT’s cross the bridge. When they returned they’d continue on the other route as the 37 does now and the BRT’s is planned to do. All Fourth Plain BRT’s would cross the bridge.

    Since it’s pretty certain that Max will get to Jantzen Beach if it isn’t included on the bridge, I’d turn the BRT’s at that station rather than Delta Park. It’s a couple of minutes faster each way.

    If the BRT’s ran on 10 minute headways (anything longer is not really BRT) that would allow enough time for the following BRT to depart on the other half of the route directly. When a BRT that crossed the bridge arrived at the downtown Vancouver transit center the second follower would be arriving. The BRT that originally crossed would take the second follower’s “slot” on the continuation route while the second follower crossed the bridge. A little layover time at Jantzen Beach station would be built into the schedule to ensure proper timing in downtown Vancouver.

    Travelers on the second follower could change to the lead BRT if they were instead traveling “through” on the 99 to Mill Plain route.

    Is that clear?

    That won’t sit well with Vancouver merchants of course, but eventually Oregon is going to get some sort of sales tax.

  22. I think I’ve linked to this before, but here’s the site on the Clark County High Capacity Transit Study:

    They actually think that BRT on 4th Plain will inspire the same kinds of development that have happened along MAX alignments in Portland.

    …eventually Oregon is going to get some sort of sales tax.
    HA HA HA HA HA!!!
    A few year ago on a TriMet 75, this guy says “I’m from Texas. Oregon should have a sales tax!”
    He got laughed off the bus at Powell.

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