Shopping CRC 1.1 Around

CRC staff is out shopping the new slimmer version of the Columbia River Crossing, now with only 10 lanes (no word on the exact lane configuration, but apparently it can be re-striped to 12 lanes later) and a few less interchanges – and an uglier design across Hayden Island.

Here’s the full list:

  • Eliminating a dedicated ramp (braid) to access Victory Boulevard from I-5 southbound
  • Eliminating an elevated ramp (flyover) across I-5 as part of the Marine Drive interchange
  • Reusing the existing highway bridges over North Portland Harbor
  • Eliminating elevated structures over Hayden Island and lowering the profile of the interstate
  • Reducing the width of the I-5 bridge to accommodate 10 traffic lanes instead of 12
  • Removing one planned highway lane between SR 14 and SR 500
  • Eliminating the ramps to I-5 northbound from SR 500 and from I-5 southbound to SR 500

All of this saves $650M. The package will be presented to the Project Sponsors Council on December 4th.

According to a presentation staff has been showing to local business groups the latest back of the napkin financial plan looks like:

$800M in Federal New Starts Transit Funding
$400M in Federal Highway Funds
$1.3B from tolling

The balance of the total cost of the project which is now estimated in a range from $2.6B to $3.6B would presumably be up to the two state governments to cough up.

The Oregonian Editorial Board is buying it.

So Washington and Oregon somehow need to find somewhere between a half and one and half billion dollars to do this.

Isn’t that enough of an incentive to go back to the DEIS and do some real least-cost planning?

71 responses to “Shopping CRC 1.1 Around”

  1. I’m not sure I buy the “can be restriped to 12
    We don’t need another Marquam Bridge. It’s decks are designed to be three lanes with minimum shoulders, but is currently configured at four lanes with no shoulders: It doesn’t meet minimum Interstate freeway requirements, and thus is a potential liability to the state should USDOT start looking for noncompliant infrastructure to not subsidize. Thus, I don’t buy the argument that the bridge can be “restriped to 12 lanes later” bit. It’s a bug, not a feature. The MUTCD factors paved shoulders into Interstate freeway design for a reason: Stalled vehicles in freeway-speed traffic has a higher tendency to cause approaching drivers to occupy the same space as the stalled vehicle with disasterous results.

    Where are the bicycle facilities? The existing crossing is inadequate, and FHWA requires bicycle facilities be installed where the freeway shoulder is an inappropriate route. Either there’s a serious oversight somewhere between the idea and what got publicized, or there is a deliberate attempt to skew the numbers for interstate bicycle commuters (close the bridge to bikes, then claim nobody rides a bike across the river, never mind that if it’s closed to bikes, the number of cyclists using the route rounds out to zero).

  2. It wouldn’t matter if the CRC proposal cost only 10 dollars. The real 800 lb. gorilla in the room is the fact that I-5 is already full. Sam Adams’ 2005 Freeway Loop study even says so. ( But, apparently, Sam forgot to mention this fact to the CRC taskforce)

    The 2005 report estimated fixing that problem as costing anywhere from a few hundred million up to $8 billion. That was 2005.

    Throw all the money you want into the CRC—the fact is that with the projected growth in Portland PLUS growth in other areas along I-5 trying to squeeze more use out of I-5 is flogging a dead horse. But, I suppose a even dead horse could be revived for $20 billion dollars.

  3. I really hope that they have no plans to tear out light rail from the bridge. Believe me, I tried it Friday rush hour and… (cue dramatic music…) 1. I missed the first line 4 after getting off the 37m 2. I had gotten off at the wrong stop so it was a bi…ckerer getting to one 3. When i did find a stop i got on the bus after 20 minutes had passed from my departure on the 37 before I boarded line 44 and then it was prone to rush hour and 4. I waited 12 minutes for the max. Total travel time: 40 minutes. Max would take about 10 minutes? Now i personally didn’t mind as i got to take a few great pictures but without the Max we have a hassle. And did i mention it was raining and freezing outside? If max is ripped out i will have lost 99.99% of my interest in the project. I imagine I will get a few disagreements but i think what i think. Thanks, Cameron. P.S. I hate using my cellphone for messages.

  4. I-5 across the Columbia is full only about 10% of the time…am and particularly pm peaks. Traffic counts are down since 2007. No need to panic.

  5. Oh. My. God. Someone delete my extremely copied messages. Phone messed up, I swear!

    [Moderator: Duplicates removed.]

  6. Hank, it’s full a lot more than 10 percent of the time. “full” is when traffic entering the freeway has difficulty merging because the volume on the freeway is too high, and/or when speeds drop below freeway speeds.

    I-5 is full most daylight hours.

  7. @Ron Swaren,

    If you don’t like the idea of revitalizing the crossing, what do you want to do? Build a Ridgefield/Hillsboro/Newburg/Woodland bypass?

    Would that really be more cost effective? Remember you’d be crossing the Columbia downstream from the port. You’d have to have a bridge much higher than the Glen Jackson to accommodate the ships that the 47 foot channel is designed to bring in, and the river flood plain is considerably wider downstream which means that the bridge structure has to be that much longer (and more expensive).

    You can’t go around the east side, because it’s developed all the way to the foothills of the Cascades both north and south of the river but especially on the Oregon side, and they’re not exactly pro-rubber tire in Oregon.

    The answer is to improve I-5 and have round the clock tolls for congestion with discounts for carpools and significant public transit.

    But unless the Regional Transportation Council in southwest Washington changes its mind on trunk line transit for Clark County, it doesn’t mean spending an additional $700 million to build the “Minimum Operable Segment” to Clark College.

    Push Max to Jantzen Beach and send the Clark College BRT’s in the HOV lanes on a new bridge to that station. By the time all this is built, Oregon will have a sales tax and Clark Countians will shop at home. Even the tax haters.

  8. If you don’t like the idea of revitalizing the crossing, what do you want to do? Build a Ridgefield/Hillsboro/Newburg/Woodland bypass?

    Replacing the 5.1 BNSF bridge with an arterial-type (non-freeway) connection along Portland Rd from Mill Plain to US-30 through St Johns could help alleviate a lot of traffic. Phase 2 could be a better route through the West Hills. As tunneling technologies get better/cheaper, with proper planning it may become something with a lot more positive impact for the cost vs a who new I-5 corridor.

  9. One thing about the Grand Bypass, it would be really hard to pin the tail on the Clark County Commuter donkey for the price. The states would have to pay the piper for the whole shamongle.

  10. One thing about the Grand Bypass, it would be really hard to pin the tail on the Clark County Commuter donkey for the price. The states would have to pay the piper for the whole shamongle.

    There are ways to negotiate with the feds to cover some of the cost of the new bridge in the 5.1 corridor, especially if it’s a better replacement for passenger train and freight traffic or has HSR implications, which it would. It could also allow us to delay any work on the Interstate Bridge area by reducing bridge lifts and the bonus of improving navigational safety on the Columbia.

    As well BRT/LRT could be run across that (jog the current MAX to Jantzen Beach and across to the rail bridge) with great MAX access to the mall/shopping, and only agree to move forward if Washington/Vancouver/Clark County help with the costs. There’s a definite benefit to Oregon out of getting a better rail bridge there, especially since the most used leg of any HSR proposal currently estimates show will be from Portland to Seattle.

    There are hidden benefits to Oregon as well. MAX could also then serve the Vancouver Amtrak station, which would be a nice benefit for N Portland residents looking to take a train to Seattle for example. Trucks that currently tie up Marine Drive (which Oregon residents who work in N Portland have to deal with as well) could take a more direct route to the Port of Vancouver. It would also likely reduce peak direction traffic on Interstate Ave, and help relieve the St Johns Bridge and downtown St Johns.

    Traffic from NW Industrial to the N Portland and Vancouver Industrial areas could avoid I-5 as well, which could include reducing all the FedEx and UPS trucks that are currently stuck on I-5. (I’ve heard they run extra trucks less-than-full to accommodate deadlines that traffic makes more difficult to meet, especially in the afternoon.)

    Washington is spending a ton of money on improving their rail corridor from OR to BC to high speed specs, with federal help but other than joint proposals I haven’t seen that Oregon’s giving Washington one cent for this work. I bet we could get a significant contribution for the Columbia span, but we have to also admit that maybe we have a regional responsibility to keep our infrastructure reasonable for the regional needs as well. We really have to stop this us vs them mentality against our neighbors if we want regional transportation to improve in any ways.

  11. BNSF bridge: Yeah, like the railroad is just gonna give up their bridge without a fight. Amtrak would tell where to shove that idea as well: How do you think Cascades and Coast Starlight make it to Vancouver, Washington?

  12. I don’t know why BNSF would have to give up their corridor. Why not just build a few blocks downstream? But,it would be even better if the RR bridge could be replaced by a multi modal crossing in the same location. The location of the shipping channel and having to go through rather narrow opening between piers, in both the BNSF bridge and the I-5 bridge(s), present some challenges for river pilots.

    I am not even sure that BNSF owns the portion over the Columbia in the same sense that they own other ROW. The Columbia is a federal highway.

    Dave H. sums up the concept pretty well. The second phase—connecting from Hwy 30 over to Hwy 26, could possible go up via Newberry Rd, to Skyline, to Kaiser Rd and then to Cornelius Pass Rd. The route is already there except for a short leg from Skyline to Kaiser and is not so loopy as it may sound. This eliminates five miles from a Vancouver to West Union trip, as opposed to going down I-5 and then out on Hwy 26. Just a roadway that efficiently moves traffic (including bicycles)—not a controlled access freeway.

    This would complete the standard “ring road” which is very conventional highway planning all over the world.

    Anyone see an impossibility with this?

  13. Obviously, removing the BSNF bridge without replacing it is Not Going To Happen.

    That said, movement of freight really needs a drawbridge, not a higher span–freight trains have a difficult time climbing steep grades, and bridge lifts aren’t nearly as disruptive of freight traffic as they are of automobile transit. For that reason, freight trains should continue to move on a separate span.

  14. Re: BNSF Bridge: BNSF owns their bridge outright (even if they don’t own the river under it), it’s best to not even bother thinking about it because it’s Not Gonna Happen, replacement or not.

    Re: Westside Bypass: Yeah, that’s what we need. A rural freeway to nowhere across greenfield. Where do you plan on putting the displaced farms that inevitable sprawl such an idea would bring? Where do you plan on putting traffic once it leaves the freeway?

    Re: Ring road: Ring roads are roads, not freeways. We already have a ring road: 40 Mile Loop. You should take it sometime.

  15. Re: Clark County BRT. Wait, C-Tran has BRT now? Since when? As far as I’m aware, the only BRT in the region is the EmX in Eugene.

  16. Paul,

    Get off your sarcastic high horse and read the background documents! The Regional Transportation Council (the planning agency for southwestern Washington) has decided that the trunk line technology for Clark County transit is to be (not “is”) BRT on Hwy 99, Fourth Plain, Mill Plain and I-205 as far as Gateway.

    The Westside Bypass is a favorite pipedream of Republicans in Clark County. I guess they figure it’s so out of commuters’ way that the Feds and states would have to pay for all of it.

    I agree with your reasons for opposing it: by mentioning it I was only asking what he thought should be done if he truly believes that “Throw all the money you want into the CRC—the fact is that with the projected growth in Portland PLUS growth in other areas along I-5 trying to squeeze more use out of I-5 is flogging a dead horse.”

    We can’t do nothing. “No-build” eventually ends in the 1918 structure rusting away and becoming unsafe and unusable.

    Finally, Ron and Dave H were proposing a multi-modal bridge alongside the BNSF bridge. Again, read the frigging CRC documents instead of snarking. It was one of the options studied.

    Your original reply contained good stuff. But these last two were just ad hoc freaking out.

  17. Re: BNSF Bridge: BNSF owns their bridge outright (even if they don’t own the river under it), it’s best to not even bother thinking about it because it’s Not Gonna Happen, replacement or not.

    They actually are typically quite supportive of government sponsored upgrades, provided they’re guaranteed track usage for giving up their ownership of the corridor. (If we got rid of the bridge, we’d probably have to at least replace the capacity we removed.) If we improve it though, they benefit as well as we do. (We meaning Portland residents.)

    The whole point is that we could add more modes to the existing bridge ROW and attached streets (and over/next to the rail corridor), while expanding freight and passenger rail capacity, and eliminate a bunch of bridge lifts from the I-5 corridor. If we’re rebuilding the bridge anyway, let’s look for funds for standard rail, HSR, MAX, cars, buses, pedestrians, bikes, etc. We could probably do well with upgrading that corridor and put off I-5 upgrades for a while.

  18. The proposal our group has been looking at is not the Westside Bypass Freeway. For one, simply connecting I-5 in Vancouver to Hwy 30 would be a significant breakthrough in getting SOME traffic (truck and auto) off I-5. This could also be an alternate route into NW Portland, instead of sending everything down I-5. NW Portland WILL BE growing—it is inevitable when you have waterfront property close to downtown. We also have a proposal for a below ground connection to Swan Island—-which should get a few more trucks off I-5.

    Since the Beaverton Hillsboro area is currently holding discussions of enlarging their urban reserve zones, I believe this area is anticipating more job creation, just as the Silicon Forest transformed it (for good or ill) beginning in the 1980’s. But this NW quadrant of the Portland metro area also is the one with relatively little highway infrastructure. Maybe this is a fine ideal, but I don’t think in the long run it is practical. I am not a fan of urban freeways and actually did some work against the 1990 Transportation Plan. But I think we have to be realistic.

    Trying to limit north-south traffic to I-5 and I-205, even if you expand light rail and other commuter alternatives, will inevitable create a congestion crisis on I-5 in Portland. That is why I have cited Sam Adams’ 2005 report—projecting some potentially expensive fixes to this problem that is coming our way. I think there are far more cost effective ways to deal with this issue—while I acknowledge that the 2005 report did not necessarily limit solutions to the most expensive option, even though they preferred it.

    There are a lot of solutions to regional GHG emissions—but some of that could require rethinking federal pollution standards. Since I am going to Al G’s townhall at OPB tonight perhaps I will have a chance to bring that up. I just read that Mazda is developing a flex fuel rotary engine—gasoline or hydrogen, and the hydrogen fuel is not the typical scheme either. Perhaps getting the high mpg European diesel models here would be another strategy—if the EPA would make an exemption for them.

  19. Ron, Dave,

    I’m not advocating the Westside Bypass! I’m “agin” it! I just wanted to know what you proposed to do instead of the CRC, since your post scorned it so much.

    Thanks for responding in detail, and it’s clear you’ve thought about your plan well. However, I don’t think it’s going to fly because of its dependence on Mill Plain through Vancouver. The city is trying to “gentrify” mid-town and increasing the traffic on Mill Plain would work against that.

  20. Some people do see Mill Plain as a connector to this route. I would see 39th as a better one, which is already served by a freeway off ramp from southbound I-5 and is undergoing some changes already as a truck route.

  21. Re: BNSF: I still don’t see it as a viable option: BNSF and Amtrak would block it. BNSF, UP and Amtrak all need at least one more track, preferably two, possibly more. 5.1 is the only crossing for trains for a very long distance in either direction and is a constant source of congestion delays for all three railways. This section is an exaple of where there is plenty of infrastructure on both sides, but there legitimately is a lack of cross-river infrastructure.

    I’d rather throw money at expanding BNSF 5.1 for it’s rail capacity and replace the Interstate Bridge with another drawbridge than get railroaded by Clark County into a larger bridge that lacks priority for high-occupancy and bicycle users.

  22. ahhh, I grew up on 39th in Vancouver, there is no way that will become a connector. Mill Plain is the best option in Vancouver, recently upgraded and tons of spare capacity.

    why are we not talking about many little bridges instead of just one? Imagine what downtown Portland would be like if there was just one huge bridge over the Willamette River for 30 miles? With all the revived interest in ‘new urbanism’, have we not learned our lesson on grid versus trunk/limb/branching networks? Why not several smaller multi-user arterials? If you are interested here is a link to some mapped suggestions

  23. Ron,

    Thirty-ninth is one full mile of single family homes bordering a two lane street.

    NO! That is not a decent way to treat the people who live along it.


    The Columbia is not the Willamette (as of course you know). It’s deeper, swifter and tidal. It’s neither easy nor cheap to bridge.

    But the biggest problem is that because it’s so difficult to bridge, the existing development along either side of it grew wide assuming it would never be crossed and would block most arterials leading to and from it.

    Not to be too obvious, but PDX claims the southern bank for more than half the distance between I-205 and I-5. West of I-5 the first the Port of Vancouver then the Port of Portland consume the riverfront. The only real place for “many” bridges is between about NE 33rd and Portland Road or east of I-205 as shown in the slideshow.

    But you really can’t go across at 33rd as proposed because of the flight path to and from the runways. There has to be a hump in the middle to pass high vessels and it would intrude in the glide path safety buffer.

    So the middle bridge proposed is not viable Besides, where it would land on the Vancouver side is a pretty rich developed area of riverfront properties what are definitely not going to allow a bridge over their houses.

    I know some people want to link Camas to Troutdale as shown in the proposal, and maybe that makes sense since it’s north of the flight path. But how many people want to go from Camas to Troutdale? Let’s have a show of hands. OK, seventeen. Thanks.

    I will admit that if that bridge were there I’d go out 14 to Camas and cross when I wanted to go to Mt. Hood or the Gorge. Just to avoid the LA style drivers on 84.

    That bridge may come about some day as may the one next to the BNSF rail bridge. But the one at 33rd is not doable.

    In any case, are they really an alternative to a CRC improvement or an add-on? The latter I think.

  24. Anandakos, thank you for the perspective. I would imagine it is not easy to cross the Columbia, which explains why we have not built more crossings.

    In response, a bridge at NE 33rd @ Marine Dr., would be a bascule-type bridge to allow for PDX flight path. Touchdown is possible in Vancouver just to the East of the high-end riverfront area, there is much industrial land here.

    Regarding the trajectory of growth in Vancouver, Camas, Troutdale area: Vancouver is having growing pains East of I205. This is where most growth will occur in the next 50 years. Problems abound: So much congestion is occurring at East Mill Plain Blvd there was a development moratorium in effect. Observe also, continual problems at I205 offramp eastbound SR 500, despite an almost new interchange there. Obviously, major problems at I205 to HWY 14 eastbound. And on the Oregon side, problems at I84 to northbound I205, the Killingsworth and Airport Way I205 northbound interchanges. There is a lot of need for a bridge to the East of 205.

    In closing, the additional benefits of these mini CRC’s is that they allow for continual use of the existing system without interruption, make relatively pleasant ped/bike scale, displace no one, limits VMT by reducing out of direction travel, lowers costs with smaller design and phased implementation. Oh, and… increases safety by engineering redundancy (in event of bridge failure, or natural disaster there is more than one or two ways to cross the river)

  25. “In any case, are they really an alternative to a CRC improvement or an add-on? The latter I think.”

    The problem with the CRC proposal, IMO, is that it apparently ignores a 2005 ODOT report that states that I-5 has already reached its limit of traffic volume. I know that proponents claim that a light rail line will prevent exceeding that limit in the future. Is this realistic with the population projections for the metropolitan area (1-2 million) PLUS continued growth in other urban centers along I-5, which will add interstate traffic? So the CRC project would not be the final expense on I-5. More likely, it would just be the start, and figure also the typical construction zone frustrations.

    Kitten, I looked at your photos–there was one of the BNSF corridor—which also is on the Visioning study along with some others that you show. People have talked about a crossing at 33rd, but wouldn’t that be too close to PDX? As far as taking out houses, this could be less damaging than the CRC proposal. And the street would only have to be expanded on one side.(Which doesn’t mean much if you live there. Aren’t many of those homes along 39th street rentals?) I looked at a BPA right of way, further north, but apparently they won’t even allow tunneling below the power lines, only crossing.

  26. Ron, I do not know the present ownership rate along 39th in Vancouver, but I would guess rather high actually. It is simply impossible to widen this street. It is an established neighborhood, actually, one of the few nice neighborhoods in Vancouver if you ask me. It reminds me of NE Freemont east of 33rd ave, not as nice. Note the steep grade here as well. Further up in Vancouver, 79th is vast and newly expanded along it’s length and Fruit Valley Rd is also newly fresh. and has option to widen ROW.

  27. why are we not talking about many little bridges instead of just one?

    I agree with building several smaller lift bridges, including rebuilding the BNSF 9.6 (which I mistakenly called the 5.1 earlier, the 5.1 is south of St Johns). If they’re all aligned carefully and planned well, we could probably reduce a lot of the pressure on I-5 and I-205, and improve rail and passenger capacity.

    Most could be basic arterial bridges, without the need for building to Interstate standards we can save quite a bit of money, and make a lot more bike/ped connections.

    We can also phase them, and build them as money comes available rather than needing to spend everything at once and bond it out long term. Maybe BNSF would be opposed to getting a new bridge they don’t need to share with Amtrak, and getting to keep rights to maintain that ROW in the future. Maybe they’d be willing to negotiate something that would be fair to them, while helping Portland. If they get separated passenger tracks and a new bridge designed to require less lifts, it may be worth it for them.

    The Willamette has 20-something directional lanes over it, the Columbia has 7. That’s really not conductive to moving people or cars.

  28. It was just a suggestion. It doesn’t matter to me. Since this bridge route has had more official support on the Washington side, I think local residents opinion is what counts.

  29. Kitten,

    You’ve got some pretty rich folks very closely north of 78th west of NW 9th. I expect they have all the pull they need to scotch making 78th the link to I-5 for a bridge parallel to the railroad bridge.

    That’s the fundamental problem with such a bridge as an alternative to the CRC. There is nowhere south of the Fairgrounds where one could make it over to I-5, and all along the hillside north of Burnt Bridge Creek are very affluent folks with lots of power who don’t want a truck freeway at the base of their hill.

    Personally I’m really happy about those affluent folks just north of 78th, because I use that street all the time and would distinctly not enjoy having it be a truck freeway, either.

    So far as the 33rd bridge, you will have exactly 0.0 percent chance of putting such an intrusive structure as a bascule bridge across that part of the river. It’s Portland’s major recreation “lake” for boating and you want to bisect it with a low span? NOT GONNA FLY!

    Besides it leads to that major urban arterial, NE 33rd Avenue.

    I do see that it lands in the industrial part of Vancouver and could be linked to Grand which is a good way to bypass downtown as far as Fourth Plain and doesn’t with neighborhoods too badly. It has moxie on the north, but bupkis in Portland. But it is not gonna fly.

    I don’t know who made up this plan, but she or he sure does not give much of a crap about established neighborhoods. Is the author a descendant of Robert Moses? Sure treats neighborhoods like he did.

    As I’ve written several times here, I think a four lane southbound “supplemental” bridge with three “through” lanes, one of which is HOV in the AM peak and an SR14 to Marine Drive weave lane (exit only southbound) is the right thing to build. And no Max; it’s just way too freaking expensive for that “Minimum Operable Segment”. Let the Clark County BRT’s cross the bridge on the weave lane to Jantzen Beach and interline with Max there.

    For the next fifteen years we’d use the two old bridges for northbound traffic striped for two wider lanes on each span and a narrow but usable breakdown lane. One lane would be a Marine Drive to SR 14 weave lane (exit only northbound except transit going to downtown Vancouver).

    When the 1918 structure is nearing the end of its useful life, build whatever needs to be built for the northbound crossing between the 1952 bridge and the new one. By that time it will be clear whether Clark County grew or not and a better decision can be made.

    Toll it for congestion 24/7/365 using GoodToGo and license plate identification for people without tags. Give discounts for 2+ carpools and free for 3+.

    Doing this does not overload I-5 through Portland but immensely improves the freight throughput because of the tolls.

  30. I think the 33rd avenue bridge had such potential, but it was all lost to the facts. Don’t you HATE when that happens?

    Hope it doesn’t happen to me!

    I think the 181st avenue bridge makes a little more sense, if you could curve it around like Glenn Jackson to 164th to land you in Fisher’s Landing.

    Good ideas, though, Kitten.


  31. In response, the notion I outline in the pics was that of a NETWORK of four lane bridges and roads. Not mega-crossings and cross-town freeways. Up in Vancouver, West bridge connect to Fruit Valley Road, MillPlain, 4th Plain, 39th, 78, 99… so you get dispersed local traffic. no i am not related to Robert Moses.

  32. Kitten,

    The problem with the bridge parallel to the railroad span is that it will almost exclusively serve heavy truck traffic to and from the Port of Portland given the Portland side road network.

    Unless some sort of tunnel is drilled under Forest Park it’s really not a viable route to Hillsboro for commuters. And if such a tunnel were dug it would overwhelm the pleasant little business district at the north end of the St. John’s bridge and the neighborhoods around it.

    At the same time it’s not fair to westside Vancouver neighborhoods to ram a constant parade of trucks through streets fronted by single family homes any more than it is to widen I-5 to mega-freeway standards with all the impacts to the neighborhoods along it that would entail.

    If you can come up with some way to link it to the freeway on the Vancouver end that doesn’t disrupt neighborhoods and provide for a low level passage through the peninsula neighborhoods alongside the BNSF tracks with a low-level bridge next to the railroads connecting directly to Highway 30, it might be a good idea. But all those extras (especially the Willamette River lift bridge) will add too much to the cost. You might as well do the big CRC.

    Basically all three of these bridges suffer a common flaw: they connect to relatively minor arterials on both sides of the river, not highway level thoroughfares. To justify the significant cost of any of them requires infrastructure to feed them on both ends.

    With some sort of commitment from Oregon to improve 181st between I-84 and the river, the easternmost one might be a viable relief for congestion of I-205.

  33. My point is that the CRC is not the end of it, once our cross-Columbia choices are limited to the present two crossings. The 2005 ODOT report reveals a maximum congestion level at present, and proposes a range of solutions up to a several billion dollars tunneling project (in 2005 dollars, but in 2015 dollars who knows?) The notion that light rail will handle all increased traffic from Washington I think is very poorly substantiated, in light of growth all along the I-5 system…. not just in Portland-Vancouver. Both East and West MAX’s did not reduce NET traffic levels, when seen over a ten year period. But was probably a realistic solution, given our growth.

    Furthermore the MAX extension proposed into Vancouver is barely a mile long. So people will still drive to it or transfer at it. To extend MAX throughout the Vancouver area so that it is well utilized will be very expensive. Perhaps that is why C TRAN is, realistically, looking at Bus corridors.

    So the question of the CRC proposal against other solutions is far more complicated than it appears on the surface. That is why I think the third route through Northwest Portland is the least expensive overall solution. And it does reduce VMT to a number of destinations.

  34. Ron,

    Spending the 3/4 of a billion to bring the Max over the bridge is foolish. I’ve said that several times. The Regional Transportation Council has agreed that BRT makes more sense for Clark County, so just send the BRT’s over the bridge to link up with Max, either at Jantzen Beach where it should go or if not at Delta Park like today.

    But you can’t make any transit system work in the I-5 corridor without giving it some sort of preferential right of way. So you must add at least one lane in each direction, and make it HOV. That’s the barest minimum improvement that can even be contemplated.

    It doesn’t overstress I-5 through Portland, because there is at least one lane’s worth of traffic that spreads out on the south side of the bridge to the various arterials that gather just south of the Hayden Island bridge.

    In the peak hour the HOV lane should continue to the I-5/I-405 split as the northbound lane does today.

    Once that is done other crossings can be discussed, but there must be some improvement at the CRC in order to make transit work in the corridor.

    A four lane supplemental bridge with one of the lanes carrying SR14 and downtown Vancouver traffic and ending at Marine Drive is the best way to accomplish this. Buses from downtown Vancouver could be given a “jump ramp” into that lane southbound and exit at Jantzen Beach into a bus only ramp to the Max Station if its extended onto the island — it certainly should be.

    Northbound the existing bridges would be restriped to two wider lanes and a minimal breakdown lane. The right most lane on the old bridge would be “Exit Only” to SR 14, except for transit which could continue ahead to the downtown Vancouver exit in a short diamond lane. It would make sense to give the buses jump ramps northbound from Jantzen Beach, too.

    The left most lane on the supplemental and on the 1952 span would be HOV at the peaks. Clark County express buses from the P&R’s to the north would use those while the BRT’s drove in the Exit Only lanes between Jantzen Beach and Vancouver.

    This is much less expensive than the grant bridge envisioned and avoids the inevitable fights over Max operating costs that a bi-state system will encounter.

    We might even be able to afford it without tolls, although I do expect that Oregon will insist on congestion tolling if there is no Max.

  35. Anandakos–are you suggesting no transitway at all, or one that does busses only but no rail?

    My preference would be for a transit way with tracks embedded in pavement, so both busses and trains can cross and bypass the traffic jams on the traffic decks.

  36. I’m suggesting no separate transit way other than peak hour, peak direction HOV lanes. Build the minimum necessary supplemental bridge. That is three through lanes and one Vancouver and SR 14 to Marine Drive ramp lane with a “jump ramp” for buses from downtown Vancouver. One of the through lanes would be dedicated as HOV in the peak hour peak direction.

    I’m not an engineer, but without the elaborate ramp reconfiguration this should be doable for something on the order to $1.5 billion. The states can afford that with a modest peak hour toll to pay for it.

    The Regional Transportation Council has nixed light rail as the trunk line mode for Clark County. Therefore it makes absolutely no sense to spend 3/4 of a billion dollars to bring the vermiform appendix that is the “Minimum Operable Segment” (aka “The MOuSe”) across the Columbia. The Light Rail options for the CRC were evaluated assuming the grand loop via SR500 and the Glenn Jackson, not the “mouse”.

    I would suggest that the peak hour HOV run between SR 500 and the split at I-5/I-405. The old bridges would be re-striped to two lanes each with narrow breakdown lanes. If energy stays cheap I’m sure that congestion will eventually get bad enough that it will have to be 3+ in the HOV lanes to maintain transit reliability.

    But I don’t think it has a chance in Hell of staying cheap. The Chinese and Saudis are about to collude in changing the pricing mechanism for oil to a mix of gold, Euros, yen, and RMB (notice what’s lacking there?….)

    So look for $15/gallon sometime before 2015. If that happens we won’t need even four lanes. What we will need is to send the kids to school from 9:30 to 4:00 and hijack the school buses for their folks to get to work.

    That’s because, even if the school bus catastrophe befalls us, the Interstate Avenue bridge is at capacity today. It can’t take any more trains. So Max couldn’t help us out, anyway. The existing fifteen minute headway trains are nearly full crossing the bridge in the peak hour as it is. Add a bunch of desperate new riders from North Portland and there wouldn’t be any space for Clark County riders.

    Whatever the price of energy in five years, the peak hour express buses from the Park and Ride lots can run in the peak hour HOV lanes and the all-day BRT’s to either Jantzen Beach or Delta Park depending whether the Max gets to Hayden Island can run in the downtown to Marine Drive ramp lanes. Adding a “bus only” flyer stop-like link between the Marine Drive southbound off-ramp and the southbound on-ramp would ensure that the buses could get to Delta Park if they had to. The same thing could work northbound as well from what is a pretty wide on-ramp from Victory Blvd that already has a bus jump.

    My neighbors in Clark County have made it very clear that they don’t want a transit way included in the bridge. We’re the ones who would benefit by one, not the truckers hauling goods to and from Seattle. But two or three times they’ve voted against bringing Max over the river, and they just threw a realist out of the mayor’s office and substituted someone who either suffers from delusions of grandeur or is a liar. So the message is clear: “No Loot Rail”.

    Sometimes you just have to hand the revolver to an idiot who wants to play Russian Roulette.

    And I have a strong rule about politics: the people are the sovereign in a democracy, even when they’re wrong.

  37. If gas gets to $15 a gallon, even the BRT system will have issues. (I’m assuming that they’re talking gas-powered busses, not trolleys). And of course, a decline in the dollar of the sort you are speculating out will bring about lots of other issues, not all of them bad–at that exchange rate, the US might become a net exporter again, and our public debt (which is in–guess what–dollars) isn’t quite so onerous. China–which is sitting on a huge pile of dollars and dollar-denominated bonds–would take a big wet bath if OPEC were to shift away from the dollar.

    But here’s the question for you. Over at, there’s been lots of discussion of BRT vs LRT, with the host (ex-Portlander Jarrett Walker, who now works as a transit planner Down Under) discussing the Brisbane busway, often in comparison with North American BRT systems (Eugene’s EmX is discussed as a successful example of a small-city system).

    A well-designed BRT system can provide excellent transit service, even in places such as Brisbane where labor isn’t dirt-cheap. But the problem with many US BRT systems is they aren’t designed to provide excellent transit service; they’re designed to poorly imitate light rail on the cheap, often in places that don’t really WANT transit.

    Vancouver’s proposal smacks of the latter variety.

    Even though it would cost an extra bunch of money, and even though many in Vancouver have no intention of using transit at all and would rather not pay for it–I still stay build a transitway on the CRC. Rail, bus, mixed, I don’t care–even if its is bus only to start, design the thing so it can take rails and catenary in the future. We only likely get one shot to build a bridge, and if we DON’T have this vital connection across the river, we probably won’t get another chance for over a generation.

    While I agree with you on democracy–the residents of Vancouver aren’t the only voters who get to weigh in on this matter; and to be blunt, they’re outvoted. If the bridge doesn’t have a transitway, of some sort, it ain’t getting built. Full stop. Leavitt may have just won himself an election by pimping this issue–but he isn’t going to prevent tolling, and (even though he never explicitly made this a campaign issue), he isn’t going to prevent MAX from crossing the river. If nothing else, the Democrats up in Olympia will squash him like a bug if they have to–this is a state highway, after all, and the state DOTs and the Feds will have the final say on what gets built.

  38. While I agree with you on democracy–the residents of Vancouver aren’t the only voters who get to weigh in on this matter; and to be blunt, they’re outvoted. If the bridge doesn’t have a transitway, of some sort, it ain’t getting built.

    I think that’s pretty clear. I don’t personally know one person on the Oregon side who wants a new bridge if there isn’t a capacity for transit built in. (I know people post here with that opinion, I’ve just never heard it.) Most Portlanders I know could care less about a new bridge, since there’s no reason for them to cross the river anyway.

    If MAX opens there, I’ll bother going to Muchas Gracias so I can ride it there once. I’ll be more likely to head up there to meet with friends also, but I still expect them mostly to head to Portland since there’s little reason to spend any time in Vancouver.

    Bringing MAX to downtown Vancouver might help change that, or the Boise-Cascade development if it happens, but right now I think the support from Portland of a CRC is being overestimated. As Scotty pointed out, they’re outvoted in this one; if Portland/Oregon says no, the bridge won’t happen.

  39. You guys would spend three quarters of a billion dollars to make a point? Whatever.

    I think that you’ll find that most folks in Vancouver would be glad to do nothing at this time, although they’ll bitch unendingly about the congestion.

    And Scotty, I didn’t make the decision to adopt BRT, so you don’t need to try to talk me of it. It’s not my first choice, but I can certainly understand why the RTC chose it.

    The bottom line is, once that decision has been made, the tiny area that will be served by Max in Vancouver is just not worth spending all that money!!!!!

    As I pointed out, unless Portland digs a tunnel for the Red and Blue lines through downtown, there will be no space on the Interstate Avenue bridge when the thing is completed, so it’ll be limited to one two car train every fifteen minutes in perpetuity. Even assuming downtown Vancouver gentrifies as nicely as people are dreaming, Max will be stuck with that level of service. Even crush loads of 200 people per car is only 1,600 people per hour in the peak direction. I have a hard time believing that the FTA gave this thing a passing score, because the cost per passenger is astronomical.

    We’re not going to have a whole lot of money to spend in the coming years. We have to make the most of it.

  40. As I pointed out, unless Portland digs a tunnel for the Red and Blue lines through downtown

    You mean the Steel Bridge, right? Separating the Red/Blue from the Yellow/Green seems to have spaced things out in downtown okay.

  41. “We can’t do nothing. “No-build” eventually ends in the 1918 structure rusting away and becoming unsafe and unusable.”

    Eventually is a long time. It may be 30 or 40 years before the bridges reach a point where they need to be replaced. A lot can change in that time.

    Replacing the I5 bridge should not have been made a transportation priority to begin with. It was made a priority because of political/funding considerations. The idea was that by partnering with WashDOT, Washington Senator Murray seniority would help deliver the “pork” in the same way Hatfield and Packwood had in the past. The result would provide a significant injection of funding into ODOT that would not be available for other regional projects.

    Instead, funding has become the project’s achilles heal. By letting WashDOT set the agenda, the project budget has ballooned way beyond any immediate benefits and flies in the face of Oregon’s transportation priorities. Whether you agree or disagree with those priorities, it makes no sense to spend a lot of money now to get people across the bridge in their own car and then have them sit in parking lots because the rest of the system can’t absorb the traffic.

  42. Why would gasoline go to 15 dollars per gallon by 2015? We are on the cusp of a major change in how personal autos are powered—and five years from now OPEC will be scrambling for ways to prop the price up. If you go to any of the websites dealing with transportation technology you will see that there are hundreds of technologies—generally directed to improving automobile efficiency, and frequently to fuel economy. Please—the industry has received the message!

    The question is whether the consumers have made the choice.

    I like to check out the myriad possibilities on We could be importing 60 mpg autos even now if the silly EPA standards were modified.

    Since current political trends will likely put us into a prolonged economic depression, cars that can save the consumer money will become a priority. Or, maybe, more people will opt to not even have a car. That’s fine with me; it just means that the costs will decline further.

    To whoever said ” the 1918 bridge is rotting away.” Maybe the Brooklyn Bridge is too, since it was built in 1883. Our Interstate bridges are resting on concrete piers that are 150 ft. long; conversely we have some Interstate interchanges that are resting on columns 6 ft—-or even less!–in diameter. I have seen where some “modern” components of the Interstate system in Portland are on 3 ft. diameter columns.

    Placing a very long structure–such as the CRC proposal—on pilings that go 200 ft down into the earth sounds very strong. But what about shifting sedimentary layers under the riverbed of the Columbia? In the unlikely event of a Cascadian quake these layers could liquefy and there is no guarantee that the 200 ft. pilings wouldn’t be tweaked to the point of posing a danger. Concrete structures usually fare less well in earthquakes than metal ones.

    It seems that hamstringing us to just two routes over the Columbia is a hugely antiquated strategy. We need to have some better access—even if it means a highway–in the forgotten NW quadrant of the Metro area.

  43. Dave H,

    Yes, I mean the Steel Bridge, aka the Interstate Avenue bridge. And yes, putting Yellow and Green down the Mall has helped on Yamhill and Morrison. But all lines still cross the bridge at eight or ten miles an hour with paired level turnouts at the ends of the bridge. It can’t take many more trains at the rush hour. Oh, maybe a half dozen per direction per hour, but not enough to make a real difference in Yellow Line headways should downtown Vancouver turn into Pearl II and everyone who lives there want to ride it.

    The majority of commuters taking transit between Clark County and central Portland destinations will be riding the express buses in the year 2050, assuming we still have a technological civilization in the Pacific Northwest.

    That’s an operationally costly shame, but without some sort of massive investment in Portland, Max will be unable to give ’em a ride even if it crosses the river.


    You sneer at my post but you sound overall like you agree that the project should be radically smaller and better scaled to the capacities of I-5 south of Marine Drive. So why the scorn?

    Or are you actually advocating “No Build”. If so, please be specific about it.


    Unless this recession ends — and with all the debt overhang in the personal, private, and government sectors it’s not ending soon — people will be unable to buy these whiffy new technologies. Especially if they’re “imported” (your choice for the sourcing, not mine).

    The Chinese have embargoed the export of the rare earths necessary to make the small dense field magnets used for hybrid and all-electric cars. If the dollar goes potso the price of cars with those motors will also go through the roof.

    So far as the bridges “rotting away”, I should have said “rusting away”. They just spent two years re-coating the 1918 span and already the rust streaks are back. It’s riveted not welded. When they repainted the promise was to “extend the life of the bridge for twenty to twenty-five years”. That was five years ago, but it will probably last longer than that.

    Eventually though it will have to be replaced. What is so wrong with a minimal supplemental bridge now for southbound traffic, deferring the decision on the ultimate size and whether or not a fixed guideway can be supported in Clark County and in downtown Portland until more information has been gathered?

    Maybe there will be no need for a replacement bridge because the economy implodes; in fifteen years maybe the 1952 bridge will be adequate for trucks and a couple of lanes of the supplemental can be given to a fixed guideway.

    Or maybe electric cars make it possible for everyone to keep on driving alone and a replacement having more lanes than the supplement is needed because I-5 has been widened.

    To a significant degree we’re in unknown territory so far as transportation planning now. We can’t continue business as usual assuming 3 or 4% increases in traffic forever. It may begin contracting.

    But just building the bypass bridge requires some pretty extensive arterial development on the Portland side and I expect the folks who live in the very quiet St. Johns area will have a lot to say about that. Similarly it will destroy at least one West Vancouver neighborhood whatever unlucky street is marked for the access to and from I-5.

    The far east end bridge might alleviate some congestion on I-205, but it’s not going to help I-5, and the 33rd Street span will never fly because airplanes do into PDX.

  44. As I pointed out, unless Portland digs a tunnel for the Red and Blue lines through downtown, there will be no space on the Interstate Avenue bridge when the thing is completed, so it’ll be limited to one two car train every fifteen minutes in perpetuity.

    This bottleneck can be easily cleared by putting rail on all four lanes of the Steel Bridge. Two eastbound and two westbound tracks. No tunnel needed.

  45. Douglas,

    I doubt that is correct. The outer lanes on the bridge are cantilevered out from the core double-track railroad structure through which the Max tracks currently run.

    It’s very unlikely that the bridge structure could support the weight of Max trains in the outer lanes, especially in the lift span. When one walks across the new lower level pedestrian/bike add-on the walkway narrows in the lift span because it needs to be lighter there. There would be huge shearing stresses on the supports with a Max train in those lanes.

    Granted, if the outer lanes could support Max trains it would work to have the Green and Yellow lines on the north two lanes and the Red and Blue on the south two. They could then cross the bridge with no interaction with the Yellow and Green lines as they did before the Yellow line was added.

    The Yellow line wye would have to be moved a few feet west on Interstate and between Interstate Avenue and the Rose Quarter Station there would have to be four tracks on “Rose Quarter Terrace”, merging just west of the freeway bridge for the station platforms. That stretch of track would be used to hold Green line trains for the Rose Quarter platform or the Green/Yellow wye when necessary.

    That would work, but it’s pretty glib and insulting to toss off that the problem can “be easily cleared” without having investigated the load factors of the outside lanes.

    Have you investigated the load limit of the outside lanes?

  46. BTW, concerning China’s proposed export embargo on rare earths.

    China isn’t the only place that mines rare earth metals; however several years back, the Chinese essentially flooded the global market with them; putting many non-Chinese producers out of business. However, were the PRC to embargo their export (or consume all of China’s production for domestic manufacturing), there are numerous other mines around the world, ready to start production were it to become economically viable.

  47. Scotty,

    It is true that lots of people transfer at the Rose Quarter station all day long, so maybe an interline a couple of times an hour is A Good Thing. Certainly the line along the Banfield could use more trains.

    But a couple — or even four — more trains per hour on the Yellow Line is not going to provide the capacity to justify 3/4 of a billion dollars to push it to the MOuSe. And it never will.

    OK, let’s do some rough math. Assume eight two car trains per hour 40% filled in Vancouver. Current Max peak hour runs are mostly SRO between Interstate Rose Quarter and Killingsworth, so any increase in ridership from Vancouver can’t take all of the increase in capacity, because there is TOD happening along Interstate so local Max ridership will rise. Say Vancouver gets 80% of the service doubling or 40% of the total load factor.

    Eight two-car crush loaded trains is 3,200 passengers per hour in the peak direction (200 per car). Cut that down to 40% and it 1,280 from Vancouver, or about 40 fully loaded without standees bus loads as C-Tran seems to demand.

    The buses will clearly cost more to operate and perhaps even to purchase since a train on the Yellow line makes a round trip in about an hour and a half. If downtown Vancouver were a mile and a quarter from the Expo Center over greenfield construction it would be a no-brainer. Over an existing arterial with spare capacity it would be a “go” as well probably.

    Unfortunately there’s a 40 foot deep, half mile wide river with a significant current between Expo Center and downtown Vancouver.

    So how much more would the buses cost to opearate? And how long would it take to “recapture” the additional capital expenditure for the transit way add-on to the CRC?

    Given the time value of money (e.g. a dollar in thirty years is worth essentially nothing today given even 3% inflation), I believe you would never, ever come even close to recouping it.

    Remember that even eight trains per hour is incumbent on the assumption that half of them go east along the Banfield. What if half the riders don’t want to go east? Not very many are going to ride the “Orange Line” (Yellow and Red) to Rose Quarter, cross the platform in sight of their destination and transfer to a Red, Blue, or Green line train to cross the Steel Bridge.

    I have a hard time believing that downtown Vancouver is going to become Pearl II when the developments along Macadam are going up with service from the streetcar and the other end of the Yellow line only three stations from Pioneer Place. Plus, the east side of the river is supposed to be gentrified by the streetcar loop. (We’ll see about that).

    If downtown Vancouver doesn’t grow a lot there will be darn few people to ride those trains across the bridge, and we won’t even need to be talking about 1,280 per hour.

    People commuting from other places in Clark County surely won’t be taking them. It would require driving to the P&R, getting on the C-Tran to downtown Vancouver (hopefully BRT, but not guaranteed), changing to the Max and stopping at twelve stations before the Steel Bridge.

    They’re gonna ride the express buses or they’re gonna drive.

  48. As I recall, data from the Governors’ TF showed that most Clark county commuters are NOT going to downtown Portland, fewer still to Washington county. Most work in Rivergate, Swan Island, Interstate Corridor, Lower Albina, Lloyd district, etc., so the Yellow Line is the ticket for many of these trips. If MAX gets to Vancouver so much the better, but in the meantime, C-Tran should start a Limited bus down I-5 from WSU, Salmon Ck., 99th and downtown Vancouver directly to Delta/Vanport (bypassing Hayden Island) where bus bays wait next to the train platform.

  49. Lenny, when was that study done? The Washington county area has had growth since the mid-80’s as a major employment center, and from the appearance of their discussions on urban reserve areas they will continue. Also, at the Greatest Places hearings METRO displayed a map of where the proposed urban reserve areas were located. I noted that roughly three-fourths of them were west of the Willamette. So I expect continued growth in Washington County that outpaces the rest of the METRO area.

    To satisfy my own curiosity I stood at the junction of I-405 southbound and US 26 west during morning commute. About 30-40 percent of the vehicles had Washington license plates.

  50. Lenny,

    For the five years immediately prior to the latest tech bust I drove the Delta Park and rode the Max to downtown Portland or for nearly a year to Millikan Station and Nike.

    Nearly all the license plates in Delta Park are of course from Washington State, but few of the people who got on the train there got off anywhere short of Interstate Rose Quarter. Some did so there.

    The point I am trying to make — and to which no one will listen — is that the Yellow line frequencies can not be increase very much without separating the Yellow and Green lines from the Red and Blue, preferably by a tunnel for the trunk line.

    It doesn’t matter how many Clark County residents might ride the Yellow Line if it comes over the bridge to the MOuSe, they won’t be able to because there won’t be more trains unless and until Portland builds that tunnel.

    Since nobody at Tri-Met is making noise about it, don’t expect it before 2030 at the earliest. To spend three-quarters of a billion dollars for one two car train every seven minutes (assuming that half turn east at IRQ as someone suggested) is crazy!!!!!!!!!!!

  51. Since nobody at Tri-Met is making noise about it, don’t expect it before 2030 at the earliest.

    It’s being studied as part of the downtown area plan. There’s no funding or timeline for it yet, but it’s definitely under consideration. At the aggressive speed TriMet is moving projects through the pipeline, I could see it happening in the 10-15 year range.

    The new Caruthers bridge also provides options for the long-term also, though I’d bet we’ll get a MAX subway downtown before we’ll see an east side connection between the Rose Quarter and the new bridge.

  52. As a Clark County Resident that lives in an urban area north of the City of Vancouver, I strongly agree with Anandakos.

    I don’t know why so many people are obsessed with moving people from downtown Vancouver to Portland. A very small percentage of Clark County’s population lives in downtown Vancouver. Just look at where the schools are in Clark County. They are not in downtown Vancouver; they are spread around the edge of the urban area in the county (Columbia River, Skyview, Evergreen, etc.).

    As a sometimes commuter to downtown Portland, there is no way that I’m going to drive my car to I-5, get off the freeway at Mill Plain, park, wait for a train, then ride 30 minutes on that train to downtown. And I’m just going downtown. If I worked in SE Portland, near the airport or in Beaverton, there’s no way that I’d transfer.

    If MAX was built with an express line – 10 minutes from a transit center in downtown Vancouver to Pioneer Square, I’d ride it every day. But the way MAX stops now now, I’m not going to do it. It just takes me (and 10,000s of other commuters) too long.

  53. Of course, it’s pretty damn selfish to live in Salmon Creek or Washougal if you’re commuting to Portland in the first place. Plus, did you know Amtrak offers express service between Portland and Vancouver downtown to downtown? Just $9 each way: Cheaper than driving when you factor in gas and insurance.

  54. I don’t know why so many people are obsessed with moving people from downtown Vancouver to Portland.

    They’re not, and that has little to do with it. It’s about moving people from downtown Vancouver to North Portland. The original plan was to get more LRT into Vancouver, but residents on that side didn’t want park and rides near their houses.

    It’s also being viewed as an incentive to more development in downtown Vancouver. To help increase the city’s tax base the city of Vancouver wants to densify downtown. There are a lot of undeveloped/underdeveloped lots in and around downtown Vancouver, and the Boise-Cascade site as well. If the riverfront Boise-Cascade development pans out as planned should be about 6000-10000 new residents in downtown Vancouver alone. Plenty of additional jobs right there as well.

    Maybe the light rail component should be delayed, but it seems unlikely that Vancouver’s downtown won’t continue to grow once the real estate and credit markets recover.

  55. The light rail actually has nothing to do with transporting people and everything to do with “an incentive to more development in downtown Vancouver.”

    The only thing light rail has been good at moving is money from taxpayers to politically favored developers.

  56. Paul – Why do you think that it’s selfish to live in Salmon Creek and commute to Portland in the first place? I can’t afford to live in an area of Portland with good schools. Is it selfish of me to want to give my daughter a decent education (with an extra month of school days every year versus Portland Public Schools)? Is it selfish of me to want to live in an area close to a natural area or has reasonably priced stores (Target, Winco, etc.) near by? Raising a family on only one working parent’s salary doesn’t allow me to afford living in close-in Portland. Besides, what’s different with living here than someone that lives in Hillsboro, outer NE Portland or Oregon City and commutes to Portland?

    I think that it could said that it’s selfish of people that don’t want to have a bridge built to make my commute (and the thousands of dollars I pay in Oregon income tax) more efficient. Is it selfish for the city of Portland to have funding towards a streetcar that will serve only a few people, instead of a bridge that provides millions of trips a year? Is it selfish for the mayor of Portland to only support building a bridge if it has light rail on it?

    Also to clarify: I didn’t mean moving people from downtown Vancouver to downtown Portland as a destination. I meant moving people from downtown Vancouver to anywhere, because there are so few people in downtown Vancouver.

    I could be wrong in my forecast, but I don’t see downtown Vancouver turning into the Pearl anytime soon. The Pearl isn’t the Pearl because of the transportation network. It’s because of the proximity to high paying jobs and excellent culture and nightlife in downtown Portland. People who want to live in condos to have more free time for living life aren’t going to want to live in downtown Vancouver just because it has light rail.

    I’m thinking that downtown Vancouver would end up more like Orenco or the Round in Beaverton. If downtown Vancouver suddenly sprouted a bunch of six figure salary jobs, the condo market will take off, but I don’t see that in the near future.

  57. Re: Vancouver growth: It seems unlikely Vancouver will grow at all if they don’t make it convenient to get to and from it, or becomes Canadian again. Let’s face it, Vancouver’s been in a world of hurt since the Americans decided to take it from British North America, and it never really recovered since then.

  58. Paul,

    Your arguments are totally pointless. If you feel that I’m being selfish by living in the suburbs, I can make the same argument that you are being selfish by living in the city, which causes an increase in “heat density” and lack of wildlife habitat by not spacing yourself out.

    If you want to live your life in bitterness and resentment, feel free to do so.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  59. Re: censorship: Please read more carefully before censoring in the future. It wasn’t personally directed, it was directed at anybody who lives near the suburban fringes.around suburban fringes (or in rural areas for reasons other than agricultural).

    [Moderator: Paul, I’m not the moderator who removed your comment earlier this evening, but I’ve just reviewed it and the decision and characterization was absolutely correct. You’ve been warned about profanity and derisive remarks before. If you don’t like the moderation decisions, or you prefer to comment in a completely brazen and unmoderated style, that’s fine — just do it on some other blog. — Bob R.]

  60. Heck, I was kinda hoping that Vancouver would turn into, uh, how bout Berkeley CA?

    I doubt Suasalito is in the picture.

    Nah, more like Modesto, or Bakersfield.

  61. al m: Nah, more like Modesto, or Bakersfield.

    Without the heat. And with some place decent to visit that isn’t two to three hours drive.

  62. @Paul Johnson,

    Um, Amtrak offers that “express service” southbound at 10:29 AM, 1:08, 2:24, 5:19, and 8:29 PM and northbound at 8:30 AM, 12:15, 2:50, 4:20 and 6:15 PM.

    I guess one could count the 4:20 and 6:15 PM northbound departures as “commutable” and stretch it to the 8:30 for a “reverse commute” to a 9:00 AM job somewhere near the railroad yard, but there is no way southbound in the morning is there?

    [Moderator: Slightly personally-directed portion removed.]

    As I’ve said many times to knuckle draggers here in Clark County and Urban Snobs in Portland alike, I’d very much like downtown Vancouver to become a mini-city with a decent night life and some cultural opportunities.

    But the State doesn’t have the money to spend necessary to finance bringing Max over the river on a “bet” that downtown will gentrify as promised. If the development comes the money will be found to add light rail later.

    Of course anything that’s built should not foreclose the opportunity to add a rail bridge. In other words, it shouldn’t squeeze too closely to the retail development at Jantzen Beach to allow the rail line to be placed to the west of the new bridge later.

    The answer is to spend enough now to create a transportation facility that adds capacity for high occupancy rubber tired vehicles but does no more than provide greater safety for general traffic. That is balanced with the free capacities north and south of the river and will not flood Portland arterials with unwanted traffic.

    The truth is that Portland and Oregon don’t really want people from Clark County working there, but for the life of me I can’t imagine why not. You get income tax revenues from us identical to those of your own citizens but you don’t have to provide any services to us except roads, police and the ODOT Indcident Response vehicles. That’s it. Nada mas.

    The weird thing is that you get money for your schools from your property and income taxes and from our income taxes, but ours are still better! What’s with that?

    It’s a spectacular racket for which you in Oregon should thank us regularly.

    As a “by the way”, I rode Link all the way between Westlake and Tukwila International Blvd today and I gotta say, that train kicks butt. The stations are quite a bit farther apart than they are on Max and it makes a real difference in the progress the train makes. It seems like Sound Transit has decided to build a “Light Metro” — sort of “BART with catenary” — rather than a Light Rail system. But it works pretty darn well.

    If Portland will get high behind that downtown subway so that the east-west trunk can speed through downtown, there will be more people riding between the two parts of the system, instead of just commuting to downtown and return.

    Yes, I do know that some people ride through now. But only those who are transit dependent or are train lovers. Very few people choose to ride from Hollywood to Beaverton Transit Center if they can drive. I guarantee that.

  63. Follow up on my comments about where Clark county residents are going on the Oregon side for work.
    I-5 TF data showed a relatively small %…maybe 5…going to Washington county, and surprisingly fewer than half to downtown Portland which C-Tran serves. Most trips across the River are to job locations in N/NE Portland…Rivergate, Swan Island, Lloyd District, etc. ODOT has all the reports to the Task Force.
    For detailed information on origins and destinations for 16 employment areas in the region, see Metro’s rideshare study done by UrbanTrans in 2004 (based on 2000 census data); it is available at the Metro website. Again, lots of Clark county commuters to jobs in N/NE Portland; note that Hillsboro (Intel, etc.) had TWO dots or about 100 people coming from Clark county out of thousands of employees.
    Note as well that between a 1/4 and 1/2 of trips across the River…depending on your definition…are local, many within the Bridge Influence Area or between SR500 and Columbia Blvd. This data should be driving transportation solutions, not the outlyers…i.e. people who live in Camas and work in Hillsboro.
    We need a “Broadway Bridge” across the Columbia River for local traffic, light rail (or BRT to Hayden Island) and bike commuters.

  64. Lenny,

    Transit can’t serve destinations like Swan Island and Rivergate effectively. The jobs are too spread out so service has to be very infrequent to come anywhere near the necessary ridership per bus hour. So people destined for those areas will continue to drive or in some cases carpool.

    C-Tran serves the Lloyd District directly from Van Mall and the BPA Park and Ride lots. It’s only a few buses per day, but if folks in Clark County want to go there on the bus, they can.

  65. You are talking to a guy who had a hand in starting three bus lines to Swan Island… 85 Swan Island, C-Tran 191 and Swan Island Evening Shuttle. Just posted the Swan Island Evening Shuttle numbers for November, almost 100 riders per night (6-Midnight). 85 Swan Island was running over 500 riders per day last year…(number down this year with all the layoffs), and the 72 Killingsworth also brings a lot of folks down here. Job density is critical; Swan Island has it, as does Lower Albina, Interstate Corridor (both right on MAX). Free parking is the transportation incentive that drives travel options in these areas (Lloyd excepted). Valuable industrial/employment area land is given over to auto storage.

  66. Who says Swan Island busses need to run on regular schedules? Almost all the businesses out there run on a shifted schedule, so really you only need to run busses three different times during a 24 hour period, when people are actually trying to get down to Swan Island to get to work, or leave from Swan Island when they’re done.

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