Archive | April, 2010

My Reactions to the TriMet GM Appointment

I’m getting quoted in snippets in the media, so I thought it would be useful to express my full thoughts on the appointment of Neil McFarlane as TriMet General Manager.

First, my congratulations to Neil. I’ve had the chance to work with him on the board of Portland Streetcar, Inc. He is a talented administrator and great partner. Much of the credit for the successful delivery of TriMet capital projects in the last decade is directly the result of his leadership. I have no doubt that he will be a capable and conscientious steward of TriMet in the coming years and I look forward to working with him.

You probably hear a “but” coming. As I implied in earlier posts, I’m disappointed that the selection process was completely opaque and had no opportunity for public involvement. This is further demonstration that the current board appointment process by the Governor and State Senate effectively insulates TriMet from any accountability to the local community.

In any hiring decision at this level, the critical question is probably not the qualification of the individual (and Neil is highly qualified), but their professional focus. Neil is a rail builder, and absent any other indication that signals that TriMet’s agenda for the foreseeable future is the expansion of the Light Rail network. For those of us concerned that the focus on and pace of rail expansion is choking off the bus network, this is a worry.

I think TriMet could legitimately have gone in three directions:

  • As they appear to have done, focus on continuing the rail agenda.
  • Seek someone with experience running a more balanced expansion program for both bus and rail.
  • Seek someone who sees transit as a tool to shape the community (to some degree Fred was a choice in this direction). It’s possible that Neil may have some instincts in this direction.

My complaint is not that TriMet made the wrong choice of direction, but that the process did not allow any community discussion of the direction.

An opportunity missed.

Support (and Appreciate) Woman-owned Bicycle Businesses

Bike Economics: A fundraiser showcasing local, woman-owned, bicycle-oriented businesses
When: Thursday, May 6, from 7:30pm to 9:30pm
Where: United Bicycle Institute, 3961 N Williams Ave, Portland
Donation: $10 to $30

Come eat, drink, mingle, and learn about the role of woman entrepreneurs in Portland’s burgeoning bicycle economy.

The sliding scale admission includes light food and drinks, door prizes, and informal presentations by featured business owners. Money raised will go to start a scholarship fund for training and professional development for woman leaders in active transportation.

More details about the event and about our excellent lineup of featured business owners at

You can also keep tabs on the event at

Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend!

Third Bridge One-pager


More ideas for alternatives for the Columbia River Crossing:

The Third Bridge Corridor
Focus is on the economy, safety, and the environment.


  • 7 miles long
  • 3 bridges
  • 1 tunnel
  • 1 viaduct

Estimated Cost: $350-370 Million $3.5B to $3.7B

Have an entire list of financing ideas.

Definitely green, including the color.


The northern end connects to the I-5 Freeway at Mill Plain in Vancouver Washington . As a viaduct adjacent to Mill Plain Extension’s alignment a 6- lane freeway turning west toward the Port of Vancouver. The new freeway then parallels the Transcontinental Rail Line know as the “Center of the project area” and the “Heart of the I-5 Corridor.” Provide access to the Port of Vancouver, waterfront area, Hayden Island, Marine Dr., Columbia Corridor, Lombard, across to Highway 30 west of Linton at Newberry Hill and 124th. A tunnel to Swan Island creates access to downtown Portland and a second access off the Swan Island. Local access is provided between Vancouver, Hayden Island, the North Peninsula, and Highway 30.

Multi-Modal Capacity:

Entirely multi-modal 6-general purpose lane freeway includes a Land Bridge with bicycle and pedestrian access the entire 7 miles. Possibly the first in the nation to have bike, ped access between our ports and industrial area, from our downtown’s and residential areas including the 40 mile loop. The addition of transit services, and new heavy speed rail bridge with tunnel to Swan Island, and Rose Quarter.


The Third Bridge Corridor is an alternative that adds multi-modal capacity across the rivers, and connecting I-5 Freeway with direct freeway access to the ports and industrials. The ports and industrials areas will be on one continuous corridor with direct freeway access to I-5 Freeway, HWY-30, and Swan Island.

Safety and Health:

Removes freight and overflow traffic from neighborhood streets adjacent to I-5 Freeway, ports, and industrial in both states. More bridges provides more route for safety between our two states, for Hayden Island, and Vancouver. The bridge over the Willamette into the Rivergate area will reduce freight and regional traffic off the Historic St. Johns’ Bridge and town center. Viaduct in Vancouver removes surfaces level port and industrial traffic off of neighborhood streets with grade separate freeway.

Green Construction:

Construction without interruption to I-5 freeway, or current roadways cost less and is environmental friendly. As bare vacant publicly owned land construction can start immediately. 24-Hour a day construction inside industrial area.
The bridges on this alignment are already in the adopted Oregon Regional Transportation Plan of 2000.


The Third Bridge Corridor will provide jobs now, and needed infrastructure for jobs in the future. This new freeway infrastructure will bring density in the industrial attracting business.

Relieves Congestion:

Removes traffic from the I-5 freeway, I-205, I-84, I-405, and HWY-26. Less traffic going thorough center of Portland Construction causes no congestion. Creates new parks and viewing areas. Addresses safety issues, cleaner air, helping the economy, environment, and adding a new freeway that will not increase urbane sprawl. Direct access to our ports and industrial areas from residential areas, downtown Vancouver, and Portland.

Coming Up on the KBOO Bike Show: Cycling and Health

We all know that riding a bike is good for your health. But what exactly are the health benefits of bicycling? If you ride a bike, what can you do to take care of your body? Are there stretches you can do and food you can eat that will help you ride faster and feel better? How do aspects of urban riding–like car exhaust and road rage–affect your health? Hosts Lindsay and Elly will be in the studio with a variety of health care practitioners to address these issues and answer your questions.

11AM-Noon, Wednesday, May 5th
KBOO FM 90.7
Streamed live at
Podcast here later that day