Half a Page on the CRC

I love people who can be succinct. This from Dan Wade.

Dear Councilor Liberty,

I came across a post on portlandtransport.com outlining your request for one-page CRC proposals and thought I would weigh in.

First of all, the initial planning process seemed to woefully neglect the rail bridge west of the I-5 span, which is a shame considering the potential of this structure as a true multimodal facility. I’d suggest upgrading the rail bridge by replacing the swing span with a lift span and adding the following to the structure:

* Additional tracks for freight and high-speed passenger rail
* Pedestrian/bike facilities
* A local arterial road

The arterial would act as an extension of N. Portland Rd., paralleling the railroad tracks across the Willamette River to meet US 30. The pedestrian/bike facilities could connect to the proposed Willamette Greenway Corridor. Furthermore, the arterial would offer connections to Hayden Island, Marine Dr., and Columbia Blvd. (Speaking of Columbia, I could see this corridor being upgraded to a limited access expressway east to I-205, offering an alternate route to I-84 and hopefully reducing freight traffic on Lombard.)

As for the I-5 span itself, whether the final decision ends up being a full replacement or just a supplemental bridge, I’m of the opinion that 8 lanes is probably sufficient. High-capacity transit facilities are a must, whether it’s LRT or something that could easily be retrofitted for LRT as future demand warrants.

Think I’ll sign off now before I go over the one-page limit. Thank you very much for offering this chance to participate in the planning process.

9 responses to “Half a Page on the CRC”

  1. …upgrading the rail bridge by replacing the swing span with a lift span and adding the following to the structure:

    * Additional tracks for freight and high-speed passenger rail
    * Pedestrian/bike facilities
    * A local arterial road

    Translation: build a new bridge.

  2. Yeah, adding a bikeway to the existing bridge would be viable. But the rest of that means “new bridge.” If we ever get to the point of building a separate bridge for high speed rail, it would be worth considering whether to make it a double-decker car/train bridge. But I think that would be a separate issue from the CRC.

  3. Hi good job Mr. Wade,

    The alignment you are suggesting it is very similar to the West Arterial Option #8 from the I-5 Partnership. I am familiar with it because I authored it. The West Arterial upgraded the current rail bridge to lift, added a new high speed rail bridge, and next to the rail a 4-lane arterial went from the Port of Vancouver to HWY. 30 using the “cut”. This alternative was actually studied some and was recommended for further study. It was also studied in the I-5 Partnership Supplement EIS Bridge Influence Area and was recommended for further study. “Significantly helped freight and substantially helped transit by servicing Rivergate and the port.”
    The study showed that:
    1 An arterial carries 900 vehicle an hour per lane. A freeway carries 2000 vehicles an hour per lane. The Partnership showed the West Arterial removed 30,000 off of I-5 (20%) and traffic divert from I-205, I-84, to I-5. It was at capacity upon opening. So a freeway would remove how much traffic? How long into the future would it benefit the industrial areas and adjacent neighborhoods? How much traffic would be diverted from I-5, I-205, I-84, I-405 and HWY. 26? How much less traffic in the center of Portland? This why a thorough study is needed.
    2. It put a second freeway through the North Portland neighborhoods.
    3. The traffic was in the middle of the neighborhood not in the industrial areas, still having to use surface level neighborhood streets to access destinations.
    4. The Vancouver neighborhood streets Mill Plain, 4th Plain, and 39th have problems now. These neighborhoods streets are over capacity freight routes. Data showed and arterial would raise by 84% surface level traffic. 70% of the traffic heading out of the Port of Vancouver is headed south.
    This is why a viaduct removing current and future port and Fruit Valley Rd. industrial area traffic out of the neighborhoods is important. The streets would be all connected and the all of the surface level industrial and regional traffic would be removed. Less pollution, noise, sound, conflict and congestion in downtown Vancouver neighborhoods.

  4. “I could see this corridor being upgraded to a limited access expressway east to I-205, offering an alternate route to I-84”

    Why would limiting access to the industrial areas along Columbia be a good idea? Transportation facilities are built to provide access to services, not limit access. One of the major causes of congestion is the limited access to the freeway system. The access points all get plugged as traffic has to be channeled there to get on and off the freeway.

  5. Sharon – thanks for the background and stats. I agree the arterial’s northern terminus in Vancouver would be problematic no matter where it joins I-5, even if it were to immediately jog east upon crossing the river and meet the freeway at the SR14 interchange. Distruption to North Portland residental areas would hopefully be kept to a minimum if the arterial would connect to Marine and Columbia while skipping Lombard and Willamette altogether (connections would be difficult anyway since the arterial is running through “the cut” at this point).

    Just Saying – I only mentioned the upgraded “Columbia Corridor” as a side note and didn’t elaborate, but this corridor wouldn’t need to entirely replace Columbia Blvd. as it exists now. Columbia between I-5 and I-205 is indeed somewhat constrained by heavy industrial development, so the new corridor could start out heading west from 205 following what is now Lombard (currently a fast 5-lane thoroughfare). There is still a number of residences and businesses along the south side of Lombard, but easy access to these can be maintained via a safe frontage road and grade-separated interchanges at thoroughfares like Cully and 42nd (these interchanges also have the added benefit of serving the many industries along the current Columbia). The corridor leaves Lombard just east of MLK and continues along Columbia the rest of the way to Rivergate; it would only require a new ROW (most likely paralleling the railroad tracks to the north) between N Portland Rd. and Pier Park so as to avoid cutting through the residential area.

  6. Hello Dan,
    Have you seen our web site?…. thirdbridgenow.com I think it will give you a lot of what you are looking for. I would love to show you around our headquarters 5003 N. Lombard St. I have also made a dozen 15 minute tapes on the project. Blip.com third bridge now.

  7. What would this project do to get traffic off Interstate 5? My guess is that the benefit would last for a decade or two until there is another growth spurt in Washngton Co. and the Tigard area. I think we need a longer term view.

  8. “until there is another growth spurt in Washngton Co. and the Tigard area.”

    Because the biggest transportation challenge facing Tigard and Washington County is getting people from rural Clark County …

    To the contrary, the challenge for Washington County is to reduce the amount of traffic on their congested streets. The WES is an indication of their desperation to do that.

    The problem is that congestion is ubiquitous and the only real alternative is for people to live closer to work or use a limited transit network. Building a freeway that brings even more traffic into the county is not going to help. If people want to commute long distance, they already have all sorts of opportunities from Yamhill County, Gaston, North Plains …

  9. I commute nearly every day from north Clark County (the 99th Street TC) to Nike VIA TRANSIT. I read or chat with an interesting seat mate.

    Occasionally I drive if I have a doctor’s appointment that keeps me in Clark County until after the expresses quit but since I buy a monthly pass, I have a serious incentive to make transit work.

    If an old man can do it you selfish Repugnants in your hot cars can too.

    Take your damn sprawl inducing “third bridge” and the abomination that it will inflict on the Smith and Bybee Lakes preseve and stick it.

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