The panel reviews the alternatives developed by the community.
The audience was a Who’s Who of progressive/alternative transportation thinkers, including a number of Portland Transport readers.
I spent last night at the Columbia River Crossing alternatives panel organized by Metro Councilor Robert Liberty.
A large majority of the 14 presentations submitted by the community were supplemental bridge proposals, often coupled with additional investments like fixing the railroad bridge (to avoid the barge S-curve maneuver) or seismic upgrades to the existing bridge structures.
Among the comments by the review panel:
- These proposals represent 21st century thinking compared to the 20th century thinking of the project proposal
- Proposals that could be phased were appreciated, they don’t “put all the eggs in one basket”
- The submissions represented “$2M worth of alternatives analysis”
- With regard to retaining the existing structures: “you almost get a free bridge” (because of the avoided demolition costs)
- There is a “dance of traffic between Portland and Vancouver” and we need to figure out a bridge configuration to support that complex dance
- Start tolling now so we can build this project on a “Pay-Go” basis
- The project needs to be balanced for “fiscal equity” with other investments around the region