Active Transportation Investments to Follow Light Rail Model?

An interesting notice from Metro yesterday that the committee established to recommend policy on how to allocate flexible funds has come out with a recommendation: allocate funds for active transportation to build out complete corridors, rather than to a variety of projects:

Some refer to this as “the light rail model” because of the way the MAX system grew by building one corridor at a time and simultaneously planning for future corridors.

This would differ from the more scattered, piecemeal approach that Portland-area policymakers have typically used, which helped many communities across the region with small street, sidewalk, trail or bicycle projects. That approach has drawn criticism because it generated incremental improvements but not a complete new route.

That’s interesting, because just a few weeks ago I questioned whether the ‘concentrated allocation of service hours’ to new light rail corridors was good policy compared to increasing transit service levels around the region.

Good thing or bad thing?

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13 responses to “Active Transportation Investments to Follow Light Rail Model?”

  1. I think both of these things are important. Both strategies have merit, and I think the important thing is to not get stuck on one strategy for all funding sources so we can get the best of both worlds. The problem with the corridor model is that it misses alot of the small fixes, whereas the problem with the small fixes is that they aren’t normally going to motivate new users to get into the system

  2. Its the lack of money for transit AND trails that causes all the arguments.
    I am all for corridor strategies, as long as mine is next! Ha, ha! Go north Portland Willamette Greenway Trail.

  3. So what corridor in the region is a model to repeat more of?

    Lack of money?

    Again no amount is too much is it?

    If MLR were $3 billion it would still be worthwhile?

    There’s not enough money becasue of light rail.

    The capital cost is offensive and the development model that follows takes countless millions more to make it happen.

    It’s not a good deal. It’s madness.

    The massive cost and debt servicing is followed with more diverting of millions from Metro regional flex funds furthering the neglect of infrastructure.

    Have any of you ever inclding these costs?
    This is just 3 year period of added costs to rail.

    Flex funds

    TriMet Rail System Improvements (Various) Bundle of rail system improvements $11,854,893

    TriMet Rail Preventive Funds To Maintain And Refurbish $59,933,316


    I wish you would stop repeatedly asking me what my vision is. I’ve stated it many more times than you have asked.
    All you do is follow it with chants of rail wonder.

  4. Clackamas County defeated the TriMet Levy 60%-40%.

    ActionSolutions poll Nov 22

    25000 called
    1225 repsonded
    D’s 585
    R’s 451
    U’s 189

    Poll of Clackamas County residents

    Pay for part of Sellwood Bridge 76% NO
    New car registration tax 84% NO
    Milwaukie Light Rail 71% NO

  5. Steve S,
    Are you a regular transit user? [Moderator: Personally-directed remarks removed–ES. The rules apply to all posters here; not just the ones critical of transit]

  6. The poll seems to reveal a preference (heh) for MLR over a Sellwood Bridge replacement; and that the vehicle registration fee to PAY for the aforementioned Sellwood Bridge seems to be opposed by more than a 5:1 margin.


    Of course, Action Solutions is a conservative GOP/phonebanking operation, not a professional polling firm–they don’t even bill themselves as a pollster. While it’s not uncommon (nor unethical) for professional pollsters to outsource the field work to call centers, usually one finds the pollster’s name on the poll, not the phone bank. A little more googling seems to reveal that the poll was commissioned by the Clackamas County office of Americans For Prosperity, a Koch-funded, fringe-right-wing political organization (one that likes to indulge in hysterical Obama-is-a-commie nonsense) which has been busy astroturfing the Sellwood Bridge issue.

    That said, outside of some regular Tribune commenter known only as “Howard”, hardly anyone seems to take this poll seriously. Certainly not the Clackamas County commission, who voted to go ahead with the $5–something which would be politically dicey given opposition to the project running 5:1. But hey–if metro residents want to close the Sellwood to anything heavier than a golf cart, it’s fine by me….

  7. Scotty,

    You’re quite the moderator. That was a hit piece and an attack on the motivations in violation of the rules.

    Even the link you posted corrected itself.

    “UPDATE, 11/29: According to Jeff Kropf, Director of Americans for Prosperity Oregon, the local chapters of the group do not receive funding from the national AFP and all their money is raised in Oregon. Read his full explanation here. The headline of this story originally claimed that the protesters at the Sellwood Bridge meeting were funded by the Koch Family (founders of AFP); but if Kropf’s claims are accurate, they are not. I have edited the headline to better reflect my knowledge of this issue.”

    The fact that the TriMet levy lost CC 60%-40% underscores the feelings of Clackamas County residents.

    The referendum has been filed to repeal the new fee and it will go down in flames by a wider margin.

    The bridge, having been neglected for decades in favor of the agenda you advocate must now be rebuilt. It will be.
    Clackamas Co. officials have admitted the county is already contributing to the funding through ODOT and fed shares and that the bridge will get replaced without the new fee.
    The fee is an attempt to create a new revenue stream to fund the agenda you support but CC does not. As Howard noted it’s clearly demonstrated by Adams intention to divert $20 million of Sellwood bridge funding to MLR.

  8. If the local chapter of AFP receives no funding from Koch, I’ll happily retract that part.

    But the rest of the piece stands. AFP is indeed a right-wing political organization, one accuses Obama of “socialist values” on the front page of its Oregon chapter’s webpage. If you followed progressive politics, you would note that real US socialists (not that there are very many) generally despise the President, and even many mainstream Democrats, such as much of Oregon’s congressional delegation (none of whom are socialists either) are unhappy with him, especially concerning the recent tax deal.

    At any rate, my interpretation of the rules is that they first and foremost, protect commenters–far less so for public officials, and even less than that for institutions. You’ll notice that when I bleep you, it’s invariably for being too aggressive to another contributor–your numerous comments essentially accusing TriMet or its officials of gross incompetence (or in some cases, misconduct) are generally allowed to stand.

    (There is a limit to this license, of course– were anyone’s comments toward a public official to approach libel/slander, or be sufficiently distasteful, they’d be removed as well–another poster here was recently chastized a bit for suggesting public officials were engaging in “fraud” with regard to a project he doesn’t like).

    Questioning the methodology or soundness of a publicly-released poll is certainly within the bounds of fair comment, as is questioning the ideology, motives, and tactics of an overtly political organization.

  9. Typical stunt Scotty.

    What do you mean “If the local chapter of AFP receives no funding from Koch, I’ll happily retract that part.”

    That UPDATE was from the bikeportland link you provided where they retract it.

    But your greater stunt is a disingenuous attempt to dismiss the poll by attacking AFP and trying to make this an astroturf thing of theirs.

    Never mind the turnout was far from only AFP members. And they all took the time to actually go to the hearings.

    Questioning a poll or a group is one thing. Smearing with lies to reject the poll is another.

    Despite your attempt the poll stands. And many more democrats were polled than Republicans. Moreover the TriMet Levy vote was the ultimate poll. As will be the fee referendum and Urban Renewal petition.

    But consider this as well. Where is the county’s poll? They have the public resources to have conducted their own poll if they thought they had public support.

    It wouldn’t surprise me to learn the county paid for a poll and suppressed the results.

    The county could also easily put their big plans out to the vote.

    The Commissioners, like you, cannot face the reality that Clackamas County residents reject your agenda entirely.

    The elections clerk, a commissioner, 4 house seats, 2 senate, a whole bunch of city council positions and the TriMet levy demonstrated that rejection.

    50 Businesses in Boring wanting out of TriMet and all of the county wanting no more of the Metro/TriMet/Portland insanity is surfacing throughout the county.

    Many of which are Democrats and county employees who Peterson cannot even garner support from so she had to recruit Jonathan Nicholas and Bike Portland et al.

  10. Typical stunt Scotty.But your greater stunt is a disingenuous attemptSmearing with lies .. The Commissioners, like you, cannot face the realityyour agendaMetro/TriMet/Portland insanity

    OK, Steve, Scotty’s been far too easy on you. You’re done. Take a comment vacation. See you in January.

  11. I was going to prepare a lengthier response, but since this got cut short…

    Just for the record, I hadn’t noticed the correction at BikePortland prior to the initial post–which is why I wrote “I happily reject that part”–any suggestion that I was deliberately saying things I now are false is wrong.

    As for the rest of it–again, I stand by my characterization of AFP. It’s a political pressure group, and an effective one at that–regardless of who funds it.

    Regarding the poll, there are ample grounds to question its methodology–reliable pollsters publish all sorts of auxiliary data (“crosstabs”) so their work can be independently vetted by other analysts, and polls released by overtly political organizations (or candidates for office) are notoriously unreliable. Readers interested in the science and art of polling are directed to Nate Silver’s excellent blog,, and to this selection of posts on the subject of internal polling in particular.

    At any rate, it doesn’t surprise me to learn that a majority of Clackamas County voters are anti-transit–other than the 33 and 35 corridors (and a short segment of the Green Line), most of the service to the county is lousy social-service transit, and the land use there is heavily optimized for the automobile. But I was–and remain–surprised that Milwaukie LRT seems to enjoy more public support than paying [ed: inserted] for the Sellwood Bridge replacement.

  12. I still think Metro should have been tougher in demanding a direct link across the Willamette in Clackamas county. I can just see it: extend the Milwaukie Expressway thru Oak Grove to cross the Willamette somewhere around where the rail bridge is, then continue as an elevated highway over the rail line thru LO to Kruse Woods (all those jobs!) and 217! An “Inner Loop.” The problem? While many people love freeways, they always love them thru other peoples neighborhoods. Me thinks LO would just rather have Streetcar, and who can blame them.

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