Show Time for the CRC at Metro

This is going to be a big week for the Columbia River Crossing. Thursday at its 2pm regular meeting the Metro Council will vote on a resolution signing off that the project has met the conditions adopted by the Council in its approval of the Locally Preferred Alternative.

To many of us, it seems manifestly clear that it has not. But there is nonetheless a significant possibility that the Council will adopt the resolution. It may not be possible to change this, but the skeptics for this vision of the project believe it is vitally important to have a strong turnout in opposition. We’d like to at least make it a close vote.

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance has an action alert with all the details.

In related news, Representatives Lew Frederick and Ben Cannon have an op-ed on Oregon Live predicting dire environmental and human health impacts in North and Northeast Portland if this project is built.

If you don’t believe that, and buy into the idea that reducing congestion and speeding up the traffic will reduce emissions, I heartily recommend you check out this presentation from last Friday’s PSU Transportation Seminar looking at just that issue – that increased traffic volume may offset any emission savings from reducing congestion (stream the video, it’s worth it to see the charts).

And on an up note, PT reader Bill Badrick had his very different vision of the CRC selected as the cover of the Urban Land Institute’s annual infrastructure report.

9 responses to “Show Time for the CRC at Metro”

  1. JPACT meeting is at 7:30 am, Thursday, and even though no hearing is scheduled they normally take citizen comments on non-agenda items. I have presented information on Everett, WA new express bus system in the past.

    The Columbia River Crossing is, however, an agenda item.

    For agenda items Kelsey Newell said comments could be emailed:

  2. “For the last several years, ODOT and its consultants have championed an irresponsible and costly highway project that may have worked in the 20th century but fails to inspire today. It is extremely costly – about $4 billion, or $4,000 for every household in the region. If this happens, we’ll burden future generations with billions of dollars of debt for thirty years.”

    “It’s our responsibility to build the right bridge that works for bicyclists without bankrupting all of our other priority projects. BTA believes that we can build bridges that meet regional requirements, are safe for bicyclists to ride across as well as access from both sides, and that stands as a legacy that we can be proud of.

    Is there a contradiction here? What do they consider “other priority projects?”

    EVERY form of transportation is going to be fiscally a challenge in coming years. Time to suck in the belt.

  3. Should every bridge have 37 feet for pedestrians and bikes?

    That may have something to do with the Bechtel 2005 offer to build a new Sellwood bridge for $90
    million turning into a $330 million fiasco.

    As for the CRC, it is a scandal and should be halted immediatley and fully investigated as to where every dime of the $150 million already spent went.

    “Roberts said she felt like Harrison Ford’s character in the third Indiana Jones movie, “where he gets ready to step off into space and the magic road appears and he walks across the canyon… there is a requirement that you have some faith before you step off into the canyon.”

  4. Boy there are a bunch of things on this old thread that are in need of correcting

    “The 14.7-mile commuter rail line would use existing freight tracks”

    “Mary Fetsch Says:
    Since the Washington County Commuter Rail line will use existing freight tracks, “.

    August 4, 2005 7:38 AM
    “cab Says:
    Good post Hank, This is what scares me. A layman can see this is not a well thought out project and yet the “experts” are pushing it. Who is going to ride this? What are the advantages? Where could they actually go to? I’m all for transit, but projects like this have the potential to do more harm then good for the perception of transit. We spend 77 million on something that doesn’t work people are going to take it out on projects they would be benificial.”

    Ross Williams Says:

    “The main problem with the Washington County corridor is the lack of destinations near the line.”

    “Ross Williams
    “- the commuter rail will help to spur the needed improvements. Downtown Beaverton provides direct connections to light rail in addition to serving the regional center. The Washington Square station connects to a major job center which has significant transportation challenges.”

    “Ron Swaren- To Ross: SMILE meetings have been focusing in on the Sellwood Bridge issue and Mult. Co. Comm. Rojo de Steffey, visiting on July 6, promised to abide by our proposal to remain two lanes on the bridge. Bechtel rep. was also there and got exceedingly grilled about Bechtel’s motive in tenedering the offer to Mult. Co. Using renovation of other bridges for comparison the $90 M figure should be half or less( Ross Island, much bigger, was $35 M). The questionable parts are the W. and E. approaches which came from an Old Burnside bridge and are only concrete and, of course, the deck and sidewalks. The main truss span is steel, was designed by Gustav Lindenthal and was fabricated in 1925, so it should not pose a problem, IF we remain at two lanes. Therefore, there should be a major savings over the projected $90 M., with streetcar tracks, to boot.”

  5. Some still analyze a Hayden Island interchange design of the “Concept #1” that finessed an easier entry/exit road arrangement that served all travel modes, yet, not considered an alternative for sum reason or uther.
    I Suspect its merge-simplified design justifies reducing MAIN SPAN lanes from 5+ to 4+ LANES.
    OH. CRC NoT ReAdY to gO sumwhers. Warshdut dunnit agin I tell yas. Persunnally I’s on the mikes side uh the argewmint, yu durn horse poops…

  6. Even if I-5 breaks even on emissions with the added capacity, isn’t it likely that a lot of those cars would be running anyway on other roads since the CRC includes a lot more than just the bridge? Wouldn’t those same cars have been using local streets, which just means more neighborhoods had negatively effected air quality?

    I know that it’s said that any road improvement built will immediately be swamped by induced demand, but in San Diego I never saw that. When the 56 opened up, it was pretty clear, Mira Mesa Blvd was a lot smoother to drive (and a lot safer to walk with the reduced traffic), and Miramar Drive, I-15, I-5, and I-805 all seemed more consistent if not a little faster even though the 56 was only two lanes each way. Shifting 10% of the traffic on each of a bunch of roads to an alternate corridor really did seem to improve the quality of life in my neighborhood. The new freeway didn’t just improve Carmel Mountain Rd, which it ran parallel to, but a ton of other parallel roads. According to SANDAG and CARB it contributed to a big difference in air quality for many areas, even if those closest to the freeway only just-about broke even.

    I don’t particularly like the CRC, and I’d prefer to see the funding mechanisms at the federal level change to something that would allow for a third crossing instead, but the federal rules don’t work that way. The air quality thing, while possibly accurate for the neighborhoods along I-5 itself, seems to be ignoring what it will do for regional air quality as a whole just to find another criticism of the CRC plan.

    Unfortunately without changing federal laws the CRC is pretty close to the only option that will qualify for the federal match the region is currently anticipating. We can’t remove auxiliary lanes, we have to improve lane and shoulder widths, we have to include light rail to get one huge matching fund that will also fund roadway improvements, we have to have bike/pedestrian/ADA approved facilities, we have to use ITS which pretty much means variable tolling, etc. We’re painted into a corner, so our options are do nothing so that we don’t need to meet modern standards, or build pretty much the CRC. I’m not going to try to guess which will be the worse decision in fifty years, but these air quality issues seem secondary to the federal funding requirements that exist.

  7. Ironic that the expansion of our region’s light rail system, a system that came about via the redirecting of federal funds originally intended for the Mt. Hood Freeway, is a big part of what’s driving forward the massive freeway expansion that is the CRC.

  8. I think you have that backwards. The CRC was being pushed with or without the light rail component. Local pressure forced the inclusion of a mass transit element (rightly so), and since MAX already reaches the Expo Center, light rail makes the most sense.

  9. Aaron, you have a point there. I maybe should have said light rail is enabling the freeway expansion (rather than say it’s driving it forward). By which I meant that I get the sense from, say, Sam Adams that the biggest win for him would be expanding the light rail system to Vancouver, and all the downsides of the CRC is worth it if it helps meet that goal.

    And I was indirectly responding to Dave H’s statement: “we have to include light rail to get one huge matching fund that will also fund roadway improvements,” which suggests that boosts given to light rail are indirectly boosting the freeway expansion aspects of the CRC.

    So, “expansion of light rail is *enabling* the massive freeway expansion that is the CRC” is probably a better way of putting it.

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