September 2011 Open Thread

September 2011 Open Thread
A brief bit of meta: I’ve been off on vacation for the past several weeks, and have been catching up with a few items offline, which is why there have been no articles and comments from me during that time. In addition, a few comments that got hung up in the moderation queue for various reasons have now been belatedly published–apologies to anyone inconvenienced. Am back now, and shall resume normal blogging activities.

A new month is upon us.

But as always, the Open Thread is what you want it to be.

46 Comments

46 Responses to September 2011 Open Thread

  1. zefwagner
    September 1, 2011 at 12:45 am Link

    Has TriMet indicated at all which bus routes will use the new bridge? I’ve been very curious about that.

  2. Aaron Hall
    September 1, 2011 at 5:10 am Link

    Yes. Definitely 9, 17 and 19, possibly 33.

  3. Aaron Hall
    September 1, 2011 at 5:11 am Link

    Yes. Definitely 9, 17 and 19, possibly 33.

  4. Ron Swaren
    September 1, 2011 at 8:30 am Link

    So, 13,500 acres of urban reserves in Wash. Co.? When does Hillsboro Airport get upgraded to offering regular commercial flights? I’ve noticed that there is still a lot of farmland directly off the NW end of the runway. Could have a 10k runway there pretty easily and just bury the local road underground for a few blocks. Could be many years away but I bet it will happen ( A bet I can’t lose)

    Then we can add a coal fired power plant. Don’t laugh:
    http://www.greencarcongress.com/coal/index.html

  5. Ron Swaren
    September 1, 2011 at 8:34 am Link

    Plus, another breakthrough for non-polluting city buses:
    Volvo Buses developing a fast-charging plug-in hybrid bus; charging equipment at end stations of bus lines
    31 August 2011

    Double decker hybrid Volvo buses are already in use in London.
    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/08/volvo-20110831.html

  6. Chris I
    September 1, 2011 at 10:01 am Link

    I would prefer to see them expand the runway to the south. They would need to bury Cornell, but they wouldn’t have to reconfigure the NW 25th and Evergreen intersection. A passenger terminal could be added in the space between Cornell, 34th, and the MAX line, providing easy access to transit.

    Would they really need 10,000ft to operate Horizon or Southwest flights? Burbank’s runway is under 7,000ft and operates 737s, A320s, and even A300 freighters. A simple extension to 8,000ft would be sufficient for future traffic at Hillsboro.

  7. EngineerScotty
    September 1, 2011 at 10:02 am Link

    Interesting article from Yglesias on the wisdom of preferring local vendors and given the preferential treatment in procurements: Is it better to “buy local”, even if more expensive, or to get the best deal for taxpayers?

  8. Douglas K.
    September 1, 2011 at 1:06 pm Link

    I don’t know that you would need to expand the runway at all to support passenger service at Hillsboro Airport. The airport could function as a commercial airport by supporting smaller planes that (mostly) connect to major hubs within 1000 miles or so — Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Denver, and perhaps Phoenix. You could get to nearly every major destination in the country from Hillsboro with one plane change.

    The long runway is 6600 feet long. Horizon’s Bombardier Q400s require (per Wikipedia) 4,600 feet to take off, carry up to 76 passengers, and have a range of 1500 miles. I suspect other carriers that codeshare with major airlines (such as SkyWest, which partners with both United and Delta) can provide smaller passenger planes with similar characteristics — short take-off and 1000+ mile range. They could use the runway as is.

    There’s plenty of room for parking right next to the Washington County Fairgrounds, and MAX is about six blocks away. A couple of shuttle buses could help passengers who can’t walk a few blocks from the parking lot or the MAX station.

  9. Ron Swaren
    September 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm Link

    Would they really need 10,000ft to operate Horizon or Southwest flights? Burbank’s runway is under 7,000ft and operates 737s, A320s, and even A300 freighters. A simple extension to 8,000ft would be sufficient for future traffic at Hillsboro.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they could fly a lot of craft out of there now. They have full size commercial jets there now, so they had to be able to land them, I presume. Strip is 6500 ft. There is a lot less development to the NW than to the SE, something to consider should there be a problem somewhere (i.e fewer chimneys to buzz). The terminal is right off Cornell; isn’t that close enough? Y’know right at the Hillsboro Airport park and ride?

    And 8000 Ft? Do you mean we shouldn’t get ready for the stretch version 747 with 800 passengers (plus FF pets,too)!!

  10. EngineerScotty
    September 1, 2011 at 5:09 pm Link

    TriMet is expanding bus service to Boring, adding a few runs of the #84: http://trimet.org/news/releases/sept1-boring-service.htm

    Whether this ends the attempt by some Boring businesses to withdraw from TriMet, I do not know.

  11. zefwagner
    September 1, 2011 at 10:26 pm Link

    I was wondering why they would be adding service to a rural route. Are they that concerned about this? It seems to me that TriMet borders could stand to be way smaller.

  12. zefwagner
    September 1, 2011 at 10:27 pm Link

    I was thinking the 4 could use the new bridge, as it would be a much more direct route from Division. Any thoughts?

  13. EngineerScotty
    September 1, 2011 at 10:44 pm Link

    The 4 would have the issue of crossing the UPRR tracks… right now there isn’t a good way of getting across them without going out of the way.

  14. EngineerScotty
    September 1, 2011 at 11:42 pm Link

    Our friends at OPAL staged a public event protesting the fare increases, and re-iterating their proposal for extending the duration of bus and MAX tickets to 3 hours.

    At minimum, the fact that MAX riders get 2 hours and bus riders only 1 strikes me as blatantly unfair–MAX riders aren’t paying any more for their tickets, after all.

  15. Jason Barbour
    September 2, 2011 at 10:10 am Link

    Whether this ends the attempt by some Boring businesses to withdraw from TriMet…
    No. They want out, no matter what!
    http://www.sandypost.com/news/story.php?story_id=131441849630848900
    (Thanks, Rantings Blog, for the link.)

    And let’s remember today’s 84-Kelso/Boring is actually a remnant of the old 84-Sandy/Boring, before Sandy successfully removed itself from the TriMet District.

  16. EngineerScotty
    September 2, 2011 at 10:19 am Link

    Portland Afoot has a useful and interesting page on the the procedure and requirements for opting out of TriMet–Boring may not be able to unilaterally withdraw. Personally, I think that Boring might be better served with a rural transportation district than by TriMet (one which connects to TriMet at Gresham)… though it appears the groups behind the TriMet withdrawal proposal intend to replace the agency with nothing (much as Damascus did) rather than with a local transit service scaled for small-town service (as Sandy, Canby, and Molalla chose to do).

    FWIW, having Boring leave might be good for TriMet’s finances–while the 84 gets little patronage (though in its current configuration, is nearly useless), TriMet also has 26 LIFT customers.

  17. EngineerScotty
    September 2, 2011 at 11:57 am Link

    Max turns 25. And the Red Line (whose inaugural ceremony was cancelled by 9/11) is soon to turn 10.

  18. AL M
    September 2, 2011 at 1:14 pm Link

    Max turns 25. And the Red Line (whose inaugural ceremony was cancelled by 9/11) is soon to turn 10.

    ~~~>And the bus service turned 40 last year, no press, no dignitaries, no press releases.

    Go figure.

  19. EngineerScotty
    September 2, 2011 at 1:31 pm Link

    Of course, TriMet itself turned 40 last year, but busses have been running in Portland for far longer than that. They’re old enough that they don’t like being reminded of their birthday. :)

  20. Aaron G
    September 2, 2011 at 4:03 pm Link

    I don’t think I’ve ever noticed getting a transfer for only one hour on a bus.

  21. EngineerScotty
    September 2, 2011 at 4:32 pm Link

    Actually, TriMet policy is that a bus transfer is good for “one hour past the last scheduled stop on the route”. Which in some cases can be longer than 2 hours–i.e. the 20 takes nearly 90 minutes to complete its journey, so if you board it in Beaverton and get a transfer it’s good for 2 1/2 hours. OTOH, if you board the 88, say, at Allen and Lombard and transfer TO the 20, your transfer will expire before you reach Gresham. (You can legally remain on the bus, but if you want to get on the 84 to get to Boring, that will require another fare).

    The reason TriMet wants to avoid 3-hour tickets is obvious–it will allow far more round-trips to be completed on a single ticket than does current policy. But the practice of having transfer validity depending on where you start your journey is bizarre.

  22. Jason McHuff
    September 2, 2011 at 6:23 pm Link

    Regarding transfers, a (really) fair way would be to replace the zone system with different time lengths. People who want to ride for 3 hours could pay (more) to do so, and people who just want to take a short ride could maybe even see a fare decrease.

  23. AL M
    September 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm Link

    In case you missed all the action packed excitement of the 25 YEAR BLUE LINE CELEBRATION, the 2LonelyGuys have it recorded for your viewing pleasure HERE!

  24. comentator
    September 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm Link

    You might look at the potential impact of a WA ballot initiative on the CRC. http://www.seattlepi.com/default/article/520-tolls-won-t-start-until-after-vote-on-Eyman-s-2141607.php

  25. R A Fontes
    September 14, 2011 at 11:54 am Link

    From the New York Times Wheels blog: measuring an office building’s “greenness” by factoring in commute types:

    http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/designing-a-greener-commute-in-the-bay-area/

  26. EngineerScotty
    September 17, 2011 at 8:57 pm Link

    It appears that some vandal is leaving tacks in bike lanes in North Portland.

  27. Aaron G
    September 19, 2011 at 2:31 pm Link

    The other day I looked out my window to see a Streetcar packed with well-dressed people drinking wine. It was kind of surreal. What the hell did I see?

  28. Aaron G
    September 19, 2011 at 2:36 pm Link

    (And I think it wasn’t letting people on, but it might have just happened to pass the one stop I could see.)

  29. Chris Smith
    September 19, 2011 at 2:54 pm Link

    We charter streetcars for events. No doubt you saw one.

  30. Bob R.
    September 20, 2011 at 4:12 pm Link

    What the hell did I see?

    It’s quite possible that you saw one of the TV productions being filmed in Portland. Both the new NBC series “Grimm” and the show “Portlandia” have chartered streetcars for filming in recent weeks.

    I know one of the extras on Grimm, and it seems that they were shooting some kind of “flash mob” scene on their chartered streetcar. Probably doesn’t explain the wine. However, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Portlandia do something with fine wine being served on streetcars.

    (It would make for a heck of a send-up of the “bus vs. rail” perspectives if that’s what they were going for. There was a rather infamous Saturday Night Live sketch back in the Eddie Murphy days which portrayed a completely different bus riding experience for white people once the last black man had deboarded.)

    I’ve suggested before (half jokingly) that someone hang a disco ball in the aerial tram and run the tram slowly for nighttime city views, with a full bar and music of course.

    There’s also apparently a party tram (streetcar) in Prague.

  31. Bob R.
    September 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm Link

    The Eddie Murphy video:
    http://www.hulu.com/watch/10356/saturday-night-live-white-like-me

    The cocktails served on the bus scene begins at 2m38s.

    (Note: Strong racial themes in a comedy sketch.)

  32. Douglas K.
    September 20, 2011 at 5:21 pm Link

    There’s a dinner tram (streetcar) in Melbourne. The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. It makes a loop around the city center while riders enjoy fine dining on board. They charge $77 to $137.50 AUD for a meal. I bet an operation like that would do pretty well in Portland.

  33. AL M
    September 22, 2011 at 12:32 am Link

    Portland Streetcar Musical Night

  34. AL M
    September 22, 2011 at 11:25 am Link

    BREAKTHROUGH in the bus vs rail argument!

    All Aboard! All-Electric German Bus-Tram-Train Hybrid Coming Soon | Fast Company

  35. EngineerScotty
    September 22, 2011 at 12:45 pm Link

    I guess “We’re Number 5” doesn’t have enough zing….

    http://blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2011/09/us_news_reporting_error_turns.html

  36. AL M
    September 22, 2011 at 1:46 pm Link

    I guess “We’re Number 5” doesn’t have enough zing….

    That’s what happens when you brag about things you shouldn’t be bragging about.

    Shameless self promotion, good job Neil, you should be fired.

  37. R A Fontes
    September 22, 2011 at 2:02 pm Link

    Re: breakthrough

    I’ve always thought that supercapacitors would be critical for overhead-free electric buses.

    Developers need to get the maximum distance between stops to several miles. Think garage to route starting point, or evening runs where miles can go by without stopping.

  38. Douglas K.
    September 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm Link

    Denver beat New York? And San Francisco is nowhere in the top ten? Not sure I trust this list…

  39. EngineerScotty
    September 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm Link

    At least this list doesn’t have places like Fresno in the Top Ten…. :)

  40. AL M
    September 22, 2011 at 5:09 pm Link

    Hey Scott-
    Why don’t you do some research and come up with a top 10 list?
    Al

  41. EngineerScotty
    September 28, 2011 at 9:38 am Link

    According to reports on Twitter (#omgCFT), today’s TriMet board meeting to discuss OPAL’s Campaign for a Fair Transfer.

  42. EngineerScotty
    September 28, 2011 at 10:59 am Link

    …and TriMet board member Consuelo Saragoza walked out of the meeting, apparently unhappy with the testimony that TriMet fares are becoming too expensive. I don’t know exactly what prompted her to do so, but it seems an unusual posture for someone to take when one has an online biography containing the following:

    The first college graduate in her family, Consuelo Saragoza knows firsthand the advantages that only education can provide. In her early professional career as a teacher and advocate for families and children, Consuelo cemented her ongoing commitment to see that other young people are afforded the same educational opportunities she experienced. Currently a public health professional, Consuelo recognizes that the connection between health and education is inseparable. Dedicated to equity, inclusion, and social justice in both personal and professional life, Emerge will allow her to continue her pursuit of life long learning and finding opportunities to make a difference for children and families in our community.

    Consuelo lives in Portland with her partner and their daughter whose teenage outlook provides her a look into the future of our community influenced by the “millennium” generation.

  43. EngineerScotty
    September 28, 2011 at 11:10 am Link

    It appears that TriMet has passed a resolution to study OPAL’s proposal. When said study might be complete and acted on, or if this is a stalling tactic, I don’t know–a good argument can be made that OPAL’s proposal has been on the table for a while, so there’s been plenty of time to study it already.

  44. Chris Smith
    September 28, 2011 at 11:36 am Link

    OPAL’s press release is claiming this as a victory. I think that getting TriMet to do a full cost-benefit analysis is probably a win.

  45. EngineerScotty
    September 28, 2011 at 11:39 am Link

    Michael Anderson informs me that Saragoza had a scheduling conflict. If so, her early departure from the meeting probably could have been handled WAY better…..

  46. Aaron G
    September 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm Link

    Maybe now would be a good time for TriMet announce that as part of the MLR project, they’ve decided to implement an electronic fare system, and with it structural changes that will be more fair for reasons x, y, and z. I know I’ve seen documents at least suggesting they’re considering it, not sure if it got abandoned when the federal money dropped to 50%.

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