Blue Oregon on the CRC

One of the state’s leading Democratic/progressive blogs takes a few whacks at the Columbia River Crossing, in a piece written by former Bicycle Transportation Alliance director (and occasional Portland Transport commenter) Evan Manvel.

23 responses to “Blue Oregon on the CRC”

  1. Of the Citizen Alternative Proposals for the CRC presented earlier this year, two ideas that incorporated CRC commission work have been my preference since they surfaced into the public realm:

    Build Concept#1 Off-island Access to Hayden Island. Safer exit & entrance ramps, safer overall traffic management, saves Safeway and restaurants near I-5, better land-use, less pollution, less noise, cuts costs approximately a lot.

    Build Southbound bridge and use existing bridges for Northbound traffic. New Northbound bridge built later can be one-deck, less expensive, lighter, cable-stayed. Reduces number of interchange projects in Warshington State. Reduces cost approximately even more.

    This combination is a good compromise and neither got a fair public review.

  2. A while back, it was revealed that Jantzen Beach Mall insisted that an interchange be built on the island–claiming their business would suffer otherwise.

    Whether a shopping mall deserves such outsized influence on the process as is alleged, is a Very Good Question.

    And what this thread has to do with Facebook, I’ve no idea. :)

  3. I guess the question is: Would shoppers from Vancouver seeking tax-free shopping still go to Hayden Island if they had to get off at Marine drive and take a local bridge?

  4. Given the percentage of Washington plates on a given day at Cascade Station, which essentially involves getting off the freeway and traveling on a (nice and wide) local arterial and then crossing a (overpass) local bridge to another local arterial, well, it’s at least plausible. :-)

  5. The only place you can comparison shop a Home Depot with a nearby Lowe’s without leaving the Portland city limits or driving all over town. :-)

    (Did you know lawn mowers are so “seasonal” that Home Depot put theirs away weeks ago? Someone tell my lawn to stop growing!)

  6. Concept#1 access to Hayden Island is just west of Home Depot where the main redevelopment of vast parking lot is the more ideal entry not least because it includes the “highlighted” Jantzen Beach Center Carousel Showroom.

    The local access road is just west of I-5 and not directly accessable from I-5 and Marine Drive.
    Exits onto Hayden Island directly from I-5 are “extremely dangerous”. Direct access also forces motorists into “dangerous altercations” between traffic exiting and entering I-5.

    Island pedestrians will shun the I-5 area because of these traffic hazards, noise, air pollution and visual blight. The worse for pedestrians, the more pedestrians resort to driving. “Ka-ching! Cars cost less at Honest Al’s new & used car emporium sell out extravaganza! Buy now and save!”

  7. The Home Depot and Lowe’s in Tigard are pretty close to each other, and are almost connected by the 38… (one of those bus lines that runs so infrequently that I’d hate to be dependent on it).

    That said, I doubt TriMet would let you take a lawnmower on the bus. (Nor mount one to the bicycle rack either…)

  8. The proposed Hayden Island interchange costs something around $500 million, IIRC. That’s a hell of a lot of tax money to support the enfeebled ghost of a crappy, second-rate shopping mall.

  9. The CRC process was rigged from the start. The Governors’ I-5 TF’s even split on the arterial option was not honored in any way. Now they are stuck with a bizarre proposal that suggests spending well over $1B just to accommodate local trips that anyone with a brain knows should not be on an interstate freeway in the first place. Give local trips a non-freeway option, and give everyone a decent transit and bike option, and the I-5 bridges we have will probably be fine for another generation or two. Remember,the obstacle to moving freight is too many SOVs in the peak hours.

  10. That said, I doubt TriMet would let you take a lawnmower on the bus. (Nor mount one to the bicycle rack either…)

    ~~~>Weed whackers have been spotted on the bike racks!

  11. OTOH, you probably could get away with pushing a mower onto a MAX train, especially if the low-floor car is in the back of the consist and it isn’t rush hour. :)

  12. you probably could get away with pushing a mower onto a MAX train

    Well yes, you could probably, but didn’t we get onto this by originally speculating if people were willing to drive to Jantzen Beach? :-)

    The lawn mower we purchased turned out to be rather heavy, but it does have the nifty advantage to fold and roll upright, like a big roller suitcase, so it could actually go onto any low-floor vehicle with a ramp (if the operator is willing to let you board)…

    (Yes, I’m drifting way off-topic, so to bring this back to transportation, the same thing which affects the cost of electric cars affects electric lawn mowers… the battery is half the cost of the whole machine. Improve battery performance and you not only improve cars, you make other less-polluting machines more accessible to consumers. And no, we didn’t pay the full retail price. That would be nuts.)

  13. Seeking measures to cut CRC cost, I’ve considered defering the MAX line on the lower deck of the new Southbound bridge, run buses between Vancouver & Hayden Island, extend MAX to a Hayden Island terminus and transfer station. This configuration leads to interesting conclusions.

    First of all, the local access road (and MAX line bridge) should have been incorporated into the design from the start. Any traffic directed away from I-5 reduces accidents. Local access between Hayden Island, Delta Park etc is highly desirable. The recent Oregonian article ‘disingenuously’ lays blame on the MAX line for displacing the nearest I-5 floating home dock, while the ‘blameless’ local access road would do the same.

    Second, the connection between Vancouver buses and Portland MAX leads to more questions. Buses must exit/enter the lower deck of the bridge via ramps onto Hayden Island streets. A surface-level MAX terminus can integrate with a bus turnaround better. With a surface MAX line, the ‘expensive’ raising of I-5 for a central underpass road becomes more questionable. It is only there as a ‘relief valve’ for the traffic mess at both on/off ramps. With Concept #1, the existing, upgraded underpass roads are more than sufficient to handle east/west traffic.

    Seeking measures to cut CRC costs exposes TERRIBLE engineering for which THE blame can be directed toward infamous WASHDOT incompetence, rank globalization wonks and televized consumer vultures. Seattle Mayor Michael McGinn is a national hero.

  14. Wells,

    It’s likely that anything that gets deferred to a Phase 2 doesn’t get done at all, unless there’s an “ironclad” commitment in law (including appropriation of financing) to get it done. And even then ironclad isn’t really ironclad–any act which is done by one legislature can be undone by its successor. This is one reason why a phased approach is unlikely–nobody trusts that if “their” piece is deferred, it won’t then be killed once the “other” piece is complete.

    This certainly applies to transit–Big Oil and the other usual suspects on the anti-transit right would attempt to block (or repeal) funding for a Phase 2 light rail component, especially if Phase 1 is already complete. And were the LRT built first, there’s probably quite a few among the Portland green crowd who would then try to stop freeway expansion. In both cases, this includes scenarios where a phased approach is part of a deal–many of the ideologues outside the relevant government agencies wouldn’t consider themselves bound by any such deal; nor do politicians generally consider themselves bound by the deals made by their predecessors.

    For a phased approach to be politically palatable, it has to provide “value” for all the interested factions in each phase; otherwise there will be the temptation for the faction who goes first to renege on their promises.

    Phased approaches also have the problem that they add cost.

    Obviously, a major charge that Manvel is making–and that I’ve made before–is that the CRC consists of a necessary improvement (the bridge itself, ignoring the questions of what it looks like) bundled with project(s) that could be done separately, and which would be a more difficult sell politically as standalone projects–in particular, any I-5 improvements other than the brigde(s) itself and the immediate interchanges on both shores. (And yes, this includes some of the Vancouver MAX alignment, though the worst offenders are the redesigns of the interchanges at Mill Plain, 4th Plain, and SR500).

  15. You know what, how come I never see any of you Portland Transport moderators at the TRIMET board meetings presenting some of your ideas?

    I see a few members but never any of the big guns, CHRIS SMITH/BOB RICHARDSON/SCOTT JOHNSON.

    How come?

    You guys are supposed to be the “transit blog” for Portland and vicinity, don’t you think some of your ideas should make it into the “official record”?

  16. Hi Al — I serve on the Streetcar CAC, the Sullivans Gulch advisory committee, and I’ve testified on behalf of my neighborhood association before the Planning Commission. As you also know I’ve produced videos conveying questions from readers here directly to Neil McFarlane in the video interviews we’ve produced here. And I’ve recorded a board meeting, but it was over a year ago, and before that I testified numerous times to try and preserve the older, larger, and more functional bus shelters on the mall. I’ve also spoken out at various community forums for the Milwaukie Light Rail project and the Streetcar System Plan. (Did I forget anything?)

    In short: My opinion is being presented in a number of forums. Are you sure if I started testifying at TriMet board meetings on a regular basis (which I’m not opposed to doing, time permitting) that I wouldn’t be accused of _overrepresenting_ my opinion and crowding out time for others?

  17. I like Well’s approach: southbound only with bi-directional HOV and leave the existing structures for northbound.

    We don’t need the extra expense of Max to Vancouver; the trip will be take to long to be competitive with express buses.

    I would say “forget the Feds” and let Oregon and Washington fund it by tolling the heck out of it southbound. NoMan’s anti-tolling initiative failed because of King County, but it didn’t win too overwhelmingly in Clark County considering how much that auslander fang and claw rich guy spent supporting it.

    Just for the record, I do live in Clark County and work in Beaverton. I used to take the express buses all the time but my work schedule has gotten crazy in the last year so I have to drive.

    Don’t try to come back to Hazel Dell leaving downtown Vancouver after the last 105 at 7:15. It takes an hour and a half.

  18. My point is: the conclusions I’m drawing are not mere details on which road or previous and current rail option designs. Ya’ll haveta consider current yer own rail designs that with alteration could do better with less rail instead of more rail. Oh yes…

    Again, thanks 2 ALL 4 the support lately risen on ‘your’ Concept#1 Design program & my difficult project. Thank-you’s will multiply with the ‘cable-stayed’ BRIDGE MATCH to the initial ‘stressed-truss’ handling southbound traffic…
    BUSWAY “under-route” for now but rail-ready in 10Ys. That’d be MAX to breakground by 2025.
    Sexsai..low-costa projctivo elegante, mi mio’s… (^;

  19. “I would say “forget the Feds” and let Oregon and Washington fund it by tolling the heck out of it southbound.”

    I agree, but I don’t think there would be enough traffic to cover the necessary tolls, if users had to pay for the entire cost of the new bridge and freeway expansion. If the toll was $10 a vehicle, starting next year, traffic would drop and people would think twice about taking jobs or finding homes on the other side of the bridge.

  20. Look Chris, I’m AdamanT this is an important perspective I’ve got and profess, to your chagrin I’m sure. Sorry, my designwork is as good and better than many officially-dispensed designs on the CRC project. Concept#1 is a darn good compromise work-starter. If thanx aint good enuf fer ya, then ya can thank me later. And don’t forget about yer neighbor guy Mike up northaheer.

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