Final Four Open Thread

The Final Four starts tonight (and the women’s Final Four tomorrow), so it’s time for another open thread.

10 responses to “Final Four Open Thread”

  1. Good to see Stacey getting the ball rolling on projects that will improve access across the Columbia. Fixing the RR Bridge is a big one, as is local access…motor vehicles, transit, bike/walk…to Hayden Island. Closing the I-5 ramps on HI to all but transit vehicles, at least in the peak hours, will facilitate C-Tran service to the extended MAX Yellow Line and traffic improve flow. All these plus a seismic retrofit make sense, and can be paid for with a $5 toll on the existing southbound span…going home to Clark county would be “free!” I would add as well increased efforts to reduce “incidents”…the cause of 50% of congestion, and extending HOV lanes at least to the state line on both spans.

    • Diversion to I-205 is already going to be an issue with tolling, I imagine a $5 southbound toll would create pretty extreme diversion.

  2. This proposal to tax cars in Portland seems wrong-headed to me. Rather than tax people for HAVING cars, the city should tax people for USING them, but do so indirectly. Taxing cars directly, would of course will stir up resentment. Instead of getting into that buzz-saw, tax parking both commercial and employer.

    That has two excellent advantages: it gets revenues from people in the areas who who commute into Portland and don’t otherwise pay for the infrastructure they use and it rewards Portlanders who use transit.

    It also recaptures some of the lost value to property taxes that parking lots represent.

    • There are 2 problems with cars: use – taking up travel lane space, and storage – taking parking lane space. Each is problematic at different times and locations. To solve these problems, each could require different incentives

      • Allan,

        Yes, certainly both are problematic. Unfortunately, Portland cannot toll the Interstates so taking up travel lane space is a knotty problem it can’t solve on its own. And charging people for storing cars on their own property would be a hornet’s nest, to say the least. It wouldn’t be any different than the eight dollar monthly fee, really. In fact, it would encourage people to re-purpose existing car storage and park on the public streets.

        I do notice that there are no results provided at this time. I’ll be very surprised if a majority of Portland households support either option.

        The city does have the option to charge some sort of tax or fee on all commercial parking spaces within its boundaries, of that I’m pretty confident. It just seems like a good way to get some revenue from the daily immigrants, reward good Portlanders who use Tri-Met and not run into the buzz-saw of car folks who resent transit users.

  3. I’m liking Bob Stacey’s proposal. It’s especially promising to see an elected official finally giving some love to the BNSF bridge, even if it’s nothing more specific than “funding improvements to the BNSF rail bridge to reduce the number of I-­?5 bridge lifts”. I assume he means replacing the swing span with a lift span (and if they’re going to be performing such a substantial overhaul on the bridge, they might as well install a third, or maybe even fourth set of tracks while they’re at it).

  4. Adding tracks to the RR bridge is a much bigger deal than swapping out the swing span for a lift span. I would be happy for just the latter, assuming the lift is positioned downstream from the I-5 hump AND that any public money for this gains guaranteed use of existing tracks for some additional passenger trains, maybe even a few commuter trains.

    • Given the age of the bridge, why not go for some sort of Public/Private partnership with BNSF to build a new 3 or 4 track bridge with a modern, high speed lift section aligned properly with the I-5 bridge? The public money would guarantee Amtrak Cascades and possibly commuter rail service, and the additional tracks would reduce congestion, enabling faster travel times and less congestion.

      • It would be worthwhile. Except that, on the whole, the bridge is actually OK, and two tracks are enough. (The place where more tracks are needed is *immediately south* of the bridge.) Replacing a couple of the spans with a new lift span would be an excellent project, though.

  5. re $5 tolls, southbound on I-5. I remember throwing 20 cents into the basket each time we crossed the River in the early 60’s. That’s 40 cents when gas was 30 cents a gallon. So $5 is just about the same, and when people do the math, they will realize a big detour to a free bridge is not such a great deal. And it would make room for freight!
    A new RR bridge would be great and could qualify for “higher speed rail” money, but it would be a much bigger and more costly undertaking that putting a lift span in the right place on the existing one.

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