November 2014 Open Thread

Time to turn the clocks back, start thinking about shopping, and have another Open Thread.

  • Next Tuesday is election day.  If you haven’t voted already, there are many places to drop off ballots around town (it is likely too late for mail; ballots that don’t reach the elections office by the close of the polls on Tuesday are not counted).  Transportation/land use are on the agenda in several races:  Measure 34-221, a proposed motor vehicle surcharge in Washington County to pay for road maintenance; Metro measure 26-120 would continue a 12-year ban on Metro requiring cities to upzone, and the Tualatin mayor’s race includes a candidate who supports the city withdrawing from TriMet (though there are questions as to whether it legally can).
  • Metro is finalizing plans to reduce greenhouse gases.  And speaking of turning back the clock, Clackamas County wants to reduce greenhouse gases by building more roads.  It’s the old theory that reducing congestion improves air quality by reducing engine idling–which is kind of like an alcoholic trying to prevent hangovers by staying drunk all the time.   In case you’re wondering:  This ignores the issue of induced demand–rather than free-flowing roads, you instead get congested highways with more traffic.  Also, electric cars (and many hybrids) don’t idle when stopped.
  • Portland Streetcar recently passed the 20k weekday ridership  threshold (scroll down).
  • A recent bout of TriMet ticket fraud was apparently an inside job.
  • Halloween Night featured far too much carnage on our streets.  Four trick-or-treaters in Vancouver, and two children in Gresham, were seriously injured when struck by cars.  And two people were killed in Vancouver when their car struck a power pole.

16 responses to “November 2014 Open Thread”

  1. There is a ‘shadow streetcar’ that operates between south waterfront and SW 3rd and Harrison to help connect the new Collaborative Life Sciences Building to PSU. (scroll down)

    I like the idea of having increased connection between the two. I walked down to the South Waterfront a few weeks ago and I was surprised by how busy it was. I hadn’t been down there for a while. Really glad that its looking more alive than it did a few years ago.

  2. Another innovation in electric vehicle transport. This one is a two speed differential that allows for more assistance from the electric motor in a hybrid design. My question: why not a hybrid with front wheel drive ICE, and electric wheel motors in the rear? Pushing a vehicle downhill takes very little power and the ICE could cut out. Cruising on a level highway doesn’t take that much more; so reserve the ICE for going uphill and accelerating.

  3. I had an idea this morning I was wondering if it had ever been considered: having an alternate route through downtown for MAX: from providence park, continue north on 18th/19 th then use Everett/Gilson to connect to the steel bridge (or some similar routing) perhaps blue and red could split and then re-merge near the steel bridge. This would put parts of northwest much closer to the trunk line without lengthening the route

    • Interesting thought. Which line would go where though? Either way could be problematic. Tourists downtown wouldn’t really want to walk to northwest to get on the red line to the airport, and people working downtown wouldn’t appreciate having to wait for the right color.

    • They need to see the USGS and OSU report 1661f. We are not in a high danger area here; it is more down towards Brookings and Crescent City and Eureka, CA. Also, Seattle has more danger than we do, but not because of the Cascadian Subduction zone, either, It is from M8 faults that run east and west under the city. The hsyteria on earthquake danger needs to stop. I’ve worked on some seismic projects that weren’t even worth doing, as it was to function in the real world.

      Also on the Interstate Bridges, we can possible have the PEER lab at UC Berkeley help us out with some design ideas, although I know pretty much what they have to recommend. However, there may be some new innovations coming down the pike, as time goes on. Councilor Craddick mentioned the restraining cables as the Marquam Bridge has could interfere with clearance of vessels, They may come up with some other restraint systems.

      Governments these days need to be careful that they don’t get fleeced by unscrupulous consultants and contractors. Governments are fearful of lawsuits, and then resort to overkill on projects to mitigate the potential liability. The problem, is that governments don’t think creatively, like contractors sometimes have to and come up with cost cutting solutions that actually work.

  4. If anyone from Tri-Met is reading the site, I’d like to request the addition of a PDF “book” of all schedules and fare information be added to the website. Folks who have pad devices (e.g. me), an iPod, or just a limited data plan have access to your site cannot use the interactive features or the mobile site in real-time.

    Sound Transit, Community Transit and Everett Transit, but apparently not Metro, provide such “booklets” online up in Seattle. May we have such an electronic “rider book” here?

    Thank you.

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