Rose Bowl 2015 Open Thread

Happy New Year!  There’s a little football game happening next week.  Of course, yours truly is an Oregon State alum, so I’m not quite as excited about that as some of you…

  • More public outreach on the Powell/Division project, as Metro asks southeast residents about safety.
  • TriMet is touting a 3.2% increase in ridership last fall (compared to Fall 2013), with a 6.3% increase on the bus system.  (MAX saw a small decline; the system was down for several days due to the switch upgrade project–in addition to a few unplanned disruptions).
  • Vox takes a look at how several big-city downtowns in the US were transformed by freeway construction.
  • maps pedestrian and bicyclist deaths in the Metro area from 2008-2012.

42 responses to “Rose Bowl 2015 Open Thread”

  1. Any school from the state of Oregon who is successful on the national stage – is good for all the schools in Oregon. (Heck – the same is probably true if you consider the Pacific Northwest as a whole).

  2. So the Oregonian has been reporting that Streetcar trips and on-time arrivals have been greatly over reported, by like 20%. Anyone here know more about that?

    • There is currently a statement on the front homepage of the Portland Streetcar web site on that topic:

      My condensed version, based on my understanding of events, is that TriMet, who conducted the rider surveys on behalf of Portland Streetcar, some months ago discovered a statistical error. This was reported to the streetcar Citizens Advisory Committee and Portland Streetcar contacted the City Auditor about it, which is how it turned up in the auditor’s report. In the near future, ridership figures will be compiled by automated equipment on-board (which has recently been installed), rather than rider surveys.

      The ridership stats currently shown on the Portland Streetcar web site are the up-to-date stats without the statistical error.

    • For a while, Charlie, for a while. I believe it was sixteen months’ worth of data that was incorrectly reported. The error in data accumulation — NOT a smoke-filled-room fraud — was discovered by an I/T auditor and corrected, with a public explanation and apology as explained by Bob.

  3. American football is disgusting. I want to suggest that this dubiously popular sport be one day replaced with the most macho sport of the modern world, maybe even the most macho sport of all time: Demolition Derby.

  4. Just got on one of the Type-3 MAX cars. It has new LED reader board. The exterior ones look like the kind found on the newer MAX trains and the interior signs are similar the ones found on the streetcar.

    There also seems to be a new speaker system, that unfortunately isn’t synced very well, so it has a very bad echo effect for the announcements.

    • What, what, did, did, you, you, say, say – there’s, there’s, an, an, ecco, ecco, in, in, the, the, speeker, speeker, system, system?

      Sounds like a small adjustment is in order.

  5. I talked to the advocacy director for BTA Wednesday night at a Legislators forum. I pointed out that the Western Arterial Highway (at least as I envision it) could be a boon for both bicycles and public transportation:
    1. Replaces a 20 mile route from Vancouver to US 26/West Union with a 14 mile route, and connects four communities that will definitely be growing: Vancouver to Rivergate to Linnton to Hillsboro. Also goes very close to METRO’s West Side Trail system.
    2. Links several major thoroughfares, and three travel sheds, which would make a network of express buses serving both Vancouver and NW Portland very feasible. Plus if congestion can be adequately relieved from I-5 this would make bus transit on that route much more predictable.

    If this route were to be completed and, following that, seismic improvements to the I-5 bridges scheduled or Rose Quarter improvements, I could GUARANTEE that it would get plenty of use ( by people avoiding construction bottle necks.) Additionally, even if bicyclists were slow to start usage, the building boom now beginning in W. Vancouver combined with the route’s proximity to the popular Sauvie Island area would ensure its adequate use in the future.

  6. It would be much cheaper to just buy the homes of those Clark county residents who work in WA county (there are not that many)…even at better than market value, if they agree to purchase a place closer to where they work. Why accommodate questionable personal choices with scarce public resources?

    • Thank you, Lennie. Ron wants to pave Clark County, for what reason I do not know. But I expect it’s partly that he thinks maybe he’ll get some work out of it and partly to shaft the greenies.

  7. “What “popular Sauvie Island area”?”

    Are you guys kidding?
    “Sauvie Island is a cycling paradise with sweeping pastoral vistas, pancake-flat roads and eagle sightings (parts of the island are a nature preserve) — plus produce stands in the summer and pumpkin patches in the fall. The terrain is perfect for both a casual Sunday rider or a hard-core roadie looking to put in some interval work”

    “It would be much cheaper to just buy the homes of those Clark county residents who work in WA county (there are not that many)…even at better than market value, if they agree to purchase a place closer to where they work. Why accommodate questionable personal choices with scarce public resources?”

    No. There are a lot of them. And did you ever consider the fact that another income earner in those households might have a job elsewhere or in Vancouver? So, you’re suggesting that the government of Oregon could purchase homes in another state based upon a promise to relocate? Been hitting the sauce, too much? Please try to think realistically. Lenny, you’re the one who favors high density infill, which is pricing first time homebuyers out of the Portland market, or causing them to move out, such as to the Fairview area.

    What’s so great about continuing to send traffic into the Portland core? I can see extending the Yellow MAX to Hayden Island, with a simple local bridge (and also closing off the ramps to I-5), but the rest, i.e. going to Clark County, is a pipe dream.

    ” Ron wants to pave Clark County, for what reason I do not know. But I expect it’s partly that he thinks maybe he’ll get some work out of it and partly to shaft the greenies.”

    I’ve suggested nothing in Clark County that doesn’t already have pavement on it or would be below ground.. Right now, the stoppage of movement on I-5 is raising the pollution level in North Portland and interfering with the performance of C TRAN buses connecting into Portland.

    • Ron,

      Building a new bridge over the Columbia River because people bike and visit pumpkin stands on Sauvie Island in the summer has got to be the dumbest proposal you’ve ever made.

      So far as what the result of building the “Northwest Passage”, especially with its own bridge over the river, what OTHER result than an enormous expansion of development in Clark County would you expect to occur?

      That’s why the autoistas and the BIAW want more bridges so badly: so they can get richer. Screwing the greenies is a nice-to-have side benfit of the policy.

      But those “screw-the-greenies” policies are in absolute control of at least 90% of the land area of the United States. The roughly 50% of Americans who value preserving the environment by NOT living on it are squeezed into the other 10%. At least let us have the part of the 10% that we DON’T live on remain unbuilt.

      That’s the point of the Urban Growth Boundary, and McCall and the legislature of the early 1970’s were brilliant to recognize it.

      Visit Germany some time. Their cities and towns END abruptly at the municipal limits, they don’t dribble out for miles in a patchwork fringe of trailer trash and McMansions like ours. As a result, even with an overall density much higher than the United States, there is genuine quiet solitude available throughout the country. It’s an interesting contrast.

    • P.S.

      You’re certainly right about the pollution levels in North Portland being made worse by the congestion on I-5. But you MUST know about “induced demand”. If the autoistas get that five lanes in each direction bridge and I-5 widened through North Portland there will be a huge explosion of development in North Clark County along the I-5 corridor (Ridgefield will be a REAL city then) and in ten years the corridor will be stop and go once again. David Madore and the other BIAW puppets on the Clark County Council will see to it.

  8. I just keep remembering that, admittedly dated, 2000 census data on employment origin and destination that UrbanTrans of Denver did for Metro in 2004. Most people live pretty close to where they work. The Hillsboro employment area (Intel) had lots of dots (each dot represented 50 employees), most all over WA county; there were TWO in Clark! That’s 100 people…hardly a reason to build a multi- billion dollar freeway. My guess is that things, if they have changed at all, have changed for the better.
    I might consider a tolled link between Cornelius Pass Road and N. Columbia Blvd for freight in return for the REMOVAL of the Eastbank freeway AND Marquam Bridge. And the obvious answer to the high cost of housing in the central city is to build MORE housing there! And that seems to be where we are heading.

    • Well, we know that 90 percent of vehicles headed south from the I-5 bridges have Washington plates. Then, where do they go from there? I have been on US 26, looked at it from an adjoining street or bridge—and there still seems to be a majority Washington plates going out of downtown.

      I worked on various Si. Forest projects, and I know there were some big fab plants that went in after 2000. Ronler Acres was one project. In the plebiscite vote that was on the Clark County ballot in 2013 56 percent of the voters said they would favor a “west county bridge.” (The East county one got one percent more) so, at least of those voting, there is demand.

      I don’t like freeways anymore than you do, and I really am tired of driving everywhere, also. But, I am also not going to go a long distance on a bike in Portland in the winter and risk skidding out on something and getting hurt. I have enough arthritis as it is. That kind of commuting is fine, if you work in an area of high employment concentration–like downtown—but I can speak as a tradesman I didn’t have many jobs I could have biked to, just a few in downtown. Worked on Swan Island a bit, but we were getting off at 1 am sometimes, or were so beat from the weather. Then there are the people who need to conduct business throughout the METRO area.

      The really big ticket proposals are just DOA these days. An Eastbank freeway removal would be impossible, just like other dreams like HSR or a Clark County MAX.

  9. Mike, great shots of the transformed Division! Too bad the power lines are still there, but putting them in the ground is very expensive. It is becoming a “Place” as opposed to a mere through route to somewhere else.
    Parking story: at a party in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, a few years ago I overheard one friend ask another “Did you drive over?” “No, I took the streetcar. I found a parking spot right in front of my building and did not want to give it up!”
    Ron, I still remember my shock when destination data for I-5 traffic from WA was presented to the Governors’ I-5 TF. Most of it was not even going downtown, let alone to WA county. It went, and I would argue still does, to River-gate, Swan Island, Lloyd, Central Eastside, Columbia Corridor, Interstate Corridor. Back of the envelope, I would guess there could be 100,000 jobs in those destinations combined.
    If someone lives in Clark and gets a job in WA county, let them put up with what we’ve got or pack up and move!

    • Thanks Lenny! I think you made the salient point: it’s now a Place, where it wasn’t before. And it makes me feel optimistic that the number of places around town are likely to increase over time.

  10. As far as a massive expansion of housing in N. Clark Co. where are the micro apartment dwellers going to go when they want to buy a home? I.e. if they don’t have trust funds big enough to buy a 2 br condo? It’s not like we haven’t been through this scenario before, kids. Just because some knobs in the Portland City Hall or METRO think it is going to be otherwise, there are just some fundamental realities that every planner has to deal with. And with the spigot turned on full blast coming across our borders we have that population influx to reckon with, too.

    I would be sorry to see such sprawl throughout Clark Co. myself. But, even according to the “progressive” element they should have their own industries to employ their own people, so apparently that’s what Madore has in mind. I don’t agree with the transportation proposals as they are—like 192d. But there was a plebiscite and that’s how it turned out. Probably won’t make it past the Oregon or METRO defense line, though. But there will have to be a solution(s) at some point.

    –“If someone lives in Clark and gets a job in WA county, let them put up with what we’ve got or pack up and move!”

    Just one member of the household, or both?

    • Ron,

      If Councilor Madore and his friends can really truly produce an environment in Clark County that leads to growth in jobs here, more power to them. The folks who hold those jobs will of course drive to them, but it’s vastly better than having them drive to Washington County.

      Or even Rivergate.

      I will say, Lenny, that you must not have driven I-5 from the wishbone to Clark County any time in the past ten years. If you had you’d know that relatively few cars enter the freeway at any on-ramp other than Going, and there are MANY more cars exiting at Going northbound than entering northbound in the 5:00 PM rush. Just as there are far more entering than exiting in the 8:00 AM rush. There are a few cars which enter the freeway from Williams and some from westbound Morrison. But far more enter from the eastbound lanes of the Morrison Bridge.

      The vast majority of cars crossing the Interstate Bridge came from I-405, one of the southern downtown entrances, or from I-5 south of downtown.

      Yes, there are a goodly number who enter at Marine Drive, but most of those entering from the west side came off of Portland Road from the St. Johns Bridge, not from T-6.

      There just aren’t that many people who live in Clark County and live in these spread out a few jobs per building places.

  11. The UrbanTrans study was based on 2000 census data, as was, I assume, the consultant’s report to the DOTs. Maybe we can get Michael Andersen at BikePortland to take a look at 2010 data for O&D for Clark county residents. Everything else is more or less anecdotal. I do recall that about a third of Swan Island employees lived in Clark, which would be about 3k; across all of N/NE down to Central Eastside a similar percentage would get you about 30K or at least half of the estimated 60K who commute across the Columbia.

    • There are not nearly 90,000 jobs in the I-5 corridor between Central Eastside and the river unless you include downtown Portland. Now if you include the airport area you might get there, but those folks use I-205 and this thread was concerned with west side expansions at least initially.

  12. Well…10K on Swan Island, at least that in Rivergate; about 20K in Lloyd and the same in Central Eastside. That’s 60K, then add in Interstate corridor including Emanuel and Lower Albina and the west end of the Columbia Corridor, and you get pretty close. Its a lot, and a lot of those employees live in Clark county…its really close by and accessible, except for those few peak hours on the I-5 bridges.

    • If “a lot of those employees live in Clark County” why are there not long tails of cars exiting the freeway at the four southbound interchanges in North Portland? A LOT do get off at MLK, but they don’t go straight at the top of the cloverleaf to the left turn light. Maybe a quarter to a third do but the rest finish the cloverleaf and jet off down MLK to bypass the backups on the freeway.

      There is about 2/3 of a street lane that exits onto Denver. The light at the top of the hill rarely has a backup of more than a dozen cars, and it almost always clears with the light. Hardly anyone gets off at Rosa Parks, except, again, to make a last stab at getting around the congestion farther south when it’s bad. And finally, there’s the combined for Alberta and Going which has a STOP SIGN at the top!!!! If there were a flood of cars into the scores of thousands of jobs you believe exist in the I-5 corridor they sure as HELL wouldn’t be a stop sign at the top of the off ramp.

      Look, the bridge throttles the freeway to three lanes crossing the river. There’s no way around it. New traffic enters the freeway from Jantzen Beach, a little from Marine drive, a tiny bit from Victory, quite a bit from eastbound Lombard and a trickle from westbound, then relatively little at the other two on-ramps before Going. All the traffic being added might total one lane.

      So IF all “most of the workers” at those “100 thousand jobs” were from Clark County, hello! the freeway would be almost empty south of Going Street. The cars that squeezed across the river would have evaporated into the the teeming industrial behemoth which is northwest Portland.

      But you know? That just doesn’t happen. The most congested places on the freeway are just south of the wishbone along I-5 and right around the bridge landings on I-405. Why would that be if all the cars coming from Clark County aren’t going downtown or to the Tech Corridor. Hunh! Weird isn’t it?

      The most likely explanation for this strange agglomeration of cars which bypassed the teeming jobs of North Portland; factories aren’t crowded assembly lines anymore; it’s not 1943! Those big buildings each have a couple of dozen peoplein them. OR, the people who work in them do not live in Clark County. It’s just that simple.

      You know, I live over here. For twelve years I had to drive to the fringes of downtown (I used to park north of the Rose Quarter and walk to the MAX to avoid paying for parking — and to get some exercise). Then when the Yellow Line opened I got to park just south of the bridge, but some days I’d be late and have to go ahead and drive. Then the 99th Street TC opened and I could take the expresses to town, but just because I wasn’t driving didn’t mean I closed my eyes to what the traffic was doing. And finally I got to go out to Nike for four years, which meant C-Tran express to downtown then MAX, first to Beaverton Creek then to Millikan when Nike leased space on the Tek Campus.

      All that time I got to see how the traffic flows on I-5 and where it goes. And it AIN’T going to North Portland. Sure, a little is, but a damn little.

      • I think you guys are answering your own questions.

        And then there is the housing ownership question: Where is the new burgeoning population of apartment renters going to go when they want to build home equity? Yes, I think the era of suburban mcmansions is probably over. However, there could still be a demand for rowhouses; or I suppose a lot of renters may move back out of Portland? What we are seeing is an urbanized replay of the 1970’s apartment boom– when large suburban lots and small acreages were converted to apartments. Those who could moved on to homeownership, usually requiring two incomes. Thanks to improving construction materials the urban units tend to be better quality these days. In general, most home design is vastly better than the 1970’s junk.

        A final note: I think it is an impractical ideal to say that people ought to live close enough to their jobs that they don’t need a car. For two income households that may simply not work out well in practice. That doesn’t mean that in supporting the Western Arterial highway concept I am saying auto commuting is superior. On the contrary I see it is an opportunity to develop a network of either BRT or limited stop express bus routes.

        • If you can convince policy makers to build an intermittently two- and three-lane (to allow passing on hills) HOV-and truck only reasonably tolled bridge and road from Clark County to some useful road intersection in Washington County I will back you all the way.

          But of course, you won’t be able to do that, because the SOV people would howl so loudly that the junk pile on the moon would rattle.

  13. A, 2010 Census data can clear up all these where people live/where people work questions. Who wants to dig in?
    ES, glad you called out the piece in the daily rag. What a sight! A half dozen poor neighborhoods destroyed to accommodate suburban auto commutes. Not even the Nazis did this to German cities. Time to rename I-205, I-5 as per the Autobahn, and tear out that horrible Marquam Bridge and Eastbank Freeway!

  14. Some useful tips on designing BRT stations. For one, build “stations” rather than “stops”. I hope TriMet has most of these principles in mind already for the Powell/Division corridor.

    • At one of the Powell/Division open houses, they discussed station design and amenities. I think it will come down to whether this is BRT, BRTish, or Enhanced Bus Service. If they have fewer stations (and more money) it will probably include some of the features listed.

    • The region might as well get a bike trail, since there will never be a streetcar line. However, you can expect the 1%-ers on the bluff to oppose that, too. Wouldn’t want the Spandex Swarm pedaling by the rose garden.

    • “I actually drive most of the way to work,” Norton admits. “I do it because the choices stink.”

      This statement implies that we could just build a few more rail lines and everything would be great. The sad truth is that the choices were always going to stink. I recently discovered the urbanism writings of Nathan Lewis. Previously, I had not realized the extent to which the pedestrian-unfriendly nature of American cities is baked in from the start. Those extremely wide streets which are practically ubiquitous in our cities predate the arrival of automobiles!

      It’s all pretty depressing, really.

  15. Ironically, the extra wide streets called for by Brigham Young in Utah in the 19th century, made it easier for Salt Lake City to accommodate light rail and now a new streetcar line in the 21st.
    Portland, somehow missed the “wide-street” movement for the most part.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *