Women’s World Cup Open Thread

Team USA will be playing in the women’s World Cup final this weekend, including a few members of the Portland Thorns.  A few local notes:

  • TriMet is banning vaping and therapy dogs, with a few exceptions.  Vaping and e-cigs are to be treated like tobacco, and only licensed and trained assistance dogs (seeing-eye dogs and such) will be allowed on TriMet vehicles, unless in a pet carrier.  Animals whose only purpose is companionship will be no longer allowed without being secured.
  • More photo-radar may be coming to Portland, as an Oregon House bill authorizing an expansion of the program (and allowing unmanned vehicles–under current law, photo radar vans must have an officer present) has made it out of committee.
  • Jarrett Walker notes that many transit agencies have greatly reduced bus service in the past decade or so, not all of it attributable to the Great Recession, despite an increase in demand.  On the other hand, TriMet is considering an increase in the payroll tax (which the Legislature has authorized) to help pay for new bus service, as outlined in the various service enhancement plans.
  • TriMet explains how the Orange Line will operate, and why it’s not being called the Yellow Line even though most Orange and Yellow trains convert to the other color upon reaching the Transit Mall, and provide through north-south service.
  • Oregon today launched a pilot project for a pay-per-mileage vehicle tax as an alternate to the gas tax.

82 responses to “Women’s World Cup Open Thread”

  1. Very silly of Trimet to give the Yellow Line extension a different color.
    The blue line extension to the Westside was not given a different color, even though trains can turn around downtown. Right now many blue line trains end at Gateway transit center or at Ruby Junction instead of going all the way to Gresham, and the world doesn’t end: the trains show their destination on the front. TriMet should change the plan and have the extension signed as the Yellow line the whole way.
    But that means the leadership will need to get over the embarrassment of making this mistake so far.

    • Yeah, I don’t see the point in changing color when it’s all one line. There’s no confusion at all between “Blue to Gresham” and “Blue to Gateway” or some other stop. Personally, if I’m taking the Orange line north, I’d rather know BEFORE I get on whether it will go to Rose Quarter or turn around at Union Station. Taking the Yellow line south, it’s helpful to know BEFORE I get on whether it will get me all the way to OMSI or not. Yeah, if it’s not going all the way, I’ll need to change trains anyway, but it would be nice to know that in advance.

      If you’re visiting from out of town and are using the system map to get around, what are the chances you’ll get off the “Orange” train you boarded in Southeast to transfer to the “Yellow” train downtown, not realizing that they’re actually the same train? This doesn’t seem like a very user-friendly system to new riders.

      This “Orange line” designation is just ridiculous.

      • Red lines turn into Blue lines a lot. I’m sure people will survive Oranges turning Yellow.

        If the Steel Bridge is full they can turn trains around. TriMet basically has their very first light rail line that doesn’t need to cross it. That’s a pretty good reason to make it independent.

    • Absolutely stupid explanation by TriMet. They insist that interline routes like 12-Barbur/12-Sandy be given the same route designation, even though few trips actually go through downtown. But anytime TriMet wants to change the interline (example: 9-Powell/9-Broadway, 44-Mocks Crest/44-Capitol Highway) then it is a huge effort to change dozens if not hundreds of bus stop signs.

      Seattle does it right – no interlined routes. If a bus interlines, it is simply notated on the timetable that the bus will continue through downtown as route XX. That way when you’re changing interlines, you’re only reprinting a schedule, which you’d do anyways so there’s no real loss or effort.

    • Yeah. It should say “Yellow Line” but have the TERMINUS on the end. So “Yellow to Union”, “Yellow to Convention Center”, whatever.

      This has been understood since the first subway, the Metropolitan Railway in London. It’s *incredibly straightfoward*.

      • The only reason you wouldn’t give them the same color is if you’re planning a new branch — sending the Yellow Line down to the southwest, or the Orange Line up to the northwest.

  2. TriMet will eventually fix it. Then in forty years, a child will ask “Mommy, why are there blue, red, yellow, green, purple, brown, and gray lines, but no orange line?”

    • For at least two years I have been saying that east/west is blue. For simplicity sake, even though Orange is my favorite color, why not yellow north/south. Make things as simple as possible for the first time and occasional riders as well as tourists, they are crucial as old timers like myself probably would understand any color designed.

      I’ve heard the yellow/orange scheme will make it easier when trains from the south, because of projected higher ridership, will turn back at Union Station. This will not cause less confusion, it will cause more. If TriMet wants to do something creative, simply call only the trains that go only to Union Station ORANGE. Heck, throw a little fun into the system and call them the “Orange Limited”. For these trains, even a little more fun might be to pipe in a little music when crossing the Tillikum Bridge, Johnny Cases ???? Orange Blossom Stecial ???? as he sang it at San Quentin Prison in 1969 would be about the right length. Wouldn’t hurt to throw little fun into the system. Make Portland a little weirder.

        • Let me tell you the story of a man named Charlie
          And how he slipped through the city’s cracks
          He put two thirty in his pocket, kissed his live-in-lover
          Went to ride on the Tri-Met MAX

          Charlie bought himself a ticket at the Gateway Transit Center
          And he changed at Pioneer Square
          When he got there the inspector told him “one more nickel”
          Charlie could not pay that fare!

          And did he ever return, no he never returned
          And his fate is still unlearned
          He’s doomed to ride forever on the rails of Portland
          He’s the man who never returned

          Now all night long Charlie rides through the station
          Thinking “What will become of me?”
          “How can I afford to see my dealer out in in Gresham?
          Or my bookie wodn in Milwaukie?”

          Charlie’s girl goes down to the Rose Quarter station
          Every day at quarter past two
          And through the open window, she hands him a latte
          As the train comes a-crawlin’ through

          Now commuters of Portland, isn’t a scandal,
          That the people have to pay the tax?
          Fight the fare increase, vote for Jack Bogdanski
          Help get Charlie off the Tri-Met MAX!

          Or else he’ll never return, no he’ll never return
          And his fate will be unlearned
          He’s doomed to ride forever on the rails of Portland
          He’s the man who never returned!

  3. For the sake of both truth-in-labeling and compromise, what say we just call it the gold line?

  4. The CL Line shutdown began last week. Has anyone seen the alleged supplemental service cars on 10th and 11th? You definitely don’t see them on Transit Tracker.

    I’m not sure if they chose not to run them, despite saying otherwise; or if they are running them, and they are just going to let all these trips go untracked for the entire shutdown. With the Streetcar people, I could believe either one.

    Myself, I’ve experienced only long waits and crowded cars, and so I’m inclined to believe they’re just not running the supplemental service.

    • I’ve seen two kinds of ‘extra’ service this week:

      1) Trains from NW 23rd to Clay, which do show up on Transit Tracker, although I don’t know if they show up on the shelter signs.

      2) Shuttles from Northrup to Market (I almost got on one by accident trying to get to 23rd). I don’t know if these show up in any of the trackers or not.

      • Thanks, Chris. I do see the supplementary service you described on Transit Tracker and on the rails during the day sometimes. I never see any such trips tracked or running after about 7 PM weekdays, when I normally ride along 10th and 11th. During that period, I’ve often waited the full 20 minutes for a car, I’ve never seen any car show up that wasn’t being tracked, and I’ve never seen anything but a relatively full NS Line car signed for South Waterfront show up.

        That tells me they really are running with 20 minute headways on weekday evenings, and so not maintaining the existing service levels they seemed to promise on the CL Line closure fliers.

  5. The pet policy change is long overdue. You’d think that they would’ve banned “companion dogs” after the first fatal dog fight a few years ago.

  6. TM4, a subsidiary of Hydro-Quebec not only has electric motors for heavy vehicles which replace both engine and transmission, but now is working on battery technology:

    Arkema and Hydro-Québec set up a joint laboratory for lithium-ion batteries
    10 July 2015
    Arkema, a €7.5-billion (sales) global chemical company and France’s leading chemicals producer, and Hydro-Québec, through its new subsidiary SCE France, are partnering to create a joint laboratory for research and development in the energy storage sector.

    • For about the fourth time, Ron, electric traction motors do not use transmissions. None of them. They have complex windings which can be joined in combinations of series and parallel pulsation to produce either great torque (parallel) or high rotational speed (series). It’s called “transition” and it has been standard in traction systems for electric and diesel-electric railroads and then trolley buses since the early 1900’s.

      Hydro-Quebec may have some sort of incremental improvement in traction motors which allows them to be lighter. I’ve read of “reverse armatures” where the windings are outside and the armature is a powerful permanent magnet. If they’ve made a breakthrough with such a design, more power to them. But it’s not going to chop 50% off the weight of a traction system. If nothing else, the simple weight of the frame will continue.

      And I am willing to bet good money that this awesome combination of two French-speaking significantly government-owned dancing bears does not have Elon Musk frightened one bit.

  7. While I am at it, and probably the “rail cabal” will not even bother to read it: The Western Arterial highway that we badly need as an interstate connector would not only save us money over the ill-fated, ill-timed ( and Ill-everything else) CRC project it can also save us money over a host of other, smaller highway projects being contemplated for the I-5 and US 26 axis.

    Washington is once again in a dust up over a remnant of the CRC–the Mill Plain Interchange, an approximately $100 million project—supposedly needed due to too-tight on and off ramps at I-5 and Mill Plain ????? I thought reducing the footprint of highways was a good thing? Your friend and CRC opponent, David Madore is raising a fuss on this one too. Good on him. The claim is that truckers hauling vanes for wind turbines have difficulty making the tight radius.

    And in Oregon ODOT is studying widening of US 26, from 185th to Cornelius Pass Rd. What is this needed for? The answer is that it wouldn’t be if interstate traffic had another route besides the I-5/US26 axis. I also anticipate that if this traffic problem remains unsolved (i.e. no Western Arterial) there will be other segments of that route that receive calls for expensive projects. Just wait.

    The Western Arterial would connect four major areas that are already rapidly growing or probably will in the future: W. Vancouver, Rivergate area, Linnton, And N. Hillsboro. By having a shortcut (6 miles less between Vancouver and Hillsboro) all modes will benefit. Interconnecting highways means mass transit is better connected. A shorter route means not only less time, but less time wasted waiting for TRANSFERS. And bicyclists can easily tackle this route in segments, or even the whole thing.

    If you have been following my posts on the Hyrdro-Quebec company TM4 you will know that road vehicles, buses and trucks, too, are on the cusp of radical innovation that may spell the end to noisy diesel engines, and also road damage from vehicles that are far too heavy. TM4 is, at least, making electrical conversion super easy, and if electrical power gains momentum there will be other innovations to assist it.

    • I don’t even know who the “rail cabal” is, let alone whether or not they read this blog.

      While it may be six miles less between Hillsboro and Hazel Dell than going through downtown, it’s still an expensive road to build, needing to traverse the West Hills, the Willamette River, and the Columbia–certainly more expensive than the planned widening of US26 between 185th and Corneilus Pass. Going near Linnton probably means a tunnel under Forest Park. And my assumption is the proposed route would essentially follow Germantown Road, at least as far west as Cornelius Pass. Much of this is outside the UGB.

      Generally, highways are not a good thing for mass transit, even if mass transit is given priority on them. Unless this is proposed as a freight/bike/HOV only highway–any new road you build will be soon clogged with cars.

      • Scotty, ALL roads here will be clogged with cars. The thousands of renters moving into small Portland apartments will not want to stay there, and Portland proper will be unaffordable. They will head out to where it is affordable—and commute to wherever they must. This is basically the same economic scenario that existed in the 1970’s and 1980’s following the boom of apartments in the suburbs (but probably in reverse with a boom of apartments in the city, this time). That led to the traffic woes of following decades.

        I’m just trying to point out the path of least resistance.

        And while there maybe some demographic away from car ownership, automobile companies will also want to stay in business, and thus will compete. Ford has had remarkable success with their Focus model, they are offering very fuel efficient or all electric versions, but—to keep the price down—they announced they were closing the Michigan plants and going to Mexico.


        • Why should Oregon voters tax themselves significantly, and in the process reduce the “scarcity” value of their homes, in order to build a major highway so that carpetbaggers from up North can daily come to suck money out of Oregon’s economy?

          IT. MAKES. NO. SENSE.

          • Wow. You must not think much of your fellow Washingtonians? Maybe Oregon wants them buying here, maybe Oregon wants their income tax money, maybe Oregon can get the feds to pay a lot of it. Besides, the routes are already there, there is nothing major about it. And there is a limit to this ‘scarcity value’ have you ever studied economics? Right now people in both states are wasting gobs of money due to the choked highway system we do have.

            • Sure, it makes sense for Oregon to improve the highways that serve its citizens, with the caveat that any new roads must be crafted carefully to serve existing areas rather than breaking the UGB.

              But, just as I’ve told folks here in Washington over and over, a job in Oregon is a job whether it’s held by an Oregonian or Washingtonian. It provides the same tax revenues to Oregon regardless who fills it.

              But, and this is a big “but”, an Oregonian will spend the remainder of her or his income which is not saved within Oregon. Sure, there’ll be some “leakage” to on-line purchases and vacations, but broadly speaking, essentially all the after-tax money will ALSO be spent in Oregon.

              For a Washington resident working in Oregon the math isn’t so simple. Lunches and some impulse purchases at Jantzen Beach or Cascade Station on the way home will be recycled into the Oregon economy, but non-income taxes will go to Washington and more importantly, most spending on food, gardening and hobbies, personal services and other day-to-day expenses will be made to the Washington economy.

              Now, obviously, these days the majority of that sort of spending will be going to the same mega-corporations on both sides of the river, but at least when a dollar is spent in Oregon part of it goes to hire Oregonians and pay Oregon corporate taxes and utilities.

              So, a Washington incumbent in an Oregon job is not quite the same as an Oregon incumbent. He or she is worth less to the state than a “native”.

              Now if the employee has children in school the calculation is certainly changed. There is then a cost to Oregon for the “native” employee which becomes a cost for Puget Sound taxpayers when the employee lives in Clark County. (I did not say “Clark County taxpayers” for a reason: Puget Sound effectively pays for Clark County’s schools).

              But in truth, if a person with kids moved from Clark County to Oregon the extra economic activity generated from recycling nearly all of the person’s income into the Oregon economy might actually pay for his kids’ education.

              And to be blunt, your assertion that “the routes are there” is so far from functionally true that it verges on an outright lie. To make such a “west side bypass” viable new bridges over both the Columbia and Willamette Rivers would be necessary. It’s laughable to propose that the St. John’s bridge could carry any more traffic than it does today at rush hour; look at the enormous line ups on both of the ramps down to Bus 30 in the afternoon.

              And Cornelius Pass road would have to be widened to four lanes and tunneled at the top to make the huge investment in those two bridges worthwhile.

              It’s a minimum $4 billion project to do correctly and that’s $4 billion that Oregon doesn’t have and which even the craziest autoistas in the Washington legislature won’t help fund because it doesn’t aid Puget Sound transport one little bit.

              Such a boondoggle would be of benefit to one group of citizens and one group only: techies who want to drive 70 miles a day round trip in order to live in North Clark County and work in Hillsboro. That’s it, and that’s not a viable use of public funds. Oregon might be able to scratch up the $2 billion to widen and improve I-5 through Portland, to the benefit of its own citizens, yes, the people from Clark County, and Washingtonians farther north, but it doesn’t have $4 billion to spend on a custom Cadillac roadway for carpetbaggers.

              Full disclosure: I was one of those “techies” who worked (not in Hillsboro but Beaverton) but except on days when I knew I’d have to work late because of a deployment, I rode the C-Tran expresses to downtown and MAX to Beaverton Creek or Millikan. No, I didn’t get there as quickly, but I didn’t get cut off by countless selfish goons and was able to read the whole way. I even got some great exercise including the odd 100 yard dash when the Blue Line has just started crossing Fifth as the bus let me out at Alder. On a good day I could just make it to the PCS station when the lights started to flash on the train.

              Those morons commuting in their single-occupancy cars are driving themselves into early heart attacks, and I have to say I am not sad about it.

              Caveat cabellarius!

  8. I might be willing to consider Ron’s Westside dream in exchange for, at least, the decommissioning of I-5 between I-405 and I-84, including the Marquam Bridge! It would have to be a Freight/HOV only toll facility that crossed the Willamette to connect to N. Columbia Blvd.

  9. Good idea Lenny…if we can turn back the population of California to 20 million and Washington state to 4 million. However since they insist on sending their commercial products through this region, and since Oregon keeps exporting more to Asia we don’t want to trigger a West Coast economic crisis do we?

    However maybe some of the rail advocates could concentrate a bit on helping get more freight on to rail and off the highways. It’s not like that hasn’t happened in prior generations…..

  10. SW Corridor Steering Committee meets tomorrow, will consider staff recommendation to drop Marquam Hill and Hillsdale tunnels, delay decision on Sylvania routing.

    • Well, then, we have entered the Potemkin Village phase of “public outreach”. Welcome to C- “BRT” for the Southwest Corridor.

    • Dropping the tunnel will be considered a huge mistake by future generations. Imagine the Blue line with out the Robertson tunnel. Imagine the Orange line using the existing steel bridge or the Hawthorne Bridge. Big mistake.

      • It worked OK for the Southern Pacific and Oregon Electric to not use tunnels. And frankly, both of their routes would be far superior to the current MAX route.

        And I believe to this day the Orange Line should have used the Hawthorne Bridge, since taxpayers already paid to strengthen it for future light rail use, money that is now down the drain and lost forever that didn’t improve transportation, transit, mobility…it did absolutely nothing but give a kickback to a contractor.

        • The Oregon Electric right-of-way IS “the current MAX route” between Beaverton Central and Orenco.

          Did you mean that MAX should have gone through Northwest and over Cornelius Pass instead of tunneling through the West Hills? Surely not.

          And by mentioning the Southern Pacific, were you implying that MAX should have wiggled along squeezing between the freeway (which is actually ON the old SP right of way) to Hillsdale and then followed Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway to Beaverton.

          How? On the surface? That certainly would have been a good stimulus by which to develop the corridor, but it would have made the trip from Downtown Portland to Beaverton two-and-a-half times as long

          In a tunnel? It would have moved more quickly, for sure, but cut-and-covering two and a half miles of BHH would not have been that much cheaper than digging the Robertson.

    • Not too surprising. Their projected tunnel costs were SO inflated compared to the Robertson tunnel it seems to me they were trying to get rid of that option all along.

      Some time back at a SW Corridor open house, I asked one of the consultants where the ridiculously high tunnel estimates were coming from. He said they took the numbers from Seattle’s Alaska Way Viaduct replacement tunnel. I asked why they didn’t use the Robertson Tunnel as their model, and he told me he didn’t know what that was. I told him, and pointed out that’s what a light rail tunnel under the West Hills actually costs. But since we never saw a set of numbers based on Robertson tunnel + inflation, it looks like “eliminate the tunnel” was the real endgame from the beginning.

      • I don’t think people are going to support Barbur Bv. having a double rail track down the middle either. Is there another option? Buses would only occupy space on Barbur when they are actually there. What is the need for some concrete busway that would cost money to build? Sure you can have nice stations—whatever helps attract riders.

        You can have a bicycle path outboard of the existing street (in most places) using prefabricated components spanning the gorges, and elevated enough that the road traffic doesn’t drive up on to it. No, Barbur probably won’t have real high density, so why make this whole project a lot more complicated than it needs to be?

        • “Buses would only occupy space when they were there”.

          What a great definition of “Plain Old Bus Service” (“POBS”). So finally you’ve come out and admitted that you just don’t want any genuine transit improvements in Portland at all. Let the hoi polloi sit on klunkers in traffic.

          Before, like happens oh often with the Reich Wing, you were all “BRT! BRT! BRT!”, first for the CRC (with which I do agree) then when the Orange Line was proposed and finally when Southwest Corridor looked like it might get LRT also. Then immediately upon rejection of the rail plan, you start with objections to anything that would make the Bus Service “Rapid”.

          Typical. And very unimaginative for a “craftsman”.

          • “So finally you’ve come out and admitted that you just don’t want any genuine transit improvements in Portland at all.”

            I remember a time when Portland Transport would come out and moderate a lot of these hyped up, attacking comments. But I guess name-calling and using derogatory terms (carpet-baggers) are now OK?

            I have called for all sorts of transit improvements along Barbur/99W that aren’t LRT/BRT, and these are things that can be done today, at little expense, that would drastically improve transit:

            1. New buses – yes, TriMet FINALLY got around to admitting I was right all along, but they still only bought 42′ long buses – not the articulated or double-deck buses that are despirately needed. So TriMet improved the vehicle reliability, got low-floor buses and 100% air conditioning…but there’s still the issue of crush load buses passing up riders.

            2. Bus stop improvements – TriMet has not invested in bus stops at all, making riders wait at unsafe locations, or at stops without shelters or any other information. A few NextBus displays would go a LONG ways; a few shelters, and sidewalk improvements, would be a huge help. And that would cost just a few thousand dollars – not a few million.

            3. Queue jumper signals. This would help buses get around traffic – why aren’t there queue-jumpers at Barbur & Terwilliger, Barbur & Bertha, Barbur & Hamilton…? Even a few selectively placed bus lanes would help out a lot – most of Barbur is not congested, just specific locations (mostly traffic signals). Even ITS improvements that would know when a bus is coming down the road, and setting the light green to clear the traffic light queue (you know, exactly how traffic signals work with MAX) would help.

            4. De-interline the 12. TriMet admitted it worked for the 9, and ridership is up on Powell, reliability is up. Why can’t TriMet get their brains engaged and admit that much of the schedule reliability issues is running the buses through downtown and out Sandy?

            These are real, simple, low-hanging improvements that don’t need a massive infusion of money. Yet somehow these “aren’t improvements” because they don’t involve light rail…

            • Are you another ID for Ron Swaren? Otherwise, what is the getting all high and mighty about a comment in response to another person’s comment?

              And Dude, I doubt that it was your urging that got Tri-Met to “finally admit that [you were] right” and buy new buses. They’ve been apologizing for not doing so since 2008. Since MLR was already underway it made sense to put what capital funds they were still getting into it while construction costs were low.

              So far as the rest of the post, right on. Queue jumps and signal priority are pretty cheap improvements which can make a real difference. They’re unpopular with the driving team, but eff ’em.

              But if you’ll read “Ron’s” [your?] post, you’ll see that the only thing he supports is “nice stations” [e.g. more attractively painted bus shelters]. There’s no talk about red lanes, even short ones. No mention of signal treatments.

              Basically he said “buses don’t take lane space except when they’re there”. Which is fine with the autoistas except when they stop at bus bulbs. That REALLY blows their corks.

            • I can assure you that Erik and Ron are two different people.

              At any rate–I would agree with Anandakos that nobody at Trimet thought running buses in to the ground was a good idea. But when budgets go south… deferring maintenance (including capital replacement) is a common way of cutting costs, and yes, it’s more expensive in the long run.

              A major problem with queue jump lanes is that the road authority has to agree with it.

              A second major problem with queue jump lanes on Barbur is what happens to Barbur when a major incident closes (or backs up) I-5, and it gets flooded with freeway traffic. No queue jump lane will do much good on a street that’s a parking lot.

              Yes, yes, to de-interlining the 12. I’d much rather have a Sherwood-Portland bus and a Portland-Gresham bus than a Sherwood-Tigard bus, a Tigard-Parkrose bus, and a Parkrose-Gresham bus.

            • The problem is that by dividing Line 12 in downtown Portland, you’d have to duplicate service since buses coming from Barbur would have to go up the mall to drop off riders, and buses going to Sandy would have to start down by PSU to pick riders up.

              With Line 9, they were able to attach the other end to the 17, since the half of that line was being eliminated. Maybe they could attach the Sandy half to Line 54/56.

              Also, if they decide that the Southwest Corridor project should use buses and not be rail. it’s possible that improvements like bus lanes and smarter signals will be included.

      • Why are the consultants sandbagging the tunnel costs?

        The Alaska Way Viaduct tunnel is the single most expensive tunnel project in the country, due to (a) terrible geology, (b) accomodating cars and the ventilation for them, (c) being the biggest single tunnel bore ever.

        Using that as a source for tunnel estimates is sandbagging, period. It’s not legitimate. A serious complaint needs to be filed. Better yet, someone or a group of someones should pay an outside consultant to come up with a real estimate — people in England have done this when they didn’t like the options the government was trying to force on them.

        • If they removed point sources of pollution – ie gas cars & trucks, would they be able to skip ventilation or would it still be required for maintaining oxygen levels, etc?

    • As I mentioned on a previous post, why not run SW LRT down to South Waterfront via the existing Orange Line tracks and then run it parallel to I-5. Pill Hill can be served by both the existing tram and a new tram in the vicinity of PSU. No tunneling or other major disruptions required.

      That said, at this point I’d rather see the Steel Bridge bottleneck addressed before any new lines are added. Part of a reliable LRT system includes fine-tuning what you already have as demand warrants.

  11. Sure, it makes sense for Oregon to improve the highways that serve its citizens, with the caveat that any new roads must be crafted carefully to serve existing areas rather than breaking the UGB.

    Why is that more strategic or cost effective? You’re just pulling an idea out of thin air. The roads should be crafted to solve problems. And for the nth time, a shortcut benefits all modes. You just have to find if there is a local residents’ or fundamental planning argument against it.

    • Of course there’s a “fundamental planning argument against it”. it’s called Senate Bill 100; you could look it up. Your Westside Dream would be almost entirely outside the Urban Growth Boundary once it crossed the Willamette to the south and would pass through high quality agricultural land once it reached the top of Cornelius Pass.

      There is still plenty of undeveloped land within the UGB in Washington County in which housing for Intel engineers can be provided. Assuming of course that Intel, which is struggling to make the so-far failed transition away from dependence on PC’s, succeeds and it matters.

      • First the CRC implodes. Now SW Light rail is going off the tracks. Poor fella, your head must be exploding.

        • Well, since I thought that LRT to Vancouver was uneconomical and I did not like the six lanes in each direction but we’ll stripe it for five (wink, wink) design that the highwaymen came up with, I don’t lament the death of the CRC one little bit. It keeps the cork in the bottle of insane development in North Clark County.

          So far as the southwest corridor, I do think that not serving Marquam Hill is a big mistake, but for whatever reason, the techies in the planning department have decided it’s not a good idea. I guess their bright idea is some sort funicular. Should be a fun ride.

          The business about vibration is ridiculous. The tunnel would be at least 200 feet below the hospitals, but whatever, it makes a convenient excuse.

          But whatever, without direct service to Pill Hill, the whole corridor is just a silly fustercluck. There’s no development along SR99 and there never will be because it’s cheek by jowl with I-5 and has some nasty topography scattered all along it. Tigard and Tualatin don’t want “high capacity transit” so even though it’s going to be buses, there’ll be years of litigation and threats to secede from Tri-Met from the two cities. It’ll end up with hard feelings all around.

          They should spend the money on an east-west tunnel through downtown and make a genuine improvement in the main stem of the system.

          • I agree: a funicular will be a fun ride. Put it right under the aerial tram and serve the tram landing, and we’ll have a nice little tourist excursion: take MAX to PSU, then enjoy a BRT – funicular – tram – streetcar loop. Tri-Met can print a brochure for area hotels.

            Of course, it’ll be slow, subject to delays and breakdowns, and probably won’t have the capacity OHSU will actually need — but who cares whether or not it actually does the job well?

  12. I was told the problem at OHSU was not the tunnel per se, but the station construction. It will be interesting to see how Barbur allocated. Without exclusive transit ROW, the entire project is a waste of time and not eligible for any federal money. Close in Barbur is within easy reach of OHSU with a high speed escalator, it has extra ROW as for as the turn off to Hillsdale, and once out of the woods has lots of parking lots and other underutilized property adjacent. I would forget Tigard and go right to PCC, then Kruse Woods and Bridgetown (maybe via I-5) to Tualatin.

    • I can see how the station construction at OHSU would be more challenging than Washington Park … but a billion dollars more challenging? I’m skeptical.

      • Maybe they ought to hire El Chapo’s men to build the tunnel. Pretty impressed by what they did under the prison without anyone noticing.

    • ” I would forget Tigard and go right to PCC, then Kruse Woods and Bridgetown (maybe via I-5) to Tualatin.”

      Once again Lenny and his hatred of Tigard…

      Tigard has 50,000 residents; PCC is more-or-less a gated community (look at all the “No Trespassing signs!), that serves far fewer people, that has its own private (but taxpayer funded) bus system, that has little/no activity on the weekends, that is surrounded by transit unfriendly neighborhoods…

      Tigard has a city center, has numerous large employers, transit destinations, that TriMet simply ignored for years.

      Tualatin has no city center, no real transit service…

      Kruse Woods is dead on the weekends.

      Bridgeport doesn’t exactly attract transit riders. And it had a transit center, before it was a shopping mall.

      Tigard is by far and large the logical terminus for any project. If BRT is chosen, it makes for a convenient hub where the BRT buses can continue on surface streets from the Tigard TC to the various destinations with little delay, while having an express route north to downtown Portland. Imagine buses every few minutes Portland-Tigard, but those individual buses then provide 15 minute service to Sherwood, Tualatin (Bridgeport Village), Lake Oswego (Kruse Way) and Progress Ridge (Washington Square)…and you’d get all that transit investment covering a huge area, for 1/3rd of the cost of a single light rail line with just 15 minute service, and no connecting transit investment.

  13. Where’s Kruse Woods and Bridgetown? You must not be from around here.

    The section of Barbur from Duniway Park to just before Hamilton is pretty narrow. I’m having a hard time seeing how two lanes of traffic, two bike lanes, sidewalk on both sides and two lanes of trains are going to fit without wiping stuff out.

    From Hamilton to Terwilliger, I have an open question as to whether retaining walls will be required. When you spending a billion dollars on a project, I wonder if the feds will not sign off on it under you reinforce the hillside.

    Most importantly, these rail projects are built for the redevelopment opportunity. From Duniway Park to Hamilton there is very little redevelopment opportunity due to the historic nature and zoning of Lair Hill. If you want to improve the neighborhood, fix the naito/ross island bridge on-ramp mess. Straightening that out will bring way more redevelopment opportunities. From Hamilton to Terwilliger, you are going through a densely forested area that I assume is protected. Not much can happen there. So your redevelopment opportunities are past Terwillger, where the tunnel would have ended anyway.

    Sending Light Rail down to Tigard opens up a lot more development opportunity. While I might be wrong, I’m sure Bridgeport’s Saks Off 5th Ave and Crate & Barrel shoppers are waiting in droves to take Max for their shopping excursions. And all those Lake Oswego execs are thrilled to welcome Max over to their Kruse Way enclave.

    What’s a high speed escalator? Never seen one of those before? How safe is that? We’re going to be the laughing stock of the world with an escalator carved into a hillside as public transport because we failed to have a vision of quality transportation by building a tunnel to serve our largest employer.

  14. Let’s see, I probably first traveled down Barbur Blvd. in 1948; I was 2; grew up in Multnomah, so lighten up. One of my favorite bike rides of all time? Down I-5 after it was finished but not yet open, 1961. Anyway…
    Putting a transit ROW (whether for rail or rubber tire vehicles) on Barbur will be a challenge, no question, but its doable. A couple or three stations between PSU and the beginning of the woods would have plenty of development opportunity, and beginning at Burlingame there is plenty of potential.
    Why Kruse Woods? (10K workers), or Bridgeport? (same reason as CTC)…these are busy places. Does Tigard have potential? I’m not sure. Sounds like they want to stay off the beaten track.
    I am sure there is a technical fix to getting lots of people to and from a HCT stop on Barbur or even Front (sorry, Naito) to OHSU in short order. Check out Pittsburgh’s 100 year old technology that does the trick; it would need to be faster and with higher capacity.
    Even a tunnel would require elevators, so what’s the dif?

  15. “Does Tigard have potential? I’m not sure. Sounds like they want to stay off the beaten track.”

    Why are you knocking Tigard? Are you aware that Tualatin (Bridgeport Village) also passed an anti-rail measure? As for Lake Oswego (Kruse Way), they did everything they??? could to kill the streetcar coming into town. I’m certain that if they think MAX is coming to town, someone will collect signatures to put it on the ballot. Also, Bridgeport Village isn’t the hot draw that you think it is. Go for a visit one of these days. Outside of the movie theater and some of the high end restaurants, it’s pretty dead…lots of turnover in the small shops. The Costco in Tigard blows it away in both sales and traffic.

    As for Barbur, I’m not seeing how it fits. Between Duniway Park and Hamilton, there used to be four traffic lanes and sidewalks. They they took out two lanes to add bike lanes and a turn lane. It never had four lanes of traffic and bike lanes, so it would need to be widened. Take a tape measure out there and show me how it all fits.

    “A couple or three stations between PSU and the beginning of the woods would have plenty of development opportunity”

    Are you aware that Lair Hill is zoned in a way to protect the existing housing stock? That was done so that it wouldn’t all be torn down and turned into an extension of downtown. You are correct, there is redevelopment potential but it’s by fixing the Ross Island bridge mess. The project does nothing to address it but by doing so, you’ll see a great neighborhood reborn.

    I’m going to guess that you were against the Robertson Tunnel since a high-speed escalator from the Sunset to the zoo would have done the job just as well. What’s the diff???

  16. I admit, I’m not a big tunnel fan. Put the cars underground and let transit riders enjoy the sights. In this case it seems to me that OHSU and the other hospitals on the hill have a point, two years of blasting a tunnel and station would basically put their operations on hold. Just can’t be done.
    I hope that South Portland can be restored and the R. Moses inspired ramps removed from the Ross Island bridge. Between Naito and Barbur there should be plenty of capacity for light rail (or BRT), bikes, pedestrians and some cars and some great redevelopment possibilities with dense station areas, etc.

    • Let’s remember that the 1/3 of the Robertson tunnel was blasted while the other 2/3 was built using a boring machine. It all depends on soil conditions. I really doubt that Metro has hired an engineering firm to evaluate the project. We would be seeing some test drilling. It’s all political right now. If a boring machine can be successfully used, it would make it pretty quiet on the surface. And if it becomes a problem, they could do a lot of the noisy work during the night.

      As for digging a station, why would it be any different than the deep foundations they have needed to excavate for all the buildings up on the hill? You just need to go deeper.

      • One of the issues mentioned was the need for construction staging areas and the many trucks it would take to haul away all the earth removed and bring in cement and other materials,

        • Well, let’s see…they are able to build a 30+ story high rise with a five level underground garage in downtown Portland between two MAX tracks that have live wires and two very narrow streets. Up in Seattle, they are able to dig a tunnel between downtown and the University of Washington going through the most dense part of town.

          I’m pretty sure that smart project engineers can figure out the logistics.

        • Dave’s absolutely right. There’s nothing logistically challenging about digging a tunnel under Marquam Hill. I find it extremely hard to believe that OHSU doesn’t want direct access to the new SW line and that they’re content with just a “pedestrian” connection to Naito. Something smells fishy there.

          Also, the grossly exagerated cost estimates they’re pulling out of thin air are laughable. I still maintain that widening and completely rebuilding Barbur through Lair Hill and on the side of a steep slide-prone hill all the way to Burlingame is going to be almost as expensive (if not more so) than simply drilling through the hill. We still haven’t seen any realistic cost estimates for both options, it’s just back of the envelope BS so far. So yes, it’s definitely political at this point.

          Oh, and Ron, how many subways have been built under water throughout the world? New York, Paris, London, San Francisco, Hong Kong, St. Petersburg, etc., etc. Heck, even our own Big Pipes were dug underneath the Willamette. Ground water is normal anytime you dig a hole, it’s not complicated to handle at all.

    • Oh come on. Dig one big elevator shaft; bore the tunnel from one side of the hill to the other; hollow out the station from within the tunnel; you’ve done this already on the Red/Blue line underground station. Only surface disruption is the elevator shafts.

  17. It could get complex depending on how much water they hit. Conditions vary throughout the West Hills.

  18. Don’t forget the upper Tram station is completely separate structure from the OHSU Hospital in order to minimize vibration…done at considerable cost. Two years blasting and building a deep station under four hospitals and the region’s only research university would understandably gum up the works! You want eye surgery under those circumstances? Could you run a scanning electron microscope? Not likely.
    So the challenge is how to get folks quickly and comfortably up the hill from HCT on Barbur or Naito…a moving sidewalk? (think airports), fast and covered escalator? (think the Tube), a modern funicular as per Pittsburgh?

    • Somehow, I can’t imagine a moving sidewalk running down the center of Gibbs. If you think the residents there had a problem with the aerial tram 100-200 feet over their heads, which never even touches Gibbs, just wait till they try to tear up the whole street so they can funnel thousands of daily OHSU commuters right past their front doors. All hell will break loose.

      And a fast escalator? Is there such a thing? And how do wheelchairs and walkers negotiate that? I’m pretty sure that would never pass ADA muster.

      The problem with the “no vibrations” argument they’re pushing is that they’ve been building large new structures on top of the hill almost non-stop for decades and it hasn’t seemed to adversely affect these so-called “sensitve” operations. Plus which, it’s very easy to isolate individual rooms from external vibrations if necessary, so I’m calling BS on that demonstrably false excuse.

      So since they’re obviously afraid to tackle the tunnel option for purely political reasons, the only viable option would be a funicular. But you can’t start a funicular at Naito because it’ll be 100 feet in the air before it even crosses Barbur. It has to start at the base of the hill (on the west side of Barbur) to be feasible. Then you’d be tearing down dozens of mature trees in a gash through the center of Terwilliger Park. I’m sure that’ll be tremendously popular.

    • Lenny – your info on the tram is highly misleading. The original plan for the tram was to anchor it at the top to the bedrock. That’s how it’s done at most ski resorts and that’s what the original budget was based on. When the Kohler Pavilion was build, that option went away. The next plan was to tie into Kohler Pavilion but they couldn’t do that because it was never built in a way that would realistic work to hold a tram with that much force. As you mention, he building would vibrate each time the cables are pulled. So they had to build a freestanding structure that’s one of the strongest structures ever built. That’s why the thing went so far over budget.

      Unless you know something that I don’t, there has been zero engineering studies done for how to build the tunnel. It may have to be blasted but it may just need a tunnel boring machine. So to make up stuff about blasting is just being dishonest. Plus, it could be done at night if there are issues there.

      Sticking an escalator on the side of a hill in the wet weather we get around here, is just plan dumb. Build it right or don’t build it at all.

    • Aaron and Dave have listed several excellent arguments against some sort of surface “people mover” to the top of the hill. Nobody is going to want to ride an escalator for a quarter of a mile, “fast” or not.

      [By the way, how exactly can an escalator be “fast” in between the ends and “slow enough” for people to get on an off it?] And of course it would have to be enclosed or the machinery would corrode in the Oregon winter.

      How would a “moving sidewalk” negotiate a 25 degree grade? Are you thinking it would have “switchbacks”? I suppose that’s possible but it’s certainly unusual.

      So the only practical technology is funicular, but then you’ve recreated the capacity problems of the Aerial Tram, because funiculars always have two and only two cars. And, it rules out Naito/Front as the routing, forcing it onto Barbur and through the fustercluck at its north end.

      All in all I’d say the best thing is to just forget the entire project and keep the 12. Do it right [with a tunnel and station for the single trip generator in the entire corridor or don’t do it at all. Use the money to improve the cross-downtown Red/Blue line with a tunnel so that MAX becomes a reasonable option for commuting between East Portland and the Tech Corridor and serves the entire downtown core. Run streetcars on the existing tracks as an urban circulator to Old Town and the inner West Side between Lloyd Center and Goose Hollow.

      • Oh, and a “tunnel and station for the single trip generator in the entire corridor” does NOT mean it has to be LRT. It would require a special fleet of buses adding a bit to the cost and reducing the “flexibility” to operate them on other lines, but dual-mode ETB’s are certainly an option that would work. It is extremely unlikely that there would ever be a “capacity” problem in this corridor with buses because it will never develop enough, but in case it should so develop and such a capacity problem develop, embed rails when the tunnel is dug. Hang the “hot” side of the overhead in a way that makes it compatible with a pantograph [e.g. offset the wires a foot or so so that the hot wire is centerline above the tracks and provide frequent mountings] and call it good.

        Then if it ever becomes necessary to convert to LRT, lay the rails and hang the overhead in the rest of the corridor and the night before conversion, tear down the ground wire in the tunnel.

        Or, get “hush mode” buses like King County uses in the DSTT with bigger batteries so they can make it uphill through the longer tunnel, and don’t hang any overhead in the tunnel at all.

        The point is, while an LRT project would have the advantage that folks riding the Green Line from the Banfield corridor could get direct service without a transfer downtown, this can be a BRT project and still serve OHSU directly. Bypassing it is crazy and craven on the part of today’s politicians beyond belief.

        • What was it they said on the Oregon Trail? “Oregon or Bust!”

          Well, now it should be “OHSU or Bust!” If it’s not going to go to OHSU, then they shouldn’t even bother.

          #OHSU OR BUST

    • It’s really not that far from Barbur, up via the Terwiliger Bv. Route. Besides a surface vehicle could hit all the stops on Pill Hill, for people who can’t move very well—such as from a central elevator terminal. By 2020 there will be fully electric buses on the market with regenerative braking for the downhill return leg. And they have the tram from their SOWA buildings. What more do they need?

      • What more do they need? Well, more than just a few more buses stuck in traffic on Terwilliger. I don’t care how technologically advanced they are, if they’re stuck in traffic, they’re no better than the old buses.

        If you want a surface vehicle to “hit all the stops” on the OHSU Campus, then a shuttle raditing from a “central elevator terminal” (I assume you mean a HCT station) within the campus works perfectly for that.

        Another thing that I don’t understand…. why is it such a priority to have a tunnel to PCC Sylvania, but not a major medical university with 4 adjacent major hospitals? Like I said, there’s something definitely fishy going on with this decision process.

        • I don’t think it’s a matter of priority so much as a matter of what’s feasible. Assuming the technical analysis is correct (and not post facto justification for a political decision already made), there may well be good reason that an OHSU tunnel is not feasible, but a Sylvania tunnel is still possible.

          (There is a cost angle as well–the preliminary cost estimate for a line with the OHSU tunnel was $2.4B. Again, there’s always the possibility that some sandbagging is being done; but if that cost estimate is realistic, that’s a lot of money. That said, if there are known hard cost constraints on the project, it would be nice if they were disclosed).

          I suspect that the Sylvania tunnel will be scrapped as well–the neighborhood is opposed. Of course, I also suspect that the line will end up being BRT… and that light rail is still being considered at this point to throw a bone to the city of Portland, which really seems to be the main political actor that wants it. Whether I like that decision depends on the quality of the BRT; if it results in a service which is no faster or reliable than the existing 12 bus, or minimally so–I could think of better ways to spend the money.

          • “the preliminary cost estimate for a line with the OHSU tunnel was $2.4B”

            That’s unfathomable to me. The Robertson Tunnel (three miles, one station) cost $184 million in 1994-1996, and that was with cost overruns. That would be about $300 million today. Run a 12 mile tunnel all the way from PSU to Tigard TC with four underground stations along the way and it would cost $1.2 billion, give or take. How do they get to twice that figure when most of the projected line is on the surface in existing ROW?

            • Never mind a 12 mile tunnel … it would be only 8 miles long at most if it dropped underground just south of PSU and stayed there until Tigard. I was thinking 12 miles to Tualatin. My point remains: based on the known actual cost of tunneling under the West Hills, the estimates for this project are absurd.

            • Well….the Milwaukie Line cost over double some of the original figures PROBABLY because they didn’t calculate in a lot of the expensive overpasses that actually came to be, in the finished product. They likely figured just flat ground. Don’t ask me why.

              Could this real world engineering scenario happen again? Probably. So I don’t think the SW preliminary figures are necessarily that unrealistic. Would it be better if they figured bare bones cost, and then announced they would actually have to do a lot of expensive redesigns? Please bear in mind that the expensive way the Milwaukie MAX has been carried forth has resulted in wholesale Clackistani rebellion, where even METRO’s land use goals may now fall apart. I don’t necessarily welcome more Clackistan vehicles barreling through my neighborhood. But, OTOH, I am trying to be realistic.

              If the SW Corridor package was touted at certain numbers and then—lo and behold—-a lot of revisions had to be made, what then?

    • The vibration concerns are absolute garbage. The tunnel will be drilled over 200 feet below the buildings. The station will be excavated at the same depth. Trucks driving by on the street outside create more vibrations.

      Yes, there has to be some surface excavation to create the elevator / escape staircase shaft. The first, say, 40 feet of depth of this can be done with extra-low-vibration methods, careful scheduling (do it at night when nobody’s using the electron microscope or perfoming eye surgery), etc. Easy.

  19. Yes, if we must have a tunnel, it would be wise to put it under the Willamette River between Lloyd and Downtown to ease the Steel Bridge bottleneck rather than for a single line out SW way. A new Streetcar line can then run from Goose Hollow to Lloyd on the MAX Red/Blue tracks as per A’s suggestion.
    re OHSU, it may be that as the riverside campus grows, more employee, patient, and visitor trips will be to that destination, served by MAX and Streetcar, than the hilltop hospitals. If your biggest stakeholder does not want a tunnel, what can you do?!

    Not to be a heretic, but maybe LRT/BRT has had its day; conceived in the 80’s and 90’s to entice suburban commuters out of their cars, it appears that both employment and housing are shifting from the suburbs to the central city, where Streetcar and multiple FS bus lines are more cost effective. Look at all the development along the 4 FS bus line (Division and Williams) and along Streetcar on both sides of the River. Its instructive that for 30 years after the opening of MAX, the property along the line between 7th & 9th was a giant parking lot, but within days of the coming of Streetcar infill began.

    Let’s see what Metro & TriMet come up with in the Powell/Division corridor. If its the real thing, then some kind of BRT on Barbur might be the ticket in SW. There is not much enthusiasm for density out that way, development along Barbur is compromised by the proximity of I-5, and suburban destinations want to be left out. So maybe an enhanced 12 FS line might do the trick, with FS lines through Hillsdale, maybe out Multnomah Blvd, to PSS Sylvania, and beyond.
    The transportation money saved should be directed to expanding Streetcar down Macadam and out to Hollywood, to building high quality multiuse trails…N. Portland Greenway, Sullivan’s Gulch, to funding the Central City bike/ped project (7th Avenue Bridge, etc), and to creating a real system of separated bikeways in key corridors.

    • LRT == streetcars. I know you make a weird distinction in Portland, but… you can build LRT to serve urban downtown central cities. It’s really really easy. Just give the streetcar an exclusive lane so it doesn’t get stuck behind cars, and voila, it’s an LRT.

  20. The chief operating officer of Metro has released a recommendation that no Urban Growth Boundary expansion occur in 2015, in large part due to the unsettled nature of several proposed expansions in Multnomah and Washington counties, but that the region reconsider UGB expansion starting in 2017, rather than waiting until 2020 (the usual five-year cycle).

  21. “TriMet is banning vaping and therapy dogs”

    For a second I wondered what vaping dogs were. Did anyone else?

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