Fireworks Extravaganza Open Thread

As part of a larger project I’m working on for Portland Streetcar, I had the opportunity to film the fireworks event last Saturday. Here’s the complete fireworks show:

“On Saturday evening, August 22nd, 2015, TriMet presented a fireworks display in celebration of the upcoming opening of the Tilikum Crossing – Bridge of the People in Portland, Oregon. The bridge will carry Light Rail, Streetcar, and Bus traffic, as well as providing complete pedestrian and bicycle facilities. Presented by Kiewit. Sponsors: Rich Bader, Elemental, Ferguson Wellman. This video by Portland Streetcar.”

How was your transportation weekend?


62 Responses to Fireworks Extravaganza Open Thread

  1. EngineerScotty
    August 24, 2015 at 4:54 pm Link

    TriMet has it’s bond rating upgraded to Aaa.

  2. Aaron Hall
    August 24, 2015 at 6:43 pm Link

    Awesome news!!

    “TriMet is the first tax-backed transit agency to achieve an Aaa rating from Moody’s, which reflects the credit worthiness of government bonds.”

    I wonder how the TriMet bashers will spin this. It certainly doesn’t sound like an organization that’s being mismanaged to death.

    • Nick theoldurbanist
      August 25, 2015 at 10:24 pm Link

      Trimet is lucky because it has a secure source of revenue (the payroll tax). Nevertheless, it is mismanaged, with abysmal reliability.

      • Aaron Hall
        August 26, 2015 at 1:35 am Link

        Okay. Apparently your definitions of “mismanaged” and “abysmal” are different than everybody else’s. Good to know.

        • Nick theoldurbanist
          August 26, 2015 at 10:14 pm Link

          Says who? Just you…?

          • Aaron Hall
            August 27, 2015 at 5:29 am Link

            And apparently you didn’t read the article. Or you choose not to believe the article because it doesn’t conform to your world view. You really think they give Aaa ratings to companies that are “mismanaged”? Wow, you can’t possibly be serious.

  3. R A Fontes
    August 25, 2015 at 12:05 pm Link

    Given the new ATU contract and TriMet’s ability and intention to increase payroll taxes by about 14% [0.1% nominal] over the next 10 years, a great bond rating is appropriate. It’s also just in time, considering the likelihood of increased interest rates.

    {broken record time} Just please don’t think of this as a permanent reality. Once bonding agencies notice that AV’s are likely to take a huge share of transit ridership, ratings for most or all stand-alone transit agencies could plummet.

    In the mean time, let’s hope that TriMet will borrow for more sensible projects than WES and Orange. Yes, I like the bridge as much as anybody and believe it would be worthwhile on its own. But it’s only a small part of the $1.5 billion MLR project which is supposed to generate only about 17,000 first-year daily rides. That’s about what Yellow is doing, with the highest rider costs in the MAX system, and is about four times the total number of current rides between Milwaukie and the Portland CBD on existing buses.

    FWIW, last Christmas, the tea leaves at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants predicted that first year Orange ridership would have trouble making 8,500. Let’s hope the leaves were unduly pessimistic.

    • Anandakos
      August 25, 2015 at 12:40 pm Link

      “AV’s are likely to take a huge share of transit ridership”

      Dude, AV’s will cost at least 150K when they finally make it to market. You must be expecting that Jeb! will somehow coax the rapidly aging US workforce to achieve 4% annual growth in productivity because “Free Markets!” to assume that more than 1/20th of the population will be able to afford one any time soon.

      You DO know that tens of thousands of people in the Portland Metro Area are called “transit dependent” for a reason, right?

      • Aaron Hall
        August 25, 2015 at 1:36 pm Link

        Yes, and even if AV’s come down in price to be comparable to today’s manually-operated cars, the huge percentage of the population that can’t afford cars (ANY cars) is not going to magically disappear. Also, not everybody who drives is gonna want to give up control of the steering wheel, no matter how ubiquitous AV’s become. Your argument that AV’s will kill mass transit in this country makes no sense whatsoever. If anything, the more dense our cities become, the more important upgrades in HCT become. And no, BRT is not an upgrade to MAX.

        • R A Fontes
          August 25, 2015 at 2:06 pm Link

          Please check out the OECD report “Urban Mobility System Upgrade” where the authors assume that AV’s will replace all regular buses in the studied city, Lisbon. Note that buses provide 25% of all trips there while all forms of transit only provide about 12% of commutes in Portland, far fewer in the suburbs.

          It is really hard to understand how faster trips, more frequency, more reliability, the possibility of single seat service beyond the MAX alignment, no heat related slowdowns, etc, etc., would not constitute an upgade to MAX.

          • Aaron Hall
            August 25, 2015 at 8:05 pm Link

            “It is really hard to understand how faster trips (not likely), more frequency (out of necessity because of massively reduced capaity), more reliability (um, no…. more vehicles = more potential breakdowns and problems with bunching), the possibility of single seat service beyond the MAX alignment (a vague possibility, depending on your destination, of course), no heat related slowdowns (what about buses stuck in the snow and ice?… a much more common scenario), etc, etc., (yes, etc., etc.) would not constitute an upgade to MAX.”

            So all of your assumptions are false or nothing more than wishful thinking. And the assumptions made by a couple of “authors” about what MIGHT happen in Lisbon 10-20-30 years from now is pretty irrelevant. So I’ll ask you again…. Where in the world are they “upgrading” high capacity rail service with BRT? Not 60-70-80 years ago, when the streetcars and interurbans where systematical decimated by the rise of the automobile and suburbanization. I mean today. Where exactly is this so-called upgrade happening?

            • R A Fontes
              August 26, 2015 at 11:14 am Link

              Yes, buses really would be faster than LRT because of a series of built-in speed limitations that apply to rail but not buses. See

              High frequency, or short headway, is consistently at the top of the list of rider surveys for what is desired in transit service. See the chapter on Quality of Service Concepts in the Transit Capacity Manual. Does it really make even an iota of difference as to why bus service would be more frequent?

              The reliability issue really is more about how a minor problem involving a single LRT train can impair an entire line or even the whole system. A bus problem is normally confined to that single bus, and is usually corrected in the next one or two scheduled runs. Then there’s none of this Mickey Mouse about pulling buses off their regular runs, stranding riders, to build a “bus bridge” around a disabled LRT train. BTW, please check out the TriMet “performance dashboard” efficiency charts and note the relative on-time performance and unscheduled service calls between bus & LRT. One could only imagine how much more reliable BRT would be than LRT when buses would face far fewer problems from mixed traffic or stopping every few hundred feet.

              The ‘bunching’ issue is mostly eliminated by having adequate berth space at stops and allowing for stop-skipping and express runs. It’s much, much more of an issue in regular traffic than on exclusive ROW with station-bypass capability.

              Off-line single seat service is possible with BRT-Period It’s not possible with LRT-Period No, not every rider bound for every destination would get it, but the most popular and logical destinations would—Cornelius and Forest Grove, Gladstone and Oregon City, etc. How many riders would have to benefit before it’s considered an upgrade?

              LRT has snow and ice problems, too. I believe GM McFarlane brought up the issue at a recent Board meeting, saying that they hope to improve Steel Bridge speeds and the ability of MAX to handle winter precip better. Please keep in mind that LRT doesn’t have to mess with the steep grades and higher elevations that buses are expected to take in stride. Meantime, the statement regarding heat related issues for LRT stands.

              The et ceteras still apply, too: BRT would save about $27 million annually with the current ridership, but that amount would drop or even disappear if, by some miracle and after 29 years, LRT would somehow actually attract enough riders to drop the costs per boarding ride to below those of BRT. BRT could have greater capacity than LRT, but would require require station bypass capability, at least on the most heavily traveled sections of Blue.

              I’ll concede the following:
              Some people like rail more than bus. (I’m one of them.)
              LRT uses electricity and is not necessarily dependent of fossil fuels. Bus power systems aren’t quite there yet.
              BRT based MAX would mean more transit vehicles in traffic in downtown Portland. The number of buses required for LRT current ridership really isn’t all that significant. Unprecedented ridership growth would change that and possibly require major restructuring of alignments, but not necessarily a large capital expenditure.

              AFAIK, the OECD Lisbon study is the only one seriously considering transit as major part of a scenario including AV’s. The rest tended to concentrate on how private cars would be affected. Is there a credible study anywhere which says that AV’s won’t have major negative impacts on transit?

              Now that the question “Where have you EVER seen cities taking perfectly good high capacity rail transit and converting it to buses?” has been sufficiently narrowed, I can admit ignorance of the answer. Does it really matter if such a transformation has or has not taken place? And if it hasn’t, why can’t we be first if it would save money and improve service?

            • Aaron Hall
              August 26, 2015 at 2:38 pm Link

              “Now that the question “Where have you EVER seen cities taking perfectly good high capacity rail transit and converting it to buses?” has been sufficiently narrowed, I can admit ignorance of the answer. Does it really matter if such a transformation has or has not taken place? And if it hasn’t, why can’t we be first if it would save money and improve service?”

              FINALLY, after all of the ramblings, you’ve answered the question. No, nobody is taking out high capacity rail and replacing it with buses, because it’s a downgrade in service.

              And yes, it really does matter that such a transformation (regression) hasn’t taken place anywhere in the world. Don’t you think that if this was such a brilliant idea, that somebody, ANYBODY, out of all of the transit experts throughout the world, would have suggested it (let alone actually implemented it)?

              No matter what anecdotal observations you might have, exagerated, irrelevant or otherwise, tearing out high capacity rail to accommodate just buses is NOT improving service.

              Now, if you want to advocate for additional BRT and frequent service and a newer, more technologically advanced and powered bus fleet to complement our rail corridors, I’m all for that. By all means, let’s make a concerted effort to push for better service regardless of the mode. But buses running in place of MAX will never be able to provide the capacity that we’re gonna need on our major transit corridors as our population explodes over the next couple of decades. A pretty key fact that you keep neglecting to mention. Do you think the 100’s of thousands, close to a million, people migrating here by 2035 are all going to use cars to commute?

        • Nick theoldurbanist
          August 25, 2015 at 10:18 pm Link

          “And no, BRT is not an upgrade to MAX.”

          >>>> And yes, BRT is superior to MAX. Anything is superior to MAX.

          • Aaron Hall
            August 26, 2015 at 1:44 am Link

            Yes, we all know you don’t like MAX. But besides your own personal bias, exactly how is EVERYTHING superior to MAX?

            • Wells
              August 28, 2015 at 8:17 am Link

              The CRC project will resurface and MAX likely extend only to Jantzen Beach with BRT from there to Vancouver Mall. Double-deck bridge nonsense is replaced with pre-2008 single-deck design. The 3-lane transit/ped span (furthest west) alongside a 5-lane Southbound span forms an emergency access corridor and justifies reduction of lanes from 6 to 5. In an emergency, BRT is less of a hindrance to emergency vehicles. The Northbound span will remain 6-lanes as afternoon traffic is heavier. This scenario salvages most of the CRC commission work and the basis for my own proposal – The Gemstone Bridge. I have a new design for the Hayden Island Interchange called “Low Level Access” based on the single-deck bridge reduction in height at Hayden Island and omission of a 3rd central underpass. Anyway, this latest design for the Gemstone Bridge is on record at Metro, available on request. Eat your heart out, CSA advocates.

            • Anandakos
              August 28, 2015 at 6:29 pm Link


              Just for validation, you’re proposing to build only half of the originally planned span (the southbound side) while retaining the existing bridges. Is that correct?

              If so, this is a pretty good plan, but I’d guess that Portland will be reluctant to agree to five southbound lanes again. The State of Oregon may force them to do so, of course.

              The real problem is that nobody on the north side of the river has the money to pay for it now. Washington State just committed all of its state-level revenues for the next 16 years to other projects. The 450M it was to have contributed has flown the coop.

            • EngineerScotty
              August 28, 2015 at 11:39 pm Link

              Money “committed” by a legislature isn’t truly committed until it’s spent; the Legislature can re-appropriate money if it needs to. It’s generally consider poor government to jerk funding to and fro, but it is possible.

              That said, I doubt either side will go for what Wells proposes–Oregon liberals gives up a key element of the project (the Yellow Line to the ‘Couv); one downside of BRT is that it is more easily converted to auto lanes than rail is. (Though BRT would have the advantage of a Vine extension). Clark County conservatives probably want no transit at all.

              And right now, there’s little action on the project in either Olympia or Salem.

            • Anandakos
              August 29, 2015 at 2:32 am Link


              Oh, sure. No ground will be broken for close to a decade at the most optimistic. But with all the problems around the Steel Bridge and what Oregon is going to have to invest in improving the east-west main line, I don’t think it’s unthinkable for the Yellow Line to end at Hayden Island. If we can get some sort of transit and human powered transportation only bridge across the river, I’d be good with that. It would support Vancouver City “growing up” (in both sense of the word).

              But what we really need to do now is figure out someway to get the southbound express buses past the queue on the Washington side. For some reason C-Tran is no longer allowing the drivers to improvise by using Broadway when the freeway is backed up.

            • Douglas K.
              August 30, 2015 at 7:30 am Link

              My hope is the next CRC project will be a freeway-only bridge, 3 lanes each way, with the existing bridges preserved and rehabbed. That way we can use the old bridges for arterial traffic, light rail and pedestrian/bike traffic, at relatively low cost.

              As for a MAX route into Vancouver, I think it should serve a transit plaza at 5th Street, at Main or Washington. All C-Tran buses that go downtown could stop (and typically end) there, including the Vine. The cost to Vancouver will be minimal — less than a quarter-mile of track, one surface station, and the transit plaza itself.

              Short-term, though, Portland/Oregon should act unilaterally to put a car/rail/bike bridge from Marine Drive/Expo Center to Hayden Island, extend the Yellow Line to Jantzen beach, and then eliminate the I-5 Hayden Island interchange (or at very least the on-ramps).

            • Aaron Hall
              August 30, 2015 at 11:54 am Link

              Douglas, I think that is the smartest solution to the CRC. The existing bridges are obsolete for freeway traffic, but they’re perfectly fine for local, transit, and active transportation. In fact, the steep grade required for the appropriate clearances under a new bridge are not conducive at all to transit, bikes and pedestrians. The existing bridges stay close to the water and could easily be converted to those modes.

              The problem with the old CRC proposal is that they wanted to cram everything onto ONE bridge, then demolish the perfectly functional bridges we already have. That’s like trying to get all modes crammed onto the Marquam and Fremont Bridges, then demolishing all the other downtown bridges, just because, OMG, they’re OLD!!. That’s not only incredibly wasteful, it’s incredibly stupid.

            • Ron Swaren
              August 30, 2015 at 4:16 pm Link

              No the I-5 bridges are NOT obsolete. We are hearing that both from Portland light rail proponents and from Clark County new bridge advocates. Seismic technology is very robust and in particular to metal bridges has a huge amount of potential for innovation.

              Ironically the critics of the I-5 (as it was with the Sellwood Bridge) point to design flaws that in fact other Portland bridges possess too, yet don’t receive criticism for. To wit: Both the I-5 bridges and the Hawthorne Bridge have large counterweights and for their span sections. If it is true that an earthquake could set the I-5 counterweights swinging side to side, wouldn’t it do something similar on the Hawthorne? Yet no one EVER criticizes the Hawthorne bridge and any proposed removal of that structure would trigger a furor.

              With the I-5 counterweights I agree they pose a potential hazard. The basics of seismic design are to ‘dampen and restrain” motion. I would probably redesign those counterweights from single massive weights to something more like a segmented or chain design. The goal would be something that can only shake and dissipate the energy, and not start swinging side to side. We also have, with our neighbors in California, a major lab—- the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research lab at Berkely. Perhaps because they are federally funded, also, they would help us with seismic designs? Undoubtedly, twenty years from now the technology will be better, so time is on our side, too.

              The I-5 Bridges are very heavily built, and there is not that great of a chance of a major earthquake that would exceed their engineering. There is the counterweight problem if there were to be a lengthy event. And there is also the problem that they raised the deck into an arch, without true counterbalance to the longitudinal push of the arch. Yet metal bridge technology is advancing and given the economic benefit that these bridges bring, maintenance is worth it. Further, replacing the bridges does NOTHING at all for choke points existing elsewhere, such as the Sylvan tunnels or the inner freeway loop.

              We need to get back to the basic playbook in metropolitan traffic modeling—-FINISH the Ring Road and get Washington to NW Oregon traffic out of the downtown core. Yet Portland has apparently birthed a quantity of “experts” who think they can defeat this basic, elemental principle of traffic management. I’ve gone directly to the system users to advance the idea of completing the metropolitan Ring Road. And thousands of people agree with me, as opposed to a far smaller quantity of people who think that more LRT is the solution.

            • Aaron Hall
              August 30, 2015 at 7:13 pm Link

              Ron, I said the Interstate Bridge was obsolete for FREEWAYS, not obsolete period. Read my comments again, I said they’re perfectly useful for local traffic and transit and bikes and pedestrians. But they are not up to current freeway standards. The lanes are too narrow, there’s no room on the sides for emergency pull outs, not to mention the damn thing goes up on average twice a day, completely messing up traffic for hours. That is unacceptable, and it’s especially unfair to the people living in North Portland adjacent to the freeway breathing the fumes of all those stalled cars.

              Again, I’m 100% AGAINST tearing down the bridges once the new bridge finally does get built. They’re structurally sound and they would be ideal for local traffic and transit.

              And I can guarantee you, very few people think it’s a good idea to build a freeway through Forest Park. You are not the “majority opinion” you think you are.

      • R A Fontes
        August 25, 2015 at 1:59 pm Link

        It’s not individually owned private AV’s which are poised to take much of current transit ridership; it’s the sharing of large fleets of small urban and midsized vehicles. Eventually reaching $0.15 per mile for Google car-like vehicles and $0.41 per mile for the equivalent of Accords, Camry’s, and Fusions according to Columbia University’s Earth Institute’s study “Transforming Personal Mobility”, they would be available to almost everyone, even if they don’t get quite that cheap to use.

        • Anandakos
          August 25, 2015 at 8:39 pm Link

          The IRS gives businesses fifty-four cents per mile as a standard deal diction for each mile it uses a vehicle for a valid business-related purpose, and you think Uber or somebody else is going to charge fifteen? Right.

          • Anandakos
            August 25, 2015 at 8:41 pm Link

            Deduction. Damn iPad auto-correct!

          • R A Fontes
            August 26, 2015 at 11:19 am Link

            A couple of things here:

            First, people who have seriously looked at the potential for shared AV’s believe they will have lower overall costs than individually owned equivalent cars – whether AV or manually operated – because they would be getting far more use rather than being parked 90% or more of the time. So fixed costs and semi-fixed costs would be spread among more miles. Think of financing, depreciation, registration fees, insurance, basic maintenance, etc. The Columbia U group believes that this would lower the cost of operating the equivalent of a mid-sized car by about 30% to $0.41 per mile from $0.59, which is about what AAA figures for the total cost per mile of owning and operating a car.

            Second, the $0.15 per mile is for a small electric urban vehicle, something like the Google car, not a freeway capable standard car.

            If private fleet operators were gouging the market there would be nothing to prevent people from forming co-ops or non-profits and/or local governments to provide at-cost AV’s.

            • Anandakos
              August 26, 2015 at 2:13 pm Link

              Those are certainly good points. As Scotty has noted, gadgetbahn, even individual ones, are no reason not to provide high capacity transit.

              Do you think that a fleet of roboUber could deliver the workforce of Manhattan and take it home at night daily? Of course it couldn’t.

              And of course Portland isn’t Manhattan by a very long way.

              Look, I’m on long record advocating for genuine BRT for new projects. I even wrote a long post about how ETB’s or even “hush mode” diesels could provide service through a tunnel under OHSU because volumes in the Southwest Corridor will never reach LRT levels.

              I argued against the Yellow Line crossing the CRC because $700 million for a couple of thousand riders in the peak direction per hour is just not a good use of public funds.

              But you want to tear out a perfectly good system because roboUbers might eviscerate its ridership in ten or twenty years. That’s clearly nothing more than ideological stupidity.

              If it does come to pass, the region can cross that bridge when it reaches it.

  4. Nick theoldurbanist
    August 25, 2015 at 10:21 pm Link

    Yea, I don’t even have a driver’s license. I would rent AV time like using a cab, only much cheaper. Better than using Trimet, with its’ abysmal reliability.

  5. EngineerScotty
    August 26, 2015 at 7:14 pm Link

    Voters in Phoenix, AZ have tentatively approved a 35-year, $31B increase in the sales tax to expand transit service in the city.

    • Aaron Hall
      August 27, 2015 at 11:56 am Link

      It would be really great if our local leaders could get their s*** together and get a comprehensive 20 year transportation package out for a vote. I know Portlanders would be in favor and it would be a much better way of funding projects than the piecemeal approach we’ve been doing. When people know exactly what they’re getting for their money, they tend to be more willing to invest. Even in so-called Red states.

      • Dave Hogan
        August 28, 2015 at 12:51 am Link

        I moved out of San Diego nine years ago today pretty much. At this time I was somewhere north of Redding on my move up here. Before I left they managed to get together a sales tax package that included 1/3 going to freeways, 1/3 the local roads, and 1/3 to transit. A similar property tax or something might pass here.

        • Nick theoldurbanist
          August 28, 2015 at 8:56 am Link

          I already hear too many people in Portland complaining about how much they pay in property taxes.

      • Ron Swaren
        August 29, 2015 at 10:02 pm Link

        It would be really great if our local leaders could get their s*** together and get a comprehensive 20 year transportation package out for a vote.

        Or you could just move, instead of being constipated over how Portland is not like ‘big’ cities.

        • Aaron Hall
          August 30, 2015 at 5:29 am Link

          Don’t tell me I need to move, Ronnie. I’ve been a Portlander my entire life and I’ll damn well express my opinions about my city any way I like. If anything, YOU are the one with the constant complaints about Portland, TriMet, ODOT, and on and on and on, but I would never tell you to move to Quebec. You’re entitled to your opinions, but you’re not entitled to have everyone agree with you or MOVE, That’s the height of arrogance.

          • Ron Swaren
            August 30, 2015 at 3:54 pm Link

            That’s the height of arrogance.

            You are just one person. FYI, There are tens if not hundreds of thousands of people in this area who, frankly, disagree with you—- which is why they are utilizing the roadway surfaces. Why should I support city buses that carry less than a dozen people while the operator has to be paid the same wages as a bus driver moving 70 people? Why should I support a light rail line that moves people—at a subsidy of 20 dollars per ride? It seems like a handful of Portland activists are trying to determine our policies when they are easily outnumbered 100-to-1 by people doing what they need to do—- and who have decided that our transit policies as they are are not helping them.

            And that’s just plain jackassery saying I have “constant complaints”. I put on lots of articles about technological innovation AND concrete examples of what other cities are doing to deal with transit issues. In fact I participate, when I can, in the UN World Urban Forum, where people from cities that are many times larger than Portland put forward their ideas on urban progress.

            No I don’t want to see Portland turn into a replica of Philadelphia or Miami or LA. Most of these so-called current leaders venerate Tom McCall who promoted the idea of slow growth, yet in practice they are doing just the opposite.

            • Aaron Hall
              August 30, 2015 at 6:56 pm Link

              Who the hell said anything about replicating Miami or LA? You seem to have this warped idea that any kind of HCT is poison to our city, but not everybody here has cars, and buses alone are not enough to handle the onslaught of new residents moving here in the coming years. This isn’t 1970, when xenophobia was the norm. We are a growing, much more cosmopolitan city now. And if you truly want to look like LA or Miami 20-30 years from now, then by all means, let’s NOT provide any new HCT for the masses. Let’s just rely on cars and buses. Ignoring the growth doesn’t keep it from happening, but it will make it much less desirable here if our transit needs go unmet.

              And Ron, you are also just one person. There are just as many people who disagree with you, if not more, than people who disagree with me. I’m absolutely certain that a majority of people living here in Portland are in favor of light rail, and guess what? A lot of those people also drive cars. It’s not this either/or crap that you keep espousing. You really can have both good roads and good transit.

              Your anti-rail views are definitely a minority view here. But more power to you.

            • Anandakos
              August 31, 2015 at 1:03 am Link

              If people who agree with you outnumbered the people who agree with Aaron “100-to-1”, there would already be a freeway through your (former) house.

              Dude, you live inside the city! You’re one of the lucky ones. You’ve said over and over that the Springwater Trail goes right by your house. How cool is that?!?!?! A quick check of the Tri-Met service map shows that between 136th and the end of the trail at the river, the trail is crossed by a bus line at ten locations. So, though you don’t have service right on your street, you do have service in close walking distance and the price of your house has increased enormously because of all those “stupid urbanists” who want to buy it.

              If you find living within the city proper so oppressive with the traffic, sell out, take your winnings and buy something out in the Yamhill Valley where it’s quiet and you’ll never have another urban worry. I’m sure you can get something with trees so you don’t have to bake in the summer sun. And construction work for housebuilders is mostly out that way anyway or down by Wilsonville. You’ll have to commute less to get to worksites.

              Seriously, it’s not worth the heartburn if you hate your neighbors.

    • Joseph E
      September 3, 2015 at 5:38 am Link

      This is a very impressive positive result for transit. 55% of the money (nearly 1/2 billion a year) will go to expanded and more frequent bus service. There will now be a bus on almost every major street in the city, spaced out on a 1 mile NS and EW grid, and the current grid should have more frequent service on nights and weekends. There are 3 major BRT routes planned: 3 east-west and 1 north-south. The east-west lines are on 3 of the most important current long-distance routes in South, Central and North Phoenix, and both options for the north-sound line are close to the center of density (both should be built!)
      The light rail system currently has one L-shaped line thru Phoenix, heading south thru the newer area of offices on Central, then turning in the heart of the historic downtown, heading east to the airport, Arizona State University, Tempe and Mesa. The planned new lines will add lines to the west and south from downtown Phoenix, as well as extending the northern end of the line to the west and east, with an additional spur to Grand Canyon University. The north-east extension is the most questionable investment; it heads off to Paradise Valley – a very suburban area. But at least the current road system there is constrained by hills. The spur to Grand Canyon University is short and should be inexpensive, and it’s a reasonable place to splint the frequency of the line as it heads into the lower-density northwest.
      The folks who planned and promoted this transit sales tax did a great job. Focusing on improvements to bus service is essential in a spread-out city like Phoenix, and buses can do well with so many wide arterial streets, on a nearly-perfect grid. Finish the full east-west and north-south light rail corridors thru downtown also make sense. With a transit grid system, most people need to transfer to reach downtown Phoenix, and so the main lines radiating from the city center need to be high-capacity. There are also planned improvements to express bus service on the freeways, which will remain the best option for the northern and far western parts of town, far from the city center. The way this was presented with the maps and lists of improvements is very compelling, including repaving almost every arterial street and adding bike lanes and sidewalks where they are missing>
      Take a look:
      Too bad Oregon has no sales tax, and our property tax authority in Portland is limited. Could we do something like this with a Trimet / Metro income tax? Does the city of Portland have any options that could be similar to this to improve bus service and build BRT, or build a grade-separated alignment for Max in Downtown?

  6. Ron Swaren
    August 29, 2015 at 6:30 pm Link

    I’ve actually been doing some productive work the last week, so missed out on this conversation. (In my case productive includes mortaring the c. 1900 expansion joints in my driveway so the weeds don’t keep popping up there; and this gives me a solid worksurface for possible future projects—like a catamaran houseboat that would use both *gasp* and ICE motor AND wind; and I’m also planning a basement—once I get the darn engineer to understand what I know I have to do! Or maybe just a place for future renters to park their cars or my own RV! Condo owners do not get an 80 ft long workspace with a double garage at the end!)

    Anyway, RA Fontes mentioned electric transit as being off in the future. I posted a month ago about Quebec Hydro having designed a new “external rotor topology” electric power train, which they have already sold 250 units to China, And apparently they are powering local schoolbuses with these, and can retrofit local delivery trucks, and they are partnering in battery manufacture. There are dozens of new battery technologies underway, so even before any SW MAX line could go in we would already have electric vehicles with long lasting batteries and redesigned carriages with HUGE weight reductions. For every inch that LRT technology advances, road vehicle innovation is going several yards! Time for a reality check, MAXheads.

    Also, OK if you really think 100’s of thousands of new inhabitants will move here, I won’t argue—-and of course Portland homebuilders’ lobbyist Charlie Hales is leading the way. But do you think those people will be content renting forever (when longevity science makes 200 year old people——they’re going to keep living in a 300 sq. ft. apartment? I’ll try not to touch the ‘h’ and ‘a’ keys here………) No, David Madore has “prepared a place” for them, so they will go to Clarkistan, WA to be homeowners or join the Clackistani movement. They won’t be able to afford single family homes or urban tower homes in Portland, and I don’t foresee any mass movement, now, to a cooperative home owner/builder trend.

    Regarding what people think is a user-friendly public transit formula—I would humbly suggest that lengthy transfer layovers is a big negative. Oh, I know…just go for TOD along the MAX routes! Again I will keep my hands away from the ‘h’ and ‘a’ keys. Neither the Milwaukie MAX nor the SW proposal really go in places where there would be a lot of infill and large multi unit development. A few things—called Westmoreland Park, Crystal Springs, And Eastmoreland golf course kind of kill that dream in SE. And SW is built out into commercial development which would be replaced where?? if we were to have TOD in that area.

    • Nick theoldurbanist
      August 30, 2015 at 8:47 am Link

      And the indirect route of the Orange Line through South Waterfront makes it slower than the bus it replaced, looking and the schedules “before and after.”

      • Bob R.
        August 31, 2015 at 12:00 pm Link

        One person’s “indrect route” is another’s “serving a community where many people live, work, and go to school”.

        But what schedule and origin/destination pair are you looking at?

        The closest analog to the Orange Line I can think of would be to take the 33 from SE Park Ave. & McLoughlin to Pioneer Courthouse Square. This actually gives the 33 a slight time advantage because the rider has to walk 2 blocks to complete the trip and I’m only counting transit vehicle trip times. But even so, a #33 bus leaving at 7:14am currently takes 33 minutes to get to SW 6th and Taylor (2 blocks away).

        The Orange Line schedule has a train departing at 7:16am, arriving right at Pioneer Courthouse just 28 minutes later – 5 minutes faster.

        Not a huge increase in speed, but considering it serves the South Waterfront area, and serves PSU/OHSU and facilitates transfers at Bybee and at Tacoma, things the original #33 didn’t do particularly well or at all, I’d say that’s quite an accomplishment.

        I chose an AM inbound peak trip on purpose, as for commuters that’s the most important run – getting to work on time reliably. Evening peak can be annoying if your trip takes unexpectedly longer, but your boss isn’t going to hassle you over it. Other origin/destination pairs or times of day may show an advantage to the current 33, but the few that I checked showed the Orange Line as faster.

        Now of course if you’re coming from parts further south than Park Ave., there is the possibility of a transfer penalty, depending on where you are going and when you are doing it. The average transfer penalty to the Orange Line, which is a Frequent Service line (like the #33) at 15-minute intervals, would be 7.5 minutes. But some of those trips may be served better by other regular bus routes or the 99X.

        It could also be argued that the new bridge and transit viaduct to Lincoln (a big part of the capital cost of the project), and which benefits several bus lines, would improve times for the #33, sans Orange Line. But then it would still be an “indirect route” in your estimation, time savings or none.

        • Nick the oldurbanist
          September 1, 2015 at 11:29 am Link

          A trip around noontime on a weekday that now takes 19 minutes between downtown Milwaukie and Pioneer Courthouse on the 33 will take 25 minutes on the Orange Line. With the average penalty time, the trip time for someone going from Gladstone or OC to downtown will be 13 1/2 minutes LONGER after the Orange Line opens.

          I was strongly in favor of the bridge for buses, and I know that they couldn’t place it in a direct line from SW Harrison. However, it would have worked much better as a BRT bridge. Trimet could always have some buses over the bridge to OHSU/PSU, and others over the Hawthorne Bridge, like now.

          The takeaway from all this is that after spending billions on LRT, no appreciable running time is gained over local buses. This is also true for the Green & Yellow Lines.

          • Joseph E
            September 3, 2015 at 5:59 am Link

            The green line? The 72 takes minimum of 27 minutes (at 5:30 am, no traffic) on-vehicle from Clackamas Town Center to the 82nd street Max, but can take over 35 minutes at rush hour, and then you need to transfer to MAX or another bus if you want to go anywhere west of there.
            The Green Line takes only 19 minutes, at all hours, even though it has to swing back west to this point, and there is a slow area at the Gateway transit center.
            Sure the 72 is better if you are on 82nd Ave directly, and it should be upgraded with bus-only lanes, off-board payment and other BRT features, but the Green Line is quite fast and would be hard to beat with a street-running alignment. It only takes 13 minutes to go 5.5 miles from Clackamas Town Center to Main Street; averaging over 25 mph. This is faster than most subways in New York and other older systems. The 72 is only averaging 16 mph at best, and 12 mph at rush hour. Even limited-stop, center-running BRT with full bus lanes and priority would have trouble averaging much faster than 16 mph at rush hour.

  7. EngineerScotty
    August 30, 2015 at 10:29 am Link

    “Kelly”, the political cartoonist at The Onion, satirizes a particular brand of light-rail critic. (For those unfamiliar, Kelly–the pen name of Ward Sutton–his cartoons are frequently over-the-top parodies of right-wing cartoonists such as Glenn McCoy or Bruce Tinsley)

  8. EngineerScotty
    August 31, 2015 at 4:55 pm Link

    C-TRAN agrees to pay $2M to the family of a boy killed in a collision with a C-TRAN bus.

    A key piece of evidence in the case was a memo from the Vancouver police department which spoke of “professional courtesy” towards C-TRAN drivers; the boy’s family alleged that the police routinely declined to cite public employees for moving violations, and that the police report in the case in question (which largely exonerated the driver–the boy was struck while riding in the bike lane through an intersection, albeit in the wrong direction) was unreliable due to such courtesy. (A similar allegation was raised nearly a decade ago in Beaverton when a TriMet bus pulling into a stop on Farmington sideswiped and killed a bicyclist; the police report there also blamed the cyclist, although further review suggests he was legally traveling in the bike lane).

    Anecdotal evidence–but a quarter century ago, when I was still in college (and young and handsome :P), I was riding back to Portland with a friend when her car broke down. We called for a tow (fortunately I was covered by my parents’ AAA) and rode back to Portland in the cab of the tow truck, which was booking down I-205 at about 75MPH the whole way. I asked the tow truck driver if he was worried about a ticket–no, he informed me; cops never ticket tow truck drivers; and if they did, the police would have a nice long wait next time they needed a tow truck to clear an accident scene, and they know it.

  9. Ron Swaren
    September 1, 2015 at 6:35 pm Link

    You are the one with the constant complaints about Portland, TriMet, ODOT

    Oh really. There must be a secret stack of them somewhere. Last time I was at a TriMet board hearing they told me to continue my efforts. That was only a few months ago.

    “The Springwater Trail goes right by your house. How cool is that?”

    Well actually, I don’t like people acting as though the residential street was part of the trail: Skateboards, runners, people pulling dogs along, conflicts between bikers and auto drivers, groups of people having loud discussions early on Sat. mornings. I back my car into the driveway so that I can drive straight out and avoid an accidents. Of course in the winter the bikers 90 percent disappear. They are supposed to change it to the rail path as of two years ago. Maybe time for a lawsuit for unfair taking of a residential street and turning it into some kind of super highway.

    I said the interstate bridge was OBSOLETE FOR FREEWAYS not obsolete period.”

    Strongly disagree. It’s been working well for many decades. It would be the height of folly to try to outmode it with a parallel structure. This is an idea that surfaces in Vancouver, too, but it doesn’t take into account congestion further south on I-5 or on US 26. however, I support what 99 percent of the traffic planners in the world would support—a completion of the metropolitan ring road. And as I have stated many times, this provides a major shortcut, and a shortcut benefits all modes. I think most of these ‘parallel I-5 “concepts are just tossing a carrot to the highway users, and trying to sneak in some major “alternative” route at the same time. I would support an extension of MAX to Hayden Island on a short bridge, that also closes off the entry/exits to Hayden Island. Jim Howell has suggested this, but I don’t agree with the CSA in entirety.

    I believe in preserving the I-5 bridges because seismic technology is advancing and I already see some easily feasible solutions for part of the problem. I worked in seismic upgrading, and even worked on the upgrade of the I-5 Bridge in Seattle.

    I bicycle frequently and agree that we need to improve the said routes, but with my construction knowledge I see solutions that are quite different from many of the “alternative” activists. (typing this on my chromebook and apologize for typos).

  10. Ron Swaren
    September 3, 2015 at 8:22 pm Link

    This could be your OHSU transportation link, and certainly this technology is going to improve:

    Proterra extended range electric bus delivers 258 miles on one charge of 257 kWh pack
    3 September 2015

    A Proterra 40-foot Catalyst XR (extended range) electric bus drove 258 miles (415 miles) on a single charge under test conditions at Michelin’s Laurens Proving Grounds (LPG). The Catalyst XR configuration for the max mileage test used 8 NMC Li-ion battery packs, with a total energy capacity of 257 kWh. Average speed was 30 mph (48 km/h); average energy consumption was 0.8 kWh/mile.

    • Anandakos
      September 3, 2015 at 9:24 pm Link

      This might just be the best thing since sliced bread for affluent neighborhoods who hate the smell and noise of a diesel bus. It also probably has great climbing power; the trolleys in San Francisco and Seattle certainly do. Tri-Met should buy some for the 18, 51 and 83.

      But a battery bus gets stuck in the same traffic a diesel does, if there’s traffic. And there’s lots of traffic on Marquam Hill when people want to ride up there or down. So, really, this no alternative for a tunnel or a gondola.

      • Ron Swaren
        September 4, 2015 at 5:21 pm Link

        All of Portland is headed towards being an “affluent neighborhood.” No exceptions, when you compare to some place like Cleveland or Baltimore or Detroit. You know, those places where liberal consumer choices cratered the economy and demolished jobs for union members and blacks?

  11. Anandakos
    September 3, 2015 at 9:12 pm Link

    I just got an email about “Hop”. It looks like it will no longer have passes, but rather monthly max output. That’s kind of nice, as long as they make the multiplier reasonable.

    • Dave Hogan
      September 3, 2015 at 10:41 pm Link

      I wonder if they’ll have a way to stop people from sharing a card? If one of my friends uses a pass round trip 20 days a month and will max out his card anyway, what would stop him from letting me get a few free rides if he’s not using it on a Saturday or Sunday?

      Or why not get one to share at the office?

      • jimmyd
        September 3, 2015 at 11:28 pm Link

        What stops people from giving away transfers today?

        Plenty of transit systems with monthly passes have acquiesced to people sharing them.

    • Douglas K.
      September 4, 2015 at 7:39 am Link

      For those who didn’t get the email, Trimet has put up a Hop website here.

  12. Jack G.
    September 4, 2015 at 9:26 am Link

    I might be the only one, but I somehow missed the announcement about the CL Line Streetcar being replaced by the “Loop Service” with the “A Loop” going clockwise, and the “B Loop” going counterclockwise.’

    I was riding down near the OHSU building at the west end of the new bridge, and saw a streetcar coming down labeled as “A-PSU” or something like that.

    Overall, I like the idea. It will hopefully make way-finding easier for people who aren’t familiar with the system.

    • Curtis Ailes
      September 5, 2015 at 11:30 pm Link

      Signage was installed on the streetcars and at the shelters ahead of time to alert regular riders to the coming changes. The concept is much easier to understand for people in my opinion. It’ll be easier to tell people to take the A clockwise to get to such and such and vice versa.

      Also lost in all the changes is the last B loop streetcar coming back over the bridge will go up to 23rd and then loop back through downtown on 11th to 10th & Clay and back to the yard. Will be a unique route and last ditch ride for people to get back onto the west side of the river.

    • Jason McHuff
      September 6, 2015 at 11:06 am Link

      I’d consider it a “soft opening” as things really change (riders allowed around the full loop including the new bridge) next weekend along with the Orange Line opening. That being said, what was CL Line can now be taken down to River Place and northern South Waterfront.

      BTW, am I correct that streetcars won’t stop at the South Waterfront station that MAX and buses will use? I thought a cross-platform transfer between MAX and streetcar, and a single station served by three different modes would be one of the highlights.

      Lastly, I question the costs of “closing the loop” somewhat. I get the concept and the design of a full loop, but it seems that the extension between PSU and OMSI duplicates MAX and the buses that will cross the new bridge. Except for RiverPlace, there’s no place that one can’t get to by transferring to/from what should be very frequent MAX/bus service in that segment or taking a bus (e.g. Line 6) that cuts through the loop on a more direct route across a different bridge.

      • Dave Hogan
        September 6, 2015 at 4:26 pm Link

        My understanding is that streetcars will stop around the corner on SW Moody around the corner from the MAX/bus stop. SW Moody and Meade is the stop name.

        I think the big thing that closing the loop has going for it is connecting the rapidly growing close in east side areas to the Zidell Yard/SoWa areas, plus via the tram the upper part of OHSU.

        I’ll be interested to see what the ridership numbers for the streetcar look like for the portion over the Tilikum bridge in ten years.

      • jimmyd
        September 6, 2015 at 11:13 pm Link

        For people going to/from the streetcar there’s a lot of overlap between the A/B loop and the NS line. Since the NS line doesn’t goes past the bridge that puts the stop around the corner from MAX/bus. Having both streetcar services use the same stop effectively increases frequency for most people who are fine with either one. Even if the transfer to the buses or the orange line might be a little more annoying that it has to be it seems worth it.

  13. Jack G.
    September 9, 2015 at 3:22 pm Link

    (Accidentally posted this in the wrong thread, re-posted here.) [Moderator – Other post removed. – Bob R.]

    The portland bike share program is going to go before the city council next week.

  14. Douglas K.
    September 11, 2015 at 8:26 am Link

    Congestion pricing has immediate payoffs in reducing traffic and pollution:

    Conversely, those benefits vanish instantly when congestion pricing goes away.

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