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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 5, 2006 7:14 AM. The previous post in this blog was Breaking news: Bird flu outbreak suspected at Vancouver trailer park. The next post in this blog is Emilie's famous. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, May 5, 2006

More SoWhat sticker shock on the way

Today's Trib has the latest on the shakedown of Portland taxpayers by the wonderful new skyscraper jungle known as South Waterfront ("SoWhat"). In order to alleviate the traffic gridlock that the city already knows that district is going to cause, we'll need a light rail line to Milwaukie and a new train bridge across the Willamette!

Can you imagine? That will cost a half billion, even in the preliminary liars' budgets. You do the math: Even if the feds picked up 80 percent of that, it's another $100 million to come from you and me.

So while the Sellwood Bridge crumbles, the city plans for a new light rail bridge. And it will sell it by turning Macadam Avenue into a parking lot, and funneling thousands of additional cars into the Marquam Bridge chokepoints every day. When you see how bad it is, you'll scream for light rail. Meanwhile, enjoy your potholes, brought to you by the real mayor of Portland, Homer Williams.

And get ready -- the next SoWhat crisis will be the sewer.

Comments (39)

"And get ready -- the next SoWhat crisis will be the sewer."

You know what they say flows down hill really well.

The new Light Rail bridge and line to Milwaukee is the linchpin for South Waterfront.

This small investment will spur $2 billion in new development, create 10,000 new biotech jobs, save farmland, provide affordable housing, promote healthy lifestyles and reduce reliance on the automobile.

Connectivity to the Tram, Streetcars, the New Transit Mall and greater Portland will be enjoyed by all.

An additional light rail line out Barbur Boulevard will help even more.

The Sellwood bridge could easily last another 100 years if it were restricted to pedestrian and bicycle use only.


Jack,

Did you declare this "nice week" again or is Steve just flowing downhill.

Steve is the linchpin of this blog.

I think I've got the title for the movie: "Trains, Trams, and Automobiles"

Also, with the use of Urban Renewal no general fund money will be used.

Jack: The city plans for a new light rail bridge. And it will sell it by turning Macadam Avenue into a parking lot, and funneling thousands of additional cars into the Marquam Bridge chokepoints every day. When you see how bad it is, you'll scream for light rail
JK:I see, just like light rail stopped congestion on the Banfield. And on the sunset. And on Interstate Ave.

How did idiots manage to take over Portland?

Thanks
JK

Okay, first "Steve is the linchpin of this blog" about made me spit coffee out through my nose considering one of your more recent posts regarding the word "linchpin."

Second, the traffic by Sowhat is already screwed up before anyone even moves in. I use to be able to get off of northbound I-5 at the Ross Island Bridge exit and cruise by unhindered to head up toward 1st and Arthur. They've now introduced stoplights on that northern portion of Macadam, which has backed traffic back up the onramp onto I-5 during evening rush hour. That was brilliant. I am now doing what the Lair Hill folks feared; I am driving right through their neighborhood streets to get to the Ross Island Bridge and I expect more people to do the same in the coming months and years.

Those of us enjoying a lifestyle of reduced means can't use public transportation anyway. It would double my commute time and cost more than driving to damn hell work.

One of the cool things about the Aerial Tram Awards was meeting Steve Schopp and buying him a beer. Although I disagree with him nationally, he's so dialed into the local scene that it's beyond insight. These posts today show that Steve is now in a state of blog zen.

You drive around and see all the Sten signs, and you get hyp-mo-tazzed....

"How did idiots manage to take over Portland?"

They were voted in.....you get what you pay for....

Meanwhile roads on the "other" side of town continue to go unpaved.

Swimmer sez: You know what they say flows down hill really well.

Yeah... I hear that the big chunks float to the top.

Boy howdy, am I glad to hear that Steve is the UNDERPANTS...uh...linchpin of this blog.

I don't quite get it -- the proposed light rail doesn't seem to serve the SoWat at all, since the proposed bridge is well north of it, roughtly where the Marquam bridge is. So it's not something that is likely to alleviate traffic on the west side of the Willamette. What it will do, I guess, is bring some needed perspective to the absolute cost of the aerial tram, by showing us some real financial pain.

I thought Steve was the d*ldo of this blog?

Hilsy, you should have been at the URAC meeting two years ago when Matt Brown of PDOT (yes, the Tram Man) said "the I-5 N. bound off ramp redesign would help the NM traffic problems, and if it doesn't-SO WHAT!" He actually (paraphrased) said this. PDOT and PDC believe congestion is the answer to our traffic problems.

"Congestion" is the "lynch pin" for North Macadam.

I actually had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Brown not quite two years ago, bringing to him my concerns of how SoWhat was going to screw up the traffic in my neighborhood, Brooklyn, and the access to the Ross Island Bridge. They did not even consider the impact east-west in their study (he sent me a copy which I think I might still have). Let's not forget that part of the current plan is to eliminate the current access to the Ross Island Bridge on the west side that currently runs through a couple of blocks of Lair Hill (and has for many, many decades).

Bill Mc, I beginning to feel the same way about Mr. Lister that you feel about Mr. Schopp, so much so that I believe I will vote for him.

I hear the owner of "It's a Beautiful Pizza" has been asked to pay for a traffic-flow study in the SoWhat district.

how will SoWa cause congestion? I thought the JackBog consensus was that SoWa would be a grand failure, since the condo market will crash and no one will live there, leaving property tax revenues too short to cover costs.

Now I find out that SoWa will be so crowded the congestion will be terrible. Who's going to congest it...the squirrels?

Goodbye.

Time to ban another IP address. Another interesting one:

NWNetcom NWNETCOM (NET-206-190-128-0-1)
206.190.128.0 - 206.190.159.255
LTI LTI-BLK1 (NET-206-190-128-0-2)
206.190.128.0 - 206.190.159.255
City of Portland NETBLK-CITYOFPDX-1 (NET-206-190-139-0-1)
206.190.139.0 - 206.190.139.255

That's "dairyqueen." Along with "torridjoe," taking time out from their busy days as city employees to troll blogs.

In principle I support public transportation. However, it seems we must all be prepared to pay much more than the estimated costs for much fewer users than estimated. I just wish the powers that be could be convinced that we the people can handle the truth.
Check out www.demographia.com for articles on that subject.
Of course if the Bushies and Big Oil keep the prices up we may all be walking more and eating less.
Anne K

The reduce traffic, Sam the Tram is ordering a Segway for each of Opie's affordable housing tenants in the SoWhat.

Both of them?

Yes, two. One for the FlexSegway in the SoWhat, and the other for Sam's jaunts with Homer.

The City missed its shot at connecting SoWa to the Hill and the rest of us when it ruled out building a tunnel from SoWa to beneath Pill Hill and then running light rail into the tunnel. Whether running LRT from SoWa to Milwaukie will make a difference depends on how many people will live in SoWa and work in Milwaukie, or live in Milwaukie and work in SoWa. I suspect those numbers will be small.

"Time to ban another IP address. Another interesting one:"
Yo, City slackers, you've been punk'd! Ha, nice sleuthing Jack!

Isaac: from the diagram in the Trib, it appears that the light rail would cross the river north of SoWa, and not serve SoWa at all, at least not directly.

I read the Trib article and here's my favorite phrase: "When the project is finished 18 years from now."
To be in the company of such forward-looking leaders is a true honor. I can't wait for 2024. This is going to be awesome.

Allan, that's one of the problems with the current LRT plan. The city could easily have extended one of the lines (let's say the yellow line) to run south from downtown past Riverplace to South Macadam, and then into a tunnel to OHSU, instead of running that line across the river to Milwaukie.

Um...Isaac?

What would happen to this LRT once it ran into this "tunnel"? The tunnel could not go to OHSU, because OHSU is a good 300' above the SoWhat level. A tunnel would go UNDER OHSU. So, is your plan to run all the LRTs in there to fill the hole and then backfill it?

Then, do you have any idea how much something like that would cost? It would make the current $57 million of the tram *rimshot* look like small change.

Jack: That's "dairyqueen." Along with "torrid*oe," taking time out from their busy days as city employees to troll blogs.
JK: So who's left to defend the city's waste? Is Homer going to have to do it himself?

Thanks
JK

Godfry,

My thought is that the OSHU station would be like the Zoo station, connected to the surface by an elevator (which would take up very little of OHSU's valuable surface space), and be the terminus where trains reversed direction, like the Airport station.

It gets better. According to yesterday's Lake Oswego Review, the "Lake Oswego Downtown Transit Alternatives Advisory Committee" is recommending extending the Portland Streetcar all the way down 43 to downtown LO.

Isaac: you are thinking too much in your comment on how many trips might be generated from NM to Milwaukie. You are correct, but Matt Brown, Greg Jones of PDOT can't quite understand the concept that LRT going through NM generates generates much fewer trips than what is needed to reach 40% mass transit ridership for all trips to/from NM, even combined with all the other modes they list in the Tribune article. They are smoking again.

Isaac: you are thinking too much in your comment on how many trips might be generated from NM to Milwaukie. You are correct, but Matt Brown, Greg Jones of PDOT can't quite understand the concept that LRT going through NM generates much fewer trips than what is needed to reach 40% mass transit ridership for all trips to/from NM, even combined with all the other modes they list in the Tribune article. They are smoking again.

When less than 1% of all metro trips are mass transit trips now, how can our PDOT transportation planners expect us to believe that 40% transit use is achievable in NM? And how can our City Council and their staff keep believing this false premise?

In fact at the last NM URAC meeting, Greg Jones reviewed the new transportation study for NM that has been requested by many including the URAC. The transportation study from over 5 years ago is outdated, and PDOT is beginning to acknowledge that the change of uses in NM (like condos everywhere) is changing the 48,000 trips/day projected in this study. The number could be much higher.

And note that PDOT is estimating that over 60% or these trips will be trips going to/from NM coming from the south. Those are trips that will be flowing from SW Macadam. SW Macadam is already a "f" (failure)level of service at Sellwood Bridge, Taylors Ferry Rd. and Boundary-and soon to be at SW Bancroft. The doctors not living in NM won't be able to reach their homes in L.O.

Lee,
And once again I chim in like a broken record. What about the East-West traffic over the Ross Island Bridge? That sucker is already at capacity eastbound in the morning and westbound in the evening. Why is there never any mention of this traffic flow???

Gosh, These "plans" are so grandiose when the cost is factored in. And all this for 5% of the public who use transit. Where is the money coming from? I'm not sure "arrogance" even begins to explain this planners mind set. Its O.K. for them to play with their own Lionele train sets at home with the kids, but here either taxes will have to be raised,,(Burdick can do that easy, so can Sten.) or basic services which are already stressed will be cut or held hostage until the tax raisers get their way.

What happens when taxes have to be raised for an another questionable project, when right now, even taxes for schools are so unpopular, the city and school district refused to bring it to the ballot.

I'll tell you what rebellion, taxpayer rebellion, its already happening. Thats one reason among others that the Portland City Council races are so close and the encumbants stand a good chance to get thrown out on their ear, because they have been ignoring the most important people of all, us the voters.

sticker shock?
Try this:
One early PDC document estimates that the North Macadam UR district will take $31.5 million from Multnomah County, $33.2 million from the City of Portland and $34.6 million from Portland Public Schools over its life. (Final Draft Report on the North Macadam Urban Renewal Plan, June 24, 1999 - add up the yearly amounts on page 15 http://www.portlanddocs.com/PDC/dev_macadam_report.pdf )

Brainstorm, March 2002, tells the story of how the original landowners of the North Macadam UR lands were prevented from developing it because it was not dense enough for the city planners. I presume that had they been allowed to proceed, we would be getting millions of property taxes from them every year, instead of pumping millions into the district for the next few decades.
(Vera's Portland The City That Shrinks http://www.brainstormnw.com/archive/mar02_feature.html ) Also see page 6 of http://www.portlanddocs.com/PDC/North_Macadam_URA_Return_on_Investment_Analysis-Executive_Summary.pdf for comparison of a "base case", which sounds similar to the landowner's plan, with the chosen path.

Thanks
JK


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