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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 1, 2006 5:22 PM. The previous post in this blog was Striking resemblance. The next post in this blog is Revival of a golden oldie. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Portland: Let's waste some more money

The plan to turn West Burnside Street -- which has got to be one of the busiest streets in town -- into a one-way street just won't go away. "Burnside's a pedestrian barrier," whine the developers along the way who are licking their chops at the prospect of getting a bunch of additional frontage handed to them by Sam the Tram and his posse. Once Burnside is two lanes and one way, what happens to the rest of that real estate? The adjoining owners get it. And I'm sure we can guess who they all are.

Hey, if it's that bad being a pedestrian on Burnside (which I would contest), put in some more traffic lights and crosswalks. In case you haven't noticed, the city's overall transportation infrastructure is falling apart. We need to get what we have up and running the way it's supposed to, and stop loading on more debt for more of the perpetual planner make-work projects that are breaking the city.

Comments (1)

That explains the delay as we have been waiting for some Burnside property sales to close.

Posted by: Abe at August 1, 2006 05:50 PM

Jack- Don't you think it's near impossible to turn left if you're driving westbound? I haven't seen the ideas being tossed around, but I assume that problem was among those addressed.

Also, I think Burnside presents a mental barrier between NW and SW, and even at crosswalks with a 'walk' signal flashing, I've had close calls with cars skidding to a halt.

So... are you saying that you don't think W. Burnside needs an overhall, or are you saying that it just needs to go to the 'bottom of the pile', after more necessary work has been done?

Posted by: TKrueg at August 1, 2006 05:54 PM

er... 'Overhaul' is what I meant.

Posted by: TKrueg at August 1, 2006 05:55 PM

It needs to be put at the absolute bottom of the pile.

First, we have this schizophrenic cars=Satan mentality about downtown and now we want to ter up everything to make it possible to make a left turn?

Hint - Three rights make a left. Do a looparound.

If these "planners" can fix the infrastructure with current monies and then have some left over for this, MAYBE. Otherwise, this is downtown myopia. i.e, Let the rest of the city go to hell while we prettify everything between the Willamette and 405.

This is how the sewers got to be a $1B+ project that required ol' Bush to sue to make it happen - thru neglect and lack of planning.

Posted by: Steve at August 1, 2006 06:14 PM

Ah yes the Burnside couplet...That was supposed to be the key to the big PDC, Big Box, taxpayer funded, East side development on MLK and Burnside that bit the dust, thank goodness.
Also I am given to understand that Mr. Gil Kelly's mother resides at the Henry (on NW Couch) and that this too may have some influence. But that is just a rumor.

Posted by: Anne at August 1, 2006 06:33 PM

Here's something hilarious from the linked Trib article: Earlier, the estimated budget for the west-side project was $17 million. But Adams called that number, which he inherited, "little more than guesswork," saying that without more solid numbers the city doesn't have the information it needs to weigh the costs and benefits of the idea.

How disingenuous and phony. The only thing missing is a pompous statement like, "Damn it. That's not the way we do business in this town."

Posted by: Bill McDonald at August 1, 2006 07:18 PM

"""How disingenuous and phony"""
Nice shot Bill.

Nothing but net.

Posted by: Steve Schopp at August 1, 2006 09:38 PM

In case you haven't noticed, the city's overall transportation infrastructure is falling apart...

In fact, Burnside is one of those streets falling apart. The question is, if we're going to rebuild it, should we rebuild it as it is, or can we do better.

And yes, left turns are a major benefit of the couplet design.

Posted by: Chris Smith at August 1, 2006 09:50 PM

Don't look now. Ol' Sam and crew are now looking into moving PIR.

http://www.commissionersam.com/files/072706%20Moving%20PIR%20from%20Parks.pdf

They've probably already spent a couple hundred thousand just "studying" the idea.

All this while police precincts are closing due to "lack of funds."

What a joke.

Posted by: Chris McMullen at August 1, 2006 10:08 PM

You want left turns off Burnside? I thought the traffic geniuses at City Hall were the ones who said we had to take them out, but o.k., go ahead and put 'em back in. But cut out all this couplet baloney, which is another shameless Sam the Tram real estate scam.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 1, 2006 11:36 PM

Jack, on a two-way street, left turns are a big drag on capacity (people get stuck behind cars turning left). The 'need' to push lots of cars through downtown was the rationale for getting rid of left turns on Burnside. There are basically two strategies to restore left turns:

1) A couplet (no friction in left turns from one-way streets because you don't have to wait for a gap in oncoming traffic).

2) Add lots of center left turn pockets. This is essentially the strategy behind the 'enhanced existing' alternative. It does not perform nearly as well or provide as many left hand turn opportunities.

Posted by: Chris Smith at August 1, 2006 11:46 PM

2) Add lots of center left turn pockets. This is essentially the strategy behind the 'enhanced existing' alternative. It does not perform nearly as well or provide as many left hand turn opportunities.

Yeah, but what do they cost? A lot less than the pork barrel budget-buster that you're proposing. Go play footsie with your uncle, Homer Williams.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 1, 2006 11:48 PM

Sure, paint is cheap. But you still have to rebuild Burnside because it's falling apart. We're going to have to spend the vast majority of this money anyway.

On the other hand, potholes are great traffic calming :-)

Posted by: Chris Smith at August 2, 2006 12:09 AM

I always cringed driving down Naito/Front Ave or W. Burnside... The aging 6" of asphalt, missing in places, made for jarring and costly driving. They're working on Naito now, and it sounds like they want to fix Burnside.

This doesn't sound like the anti-car, anti-basic services kind of endeavor that people here claim it is.

Posted by: TKrueg at August 2, 2006 12:18 AM

There's a big difference between fixing potholes, which the city refuses to do, and an eight- or nine-figure boondoggle, which is their solution to everything. This particular goofball scheme will actually remove lanes of traffic from the grid. How that helps cars, only Tram and Opie could explain.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 2, 2006 12:25 AM

Ah yes the Burnside couplet...That was supposed to be the key to the big PDC, Big Box, taxpayer funded, East side development on MLK and Burnside that bit the dust, thank goodness.

Not really, Anne. The Burnside couplet has its east-side and west-side components...and east-side is going ahead. The "big box" is gone from the Burnside Bridgehead development, but the project is going forward. I think (I hope) that's a good thing.

Posted by: Frank Dufay at August 2, 2006 06:07 AM

How that helps cars, only Tram and Opie could explain

Yes, anything complicated must be bad. But a stakeholder committee composed of seven neighborhoods is unanimous (with the exception of the Gerding/Edlen representative) that this is good for cars and pedestrians.

Jack, would you do an experiment? Take a child under 10 with you and cross Burnside/Sandy on foot at SE 12th Ave. Then repeat the experiment at SW 2nd and NW 18th.

After that, if you still want to leave the street as it is, let us know. I certainly don't want to leave that as a legacy for my grandchildren.

Posted by: Chris Smith at August 2, 2006 07:12 AM

I'd like to see W. Burnside turned into a Venetian canal, at least up to the PGE Park area. This would turn places like Powells into expensive water front property. The resulting boost in tax base should get my property taxes down. Heck, local business spin-offs like gondola factories, Venetian costumes, canal-front coffee shops and bars, and the like might get my taxes down to nearly nothing.

Posted by: WoodburnBob at August 2, 2006 07:56 AM

"Take a child under 10 with you and cross Burnside/Sandy on foot at SE 12th Ave. Then repeat the experiment at SW 2nd and NW 18th."

First, why would you take a kid to 2nd & Burnside. Second, why not go down Powell, Division, Stark, Belmont, Burnside, Halsey, Sandy, MLK, Grand and try the same experiment.

Oh, I'm sorry, Sam's type of people ($500K condo owners, bike riders and arts attenders) don't live in those neighborhoods. My mistake, we don't care about those people.

Saying something is a problem doesn't make it a priority. That is what is screwing up this city it friends/family deals get priority while the people who live out beyond say 42nd and east get screwed with potholes and crappy parks while they pay their taxes diligently.

Posted by: Steve at August 2, 2006 08:09 AM

As long as I've lived, there has always been a complaint that the City doesn't do enough east of 82nd... Randy and others have run for council based on that complaint. People like Sten and Adams come and go... we've had conservatives and liberals come through city hall, and always the same complaint.

Maybe it is time to break the city down into service districts...

Posted by: TKrueg at August 2, 2006 08:21 AM

Chris,
You're a hoot.
The idea that the city is wanting to better move traffic along Burnside is as phony as it gets.

And "falling apart" and "most of the money will be spent anyway". Why?
Go take your kid across Barbur Boulevard or the other 99 places.
I could site hundred more pressing needs for the "falling apart" city.
And not you or the city planners you advocate for have any interest in helping traffic move.

There is absolutely no doubt that this costly Burnside boondoggle project will result in less vehicle capacity and more traffic congestion.
By design, by defrauding the public.
But that's what you do best.
Promote policies and projects that ignore or clog traffic while spending massive sums on boondoggles.

Why not throw in a lecture on how well traffic will be moving in and around SoWa because of the planning and 100s of millions in boondoggle spending you support there? Or all of the rest of the massive spending and bad planning you advocate?

How about a refresher on the upcoming mother of all disastrous spending boondoggles, the upcoming light rail Transit Mall? Which you advocate fully.
Or the Convention Center Hotel?

Or tell everyone the Urban Renewal schemes used for most of these boondoggles you support don't use any general fund monies?

Posted by: Steve Schopp at August 2, 2006 08:42 AM

..."people who live out beyond 42nd....
For YEARS, neighbors have been filling pot holes with anything from grass clippings to kitty litter to solve the pothole problem. The streetlight in front of my house has been out of service for over a year creating an unsafe dark pocket. My tax dollars hard at work!

Posted by: Karin at August 2, 2006 08:55 AM

"Oh, I'm sorry, Sam's type of people ($500K condo owners, bike riders and arts attenders) don't live in those neighborhoods. My mistake, we don't care about those people"

That's an interesting mix of people. There's no bike riders in SE Portland??

Posted by: Sebastian at August 2, 2006 09:44 AM

Take a child under 10 with you and cross Burnside/Sandy on foot at SE 12th Ave. Then repeat the experiment at SW 2nd and NW 18th.

After that, if you still want to leave the street as it is, let us know. I certainly don't want to leave that as a legacy for my grandchildren.

I'm going to save that one as one the all-time classic Homer Williams lines. Burnside couplet -- it's for the children! You guys are truly pitiful.

Your grandchildren won't live in Portland. After the municipal bankruptcy, they'll be down in West Linn. By then, Opie will have Portlanders drinking the Willamette, and the suburbs will control Bull Run.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 2, 2006 12:04 PM

I think 82 and Powell has been the most dangerous intersection in the city for 25 years.

What a legacy that is.

Posted by: I got your legacy at August 2, 2006 12:15 PM

I always cringed driving down Naito/Front Ave or W. Burnside... The aging 6" of asphalt, missing in places, made for jarring and costly driving. They're working on Naito now, and it sounds like they want to fix Burnside.

This doesn't sound like the anti-car, anti-basic services kind of endeavor that people here claim it is.

Are you kidding? The Naito rework is the epitome of "anti-car" in this City...they are making it narrower, giving 10' to bike lanes. That helps auto traffic? Traffic will be worse, and thats what they want.

Posted by: Jon at August 2, 2006 12:35 PM

I used to cross Sunset Highway on foot, but that doesn't mean that the city should rejigger it to include crosswalks and traffic-calming devices so that my grandchildren can cross it on foot.

Posted by: Isaac Laquedem at August 2, 2006 03:35 PM

Jack Bog : Go play footsie with your uncle, Homer Williams.
Jack Bog : I'm going to save that one as one the all-time classic Homer Williams lines.

JK: Are you saying that Chris is actually related to Homer, or just a fellow traveler?

Thanks
JK

Posted by: jim karlock at August 2, 2006 07:57 PM

Not from the Portland area. NW Pa actually. Cant help but notice we have debates on similar subjects around here. From all the information Portland puts out about its so called Smart Growth, TODs and redevelopment in general. I thought all these policies should have eliminated all traffic problems in Portland. This blog has given me great insight how Portland really does UR business. Many times my locals point to Portland as the shining example of UR. This site has given or led me to information so I am able to counter the Portland example. I am no novice at UR. I have over 20 years in both the public and private sector. Who ever you are Jack? Thanks!

Posted by: nemo31 at August 3, 2006 09:46 PM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]


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