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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 3, 2008 8:00 PM. The previous post in this blog was Under the wire. The next post in this blog is Big McCain rallies planned in Oregon next week. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

New Willamette crossing design leaked

The City of Portland has done as its OHSU overlords have required and agreed to a new alignment for the proposed no-cars bridge across the Willamette. It's a good thing my computer's motherboard cooked the other night, because I also destroyed my monitor screen with a huge coffee spit take when I read Vera Katz, queen of the phony-baloney done-deal committee that approved the move, saying: "[I]t's about time we stepped up to help the city's largest employer."

Yes, dear, your putting the city government into bankruptcy for them wasn't enough.

And so now discussion turns to the design of the new span. Behind closed doors in a series of unpublicized charrettes, with the help of design experts Randy Gragg, Jim Francesconi, and Matt Brown, city transportation officials have reportedly decided on a basic design. There'll be a year or so of fake public hearings, ostensibly seeking input on the layout, but word from PDOT is that it's pretty much a done deal. Here's the first computer simulation to leak out of City Hall; it looks pretty authentic to me.

Comments (23)

My question is: How many jobs will they create in Florida after this bridge is built?

The light rail will run to the airport, and from there it's only two flights and eight hours to Florida.

What's depressing is that not only can't we in close-in SE count on a streetcar to downtown, but even if we got something better than abysmal bus service, a streetcar down Hawthorne would connect to the useless east side loop, we'd now be routed through South Waterfront. A short hop across the river instead becomes an ordeal.

Full disclosure: I took the streetcar to 1st Thursday in the Pearl. An absolutely crowded, miserable ride. What's sad is this streetcar is turning people away from mass transit, while TriMet can't afford to add buses while it co-sponsors "developer oriented transit".

After more than five years of study of several river crossings, then Katz and company deciding of the Caruthers crossing, we now have Katz and OHSU now deciding again three years later that it should be moved a whole world south.

Katz and Co. now claims that they didn't know about the SoWhat development. What?

Another fine example of CoP, Metro, and Trimet planning. How nice.

Latest SE Examiner says East side is getting trolley lines on both Belmont and Hawthorne.

A net zero carbon bus is relatively easy. A net carbon trolley? Not so much.

Frequent bus service would shorten most riders' trip times. The trolley, as Frank points out, not so much.

A bus system can have its technology upgraded incrementally and easily. A trolley? Not so much.

I am imagining the thoughts of Belmont and Hawthorne shopkeepers. Putting the lines up Belmont and Hawthorne would be like putting them up 23rd.

Belmont has only one lane of traffic each way. Talk about a nuking a neighborhood. OMG.

even if we got something better than abysmal bus service

I just rode from Grand and Stark up to NE MLK and Dekum on the number 6. It was plenty fast enough for me...nothing abysmal about it at all...if I needed to go any faster, I would have drove or called one of my co-workers for a taxi ride.

Does anyone have any compelling explanation as to why streetcars are "better" than buses ? Is it simply because the coal-fired power plants required to run them belch their pollution into the atmosphere remotely, far away from where Portlanders have to see it ?

I ask again, does anyone have any non-biased, solid figures on how much fuel streetcars burn per passenger mile as compared to the "abysmal" bus lines they would replace ?

"Solid figures"? In Portland "planning"? Bwaaaaahahahahahaaaah.

Does anyone have any compelling explanation as to why streetcars are "better" than buses ?
JK: Simple:
Streetcars generate millions of taxpayer dollars for favored contractors, unions, bankers, developers.
A percentage of those dollars return as campaign donations.

Buses do not.

Thanks
JK

Fun fact from an obscure CAC meeting:

The light rail through the SoWhat will be ABOVE grade. 15', if I recall. This is to build a whole new pedestrian environment above those filthy cars at ground level. And to allow raising the ground level to avoid flooding.

I suspect that this is not in the budget (just a guess, mind you.)

Thanks
JK

Oh, I forgot to mention that the proposed I5 & toy train through Hayden Island will also be above grade. Possibly on a fill. 15' high.

BTW the Columbia Crossing Draft Environmental Impact Statement is now on line at the CRC web site.
Being out of touch planners, they posted it ONLY in chapters, so you have to download a whole gaggle of files to get the whole thing: drafteis.columbiarivercrossing.org/Default.aspx?SectionID=2

Or you can get the whole DEIS, with appendix, in one 64 meg file from PortlandFacts.com

Here is the fun part.
The above only gets the DEIS and appendix.
There are also 5000+ pages of technical reports on the CD that they give out. I still haven’t sorted out how many are on the CRC web site, but I put the entire sub directory from their CD, at PortlandFacts in a single 400 meg zip file (don’t even try this on dial up).

Or you can drop by their office and get up to three free CDs, each with a nice little booklet about the project. Or you can buy a paper copy for $50.00. It did not look thick enough to include those 5000 pages of technical reports - that would be ½ a case of paper, about 10" thick (with double sided printing.)

Thanks
JK

Seems ridiculous to keep dreaming up these big expensive projects when the city can't even take care of the crappy roads we have now. There are streets in my hood that are not even paved - no sidewalks either. Don't these folks realize we are in a recession? Haven't they taken a look at Jack's city debt meter? They just keep charging up the credit card without considering the consequences. Vera Katz, haven't you done enough damage already?

Historically buses have been considered a lower class of mass transit than trolley's, street cars, light rail etc.

Take NYC, buses are clean, relatively fast you get a great view but most folks earning more than minimum wage don't ride them.

Same is true in Portland, people (myself included) who once lived in Vancouver loathed riding the bus but would have welcomed light rail.

Anyone else notice this considerable prejudice of the middle and upper economic classes against bus transit?

I ride the bus a lot, and it depends on where you ride, whether or not you see middle to upper income riders. There are plenty of those on the west-side commute. On the east side? Not so much!

Who is it that has less credibility than Vera?

The destruction in Vera Katz's wake is unequalled.
She could not have been more incompetent and remains to day as a detrimental influence on all things public policy that she touches.

Between her CIMCAM assault on public education and contribution to the OHSU/City insolvency the only rail we need is one that runs her out of the state.

Before she does do more damage.

The insanity of continuing business as usual, with more developer oriented rail transit, in the face of a mounting fiscal malaise and multiple boondoggle flops is proof positive our planning establishement is fully dysfunctional and without any grasp of reality or honesty.

"There are streets in my hood that are not even paved - no sidewalks either."

Now there is a good question here. Does anyone remember when the "City" paid to pave a street and/or put in sidewalks from the general fund? As opposed to have the adjacent property owners do it through an LID? I worked for the City for almost 30 years and my understanding is that is has been forever since the City paid for streets and sidewalks out of general tax dollars. If they ever did.

The reason I am asking is that people here seem to assume that if the City didn't build these major transit projects there would be money to pave local streets so I am wondering well did the City ever do that? If so where did the money come from?

Greg C

Having done my MPA thesis on funding transportation infrastructure in Portland pver the last century...the truth is we've done it a hundred different ways. Early on there little or no city overhead charged to projects, even LIDs. Nowadays the LID Fund pays overhead to the General Fund...so included in the cost of a local improvement is a share of General Fund expenses.

Many streets get built or heavily subsidized with PDC urban renewal funds, or System Development charges that don't stay in the neighborhood in which they're necessarily collected.

It's complicated with no simple answer as to who exactly has paid for what.

The story I have been told - many times - is that the city NEVER puts in the streets and sidewalks, that has "always" been paid for by developers. Many parts of the city were built long before annexation, and county development codes apparently didn't require paved streets and sidewalks. The ciy then annexed these areas - and most of those streets still remain unpaved. I have also been told that he city won't pay from the general fund or the transportation fund to improve these substandard roads because "it wouldn't be fair" to all those who paid for THEIR roads through development fees. So now my kid has to ride his bike or walk through muddy pockmarked trails, and walk in the street, instead of on a sidewalk because it just would'nt be fair to developers otherwise.

By the way - Sam the Tram's transportation fee was supposed to pay to pave these streets and put in sidewalks - which is one reason that I support it.

Ah, since this is your area of expertise, Mr Dufay, surely you have had at least a passing glance at estimates of how much fuel streetcars burn per passenger mile, no ?

It would be a pretty simple extrapolation from kilowatt hours or whatever on to percent of PDX power supplied from various sources. Our tax dollars would at least fund passing glances in this direction, I would hope.

"It's complicated with no simple answer as to who exactly has paid for what."

And that makes it possible for Sam Adams to make any claims he dreams up and avoid paying for streets and sidewalks with available resources.

Trusting him with the new millions from a new fee is a lesson in bad memory and rewards Adams for his deceit and mismanagement.

I think that the City should spend more time and money building bridges for "alternative modes."

Oh wait, that's *all* they spend their time and (our) money on.

Earth to City: I don't want to ride a bike. Me and most of the people I know want to drive. If things are nearby, I walk.
This has to be the only American city with an explicit policy of making 90% of its citizens miserable so that they'll be forced to do something they don't want to do.

"This has to be the only American city with an explicit policy of making 90% of its citizens miserable so that they'll be forced to do something they don't want to do."

And then being told it's for your own good and it makes your livability better.

Insanity

Move the Savie Island bridge next to the Sellwood bridge and attach it. let the bikes use the old one and the cars use the new one.


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