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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 10, 2008 6:46 AM. The previous post in this blog was Stand back, stand back. The next post in this blog is And now that it's your birthday. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why the SmartPark garages are rotting: "It's the streetcars"

In response to our story of yesterday concerning the rehab project that's needed on the crumbling Portland SmartPark garages, an alert reader points out:

The setup used to be that the operating costs of the parking garages was covered by the parking fees, which included a budgeted reserve for capital maintenance.

However, that cash flow was tapped to fund the city's share of streetcar funding. Check on it. It follows the city strategy of letting the taxpayers' assets, which we paid taxes for, rot, while the O & M money and fees are drained off for "revenue bonds," pledged with the cash flow of fees so they don't have to go to the voters, to approve the toys for developers.

Meanwhile, the streetcar juggernaut rolls on. A friend here in the 'hood sends along an e-mail message he recently received from his neighborhood association urging him to help pick yet more streetcar routes for the northeast quadrant of the city:

Please consider taking a brief survey from Portland Department of Transportation on the scope of an expanded streetcar system. Draft proposals show it all around northeast -- now is your chance to help shape the project.

The survey is at [link]; for more information look at the plan on the web at [link].

When you head over to the survey, and scroll down, you see what the streetcar is all about. And it ain't public transportation; it's developer greed:

Successful streetcar corridors need to:
1. Be a viable transit option with adequate ridership
2. Have redevelopment potential
3. Demonstrate community support to make the changes necessary for a successful streetcar corridor
There it is, right in good old no. 2 (appropriately named): In order to be successful, a streetcar has to go where there's redevelopment potential. In other words, down a bombed-out street like MLK (one of the potential streetcar routes on this map), where the city's bought up most of the property, let it go even more steeply downhill, knocked down all the buildings, and left empty lots to sit there for a decade or more. If there isn't the potential for a huge PDC handout and a quick buck for some white-shoe real estate people, a streetcar isn't a success.

Public benefit, my eye. This is all about the apartments, blatantly so.

Comments (12)

I took it.

It asked me about perceived problems with streetcars.

"They're slow and less versatile than buses, which unfortunately lack the 'coolness' factor that the CoP wants to spend my money on."

It's more than just the apartments. This is about bureaucratic and political hubris. Local politicians are determined to prove to the world that the tearing out of the old stretcar lines in the post-WWI era was a mistake, and that Portland can lead the way back to a "sustainable" transportation system because we're smarter than everyone else, and we care a lot. The same can be said of the light rail crusade. Meanwhile, our road system, which is what people actually use, is falling apart.

I absolutely love how the current policy-makers decry how Robert Moses came to town in the 1950s and planned a freeway network that "carved up" Portland, and now they're doing the exact same thing with snail-cars.

Why in the name of sweet baby Jesus would I want to ride a 12 mph streetcar all the way down Sandy Blvd stopping at every red light, and stopping in-between to not pick up passengers? Is this 1920 or 2020 we're planning for?

We will probably ride the streetcar when gas is at $24/gallon and Portland is riding high with a network of electrified rail run on cheap electricity from Salmon-free rivers. Traffic will have dwindled, and streetcars will be much faster than walking/biking. Urban and regional transportation planning is not done with a 5-year outlook, but a 50 to 100 year outlook. Oil supplies are dwindling, and buses are not immune to peak oil (ask Trimet).

Ethan,
That your'e funnier than Bill!

You were kidding, right?

3. Demonstrate community support

Yeah right. I'm sure they'll be losing sleep over community support. They'll run this thing down Alberta for sure. Traffic flow will be non-existent for at least a year. Street parking will be eliminated. More space will go to the inevitable bike lanes. And then will have this wonderful slow-moving tank rumbling down the street doing EXACTLY what a bus could do without all the disruption and expense.

A streetcar compromise:
http://www.optimabus.com/streetcar.php

How much are drivers paying to subsidize bicyles, walking, streetcars, buses and the MAX? Is this reasonable? Anybody know a good class action lawyer?

(And yes, I ride my bikes also, sometimes the bus or MAX but rarely the streetcar. And on the bike or motorcycle I hate those tracks in the street.)

EXACTLY what a bus could do

Exactly what a bus already does. The Alberta bus is quite frequent. But it doesn't sell crap apartments.

MachineShedFred Is this 1920 or 2020 we're planning for?
JK: 1920!
Sam is planning for 1920. He said so in his city club speech. See it at: PortlandFacts.com/Vid/Adams-PortlandCirca1920.wmv

This is THE big payoff for all the fatcats (developers, consultants and Greens) that have bankrolled Sam and his former puppet master, Katz, for years. It is also his sellout to the green idiots (as opposed to genuine envornalists) who want to destroy modern civilization. Here is what on of their leaders said: “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t our responsibility to bring that about?” (Maurice Strong, UN official, big wig in the global warming scare.)

Ethan: We will probably ride the streetcar when gas is at $24/gallon
JK: If we do, it won’t because of the cost. Driving will still be cheaper. Do the math: Portland streetcars cost $1.67 per passenger-mile. For a 50 mpg car to cost that much gas would have to get to around $75/gal. Of course most of us would be driving 100 mpg or higher vehicles, making the car cheaper until over $150/gal. (I guarantee that, at prices far below that, there will be endless supplies of oil if the greens and their fellow travelers don’t stop it.)

Then there is the plug in hybrid that can run oil free for the first few miles each day. As batteries get better, that oil free portion will become longer, eventually only needing oil for trips to the beach or Seattle. To think we will choose to live in Homer’s holes and take crime infested toy trains simply shows what deluded fools Portland Planners really are. (once again)

Further evidence is that Europeans have been driving for years with $5/gal. - about 78% of European travel is by car. European transit share has been falling for years. (Yes the planners lied to us about this too.) See: PortlandFacts.com/Transit/EuroTranistShareLoss.htm

Ethan: and Portland is riding high with a network of electrified rail run on cheap electricity from Salmon-free rivers.
JK: Actually most of future electricity will come from coal which emits mercury, uranium and thorium into the air. Unless the greens allow nukes. And we will be driving our electric cars, not taking toy trains.

Ethan: Urban and regional transportation planning is not done with a 5-year outlook, but a 50 to 100 year outlook.
JK: That is why most planners are idiots. You cannot realistically plan even 25 years out. Lets say you are a deluded transportation planner in Los Angeles. Your duty is to figure out and plan for the first freeway to open in 1939. It is 1914 and there in no affordable car and few people own them. How do you even know that a freeway will even be required before cars become popular? That is why long range planners are fools and idiots,

Ethan Oil supplies are dwindling, and buses are not immune to peak oil (ask Trimet).
JK: Peak oil is a delusion, mainly sucking in the uneducated who do not understand basic economics.

If you paid attention in Econ 101, you would know that when prices go up two things happen:
1. Price goes up and people use less.
2. Supply goes up as it becomes profitable to open old wells, drill for new ones and ramp up new sources that used to be too expensive.

We have vast possibilities for more oil, all well proven:
1. Drill in areas put off limits by the greens.
2. Tar sands.
3. Coal to oil conversion. (Hitler ran a war machine on this process and South Africa still uses it.)

Thanks
JK

Further on Peak Oil:

It's a moving target. As the price of a barrel of oil goes up, it becomes profitable to extract oil from places that didn't pay off before. It's no secret that profit-seeking entities will always go for the low hanging fruit first. Suppose the following:

Let's say pumping oil out of the ground in the middle east costs $50/barrel.
Let's also say that extracting oil from the tar sands in Canada and the oil shale in the Dakotas costs $100/barrel.
Let's finally say that the current trading price of a barrel of oil is $80.

Under these conditions, the tar sands and oil shale aren't gonna win anyone over that wants to stay in business. Change that trading price to $140, and all of a sudden they look quite attractive to anyone that answers to a board of directors. This is already happening - due to the price of oil going up, more known reserves are becoming feasible to start using.

Oh, and those oil shales in the Dakotas, Wyoming, Utah, etc are estimated to hold somewhere around 1.5 trillion barrels of oil - roughly 5x what's under Saudi Arabia.

We may have hit Peak Oil on what's already being drilled and pumped, but we're far away from Peak Oil on the entire planet. This isn't to say we shouldn't be finding a way to stop using oil - I'm just saying that the end of civilization as we know it is not just over the next hill.


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Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
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Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
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Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
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Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
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Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
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Del Ri, Claret 2012
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Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
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Richard Adams - Watership Down
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Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
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J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
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Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
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Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 92
At this date last year: 144
Total run in 2016: 155
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In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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