Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.

For old times' sake
The bojack bumper sticker -- only $1.50!

To order, click here.

Excellent tunes -- free! And on your browser right now. Just click on Radio Bojack!

E-mail us here.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 13, 2010 5:58 PM. The previous post in this blog was Plastic on the beach -- not just ugly. The next post in this blog is Blazer playoff picture. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



Law and Taxation
How Appealing
TaxProf Blog
Mauled Again
Tax Appellate Blog
A Taxing Matter
Josh Marquis
Native America, Discovered and Conquered
The Yin Blog
Ernie the Attorney
Above the Law
The Volokh Conspiracy
Going Concern
Bag and Baggage
Wealth Strategies Journal
Jim Hamilton's World of Securities Regulation
World of Work
The Faculty Lounge
Lowering the Bar
OrCon Law

Hap'nin' Guys
Tony Pierce
Parkway Rest Stop
Along the Gradyent
Dwight Jaynes
Bob Borden
Dingleberry Gazette
The Red Electric
Iced Borscht
Jeremy Blachman
Dean's Rhetorical Flourish
Straight White Guy
As Time Goes By
Dave Wagner
Jeff Selis
Alas, a Blog
Scott Hendison
The View Through the Windshield
Appliance Blog
The Bleat

Hap'nin' Gals
My Whim is Law
Lelo in Nopo
Attorney at Large
Linda Kruschke
The Non-Consumer Advocate
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place
A Pig of Success
Attorney at Large
Margaret and Helen
Kimberlee Jaynes
Cornelia Seigneur
And Sew It Goes
Mile 73
Rainy Day Thoughts
That Black Girl
Posie Gets Cozy
Cat Eyes
Rhi in Pink
Ragwaters, Bitters, and Blue Ruin
Rose City Journal
Type Like the Wind

Portland and Oregon
Isaac Laquedem
Rantings of a [Censored] Bus Driver
Jeff Mapes
Vintage Portland
The Portlander
South Waterfront
Amanda Fritz
O City Hall Reporters
Guilty Carnivore
Old Town by Larry Norton
The Alaunt
Bend Blogs
Lost Oregon
Cafe Unknown
Tin Zeroes
David's Oregon Picayune
Mark Nelsen's Weather Blog
Travel Oregon Blog
Portland Daily Photo
Portland Building Ads
Portland Food and
Dave Knows Portland
Idaho's Portugal
Alameda Old House History
MLK in Motion

Retired from Blogging
Various Observations...
The Daily E-Mail
Saving James
Portland Freelancer
Furious Nads (b!X)
Izzle Pfaff
The Grich
Kevin Allman
AboutItAll - Oregon
Lost in the Details
Worldwide Pablo
Tales from the Stump
Whitman Boys
Two Pennies
This Stony Planet
1221 SW 4th
I am a Fish
Here Today
What If...?
Superinky Fixations
The Rural Bus Route
Another Blogger
Mikeyman's Computer Treehouse
Portland Housing Blog

Wonderfully Wacky
Dave Barry
Borowitz Report
Stuff White People Like
Worst of the Web

Valuable Time-Wasters
My Gallery of Jacks
Litterbox, On the Prowl
Litterbox, Bag of Bones
Litterbox, Scratch
Ride That Donkey
Singin' Horses
Rally Monkey
Simon Swears
Strong Bad's E-mail

Oregon News
The Oregonian
Portland Tribune
Willamette Week
The Sentinel
Southeast Examiner
Northwest Examiner
Sellwood Bee
Mid-County Memo
Vancouver Voice
Eugene Register-Guard
OPB - Portland
Salem Statesman-Journal
Oregon Capitol News
Portland Business Journal
Daily Journal of Commerce
Oregon Business
Portland Info Net
McMinnville News Register
Lake Oswego Review
The Daily Astorian
Bend Bulletin
Corvallis Gazette-Times
Roseburg News-Review
Medford Mail-Tribune
Ashland Daily Tidings
Newport News-Times
Albany Democrat-Herald
The Eugene Weekly
Portland IndyMedia
The Columbian

The Beatles
Bruce Springsteen
Joni Mitchell
Ella Fitzgerald
Steve Earle
Joe Ely
Stevie Wonder
Lou Rawls

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Burnside-Couch "couplet" -- traffic from hell

Commuters who used to glide into downtown Portland from points east on Sandy Boulevard and Burnside Street are finding the new routing onto Couch very much not to their liking. "I have never been so angry about traffic in all my life," one reader complained to us today. What can I say, pal? This is Portland. Go by streetcar.

Comments (18)

Oh man, I was riding my bike down Sandy into downtown from NE the other day and out of nowhere realized there was a city block in my way. I knew it was coming, but not *that* quickly. I'm not sure what the long-term effects will be, but it's not going to be good. The E Burnside, 12th, Sandy intersection was never a picnic, but the new situation is just terrible.

They kept harping on how bad that intersection was, but when you have a diagonal like Sandy, those things happen. You could have helped it a number of other ways, but the real objective here was to give real estate away to the developer weasels.

Bad traffic is a feature, not a bug.

The thing about that intersection was that it sucked, but once you were through it, life was good. Now the intersection is gone, but everything else sucks.

There are plenty of us in the Central Eastside community that know the real objective behind this crazy-ass couplet: it was a key component to gaining exposure to PDC's "signature" project, Burnside Bridgehead by routing tons of traffic through the site on Couch, then back onto the bridge. Opus even made completion of couplet funding a key point in their negotiation with PDC...Well, with a crashed economy we all know how that turned park, track?

Now PDC's white elephant has truly become everyone else's more ways that just incinerating tax dollars.

I happened to drive down here for the first time today, and if you havent had the opportunity to drive down here yet your in luck:


I read somewhere several years ago that an advanced phase of traffic calming and livable neighborhood engineering involved practically barricading neighborhoods to severely restrict private vehicle use and only allow mass transit, bicycle, and foot traffic, sort of like 'checkpoints'.

At the time I thought to myself 'they can't do that', but perhaps through construction projects that make as much sense as adding another addition to the Winchester Mystery House, that's exactly what we're witnessing.

Now if I could only somehow make enough to pay the mortgage for my luxury condo box by simply walking to my job at the Starbucks or resale boutique around the corner...

It's too bad - I liked Portland, but it appears to be a privately run urban theme park unwittingly funded by hapless taxpayers, and only for those who can afford the price of admission (white with $$... hey! maybe that's another design feature to 'make our streets safe for pedestrians and cyclists').

Go by couplet!

As a daily rider of the 20 bus that used to go down Burnside into downtown, it adds a good 10 minutes to my ride.

That is my neck-o-the woods Jack. Two things are clear: We can no longer get to or from SE Portland via Sandy; and now Stark, Gleason, and NE/SE 28th are clogged from everyone trying to avoid it. I used to love Hippo Hardware but, alas, it is now locked in a lost triangle never to be found again. I just can't see too many people lugging home an old fixture on the bus or by bike.


What do you mean you can't get to/from SE via Sandy? It's routed around one block:

I didn't make it to downtown today, but the last couple of days I drove down Burnside, went around to Couch and back to Burnside. It wasn't a big deal. In fact, compared to waiting at the intersection of 12th/sandy/burnside, getting that red light at least once if not twice, then getting the next red light at 8th or 9th (near that paper store on the corner) its more efficient. Maybe by bus its a little slower--though an additional 10 minutes is really hard to believe--by car it seems fine.

To my eye, the biggest difference by far is the increased real estate value of every single piece of property on Couch that the couplet now drives along. I'd driven down Couch maybe half a dozen times the last 12 months (mostly when that intersection was backed up and I was trying a shortcut that always ending up taking more time). Now I will drive by it and see the businesses there a couple of hundred times a year. Those businesses now have a LOT more visibility and will probably have a lot more foot traffic in their stores.

As far as everything after that intersection sucking (David J.), my experience was get through the intersection and all the rest of the traffic lights were timed such that I didn't stop once until I came to Grand--then I was on the bridge and everything was the same as its always been.

AE, I agree with increasing real estate values everywhere. We should make all streets one-way with couplets to increase value. Value is where it's at.

Neighborhoods are secondary, maybe last.

Congestion of couplets is good because it slows down vehicles so they can look into story windows, consider stopping for an item. Getting home 30 minutes later missing your child's soccer game for commerce is great. Spread the traffic around and have a light at every intersection. Slow it down. Idling cars means business...well, pollution too.

As a Westmoreland resident who uses 99E a lot, I think it's great because it helps with one of the formerly most annoying features of going to & from NE via Sandy: before, I couldn't easily hang a left onto MLK (or 7th, or 12th, or anything sensible going south) without being all the way up by Lloyd Center. Now I can cruise down Couch and turn left on MLK with no problem.

I'm hoping it also makes turning left off Burnside (as you're going east) easier, but I haven't tried that yet.

Also, I've lived in Portland 14 years now so I got used to that intersection long ago, but I do remember almost getting in an accident early on by trying to drive east from Burnside and not realizing I wasn't supposed to head for Sandy like the other cars. Signage didn't completely address the sheer unpredictable insanity.

The construction is a drag, though.

Do you drive to downtown from Burnside? If yes, now that Couch is open, does it take you longer?

It has been my route to work for 8 years now. It used to take me approximately 11-14 minutes from my house to the office (primarily depending on the intersection at 12th). I will time it today, but I don't think it will take me any more time-it certainly won't take 41-44 minutes as you suggest.

The slower speed I have noticed the last 4-6 weeks is because of the construction; I don't think that will carry through once the construction is over.

As to the increasing land value along Couch, I think that is more of a residual effect than a purposeful one. But either way, all of its seems like a positive to me:
- safer intersection
- no noticeable effect on commuter time
- new visibility to Central Eastside businesses.

I don't get why anyone would be bent out of shape about any of that. I can see people questioning the cost of doing the work and being funky about the commute during the construction. But not moaning about the end result as it relates to commuting because its at the least the same if not better.

I don't commute that way but I've lived on the east side of the river for 55 years so I've been through the interesection a few times. It's tough for me to believe that these changes will lead to an equal commute time for those who commute that way.

For me the weird pre-construction design just wasn't broken enough to justify the expense of making this change. I thought we were supposed to be keeping Portland Weird. I'm not normally a conspiracy theorist, but I think there has to be another motive for this project. It may not be the one being talked about on this blog, but there's got to be something.

My commute times today were:

7:51 am - 8:03 am = 12 minutes

6:28 pm - 6:40 pm = 12 minutes

My commutes are basically identical than they were pre-construction of the couplet. Are other people noticing something different now that the work is basically complete?

I drive from the NE (32nd St) into downtown daily.

Going in on Couch is a breeze now that the construction on that direction is done. Smooth roadway, synchronized signals, drops you right on the bridge. It is great. Faster than my previous drive, by a couple of minutes.

Coming back on Burnside remains a pain, because they are still working on that direction. When that work is done, I think the east bound direction will be a breeze too.

So far, looks to me like this Eastside couplet is working just fine. It will free up much of the width of Burnside for wider sidewalks, parking without getting sideswiped, riding without getting sideswiped, etc.

I'm looking forward to the Westside couplet. Burnside is currently a sluggish pain in the you know what, and ugly to boot, it needs this improvement.

I live in the area, and it already way better than it was before.. it is still under construction (burnside), you can get to hippo and SE just fine, this project has been in the works for over a decade, quite acting like it is some underhanded deal for developers. That intersection was dangerous and annoying... so far fro what I have seen it an improvement.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

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
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
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
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
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
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
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: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
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

Clicky Web Analytics