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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 2, 2010 6:30 AM. The previous post in this blog was Even the Reaganites are gagging. The next post in this blog is What's the poop (besides toxic)?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Taking on the L.O. streetcar

Somebody with money -- it's not clear who just yet -- is starting to rally the troops against the proposed streetcar from Portland to Lake Oswego. The key arguments against this project are simple economics, but you can almost smell the Dunthorpe neighbors who like their yards and mansions just the way they are -- nice and quiet.

The opponents have hired p.r. operative Len Bergstein, who doesn't usually work for peanuts, and he reports:

[T]he 45 day public comment process kicks off with the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement [scheduled for September 27] and then a series of votes for a locally preferred alternative ["LPA"], beginning with the City of Lake Oswego and working up to Metro.
Good times in the forecast. Go get 'em, bluebloods!

Comments (23)

This has been predictable from the day it was proposed. The dunthorpeans boughttheir Houses fully aware of the rr riGht of way in their backyards. It is a little hard to see how they could suddenly not realize that It mightnot be repurposed for some other rr-related purpose some day in the future. I want a max line from my house to PSU.

If not used for light rail, it would make a great bicycle route, tunnel, trestle, and all. After biking on Highway 43 (once!) I can say that it would be greatly appreciated and used.

You would think the Dunthorpians would much rather have a bicycle path than a railway running by their houses. However, my understanding is that a lot of the deeds for the right of way include a reversion if the land isn't used for rail purposes, and that the Dunthorpe snobs would take back the property and kill a bicycle proposal too.

Kind of takes away any sympathy I might have had for them.

Maybe the Dunthorpe types saw what a great development tool for E Burnside MAX is and took note.

NIMBY's!

Not bad. Maybe this should be the mandatory sentence for cityhall and its workers. They must live in a highrise Condo on the outskirts of the Milwaukee light rail line, and ride this line into Portland everyday and pay the full per unit cost of the ride and the shelter. If you go'n to talk, let's see u do the walk. No More living out at Hayden Island and driving your truck around, Sammy.

What would it take for a similar effort to oppose and stop....yes STOP!.....Milwaukie light rail? No snobs here....just a flat-ass broke fed/state/regional/city government bank account. As this criminally insane choo-choo chugs along, they're gonna start digging and building unless someone steps up. It must not be allowed to continue.

Must be a mind-bending conflict of emotions between antipathy for public rail transit, on the one hand, and populist animus for the landed gentry, on the other.

You realize this (probably) means you're on the same team as LLP now, right?

All of us have to remember that the proposed Oswego line distance and affect is much more than the Dunthorpe portion. The line affects all the distance from SoWhat, through Johns Landing, all of Powers Park clear to Military Rd.-over 4 1/2 miles. Then you have 3/4 miles through Dunthorpe, then back to the lower reaches of Lake Oswego into the downtown area, adding another two miles. Many of us in the areas outside of Dunthorpe also are, in many ways, adversely affected.

Having a trolley down 43 (Macadam) in the Johns Landing area would severely slow traffic even more. In many cases residences are a mere five feet from the actual trolley rails. There are numerous track crossings without crossing protection for safety. With the 43% crime increase with the new light rail to Clackamas, there is the logical conclusion what that could mean for this area.

Widening 43 at a few of the present pinch points, then adding rapid express buses makes more sense as well as economic sense.

Widening 43 at a few of the present pinch points, then adding rapid express buses makes more sense as well as economic sense.

Whoa, baby! Sense? Economic sense? That's crazy talk around these parts.

Rail Transit advocate says TIF no good & calls for public votes on MLR and CRC Light Rail


http://deadhorsetimes.blogspot.com/2010/08/tax-increment-financning-and-transit.html

And this long time rail advocate says forget light rail to Vancouver


http://portlandtransport.com/archives/2010/07/crc_independent_1.html

August 1, 2010 5:47 PM
Just Saying Says:
I think it may be time for transit advocates to rethink how important getting light rail across the river really is.
The "future" in Vancouver does not look promising for any extension beyond downtown. There appears to a be a substantial number of people in Vancouver who don't want their community to be an extension of Portland. Whether that is realistic or not, light rail has become a symbol of that and it appears that the area is committed to NOT extending light rail.
In light of that, it seems that it makes the most sense to simply do a better job of managing the traffic on the existing bridges and leave their replacement for the future. Hopefully it will become clear which makes the most sense, extending Vancouver's BRT to Portland or Portland's Light rail to Vancouver. I think extending light rail to Haydn Island at some point would be a good idea either way.
But given the region's other transportation needs, getting light rail to Vancouver seems like a very low priority."


The same applies to Milwaukie Light Rail.

The only thing that makes the money in LO relevant is they will get a say in what gets rammed down their throats out there.
The taxpayers have voted LR down what...three times? They build it anyway. But I bet that doesnt happen out in LO. Why? Because the money from LO gets people elected.

As for Vancouver, didn't the mayor over there recently say that he was for getting LR over the river no matter what the voters say?

Funny how the politicans listen to voters in some localities and not others....

Go by government fiat (and I ain't talking about the car here)

When you find someone that want's a MAX line in their back yard, make sure you get their name. TriMet needs a poster child.

Wht not water taxis from Lake O and Milwaukie? Buy no land, and cooler than a train any day.

The line terminates in Lake Oswego near Albertsons. Too bad it doesn't go a little further so that Marylhurst students can take advantage of it. I'd think they'd be more likely to use it than most of the wealthy homeowners in Lake O.

Link to Metro Site on the Project

Tom,
Great idea and have thought it would be a good solution in transportation. Have enjoyed the Seattle ferry system. Could also have a ferry serving breakfast and coffee and a neat trip from Vancouver to Portland as well. Wouldn't need that expensive bridge?

Why hasn't this happened in our river city?

It seems to me some entrepreneurs have wanted to do this. This seems like such a natural for our area, why not?

Does anyone else have the story about some attempts made several years ago on some water transportation?

I imagine there are other vested interests that would not benefit. Are the elected officials tied in too closely with the light rail crowd?

Extending the Streetcar to Johns Landing - specifically to Willamette Park and the OPB campus - makes sense. It's using an existing right-of-way that is compatible with surrounding uses, could be used for low cost (however we know the City, Metro, and TriMet will gold-plate it at 10x the needed cost), and doesn't involve costly construction, utility relocations, etc.

South of Willamette Park, the line makes no sense no matter how you slice it. You have zero transit oriented development potential - it's like the Green Line or the Milwaukie MAX. Built because it's "rail", not because of any overriding need. The current bus system is well under capacity - whatever happened to spending money where it's needed - on bus lines that are overcrowding, have reliability issues, and need the investment? The 35 is actually one of TriMet's most reliable bus routes (schedule-wise) - and was never a Frequent Service bus line. Lake Oswego has limited transit opportunities.

And we're talking about a railroad route that is not sufficient for double-tracking; a line that passes right through the driveways and entryways of peoples' homes (in some cases, within ten-fifteen feet from the front door; and where residents must cross the tracks just to get their mail!). It's barely adequate for a slow speed tourist trolley that must pass these areas "at restricted speed, prepared to stop". A Streetcar will likely need to travel at 25-35 MPH (the mechanical top speed of a Streetcar is about 40-45 MPH, and the operational top speed - from the Marquam Bridge to Gibbs - is 35 MPH). That means that the Streetcar will have to slow down to a crawling pace through these neighborhoods.

There is a movement within Washington, DC, to regulate light rail (which includes Streetcar) systems by the federal government (currently the states, and in Oregon ODOT, regulates these systems). Imagine, having to install full-on railroad crossing signals (at $50,000 each) for someone's front walkway. Imagine, a $200,000 set of lights, bells, and gates for someone's driveway - and going off every 7-10 minutes, all day long. Right now, there is one "Wig-Wag" signal in use on the trolley line (there's a second one further north at the Macadam Bay marina) that is comparatively unobstrusive, but wig-wag signals are now prohibited for new installs and in general should be removed. The trolleys are also required to stop, and allow the signal to function for at least 10-20 seconds before proceeding through. Timewise, the bus sounds really good.

If...it's decided to buy out some of these homes - the homeowners have a right to be bought out at market price. These are multi-million dollar homes. Why should a Streetcar project be used to bailout these homeowners - out of the pockets of bus riders (regionwide) who will have to cover the cost of Portland/Lake Oswego's pet project?

We don't need another Streetcar. The bus works fine. If you think you're "too good" for the bus...then pay up (for the Streetcar - full cost, no taxpayer subsidy) or shut up and deal with traffic (while it doesn't exist).

Eric H., when did OPB become a campus? It's only a two story building with a parking lot. But I guess by calling it a "campus" you add significance. This must be another Planner's lingo perpetuated by Sam.

"Extending the Streetcar to Johns Landing - specifically to Willamette Park and the OPB campus - makes sense."

Sense according to what? Because the Park and OPB is there?

That is not making sense.

What's the point of running it down there?

Money does not necessarily buy political influence. If so, then LO would not be supporting this stupidity. It is the mayor and councilors following the guidance of city "staff" (read planners!). The mayor, Jack Hoffman, has been drooling to make over LO in Portland's image, and the councilors are followers not leaders. Rumor has it that Hoffman's law firm handles the co. that manufactures Portland's rail cars, but I think the political hacks in this town are set on making their mark with a mini-SoWa that includes light rail even if it isn't wanted by their constituents. November elections may change the political landscape in LO.

Re the animus toward those with money and big homes -- there are still plenty of us with average or less than average houses in LO, and we would be nuts to complain about our wealthier neighbors. Over the years, I have found that wealthy people like to live in beautiful areas, have good public services (police that come out for a lost dog!)and healthy public schools. Envy would be stupid. Why not try to get Pdx to concentrate on what matters -- excellent basic services. Were not perfect, and the light rail and Foothills development ideas are examples of that.

I am glad I am old! I won't have to pay taxes for this s*#t much longer!

Ben, I think I've figured out why Eric wants to extend the SoWhat trolley to Willamette Park and OPB. The Parks Bureau wants to turn the parking in Willamette Park into a park-and-ride and collect the revenue. This makes sense after they recently folded to Randy's taking of a large chunk of the Park for a new water bureau pumping station right near the south tennis courts and soccer fields. Parks Bureau did this for a little cash infusion from the Water Bureau.

Parks Bureau new motto on their trucks is "Parks for Cash"

We are in dangerous times because with all our debt the city will do anything for cash.


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