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Monday, January 17, 2011

West Linn catches on

When they build a streetcar or train, they shut down the buses. (The condo hucksters love it, though.)

Comments (25)

The question which the Trib reports being asked by Kerrie Oaks is the really important one. Why would anyone drive to acar park in the Robinwood or Foothills area; get on a bur to downtown :ake O; and then get on a rail vehicle to the PDX core?

The few honest transit planners label that scenario the "two seat - three seat" problem Generally, folks who are disposed to being mass transit users will tolerate a trip that requires two seats, or two vehicles. Generally, those same folks pre disposed to being mass transit users will not tolerate a three seat trip. Rather than adapt to it, they revert to solo vehicle trips - they go back to cars.

If the OR 43 corridor is a place that will see a rise in demand for mass transit to the core city - I'm not convinced it is, as the density is not there on the south or LO / West Linn area, and the jobs are not there on the north or core city end - that can be far more cheaply and far more flexibly can be handled by buses, powered either by overhead catenary ofr bu internal combustion engines.


But streetcars look cool!

Snards -

Yep, they do. And I have a streetcar loop on the HO railroad in the basement.

I don't, however, insist on everybody else paying for my nostalgia about 19oughts and 19teens urban transit.

Try and build an apt close to MAX. They won't let you have 1 parking space per unit so they can force people onto MAX.

Of course, all that happens is that the same old run-down apts stay open and no one builds anything new.

Keep shoveling. There's got to be a pony in there.

Vernonia doesn't have a streetcar. Souuldn't that be a priority as well?

Heck, Bend does not have one and the Gov. Jeanboy has a girlfriend there! Bend to Salem, oops. Bend to Portland

PD -

Vernonia has the great good fortune of being outside the TriMet boundary and outside the City of Portland..

Judie Hammerstad, former mayor of LO sees it this way: "Streetcar is a transportation choice, especially as the cost of oil increases. It provides energy saving and reducing the carbon footprint over cars and busses. A bus does not have the same appeal."


Lake Oswegans shouldn't be expected to use the bus -- what flavor koolaid are you drinking?

And it's virtually free! "And – it is affordable. There is a federal transit program that is designed for streetcar projects..."

What's not to like here if you live in LO?

"Lake Oswegans shouldn't be expected to use the bus"

They won't take the streetcar either. Everyone thinks public transit is a good idea... for other people. Less competition on the road for one's Mercedes.

I kept wondering why all the Metro 2040 Growth maps didn't show Lake Oswego as a Station Community (communities developed along high capacity transit routes). Then I read about TODs. Confirms my thoughts that the transit precedes development, not the other way around. Where land used to be purchased at the prospect of new roads or transit stations, now the government is getting its hand in by helping to fund its preferred development mix. If West Linn needs better bus or transit service, they ought to set aside a part of town for a SoWa or Foothills development, then they can get their own streetcar!

"The Transit-Oriented Development Program provides financial incentives and uses public/private partnerships to enhance the economic feasibility of higher density mixed-use projects served by transit. The program uses site control and requests for proposals and qualifications to engage a private development partner or purchases a transit-oriented development easement on projects eligible for program funding."

I think I'll stay off of the Metro website - it only makes me feel bad.

If West Linn wants decent public transit options, they need to roll over for the developer weasels.... Just sayin'. /*Snark mode in full force*/

The fact is that TOD doesn't really happen unless the taxpayer pays for it. They tend to hold up the example of the Pearl to show how TOD "creates" all this development, but the fact is that 1) the built form in the Pearl was not a result of the streetcar, and 2) the central city just has different market dynamics than anywhere outside of the central city.

Incovenient truth:
TOD has not occurred anywhere along the MAX line, except for the few examples that used significant government subsidies, and without those subsidies, that TOD wouldn't be there.

So, the question for the taxpayers of Lake Oswego is: do you want to PAY developers to build a station area in your city?

Among other things, the people pushing these projects completely ignore the fact that transportation technology and commuting patterns are changing fast, right now. People travel to downtown to work less, and telecommute more. Also, the end of human-controlled, inefficient, slow and dangerous auto traffic is on the horizon. We already have the computing power on our wireless devices to end traffic collisions and avoid the enormous energy waste associated with braking, powering cars that are built to withstand crashes, building lots of big new roads and light rail, policing traffic, incarcerating car-related criminals, treating crash victims, etc. It's unlikely that the status quo will remain the same because these things are the key to making enormous improvements to the way we live and save a fortune at the same time. Therefore, transportation projections that rely on past gradual increases of traffic are unreliable.

Transportation engineers are aware of these issues, so when they gloss over them, they're simply being dishonest so they can build things that aren't in the public's best interest. It simply won't take an hour to get to Portland in 2040 if cars are zipping along in a single file 8-foot-wide road at 60mph. There won't even be a rush hour anymore, because people won't travel to the city to work. The light rail tracks will probably be abandoned in 20 years because the trains themselves will be comparatively inefficient, slow, dangerous, and the tracks won't go anywhere people want to go.

We're not even building a "green" city for all this money. It's beyond dumb.

Well West Linn better not rely upon their city council doing the right thing.

They don't even bother getting knowledgeable before making a decision. Instead they assume.


"West Linn City Councilor Jenni Tan spoke in support of the county’s [vehicle registration fee] contribution to the project this week.

Tan said West Linn council members “aren’t fully knowledgeable” of all county funding sources-

“-we assume that the county has explored all available means for funding its share of this project and determined that the $5 vehicle registration fee is the most fair, reasonable and practical.”

When you assume......

Metro Higgens ask us to "consider the bigger picture" on the trolley. Let' do.

PCOT's Planner Matt Brown in all the years of trolley promotion for South Waterfront URA (the north portion of subject line) claimed there would be 45% of mass transit usage in URA. Recent counts have mass transit trips at less than 17%, even at rush hour. And further analysis shows it to be even less.

In light of the above facts, trips on Hwy 43 have increased from 42,000 to 49,000 north of the Sellwood Bridge in just 10 years with a major recession. But Higgens claims that only "13 to 16 additional vehicle trips" would be added to 43 by year 2035 in rush hour if the trolley is built. That is 24 years from now! How is that possible? Unbelievable. Do we once again ignore reality and make false claims on ridership?

A month ago PDOT staff claimed in a URAC meeting that the north portion of the trolley line (Johns Landing area) that densification, increased heights, increased zoning, etc. would not occur due to the trolley. In last weeks meeting, staff claimed just the opposite. By Metro policy all mass transit types require densification, etc.. Which is it?
Does West Linn, LO or even Johns Land want this, and absorb this? I think we know.

If you do have densification in Johns Landing, Foothills, Downtown LO, 1st Addition, and even into West Linn, wouldn't traffic densification also occur, just like it has in every other built example we have in the region? And this slows everything down.

Since the preferred alignment of the trolley in Johns Landing is mostly in 43 (not along the present trolley ROW) wouldn't congestion, travel times be increased for all modes of transportation as has occurred in other parts of our metropolitan area? Sitting behind trolleys like in the Pearl, or on Lovejoy because of congestion slows all modes of transportation.

West Linners have a good point about the inconveniences of having to take two or more transportation modes; first vehicles to the park and ride, then trolley to downtown, then another trolley or light rail, then possibly a fourth, a bus to their final destination. Every time there is a transportation mode change, studies show that ridership dramatically decreases.

It is too bad that better bus service, express bus service, and Hwy 43 improvements are not being seriously considered. If people only knew how many committees, studies, governmental bodies have for several years been promoting only the trolley but claiming "we have an open process". JPACT, Metro, PDC, CoP, Clackamas Co Commission , even the LO City Council, have all been promoting only the trolley. Sorry.

Judie Hammerstad, former mayor of LO sees it this way: "Streetcar is a transportation choice, especially as the cost of oil increases. It provides energy saving and reducing the carbon footprint over cars and busses. A bus does not have the same appeal."

We are behind the times as new modern buses with wifi, etc are in the east coast and I believe the San Francisco area. Would Lake Oswego residents prefer light rail? (and with all that density that comes with it?)

Nolo / clinaman -

Sadly, the Hammerstad quote merely display's Hammerstad's ignorance of the variety of mass transit vehicles out there.

Electric powered buses, either by overhead catenary or battery) are out there and readily available. Both Seattle and Boston have large electric bus ('trackless trolley"0 systems.

The catenary powered systems have been around for a century, are readily adaptable, and use far less electricity than a light rail system. (Buses are relatively light; Max cars are heavy and a lot of juice )

Hamestad is not as well informed as she should be.


1. Lake Oswego pays for their streetcar system (and in exchange eliminates the rest of the TriMet bus system within L.O. to pay for the operating costs of the streetcar.) Need to get from downtown Lake Oswego to Lake Grove? Too bad!

2. West Linn breaks away from TriMet, forms their own transit district (to run the two current TriMet bus lines within the city), and creates their own express bus between W.L. and downtown Portland using MCI motorcoaches with wi-fi, plush seats, A/C in each coach, overhead luggage racks, reading lamps, power outlets at each seat, and other amenities. Oh, and they fund their new bus system using a payroll tax that is half the rate of TriMet's, while adding several new routes and more frequent service on the current 154-Willamette route, plus Saturday service (which currently is not offered by TriMet).

As a late-comer to the light rail fiasco - I am appalled at the extent to which bureaucrats and urban planners are re-making our society without our consent. If I knew how to fight them or escape, I might feel just a little better.


Mass Transit: The Great Train Robbery, by Joel Kotkin

Excerpt: "Ultimately we need to ask what constitutes transit's primary mission: to carry more people to work or to reshape our metropolitan areas for ever denser development. As opposed to buses, which largely serve those without access to cars, light rail lines are often aimed at middle-class residents who would also be potential buyers of high-density luxury housing. In this sense, light rail constitutes a critical element in an expanded effort to reshape the metropolis in a way preferred by many new urbanists, planners and urban land speculators."

Hamestad is not as well informed as she should be.

Me neither. What level of expertise are we requiring these days of retired politicians?

Nolot:As a late-comer to the light rail fiasco- . . .

You might be interested in the Willamette Week article.
Thank you for the Forbes article.

Gravy Train
Earl Blumenauer and the ”transportation mafia"

"What level of expertise are we requiring these days of retired politicians?"

I guess none if we continue to quote her as an expert in the piling-on process for streetcars.

To be honest, it's Oregon. I don't expect any expertise from politicians in anything beyond how to get elected.

I’ve posted this before, so from the Department of Redundancy. My LO to downtown Portland commute this morning on Hwy 43 . Left at 8, stopped at the cleaners for a quick drop off. At work at 8:30. Including one escalator and two elevator rides. That’s door to desk in 30 minutes. Happens every day. Except most days are faster.

Steve: . .To be honest, it's Oregon. I don't expect any expertise from politicians in anything beyond how to get elected.

This does seem to be the case unfortunately.
. . not only in Oregon, but appears most of Congress now sure does seem to have a handle on getting reelected as their primary purpose/job. That and working for their masters and it ain't us!

It is time to start thinking about getting new people who will work for the public interest ready for the primaries.

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