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Friday, October 28, 2011

Car haters invade Clackistan

One look at this thing, and it's easy to see that the bicycle and streetcar madness that has gripped the City of Portland over the past decade or two is spreading to the surrounding suburbs. "Take our survey!" Sure. Where every answer to every question posed points to "active transportation," which is the latest planner code for anything other than a nice, convenient car. And bike lanes on Highway 43 between Lake O. and the Sellwood Bridge! Sure to please.

There's no use fleeing Portland to get away from the Central Planning Cabal. You'll have to flee the whole state of Oregon. Maybe even get on the other side of the Continental Divide. You can bet Emilie Boyles has a car in Glendive, Montana.

Comments (31)

There's probably a federal money trough in this somewhere...

Buy an RV, live simply and just go where there's a place to park. Enjoy life. And don't buy real property! If you do they 'gotcha and you'll have to pay for expensive trains, sewers, storm water projects, street fees, leaf cleanup and of course bike lanes to everywhere and nowhere. If you live in motorhome or other RV you can shop at Goodwill to help support Mark's $700,000 salary. Go by bike! Rain, shine or snow!

Take a look at the emerging plan for the Milwaukie Light Rail station are plan
at the Perk Avenue soutnern terminus
where the county is claiming they want "local control".

It's about TriMet and Metro's objectives
and mandates with pretty drawings of 1250 housing units crammed into the small area.

There's also the ruin if McLoughlin itself with all the usual car obstructions and mayhem ever dreamed up.

That's some "local" plan they'll get to vote on if the decoy measure wins out.

The local proponents of that sham measure don't even realize they have no choice of plans.

Locals don't decide what is on the local ballot. The county commissioners do.

No UR plan that does NOT have the regional objectives included will ever reach a ballot. Local or otherwise.

Besides if the 4 commissioners really wanted local control they would not be subjecting that possibility to a county wide vote & approval.

When they could have simply passed a resolution granting local voter approval for UR.

Their intent is to thwart the citizens' initiative.

I think the thing that drives me craziest about the bike and streetcar madness is that it starts out with a relatively genial query that's hard to dispute. "Do you like cotton candy?" I have to admit that I don't hate cotton candy, and that I don't have problems with other people eating it. It's when you discover that you're expected to pay for monster cotton candy machines everywhere, and that you're expected to eat it and wear it and use it for house insulation that it gets to be ridiculous. The finale is when you say "You know, I'm getting really tired of cotton candy underwear," and the sheep start screaming "Hater! You SAID you liked cotton candy! If you don't like it, GET OUT!"

Highway 43 is a fright. Almost any change would represent an improvement. Bike lanes or dedicated bike right of way would help all users. But probably the best plan would be to turn the streetcar right-of-way into bike path.

You can take your bike on MAX, why not let people take their car on MAX? Think of the gas it would save.

Central planing was SOP in China for several decades.

I love the "active transportation" title for anything but cars. Actually, it refers to bike and pedestrian transport and their connections to mass transit, though I have yet to see any reference to busses - only rail transport is mentioned.

Check out the Metro Wins Grant to Create Active Transportation Plan info. on the website - published July 2011. The plan starts this month and will produce a Draft Recommended Plan a year from now. If you go to the bikeportland website, check out the links at the bottom of every page - also very scary.

Metro and the State of Oregon are leading the way with grants and leadership for Active Transportation. Here are the Active Transportation Council Members - no doubt you will recognize all of the names.

The bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo from every agency is filled with goals that would do away with automobiles wherever possible. Perhaps this explains the lack of funding for, or interest in road maintenance. Eventually we won't need any roads.

Somebody better tell Detroit and Exxon.

Alan is right about one thing, the streetcar route from Pdx to LO is the best alternative for a bike and pedestrian trail, but within the deed from the original rail co., it must be used for rail or revert to the property owners that adjoin the track. There is no provision for any other option except for purchase of the ROW from ALL of the homeowners.

I take exception to the notion that Hwy 43 is a fright. I have traveled that road by auto for about 45 years with no problems. There is a dedicated bike lane along Terwilliger which follows state guidelines which direct pedestrian and bike paths away from heavily used state highways onto lesser used roads. This already exists, but evidently the bicyclists want more.

Is it time to use the word we should have been using for years now? Tyranny!

As we fight against "corporate greed" in this city and region, we let ourselves be run over by those office holders we elected to prevent tyranny, yet the tyrants are now at the top of the food chain taking at will what they want from us.

I can't speak for others, but I think it is indeed time to hoist the black flag and start slitting throats... figuratively speaking of course.

I am willing to spit on my hands, are you?

This already exists, but evidently the bicyclists want more.

Quelle suprise!

Allan thinks that more bike lanes/paths would " all users.", but his viewpoint is a skewpoint - bikeomorphistic, I believe.

We're looking in the Gallatin Valley.

On the top of that web page I see pictures of light rail, cars, bikes, and cows. Are they suggesting that livestock makes an acceptable mode of transportation? Perhaps it is that the results of the survey are equivalent to what come out of those cows.

"There is a dedicated bike lane along Terwilliger which follows state guidelines which direct pedestrian and bike paths away from heavily used state highways onto lesser used roads. This already exists, but evidently the bicyclists want more."

If you go from downtown Portland to Lake O by bike, and you take Terwilliger, I think most agree it is anything but a direct route when compared to Hwy. 43. You also have a fairly significant elevation gain which scares off the casual fair weather bike commuter. In the big picture, I seriously doubt that they will find that they can do the Hwy. 43 bike lane thing without a massive expenditure, but it makes sense to at least explore the possibility of a more direct and flat route to encourage bike commuting to and from Lake O. BTW I think the streetcar is a joke/boondoggle of the highest order, and it's too bad they can't covert the old rail line into a multi-use path.

Metro could easily make the rail track into a bike path, if it become willing to condemn the reversionary rights to the track. Right now the reversionary rights aren't worth much, because of the likelihood that rail service will continue, so it should be an affordable purchase.

cc, don't you think that facilitating or encouraging or protecting people who want to travel by bike (or public transit, for that matter) benefits people who want or need to go by car? it seems to me that it clearly does.

Some folks were looking at a route that took bike riders through parts of Dunthorpe and along 43 in the wider areas. Too sensible I guess - didn't meet the intended goals of the planning council to pry people out of their cars. Now if there is a realistic way to get bike/ped rights to the trolley tracks.......

Metro could easily make the rail track into a bike path, if it become willing to condemn the reversionary rights to the track. Right now the reversionary rights aren't worth much, because of the likelihood that rail service will continue, so it should be an affordable purchase.

The problem is that if you condemn, you must purchase at market value.

Once the land reverts to the adjoining property owners, the land values WILL skyrocket.

As long as the land is encumbered with the current rail-use-only restriction, the land is worthless. And that restriction is based on federal law - not local law - as the land was granted to the Oregonian Railway by the federal government.

I don't think Metro can drop a pre-emptive strike and condemn the property before it reverts...would Metro have the right to usurp federal law?

I love the "active transportation" title for anything but cars. Actually, it refers to bike and pedestrian transport and their connections to mass transit, though I have yet to see any reference to busses - only rail transport is mentioned.

Typical Metro talk. Buses are not good. Rail is good. Buses are just as bad as automobiles.

This all goes to the "Streetcar Scandal" where General Motors (and others) allegedly conspired to buy up and shut down streetcar lines and replace them with buses. Of course, the scandal is false and based upon lies (for example, "National City Lines", the company formed by GM and the others, never owned the "Red Cars" (Pacific Electric, the L.A. Basin's interurban system) which was purchased by the newly formed government agency Metropolitan Transit Authority, which shut down the remaining Red Cars. NCL did own the "Yellow Cars" (the Los Angeles Railway, the narrow-gauge streetcar/trolley system), which lasted several years after the Red Cars stopped running.

And, Portland's streetcar/trolley/interurban system was NEVER owned by the NCL or any of its affiliates, co-owners, or other similar parties, and it abandoned its trolley system years before Los Angeles did. And that is a fact which is mentioned in the National City Lines lawsuit - that there was no conspiracy to simply shut down the streetcar systems, because other systems were being abandoned simply because they were costing too much (and that goes back to the Public Service Holding Act, which prohibited utility companies from manipulating its books by owning streetcar systems and charging inflated costs for electricity to the streetcar systems, and then subsidizing the streetcar system using ratepayer funds.)

The ONLY violation found against NCL was the anti-trust violation of forcing the NCL owned companies to buy General Motors buses (and not Mack, Kenworth, Flxible, Gillig, etc. buses.) NCL was fined $5,000 for this rather insignificant violation, and entered into a consent order in which Flxible was propped up by GM as a competitor.

Yet, the pro-rail folks like Metro continue to retell the "Streetcar Scandal" story of how General Motors shut down the Red Cars and killed off the "popular" streetcars with buses, and how the buses are bad and smell of diesel exhaust and all the other lies and half-truths...

Forget the streetcars and the MAX, but what's wrong with bike lanes on Highway 43?

Those who say "just ride up Terwilliger" must either pony up to put decent bike lanes on Taylor's Ferry to get back down to the river, or condone people riding through private property (the Riverview Cemetery).

Or maybe bicyclists should just go away. Sorry, it ain't gonna happen.

I've posted this before. It would be in the best interest of all property owners along the Portland to LO rail route to have a legal agreement where the rail use would be abandoned, the ownership would revert back to each adjoining property owner as federal law stipulates. Then property owners would transfer ownership back to the five governments associated with the present line stipulating that the alignment can only be used for a joint bike/pedestrian trail. Problem solved.

The property owners would benefit and the streetcar nuisance for property owners would be abated, and the region would gain a valuable "active transportation" route.

Everyone wins something at very little cost compared to the $475 Million for the streetcar line, the debt cost, the operating costs, and the millions of dollars that will probably be spent in legal/planning costs from both sides fighting the streetcar.

Erik, in my idea Metro would condemn the fee simple title (including the reversionary rights) subject to the existing rail easement. The value of the fee simple ownership depends on the chance that the track will cease to be used for rail. Right now that chance is very low. If some years after Metro condemns the reversionary rights, the rail use ceases, then Metro would own the fee title to the strip of land and be able to use it for a bicycle and pedestrian path.

As an alternative, Metro could condemn just the right to use the strip of land as a bike path in perpetuity, which - because of the existing rail track - would have a low value and be relatively cheap to purchase.

condone people riding through private property (the Riverview Cemetery)

The cemetery openly allows it, and besides, part of the cemetery is being taken over by local government for a public park.

If I remember my property law, what the cemetery is offering bicyclists is a license, which can be revoked at any time. And some poorly behaved bicyclists have caused the cemetery board of directors to consider such action in the past.

The portion that the city is buying is south of the cemetery and is forested/undeveloped. Carving a paved bicycle trail through the property would be quite an undertaking, and I'm sure the expense would be the object of a lot of derision and outrage. Also, it would put a rider out onto Highway 43 at a spot without bicycle lanes.

If and when the cemetery denies access, your argument might hold water. But they never have and they never will.

It would be in the best interest of all property owners along the Portland to LO rail route to have a legal agreement where the rail use would be abandoned, the ownership would revert back to each adjoining property owner as federal law stipulates. Then property owners would transfer ownership back to the five governments associated with the present line stipulating that the alignment can only be used for a joint bike/pedestrian trail.

So, if I'm a property owner that knows that I have a legal right to a piece of property that I could have a use for, how is it in my interest to just hand over the property to a government agency for use as a bike trail?

You must be in the "we should just raise our taxes because it's for the overall good" party...just because we can raise taxes, therefore we should.

Keep in mind...the folks that own this real-estate along the right-of-way probably are of the kind that:

1. Will make use of the extra real-estate, and:

2. Probably don't want a bunch of gawking bike riders (or people that occupy these trails for lack of anywhere else to go) by their homes.

Erik, in my idea Metro would condemn the fee simple title (including the reversionary rights) subject to the existing rail easement.

I don't think that's a tested process, and it would be expensive as it will be forced into federal court. And we're talking about land owners that have money to fight (and a number of them, not just one.)

I think these folks will be smart enough to know the value of the land if it were turned over to their possession and will fight tooth and nail that Metro pays them the value of the land as if it already belonged to them. And since the federal law is pretty clear that the land will belong to them if there's no active rail service, Metro will be going down.

However, Metro is going to have to face the fact that if it does use the line as a streetcar line, that its value as reported to the feds for federal financing is going to be the lower amount (since right now with railroad tracks on the land, the land is worthless - it has a $0 market value since it can't be sold and potentially could have a negative market value due to the environmental clean-up that'd be associated with an actual sale of the land, even though such a sale could not truly exist.)

As a regional taxpayer, I don't feel that I should be subjected to more taxation and reduced regional transit service to play games in court. This land is too tied up in regulation - I agree it'd make a great bike path (level grade, gets bikes off of 43, nice riverside route, the bike path from Oaks Park to OMSI is incredibly popular) but legally it should be worse than dead. There's too many other things that we need to be dealing with right now than to pay lawyers to fight this battle. We can't even run buses to many parts of our region on a usable schedule with safe, reliable buses...if we can't afford a $400,000 bus, why should we spend millions to pay for lawyers so we can eventually pay a half billion for a Streetcar line?

Erik H., you don't know me concerning your remark about my wanting to raise taxes for the overall good.

I make my proposal based on three important points. Property owners along the proposed LO streetcar would likely consider my scenario if the political reality forces on them the streetcar. I'd rather have a bike/ped trail than a streetcar.

Secondly, having the extra narrow ROW added to ones already developed property wouldn't add that much value. They also would have to pay additional property taxes if added to their property.

Third, for having this legal agreement there would be money compensation for each property owner. Having an extra $75,000 in your pocket, for example, for a 100 ft. length of OW would be better than the streetcar. $75,000 for 100 ft. would cost approximately $9 Million for 3 miles of the corridor. That is a lot less than the 1/2 $Billion for the streetcar, plus its operation/maintenance costs.

Erik, just for fun let's supposed we valued the land at its value for residential purposes. There are perhaps four miles of right-of-way through Riverwood, Elk Road, and the Fielding Road area. Suppose it's 50 feet wide on average. That's a strip of land 21,000 feet by 50 feet, or about 1,050,000 square feet, which is about 25 acres. Dunthorpe's zoning isn't very intense, and in most parts allows between 1.3 and 2.1 lots per acre, or about 40 lots if the strip were suitable for housing. At $500,000 per lot, that's a $20 million cost for the entire right-of-way to become available for a bike path.

Because individual landowners would be giving up strips of land that are too small to let them partition their lots into two lots, or to use as a separate lot, the actual value of each bit of land is a lot less -- maybe half. So that reduces the cost of the land to $10 million at the outside, even when valued without consideration for the existing rail use. I think the existing rail use would have to be taken into account -- the rail line existed long before every landowner on the line bought his or her property.

Isaac, your post and mine, points out that a $8 to $10 Million for the ROW as a bike/ped trail is feasible.

But to have the pols, bureaucrats and the uber Planners change their Mass Transit Agenda is the problem. Now they've brought in the new "active transportation" nomenclature to fool and manipulate their message.

They want both the streetcar and a major bikeway and to debilitate vehicle use which includes express bus service. Their message is becoming so confusing and hypocritical.

Of all the possible corridors in the whole region, this one is the least desirable to spend half a $Billion dollars for just streetcars serving a very low ridership.


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David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
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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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