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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Shuckin' and jivin' on Barbur Boulevard MAX

The Trib is now running Metro press releases verbatim. Here's the latest, basically a review of the show now running at the Portlandia Public Involvement Theater. It's called "Barbur Boulevard MAX," and the plot has all sorts of twists and turns:

Members of the Southwest Corridor Plan Steering Committee unanimously agreed Monday to study bus improvements and light rail for the area, which is roughly a wedge from downtown Portland to Tigard, King City, Tualatin and Sherwood....

Staffers recommended that some other options, like building a light-rail line to Sherwood, be put on the shelf. Planners left it to the steering committee to decide whether to study light rail to Tigard or Tualatin, or whether to also put that on the back burner.

Portland’s steering committee representative, planner Joe Zehnder, asked that light rail be part of the study. He said including light rail in a study with bus rapid transit would help local community members and businesses understand the difference between the two options.

And, he said, it would offer a cost comparison between bus rapid transit and light rail in areas where rights of way would have to be purchased.

Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden said a study of light rail would help the discussion about transit in the area.

You don't need a spoiler to know the ending of this drama. We're going to have another multi-billion-dollar train, crapping up vehicle movement on Barbur, because you, the public, asked for it! Honest. The cr-apartments on either side of the road, all the way to Newberg, are sure to follow.

Planners will start studying the costs and impacts of a possible transit system in the area. The study won’t single out any transit line as a preferred option, but will look at how much various transit projects would cost, how they would affect the communities of the area and how many people are likely to use them.

Oh, goody. The planners are involved. Nothing but greatness lies ahead.

Comments (14)

You don't need a spoiler to know the ending of this drama. We're going to have another multi-billion-dollar train, crapping up vehicle movement on Barbur, because you, the public, asked for it! Honest.

Clearly, this is where the next MAX train is going. So, if the good folks of Tigard and SW Portland don't want a MAX line, then NOW IS THE TIME TO SPEAK UP! Not after the state has achieved federal funding and started the building process. Take a note from the residents of Clackamas, it is very difficult to stop these MAX lines, once the county and city have received Federal funding.

They call it the back burner. I call it the primordial project swamp where plans come alive and begin to grow.
This isn't a news article.
This is just the Miracle of Life, Part 2

Metro's "2040 Plan" map has shown this as a "planned light rail" route for years, down Barbur to Tigard. It's a big red line right on the map.

Given that the fix has been in for a decade or more, the lengths and expense they go to feigning public involvement is actually pretty impressive.

Have you driven 99w to Newberg? There are already crapartments on both sides of the road, from the Terwilliger Fred Meyer to at least Sherwood.

It's very important for Tigard residents to vote "YES" on the local light rail measure. It isn't perfect but it will be a huge vote that Tigard knows light rail is not right for our community - without the city's involvement, it will likely kill light rail and focus on more reasonable bus service improvements.

Think of this: The largest transit generators along the corridor are OHSU, Multnomah Village, PCC Sylvania, Kruse Way, Bridgeport Village, and Washington Square. The proposed MAX route cannot even service half of them, unless one considers building a subway (at only $250 million a mile or more!) or a light rail line with multiple spur routes.

Frankly - we had the opportunity to build a proper light rail line, but we blew it and built WES instead. A "proper" routing could have taken a MAX line down Barbur to Burlingame, then Multnomah to Multnomah Village and Garden Home, then over to Washington Square, then downtown Tigard and ending in Tualatin - essentially calling the old Oregon Electric route (pre-1935). But now this is not an option thanks to WES and development in the western part of Tualatin that would be necessary to build a new freight rail line to take trains off the existing OE and onto the existing P&W Westside District (the west-east line from Sherwood to Tualatin and Lake Oswego).

But...a "proper" Bus Rapid Transit line could be built, from downtown Portland to King City, with brand new buses, bus stops, selective bus lanes and queue jumper lights, and 10 minute headway service, for $25 million in capital costs. Heck, let's just say $50 million. That's still less money than 1/2 mile of light rail. Even if you account for the fact the buses have a 12-15 year lifespan and rail around 40 years, at $200 million (in today's dollars), that's still one to one and a half miles of light rail - but we'll get 12 miles of BRT from Portland to King City.

Erik H.,

You are not reading the meaningless Tigard measure right. It is a ruse placed on the ballot by the light rail mafia city council to fool voters into thinking it will allow a City wide on light rail. It will not.

It will only require a vote on any new city fee or tax created to fund light rail.

Which has not happened to fund any recent light rail and will not be needed to fund a new one.

Tigard will be able to simply borrow against their general fund just as Milwaukie, Portland, and Clackamas Co. are doing right now for Milwaukie Light rail.

What difference would it make if SW Portland residents A) were able to get a measure on the ballot . And, B) got 100% of the residents to vote "NO"?

Like all insider government deals, the opinion of the population makes absolutely no difference.

The Goldschmidt clones are like starfish. Cut them apart and they just regenerate into a bigger problem.

to at least Sherwood

Yes, but they need to get to Newberg, and then eventually McMinnville. Portland will eventually creep all the way to Eugene.

Ltjd is right. What we basically have here is a corporatocracy. A dog-and-pony show is performed to satisfy the squeeky wheels, but the desires of the public are always discarded in the end.

As another poster mentioned a few weeks ago, what started out 4 decades ago as a seemingly good idea to help prevent Oregon from being "Californicated", land use control and Metro wound up opening the door for developers, investors, and lifestlyle planners to assume control of the public treasury to create a product for a target market that generally doesn't include the people currently having to pay for it.

I'm reminded of those prisoner of war movies where prisoners get trucked out to the forest, handed shovels, then asked to dig an excavation for a very important construction project, which upon finishing they are then all asked to stand in a line at its edge to be congratulated for their hard work and labors...

Tualatin does not need light rail. They already have the laughable WES train that no one rides, resulting in $18/passenger subsidies. Ground control to Lou Ogden: there's nothing to study. Replacing one overpriced, slow train with another, likely even more expensive and slower, isn't going to accomplish anything meaningful.

If Metro and TriMet were actually interested in improving transit in the area, they'd stick a bus line down SW Tualatin-Sherwood Road. They'd be getting ridership hand-over-fist. But alas, they're in the boondoggle business.

The 'Tin, Tigard, and the rest of Washington County need to follow Clackistan's lead. Metro is little more than a tool for Portland bureaucrats to imperialistically lord over areas outside the city limits.

"Real Rail Vote" - Look, it's better than nothing. It will send a clear message.

If you want to vote "NO" on it go ahead, City Hall is using it as a referendum on light rail. A "No" vote means you support the city using whatever resources necessary. A "Yes" vote at least ties their hands. No, it isn't handcuffs but it's better than no rope at all.

Unfortunately the citizen initiative didn't get enough signatures - and yes, I signed that petition - so unless you have a better option, I voted "yes".

If Metro and TriMet were actually interested in improving transit in the area, they'd stick a bus line down SW Tualatin-Sherwood Road. They'd be getting ridership hand-over-fist. But alas, they're in the boondoggle business.

Best statement.

I love it when transit "planners" talk about Southwest transit needs, and folks talk about a Tualatin-Oregon City service. So the planners say "ooh, wouldn't it be cool for light rail?" What's stopping the planners from putting commuter buses from Tualatin to Clackamas Town Center (via Oregon City)? It isn't light rail...so no service is better than bus service?

Why isn't there a Sherwood-Tualatin bus route? Why isn't there a bus route on Tualatin Road? Why isn't there a bus route on Durham Road? Heck - why can't I take a bus from Tigard Transit Center to most of the industrial areas along 72nd Avenue, without having to enter another city? Or from Tigard TC to Kruse Way, a quick hop and skip on and off 217? Or why is it that the south Tualatin neighborhoods around Tigard High School is only served by a downtown Portland commuter express bus during weekday rush hours - but no service that actually would benefit the high school?

Erik H

I wasn't suggesting people vote NO.

Heck yeah vote yes.

But it is not a measure to require a light rail vote.

The only message it will send is exactly what the city council wants sent. The hoax that it will require a light rail vote.

Of course City Hall is using it as a referendum on light rail.

But it's a deliberate fraud.

A "Yes" vote does not tie their hands at all.
How in the world have y imagined that?

The citizen initiative fell short of only 46 signatures and that was only because Tigard has a rare 90 day limit that is far more restrictive than the state law 2 year limit for gathering signatures.

The better option is to either challenge the 90 rule and revive the signature drive or start over with a better efficiency out of the gate.

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