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Friday, January 18, 2013

Burnside-Couch couplet: a Sam Rand disaster

At least, it is so proclaimed by the O's commuting writer today.

Comments (16)

You know, maybe that's the place to put the Sam Adams statue to match Vera Katz's bronze. Put ol' Sam on a plinth, close enough that angry drivers can throw garbage and worse at his smirking visage. I don't know about you, but I'd give my left arm to be there when Sam came out to see his monument to his contributions to Portland, and it can barely be seen for all of the trash bags and used diapers tossed at its head.

That seems no less a comment about Portland drivers, perennially clueless about the rules of the road and oblivious to traffic behind them, than about the couplet.

But Allen, I believe the re-design was created to make the intersection clearer and more efficient for us dumb ol' folks to use. Fail.

A very smart & clever piece -- again by Joseph Rose.

Allen L is absolutely right. The couplet is fine, but the drivers are living proof of locals keeping Portland weird, stoned, or otherwise cognitively slowed. A combination of the local elements of rain, seasonal affective disorder, marijuana, undocumented immigrants, and leftist indoctrination in the schools, I suspect. And not enough really cold weather and pressures of real employment to keep people awake.

Portland drivers are indeed terrible, but as a result of redesign over the past 17 years due to development and to Vera's declared 'war on driving', many of Portland's former easy-to-get-around thoroughfares have become baffling to decipher or navigate, so it's difficult to say which came first, the bad drivers or the bad designs meant to make them bad drivers.

You can't engineer for stupid. Four-way stops induce cognitive shutdown in this town, so this intersection is like dosing people with acid.

Even Rose seems not to know what a "couplet" is, and his granting permission to turn right and left off the "couplet" on red lights has to be wrong, because most of the transecting streets are two-way. Oregon law doesn't permit a left turn on red across traffic from a one-way street to a two-way street, for obvious reasons.

Better solution would have been an overpass, or blocking off side streets.

At least Portland didn't installed one of those damned "roundabouts" that, when engineered properly (i.e. in Paris, France, with a HUGE footprint) are good things, but the American copy-cats are horribly undersized affairs that are inefficient, still cause backups, more wrecks, and basically are just stupid.

And, at least Commuter Joe is realizing he's been called out on his past smoozing with TriMet and other government officials...and he's finally doing some investigative reporting. He has a long ways to go (I've pointed out so many issues to him, but he's decided to block me from his Twitter account because he doesn't want to cover my stories) but at least he's beginning to buck the trend of The Oregonian's reprinting of press releases.

Anyone from out of town will be clueless. With good reason. How yo gonna know?

The Burnside-Couch Couplet, which Bicycle Babble Earl takes credit for the finding the federal funding, was a total waste of taxpayer dollars that solved nothing. The fact is, it even created more of a traffic mess than the 12th and Sandy intersection did. It took away one westbound lane for the morning commute and added numerous signalized intersections thereby creating even more congestion than before the couplet was built. . Sammyboy stagnant water pits commonly called bioswales block the use of the parking lane as a travel lane during the morning rush hour. The eastbound turn from 14th to Sandy is so sharp TriMet busses can’t maintain the lanes and now go up to 16th to go eastbound on Sandy. Additionally, traffic backs up on 14th because it is shared by both eastbound and westbound traffic. Traffic would flow much better by reopening Sandy at 12th for eastbound traffic.

Going way back to the origins of the couplet, it was being promoted as a project that was 80 percent for additional land to be used for development opportunities – a land grab by the City for more density and bunkers - and only 20 percent for transportation related issues that were primarily to address safety concerns at the 12th and Sandy-Burnside intersection.. The results are that nothing has been done with the land to date and at least one neighboring business has been negative impacted in a number of ways; and traffic flow through the area is no better then before the couplet, the money spent possibly even making congestion worse. The couplet is definitely a costly Sam-Rand-Earl disaster!

wonder how much it would cost to return burnside, couch & sandy back to their original state? get rid of those stupid draining ditches, restoring a bunch of needed parking for business..what idiots

. Sammyboy stagnant water pits commonly called bioswales block the use of the parking lane as a travel lane during the morning rush hour.

Has anyone evaluated the efficiency of these bioswales? or are they just another "stagnant" idea from the planners or a money making venture for someone? I have heard comments that they are not adequately doing a proper job, is there anyone here who can address this?

Clinamen, about 3 years ago when discussing a job with a senior Bureau of Environmental Service official (I won't name names since he's still there) he admitted that cost effectiveness of many of requirements in the Stormwater Management Manual (adopted in 1999) didn't warrant the cost nor were they especially effective.

He offered that on average home builders were spending over $10,000 just to install all the on-site water retention methods the manual requires. He said it would be more fiscally prudent to collect the storm and sewer water as the city did in the past and charge all new construction half of what it would cost for on-site remediation and pay into a fund for future treatment plants. And it would be more sanitarily effective. He also questioned how bio-swales, on-site retention devices effectiveness would be as the age, and their maintenance costs.

Then, about five months ago on another project, I met with another senior BES official and the same discussion occurred.

I sure wish some our astute Planners, BES and other personnel could speak up. Maybe what might happen in PBOT with the interim director might morph to our Planning/Building world. Let's hope Hales sees the light.

Combining the idea of a roundabout with a large memorial tower/statue for Sam . . . oh, the beauty . . . I can see it now. Glittering like a trumpery paste jewel in the reluctant northwest sun. It will be so "Paris" and it shall be known as the "Tour-I-Fail."

And during the holidays, there can be set up around the perimeter of the statue, an "Applets and Couplets" drive-thru refreshment stand to sustain those doomed commuters stuck endlessly circling the shrine.

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