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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 26, 2013 9:42 AM. The previous post in this blog was The latest from the Sustainable Susan Show. The next post in this blog is The next nickel-and-dime idea. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

My other train is a bus

The Portland planning car-haters say they may be willing to settle for bus-only lanes up and down Barbur Boulevard.

Comments (21)

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a way good transit option. It is capable of moving almost the same number of people as light rail at about one tenth the cost in infrastructure and far far less in operating expenses. It is a proven concept (Eugene has had it for over a decade/BRT systems have been used world-wide for decades). It is such a common sense solution to high volume transit corridors it is surprising Tri-Met would be considering it.

Here’s a concept; light rail lines are too expensive to build and putting real buses into the mix may be more cost effective.

Geez, were the overwhelming number of light rail detractors really that invisible, or were opponents really just that deaf and blind.

TriMet and Metro have already decided light rail must be added to several corridors.

Neil McFarlane & the TriMet board have long banked on the preposterous notion that their financial salvation relies solely upon the adding of more light rail lines.

In concocting their future revenue projections to show (fictitious) adequate funds for their operations they presume (fabricate) immense savings by converting from bus to light rail service.

Yet they are borrowing many millions for PMLR against the operations revenue needed for operations.

TriMet's snarled mendacity to justify more light rail has been a crime against transit, a betrayal of their fiduciary responsibilities and misuse of government with no one being held accountable for anything.

TriMet ignores their own financial statement auditors who have repeatedly warned they have a time bomb of unfunded liabilities which is worsening by 100K per week.

They ignore their own experts who recently warned that TriMet must shed large service areas in order to be able to afford their future operations while their board members acknowledge their agency is essentially bankrupt.
MAX lines have seen 33% cuts in service.
Labor disputes continue unresolved.
Driver overtime abuse is placing public safety at risk.
Their planners and plans ignore the public will.
TriMet and Metro are pushing the CRC/light rail at any and all costs.
Legislators are lining up to sell out everything it takes to fund the CRC which the public would never vote for.

Other than that things look swell.

The BRT idea was presented to Trimet years ago and as usual they ignored it.

This entire operation needs to be taken out of he government's hand and given to the private sector.

"Snarled mendacity." Nice.

BRT has the same conceptual problem as light rail, just at a lower cost. It's a fixed infrastructure system with little to no flexibility in changing transit patterns or even for simple detours.

LTD's PR machine is doing a better job than TriMet. No mention of local opposition to LTD's expansion plans at all.

Whatever the alternative transport mode, the car haters continue to push an agenda that has a false sense of sustainability. Be it bike, light rail, or any type of bus service, sustainability starts with financial self-sustainability. With bus rapid transit, that means the transit passengers - and not motorists - need to pay for the construction and maintenance of any roadway travel lane or right-of-way that is exclusively reserved for busses. Obviously, that includes hiking transit fares. Likewise, transit passengers also need to be paying for the damage TriMet's two-axle busses do to existing streets and roads as well as other transit specific infrastructure, and bicyclists need to paying the costs for bicycle infrastructure.

I pay for the whole road. I want to use the whole thing.

Beware of TriMet, CoP and Metro's typical feints. They always say they are open to all ideas/options.

Planners Lehto and Gertler claiming their agencies are seriously looking at BRT is suspect because of all these agencies past claims of open mindedness. They said the same for consideration of mass transit to Milwaukie, then for Portland to Lake Oswego. Then in recent open houses concerning Barbur, they zero in on lightrail.

"Snarled mendacity" is the right phrase. I hope we can get a few politicians directing Planners to not do more dodge and feints.

Well all I know is my two year old likes buses but loves trains, is more likely to ride it AND I live right off Barbur so I say go trains!

It's been so long since I p;ayed Sim City, was there a penalty for screwing things up?

The corridor studies will be the same, and Trimet pretends to switch to rubber tires as an end around the recent citizen initiatives to stop the waste. Wally, please lobby your local Headstart program to buy the latest railroad simulation games, so your child will be prepared for public school. Stop Kids Now from playing with dinosaurs, cars, or trucks.

BRT on Barbur would just be a lower-cost mistake. That road already has enough space to run express or skip-stop buses in general purpose lanes; no other changes needed. And we certainly don't need more apartment bunkers or bioswales.

There are very few places in the entire country -- and none in Oregon -- where transit demand is strong enough to merit an exclusive transitway. The EmEx in Eugene is nice to ride, but even at 5 p.m. the traffic in the Franklin blvd GP lanes flows fast enough that express buses operating in them would move just as quickly.

I agree with John Charles. Develop Barbur with full bus pull-outs to allow traffic to continue flowing. Install wind-rain protected bus shelters. Run express buses at 15 min. intervals at rush hour times and 20 minutes at other times, and longer hours to adequately serve PCC and all the other businesses along Barbur to Tigard, King City and Sherwood. Enhance pedestrian crossings. And let free enterprise work without spending $2 Billion of our taxpayer dollars.

I too am leery of more apartment bunkers lining all the transit corridors from here to Seattle and Eugene. A couple of decades back, the big thing in urban planning was to create satellite villages (probably called regional centers now). Now it's all about connecting those regional centers together with mobs of human warehouses and people moving around on trains between them.

Of course, at the rate and scale the planners are working (or that we are allowing them to get away with it), there will be no distinction between one place and any other place. One "walkable" connected neighborhood looks like the next except maybe for it's theme. You know, West Lake Grove is half-timber Bavarian, downtown LO (used to be charming 1story Craftsman commercial with mid-century mixed in) is now gunning to be the Oregon version of Whistler Village. Does your neighborhood or town have its theme picked out yet? Better hurry, otherwise no one will be able to find their way home in the brave new world.

Besides the extreme amount of budget-busting money and soul-crushing uniformity of the New Urbanists' plans, there is the HUGE possibility (actually a huge probability) that their predictions for the future are all wrong and all this construction will be not just a waste, but an impediment for future transportation and housing needs. But they can't take their eyes off the stupid goal of making us all the same.

Remember Lysenkoism!

BRT on Barbur would just be a lower-cost mistake. That road already has enough space to run express or skip-stop buses in general purpose lanes

Along some portions of Barbur - yes, all that is needed is bus stop treatment (something more than a bus stop sign tacked up to a PGE power pole), and effective traffic signal preemption (making sure the bus can get through signallized intersections).

However there are a number of bottlenecks that need to be addressed:

1. North end of Barbur becoming 4th Avenue at Caruthers. Many buses turn left onto Caruthers, some continue straight, and others use Naito Parkway then turn. Here, a dedicated bus lane with signal preemption will get buses through this mess much faster and safer as well. Buses that have to turn, must make two lane changes - using a bus lane could keep buses in the right lane all way way to Caruthers, and then give them a dedicated left turn signal allowing them to turn left without conflict.

2. Barbur & Hamilton - the left turn southbound onto Hamilton backs up; there is insufficient space for cars to merge; and there's that pesky bus stop southbound in which buses coming off of Barbur have to fight with two lanes of Naito traffic to make the stop.

3. Barbur & Capitol Highway southbound - the sharp 90 degree turn backs up traffic onto Barbur. Due to topography it'll be hard to install a right-turn lane here, but could the northbound lanes be shifted over to accomodate an additional southbound lane?

4. Barbur & Terwilliger - insufficient left turn holding area. However, there is a defacto bus-only lane between Terwilliger and Bertha; it could easily be extended both north and south.

5. Barbur & Capitol Hill - this is more an issue with an obsolete traffic signal that is poorly timed. Also in this area, the center left-turn lane is eliminated in two different locations causing cars to back up traffic when turning left; a solution would be to simply install a median and prohibit left turns. There are safe U-turn locations at either end.

6. Barbur, Capitol Highway, Taylors Ferry Road, I-5 interchange - A mismash of four historic routes all coming together in one place. I almost think the fix is to put Capitol on an overpass over Barbur (and I-5).

7. Barbur becoming Pacific Highway at 64th Avenue and I-5 - northbound is reduced to a single lane; southbound has a "merge" that is inefficient. Eliminate access to 64th Avenue, and add a third lane to Barbur southbound possibly all the way to King City.

8. Pacific Highway, through Tigard - too many left-turns, too many driveways and business accesses. 99W is a highway, not a collector street - deal with it. Prohibit left turns and install a landscaped median from one end of town to the other. Reduce the number of signallized intersections - 64th, 68th, 72nd, Walnut, Park, and Canterbury should be eliminated. Note this would funnel a lot more local traffic through downtown Tigard, actually encouraging businesses to locate there since it would become a major access point rather than bypassed. Also, many smaller businesses along 99W would need to be relocated, and many of them could ideally be located in downtown Tigard.

The problem, of course, is Portland and Metro - who are bought and paid for by the light rail mafia - getting their grubby little hands all over other people's affairs. I am a Tigard resident and I've accepted that 99W is a highway. I even live one block off the highway. I'd much rather see the highway turned into a limited access route with soundwalls, than a light rail line turning 99W into East Burnside with low-rent subsidized apartment complexes, seedy convenience stores that cater to the 22 year old binge beer drinker, every third business being a Mexican front business, and prostitution. Right now I live near a 7-Eleven whose management keeps the area clean and free of undesirables; several very good Mexican restaurants, several medical offices that aren't dispenseries for Methadone, an Asian grocery store, and several auto parts stores. There's an elementary school that my kids can safely walk to, and multiple child care centers that don't encourage me to call SCF every day.

I've seen East Burnside. I don't want to live on East Burnside. I've seen the westside MAX line. I don't want to live in Orenco Station. I've seen North Interstate. I don't want to live on the newly gentrified North Interstate where diversity has been shoved out of the way. I live in this community because I like what it is. Metro's planners don't live here. City of Portland...well, this isn't the City of Portland. They don't live here either. I do. Stop screwing with my neighborhood. And one last thing - I used to ride the bus, but I don't anymore. I'll be perfectly happy to ride the bus again, if you'd just fix the damn buses. This is Portland, not Tiajuana - I shouldn't have to ride leaky roof buses in the rain; sweltering 100 degree hot buses in the summer. A bus shelter is not too much to ask for and neither are sidewalks and safe crosswalks. And when the buses are constantly standing room only, even in the middle of the day and late at night, is it too difficult to ask for articulated buses, or more frequent service - instead of TriMet cutting back bus service so that it's less and less frequent when more people need it?

Erik - So why are all the suburban towns knuckling under to the rail mafia? There is no benefit to us (LO, Tigard, Etc.). We need to get after the guys in Salem who take the money from the feds and then write laws about high-speed rail, reducing automobile use in urban areas, etc. But first, we all have to start with our own cities and counties and clean house. If we can't have an impact from the top down, let's reverse the flow.

Excellent idea dhughes609, I've just sent a note to all the pre-schools in the area to order the new "Light Rail Mafia" board game that's being put out next year via a joint effort between TriMet, the CTA and the MTA.

There is plenty of bus service on 99W now, at least down in Tigard. And being a state highway, wouldn't Salem have to guy off on the idea of bus only lanes?

I have to dig around to find it, but some years ago, the City published a study that proposed light rail out Barbur Blvd and on into Beaverton. as one of several options in the "master plan." I think it was supposed cut over at Mult. Blvd., which used to be a streetcar line in days gone by.

Erik - So why are all the suburban towns knuckling under to the rail mafia?

Simple - Metro controls a substantial chunk of regional transportation dollars (even above ODOT).

So many communities have to comply with Metro's wishes if they want the transportation funding.

If a city does not play by Metro's so-called rules, Metro can unilaterally deny those regional dollars to a city and give it to someone else.

Just to show you how far Tigard went - there was a project a year or two ago involving 99W, Hall Boulevard (which is also a state highway) and Greenburg and Main Streets (city streets). Even though the bulk of the project affected 99W, the project was funded solely by the City of Tigard, and was managed by Washington County (there were no county jurisdiction roads involved in the project). Why wasn't this an ODOT project as it involved not one, but TWO ODOT highways? And given that 99W is a primary regional route, why did Metro refuse to participate?

BUT...build a bike path connecting a neighborhood to another neighborhood within one city and Metro will gladly give you $3 million for it.


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