This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 2, 2010 10:40 AM. The previous post in this blog was Who's your dud?. The next post in this blog is Bird is the word. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Brahmins against the streetcar

We blogged a month ago about political consultant Len Bergstein getting into the fray against the Lake Oswego streetcar. Today we learn for whom he is fronting -- a group "headed by Lake Oswego attorney Jonathan Harnish, Dunthorpe resident Elaine Franklin and Lake Oswego mother Marilyn Brett."

The Elaine Franklin? Does that mean her husband, Bob Packwood, is against it, too? Wow, this might be even more fun than we first thought.

Comments (12)

Wow! The aristocrats are taking on both the streetcar mafia AND the developer cabal! That's going to make for awkward conversations at the Arlington Club and Waverly.

Looking forward to seeing the money and blue blood fly.

Box wine meet-n-greet socials galore!

(Well, for Bob, that'd be 'meat-n-greet'.)

Bob and Elaine flipped a house in Burlingame for a tidy $100k profit last year. Beats working for a living.

To many that are affected by this proposal this is not a NIMBY issue. The affects are far beyond the 450 or so property owners ("my backyard" propoerties)along the several proposed routes.

First, there is the affect of an urban renewal area proposed to be formed to help pay for the trolley, plus the additional dollars taken out of the SoWhat URA that is already broke. Over $4-5 Million per year would be taken from schools, fire, police just for the Oswego URA. Now times this by 20 to 40 years of urban renewals existence.

Secondly, there is the affect on a regional basis by the trolley taking one to two lanes of Hwy 43-Macadam Ave. in the Johns Landing area. Already there are 4 intersections of "F" (failure)level of service on SW Macadam in the area. Already there is traffic backup from Johns Landing Watertower to Sellwood Bridge for over 1 to 2 hours at rush hours. Combine that with the PDOT and ODOT estimates of an additional 38,000 trips added to Macadam as SoWhat is built out, it's total collapse.

There is also the regional affect to suburban cities (Sellwood, Milwaukie, Gladstone, Oregon City, Mollala, West Linn, etc. that rely on 43 as their connection to Portland. The congestion caused by the Trolley's reduction in vehicle lanes, it's much slower speed (5 to 7 mph average), and numerous stops would only add to the collapse. Since 43 is a state highway, what is the position of ODOT concerning the affects on a regional basis? Portland and Oswego aren't the only ones that should be determining this matter.

There is also the topography, geography of this proposal that affects the validity from a planning viewpoint. Since most of the route is along the river, there is little area for increasing density that supposedly justifies mass transit expenditures. Only to the west is there the possibility of increasing density, and that is very limited to the steep west hillsides along the route. And since much of the route is in the Greenway zone, increasing density with tall buildings, greater FAR runs contrary to State and local Greenway Regulations.

Another factor is the $400 to $500 Million price tag doesn't include the maintenance/operation costs. Already TriMet is over $270 Million in the hole in their budget, not including the obligated debt of their employees benefits, which is the hundreds of millions. They are now cutting bus service, routes, equipment, and even asking for hundreds of $Millions in a bond measure for buses. How can they afford additional obligations?

If you combine common sense analysis with NIMBYism, this is a bad idea, especially with our economy.

This project doesn't seem to accomplish anything that couldn't be done more cheaply by either improving route 35 service or by upgrading the existing SoWhat to Lake O trolley.

Improving the #35 or using the existing trolley won't garner any construction union votes or dollars for the next election cycle.

New Flyer (the company that makes buses) has a two plus year backlog of orders. They aren't going to contribute to campaigns, because they don't need to. They have solid business for over two years.

Siemens (the company that makes light rail trains and electrical systems) donate heavily to campaign causes. So does Oregon Iron Works.

Hmmm...if I'm a Ron Wyden or Earl Blumenhauer type, who am I going to "vote for"? A company that is so stuck up that it doesn't think it needs to pay me off, or a company that is willing to wine and dine me?

THAT...is why we are so heavily planning out light rail systems, while ignoring bus service. Bus riders don't contribute to political causes. Bus manufacturers don't. Light rail riders - or, rather, the developers who want to earn those coveted tax breaks for building along the light rail lines - they will gladly pay big bucks for light rail.

Erik H.
Do you know how those coveted tax breaks for building along the light rail lines came about? When did this happen, and who was responsible?

Has there been an analysis of the costs of this to the public and then a breakdown of who has received what since this agenda began?

Clinamen, in a short explanation, TODs, Transit Oriented Development(has several other names) is an outcome of New Urbanism that first came into reality in the Seaside, Florida new town developed in 1980. Planners latched onto the imagery that Seaside conveyed. Even though it really was a suburban planning answer, it had elements that placed cars in a subsidiary role, emphasized short distances to commercial (walking), and tried to create an image of an old fashion town, even to the extent of its architecture. It had Planner salesmen, books were written about it, architecture/planning schools ate it up, and the rest is history.

Then Planners and Pols decided that the idea needed more than free enterprise to sell it because most of the public wasn't buying its anti-car nature even though the imagery looked good. Thus, they devised the tax subsidies to sell it, just like the now Green agenda.

Wow.... Siemens has its fingers into all kinds of pies in Oregon.

Thank you for the backgrounder.
Who was our Mayor when this was implemented here? or was this brought on the scene by Metro and then set up by the city?

Also, in response to your comments yesterday -
it does sound like the traffic in that area is intolerable now and taking lanes, etc for a slow trolley wouldn't help matters.

About NIMBY - One should be able to stand up for ones livability without being called a NIMBY. NIMBY is not so bad in my view, but they use the term to throw at people who care about where they live. I have written about this before. .
and have another term NIABY - Not In Anyone's Back Yard.

All this moving forward on light rail at this economic time just shows how broken down things are that those in decision making areas would even think about these projects. Seems like desperation rules here, to keep pushing this.

The unfortunate part is that the rest of the region will be dragged down by these poor decisions. Yes we need jobs here, but at what expense and who gets the gravy off the top? There are other infrastructure needs and repairs needed around the city. We need to use what money we do have wisely and that would provide jobs.

Brief answer: I believe TODs were a large group effort. It began in the early 80s in concept. Then in 1993 TriMet and CoP hired planners evaluate early 1980 eastside transit station designs. Two interesting conclusions of their studies were; 1)"To promote transit-oriented development, offer deal making assistance", 2)"Involve elected officials and citizens, across jurisdictional areas, to gain their leadership and support". In 1992-1998 TODs were implemented on the Westside Max with coordination of TriMet, Metro, ODOT, WA Co., Beaverton, Hillsboro and Portland. In 1998, Metro TOD program using Fed Transportation Funding to help pay for TODs was the first in the nation.

There is a succession of CoP mayors through these years of TOD development. Ivancie served up to 1985 but I don't recall he actively supported TODs. Then following is Bud Clark, Katz, Potter, Adams. I know that Katz with Adams being Chief of Staff actively worked for TODs. But there are many other jurisdictions that participated just like the 1993 Planners Study noted above called for-"elected officials".

Eastside light rail came on line in 1986, then Westside in 1998. In the design of the Westside, TODs were a major part of the planning process with stipulated funding, and filtered back to the Eastside.

Clicky Web Analytics