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Friday, August 12, 2011

Half a loaf

It appears that the tighty-righties are giving up on stopping the new car-free bridge across the Willamette. But they're still fighting tooth-and-nail the plan to run an expensive, frivolous light rail train across it and down to the sleepy, small suburb of Milwaukie.

How about this deal, they ask: build the bridge, but just connect the Portland streetcar loop to it? Forget the crazy MAX train to Milwaukie -- run more express buses down there instead. Interesting idea. Probably makes too much sense for Portlandia.

Comments (16)

I am not sure I would buy the loaf, but the proposal is the better half of that loaf. The proposal is almost rational - I am a little bit stunned.

Dropping the MAX to nowhere is an excellent first step in stopping the mindless expansion of light rail whether it is called MAX or Portland Streetcar.

I still think there is a strong possibility that the car-less bridge won't be completed, except for the footings. The fed dollars are drying up and the $250 Million of state Lottery dollars won't go that far. MLR Planning is expensive and ROW acquisition hasn't come cheap, they have eaten deeply into that bank. The project is broke. And with Clackamas and Milwaukie not likely to provide their dollar shares, it is toast.

And Jack, what's with the "tighty-righties"? It isn't any singular group that is against MLR. The collective thinking around here has changed a little concerning mass transit.

The Cascade Policy Institute is decidedly on the right side of the political spectrum. We can disagree about how tight it is.

Jack - and lw - I'm decidedly progressive and ride the Max, but would like some occasional financial prudence. One of the few times I'll probably agree with the Cascade Policy Institute. But I do think there are a number of adults, across the political spectrum, that are beginning to think we can't spend our way to weird, iconic nirvana.

With the Sellwood Bridge near collapse, I don't think anyone opposed the idea of a new bridge - just a new bridge that completely ignored the problem that the Sellwood Bridge is near collapse.

What was that line from the movie Contact? "Why would government build one bridge when they could build two for twice the price!" And to whom do SamAdumbs and the other local pols owe their political careers?

Umpire , a mass transit system is not weird or iconic. It is a basic quality to a civilized city. For all the massive subsidies the single person auto gets in this society , [ your roads , your freeways , your massively underpriced gas provided by a boondoggle of a pair of foreign aggressive wars ] I don't see why you all gotta rag on a train system. You may not be aware of it behind the wheel of your massively polluting car , but us poor folk need to get around too.

Well, billb, the problem is this while money is being tossed at trains that can only serve a fraction of the metro area, bus service that provides transportation to large numbers of people is being slashed to death. So much so that there is nearly no service left anywhere near my house... and no viable park and rides really either... Toy trains are great for those who've bought into condo bunker mentality... not so great for the vast portion of this city and its burbs. My car probably wastes less energy and money per year than MAX.

I meant to say WES not MAX.

billb - did you not read fully my post - I do ride Max, because I live in NE Portland close enough to catch one of the three routes that parallel I-84. I drive my car only a few thousand miles a year. I even occasionally ride my bike - legally, usually with a helmet, and always with lights at night. My concern is that what is being spent on just the MLR bridge would probably fix the Sellwood bridge, including lanes used by autos, bikes and pedestrians. Just because it's "transit" doesn't mean it isn't also wasteful pork. The street car might be the worst - great for tourists, but slow, and death to bikes. As Lucs notes, killing bus transit to pay for trains is hurting far too many people dependent on transit, not just those who chose to take it. 1.5 Billion in MLR would buy and pay operating costs for a lot of buses.

CPI openly describes their organization and the policies they advocate as libertarian, which IMO is hardly "right-wing". Right-wing = Republican to me. The only thing the two have in common is possible fiscal prudence, which the Repubs probably exercise a little more than the Dems, but they generally tag that party line only when it suits them and they don't feel like invading other countries.

I've warmed up to libertarianism as it seems to be a healthy compromise between fiscal conservativeness and social liberalism, which apparently makes too much sense to be a major political party. I've reluctantly voted for Repub's lately just because they are promising to be a lot more fiscally responsible than the Dems (we'll see). But I can't stand that party's tendency for starting wars, good-ole-boy Christianity, police-state invasions of privacy (Patriot Act) and meddling with gay marriage. But anything to stop the current administration's destruction of the economy.

"It is a basic quality to a civilized city."

This made me laugh. There sure are a lot of uncivilized cities on this planet. My God, we're superior.

It's hard to stop building a bridge when construction has already started.

And last time I checked, Milwaukie isn't "nowhere." And neither is Sellwood, which is also where the light rail line is going.

How about this idea. Build the bridge but allow cars and other traffic. Kill the light rail line and kill the streetcars. We get the new bridge we need (see how the Sellwood continues to die) and we save tons of money by stopping light rail and streetcars. I like it!!!!!

More like "pinch a loaf" where Tri-Met service and bus frequency is concerned.

I really don't get the logic here.

MAX at least serves some type of transportation function. It moves people from one area to another that has somewhat of a demonstrated travel flow. Just look at I-84, or the Sunset, or I-5, or I-205, and now 99E.

The Portland Streetcar is a transportation project that serves virtually no transportation need. There is no need to go around in circles around downtown Portland. Most of the Streetcar destinations can be walked to, the longer ones have overlapping bus or MAX service so the Streetcar is duplicative to other modes of transport.

I'm not supporting MAX to Milwaukie, but I fail to see how a fiscally conservative group would give in on the Streetcar. Maybe some of their members that own land/businesses in the Eastside Industrial District are eagerly awaiting some government kickbacks in exchange for Streetcar support...

Erik, your point is logical. I believe Cascade Policy's viewpoint might be based on a little political reality-the bridge might be built, but no funds beyond for completion to Milwaukie, amounting to about $1.1 Billion for that portion. So it might be seen as a face saving proposal. Let's get something out of the bridge. And as CPI states, let's use the $1.1 Billion for other transportation needs like better bus service. But I agree with you-how many people will use a trolley that has this completed circuit. And what will the cost be per each boarding? I think it will be high, like in the $20+ range. Not good, but lets Go By Trolley and help Witbeck and Charlie Hales.

It will be interesting when the hard questions like MLR, Portland/Lake Oswego Trolley, Barbur/Tigard Lightrail are asked of the candidates in all the regional races.

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