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Oregon Senators question CRC project bike and ped funding

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 22nd, 2008 at 12:30 pm

"My view of this bridge is that we've got to move freight...isn't it conceivable they [bikes and peds] would ride across the bridge on whatever kind of transit option is offered, rather than building separate accommodation that just drives the cost of this already unbelievably expensive structure up?"
--Sen. Betsy Johnson

On Tuesday of this week, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) representatives made a trip to Salem to present the latest developments on the Columbia River Crossing project to the Senate Transportation Committee. The presentation was given by ODOT's project director John Osborn and he was accompanied by the Deputy Director of ODOT, Doug Tindall.

After Osborne's presentation, Committee member Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) called into question the amount of money ($30 million) to be spent on bike and pedestrian facilities.

Senator Johnson asked Osborn why people on bikes and foot don't just, "ride across the bridge on whatever kind of transit option is offered, rather than building separate accommodation that just drives the cost of this already unbelievably expensive structure up."

When Osborne told her the bike and ped component of the project is likely to be $30 million, Johnson seemed flabbergasted and said, "that's a jaw-dropping amount of money."

$30 million is 2.5% of the cost of the total bridge span, which is estimated to be $1.2 billion, and it is .07% of the total project cost (an estimated $4.2 billion).

Another committee member, Senator Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro) chimed in to say that the $30 million allocated for bike and ped facilities, "buys me a new interchange in Washington County that allows me to move people safely."

When told by the ODOT rep that the state is obligated to spend a certain amount on bike and ped facilities (thanks to the Bicycle Bill passed by Don Stathos in 1971), Starr said, "You could spend that 1% anywhere in the state, you don't have to spend it on this project."

Below is an audio recording of the entire exchange (that I snipped from the Committee's audio archives), followed by a written transcript.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

*Download mp3 file [2.6 MB, 2min 27sec.]

Sen. Johnson:

"My view of this bridge is that we've got to move freight. I don't know how much additional costs the bikes and peds add but at some point isn't it conceivable they would ride across the bridge on whatever kind of transit option is offered, rather than building separate accommodation that just drives the cost of this already unbelievably expensive structure up?"

John Osborn, ODOT:

"...I guess it is possible that folks could make connections to high capacity transit...at say Hayden Island and then the first stop at Vancouver. Certainly the community would expect to be able to walk along the bridge as they can do today. And I'm not sure that a reasonably sized [bike and ped] facility would add a huge amount to the project...I think somewhere in the neighborhood of about $30 million dollars."

Sen. Johnson:

"That's a jaw-dropping amount of money"

Osborne:

"But the bridge itself would be about $1.2 billion to get across [the river], and percentage wise -- which we do have a certain obligation to spend a certain amount for bicycle and pedestrian use -- it's in the realm of what we would expect to spend."

Sen. Johnson:

"Why do we have that obligation?"

Doug Tindall, Deputy Director of ODOT:

"It's an Oregon Statue. It requires 1% of the highway fund to be spent on bike/ped projects every year."

Sen. Bruce Starr:

"Yes, that's absolutely true but that [statute] doesn't require every project to spend 1%. You could spend that 1% anywhere in the state, you don't have to spend it on this project. 30 million bucks buys me a new interchange in Washington County that allows me to move people safely."

Sen. Johnson:

"It fixes Cornelius Pass Road Mr. Chair."


Stay tuned for more coverage of the bike and pedestrians facilities component of the Columbia River Crossing Project. BikePortland.org correspondent Elly Blue recently met with the CRC's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Chair David Parisi and I hope to have that story online early next week.

For more coverage of the CRC, check my archives.

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Comments
  • Elly Blue February 22, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Unbelievable. Betsy Johnson is from Scappoose and Bruce Starr is from Hillsboro -- I hope that their constituents who are reading about this will contact them immediately and let them know that our priorities as voters include ensuring world class bicycle and pedestrian facilities on all roads and bridges throughout the region, including this one.

    The line \"a new interchange...so we can move people safely\" gets to me. This is another case of a politician saying that bicycling is not transportation. And the idea that building new capacity for cars and trucks increases public safety....don\'t get me started.

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  • Antonio Gramsci February 22, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Maybe what we need to do is explain to Sen. Johnson that, barring accommodation of cyclists and pedestrians, those of us who view ourselves as \"cyclists and pedestrians\" will, together with environmental and social justice organizations, fight with every last ounce of energy at our disposal to kill this project dead, finished, kaput. DEALBREAKER. Hang up the phone now.

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  • Craig February 22, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    wow...if that is not a punch in the gut I don\'t know what is.
    it really sucks that Betsy Johnson\'s opinion has to matter on something she obviously knows little about.

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  • Peter W February 22, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    ... and part of the reason they want new interchanges in Washington County, and want Cornelius Pass Road widened, is so they can accommodate drivers from Vancouver who work in Washington County.

    Idiots.

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  • Matthew W February 22, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Amazing.

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  • Bryan February 22, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    How do we email (respond) to these people? I\'ve commuted many times by bike from my home in Vancouver to my work in Portland. I\'m very interested in what new pathway will be offered. Some of their comments are outrageous... Is there no bike/ped ally on the Senate Transportation Committee that was willing to speak up?

    From the comments above, I can\'t determine if the funds, approximated at 30 million, would or could be used for other projects if they are not used for this project? I\'m trying to understand where they are coming from. Is it just shock at the cost in general, or thinking about distributing money to other projects?

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  • Peter W February 22, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    By the way, I think I heard that the Coalition for a Livable Future is the group to join to help kill this massively expensive sprawl inducing bridge.

    http://www.clfuture.org/

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  • Peter W February 22, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    To turn the argument around we could say:

    Isn\'t it conceivable that they [motorists] could cross the river on whatever transit is available, instead of building this $4 billion dollar project?

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  • Dabby February 22, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Ididocy...

    It appears that they would like to boil down our options to:

    A: Driving a car across.

    B: Taking the evil temptress Tri Met across.

    Or C: Riding all the way over to the 205 crossing, one which Northbound is already not very fun.

    Two of these options involve the requiring the use of extra money, and precious resources and fossil fuels.

    The third involves extra time, (a lot of extra time), eneetc.rgy,

    While I am sure that this article is going to spur a lot of discussion, there is also another thing I am sure of.

    It will come to pass that this will not be built without ped/ bike crossing capabilities, as the thought is ridiculous at best.

    I am sure there must be someone here that can direct us to info that will show there is a requirement to honor self propelled interstate passage, especially to qualify for Federal Transportation fundage.

    It seems they are trying to get everyone\'s proverbial panties in a bunch.

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  • andy February 22, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Senator Johnson, have you petitioned ODOT to get rid of those pesky expensive sidewalks and crosswalks adjacent to highway 30 in Scappoose? Clearly those \"improvements\" are a waste of money. If any citizen needs to cross the highway, they can just hop on public transit or drive a car. I\'m sure no one would mind.

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  • Dave February 22, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    sigh

    Porky pork pork. They see $30m getting spent, and they want it spent in their districts. Do these two actually have the pull to influence that decision, or is this just hot air?

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  • Bryan February 22, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    I would hope you are right Dabby. They must be required to provide some means of ped/bike passage...

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  • toddistic February 22, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    so we ride on the freeway - ive always wanted to do that!

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  • Mark February 22, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Is BTA chiming in on this?

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  • dat February 22, 2008 at 12:58 pm
  • Karl Rohde February 22, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    We\'re working on it but you all should know that this is what we are up against in the 2009 session. It is going to take a comprehensive, concerted effort leading up to and during the next session. The fact that I can say I\'ve got over 5000 members standing behind me when I meet with legislators helps a lot.

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  • Robert Dobbs February 22, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Sweet, so I get a new (only?) river crossing that as a ped/cyclist I can only cross if/when public transit operates?

    Nice!

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  • spencer February 22, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    holy jesus-
    lets flood their emails with angry messages about how ignorant they are.
    who has the means to rapidly get their contact info onto this list? i cant get to it right now.

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  • Klixi February 22, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    So if cyclists and pedestrians take up .07% of the total project cost, that means cars take up the other 99.03% (I know the math isn\'t -that- cut and dry, but you get my point)

    And yet, it is the .07% that people have a problem with.

    Seriously, who votes these morons into office in the first place?

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  • Robert Dobbs February 22, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Also, I would like to say that we should just scuttle the whole CRC project. $4.2 BILLION spent during a recession? Goodbye OHP.

    Where\'s Sizemore when you need him? Hah!

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  • el timito February 22, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Sen. Johnson certainly knows a thing or two about fiscal responsibility...
    http://www.blueoregon.com/2007/06/betsy_johnson.html

    Of course, ad hominum arguments are inappropriate in serious policy discussions, such as the Senators engaged in.

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  • Zaphod February 22, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    The fundamental issue with this and many other discussions is the perception that a bicycle is essentially not a real transportation tool. They appear to consider bike infrastructure some sort of frivolous expenditure. Why spend on bikes when there are \"more serious\" issues to address for the all mighty car?

    The optimal case to resolve this is to get real cyclists in these positions. The next best option would be to engage & educate them so they truly get what is happening. In short, get them out on a bike.

    I take the current bridge\'s 36\" wide section dedicated for bikes/peds every day and it\'s not the highlight of my route. If I was forced to ride the 205, my commute time would double to an unworkable amount.

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  • Todd Waddell February 22, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    E-mails to Johnson and Starr already sent.

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  • Todd Boulanger February 22, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    As a CRC PBAC member...

    It would be helpful for Tri-met to remind the OR legislature about Tri-met\'s plans to restrict bike access to the MAX in peak hours. Plus at 300 bikes per day (peak) now there are more bikes than hook capacity on the single Yellow line MAX cars (all trips).

    And there is also the issue of 24/7 access across the bridge...Tri-met will not be willing to extend service for bikes to cross the bridge at 3AM.

    (Imagine the howls if the bridge were closed to car and freight traffic from 1AM to 5AM.)

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  • BillD February 22, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Johnson has been in the local news here lately.

    http://www.spotlightnews.net/news/story.php?story_id=120043753483014800

    There have also been some articles in the OREGONIAN

    http://search.oregonlive.com/sp?aff=100&keywords=betsy+johnson

    The best strategy might be to sell her a piece of property needed for the bike/ped part of the project and let nature take it\'s course.

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  • WA County voter February 22, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Gasp. No wonder we\'re getting killed out here.

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  • Antonio Gramsci February 22, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    The best outcome of all would be for these people to blunder on and successfully remove all bike/ped access from this thing -- and then watch the whole thing sink like the Titanic, by death from a thousand cuts, as every major civic group in Oregon/Washington state lines up in opposition to it, outside of big business interests.

    That will do more to \"educate\" them about the importance of pedestrian/bicycle and generally human access to streets and road transportation projects than anything ever could.

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  • BURR February 22, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Don\'t expect much from the Oregon Legislature (or ODOT for that matter). They are both just shills for the freight and motor vehicle industries.

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  • Stripes February 22, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Instead of doing nothing but whine about it on BikePortland, why not write or call Betsy Johnson or Bruce Starr directly and let them know how you feel as a bicyclist or pedestrian? Enough feedback can go a long way.

    That\'s what I\'ll be doing. I hope you will too.

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  • BillD February 22, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Klixi #19

    \"Seriously, who votes these morons into office in the first place?\"

    In the case of Johnson, she was a third term member of the house of representatives when she was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Sen Joan Dukes (D- Astoria) when Dukes moved on th become vice-chair of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NWPCC).

    Johnson was later elected to a second term in the senate.

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  • john February 22, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    The real issue is freedom. An LOC over the river simply can\'t exclude the most common, most simple, least expensive and easiest modes of transportation. Those modes that are a basic Human Right: to transport yourself via your own human power.

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  • Cøyøte February 22, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    The amount ($30M) spent seems in very good proportion to the minimum use that bike and ped facilities would see. I would think that everyone would be happy with the 0.07% figure. The mode share is likely to exceed that percentage several times. Plus the rest of the mandated 1% spending would yield an additional $1.2M to spend on bicycle infrastructure elsewhere.

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  • diego February 22, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Wow. What kind of SUV does she drive?

    Reality check: the project will contain a bike path. I\'ve been following the project and contrary to what a lot of folks think, the project could reduce traffic levels with light rail and tolls. The extra lanes are just to go between those dangerous ramps and there are lots of gnarly accidents now.

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  • Christian February 22, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    There are a number of sad aspects to this.

    Firstly, what Johnson is saying is that poor people don\'t have the right to travel. She\'s basically saying that you should drive a car if you want to use this bridge. There will probably be some type of public transit, but it won\'t be free. That\'s really just an issue of disregarding the basic rights of citizens.

    As far as the cost issue, that\'s just noise. Sure it might cost 30 million to add this extravagence of bike and pedestrian access, but my guess is that this project will probably have unforseen costs and overages in the tens if not hundreds of millions. So in the end 30 million is really just a pittance.

    It\'s sad that we put people in office who aren\'t really anything like us. Neither of these people come close to expressing my opinion.

    Sigh.

    C.

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  • nuovorecord February 22, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    So much to pick apart. Where to begin...

    The CRC is NOT about moving freight, unless you call Clark Co. commuters \"freight.\" It\'s bad enough that Portland will be inundated with cars as a result of this turkey of a project. Now they want to screw around with the only positive aspects of the project.

    Let\'s kill this thing. It will be our generation\'s Mt. Hood Freeway - a gift for our kids.

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  • J February 22, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    I thought that leaders like Senators Starr and Johnson understood that non-motoriized modes of travel must be accommodated under state law.
    At least it\'s clear from the exchange at the Committee meeting that the high-level ODOT staffers, Osborn and Tindall, are fully supportive of bicyclists and pedestrians. We must help them fend off this attempt by the Senators to ignore state law! Write to Starr, Johnson and your senator in support of accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians with all transportation projects.

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  • SH February 22, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    (judging only from what I\'ve read here) At first glance senator Johnson sounds like, I\'ll tone it down and say unneeded addition to our Senate, Oregon\'s senate. Heaven forbid a measly 2.5%. If facilities for bikes and pedestrians weren\'t so scarce or poorly maintained, maybe more people would be able to enjoy their commute.

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  • Matt Picio February 22, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Dabby (#9), we have an option D

    D: Take the lane

    If they build the bridge without any bike / ped facilities, I will organize a weekly ride across the I-5 bridge, taking the lane - ALONE if I have to. If they want to arrest me, so much the better, because 5 cylists and 8 state trooper cars block traffic SO much more effectively than 5 cyclists taking the lane on a 55mph freeway.

    And when I get out of court, I\'ll ride it again.

    We are transportation minorities. The government exists to protect the RIGHTS of minorities against the majority - otherwise a government is merely an organized mob. (yeah, I know, some say this is already true)

    We all have a right to cross this PUBLIC structure, unless they are going to offer us a reasonable alternative. I-205 is not a reasonable alternative.

    Toddistic (#13) Right-on! As amplified in my comments to Dabby

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  • Craig February 22, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Obviously Becky has been taking too many \"alternative\". She could use some bike time.

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  • a.O February 22, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    We will ride side-by-side, Matt.

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  • Dabby February 22, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Well,

    I for one have been known to take the Fremont bridge to win races, as it can cut the time from North Portland to NW in half.

    There was also an attempt to ticket me during a 4 hour alley cat in Seattle, when I was caught on the I-5 bridge north of town.

    He pulled over to the shoulder, then pulled me over. When he asked for my ID, I instead pulled out my map. While checking my escape route, he asked for my ID again. I recall saying something about being lost and from out of town, then jumping on my bike and riding back the wrong way across the bridge.

    When checking over my shoulder, I saw him trying to back down it behind me, unsuccessfully of course.

    He was of course stuck on the shoulder, in bumper to bumper traffic.

    I finished first place out of town in the race.

    And with no citation in hand.

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  • Marcello February 22, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    I ran against Bruce Starr last year, and trying to explain to him transportation options other than cars is a waste of time. Like other minority party elected officials, he routinely ridicules spending on facilities for pedestrians and cyclists as a waste, regardless of the Oregon Statutes mandate. There are a lot more voters who are drivers than cyclists, and borrowing the taxpayer money to pay for more and larger facilities for cars is more popular than investing in facilities that encourage alternative transportation. Outside of the city of Portland being openly hostile to cyclists and road safety for \"vulnerable users\" gets you votes on election day.

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  • Mmann February 22, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    I suggest email. Assume they are reasonable people and don\'t begin with anger (the time may come, but count to 10 first...)

    Here\'s mine:

    Dear Senator Johnson,

    I\'m writing to encourage you to adopt a favorable view towards the necessity of separate bike and pedestrian facilities on the new planned interstate bridge. While I share your view that 30 million is a lot of money, and I agree that a primary role of this span willl be to transport goods, I also believe that the higher good of the region is served by seriously considering the expanded use of this facility. One way to look at this is the boost this gives the region in tourism dollars. A span that encourages human powered transportation only add to the growing national (and international) awareness that Portland and the surrounding area are on the cutting edge of creating a community that promotes healthy recreation and commuting. People are being drawn to our area, both as tourist and residents, by ths kind of planning.

    Another reason in favor of this plan is that it considers and plans for the very real looming crisis of peak oil. Gasoline is not going to get cheaper, and estimates are that in the next two decades it will far outstrip other goods in inflationary costs. That means it will become a bigger part of working families\' budgets, and many more of them (like mine) will turn to bicycles as a way to ease this expense in commuting. It\'s a realistic and sensible goal and should be planned for.

    Third, the inclusion of bike and pedestrian facilities on this bridge shows a willingness to plan for curtailing greenhouse gasses by planning infrastructure that allows people to commute or otherwise move across the river without polluting.

    Finally, in a very real and powerful way, a structure that encourages people to cross it outside of a vehicle sends a message that the communities of Vancouver and Portland - indeed the states of Washington and Oregon - are welcoming, healthy, friendly places to visit.

    Thank you for asking the difficult questions. I hope you see the sense in promoting the inclusion of bicycle and pedestrian faciliites in the new Columbia crossing,

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  • newbie February 22, 2008 at 3:00 pm
  • Bryan February 22, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Well put Mmann

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  • Sasquatch February 22, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    This sounds like the New York City from about 2 or 3 years ago!

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  • Cøyøte February 22, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    FYI Oregon Senate Transportation committee Members:

    Gary George, R-McMinnville sen.garygeorge [at]state.or.us

    Larry George, R – Sherwood, sen.larrygeorge [at]state.or.us

    Betsy Johnson, D-Scappose, rep.betsyjohnson [at]state.or.us

    Rick Metsger, D-Mt. Hood, sen.rickmetsger [at]state.or.us

    Rod Monroe, D – Portland, sen.rodmonroe [at]state.or.us

    Bruce Starr, R-Hillsboro, sen.brucestarr [at]state.or.us

    Joanne Verger, D-Coos Bay , sen.joanneverger [at]state.or.us

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  • Cøyøte February 22, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Oops

    Betsy Johnson, D-Scappose, sen.betsyjohnson [at]state.or.us

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  • Metal Cowboy February 22, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Here\'s a love note I just sent Senator Brain Trust,

    Betsy,

    Your statements about how we shouldn\'t spend funds totaling less than one percent of the bridge budget to protect Oregon\'s most vulnerable users of the roads really calls into question your vision for Oregon, your ability to look at the larger picture for the future of this state, and exposes you as someone who does not want to improve the state\'s work on congestion, pollution, global warming, dependence on foreign oil, oil wars that are depleting the strength of a nation, not to mention help the health of Oregonians- by making it safer to ride and walk to walk, school and other activities - thus improving their health, preventing obesity, diabetes, heart disease etc.

    It bobbles the minds of a large number of us , and the cycling and peds constituency is larger than you think and growing by the day - tax paying Oregonians working to improve conditions in this state - that you would offer these narrow minded, frankly, prehistoric type solutions, to problems that will not go away. When cyclists and pedestrians get hurt or killed on that bridge, we\'ll be sure to send their families to you for an explanation. Or we can just send them the transcript.

    Please consider your statements, get yourself educated on how cycling is not a toy, or simply recreation, but a growing and viable , clean and healthy form of transportation and vote accordingly.

    Sincerely,
    Joe Kurmaskie
    http://www.metalcowboy.com

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  • TrafficDodger February 22, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    What kind of SUV does she drive?
    A GMC four door, as of a year and a half a go (and I doubt she\'s switched to anything more efficient since). Just try and calculate Mrs. Johnson\'s carbon output with frequent trips to Salem from Scappoose, as well as any from the aircraft she happens to want to fly.
    And by looking at the good Senator\'s weight, which would most likely qualify her as obese, it would be a good guess that she\'s never been on a bike in the first place.

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  • Dave February 22, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Is Sen. Starr on the Saudi payroll?
    How else to explain wanting private, individual automobiles to be our only transportation option. Is Homeland Security checking out this treasonous son of a *****?

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  • Vance February 22, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Um ya. Or you could use the 205 bridge, like was intended. Whiners.

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  • Dabby February 22, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Vance,
    You are lord god king of whiners.

    Have been for a long time. Before blogs ever even existed. This much I remember. Very well.

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  • Axe February 22, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Vance, you know full well that not everybody can realistically take the 205 bridge. Your comment has added absolutely nothing to the conversation.

    As for Senators Johnson and Starr, I agree that writing them letters is a great place to start - PARTICULARLY of you\'re a constituent. Get out those pens, folks!

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  • J G February 22, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Sure, Vance. All traffic can divert to the I-205 bridge. When I commute from SE Portland, where I live, to downtown Vancouver (where I work part of the week), I always take the I-5 bridge (sometimes by car, sometimes by bike, and sometimes by bus.) Should my car be the only option when using I-5?

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  • Matthew February 22, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    What about Tandems, recumbents, trailers, and everything else not allowed on TriMet?

    \"Sorry kids, we can\'t cross the Columbia, our bike is too long.\"

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  • racer x February 22, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Actually we should embrace VANCE\'s offer...he will be the \'army of one driver\' who will pick us up and our bikes when Trimet closes down for the night and transport us across Vancouver/ North Portland to the Glen Jackson Bridge where we can jump on our bikes and pedal home.

    What is your mobile number Vance?

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  • Andrew February 22, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Their myopia is indeed astonishing. It reveals not only how little they know about transportation options... but perhaps more importantly, how little they care about anyone who isn\'t exactly like them.

    As for counter-arguments they might actually listen to... they should be educated about the benefits to freight haulers when commuter traffic is reduced. It really means a lot to a trucker on the schedule when there is one less car jamming the road. The more that we ally with freight interests (as happened in Holland) the broader our poltical base will be.

    The effect is magnified at peak times. Someone should show them traffic simulations... and how swapping even a few commuter cars for bikes affects traffic jams. And then ask bus and Max riders how much they\'d enjoy having EVERY bike try to squeeze on.

    Bikes and peds aren\'t just nice... we are essential to making the CRC work.

    I just take solace in the knowledge that dinosaurs eventually become extinct.

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  • Bjorn February 23, 2008 at 1:12 am

    I have been having a hard time supporting any part of this project, now that it appears that the tiny amount of money that was dedicated to bike/ped traffic could be pulled out at any moment I no longer support any part of the project being publically funded. Using transit to cross means having to pay a toll to cross as a pedestrian. If the bridge is to be expanded then I say it should be expaned completely using tolls to pay for any changes and no public funds should be spent.

    This new thinking that I no longer support the use of any public funds for the CRC made me think what can we do to ensure this. If the Safe Sound and Green streets funding is subject to referendum, is the bridge also subject to referendum? How many signatures would we need to put funding for the bridge on the ballot? I bet few people outside of the metro area would support spending state money on a bridge for washington commuters to drive to portland, and it probably would fail if put to a statewide vote.

    Just a thought on what to do if our leaders aren\'t listening.

    Bjorn

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  • coyote4130 February 23, 2008 at 1:14 am

    That\'s your typical cager mentality; thinking everyone should drive a coffin.

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  • Steven J. February 23, 2008 at 2:51 am

    Judges and politicians were once held to a higher standard.
    Johnson appears to be \"recallable\" Beef.

    Emails sent.

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  • Mike February 23, 2008 at 6:55 am

    What arrogance! Does Vancouver and Washington not own roughly half of this project also? How would we feel if they tried taking thier share of improvement money and used it to widen the road to Battle Ground?

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  • racer x February 23, 2008 at 7:22 am

    Mike...don\'t give them any good ideas.

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  • antonio gramsci February 23, 2008 at 7:41 am

    Folks:
    We need to kill this ecological disaster. Let them strip any pedestrian/bike access. This will be the nastiest old nail in this nasty thing\'s coffin yet.

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  • Daniel (teknotus) Johnson February 23, 2008 at 8:48 am

    How about group rides to the homes of these people. If they think that \"well they could use transit to cross a car bridge\" they probably also think it reasonable to have mass transit be the only way to cross the any arbitrary barrier. Next they will be saying that it is reasonable to have a motor vehicle be the only legal way to cross a freeway. I\'m in favor of doing the ride late enough at night that the train has stopped across the west hills (another poorly served barrier) to Mr. Starr\'s home. Any barrier that doesn\'t let us be self sufficient isn\'t acceptible. There have been so many horrible accidents around Mr. Starr\'s home turf that he should be doing something and obviously his choice of what to do is cutting funding for bike safety. Maybe a 3AM wake up call from a bunch of cyclists would give him a clue.

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  • Helen Wheels February 23, 2008 at 11:01 am

    As Peter W (No. 7) said, the Coalition for a Livable Future is the organization we need to join with to help fight this.

    http://www.clfuture.org

    If we all volunteered, or went to the Feb 27 meeting from 4-8pm on NW Flanders, think of the impact we could have!!

    Whining will get us nowhere and we\'ll all be stuck breathing even more toxic fumes. We need to take action. I just signed up to volunteer with CLF and you can too. We seriously need to stop this bridge for our future and that of the next generations.

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  • Dabby February 23, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Once again,

    No matter how much this stresses you out, or how much you are worried that they are actually going to pull the funding from this project that will go towards bicycle/ ped crossing:

    They will not be able to build it without bicycle/ped crossing ability.

    It is not going to take a letter writing campaign.

    It is not going to take a bunch of online bitching.

    If a new bridge is built, it is going to have bicycle/ped crossing access, no matter what a couple of politicians have to say about it.

    The only bad thing to come of these statements is that these politicians will be losing the support of a percentage of their constituents.

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  • a.O February 23, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    So don\'t write a letter and stop posting if you don\'t think it\'s an issue. Go be apathetic elsewhere. You don\'t have to post your opinion twice for people to read it.

    Nothing ever got accomplished by urging others not to worry. Even if there is little or no risk here, we still don\'t want Oregon legislators making these kind of statements, or thinking they can make them without their constituents noticing.

    Please write these people, folks! Tell them their statements reflect a bad policy for Oregon. Thanks.

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  • Dabby February 23, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Well A.O.,

    Excuse me for pointing out a fact.

    I know you enjoy standing on your pedestal, but from down here, I can also see what is going on.

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  • Denn February 23, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Follow the money. Everyone here needs to remember that we will always be outspent twenty to one, when it comes lobbying, advertising \"greenwashing\" the campaigns against us. One thing that I\'ve learned about voters, is that if you tell the same lie long enough, they\'ll take it as the truth.

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  • Evan February 23, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    This might interest a few people. I\'m the Planning Administrator for the City of Ontario now, and I was reading through some facts and figures about the cost of infrastructure improvements.
    Our table lists the infrastructure cost (to the public) of every automobile trip at $166.00. The cost to the public for each bicycle trip? $4.

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  • wsbob February 23, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Evan, is this Ontario, Canada you\'re talking about?

    The entire business of this 6 billion dollar polluter bridge and 30 million dollar provisions on that bridge for bikes and pedestrians is just about more than I can handle. Even if every car using that bridge were pollution free, continuing traffic jams that this bridge will enable, would still be an increasing quality of life detriment to both Portland and Vancouver.

    Instead of thinking of cutting bike and pedestrian provisions for this bridge, they should seriously consider doubling or tripling the presently planned capacity for bikes and pedestrians.

    Every person that walks or bikes across the bridge and back to work ought to get a nice, regular bonus for the cost reduction offset their effort would effectively represent to the motor vehicle dedicated capacity and maintenance of this bridge.

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  • Brad February 23, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    Everyone here needs to calm down a bit. For starters, nohing is etched in stone and the comments of two legislators are just that: comments. This was a hearing, a debate if you will. It wasn\'t a binding design or finance plan.

    Secondly, Senators Johnson and Starr both want something: the widening of Cornelius Pass Road from Hwy. 30 to US 26. Kids, this is classic politics- make some noise about how you are opposed to an aspect of someone else\'s pork and that you may scuttle it. The hope is that the other guys will fund your particular piece of pork if you drop your opposition. In a nutshell, I see two suburban Republicans jerking some Portland Democrats around on bike/ped issues in an attempt to get their pet project rolled into the transporation bills that finance the CRC. (Just like when riders for welfare, education, homeless outreach, etc. get tacked on to public safety or transportation bills to insure th votes are there to pass it - it has been this way since 1859 folks!)

    Th reality is that the CRC is going to get built. (The Feds want it, Washington state wants it, Oregon wants it and it will, alledgedly, ease congestion, create jobs, stimulate commerce and the like. No politician of any stripe is going to vote aginst those things.) It will have bike and pedestrian facilities. Get your chamois untwisted.

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  • BillD February 23, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Sorry Brad but Johnson is a Democrat machine politician. As was her father Sam, a seven term representative from central Oregon.

    Her district is anything but \"suburban\". It is comprised of the entirety Columbia, Clatsop and Tillamook counties and the rural part of Washington county west of Banks, Forest Grove and Gaston. Also included is a rural scrap of Multnomah County along highway 30 from Cornelius Pass to the Columbia County line.

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  • zilfondel February 23, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    I guess... that we could always swim? wtf?

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  • Marc Rose February 23, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    I wrote Ms. Johnson too.I hope I wasn\'t too strident:

    Hi Ms. Johnson. Perhaps I need to do more homework on just what you meant when you said \"Isn’t it conceivable they would ride across the bridge on whatever kind of transit option is offered?\" in response to hearing that $30 million dollars might be spent to make the I-5 bridge accessible to walkers and cyclists. But, like your reaction to that figure, my jaw dropped. When we can walk and ride bikes to live longer and live healthier, when cars spew out poison that gave me exercise-induced asthma in Cleveland Ohio, when global warming is on everyone\'s mind, when trying to ride my bike from Portland to Vancouver to take part in their summer criterium was incredibly frustrating, when I could barely ride across the I-5 bridge due to the narrow walkway, when $30 million is about 1/50th of the cost of the bridge, for you to react like this was incredible. I don\'t even understand what you meant - do you mean I should ride on the highway across the bridge and kill myself? Or hitchhike across it? Or take a bus?

    I don\'t own a car, and don\'t want to, and either walk, bike, or take public transportation everywhere I go. I certainly don\'t want you to take a hostile attitude towards pedestrians and cyclists due to this note, but I respectlfully invite you think more about what is going on in the world, not to mention what is going on with America\'s terrible state of physical health, before you try to stonewall this meager bit of spending to make this incredibly important project more friendly to alternatives to the internal combustion engine.

    Respectfully,
    Marc Rose
    Registered Oregon voter
    Registered democrat
    Public community college instructor

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  • racer x February 24, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    The whole carbon impact of the CRC bridge senarios made the front page of the Oregonian today

    http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1203753302183320.xml&coll=7

    ...though too bad the paper used the CRC\'s data exclusively for the sidebar and did not add a scenario to the \'no build\' option - one mentioned in their text by Fuglister (no build car bridge but building transit and tolling options - the tolling to pay for seismic upgrades and interim safety improvements). A greener and safer \'no build\' scenario useful for discussion purposes.

    Then see how this works - balancing out congrestion delay, safety, transit use, and air quality.

    Looking at the data this modified no build scenario might keep the 2030 motor vehicle counts similar to the 2008 counts with the help of tolls shift SOV trips to transit and carpooling and no bridge crossings - stay in Clark County to shop and work).

    (140,000 vs. today\'s 134,000 trips and not the preferred option\'s 200,000+ trips)

    The sidebar with this data is in the print copy of the paper but not the electronic version yet.

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  • eli bishop February 24, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    trafficdodger: \"obese\" people ride bikes, too. but they are less likely to ride if you make fun of them for doing so.

    i wrote a letter to sen. johnson emphasizing that .07% of the cost of the bridge is well-spent to reduce congestion and make it safer for vulnerable road users like pedestrians & bikes (who are tax-paying citizens and who may even use cars).

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  • joe adamski February 24, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Beyond the indignation and self rightousness.. [probably justified] ..

    The Reps in question come from a time and a place where reliance on cars and petrol. Getting there didnt take long,but getting away from Carmageddon will take some doing. We have built everything in the past 50+ years to be \'car friendly\'. Not everyone understands or is intially willing to make those changes. Like it or not, you guys are the vanguard. And it will take some time and patience getting the rest of the country back on track. Dont beat em up. Explain to our good Reps why their thinking is faulty. Don\'t demonize them. A reps responsibility is to question where and how money is spent. And what are the best choices.This is what they are doing.That these two come from car-dependant suburbs isn\'t lost on me. If I were in their shoes, the litany of bike injuries/deathson TV and in the papers would scare the bejeebers out of me. The press that some groups get isnt very flattering. IF I were locked totally into the \'gotta drive to live\' scene, you guys would seem to be as out of touch as Starr and Johnston seem to us. A slew of respectful informative responses will go a lot further than banging our cycling shoes on the table. Impress on Starr/Johnston that good facilities will bear fruit for centuries. But I am sure that they have heard from other quartes too. There is no way that the City of Portland would sign on to a bridge that doesnt have transit/ped/bike facilities.

    But yes,it is a good time to send a nice letter to your Rep.

    and to Sens Johnston and Starr.

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  • Dan Kaufman February 24, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    I was seriously about to give in to the inevitability-of-it-all when I heard Rex Burkholder (whom I respect) advocating for the CRC in the Oregonian Friday http://tinyurl.com/22768e .

    But statements like these from Salem make it clear that our mainstream politicos are still being led through the motor-bound desert by the ghost of Robert Moses.

    No, I\'m not ready give up now. In fact, I have not yet begun to fight this MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR FIASCO.

    So I\'m not just \"bitching\", here are some alternative solutions:

    1) Make EXISTING bridges exact tolls based on congestion pricing. Freight is free.

    2) Re-fund CTran.

    2) Build a separate Max bridge. Include bike/ped facilities that will continue unhindered to downtown Portland and to east Vancouver.

    3) Expand rail freight facilities.

    4) Expand fiber optic facilities and encourage home commuting

    It can and should be done.

    200,000,000,000¢

    danK

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  • Dabby February 24, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Brad is right, and echoes what I have been saying.

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  • diego February 25, 2008 at 6:48 am

    I think we need to all take a deep breath. Nobody will get what they want on this project unless everybody gets something. That\'s just how it works and that is why Rex is advocating for it. For freight and safety, that means new lanes between the unsafe interchanges. It means light rail. A bike path. A new bridge that works in an earthquake. And tolls to reduce congestion and pay for the darn thing.

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  • eli bishop February 25, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    this is the letter i ended up writing to senators johnson & starr:

    Good afternoon, Senators. I am a Portland resident who is disappointed to hear you oppose improving pedestrian & bike facilities on the Columbia River Crossing project. $30 million is 2.5% of the cost of the total bridge span (estimated to be $1.2 billion), and it is only .07% of the total project cost (an estimated $4.2 billion). I certainly think .07% of the cost of the project would be well-spent on making it safer for vulnerable road users like pedestrians and bikes to cross the river.

    Senator Starr, when told the state is obligated to spend a certain amount on bike and ped facilities you said, \"You could spend that 1% anywhere in the state, you don\'t have to spend it on this project.\" Personally, I can\'t imagine a more appropriate project! A versatile bridge is a durable bridge, one that won\'t need to be rebuilt or modified as frequently. But you\'re not just building a bridge, you\'re building the Columbia River Crossing, and I hope you encourage as many ways to cross as possible: cars, buses, public transit, bikes & walking.

    Senator Johnson, you asked why people on bikes and foot don\'t just, \"ride across the bridge on whatever kind of transit option is offered, rather than building separate accommodation that just drives the cost of this already unbelievably expensive structure up.\" Most importantly, this allows people of all economic ranges to use the bridge. But personally, as a new bicyclist I very much appreciate roads where it is obviously safe for me to be. I think you encourage new bikers to bike more often if the infrastructure supports them. Plus, every person who is walking or riding a bike is one less car on the bridge, and traffic congestion should be a priority as our region grows.

    Expanding multiple uses of the Columbia River Crossing is in its best interest. Thank you both for your time. I hope you reconsider your positions.

    Respectfully,
    eli bishop, etc. etc.

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  • Dan Kaufman February 25, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    \"take a deep breath\" that\'s a good metaphor, Diego. It gets to the heart of the problem.

    Further, I am not so naive to think that we\'ll all get what we want out of this project. Frankly, I\'d rather save the $4 Billion and just use the existing bike path. I have since 2003.

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  • John Reinhold February 25, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    Anti-CRC sticker at Cafepress

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  • k. March 5, 2008 at 8:59 am

    I hope this project kills itself. Given the exponentially increasing cost of gas, and energy in general, I find it amazing that the powers that be keep planning projects of this ilk as if we are going to continue moving forward as a car centric society. With gas projected at $4 gallon by the end of the summer and who knows what in 10 years or what ever (what is the projected life span of that new bridge anyway?) it may very well be that we really wont need projects like this beyond the next few years. I certainly hope our society figures out a new way of transporting people soon. In fact it may not be an option.

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  • Gregg March 22, 2008 at 10:29 am

    I wish I had a simple solution to offer but I do not. I have sat back and observed this debate and I think I would offer a couple of personal opinions that I do think might be productive if embraced by all. Both sides of the issue need to respect that there is another perspective, different than their own, and understand that the people who hold that view may be just as passionate about it as those who hold the opposite view may be about their own. Both sides need to understand that consensus often involves compromise, and compromise may mean that everyone gets some but not all of their wish list. Both sides need to understand that successful negotiation and compromise is thwarted by arrogance, anger, acting out and hostility. Everybody loses or everybody wins. Bikes purposefully snarling trafic will not win the minds of the car commuters. Pompous car drivers too selfish to realize the needs and wants of others will only alienate bicyclists. Isn\'t it true that the ideal vision for Portland is a community thst is tolerant of different perspectives and welcoming to everyone? Demand that the politicians and ODOT and whoever else may be in a leadership role in this discussion honor these principles in everything they do, say and write. Honestly seek a compromised solution and abandon an all or none approach. Move the ball down field and leave the world a better place than you found it. It starts with you (and me). I wish I could ride a bike. I have a very arthritic right knee and do not think I can. I have fond memories of doing so in earlier days. That does not mean I won\'t work to find a solution that will allow you to ride yours while I get where I need to go in my auto.

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