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The BTA on the CRC: “12 lanes is just a number”

Posted by on February 27th, 2009 at 1:22 pm

“… it’s less about the number of lanes, per se, and more about the impact on the community.”
– Scott Bricker, executive director of the BTA

This week’s decision by City Council to authorize Mayor Adams to vote in favor of a 12-lane Columbia River Crossing bridge has sparked outrage among many Portlanders. Several comments here on BikePortland have turned into an effort to organize a rally to express concerns about the bridge and disappointment in Mayor Adams and City Council.

Meanwhile, the Portland Mercury has reported on the reaction to Adams’ decision by local green and environmental groups:

“It’s surprising, actually, given the importance of the CRC as a political will test case, how few environmental groups are willing to publicly criticize Adams for his vote in favor of the 12 lanes.”

Story continues below

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One group that isn’t mentioned in the Mercury story is the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA). With that in mind, this morning I checked in with their executive director Scott Bricker. Before I share notes from our conversation, here’s a bit of background on where the BTA has stood on the CRC.

At a City Council hearing on the CRC earlier this month, BTA advocate Michelle Poyourow delivered testimony that said in part:

“We believe the Columbia River Crossing can be built in a way that improves our economy and environment. But to do so, it must be BOTH designed AND tolled in a way that inhibits the ‘induced demand’ which usually accompanies new highway capacity of this magnitude.”

Back in June, the BTA issued a position statement on the CRC project. In that statement were several conditions that they said must be met in order for them to support the project. Here is the condition relating to bridge size:

“The current conversation over building a new bridge starts at 10 or 12 auto lanes, however, with the existing bridge currently at six lanes, the BTA believes that an eight lane bridge may be adequate. The BTA will only support a project that provides rigorous analysis of an eight-lane option.”

Scott Bricker
(Photo © J. Maus)

Today, when I asked for his reaction to Adams’ and Council’s decision, Bricker was reserved and calculated in his response. He did not say the BTA no longer supports the bridge. Bricker said he was, “cautious and concerned about how this might play out.” According to Bricker, and similar to an opinion expressed by Adams and Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard published in The Oregonian on Wednesday, he said the issue is not simply about the number of lanes.

“For us, we have some fundamental principles on this project and it’s less about the number of lanes, per se, and more about the impact on the community,” explained Bricker. “I am more concerned that the pact that was made may not yield the results we expect.”

Bricker said that the establishment of a Mobility Council that would have the ability to manage the bridge once it’s built (a condition Adams gave in order for him to vote yes on 12-lanes at the Project Sponsors Council next week) is a new concept and he wondered if it would be enough to net the end result the BTA is after.

“If this [the management council] is truly groundbreaking and it’s the only way is to concede the number of lanes, than perhaps I am mistaken in my concern.”

“From my standpoint,” he said, “there are still some fundamental questions…if you’re going to manage the system tightly do you need that many lanes?” When I asked Bricker point blank whether or not he was opposed to 12 lanes, he said, “What we are fundamentally tied to are the results and the impact to the community…12 lanes is just a number…To date, most of the green groups haven’t said specifically 12 lanes is the enemy, it’s more the impacts that 10 or 12 lanes would bring to the community.”

Bricker told me that a BTA staffer has spent 1 1/2 years on a project subcommittee to make sure it included a “world class” bike and pedestrian facility (the staffer that sat on the committee, Emily Gardner, was let go last month). He feels like they’ve achieved that goal and have more recently shifted focus to the broader implications of the project.

When I asked if he was disappointed in Adams’ latest decision on the project, Bricker again expressed concerns, but did not share direct criticism of the mayor. He said:

“I’m concerned that it’s [Adams' proposal for a 12-lane bridge with a new management council] going to lead us to a place that will not result in the fundamental principles that Sam, Sam’s office and the Planning Commission [referring to the "serious concerns" they expressed back in June] have informed on the process.”

Bricker seemed to hold out a bit of hope that the Mayor’s Columbia Crossing Mobility Council and this idea of a highly managed bridge might somehow work out in the end. “If this [the management council] is truly groundbreaking and it’s the only way is to concede the number of lanes, than perhaps I am mistaken in my concern.” But then he added, “I’m concerned about the principles the City of Portland initially stated are being compromised”.

At this point, Bricker says the BTA has no stategic advocacy planned around the CRC issue. They will look to partner up with other organizations and continue to track the project.

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  • Carl February 27, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Actually, The Mercury covered the BTA’s statements and position at this hearing, here.

    This is what it said (emphasis The Mercury):
    Stephanie Noll from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance said that without linking tolling to a decision on the number of lanes, “our members are not confident that the goals of this project in terms of emissions reduction will be realized, in the end.” “A lack of quantified goals will cause this project to disappoint,” she continued.

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  • Carl February 27, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    The mood around the office here at the BTA is pretty grim concerning the CRC. I really hope they’re willing to seriously toll this thing as we’ve pushed them to do, but my optimism is waning.

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  • Anonymous February 27, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    With friends like these…

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  • metal cowboy February 27, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    I’m glad to hear that there is concern about this from the BTA. My view of the “compromise” is more bleak then Scott’s. I, like many people slamming my email today and talking formal response with a rally, feel this proposal offers a greenlight to build the largest bridge option.

    FRom my location here in North Portland, all the talk of managing a smart bridge does not change that. Build a 12 lane bridge you will get 12 lanes of traffic with a 4billion dolalr price tag and the loss of other worthy bike/ped and sustainability projects in the bargain. If we tolled the existing bridges, studied the effect this had on congestion mitigation, got serious about carpooling, light rail and more, we’d be thinknig like a community aware of the energy and transportation challenges that greet us ten years up the road.

    I would have liked tohave seen the BTA today back the 8 lanes may be adequate stance from earlier. As this rally comes together I hope BTA members will join us in condeming this biggest bridge proposal.

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  • Kris February 27, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    “12 lanes is just a number…”

    Seriously? Maybe one could say that if the number was 8 or 10, but 12 happens to be the highest number of lanes that was ever on the table. To me, 12 is not just a number: it communicates that Portland (and Metro) is capitulating to the largest – and likely most expensive – build option for the CRC.

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  • a.O February 27, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    To date, most of the green groups haven’t said specifically 12 lanes is the enemy, it’s more the impacts that 10 or 12 lanes would bring to the community.

    This is a distinction without a difference. The impacts of 12 lanes are serious.

    In 10-15 years, they’ll be telling us that the bottleneck is in downtown Portland and they need to remove the Eastbank Esplanade to widen I-5, because that’s cheaper than taking out the businesses on the other side of the freeway.

    This is madness. Anyone heard of global warming? Peak oil? Washington and Oregon’s stated goal of reducing vehicle miles traveled? 12 lanes exacerbates all of these problems.

    “World-class bike facilities” won’t do much good if people are afraid to ride through NoPo because of all the freeway traffic clogging up the neighborhoods.

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  • beth h February 27, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    I feel the disconnect growing between me and an ever-more-compromising BTA. 12 lanes is way more than just a number and this smells like more capiltulation, nods of agreement between a buncha suits. Sorry, but that’s what it looks like from where I sit in NE Portland.

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  • redhippie February 27, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    I thought Sam said something like “approval for upto 12 lanes” and ” as established by the local review process”. Maybe I am nieve, but it sounded open ended.

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  • Bob_M February 27, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Mayor of Vancouver was on the radio this week and he stated that tolls were acceptable so long as they don’t redirect traffic onto I-205. I hate to put words in his mouth but that sounds like “no tolls”.

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  • Jammers February 27, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    I’m surprised to hear of this tacit approval of the 12 lane option. This appears to be a step away from the strong bike-friendly attitude that Mayor Adams touted in his pre-election days. I hope that Mr. Adams can somehow turn this into something positive for the public transit and bicycle commuters of the Vancouver area. I’m not ready to abandon my support for Mayor Adams, but this certainly makes me question the direction of the CRC.

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  • Aaron February 27, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    I agree with Beth. BTA keeps offering ‘no comment’ remarks and diplomatic sidestepping. I’m no longer a member because they did the same thing regarding the Ross Island Bridge and the St Johns. Folks we’re at the tipping point on a lot of issues. The time to be dancing around the issue is over. If you’ve ever tried to bike next to 8-10 lanes of traffic (like they have in LA or New Jersey), than you know how horrible it feels.

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  • nuovorecord February 27, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    The only way tolling works on I-5 is if I-205 is tolled as well – period. But I don’t know how the project gets built without the tolls and more importantly, I don’t know how you fund the Mobility efforts without an ongoing stream of toll revenue as well.

    The public (Clark County denizens) will scream bloody murder at the idea of being tolled to cover the construction costs, but that will be nothing in comparison to the holocaust that will be released when they are told that tolling could go on indefinitely.

    So the battle, as I see it, is to get agreement that both bridges need to be tolled for the ages. Can Sam and others pull that off? How will that be sold to Clark Co.? Hard to tell. But if they can’t get that agreement, we just got a 12-lane bridge shoved down our throats with no constraints on how it is managed. I would have preferred to see agreement on the tolling parameters first, then determination of the width of the bridge.

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  • PdxMark February 27, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Can anyone explain to me how an 8- or 10- lane I5 bridge with absolutely no control on use of the I205 bridge is such an inherently better solution to regional traffic flow and volume that the BTA deserves to be excoriated over thinking about it? Is it so absolutely clear that uncontrolled traffic on I205 is worth 2-fewer lanes on I5.

    I really, sincerely don’t get that this isn’t a case of people potentially missing the urban area sprawl & traffic control forest for the number-of-bridge-lanes trees. With unrestricted flow on I205, wouldn’t we simply be diverting toward the I205 corridor the very traffic and sprawl that we don’t want?

    Help a poor slow cyclist understand the rage…

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  • PdxMark February 27, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Nuovorecord — I agree with your tolling comments. As I read Sam’s position, the bi-bridge tolling system is his requirement for the 12-lane bridge. No bi-bridge tolling, no I5 bridge.

    We could face being snookered in the deal, but isn’t that so with ANY deal the city makes? Any treaty? This could all collapse into a sprawling nasty Clark county, or it’s the one real chance of controlling ALL the cross river traffic. Isn’t that worth considering before we all head out to march the streets?

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  • Bill Stites February 27, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Sure, they’re talking about managing, so it may be part-time for all lanes in use, but even 8 is a lot folks.
    With true management, and a recognition that there will be energy descent, there will likely result an attrition of traffic. 6 lanes are a-plenty.

    Oh, and I’m thinking long-term, 20 – 30 years … isn’t this what our leaders in Portland are supposed to be visioning?
    I certainly hope all the sustainability-speak is not pure lip service.

    Are we so stuck in the “unending growth model” that we really think we need 12 lanes in the future? Moving toward a sustainable region, means that double-digit economic growth will no longer be fueled by oil. Ironically, the rising costs of oil will reduce traffic on its own in the short term [within 10 years]. Haven’t we seen this already in the last year when gas hit $4.? And if you think gas will not reach and exceed $4. again, you need to wake up.

    Regarding attrition, I’m not talking about NO vehicles … just levels similar to today’s at best [which could be actively managed to create much better FLOW].

    Ridiculous and highly disappointing from our Mayor and Council. I bet they would approve the Mt Hood Freeway???

    Please keep us posted on events and rallies AGAINST 12 LANES.

    PS Have we also forgotten about the cost estimates? Have they come down a 1/2 billion?

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  • peejay February 27, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Mobility Council?!? Are you kidding me? If you think that: a) it won’t be staffed with a bunch of big business and trucking junkies; and b) it’ll have any power whatsoever to actually cut traffic or raise toll rates, then I have a bridge to sell you. Or, the mayor does.

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  • peejay February 27, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Hey, anyone who needs to talk about a rally might want to bike on over to Vendetta (4306 N Williams) at 2PM tomorrow. Just a thought.

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  • hanmade February 27, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    If you build it they will come. Make it 12 lanes wide and that is what you will get – 12 lanes of vehicles. Welcome to congestion moving down into Portland. Thanks, Sam

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  • metal cowboy February 27, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    “one real chance of controlling ALL the cross river traffic. Isn’t that worth considering before we all head out to march the streets?”

    Here’s what’s worth considering, I trusted Sam and other city council members with my November vote to look out for Portland’s future. To back up campaign pledges with more than words and proposal promises to “manage” everything ten years down the line, AFTER 12 lanes and 4 billion plus dollars worth of bridge has been built. Since the ballot box failed me, the streets have my name written all over them. Bring me my walking boots.
    Who else is up for a good fight? We’ll be talking plans at Vendetta’s on William’s tomorrow/Saturday @2pm

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  • Mr. Bojangles February 27, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    12 lanes may be a bit on the high side – 10 is probably about right + MAX + bike and walk way.

    Ya’ll got to understand population will increase and commuting and business use will increase. You need to build for the future — and hopefully a future that will see mostly hybrids and electric vehicles crossing the CRC.

    People drive cars to travel … I guess none of you put your bikes in racks on cars and DRIVE to ride a century – or do some single track – or race – or … nah I didn’t think so.

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  • What does "BTA" stand for? February 27, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    “Business Transportation Alliance?” I find it sad and pathetic that the BTA is unwilling to stand up and fight for what’s right on the CRC issue, rather than pussy-footing around, walking on eggshells, and trying so desparately not to step on anyone’s toes. This is the most important tranportation issue our region will face in the next 30 years, and the BTA should be out in front of this thing, shouting from the rooftops! No more than 8 lanes, period! And mandatory tolling on both 1-5 and 1-205!

    Perhaps the BTA leadership is too much “in bed” with Sam Adams & Sam’s staff and feels as if it can’t tiptoe out of the bedroom without hurting friends’ feelings. Former BTA Executive Director Catherine Ciarlo is now Sam Adam’s chief transportation policy advisor, so (ironically) it’s now her job to serve as Chief Apologist & Spin Doctor, trying to sell Sam’s spineless 12-lane capitulation to the rest of us. Ciarlo also used to be Scott Bricker’s boss, and they are still friends. (He’s the current BTA ED.)

    BTA, please wake up, pull on your pants, and get the hell out of Sam’s bed! (metaphorically speaking, of course) Yes, breaking up is hard to do, and feelings may get hurt, but the time to make a clean break with this steaming pile of 12-lane crap is NOW!

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  • JR February 27, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    This is unacceptable.

    The position should’ve been:
    Let’s begin tolling now and build based on the auto demand after tolling is established on both bridges. The CRC is like a faucet that Adams is now willing to let flow at full speed even though the bathtub is already full.

    Is Portland and Metro leadership this weak? What’s going on?? I voted for my leaders based on their progressive transportation policies, among other things. If they no longer share those policies, what’s left? I guess we should’ve built the Mt. Hood Freeway too? and the 39th Ave Freeway.. and paved over Old Town for a downtown parking lot..

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  • Vance February 28, 2009 at 7:56 am

    #21 JR

    Tolling I-5 will lead to people using I-205 instead, IMO. So toll there too? Now you are talking about adding somewhere around $60 per month to the transportation budget of those who use these bridges to get to work. Fine if you are a trust-i-farian that just moved here from Minnesota with a bank account full of Daddy’s money. Not so fine if you are one of the MAJORITY of Oregonians earning less than $20,000 per year in income. Do you have any idea what $60 a month means to some one in this income bracket? How would you lessen the impact of taxing public property, on those earning less than $20K/year?

    You were warned. I PERSONALLY told this forum, time and time again, that support from the city regarding bicycles can dry up in an instant. I tell people here this because most of you aren’t from here. This liberal state, this Oregon you all live in now USED to be one of the last conservative bastions on this coast. It’s not like all these people just moved. The further you commit, personally, to radical political views, the more vulnerable you are to being bowled over by the mainstream conservative majority in this valley. COMPRIMISE is key, and the only comprise coming from certain elements within the cycling community is, “Do as we say now, or we’ll stage a disruptive, polarizing, traffic crippling, illegal protest on the very streets we are trying to improve!”!

    You got duped, snowed, tricked, shucked-and-jived, my man. You placed too much stock in campaign promises. Adams, Geller, and Bricker are political animals ABOVE ALL ELSE and will never, never, jeopardize their career in support of fringe thinking, policy, or action. Never. The system WE made won’t allow it. You simply have to be competitive in the popularity-contest that has become our government, or you just don’t even get to suit-up. The stake holders in this can decimate political stardom, and even ambition.

    People that own and operate a personal automobile out number the vehicular cyclist a cagillion to one. Ergo, people like to drive. I don’t like it any better than anyone else but dammit, that’s freedom. Furthermore, I’m not convinced that talk of a smaller bridge isn’t just a petty, punitive attempt to inconvenience drivers with the hope that a FORCED lifestyle change will occur. If my perception leads me to draw these conclusions, you know a cyclist ON YOUR SIDE, then don’t you think those even less sympathetic will view this as an attack on their lifestyle? THAT’S precisely why this is so frequently couched as an, “Us vs. Them”, argument.

    City level professional lobby groups decrease access to the Portland City Government by the, “little-guy”. In every way it is a bad thing people like Bricker can make a living drowning me out at city-counsel meetings. Organized groups should be banned from this part of government, IMO. There is good money to be made in this profession and it needs nipped in the bud, or you will only see an increasing trend in telling us one thing, and doing another in order to get at some-o-dat-munneee!

    I say build the thing. Build it big. Wait for it to get a little more than halfway up then protest your asses off until they add bike infrastructure to it. Much more likely to get what you want then.

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  • Vance February 28, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Oh and they already paved over old town. Except they turned it into an Ikea commercial instead of a parking lot. Same diff.

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  • MT February 28, 2009 at 8:47 am

    The only way tolling works on I-5 is if I-205 is tolled as well – period.

    This is true–if you toll one bridge, congestion will simply move to the other bridge.

    But everything I’ve heard from Vancouver policymakers tells me that they have not yet agreed to tolls on I-5. There’s even more opposition to tolling 205.

    Does anyone else find it ironic that in the midst of what is probably a depression, we are going to spend $4 billion on Oregon’s largest transportation project ever? Wonder what that $4 billion could do if spent on creating jobs and improving our education system?

    The whole thing is just madness.

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  • Vance February 28, 2009 at 9:22 am

    MT #25

    But municipal expansion was a principle tenet of the New Deal. There’s a projected 3800 prevailing-wage jobs ($26 and change/hour) that are going to be created just for this project. Never-mind what will happen as the areas around the project expands. Never-mind that by an extension of this logic no bike-infrastructure should be built either because it’s not helping education or creating jobs.

    Plus there are huge education expenditures slated for the future, with a proposed increase, just as things are now. I don’t see the problem. Decreasing congestion can benefit the retail price index, the environment, standard of living, and a whole host of other things.

    Respectfully, I assert that there is no problem other than a lack of perceived lifestyle change. Nobody’s interested in giving up their car. Move on. When logical compromises are presented, and you don’t want to listen, your motivations are then suspect. Using city, county, state and federal governments to force your world-view and lifestyle on other people is draconian, and smacks of fascism, regardless of the stakes.

    Jobs, education, transportation. Good gracious people there are folks starving to death and dying of exposure in our very streets. What good is education, transportation, health-care, or even a job gonna do some one who hasn’t eaten, or accessed running water, in a week?

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  • aj February 28, 2009 at 9:25 am

    I don’t know who is weaker-Bricker or Adams?

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  • What does "BTA" stand for? February 28, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Perhaps the biggest reason why the BTA isn’t more critical of Sam Adams is because the BTA is waiting, hungrily, for its “Safe Routes to Schools” handout from the City. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars and more than a few BTA staff jobs.

    The BTA has grown to be quite large and “successful” (in terms of budget and staff size) because of government grants, so now it is loathe to bite the hand that feeds it. How can we expect the BTA to criticize the Sam Adams administration when it has become financially dependant on staying in Sam’s good graces?

    Does anyone remember the days when a smaller, leaner BTA was actually willing to SUE the City of Portland over legal issues regarding bicyclists–and WIN! That independent spirit seems to have gone by the wayside, now that the BTA depends largely on government grants for its continued existence.

    Sadly, it would appear that the BTA has grown from a lean and effective watchdog into a harmless, overweight lapdog, afraid to “yip” at anything out of fear it might lose its next doggie-treat handout.

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  • steve February 28, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    The BTA and Scotty Bricker are cyclists public enemy number one. Wake up people. Stop funding these leeches. Bricker should be chastised and verbally berated at every public attempt to represent Portland’s cyclists.

    These people do not represent me. They have not been voted for and they do not deserve access to public funds.

    If only we could recall the BTA.

    Amy Ruiz for mayor!!!

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  • beth h February 28, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I get that an overwhelming majority of people aren’t willing to stop owning or driving cars. I understand that this is a battle that won’t be won in my lifetime. But that doesn’t stop me in the least. I keep riding my bike, every day. I refuse to own a car. I have fashioned a life that’s closer to the ground, simply to prove that it can be done with humor, style and flair and needn’t be some kind of class war-infused downer.

    I am strongly considering ending my membership in the BTA, because I live in NE Portland, very close to the Columbia River; and frankly they just didn’t speak up for me when I needed them to. They just rolled over. I want the BTA to be as radical as it used to be and I don’t know, maybe that’s just asking too much anymore. I am sad, because it seems the only solution is to keep radicalizing myself and leave the BTA behind.

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  • Jim Lee February 28, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Hey…I called Sam/Scott out in last year’s election..and got 1,111 votes…all you dummos!

    SB last seen at City Hall making a strong move to the bathroom!

    Fixies rule!

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  • r February 28, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    bojangles 20 — it is true that many of us who use a bike as daily transportation do not put our bikes on a rack to “drive” anywhere, and have no time or inclination to do “centuries.” are you suggesting that we need a 12-lane bridge to facilitate recreational driving?

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  • Dan Kaufman March 1, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Tar and feather Scott Bricker?! Give me a FREAKING break!

    The BTA should not be the target of our ire.

    How many public meetings on this monstrosity have YOU been to??? I didn’t see you there.

    The BTA has been to many many of these long meetings giving testimony and working on behalf of it’s membership. Watch video of BTA rep Michelle Poyourow’s:
    http://www.crankmychain.com/media/michelle-p-crc.mov

    OUR SIDE HAS BEEN OUTNUMBERED, even in our own city hall.

    Perhaps Adams is just listening to his constituents because YOU FAILED to show up.

    It’s not too late to stop this boondoggle. To do this we must tie any further steps to a solid agreement on tolling (of both bridges) and light rail. As it stands, those issues are going to be left until last minute and then fall off the table.

    So, if we need to march and shout through bullhorns to get our point across I will be the first one there. I won’t, though, be making enemies with those who are trying make things better.

    PS – Lance, please turn down your AM radio. The static is interfering with your posts.

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  • 007 March 1, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Robert Liberty for mayor!

    I will definitely vote for recall of political coward, Sam Adams. That c.s., sold us down the river again. I will not vote to re-elect him and the rest of the lemmings on the city council. What a bunch of GOOD-OL’-BOYS! Truly!

    Thank you Amanda Fritz for voting against the 12-lanes and the Texassformation of Portland. You are the only one on the council with cojones!

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  • old&slow March 1, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    The CRC proposal is not worth the time we are spending debating this! By the time it gets done nobody will be driving over it which is why it is so depressing that our so-called “progressive mayor” is behind this. If you travel in Europe today you will find that their tollways are not crowded at all! They travel distances around their countries mostly by rail because driving is expensive! Not only gas but they are called tollways for a reason. We are clearly headed in that direction so all the talk about tolls is true and it does discourage driving! Gas prices will surely go up again to at least $4.00 a gallon so by the time this bridge is done (at 4 billion dollars) it won’t be needed! I hate to beat a dead horse, but Sam Adams is so out of touch and so desperate to keep his day job tath he is not representing progressive thinking at all. At a time when the Obama budget clearly signals that we are moving to a progressive green jobs environment, a progressive energy policy , etc., it is depressing that we are being led by this guy.

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  • jim March 2, 2009 at 12:08 am

    They say 12 lanes but it is only 3 lanes of traffic in each direction. This is because Portland city council does not want more vehicles crossing the river. Damn the commerce or the expanding population… They are throwing money away for no gain

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  • carless in pdx March 2, 2009 at 4:58 am

    Give me a break, Europe has major congestion too. But putting up a 12 lane freeway… Seattle doesn’t even have 12 lanes! This is going to be really expensive, but I predict it never gets built.

    For one, Washington isn’t going to want to spend all this money on Vancouver, when they are looking at billions and billions redoing highway 99 in a tunnel under Seattle. Plus there are other big projects; so its up to us to fund this thing. And it looks like some folks are willing to protest it… now lets get out there and make ourselves heard!!!

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  • peejay March 2, 2009 at 6:06 am

    Jobs can be made building infrastructure that is right for the environment and our transit needs in the future. This issue should never be about jobs. If we’re so concerned about jobs, why don’t we have bullet trains connecting the West Coast cities? Why don’t we have a freight rail network that works? Why isn’t the Max underground through downtown? Plenty of jobs there!

    Don’t dare make this into a proposition that holds jobs hostage to getting a bad bridge built.

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  • Anonymous March 2, 2009 at 7:26 am

    carless in pdx,

    It’s called federal funding. I-5 is an interstate an gets money from the feds.

    Washington as in DC will spend the money on this, the biggest choke point on I-5.

    Mind you all this will do is move the choke point into North Portland. And when they fix that it becomes the Marquam bridge. After that it’s the Terwilliger curves.

    Basically the entire interstate through Portland is a mess. The 205 bypass doesn’t work either. Heading south it goes from 3 lanes down to two just as you climb the hill into West Line. A design that does nothing but create congestion as the semis have to crawl up the hill.

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  • beth h March 2, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    “Basically the entire interstate through Portland is a mess.”

    If we ask the government to solve this problem they will make it worse.

    Instead, we should be finding new ways to inspire (or if need be, scare and even badger) more people out of their cars. I say let’s promote urban density, let’s promote transit, let’s promote shorter distances between home and work, between home and school, and let the freeway-dependent suburbs rot. They were a horrible idea in the first place. Let’s make it harder to drive and more attractive to create lives — and communities — on a more local scale. If we get enough people on board then we can rebuild the suburbs into little city centers of their own. Isn’t that what the 2030 Plan was supposed to promote?

    I am SO angry that the city council of one of America’s most progressive, forward-thinking cities would approve such a giant step backwards.

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  • 007 March 2, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    The end of suburbia is definitely coming. See the documentary: The End of Suburbia. It is fascinating.

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  • nuovorecord March 2, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Having spent hours in traffic in both Los Angeles and Seattle, I refuse to believe that the Interstate Bridge is the BIGGEST CHOKE POINT ON I-5!!!!! [/radio announcer voice]

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  • jim March 2, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    Why is it that you can drive all the way up the I-5 corridor on 3 lanes till you get to the place where the most people are and it narrows down to 2 lanes? Politics, it’s their ace up their sleeve and they are just hanging on to it

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  • bike militia March 14, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Jeesh, that Bricker guy looks like a slimeball. Is it just me or is he the same person as Lumberg from Office Space.

    I appreciate what the BTA has been able to do recently, but I have to wonder aloud if a less-douchey bike advocacy group couldn’t have been even more effective.

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