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Key CRC decision coming Friday

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 4th, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Mayor Adams (L) and Vancouver
Mayor Royce Pollard before a
CRC meeting in February 2007.
(Photo © J. Maus)

On Friday, the Columbia River Crossing Project Sponsors Council will meet to solidify the lane configuration of the new I-5 bridge. According to a press release sent out by the CRC project, the meeting will result in "a recommendation on the number of add/drop (auxiliary) lanes on Interstate 5 in the CRC project area."

There has been a lot of public and media attention given to the CRC lane decision after Mayor Adams and Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard put forth a compromise lane proposal last week.

That proposal was supported 4-1 by the Portland City Council, giving Mayor Adams the authorization to vote "yes" on a bridge that could accomodate up to 12 lanes (although there's no specific mention of 12 lanes in the CRC press release).

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Also according to the proposal, Adams can only vote yes if the Sponsors Council approves his idea to create a Columbia Crossing Mobility Council (download the City Council resolution regarding the Mobility Council, PDF). That council would manage the bridge and have authority to set tolls and manage other aspects of bridge traffic. For Adams, this new Mobility Council is seen as a groundbreaking first for how the region manages motor vehicle traffic and it was the key piece of his compromise with Pollard.

All expectations are that the Sponsors Council will say yes to the Mobility Council (Adams is shrewd enough to have lined up the support before putting together the compromise). However, if for some reason they vote no, then Adams technically does not have authorization from the Portland City Council to vote in support of up to 12 lanes (and I assume it would be considered a major political embarrassment for him).

The Sponsors Council is composed of representatives from the transportation departments from both Washington and Oregon, the cities of Portland and Vancouver, Metro, TriMet, C-TRAN, the
Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council and two citizen reps.

The meeting is open to the public, though no public testimony will be taken. Agenda and meeting materials are available on the CRC's website.

Here are the meeting details:

    CRC Project Sponsors Council
    Friday, March 6th at 10 a.m. - 12 noon
    WSDOT SW Region Building (11018 NE 51st Circle in Vancouver)

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Comments
  • Michelle March 4, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    For your reference, the resolution the City Council passed last week authorizing the Mayor to vote for 12 lanes and establishing the "Mobility Council" is available here:

    Resolution
    Attachments

    They are not yet available on the city's website.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) March 4, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    thanks Michelle. I'll add those links to the story.

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  • Ethan March 4, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    "it would be considered a major political embarrassment for him" is a bit relative where Mr Adams is concerned. Let's hope he's not having an affair with Vancouver's mayor.

    Only a fool would suppose that built lanes, at some point in the future when the political winds change, won't be opened up to auto traffic. Show me a city where building "extra" capacity for cars has not ended up with that surplus being tapped. I don't hear anyone saying the bike lane will get a whole lane of that "overage".

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  • metal cowboy March 4, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    I've been asked why we aren't lining up a protest at this meeting. For several reasons. It's during the day when most people are busy working, it comes too soon after the vote last week regarding the 12 lane option to put the numbers out there, and as Jonathan pointed out in the article, Mayor Adams would not have moved forward with the 12 lane "compromise" if he didn't have the deal for his mobility council in place already, so this meeting is a rubberstamping of sorts, in our estimation.

    So why rally in April?

    Because noting has been built, and no funding allocated yet. This thing is far from over.

    Just because Adams has made a deal doesn't mean game over. It's just beginning. We plan to put pressure on elected officals, the legislature who will be looking at a 30 million dollar allocation during this session and what I believe is 600 million that the state would have to allocate in the future. We plan to help get other options a thorough, public look through the media, Environmental impact connected law suits. We want to help the community mobilize and do things to change the size and scope of this boondoggle of a bridge at 12 lanes.

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  • 007 March 5, 2009 at 8:34 am

    I will definitely be at the April protest.

    Re: the Mobility Council

    Just who would be on it and how would they be selected? Who/what would decide which numbers and statistics determine the amount of tolling? Tolling should make a good dent in the pocketbook. I have no confidence in this council. No doubt Washington State folks who appear to care not one wit about Oregon's welfare (except for our jobs) would be on the council.

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  • Coyote March 5, 2009 at 8:44 am

    I guess I need to hear more about this Mobility Counsel. A local authority typically does not have much clout administering use of a federal asset. Sure a local authority can add HOV lanes, tolls, speed limits, etc. But all of it has to conform to what the Feds want or they will jerk highway funding.

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  • Suzanne March 5, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Well said metal cowboy. April 5th everyone!

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  • Lola March 5, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Given the Tram debacle, it's hard to have much faith in an after-the-fact "Mobility Counsel." Planning and direction is what we need at the BEGINNING of the project.

    I guess our mayor doesn't learn from any of his past mistakes.

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  • Robert Ping March 5, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Let's see, I am thinking aloud now: 12 lanes opens the floodgate for traffic and therefore the land development floodgate to Vancouver which then becomes the biggest city in the region in the 10-20 years after the bridge is completed, substantially increasing auto traffic, so that we get more congestion and loss of business productivity, air and noise pollution, sprawl and a nearby county full of new mcmansions, fast food and malls, loss of farmlands, reduction in freight capacity, increased roadway maintenance costs, emergency service demand, river pollution, and on and on...what a brilliant idea (NOT)!

    See you on April 5th!

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  • Bill Stites March 6, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    What Robert said.

    Thanks Metal Cowboy for working on a rally April 5th - I'll be there ... with a posse.

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