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To cut costs, CRC project looks to “postpone” biking/walking path

Posted by on September 21st, 2012 at 11:50 am

That’s OK. We didn’t need that.

As Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project backers and project staff face mounting pressure to find funding for their $3.6 billion (with a “b”) plan to widen I-5 for several miles between Oregon and Washington, build parking structures, and replace the existing highway bridge — a phasing strategy could jeopardize parts of the bicycling and walking facilities that have been promised for years.

Despite the nearly $160 million that has already been spent in planning the CRC, major problems are still bubbling up and project backers still haven’t garnered any significant funding commitment (which many see as a sign of the project’s lack of political viability.)

CRC project staff outlined their phasing plans in a document prepared for the September 12th meeting of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Columbia River Crossing. That document (PDF here) proposed a total of $145 million in “Phase 1 savings.” Listing among the savings is the “Eastside suspended bicycle/pedestrian path over N. Portland Harbor” which would drop $15 million off the project cost.

Here’s a detail of page 33 of that document:

And here’s a larger context view of the segment that would be eliminated:

CRC project staff call this a mere postponement:

“The phasing proposal maintains the project focus on increasing safety and improving mainline operations. Some non-highway local improvements are postponed…

Here’s how that segment is described on the CRC’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements web page:

“A pathway on the east side of I-5 over North Portland Harbor… will allow pedestrians and bicyclists to travel between North Portland and Hayden Island.”

Portland economist Joe Cortright, an outspoken critic of the project who follows it very closely, alerted me to this cost-cutting plan this morning. He shares my concerns that given the funding pressure this project is under, pieces of the project that are promised to come later in phases, might not ever happen. He sees their language to legislators as trying to have it both ways: “CRC wants to describe these cuts both as “postponements” — meaning we’ll do it later, so we don’t save any money — and also as “savings” — implying that we’ll never do it.”

The way Cortright sees it, this is just the beginning. With a financial plan that is falling apart (they failed to secure a $400-500 million earmark they’d been counting on in the new federal transportation bill), Cortright says, “It promises to get worse.”

Adding to the bad bikeway/walkway news, Cortright also thinks CRC project staff haven’t fully considered how much more expensive it will be when they are forced to raise the bridge height to satisfy the U.S. Coast Guards navigation requirements (an issue that has plagued the project in recent months). That higher elevation means the biking and walking facilities will not only be more expensive, they will also be far less pleasant to use.

This type of last-minute cost-cutting on the back of biking and walking infrastructure in big projects is a constant occurrence. We just saw it attempted on the Sellwood Bridge and it’s what many people fear will happen if the plans to widen I-5 at the Rose Quarter (which is, coincidentally just south of the CRC project’s footprint) ever go through.

Stay tuned. CRC news will be heating way up in the upcoming legislative session as project backers attempt to push for a 1 cent gas tax and other fee increases in a desperate attempt to raise funds.

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Comments
  • peejay September 21, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Anybody within the biking/walking/mass transit community who supported this project because of the promised improvements to those facilities that the new bridge was supposed to provide: you just got punk’d.

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    • spare_wheel September 21, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      Hi Charlie Hales.

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      • Hugh Johnson September 22, 2012 at 8:23 am

        So now we vote for the irresponsible driver?

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    • matt picio September 25, 2012 at 8:56 am

      Since the bike/ped facility is supposed to go where the old bridge currently is, why not retain the entire old bridge and dedicate it to bike/ped? Plenty of capacity, and they can save the cost of removing it – which is far greater than the cost of the bike/ped improvements.

      Sure, we wouldn’t resolve any of the bridge lift issues, but since bike/ped access needs to be maintained, all options should be on the table, right?
      (that’s somewhat tongue-in-cheek in case it wasn’t clear)

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  • 9watts September 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    The CRC boondoggle is so unbelievably misguided and disingenuous it is hard to know where to begin. Thanks for keeping on top of this Jonathan and Joe. I see a silver lining, though. :-)

    With a financial plan that is falling apart [...] “It promises to get worse.”

    …which could be ‘better.’

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  • Zaphod September 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Am I correct in parsing that if I wish to travel from PDX to Vancouver that this can only be done in a car… or on a different bridge many miles away? What will it take to make the CRC go away entirely?

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    • Andyc September 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      HM. The Amtrak goes to Vancouver from Portland. Maybe box your bike and do that? Should only take a couple hours or so, maybe the whole day, but hey…

      (And here is where I went in to some long, belabored screed leveled at this project, but I deleted it. Tired of it. Gonna take a breath, go back to work).

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      • Chris I September 21, 2012 at 2:26 pm

        The Amtrak Cascades trains have bike racks. You just hand your bike to the baggage handler and step aboard. Travel time from Vancouver to Portland is 10-15 minutes. Of course, there are only a few trains per day, and they are late about 20% of the time, and it’s $10 + $5 for your bike.

        http://www.trainweb.org/washarp/tcc026lg.jpg

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      • Nate September 21, 2012 at 3:49 pm

        Take a CTran bus from Expo Center? Two of you at a time (per bike rack capacity). And what a parade of America’s finest human beings!

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    • 9watts September 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      I’m for the Do Nothing Alternative. That is a time-tested approach, and if I’m not mistaken is often chosen over other options.

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    • Paul in the 'couve September 21, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      Zaphod,

      I’m not clear on this, but if I remember the plans correctly, the original plan has the possibility of biking / walking on both the East and West side. If I remember correctly the path on the west side was more car free, but doesn’t connect as well to N. Vancouver and points in town, while the east side was better connected but looked like it would involve more intersections with cars. I need to go back and find the maps to think it through. But I’m pretty sure this doesn’t eliminate biking from Vancouver to PDX via I-5.

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    • Carol September 24, 2012 at 10:28 am

      $150M for the 15 bikes a year that need to get from PDX to Vancouver…sounds like a pretty good deal to me and serves the public need much better than a few cry babies on wheels….

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      • Paul in the 'couve September 24, 2012 at 10:50 am

        The cry babies are the drivers who want a FREE trip, and want to get back and forth from Downtown PDX in 20 minutes or Beaverton in 40 and insist on someone else paying for their 4 Billion Dollar bridge. The cry baby commuters in Clark County should put on their big boy pants and ride their bike like I do. Downtown in 40 minutes every time. And that is at least 15 times / month or 180 times per year just for my trips.

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      • DK September 27, 2012 at 9:39 am

        Misguided….Poor Carol. :(

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  • Ethan September 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    This is what so-called “compromise” with the status quo is such a terrible idea. It’s borne out again and again but we keep thinking a (solitary) seat at the table is enough to ensure balance. It isn’t.

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  • Paul Cone September 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    “phasing strategy”… where I have heard that before? Common Sense Alternative, anyone?

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  • ALV September 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Time to dump the whole CRC proposal and get behind this one…

    The “Common Sense Alternative” (CSA) is a cheaper, faster, and better way of crossing the Columbia River. It would would achieve the stated goals of the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) freeway and bridge project, but for less money.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPB1jtmHVkk

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    • Indy September 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      - Zero source of cost. Might as well just make stuff up?
      - Several of the options involve shifting I-5 traffic. The problem with this is people will use I-5 on both sides to get there. There’s no way to get West of I-5 without taking I-5 if you are a car/truck, quickly.
      - Several of the options put you in a part of Vancouver (and Portland) nobody really goes to.

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      • Chris I September 21, 2012 at 2:30 pm

        The CRC is being sold as a “freight mobility” project. Many of the improvements in the CSA are designed for freight mobility. Bridges connecting industry on Marine Drive and north Portland to Hayden Island (where the Port wants to develop more land) and to the port in Vancouver. Improvements to freight rail capacity. Also, I do not see any “shifting” of I-5 in the CSA. Not sure where you are getting that from.

        If the CRC is truly is not freight mobility project, then the backers need to admit that and we can start evaluating the actually project needs.

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  • Drew Flint September 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    I like how everything on this list is actually a useful improvement to the North Portland/Hayden Island area. Perhaps they should start with these projects and ‘postpone’ replacing the bridge, $145 mil. shouldn’t be too hard to find.

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    • Andrew K September 21, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      Best. Comment. Ever.

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  • Ron Richings September 21, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Looking at the CRC from a distance of a few hundred miles, the CRC project is even worse than our own Fraser River ‘Gateway’ project.
    There must be a way to put a wooden stake through the CRC’s heart.
    This Zombie Bridge Project seems to just keep coming back from the dead.
    With all of the problems the bridge faces, including both how high and how low it has to be, by now one of the much less costly alternatives should surely be preferred by now.
    With the recently revealed height problems, a simple tunnel, similar to the one under the Fraser just south of Vancouver, seem like a preferable approach. With money being an issue, why not just do the tunnel with bike and ped facilities, and defer those very expensive highway interchanges?

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  • Ron Richings September 21, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    And of course include rail transit lines in the basic tunnel.

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  • Oliver September 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Ha, I didn’t see that coming.

    I apologize. I usually try to couch my sarcasm in at least a marginally constructive contribution.

    So they want us to spend this money for an outcome with worse connectivity than we have now? At least they only want to spend 3.9 instead of 4 Billion. (there I did it again, sorry)

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  • thefuture September 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    This motivated me to check out each of our candidates for mayor of Portland’s websites to see what they say about the CRC. I easily found J. Smith’s which mentions the Common Sense Alternative (a big plus for me):

    http://jeffersonsmith.com/transportation-answers/whats-jeffersons-position-on-the-columbia-river-crossing/

    Could not find anything on C. Hales’ website, even under ‘Issues that Matter’. Am I just missing it? How is a $3,500,000,000 project not an issue that matters?

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  • Rol September 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    I’ve got an even more effective cost-cutting measure for ya: CANCEL THIS PROJECT.

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    • Rol September 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      Better yet, cancel all of it EXCEPT the bike part. Save 90% of the cost!

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      • Rol September 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm

        “We found that the automotive-related portions of the project contributed significantly to the overall cost, and therefore provided excellent opportunities for for cost savings.”

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  • q`Tzal September 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Whether you support the CRC project or not we need to be fighting to include every single thing that they promised everywhere along the line so as to the price high and keep be odds completion as low as possible.

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  • Andrew K September 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Waaaait a minute. So they are planning on spending billions of dollars on a bridge we don’t need that will actually make walking and biking across even worse!?!

    Oh my lord, we need to stop this project now.

    3.6 billion could build us the best pedestrian and bike network on the planet which would save EVERYONE (including drivers) who lives in the Portland Metro area real money. 3.6 billion could improve our public schools state wide and make them among the highest and most competative in the nation. I could go on and on with examples that would be a way better use of those funds.

    Seriously folks, we need to stand up and demand this project come to an end.

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  • dwainedibbly September 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Who needs bike infrastructure? Let’s just take the lane! At rush hour!

    Seriously, though. Is there anyone who DIDN’T see this coming? Not only will we never get infrastructure on the CRC, but it will suck every penny out of local transportation finding for decades, so we son’t get any other infrastructure, either.

    Jonathan: can you ask Hales & Smith how they feel about a CRC without bike & ped facilities?

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  • Tyler w September 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    CRC is the devil!

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  • Chris I September 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    “project backers attempt to push for a 1 cent gas tax and other fee increases in a desparate attempt to raise funds.”

    Oh man, this thing is really dead now. Raising gas taxes is political kryptonite.

    On a more constructive point; Jonathan, I think you should ask for clarification on this. It seems like they are planning on keeping the existing bridge south of Hayden Island, with 4 through-lanes in each direction, and a bike path on the east side. It appears that the plans were to suspend a bike path from the east flyover ramp that they are adding. My assumption would then be that they would simply keep the bike path on the existing south Hayden bridge. While this option is much less pleasant than a suspended bridge away from traffic, was this pathway really a safety concern? I thought the safety concerns were more with the intersections near the bridges, and the narrow paths on the main Columbia I-5 spans?

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  • Paul in the 'couve September 21, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Actually someone else mentioned this below, and I looked at the CRC maps. Under the original and the revised plan, the existing bridge over the slew from Columbia Blvd. to Hayden / Tomahawk / Jantzen beach will be left in place. What is being eliminated is a new route on the west side that connects directly to the Convention center and Max Stop. I believe the East Side route was to be improved, but the elimination of some overpasses in the revision may be taking that away too, and actually making the cycling route worse or very little improved from the bridge south.

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  • Ted Buehler September 21, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Folks —

    This is only cutting one of the two pedestrian routes from Marine Dr. to Hayden Island.

    There are bike lanes on the MAX/street bridge from Expo Center to Hayden Island, and the most recent detailed map I saw showed a sidewalk on that span also. The detailed map in question doesn’t show “sidewalks” so we can’t confirm that it’s been removed.

    This is significant, though, because it will lengthen the route from Portland to Vancouver by a couple hundred feet for bikes and peds.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Ted Buehler September 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    I bit of history on this particular section of the route —

    The 2008-era recommendation by the CRC Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee proposed two walking/bicycling routes across the river — an 8′ sidewalk on the east side and a 22′ multiuse path on the west side. With two access points on the north side of the river — an elevator to the riverfront, and a ramp into downtown Vancouver. This was the “Three bridge option” — one bridge for each freeway direction, and a third bridge for MAX/bikes/peds.

    In 2009 when the “two bridge” plan came about, with MAX under one freeway bridge and bikes/peds under the other freeway bridge, they cut out the second pathway system. Single path, from Expo Center to the Vancouver waterfront (via a corkscrew ramp dropping 70′).

    I criticized this design, demonstrating that with this zig-zag and corkscrew system, it would take bicycles 6 minutes extra to cross the river over if they were given a more direct route, making the effective width of the river 1.5 miles instead of .5 miles.

    The CRC folks didn’t think much of this problem, but April Bertelson, the Portland Pedestrian Coordinator did, and she worked with CRC folks and pulled strings to get the east side path reinstalled on the Oregon side of the river, thus making it easier and simpler to get from Delta park to downtown Vancouver.

    One of the reasons the CRC folks went along with this is that they determined that if the main multiuse path stayed on the east side of the freeway, it would be
    1) a bit shorter overall, saving them some $$$$$, and
    2) it would avoid the congestion and routing issues of having a bike/ped thoroughfare run adjacent to the MAX station.

    I cheered this decision as an important step in making the bicycle connection between Portland and Vancouver as direct as possible.

    Now, with the east side path getting the “build it later” stamp, it does put the design in a serious pickle — how will they route the multiuse path from the main span over to the Hayden Island MAX station and then over to Expo Center?

    It seems to me that in order to have a decent bike/ped system they’ll need to go back to the 2009 era design, which is only a small cost savings over the east ride routing.

    Ted Buehler

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    • Paul in the 'couve September 21, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      I suspect this revision is actually worse than it sounds like for cycling /pedestrian improvements. Besides eliminating the East Side route, they eliminate two bridges on Hayden Island – one on the West side over Hayden Island Dr. and one on the East side over Tomahawk Dr.. I think that means instead of having a traffic free route over Jantzen Beach we will be forced to cross Hayden Island Dr. at Grade. Also, they eliminate improvement to local roads around Hayden Island and around Marine drive so any improvement to biking routes getting from / to the bridge and destinations at Jantzen beach will likely be eliminated and any improvements to bike paths and traffic interactions at Columbia River Dr. and Delta Park will also probably be eliminated. So the only thing we might be left with is a wider pathway over the main bridge but still totally crappy infrastructure everywhere else.

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  • Ted Buehler September 21, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    So, if folks want to make sure that the CRC is bike friendly, I suggest using a statement like this —

    “We need a direct connection between Portland and Vancouver — if they don’t build the ‘Eastside suspended bicycle path over Portland Harbor’, then bikes will need to do some serious zigzagging at Expo Center and at Jantzen Beach, this is not the ‘world class bicycle facility’ that we were promised.”

    Ted Buehler

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  • Lenny Anderson September 21, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    If the CRC folks really wanted to reduce costs, they would drop all the freeway expansion pieces, ie. interchanges both in OR and WA, and just build a new 8 lane bridge with lightrail and a generous bike/ped route on the downstream side. It could be paid for with tolls, just as in ’58.

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  • Jim Labbe September 21, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    As usual, great coverage. Thanks Jonathan.

    Note the small typo in the last sentence: “desparate”

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  • John Lascurettes September 21, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Is anyone surprised by this at all? I think we’ve been right in our cynicism all along about this.

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  • Terry D September 21, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    This project is going nowhere fast…..or slowly as you look at it. Vancouver residents are not going to vote in a sales tax increase to pay for it anyway since they do not want the “Crime train.” Our state government can not get it together enough to find a stable transportation funding source as it is and we are already seeing the need to cut costs. The estimates for Toll revenue are going to be significantly lower than predicted as our VMT per person has plummeted since those estimates.

    Of course the “world class” bicycle facilities are the first to go when money tightens…..as it always does on big projects. Even if we trusted “them” to build it “Later” where would THAT money come from? Another bike facility most likely….more stealing from poorer areas of the city to placate suburban and business interests.

    The problem with the bridge from the beginning is the class of cultures. Portland will not have it unless it is active transportation focused and the extra highway capacity is minimized. Vancouver ONLY wants more auto capacity and does not care one bit about Portland’s quality of life or opinion…..even though if it was not for their commuting there would be no need for more capacity.

    At this point the Alternative CRC crossing (or something similar) is the only available choice. If this is not an option….then I say let it die. Start congestion tolling into PDX on both I5 and I205 to pay for earthquake retrofitting and let things take its course.

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    • Paul in the 'couve September 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      I almost totally agree. The only thing I would add some nuance to is that the views of Vancouver residents is more complex. Certainly the overall view in Clark county as a whole is more on the lanes, but in Vancouver there are plenty of people who oppose the project as a whole for a variety of reasons and and pretty healthy minority like me that oppose the traffic lanes but at least tepidly suppor the transit / light rail extension.

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    • dan September 25, 2012 at 9:53 am

      Exactly! Congestion tolling on I-5 and 205 bridges and possibly a dedicated freight / carpool lane on I-5 would solve congestion at a fraction of what they anticipate spending. Combine that with express bus service from Vancouver to the Max station at the Expo Center, and we’re golden. All of the above would cost…what? Maybe $200 million, assuming we needed to build some toll plazas?

      How’s that for savings? Maybe I should run for mayor.

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  • K'Tesh September 21, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    YO! Planners! Instead of cutting off the bike/ped access why not just give us one of the existing I5 bridges entirely… until you can complete the (required by law) 15M bike/ped bridge, whenever that is?

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  • Spencer Boomhower September 21, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    “Hi, I’m interested in the car you’re selling. How much are you asking for it?”
    “$3,600.”
    “Hmm, that’s more than I was hoping to spend. Can you bring the price down any?”
    “Well, I guess I could leave off the bike rack.”
    “OK, how much will that save me?”
    “Fifteen bucks.”

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  • Ted Buehler September 22, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Paul in the couve wrote

    “I suspect this revision is actually worse than it sounds like for cycling /pedestrian improvements.”

    Yes, correct. I didn’t read all the details, but they’re cutting *both* bridges from Expo Center to Hayden Island.

    So, no bike access at all.

    I apologize for my previous comments where I pointed out that they were just making the ride more difficult — they’re cutting it off entirely.

    Ted Buehler

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    • Paul in the 'couve September 22, 2012 at 10:49 am

      It isn’t really clear. I thought the same as you until I started trying to figure out what those bridges are. I’m still not positive what is going on. I can’t find a detail map of Jantzen beach this is labeled so I can tell what is what. Further, the blurb isn’t clear. I’m not positive that both bridges are completely eliminated. Seems like they aren’t to interested in clearly stating what they are eliminating. Bad sign.

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      • Ted Buehler September 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm

        In any case, if they cut all non-freeway connections from Hayden Island to Expo Center, then they’ll have the Hayden Island crowd raising up a ruckus.

        After the BTA dropped out of the design process in 2009, the Hayden Island people kept at it, and got a number of concessions. They’re organized and ready to fight again. Unlike the bicycle groups (apparently).

        (Are there any bicycle groups currently “at the table” in the design process — Gerik, are you there?)

        Ted Buehler

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  • Ted Buehler September 22, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Plainly, they’re cutting the project to the bone.

    Except, that to really cut it to the bone they’d take the freeway down from 10 lanes to 8. Which doesn’t seem to be on the table.

    That should be our big Ask at this point — rather than cut out all bicycle, pedestrian and local traffic amenities, to cut out 2 lanes of freeway — on the main span, and throughout the project.

    Ted Buehler

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    • Opus the Poet September 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      OK, how about build it with the 10 lanes, but put jersey barriers up on both sides of the bridge to make the extra lanes bike/ped routes with the access set up so that when (if) they build the real bike/ped access as per plans the structure can be easily changed without disrupting bike/ped traffic?

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  • C3 September 22, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Come on Portland. Plan for the next 50 years like you are recognized nationally for doing. Light rail, uber cool cycling & ped access, etc.
    If an earthquake took out all of the bridges, you’d have to replace it; so do it right the first time.
    How about taxing the industries at the Port who would benefit from moving all that freight extra freight across the bridge? Each container or pound of stuff moving through that area as freight is taxed “x” dollars. Plus a reasonable toll of course. If you’re workin’ in Portland and usin’ the bridge, you gotta’ pay to play.
    Alternative idea: a catapult

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  • Lenny Anderson September 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    C3, actually that would not raise much money. Portland exports about 1% of Westcoast containers, and many of those are just air, ie. empty. Most containers across the River go by rail to the Ports of Tacoma and Seattle on the 1910 RR bridge about which the “Freight” interests have little concern. “Freight” is being used in the CRC PR campaign (and elsewhere) to get more roadway capacity funded; its just a ploy as freeway capacity advocates know they cannot win by asking for more capacity for commuters alone in their cars in this day and age.

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    • C3 September 23, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      Gracias Lenny. You have definitely schooled me on that issue. I could stand behind your idea as stated above: 8 lanes instead of 10; light rail & generous bike/ped facilities, with a toll for motorized vehicles of course. Heck, I’d pay a buck to cross it on my bike if needed.

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  • Evan Manvel September 24, 2012 at 9:19 am

    As we bemoan this on BikePortland, the pro-CRC lobby is pushing legislators to say, “Well, it’s not perfect, but we have to do something.” While that’s one of the worst arguments in history, it’s what they’re using to deflect criticism.

    So, contact your legislators. Write letters to the editor. Make sure people (beyond BikePortland) know how awful this mega-project is.

    And use your votes, dollars, and feet (talking to other voters) to support anti-CRC candidates this fall.

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    • bicycle rider September 24, 2012 at 10:57 pm

      you know if this moves forward it will have no/absolute minimum bike-ped facilities (like Glenn Jackson Bridge type) and no/absolute minimum transit facilities (like HOV lanes) oh and of course no tolls because tolling would actually reduce the need for this bridge in the first place and discourage 40+ mile commutes.

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  • GlowBoy September 24, 2012 at 11:22 am

    I’ll let the experts sort out what the actual impact of this, but it seems to be one of two things:

    1. Cyclists would have to take a more circuitous route that requires SIX EXTRA MINUTES. Each way. WTF?!? Can you even imagine the outrage if we proposed to change the CRC so that Vancouverites endured six additional minutes of congestion on the way to and from their Oregon jobs?
    2. Bikes get NO ACCESS AT ALL. No way across the river, period. Making things even worse than they are today.

    It’s hard for me to decipher from the above discussion which of the two is the case, but either outcome is far beyond unacceptable. If this is the best the CRC can come up with, the project needs to die. One of the major touted benefits of the project is now negated, and you can be sure they’ll cut rail out of the final version too. The math still doesn’t add up on this project, they still haven’t resolved the height issue, and they’re going to have to cut it to the bone — to the point that it will provide few if any new benefits except a shinier-looking bridge. Kill it. Kill it now.

    BTW, have the CRC planners even formulated a response to the Common Sense Alternative proposal? Have they even acknowledged this plan’s existence?

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  • Ted Buehler September 24, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Glo — my first reply was if they just pulled out the one bike bridge (which headlines the story). After reading Paulinthecouve’s comments, I read more carefully and saw that they pulled out both of the bike bridges. So, of all these recommendations, if they take them all then they’ll block all bike access to the bridge.

    Agreed, the whole deal is a WTF, especially since the bike access is ALREADY six minutes longer than the car access…

    Ted Buehler

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    • 9watts September 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      Why is precisely why I think we should refuse the whole thing, explicitly not engage in any kind of negotiation about adding bike lanes back in (á la Sellwood Bridge) but note the bad faith, bad economics, bad engineering, bad everything about this (á la Mount Hood Freeway).

      “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”
      ― Mario Savio

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  • Todd Boulanger September 24, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks for the update on the CRC project.

    Ted does bring up a very important point – one that some on the CRC PBAC pressed staff to adopt as a measurable benchmark overtime – the time it takes to bike across this project zone (current vs. proposed and also during the construction detour).

    Jonathan (or AROW) please follow up with how these changes affect this crossing time. The revised taller bridge would negatively affect the bike commute by making it longer, more costly and steeper.

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    • Ted Buehler September 25, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      Todd — I was always disappointed that “overtime” was not included in the evaluation of the bridge.

      What was the result of PBAC’s request to include “overtime” as a measurable benchmark for the CRC? Did they formally turn down the request? Or informally? I assume that staff denied the committee’s request, as I don’t see travel time/overtime listed anywhere in PBAC’s “world class bridge evaluation criteria.”

      http://www.columbiarivercrossing.org/FileLibrary/MeetingMaterials/PBAC%20DEIS%20LPA%20Memo%20061708.pdf

      Thanks,
      Ted Buehler

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  • bicycle rider September 24, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    I’m sure they still plan to spend $1.3 billion reconfiguring two highway interchanges ($700M Hayden Island, $600M Marine Drive). For a entirely fatally flawed project I find this prehaps the most mindboggling. Theres not even $700M worth of property value on Hayden Island.

    BTW this is turning out a lot like the Tappan Zee Bridge project outside NYC, cutting out all the bike/ped and transit components after the project went forward based on their inclusion.

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  • bicycle rider September 24, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    trimet’s new willamette river bridge planning, design and construction cost is much less than what has been spent to date on just endless wasteful planning and design (still years away from construction) on the CRC. this is shocking.

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  • Duncan September 26, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Honestly I am surprised only that they let the cat outta the bag so early- this is so common in urban planning that its ceased to be shocking to me- it like that peanuts cartoon when the kid rushes at the football you know what going to happen next right? It is the same way it seems with bridge building- at the last minute they pull the non motorized transit out from under us.

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  • Wells September 28, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    This is another ruse from Wsdot. “Look at this! Pay no attention to the man behind the screen.” West of I-5, the proposed local bridge access to Hayden Island would serve ped/bike needs adequately. As I understand it, the existing I-5 bridge between mainland Oregon & Hayden Island is to be retained to cut costs. And the Marine Drive interchange likewise delayed though the current interchange is a nightmare for truckers and motorists and those who try to cross it on foot.

    Wsdot is a criminal organization led by heinous, malevolent, murderous, self-righteous christians who consider constitutional liberty their right to oppress others and destroy the planet for profit. Panamex-class freighters delivering Asian automobiles to America’s ignorant wage-slave motorists stuck in rush hour traffic is imminently profitable and if the system collapses, provide golden parachutes to softly land in reclusive retreats for the GODLY class of elitists.

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  • Dan Kaufman December 4, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Is there any update on the CRC MUP? Gov Kitzhaber is pushing hard for this project now because time is running out. Seems to me phasing out active transportation should be (just one more) deal breaker in this freeway expansion fiasco.

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    • Skid December 4, 2012 at 4:37 pm

      For once I agree with you Dan. No light rail or bike/ped access makes this a deal breaker for me. We all know that if these facilities are not built alongside the rest of the project, they won’t happen.

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  • julie December 5, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Two words: TOLL BRIDGE. Stop wasting our time and energy on yet another car-centric structure that panders to the people who are ruining this environment. Bike, walk, rail, anything BUT cars? Portland is becoming just like any other city in the US, probably because of the mass influx of people from other cities in the US. I’ve seen very few bicycle improvements in the 5 years I’ve been here. Again, why are the 205 bridge and/or I-5 bridge not toll bridges yet? This makes no sense.

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  • Dan Kaufman February 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Sorry to keep coming back to this but I am wondering how then cyclists and pedestrians will get across here. Will there be bike/ped facilities on the other side?

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