Highway porn: CRC project unveils draft concepts

For all you highway lovers out there…here are some draft concepts of what the future I-5 crossing at the Columbia River might look like according to the folks with the Columbia River Crossing project:

For more information on the Columbia River Crossing project, check out my previous articles or stop by the next public meeting.

    CRC Task Force Meeting
    January 22nd, 4-7pm
    Vancouver Hilton (301 W 6th Street)
    Vancouver, WA

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Carl
Carl
16 years ago

Just when I thought we were running low on good Midnight Mystery Ride locations, Team Midnight is offered this beautiful federal bailout promising acres of forgotten concrete wasteland under which we can set fires and pee. Thanks, car infrastructure!

jonno
jonno
16 years ago

Ugh, those are hideous. Why does freeway infrastructure have to be so devoid of appeal?

Elly Blue (Columnist)
16 years ago

Wait, where are the pictures of clogged traffic downtown, impassable arterials, and bloody crash scenes due to increased traffic at on/off ramps in inner Portland and on the Fremont Bridge?

I think we have a counterpropaganda job here for some bikey graphic designers….Dat? Anyone?

Craig
Craig
16 years ago

Where are the toll booths? And where is the bike/ped access?

Werner
Werner
16 years ago

Bikes are not allowed on Interstate right of ways. Only motorized vehicles get that level of priority.

Bicycledave
16 years ago

Hmmm…I wonder if I could come up with a better use of $4 billion?

n8m
n8m
16 years ago

Thoroughly depressing.

B2W
B2W
16 years ago

Werner, that is incorrect. I-205 bridge, I-84 in the Gorge…

Stripes
Stripes
16 years ago

Uuuuuuugh. Totally disgusting. Where\’s the light rail in any of those renderings?

John Russell
16 years ago

In response to Stripes, it looks to me like that\’s a MAX train coming off of the bridge in the third and fourth photos, and I believe that ramp to the right my serve the same purpose in the first two.

And as for Werner, bikes are actually allowed on nearly all interstate highways. Certain metro areas often just prohibit them in order to increase safety where the size of the right-of-way is limited.

Former 49er..
Former 49er..
16 years ago

Supposedly the bridge can be 6 lanes wide in each direction and not lead to a bottleneck further down in Portland because most trips are from Vancouver to Hayden Island. However, when asked why we couldn\’t just build an arterial from Vancouver to Hayden Island to supplement the I-5, I was told that most of the traffic is through-traffic. It all sounds like bs to me. Let\’s spend $4billion on completing the bike network, improve walk access to transit, extend MAX to all the regional and town centers and make MAX quicker.

ScottJ
ScottJ
16 years ago

Max is the bomb! Stop this road building madness!

Werner
Werner
16 years ago

That was a metaphorical statement meant to point out that bikes get short shrift when it comes to transportation development. Tough crowd today…

toddistic
toddistic
16 years ago

i think the bridge is awesome!

/runs away

andrew
andrew
16 years ago

What a nightmare. I can\’t believe such an ass-backwards solution has gotten this far.

Hey Metro Council: can we get an update as to whether or not you all might have veto power over this? What are our legal options, particularly those of us in N and NE Portland? Which side is Blumenauer on?

Ian Clemons
Ian Clemons
16 years ago

Oh, man, all my coworkers from the \’Couv and the rest of Clark County are gonna LOOOVE this! Unfettered high speed commuting to and from and to and from work forever. Except for when these, too, become clogged and overburdened as well.

Seriously, though, at the meetings where they \”plan\” for projects like this, does anyone ever mention crude oil depletion models? The most current research says we\’re expecting an annual 4% depletion rate for crude oil. By the time they get the bridge completed, the cheap gas that gets people and goods over it will be scarce and thus prohibitively expensive for the average commuter.

Maybe we should strive to postpone this project until it becomes patently obvious that it will be redundant in our new, scarcer, energy future. And if anyone mentions ethanol or biodiesel, I\’m gonna barf. : ) Have a great day!

-Ian

John
John
16 years ago

I sometimes cycle across the current bridge on my commute to work, so I\’ve paid some attention to this. Several of those working on the project are avid cyclists; we\’ve not been forgotten. The bike/ped system, which is something like l8 feet wide, and light rail are the part of the bridge on the far right on the photos. It looks like a ramp from Washington Street in the small photos, but it\’s not. No toll booths; thet olling will be electronic. Go to the project website to learn more.

Moo
Moo
16 years ago

So, I take it that a tunnel is out of the question…if we\’re going to spend money why be frugal about it…what\’s a couple billion more bucks anyway?

pdxrocket
pdxrocket
16 years ago

Lightrail? How about we just put up a nice tollgate so we can at least get some much needed funds out of those Vancouver \”suckups\”. Washington better paying half or full on this project.

woogie
woogie
16 years ago

As far as I can remember, you are allowed to ride your bike on the interstate in Oregon in areas that are not considered urban.

Urban sections of the interstate are those with speed limits on of 55mph.

This restricts you from riding in the Portland metro area and around Medford.

PWTC regularly rode I-5 from Wilsonville over Boones Bridge to the Butteville exit when the Canby ferry was out of service.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
16 years ago

\”This restricts you from riding in the Portland metro area and around Medford.\”

There are several Portland metro area freeways that are legal to ride on.

The basic rule is that bikes are allowed whenever there is not an adequate alternate route.

A while back, ODOT tried to put forth an extended ban on bikes in some Portland metro freeways but it was subsequently shot down due to major public disapproval.

Read my coverage for full details if you\’re interested…

ODOT Proposes Bike Ban (3/16/06)

Update on Highway Bike Ban Proposal (4/5/06)

Bike Ban Proposal Back to the Drawing Board (4/10/06)

G.A.R.
G.A.R.
16 years ago

I seldom cross the river. When I do it is usually by bike.

How is the bike feature of the new span integrated into the network of bike routes in Vancouver? This is probably a local bikeway design issue (consulting costs, signage, bike amenities, etc). Can be done after the bridge is complete if the bridge project does a reasonable job of anticipating a range of bike solutions. But I don\’t see that anticipation happening in the material on the web that I looked at.

Will the bike routing be improved from the Expo Center to N Interstate or N Vancouver Ave? The current schemes stink. They are unsafe and unpleasant. The MLK piece is always strewn with debris on a stretch of road that looks like it was designed for littering. The Interstate ramps are full of right hooks and punctuated by MAX station sidewalks (\”walk your bike\”). A good solution here might require some physical infrastructure or right-of-way acquisition. It should be included in the Columbia Crossing project.

Maybe this is all figured out and I just am not seeing it.

Dan Kaufman
16 years ago

This really makes me sick.

90% of the problem congestion is due to Clark County commuter traffic during rush hours.

Yet Clark County voters have stood in the way of every single option that would have helped alleviate the congestion. Eg. funding Max and C-Tran.

And that\’s fine it\’s their money. But federal tax dollars are our money and this is our air and our freeways which will soon receive their misplaced congestion.

If it\’s up to me, my answer is NO WAY!

Daniel Porter
Daniel Porter
16 years ago

You all see a concrete and steel monstrosity, I see a 4 billion dollar covered mountain bike park.

*kidding*

(though if this goes through…)

Dan Kaufman
16 years ago

Oh, and another thing… I can guarantee you this project over run the $6BILLION ($6,000,000,000) cost estimate.

Oink, oink, oink! It looks like a pig and smells like a pig but tastes like asphalt.

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
16 years ago

John Russell\’s comments were correct…

There will be bicycle and pedestrian facilities to cross this interstate bridge – just like the HCT \’tracks\’ and automobile lanes.

The multimodal facilities are generally shown in the photos…but it is difficult to see them do to the scale of the whole project. There is another option not shown – the Replacement Bridge with a bicycle and pedestrian trail on the west side of the HCT tracks and a narrower walkway on the east side.(This trail seems to be missing in the Replacement Bridge: Transit in a Box suboption shown – I have brought this to the attention of the CRC this AM.)

PHOTO 1 \’Supplemental Bridge\’:
Bicycle and pedestrian trails are along the existing bridges – where they currently exist. These would be \’improved\’ similar to the Hawthorne/ Broadway Bridges for multimodal access.

PHOTO 2 \’Supplemental Bridge close-up\’:
Bicycle and pedestrian trail is on the older bridges and thus hidden in this view by the new southbound car bridge. Similar access points to the current layout for bikes and pedestrians.

PHOTO 3 \’Replacement Bridge with Transit in the Tube\’:
Bicycle and pedestrian trail(s) proposed to be hung underneath the car bridge. (But seems to be missing in the simulation.)This would provide a quieter and more weather proof route vs. the other design options.

This design is of a more recent vintage, so the photo simulation may not be showing where the pedestrian/ bicyclist route lanes in Vancouver – thus incomplete.

PHOTO 4 \’Replacement Bridge\’:
Bicycle and pedestrian trail seems to be missing in the photo.

For more information on the bicycle and pedestrian design work for this project please go to out advisory group page: http://www.columbiarivercrossing.org/ProjectPartners/PedAndBike.aspx

For comment see tag for bike and peds:
http://www.columbiarivercrossing.org/

PDF of Ped and Bike Fact Sheet from the CRC

Todd Boulanger
Senior Transportation Planner
City of Vancouver representative to the CRC Bike & Pedestrian Advisory Committee
360.487.7726
todd.boulanger@ci.vancouver.wa.us

Nelson Muntz
Nelson Muntz
16 years ago

Those Clark County commuters that work in Oregon, pay Oregon taxes on that income, and live in the \”Couv because housing is actually affordable for middle class families just make me ill as well! They should just be forced to live in overpriced 500 square foot condos or moldy old shacks in \”transitional\” neighborhoods paid for with 50 year adjustable rate, sub-prime, interest only, balloon payment mortgages like the soon to be foreclosed fools here in Portland!

Relax everyone. It\’s a freeway bridge. It\’s not going to be the reason another one million people move to the area over the next two decades. Extending MAX to Vancouver won\’t make traffic jams disappear either. (Otherwise, I-84 and US-26 should be virtual autobahns each morning and evening, right?) By the way, Washingtonians have paid federal taxes for light rail trains they don\’t use.

The business community in Vancouver has historically resisted MAX extension due to the fear of criminal elements or the homeless using the train to get to their fair city. While I find this fear to be overblown, Tri-Met\’s recent troubles and lack of a security plan are just fueling those fears up north. Remember, perception is reality despite facts to the contrary. A few more beatings, gang fights, etc. in Gresham or Hillsboro and Vancouver MAX will be effctively dead.

So, unless you can find a constitutional way to ban Clark County residents from driving into Oregon along I-5, then it\’s better that we have this bridge than see the current congestion get worse or have a Minneapolis style disaster take place.

As for bike lanes on the new bridge, I am all for them. A handful of \’Couv dwellers may use them but I doubt much bike traffic would go the other way. It seems that most Portland riders are just way too cool to ever be seen outside the city limits anyway.

Mike Perrault
Mike Perrault
16 years ago

@ Nelson Muntz

It seems to me that the MAX along the banfield at 26 has considerably helped the traffic issues.

\”Its better that we have this bridge than see the current congestion gt worse or have a Minneapolis style disaster take place.\” THE CONGESTION IS ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE NO MATTER HOW MANY BRIDGES WE MAKE. The only way to alleviate congestion is to lower the numbers of cars on the road, not allow for more cars. Illconceived arguments and fear tactics are nasty things.

Resident
Resident
16 years ago

Ethonal… BioDiesel… Come on Ian(17), Puke already!!! Whoa, sorry, just kidding. So my question is if this is somehow budgetable, why is sam asking for another $4 per household per month for general road maintenance in pdx. Don\’t we alreadyhave taxes for that? The city\’s idea of living wages needs to be brought back to economic reality. I\’m sure there are plenty of day laborers that could adequately lay asphalt with a little on the job training!

Nelson Muntz
Nelson Muntz
16 years ago

Forcing social and environmental changes via punitive methods and restricting personal choice is also a very nasty business.

US 26 and I-84 are essentially parking lots during rush hours. MAX helps to a certain extent but it has failed to offset the increased human and auto population increases of the last decade. There is simply is not enough capacity on MAX. I use westside trains each day and they are packed. If I need to use the car to get to work, it takes an hour to go 15 miles vs. less than 30 minutes just five years ago.

I would certainly love to see a utopian Portland metro area with gleaming, efficient mass transit and a bike route network that virtually eliminates the need to use cars but that is a pipe dream. The reality is that people will continue to use cars now and in the future (alternative fuels / power systems will replace gasoline – consumers will buy the new technology)and current forms of mass transit are not adequate to move the masses of people that need to get around town each day.

So, unless we are offered an alternative that is far more efficient, comfortable, and convenient than the personal vehicle AND is so alluring that it can break the lust Americans feel for cars (mind you, this has to happen in the next year or so), then the new I-5 bridge is going to get built. Rather than fight a losing battle, I advocate that the bike community participate in the process to get its own pork rolled into the budget.

revphil
16 years ago

They will bitch and moan that \”We have to build it because we already spent so much on our 3d modeling.\”

This bridge is far from a done deal, Mr Muntz. I can think of many ways to stop it.

http://old.nycstreets.org/nyc/video-view.php?id=24

dennis
dennis
16 years ago

Once again, Clark County has shown blatent disregard for asthetics. I can just see Downtown Vancouver, fading even more into the ghost town that it is. Also, didn\’t any lesson from the absolute failure of the I-205 bridge stick with anyone? You can\’t \”outbuild\” sprawl. This will only encourage more traffic. Within three weeks of opening, there will be traffic jams again.

My vote, keep the old bridge, at a span that is ONLY Max/bike/pedestrian. That would encourage alternate methods of getting around.

Also, I am a resident of Vancouver, who works in Portland. I agree with most of the people here about what a folly this will be. I voted for Max into Vancouver, and will always support alternative transport. Unfortunately, most of my neighbors won\’t. Perhaps, they\’ll change their mind when fuel is $6 per gallon, and it\’s too late to change.

B
B
16 years ago

As nice as it would be to have enough people use mass transit to cut down on congestion, in reality it\’s not going to happen. Plenty of people do not want to give up their cars. Congestion does creat problems, such as increased costs for businesses such as trucking and also for regular car drivers in lower mileage and higher pollution. Moving at or close to a normal pace is more effecient and cleaner. Having a reasonable capacity for a bridge means dealing with reality. Safety is important also, it\’s true we don\’t need a bridge collapse tragedy. This kind of project is what gas taxes are supposed to be for, though I hope there is plenty of room to walk/bike.

Dan Kaufman
16 years ago

This bridge is being proposed because the trucking is being shut down during rush hour.

Clark county commuters are not going to pony up or change their ways. BUT we still want/need what the trucks are carrying.

The solution is not increase lanes over the Columbia. It\’s rush hour tolls aka congestion pricing.

Sorry, Muntz, if that strikes you as restricting choice or punitive. Building boondoggle bridges with taxpayer funds also restricts choice and is punitive. Only thing is it costs more and accomplishes less.

n8m
n8m
16 years ago

How about the \’alternative\’ of live/work zoning, walkable/bikable land use and smart urban planning?

The mentality behind this bridge is a never ending scar across the American landscape. For the love of the environment lets fight this foolish mentality and prevent it from ruining Oregon.

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
16 years ago

Here are more \’airbrushed\’ photos of the bridge design concepts. (Though no centerfolds yet!)

Some of the more developed concepts (replacement bridge) show little bike people and walkers on their bridge.

Tune in to the CRC for more pics as they are released.

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
16 years ago
augustusann
augustusann
16 years ago

i support putting MAX across the river. i think that it would be a huge asset during peak commuter times. if clark county residents don\’t want to use or pay for this alternate option to driving, they might find it more cost effective than a bridge toll that could be imposed at a higher fee.
if fear of vagrancy and crime are factors in the denial of MAX, perhaps they should educate themselves. it is still a better option in the big picture to take the train rather than drive for safety issues and quite likely faster. all the opposing arguments are ridiculous and ignorant in origin.

a.O
a.O
16 years ago

Remember when Portland stopped the Mt Hood Highway and built a Max line with the money instead? Where is that progressive spirit now?

Opus the Poet
16 years ago

Todd @ 38 All I get when I click on your link is 5+MB of blank pages.

i'm a cyclist too
i'm a cyclist too
16 years ago

This unnecessary waste of resources COULD be eliminated but it would require some executive orders from the Whitehouse requiring carpooling, bus use, etc. I\’m not holding my breath waiting on that to happen.

Given the current geopolitical realities that is what SHOULD happen but our history indicates that our nation will do NOTHING to solve the congestion/energy problem. The limited oil resources will do that for us and fairly soon.

Number 17 is correct to dis ethanol & biodiesel. Those are driving world food prices higher and have been called a \”crime against humanity\” by a UN food program bigwig. Our own Governor Ted should be taken out to the woodshed for some old-fashioned \”learnin\’\” for pushing bio fuels onto Oregonians.

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
16 years ago

Opus (#41)…I tried the link I posted (cut and pasted) and it worked this AM…it just takes a while (30 sec.) to load due to the file size, so make sure your connection is fast and go to the fridge and get a beverage while it uploads. 😉

And a.O (40)….remember that they first got the $ for the highway and THEN decided to do the right thing. Perhaps that would be the time to build the bi-state consensus to do that (assuming federal law allows it now and the new White House/ Congress would support it).

Re-tolling the bridge would be a big congestion management tool to have. We can all thank the Bush 43 administration for putting this tool on the table (though his motivations are not the same as ours). This tolling should be implemented before construction so that construction funds could be raised, construction disruptions mitigated, and perhaps we find that we do not need as much car capacity as we feared (before final construction) – like during the \’97 repair closure of the bridge.

Lenny Anderson
16 years ago

Todd is dead on…variable tolls now.
We have a ton of capacity on the existing bridges; its in all those empty passenger seats and back seats. Tolls now on SOVs in the peak will reduce demand, make room for freight and start putting some resources in the bank.

Jim O'Horo
Jim O'Horo
16 years ago

If tolls are implemented on the I-5 bridge, then they\’d likely be put on the I-205 bridge as well. Otherwise way too much traffic would divert from I-5 to I-205 to avoid tolls. Also consider that tolls would likely also be imposed on bike/ped facilities. Be careful what you wish for…

jerrod
jerrod
16 years ago

Imagine just $1 billion spent in bicycle planning. Maybe then people might feel safe enough to ride?

kg
kg
16 years ago

Tolls on bicycle and pedestrian facilities, that is funny. The purpose of the toll is to encourage modes of transportation that ease congestion for example using mass transit, cycling or walking. Car poolers could also be exempt.

Jim O'Horo
Jim O'Horo
16 years ago

\”Tolls on bicycle and pedestrian facilities, that is funny.\” No, it\’s not funny, and don\’t kid yourself that it can\’t happen. The nearest example that comes to mind is the Bridge of the Gods at Cascade Locks, but other bridges over the Columbia River have tolls on bikes too. Bikes pay $0.50 to cross @ Cascade Locks, and I believe peds, even hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail, also pay a toll.

\”The purpose of the toll is to encourage modes of transportation that ease congestion…\” The purpose of the toll is to pay for the bridge, and it\’s an eminently fair way of doing so – those who use the bridge pay for the bridge. Authorities may shift tolls higher or lower to encourage (favor) one mode of use versus another, but that\’s a policy decision, not a funding decision.

I\’m not happy with the prospect of a toll either, but one could easily make a case that bikes, peds, mass transit, etc. should also pay for use.

Lenny Anderson
16 years ago

For tolling to work, both bridges….I-5 and I-205…would be tolled. To effect more efficient use of the bridges, tolls would vary with highest in peak and little or none at midnight. Likewise, single occupancy vehicles would pay full price, while carpools and vanpools would go for free. The point is to reduce demand in congested periods. Transit riders, bicyclists and pedestrians have no negative impact on peak demand and would not pay, indeed we might be smart to pay them to leave their cars at home with some of those tolling dollars.

carl larson
carl larson
16 years ago

good luck getting done in our life time