Columbia River Crossing dialogue heats up

Posted by on March 19th, 2008 at 9:53 am

Roll On Columbia! ride

(Photo © J. Maus)

As key decision points approach for the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project, chatter about how we move forward is heating up in Portland. Local media, bike and environmental groups, and Portland’s City Council are beginning to make their voices heard about the estimated $4.2 billion project.

On Monday of this week, Portland City Council held its first public work session on the CRC. As reported in a story in the Oregonian, several commissioners made it clear that they would not support a new bridge unless it was guaranteed to include light rail (and a bike facility, but that’s a foregone conclusion, unlike light rail).

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) has announced that they will hold a forum on the CRC at the office of the Portland Development Commission in Northwest Portland. The BTA’s Emily Gardner, who sits on the CRC’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, says the forum will be held to, “inform our members about what’s going on with the project.”

The BTA will also be seeking feedback and guidance. So far, the 5,000+ member strong organization has not reached internal consensus as to what extent they support (or don’t support) the project.

    BTA Columbia River Crossing Forum
    April 16th, 6-8pm
    PDC Headquarters (222 NW Fifth Ave.)

Portland Mercury reporter Amy Ruiz published an in-depth critique of the CRC project last week. Her article included quotes from many of the key local players and touched on important issues on the table with this project.

Ruiz didn’t hide her skepticism of the project; the sub headline of the piece was, A Proposed New 12-Lane Bridge over the Columbia River Will Cost $4.2 Billion, Increase Traffic, and Do Little to Alleviate Climate Change. What the Hell Are We Thinking?.

UPDATE: Ruiz’s latest “Meet the contenders” question focuses on the CRC. Check out what City Council Seat #2 front-runner Jim Middaugh thinks about it.

The Portland Mercury, along with the Bus Project, has announced that their ongoing Debate Club series (which featured Bikes vs. Cars back in August) will focus on the CRC. Panelists will include Metro Councilor (and CRC Task Force member) Rex Burkholder, Economist Joe Cortright, Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart (also on the Task Force), and representatives from the Coalition for a Livable Future and CRC project staff.

    The Bus Project and the Portland Mercury present March’s Debate Club: The Columbia River Crossing
    Tuesday, March 25, 7pm
    The Edge of Belmont (SE 34th between Belmont and Morrison)

The Coalition for a Livable Future (CLF), a Portland-based non-profit that represents over 90 organizations working toward, “a just and sustainable region”, wants to build support for a “Climate smart” CRC project. They call the current CRC effort, “an outdated freeway expansion project that will increase global warming pollution, harm people’s health, and undermine our region’s vision of a sustainable economy.”

Tour of Tomorrow “>

The next step for the project is the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which is due out in April. The DEIS will provide analysis on all of the five crossing options still on the table. Once released, there will be a 60-day public comment period. Also in the next few months, the three local groups that have veto power over the project – Portland City Council, Metro, and TriMet — will vote on the “locally preferred alternative” put forth by the CRC Task Force.

So far, there has been very little public opposition of the CRC project by important politicians or bureaucrats (Metro’s Robert Liberty being the lone voice so far). This is such a huge project, and the political stakes for stopping the snowball are very high. I can’t imagine anyone putting up a significant road block unless they feel adequate political cover from their constituents. I have heard a lot of misgivings about this project from the community, but unless those concerns are organized and directed to the right place, at the right time, they might never have an impact.

Stay tuned for opportunities to weigh in on the CRC and watch for more coverage of the project in the weeks and months to come.

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diego
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diego

I heard that Cortright\’s \”analysis\” was based on his personal opinions and outdated data. For a more balanced view, readers should also take a look at CRC\’s response to Cortright. It would be helpful to post this to your site.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

\”For a more balanced view, readers should also take a look at CRC’s response to Cortright. It would be helpful to post this to your site.\”

Diego,

Thanks for bringing that up. I have already posted the CRC\’s response to Cortright\’s analysis. You can read that story and download the CRC\’s rebuttal memo here.

Also, Amy Ruiz has a response from Cortright in her CRC article that is linked to in the story above.

I will add a note about this to the story above.

DJ Hurricane
Guest
DJ Hurricane

This project needs to go the way of the Mt Hood Highway. It\’s time to stand up and fight this corporate welfare for big oil.

Me 2
Guest
Me 2

The best point I heard on why we should think twice about this bridge is why should people from Portland pay to subsidize economic development in Clark County?

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

Think about it people: where is all of that additional traffic generated by the CRC project going to go? That\’s right, your streets and neighborhoods.

All this project does is increase pressure on Portland\’s infrastructure. That means more cars on the streets, competing for space with us cyclists. More pressure to widen other roads. More parking requirements. Is that how we want Portland to develop?

The majority of the traffic on the bridge is commuters. There are lots of other ways to deal with that situation than the way the project is currently configured. Slap an $8 toll on both Columbia River bridges right now and see how much traffic decreases.

JE
Guest
JE

There is another bridge.

The Woodrow Wilson bridge carries I95 across the Potomac river. It is part of the Capital Beltway serving Washington DC and it\’s suburbs. Like our bridge, the old bridge, opened in 1961, lifted for river traffic and was blamed for many traffic woes. The new bridge is 12 lanes. One 6 lane span is already completed and the second will open later this year. This summer, lets all take a look at the traffic reports for DC. Will 12 new lanes solve DC\’s congestion? And if it does, lets ask how they managed to do it for half the price of our new savior of a bridge.

Evan
Guest
Evan

Who does this project benefit? Yeah, it benefits truck freight, but the truck freight would not be such a problem if it weren\’t for all the single occupant cars coming over from Washington. Let Washington State pay 60% of the cost or don\’t build it.

And put a toll on it…even if they don\’t do a new bridge. It\’s called access management. Bang, traffic goes down.

PdxMark
Guest
PdxMark

Sam & Sho

What\’s Sam Adams\’ position on the bridge? I was at a recent neighborhood meeting with Sho Dozono and asked his opinion about the scale and cost of the bridge. He totally punted on the answer, implying that the old bridge might not be repairable, but neither supporting nor opposing the CRC.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

I read the CRC committee response and the possibility that no one seems to mention is a no build option with a toll. Why not start the tolls now, see what happens and then use the money raised over time to replace the bridge with one of an appropriate size when we see what the post toll-charge traffic needs will be.

We could even build the light rail transit portion now to get the best idea of what would be needed later.

Bjorn

Carl
Guest
Carl

I attended the work session on Monday.

The task force basically told the council that high volume mass transit (either Bus Rapid Transit or light rail) and tolls are keys to this project\’s success. It\’s what they\’re recommending. It\’s what they claim will make this project work. Bike/ped facilities are a foregone conclusion.

This is why watching city council and Metro insisting on including light rail, tolls, and bike/ped facilites is such a joke. It\’s what\’s being suggested.

I am a Sam Adams supporter, but my confidence in him is going to take a severe blow if he doesn\’t recognize the obvious truth that Amy Ruiz so bluntly pointed out: we don\’t need a wider bridge. If tolls, bike lanes, and transit make the biggest dent in congestion…make those changes the priority. Don\’t assume we need more traffic lanes in the name of \”freight\” (when most of the traffic isn\’t freight).

Sam paid me good money to ride my bike around Southeast Portland hauling a trailer full of walk/bike/transit propaganda last summer in an effort to reduce trips. He and others are telling us that we need to reduce auto dependence and down on our VMT. You can\’t do that and then support an enormous, budget-gutting superhighway project without exposing yourself to be all talk. Sorry Sam, but putting a train, a toll, and some bikes on it doesn\’t change what a crock of destructive, short-sighted, 1960\’s fantasy-thinking the CRC is.

You\’ve gotta pick your battles in this town. I sure hope that more people pick this one.

Matt Picio
Guest

JE (#6) – Who\’s paying for it, Virginia, Maryland, or both? How do they pay the contractors? When I hung highways signs in Virginia back in \’94, VDOT used to pay a fixed rate per hour based on the cost of the contract, and contracts went to the lowest bidder – a situation that didn\’t inspire early completion times, but kept the costs down.

Also, The Woodrow Wilson bridge doesn\’t need the seismic improvements that the I-5 bridge needs. Alexandria is much less likely to have a serious earthquake than Portland/Vancouver.

OTOH, your bridge should make it a lot quicker to get to the liquor stores in Anacostia.

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

We\’ve got another bridge in our city that is in actual danger of falling down, (and one of the county commisioners wants to close it completely: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1205895314293830.xml&coll=7 ), and we can\’t seem to come up with money to fix it, but we do have money to build a 12 lane bridge? Where are our priorities?

Peter W
Guest

Don\’t want traffic from a 12 lane CRC in your city, your streets, or your neighborhood?

Come tell that to Sam and Sho at Portland\’s first mayoral debate!

When: 11 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

Where: PSU Smith Memorial Student Union Ballroom, (1825 SW Broadway)

Cost: The debate is free and open to the public.

more info:
http://www.pdx.edu/events/18725/

Opus the Poet
Guest

I was reading about this in January, and the price then was $4.0 billion. Now it is $4.2 billion. What happened to change the price, and where is the additional $200,000,000 coming from?

Robin
Guest

Less lanes, light rail and a better bike/ped crossing are the only way I would support this at all.
Tolls really wouldn\’t be a bad idea but it seems if we where going to do that we would have to toll roads like hwy 26 too.

49er..
Guest
49er..

The bridge is 12 lanes wide, but 6 of those lanes serve local traffic, going from one side of the river to the other, as opposed to through the region. So much of the cost of this bridge is reconstructing on- and off-ramps for a new highway facility. It makes much more sense to just build a new arterial over the river and include light rail on that so that the on and off-ramps don\’t need reconstruction. Of course all highway engineers will cry that the current ramps are substandard because they don\’t allow cars to safely travel 45mph while making a turn.

Even though the new bridge would be an arterial, there may still be a way to get federal funding for it and of course, all bridges should be tolled to pay for the local match and control congestion.

Huggy Bear
Guest
Huggy Bear

One quick question? Are we people in WA.the only ones who use the brideges? I swear I see OR. plates on the bridge headed into WA. and I am sure some of them are from Portland.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

\”I read the CRC committee response and the possibility that no one seems to mention is a no build option with a toll. Why not start the tolls now, see what happens and then use the money raised over time to replace the bridge with one of an appropriate size when we see what the post toll-charge traffic needs will be.\” Bjorn #9

I think that\’s a great idea that will never happen. Imagine the public\’s reaction: \’We\’re going to pay what!? To cross that decrepit old bridge!? To supposedly pay for a new bridge to be built 10-15 years from now?\’

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

another reason I have heard as to why tolling the existing bridge isn\’t politically palatable is because typically roads are only tolled if there is a viable alternative route available….like mass transit, other streets, etc…and in this case there would be no alternative …. Unless we toll the existing bridge and then build a bike/led bridge right away ;-).

Randy
Guest
Randy

How about a mode shift. Let\’s really be bike city USA and figure out how to reduce car traffic on the bridges. Here\’s some ideas: telecommuting tax credits, car mileage tax, educated people about the air pollution and carbon impacts of car use, reward car pooling, and yes a bridge use tax. How about an environmental impact statement that includes modeling for less car use on the new bridge. Find about what \”stuff\” is moving back and forth across the bridges and reward sustainable transport of goods. To bike social movement here in Portland is in it\’s infancy. I look forward to the day when I can turn on the radio or TV and hear a plethora of advertisements bikes and not cars….

Metal Cowboy
Guest

This boondoggle of a project echoes the big dig in Boston. I\’m up for directing opposition and rallying constituents within the cycling community and reaching out to others who care about sustainability. There appears to be some thoughtful viable options – some of which have been listed in comments here and others in Merc article. It seems to me Portland\’s at another fork in the road, just like when the community decided years back to take out a highway and put in a waterfront park instead. Got a lot on my plate but if folks want to make some focusedd, noise with numbers, I\’ll get out front on it with you. I like the idea of keeping it in the faces of the candidates during this election cycle- it would be good to put the feet to the fire of current elected officials also.

the "other" steph
Guest
the "other" steph

like Carl, i was at the monday work session.

based on the presentation (a few friends and i were looking at the slides this morning over coffee), it seems apparent that the \”actual bridge\” as recognized by transportation planners is no wider than the current bridge. all of the other lanes of Bridge Proper (the portion actually spanning the river) are auxiliary lanes designed to facilitate freight traffic and enhance safety for the vast majority of traffic that is not \”through\” traffic, meaning those using the bridge primarily to access interchange.

they mentioned public forums in the coming months before the next iteration in august. which means we have a few months to answer some questions. the big question in my mind is how projected traffic is likely to flow through interchange and how much will dump into NoPo.

ours is a city that is increasingly recognized as a livable city, so density will naturally increase. so must our standards for sustainability. as a metro area incredibly dependent on freight, the challenge to a new bridge is to facilitate freight, decrease idling time, encourage mass transit and build persuasive disincentives for low occupancy vehicles within a political climate that doesn\’t make the latter very palatable to most residents. i don\’t think i\’m saying anything people don\’t already know.

as has been mentioned before, our role is to provide the voice of curiosity and reasonably-minded participation in shaping an infrastructural legacy.

i found the reasoning stated on monday compelling but have hard questions i look forward to voicing on record in the coming months and trust i\’m not alone. see you all at the coming meetings/forums.

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

\”another reason I have heard as to why tolling the existing bridge isn\’t politically palatable is because typically roads are only tolled if there is a viable alternative route available\”

What about carpools? We could not toll carpools, the carpool lane could be on both north and southbound I-5, (including the bridge,) and there could be designated casual carpool pickup points just like there is in most other cities where there is a bridge toll/traffic problems but there are HOV lanes. I can tell you from standing on the bridges over I-5 in North Portland during the afternoon rush hour, that there are 3+ empty seats in 90% of the cars on that freeway…

I can also tell you from standing there with a pair of binoculars and a yellow jacket and white helmet that a lot of the cars in the carpool lane with only one person in the front seat think that I\’m a cop, and merge back into the regular lanes when they see me… I admit that some people with only one person in the front might have a baby in the back seat or something, but we desperately need some enforcement around there…

JE
Guest
JE

Matt (#11) The new Wilson Bridge is being paid for by Virginia, Maryland and the Feds (being I-95) jointly. I\’m not sure if it was built with any earthquake requirements.

Speaking of the earthquake issue; how bad is the Interstate and how good is the I205\’s Glenn Jackson? If the I205 would survive a reasonably excepted future earthquake, then neccessary highway traffic would not grind to halt.

On the other hand, if the I205 was not built to high enough standards, then both Columbia River bridges could collapse in one event. This scenario would make a new Interstate Bridge far more palatable.

Woodlawn
Guest
Woodlawn

Jonathan,

I might suggest you do a more in-depth profile of this extraordinary proposal in the months to come. It\’s clear already that some don\’t have a clear understanding of the project\’s scope or politics.

Thanks.

Jim Labbe
Guest

I am concerned that the bike/ped facilities being proposed for CRC are going to be dramatically undersized to accommodate the growth in bike and pedestrian commuters. The discussion about how wide the bike-ped lanes appears to be driven by what funding could be pieced together (a meager portion of the super bridge\’s project $4.2 billion price tag) rather than what we will need and want as part of a balanced transportation system.

Clearly bike/ped traffic on any new bridge will depend a lot on design and connectivity but is anyone doing any real analysis of potential growth in bike/ped between Vancouver and Portland under different different designs and the growing costs of driving?

There is this focus (echoed in the Oregonian today) on light-rail as a quid-pro-quo for the super-bridge, as if light-rail will make the highway bridge good enough. I suspect views on bike/ped facilities on either side of the Columbia River are less divergent. Drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike should also be demanding high quality bike-ped facilities that will accommodate and encourage more walking and cycling.

Jim

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

the \”other\” steph sez (22):

it seems apparent that the \”actual bridge\” as recognized by transportation planners is no wider than the current bridge. all of the other lanes of Bridge Proper (the portion actually spanning the river) are auxiliary lanes designed to facilitate freight traffic and enhance safety for the vast majority of traffic that is not \”through\” traffic, meaning those using the bridge primarily to access interchange.

This is an important point about the project. Yes, there are currently three through travel lanes in each direction the way the bridge is initially configured. But space exists on the bridge for six in each direction. All of the auxiliary uses happen on either end of the bridge. So, it\’s a relatively easy thing to change the use of a lane on the bridge. The secret is to get the lane there in the first place.

Currently, SEVEN lanes of freeway traffic feed into the Interstate Bridge influence area southbound: three from I-5, two each from SR 500 and SR 14.

On the Oregon side, however, there are only three lanes.

Once the new bridge is in place, with all that room for expansion, Washington is free to continue widening their roads feeding into the bridge. And, they\’ll be putting pressure on Oregon to widen I-5 to four or five lanes. All to ease the commutes of Washingtonians. The discussion about creating additional highway capacity will not end with the CRC. It will only be the beginning of a renewed effort to add more freeway capacity to the Portland region.

I hate to make this into a border war. But the reality is that the two states take dramatically different approaches to land use and transportation. If people moved to Clark Co. thinking they\’d have an easy drive into Portland for their job, I feel badly for their miscalculation. I\’ll be damned, though, if I\’m going to just sit on the sidelines and let this get built without a fight.

We fought this same war in the 1970s and killed off the Mt. Hood Freeway, I-505 and the rest of an ill-advised freeway plan for the city. No one\’s ever regretted it since. Our children will thank us for standing up to a poorly conceived, out-of-date, \”solution\” to a problem that can be dealt with in a variety of more progressive ways.

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

Oops, sorry about the italics!!! I was only quoting Steph in the first paragraph. Everything after the first paragraph is my thoughts.

jleiss
Guest
jleiss

Re: PdxMark #8, I asked Sam about this after the debate today at PSU. He said that in order to get light rail, there has to be a new bridge. Period. That is the political reality locally and regarding federal funding. He said there will also have to be tolls.

Having said that, he thinks the issue is how to get the new bridge as small and compact as possible, not 12 lanes, maybe the existing 6.

I would also say that rebuilding the interchanges for safety concerns is valid, as is building a seismically sound bridge IF IF IF the existing bridge is unsound and cannot be upgraded to be.

I think the best idea is building a third spand for light rail, bikes, and peds, rebuilding the interchanges, and tolling the existing bridge, but I think that idea is DOA.

geezer
Guest
geezer

Huggy Bear #17, the answer to your question is: the plural of \”anecdote\” is not \”data\”.

One solution I\’ve never seen mentioned: why does I-5 have to go through Portland? Look at the Central Valley in California — I-5 runs up the west side of the valley, and it\’s a much quicker drive than going through all the cities on the 99. So why not relabel I-205 as I-5, and change the current I-5 into Portland to be I-305 (odd digit = spur route into a city). Change the spur into downtown Vancouver to I-505. Convert the current Interstate bridge to mass transit only, and expand the bridge over Governor\’s Island as needed.

the other steph
Guest
the other steph

nuovorecord:
(forgive, as this would normally be an \”offlist\” response)
please feel more than free to over-italicize your own thoughts and pass them as mine any time! it makes me sounds downright intelligent.

J G
Guest
J G

nuovorecord #27 states \”On the Oregon side, there are only three lanes [that feed onto the bridge northbound].\”

Let\’s take another look at the Oregon side: Three lanes on I-5, one (or maybe 2) from eastbound Marine Drive, one (or two) from MLK northbound, one from N. Interstate.

It looks to me like there\’s a similarity of major arterials connecting with the bridges from both sides of the river and that the bridge is the weak link.

As for moving to Clark County, I personally know three families that have moved from Portland to Clark County because of the differences in schools (better in CC and Washington) and tax structure. It\’s tempting even with a bad commute.

Jasun Wurster
Guest

The Portland Mercury has been asking candidates for city council questions every week. This weeks question is specifically about their thoughts on the CRC.

http://www.portlandmercury.com/2008

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

J G:

I specifically said \”freeway lanes.\” None of your examples on the Oregon side fall into that category. Of course, there are many arterials that feed into I-5 on both sides of the river.

But this whole project is aimed at expanding freeway capacity in the region. Once we expand the bridge, then we need to widen the freeway, then we need to widen it some more. It will never stop. We need to rethink this project, because it\’s headed towards a solution that Portland has rejected in the past.

If people want to live in Clark Co., more power to them. I can understand that the school choice is a compelling argument. I have kids too. I\’m in favor of investing $4.2 billion in Portland-area schools if that\’s the primary reason people are settling in WA as opposed to building a Ozymandias-esque bridge.

Doug Allen
Guest
Doug Allen

I would describe the CRC attack on Joe Cortright as scurrilous, if it weren\’t so ridiculous. Anyone with critical thinking skills can see that 1) they are afraid to post his actual analyis; 2) they accuse him of using outdated information when the only information available on their web site is the very outdated information they criticize, while they hand out \”new\” information at insider briefings; 3) one can see by the numbers they actually show us in their critique that either their numbers are bogus or their project does nothing to reduce congestion and improve freight movement.

Look at page 3 of their critique. Four numbers say it all. Without tolls, adding transit reduces traffic by 15,000 per day. With tolls, adding transit reduces traffic by 15,000 per day. Their analysis says that tolls will have no effect on the attractiveness of transit!

Next, look at the effect of tolls. They reduce travel by 32,000 whether or not transit is included!

Add these two effects to their \”no build\” option, and you see traffic drop by 47,000 from their projected 184,000 per day to 137,000, only 4,000 per day more than today, but in 2030. Only they are afraid to show us that calculation.

The Draft EIS was due out now, but they are apparently delaying it so that they can have two more months of insider briefings with politicians, planning commisions, etc. while opponents have only jello to criticize. This process stinks.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

So if the reason we can\’t do the no build toll option is that it is only palatable with increased transit then lets go no build toll option immediately paired with immediately adding frequent service express buses that go from vancouver to both the end of the yellow line max and downtown all day long. Yeah it might not be quite as good as when the max is extended and no transfer is needed to get to the max which is not impacted by traffic on the 5, but we can do it quickly. The bridge will take years regardless and we have traffic problems now. Lets try to solve them with congestion pricing and transit now, and maybe we will find out we don\’t need such a big bridge.

Bjorn

Bob
Guest
Bob

$4.2 billion could build about 42 miles of MAX lines.

14 miles of subway

…or a few thousand miles of bike lanes.

Think about THAT.

Bob
Guest
Bob

^ Going off the schools issue, $4.2 billion could rebuild every school in the city of Portland ($1.8 billion, according to a recent article in the paper), then leave us with $2.4 billion leftover to finish the Milwaukee line ($1.4 billion), and $1 billion leftover to build MAX to Vantucky and seismically refit the existing bridge, which already gets a 100/100 for its state of repair/structural integrity.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Bob, even with those investments in schools and light rail (on the Oregon side only?), the Portland Metro/Vancouver area is still set up to deliver people from their homes to their jobs across state lines, over the Columbia River, every day.

How might that money be apportioned to address logistics involved in creating a workable toll system for the existing I-5 bridge and some sort of commuter specific interstate bus system (perhaps connecting to the MAX yellow line as Bjorn suggests.)?

There really seems to be too much of a lock-step movement towards a decision to build a new bridge, primarily for the purpose of increasing car capacity over that of the current bridge. Any bridge built should be designed with the conscious decision to reduce, rather than increase the numbers of cars crossing the river daily.

If it seems irreversible, that for decades to come, people will be compelled to cross from to state to state between job and home, certainly build into a new bridge, the means by mass transit, foot or bicycle, for them to do that. Building this new bridge, and not just that, but more and more housing and employment that is dependent on single occupancy motor vehicles seems like a very bad idea.

John Reinhold
Guest
John Reinhold

One quick question? Are we people in WA.the only ones who use the brideges? I swear I see OR. plates on the bridge headed into WA. and I am sure some of them are from Portland.

Nope. I use the bridges occasionally. They work just fine for me. I have no need for > $4 billion in new bridges.

For much less money we could solve a lot of problems.

1. Re configure the railroad bridge to align the open span on the railroad bridge with the hump on the I5 bridge. This would cut the number of bridge lifts to less than 10 a year. Possibly the bridge could be configured to allow for future Light Rail use.

2. Build a local traffic bridge (including light rail and bike/ped) from Portland to Hayden Island, and close the ramps from I5 to regular traffic (keep them accessible to emergency vehicles if needed). This takes prevents of the traffic to/from Hayden Island from merging to and from I5. Also cuts Oregon to Hayden Island traffic off I5 almost completely. This provides traffic flow improvement, increased capacity, and the vital 2 links of emergency routes to allow Hayden Island to be further developed.

3. Toll and increase transit access across the river – more bus lines and variable congestion rate priced tolls.

4. Seismic upgrades to the I5 bridge.

Done. Less than $2 billion with reduced traffic, better flow, and a more versatile solutions.

Bob
Guest
Bob

Well, I highly doubt it would cost even 10% (420 million) to implement a tolling system.

New tolling systems work by putting in place cameras that take snapshots of license plates, and a computer mails you a bill at the end of the month.

Other systems use a transponder, which deducts money from an account that you refill when you pass certain points, just like a prepaid phone.

Both systems are currently in place in various cities in the world; the camera system typically used to charge people who don\’t have transponders.

The point is that not buying a new bridge would save a hell of a lot of money, that people like you and I WILL have to shell out to pay for it. Additionally, unless you want every bridge, road, and school to literally collapse in the next few years, we also are going to have to shell out billions of more dollars to help pay for these, as well as new MAX extensions. While I don\’t have a problem with the last projects, I do have a problem with throwing anohter $4.2 billion on top of everything else. Especially when we already have a functional bridge.

I say lower the speed limits, build a local connector bridge with MAX and bike lanes and 4 normal car lanes, and be done with it. The majority of the cost for this bridge is going for the rebuild of around 5 miles of Washington\’s freeway section of I-5, including all of the onramps, so they can funnel MORE traffic onto the bridge, faster.

dennytron
Guest
dennytron

Ruiz article critique
#1. Infrastructure does not cause traffic. Population increase causes traffic which is unavoidable. You live in a sought after city and based on demographics the majority of you are not originally from here so in effect you are part of the problem. Sightline states \”we also assume that new highway capacity in a metropolitan area will gradually be filled by new trips, and that congestion and stop-and-go driving will gradually increase to approximately the same level experienced prior to the highway expansion.\” Really? Is that what happens when the population goes up over time? Wow. Also, normalize your data. Who cares what the total number of vehicles on the bridge is when it is median hours of traffic per trip that we want?
#2. \”The presence of larger transportation facilities encourages people to take trips they would otherwise avoid, or re-route.\” Avoid?: possibly but not likely. With gas pricing as it is anyone who isn\’t independently wealthy is already taking less unnecessary trips. Re-route?: and where would they (presumably Vancouverites) re-route to? They could use the already crowded 205 or just take a quick trip up to Longview or Bridge of the Gods. No prob, right?
#3. Oh, the poor, persecuted, xenophobic Portlanders who would like to just raise the bridge every day from 5-10am. People from Washington who work in Oregon (gasp) pay income taxes in Oregon so they already subsidize their impact on infrastructure. Toll booths on a new bridge would equitably distribute the cost of the bridge to those who use it. Using toll booths, as some suggest, just for the sake of \”curbing traffic\” (ie pissing off Vancouverites) is an unjust use of taxation.
#4. Portland, you want to treat your city as the quaint little town it once was but it is long past those days. Portland is a regional player and needs to improve the infrastructure that is a major link in the corridor from Seattle all the way to San Diego. We cannot continue to play the NIMBY card and think it will all be solved with cute rail cars and green bike lanes. There must be a comprehensive, all-inclusive plan that includes all viable transportation modes and excludes sensationalist, non-productive rhetoric.

Duncan
Guest
Duncan

\”#1. Infrastructure does not cause traffic. Population increase causes traffic which is unavoidable. \”

WRONG

Population doesnt cause car traffic- cars do. WHy is it that Seattle (not the fifth largest city) has the nations fifth worst traffic? because the alternative transportation infrastrucure has not kept up with the expansion of the city. Why does LA have worse city than NYC, even though the Metro NYC area has far more people than LA? Because 30% of the non driving adults in the US live in NY because alternatives to driving exist, and because criving is taxed (hevily) via bridge tolls.

Besides the CRC will not benefit Portland residents, but people who want access to the city without paying for it. I am all for calling it WFC (White Flight Crossing) and be done with it. The primary force behind this bridge are people wishing to take advantage of the differing tax structures of the two states: people who want to live in WA (and not pay income tax) and shop in OR (and not pay sales tax- which they are supposed to do for purchases over 400$ made in Oregon)

While it is true that WA residents pay OR taxes, but that money goes to the Oregon general fund- thoe taxes pay for schools in Prineville, Libraries in LaGrande just as much as they pay for infrastrucure in Portland. I am all for charging a \”commuter tax\” to cover those costs… you all for pyting it?

I am not opposed to Vancouverites crossing the river, I do mind their cars screaming down my streets, clogging up my neighborhood and costing 4.2 Billion dollars because they cant get their a*ses out of cars and into a bus/train. The idea of 60,000 more of you driving into my city everyday is kinda more than I can stand.

Think about it this way- Portland is a finite space… its kinda crowded on the I-5 I-84 interchange now, what on earth is ging to happen with 60,000 more cars a day going through it? where are they going to go when they get off the freeway? Whose house/shop/neighborhood are they going to tear down so you dont have to figure out some other way to get to work?

How bout this- you build the bridge with no Federal funding, set a toll that will pay for the bridge in 30 years without any local/state/govt funding (thus getting the CRC off welfare) and see who is willing to pay 20$ a car ride?

Yes I am pissed. The future of my city is being sold for lazy bastards who do nothing but denigrate the city that supplies the jobs to live in sprawl-topia in 3500sq foot houses that use 50% more energy than houses built 20 years ago.

Why is oil a hundred bucks a barrel? Look in the mirror.