Reader shares a new approach to crossing the Columbia

Tour of Tomorrow

A BikePortland reader has some ideas
of what can be done to improve the
I-5 crossing of the Columbia River.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Since a new era of planning for a new I-5 crossing of the Columbia River seems to be upon us, I thought I’d share a comment from last week that lays out several ways to move forward.

The comment was left by a reader named John Reinhold, who also happens to be a member of Metro’s Transportation Policy Alternatives Committee (TPAC). TPAC provides technical input to the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) on “transportation planning and funding priorities for the Portland metropolitan region”. Read Reinhold’s ideas below:

Here is what we need to do (transportation related):

    1. Toll both Columbia river crossings, now.
    2. Significantly increase bus service to/from Vancouver.
    3. Paint 24 hour HOV lanes in both directions and on both crossings, and enforce them.

Those are the easy and quick solutions. Now on to the more long term solutions.

    4. Modify the railroad bridge to move its lift span, and reconfigure the Columbia channel to align it with the hump in the I5 bridge. By aligning the hump and the railroad lift, we get rid of the dangerous S turn for ships and barges to go under the hump, and we reduce the need for I5 bridge lifts to almost zero.

    5. Restrict pleasure craft (sailboats and yachts) from having bridge lifts during peak periods.

    6. Build a small local bridge to Hayden Island from Portland, including planning for Light Rail on it in the future. Close the I5 ramps to Hayden Island to all except emergency vehicles. This gets rid of the merging at Hayden Island, and also gives two bridges to the Island in the event of emergency.

    7. Institute commuter rail between Portland and Vancouver on the existing railroad tracks.

    8. Seismically retrofit the existing I5 bridges and while doing so increase the size of the pedestrian and bicycle paths (like the Hawthorne bridge).

Those 8 things would solve 95% of the problems. Once you do that – you can then start working on these:

    9. Begin planning for a third bridge, preferably a non-interstate bridge.

    10. Begin planning for Light-Rail or BRT access into Clark county.

Here is what we should be doing (starting NOW) from a regional standpoint to decrease the need for transportation solutions:

    11. Begin work to increase supply of affordable and desirable housing in inner Portland, to reduce the need for people to move to Vancouver.

    12. Begin work to increase quality of Portland schools to reduce the desirability of moving to Vancouver.

    13. Begin work to increase the number of quality jobs in Vancouver to reduce the need for Vancouver residents to commute to Portland.

I contend that we could probably do all of that and more for less than $4 billion dollars.

Some pretty solid suggestions. It will be interesting to see what direction (if any) the project takes.

— For more CRC coverage, browse our archives.

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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Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
14 years ago

Sounds great.

…clarification…for item #4. The rail bridge pivots vs. lifts.

The City of Vancouver (and others) tried to get the Feds to list the rail bridge for reconstruction funding several years ago (before the CRC project) but the BNSF did not want to change it (or fund the repairs/ capacity improvement themselves).

Perhaps the new owner of BNSF will be more enlightened to make these safety and capacity enhancements – especially if the feds pay for much of it.

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
14 years ago

For item #6…you should start lobbying the powers in City Hall (Portland)…as neither city were openly interested in an ‘arterial’ bridge during the CRC scoping process.

Both cities were very concerned about the on-going costs of maintenance of such facilities – especially if they are separate from a DOT facility.

Bryan
Bryan
14 years ago

What benefit do HOV lanes have? Seems to me that they only cause congestion in the remaining lanes which I’m guessing results in more pollution, etc…
Whenever I drive home to Vancouver from work in Portland that lane is always “below capacity”.

peejay
peejay
14 years ago

About that new BNSF owner: I’m pretty sure he has the money! Seriously though, the railroad industry has been its own worst enemy for years now. They could be big players in a new century of modern rail travel, both passenger and freight, but they’re stuck, as it were, in the days of steam.

jordan
jordan
14 years ago

Sounds like some reasonable ideas. I would think that the businesses on Hayden Island would strongly object to item 6.

I love the regional ideas 11 through 13!

Dennis
Dennis
14 years ago

Yes, I agree with the entire article. One problem though, Those solutions won’t put 4.6 billion dollars into developers pockets. so, it will never, ever happen like that.

karl
karl
14 years ago

Also another Easy Quick Solution is to close the North Bound I-5 on ramp from Janzen Beach during the afternoon rush.

ambrown
14 years ago

these 14 points need some sort of overarching name/title so we can reference them shorthand as an alternative to a $4.2billion disaster. Then we need to market the heck out of it. Kudos to the reader for this, it’s excellent, simple, well-put, and convincing.

matthew
matthew
14 years ago

you gotta be kidding me… what planet is this guy from? a couple points could come to frution but mostly it is just a pie in the sky. todd- i trust your judgement and you certainly are much more familiar with the nuances of these ideas but you’re buying this? sure you aren’t still a little buzzed from the SSCXWC last night? thanks for the offer of a ride home (had to go to lowe’s anyway) and i made it back to vancouver just fine.

huey lewis
huey lewis
14 years ago

awesome. thanks for the encouragement matthew. it helps. seriously. i’ve changed my mind. the 12 crc is fine.

John Reinhold
John Reinhold
14 years ago

Wow, I made the front page.

Let me give credit where credit is due. Not any of these were conceived by myself. Most of them have come about through the last year or two, from discussions with folks like Joe Cortright, Jim Howell, Chris Smith, Robert Liberty, and other people that I cannot possibly remember or name all off the top of my head. You all who have been active in this cause know who you are. Many others have been behind the scenes at smarterbridge.org (although it looks like the site may be a bit outdated). We all showed up and testified at many many many hearings in front of CRC, Portland, and Metro.

My entire point is that we can do A LOT without having to build a $4 billion dollar mega auto-focused bridge. We can combine many different solutions and approaches, including land use and economic development.

I would like my suggestions to be more about planting the seeds of imagination, discourse, and reasonable thought. Not to provoke opposition, but rather to help people think more creatively.

Let me respond to a couple of the comments so far:

Todd #1: Yes, the current railroad bridge is a swivel. Most discussion I have seen has included converting it to a lift and moving it south to align with the hump in the I5 bridge. The technical engineering is not relevant to the concept – aligning the opening with the hump so that ships and barges can go under the tall part of I5, and not require I5 bridge lifts.

Todd #2: I would imagine if you included light rail, you would get some federal help for upkeep much like the current flyovers around Delta Park or I 205. But yes, long term funding for upkeep is a valid concern.

Bryan #3: The most unused capacity we have on existing roads is in our own back seats. HOV lanes are in use in major cities all over the USA and the rest of the world as well. The more people we can get into the passenger seats of existing cars using the roads – the fewer vehicles will be out there. HOV lanes also make Busses much more attractive, and can be used for freight during peak periods as well.

Jordan #5: There are development plans for Hayden Island that are on hold because with only a single bridge to the Island the “emergency response” capability is essentially null. Having traffic to the Island routed around through the Marine Drive exit and across a smaller bridge would not add much more delay than the current Hayden Island mess of interchanges. Again – I don’t have the design of a complete solution – just the concept.

I truly believe that trying to handle single occupancy vehicle congestion over the Columbia is simply treating the symptoms but ignoring the disease.

We should look at these questions:

Why do people who live in Clark County need to work in Portland? Why do people want to live in Clark County so far from their work?

If we spent $4 billion on affordable housing in Portland, Schools in Portland, Jobs in Vancouver, and College in Oregon – could we help society way more than if we put it all in to one 5 mile stretch of freeway?

Natty
Natty
14 years ago

Brain on HOV lanes:

Whenever I drive home to Vancouver from work in Portland that lane is always “below capacity”.

Perhaps, you should endeavour to travel with a buddy – this would allow you to address the under-utilisation of the HOV lane and get you out of the parking lot that is the remaining lanes.

Natty
Natty
14 years ago

Sorry, that should have read:

Bryan on HOV lanes:

🙂

Um...
Um...
14 years ago

Clearly Mr. Reinhold has given this some thought. With all due respect, he may want to include politics in his analysis next time if he intends for his ideas to make an impact. Said more bluntly, this isn’t remotely doable.

Jordan
Jordan
14 years ago

John,

Thank you for the clarification. I hope that this brings about a more rational discussion.

Jeremy VanGelder
Jeremy VanGelder
14 years ago

On the whole, I like most of the suggestions. However, as a commuter from Washington, I feel that I and my peers are already contributing enough money to solve this problem. Between Washington sales tax, Washington gas tax, Oregon gas tax and Oregon income tax, it would seem that the responsible government agencies should have more than enough money at their disposal. I tend to be of the opinion that these agencies are not using the money they have in the most efficient manner. Unfortunately, the Oregon agencies are not accountable to me for my money, since I do not have a vote in Oregon. The election of an anti-toll Mayor in Vancouver is just a small comfort for the knowledge that much of my tax money is being spent on things I have no control over.

Other than my little quabble over taxation without representation, I do like many of the other ideas. Here are my thoughts.

3. I would accept an HOV lane on the 205 bridge, if an additional normal lane was added. I don’t know if this is structurally possible, but I do know that the deck has more than enough surface area for it. Again, going back to my my views on taxes, I think that the government should strive to serve the taxpayers. If most taxpayers do not use HOV lanes, then HOV lanes are probably not a service to most taxpayers. It is not the duty of the government to change the driving habits of taxpayers in order for the government to spend less money.

4. Thumbs up on this one! This has the added benefit of allowing Pearson Airfield to operate for a longer amount of time. In fact, if the channel is moved further over, a new “tall” bridge may not need to interfere with Pearson’s approach at all. Finally, it is probably advisable for any long-term transportation plan to take Pearson’s possibilities into account. Maybe it could serve as a hub for small flights from Vancouver to Seattle or Spokane. This would ease pressure on PDX and the 205 bridge, while bringing some jobs to Vancouver. Even if Pearson’s runway had to be lengthened by several hundred feet, it may be cheaper than some alternatives.

6. I am very much in favor of smaller bridges. I think that it would be wonderful to have a number of small bridges over the Columbia, just as Portland has a number of small bridges over the Willamette. Unfortunately, both Portland and Vancouver has dedicated their arterial funding to East-West roads, relying on the Interstates to make up the majority of their North-South routes. Therefore, there is very little infrastructure that could support smaller bridges. The only thing that comes to mind is 192nd Ave in Vancouver, but it probably doesn’t have anywhere to go. As far as your specific idea about Hayden Island, I have to say that I have little knowledge of that area.

7. This is another good idea. A simple train, running on the half-hour from Vancouver Station to the Burnside bridge could be a very good thing. But to sell ‘Couvians on the idea, you are going to need cheapness and speed. We aren’t looking for something that is solar-powered or makes use of the latest innovations in regenerative wind braking. A simple train will do. As far as speed goes, you would want to aim for the average trip time from Vancouver to Downtown Portland on a Saturday. This would not necessarily mean an extraordinarily fast train. Rather, it means that there should not be any extraneous stops. This is the current issue with Max. I could drive to Clark College, bike across the bridge, hop on the Interstate Max line — and then wait as it stops at nearly every intersection along the way. The commuter rail-line should only go where most of the commuters go, which I will assume is downtown. Finally, I will note that Clark County has the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad, which connects to the BNSF at Vancouver Lake and passes through Battle Ground and Yacolt. Unfortunately, it is not within walking distance of many houses in Vancouver.

8. Sounds good to me.

9. See my thoughts on point six.

More thoughts in another post

Alan
Alan
14 years ago

I have recently been forced by the economy to work in North Vancouver. The single pervasive issue that I hear from coworkers for why they live in Vancouver is TAXES. ***Whether true or not***, the prevailing opinion is that paying Washington sales tax is cheaper than paying Oregon income tax, even with the longer commute.
The second most often cited reason is that land is cheaper because of less restrictive development policies. People move up to Vancouver because they can buy a 1/4 acre, 1/2 acre, or larger lots. There are a large number of people who want more space, and they move north to get it.

John
John
14 years ago

OT

I’m just gonna throw this out there–

many people in Clark County actually drive less (fewer miles) than the average PDXer.

Discuss.

Jeremy VanGelder
Jeremy VanGelder
14 years ago

11-13. Or, Why I Live in Clark County and Work in Portland.

A. To go about this in a backwards manner, I work in Portland because that is where my job is. Actually, the GIS consulting firm I work for has currently assigned me to work in downtown Vancouver, thereby alleviating some of my complaints about Oregon’s taxation. However, that assignment will soon be up, and I will likely be working in the SE Portland office again. Why is the office located in SE Portland? Because the employees live either in SE Portland or at pretty even radii from Portland, in opposing directions. However, the location of my job is less under my immediate control than the location of my housing, which I will discuss next.

B. Why I live in Clark County. Because I am a country boy who grew up here. I enjoy the various chores, smells and sights that come with living on acreage. Moreover, most of my social circle also lives in “rural” Clark County. Despite this, it is possible that I could be convinced to move to SE Portland for several years of my life. The true walkability of simple square blocks and the presence of small commercial areas makes living there a possibility. However, the generally higher cost of living may require that I uninsure my (already paid for) car. This would make it more difficult for me to break out of the city to go to Church, visit family or take hikes. And if you don’t think that the entire cost of living is higher, realize that the majority of my food comes from Winco or Costco. Carrying food home from Whole Foods may eliminate the transportation costs, but that is still not enough to make up for the much higher price of the merchandise. This is just one example of higher prices, in addition to the real estate issue. As for actual recommendations, I would think that the most effective thing you could do is rebuild Portland’s regulatory structure to encourage the growth of housing units. I like Portland’s old houses and overgrown porches, and I despise bleak-modern condos. But I think it would be possible to compromise by slightly dropping the restrictions on new development. In addition to that, many homeowners would probably appreciate it if the entire regulatory attitude of Portland changed. I do not doubt that there are many attics and rooms that could go up for rent if their owners did not fear reprisal and taxation from their local government.

So, there is my ranting on the subject of Columbian Crossings, and a number of issues surrounding them. I am no fan of daily pilgrimages across crowded bridges and through crowded streets, but I am not sure I want to make the sacrifices that would come from avoiding that pilgrimage. And therein lies the reason that car-based commuting is likely to stay with us for a long time. In the minds of commuters, the benefits outweigh the costs.

jim
jim
14 years ago

Whats the problem? Our new leaders in Washington can just print up 4 billion dollars for just the cost of the paper.

jim
jim
14 years ago

Good ideas.
Good luck with trying to work with self serving politicians that don’t listen to there boss’s (you and me). In the end they will do what they want regardless of anything else. It’l get shoved down our throat just like the yellow line we voted down how many times?

Duncan
Duncan
14 years ago

jim-
you mean like the old leaders did to fund our invasion of Iraq?

matthew
matthew
14 years ago

hey huey,

you are quite welcome. keep duey and louie posted eh?

since you are paying attention you do realize that the “12” lane crc has 3 lanes in both directions (north & south) that run without interuption and three merging lanes (both north and south bound) to handle traffic getting on and off I-5? it is the same # of through travel lanes we have now. the big difference is that traffic has appropriate on and off ramps and merging space. hop in a car and jump off and on I-5 both north and southbound at jantzen beach and you will get the picture. yea i live in vancouver. i ride and drive. bitch all you want but it is still an asset to oregonians that we washington folks are having to pay the larger portion of. the I-5 bridge is a major west coast transit corridor and the the federal government and other states that are affected by the bottleneck and impediments to smooth traffic flow are not willing to pony up and pay for what they feel entitled to. when a new bridge is built (not if) many problems will be cured but since portland is not willing to revamp the I-5 corridor south into portland and down to at least past the terwilliger curves the major problems with interstate transit will still exist. portland is a major hub for west coast commerce. traffic flow is a key component of this. many jobs and families depend on this flow of commerce.

as a cyclist and grass roots advocate i’m trying to let my wants and needs to be heard by the powers that be. unlike the bta even if i don’t get what i want i’m not going to walk away from the disscussion. that’s one of the “nuances” i have learned (from todd) about the relationship of the electorate and governance

bringing light rail into vancouver? honestly i was totally against it for many years… ummm, until i actually rode my bike over to the expo center and took the max into portland. i am now sold on light rail… and at this point i’m glad you oregonians are supporting this. if light rail into vancouver was ran more like tri-met and less like c-tran (less government subsidzed and more user funded) i would support it more. i think it is more fiscally responsible and ultimately sustainable in that regard. as a part of the crc and routed through one of the lower “cells” of a new bridge and yes a “cell” for combined ped/cyclist users it would be a an asset to both vancouver and portland. at the lincoln neighborhood association meeting tonight (in vanc) someone was asking it there were provisions or consideration for lower speed vehicles like scooters (electric and gas) that could not run at freeway speeds but would be used for travel to portland and back to vancouver. i haven’t even thought of this but it is certainly a valid point.

i’d like to think i’m open minded and realistic at the same time. a hopeful pragmatic?

love to hate it or hate to love it? in life either or both are right answers. i hope i’m graded on the curve and not pass/fail….

Duncan
Duncan
14 years ago

mathhew-
so government funding of public transit is bad, but government funding of roadways for cars is good? I dont get it.

So if (not when) this bridge is built, and you drive over it with all the other people who will be buying homes in Sprawltopia that is now within reach of Portland because of the bridge- and hit the Lloyd center where the Freeway becomes 2 lanes- what will you all do? It is already slowed to a crawl there with the existing bridge. Get off the Freeway and drive though the streets… This is where your desire to commute comes in conflict with my desire to be able to cross the street to get a cup of coffee. And after you have gotten wherever you need to get to (along with all those other recent Clark county transplants) where will you park? because despite increasing the ability to get to Portland, you cannot make Portland suddenly get bigger to fit all the cars… Portland is a finite space. Building a larger inroad is not going to increase the capacity of cars to fit in town.

What about all of us who want a livable city? Why is it that this bridge has never come to a vote anywhere? Because anywhere there was an actual vote the bridge would lose once people really learned of the costs and impacts.

If it really is about truck traffic, I say that a truck and HOV only lane on 205 should allow through traffic to bypass the city. Or simply toll the existing bridge at a rate that makes carpooling and busing more attractive to Vancouver residents.

But it really isnt about truck traffic is it?

Rico
Rico
14 years ago

Perhaps if there were a toll, maybe, just maybe, some people would carpool and utilize the HOV lane.

huey lewis
huey lewis
14 years ago

But it really isnt about truck traffic is it? this.

RS
RS
14 years ago

Regarding #4, the BNSF bridge does not have a lift span. It has a swing span.

Lenny Anderson
Lenny Anderson
14 years ago

Good list. Thanks John.
Note that the Governors’ I-5 Task Force split down the middle on the arterial bridge option in 2002. Subsequent CRC PR campaign (aka “planning”) ignored this as well as the data that shows that about 1/3 of all I-5 trips are local.
During the 1997 bridge closure HOV lanes, inhances transit, commuter rail were all used to reduce traffic across the bridge to a faction of normal, so we know these low cost options work.

matthew
matthew
14 years ago

truck traffic is a large component. swan island is a prime example of the need for smooth flow of traffic on I-5. the transfer of goods (over the road, railway and ships) at this hub is a driving force in our regional economy. jubitz truck stop is also located near I-5 and it has a number of other maintanence and service related businesses that cater to the trucking industry. i’m sure there are things like this near I-205 but i’m not familiar with any that would match the scale of what is existing near delta park.

i do support tolling as an incentive to carpool and use public transport. i just don’t think it would be supported by a vote with the general public.

as a cyclist my bias leans toward light rail rather than buses as a public transportation option. mainly it’s because of the low number of bikes that busses can accomodate and you are not allowed to bring your bike inside the bus when the rack is full. government funded mass transportation is a reality and i do support it but would like to see it be more efficient as far as costs are conerned. i think that fares only cover around 20% or so of the cost of a ride and feel there is room for improvement. people that do not use public transportation loath to support it fianacially (yes i was guilty of this myself) and this creates a slew of problems. tolling may a key part of changing this opinion.

people are in my opinion inerently selfish. even i don’t want to give up my care and freedom and flexibility that comes with it but don’t want to pay more for… well pretty much anything. i’ve watched my property taxes almost double in the last 12 years and they will probably do it again in the next 12 years. i’m certainly not happy about it but there are no free rides in life. everything does have a price.

matthew
matthew
14 years ago

last paragragh- “don’t want to give up my car”

PDX Outdoors
PDX Outdoors
14 years ago

This is great stuff. Only problem is that it’s pretty proven that selling complex answers (even to admittedly complex problems) to the public or the political folks is extremely difficult. Most human beings like big, simple solutions, even if they aren’t the best way to go. That said, two things that need to happen: Packaging these recommendations (which I think are brilliant) in language/format which simplifies and categorizes them further; Keeping funding sources both diverse and project-specific, so folks can’t say (as much), “Well I don’t want to pay for THAT, since I don’t benefit directly from it.”

Afro Biker
Afro Biker
14 years ago

More housing IN Portland? That can mean only one thing…more unsightly apartment buildings. No thanks.

cold worker
cold worker
14 years ago

more apartments/condos/mfh? or more clark county (or washington or clackamas counties for that matter) farmland and woods paved over? you have to pick. as portland is already a built city, i’ll pick infill. and as someone who grew up in clark county and can see how hideously it has been scarred from what it used to be, it makes the choice obvious.

YIMBY

Duncan
Duncan
14 years ago

Afro Biker- more likely overpriced, but just as unsightly condos 😉

Scott
Scott
14 years ago

Excellent list! This is the kind of approach we need but people never like. The BIG project is easier to comprehend and easier to fund.

I do have one question:
“11. Begin work to increase supply of affordable and desirable housing in inner Portland, to reduce the need for people to move to Vancouver.”

What does this mean? I hear talk of “affordable and desirable housing” from time to time in reference to different problems, but no one seems to know what this would mean in a tangible way. Does this mean something like low incoming housing but with higher income restrictions? Or?

I ask because there’s a clear reason why close in neighborhoods are expensive – they’re more desirable. It’s that whole supply demand equation that applies to everything from housing to bicycles. I have a hard time imagining breaking that equation.

Duncan
Duncan
14 years ago

Matthew-
My point is that a new bridge will do nothing for truck traffic, because more people will drive, and more people will buy homes on the edges of Clark County until the new bridge will be just as packed as the current bridge is. Induced demand is a powerful force. The floating bridge over lake Washington was overcapacity the very day it opened as many former bus riders switched to driving.

If anyone was REALLY interested in the ability of trucks to get through Portland the simple answer would not be to build infrastructure but rather to reduce demand on the existing bridge. But the reality is that it is really about subsidizing the residents of Vancouver at the expense (both in terms of money and quality of life) of Portland residents. truck traffic is a McGuffin and nothing more.

Jim Labbe
Jim Labbe
14 years ago

This is interesting. I had never heard the commuter rail idea before. And I believe there is great value in continuing to discuss solutions free of a political filter. This is the place to do it. Moreover, times are a changing and politics will eventually be too.

matthew
matthew
14 years ago

duncan, i belive you are incorrect in your reasoning regarding truck traffic. it’s simply my own opinion so i’ll leave it at that.

“But the reality is that it is really about subsidizing the residents of Vancouver at the expense (both in terms of money and quality of life) of Portland residents.” -this thought i certainly have a problem with. clark county has consistently been one of the top income tax revenue sources for the state of oregon. i believe last year it was 4th in the state. many vancouver residents shop in portland for appliances, furniture, clothing and building materials for houshold projects due to the lack of a sales tax. culturally vancouver has been a sorta black hole and many people go to portland to dine, shop at boutiques, visit galleries and museums, enjoy professional sporting events and for live music and concerts. seems to me that by doing these things we are supporting your quality of life and economy. i often ride to my favorite bike shop in se pdx (23rd & division) simply because i like the folks who own & run the shop and want to support them. feel free to tell me how wrong i am.

to get a little more back on topic-with regards to housing issues vancouver has for years promoted higher density, affordable housing. and not just aptartment compleses and condo’s. they allow and promote accessary dwellings on existing residential properties. ie: converting a garage (detached or not) basements or dividing a large older home into smaller multiple units. this tends to retain the asthetics of older residential areas that is so desireable to many of us. you see a lot more infill with big multi-family boxs’ in portland especially in ne.. many infill homes in vancouver are in character with the existing neighborhoods.

Duncan
Duncan
14 years ago

“this thought i certainly have a problem with. clark county has consistently been one of the top income tax revenue sources for the state of oregon. i believe last year it was 4th in the state”

I do not need a 4Billion dollar bridge. You do, yet the CRC will cost me plenty. Thats a financial cost I dont need. That money represents other bridges left un-repaired, other roads unimproved, bike paths not built, transit systems under-funded- all because Clark county cannot use a carpool lane, a bus, or a train.

If the bridge is built traffic will simply bottle neck further down the line- causing commuters to start tearing down the streets of Portland in vain attempts to avoid congestion. This will lead to increased levels of pollution (both air and noise), increased density and speed of traffic on urban streets and the resulting damage to our communities and our property values- ie my home is worth less because of your County’s inability to fund transportation or develop jobs. (if Portland is so anti-business, how come we seem to have all the jobs anyway?) That is another economic impact I am supposed to bear for you? I would rather not.

There are also the quality of life issues- I live in a neighborhood that has quiet residential streets- I can walk to the store, send my son to the park with the dog etc. While I am not directly in the path of the CRC- there are plenty of people who are- I bet they dont want you on their neighborhood streets either.

To be honest I could give a rats ass about sporting events…. and really you dont have a FLBS closer than my neighborhood? That is pretty sad.

maybe instead of driving down here you could work on getting Washington to alter its regressive tax structure so you wouldnt have to pay a surcharge on everything you bought locally.

Lets be honest though- that bridge isnt full of people going to sporting events or bike shops- it is filled with people who CHOSE to live on one side of a river and work on another, and CONSISTENTLY voted down Transit options. Y’all made your bed…. now you expect us to build you a new bridge.

I really think the election of the new mayor is a great metaphor for the Clark County attitude. Ever since I moved here is seems that Vancouver expect to reap the benefits of Portland without having to pay their fare share. Now you (all) want a toll-less, 4Billion dollar bridge with no pedestrian or rail facilities. . . Classic…

Duncan
Duncan
14 years ago

Mat
I am saying that the bridge as planned will do nothing for truck traffic in the long term, that the well-documented phenomenon of induced demand will suck up the free space on the bridge until the trucks will once again be stuck in traffic. The only way to ensure adequate space for trucks is to limit the amount of cars through heavy tolling and mass transport alternatives.

Spencer Boomhower
Spencer Boomhower
14 years ago

I’m sure I’ve posted this before, but worth repeating: it wasn’t until I saw Nick Falbo’s excellent CRC: Alternatives video – http://vimeo.com/5419575 – that I was able to get my head around the S-curve issue mentioned in John’s solution #4. Once you see it, it’s obvious.

matthew
matthew
14 years ago

duncan- i’ve hesitated on postin annother comment because i do not feel this is a forum for personal back and forth banter like we have devolved into. clearly we have differing opinions. in reality i do think we have many of the same concerns in mind.

when you say that a 4 billion $$ bridge is something you don’t and i do need you are quite wrong. i myself can do without it. i do however know it is the only lift span bridge on a west coast interstate freeway. possibly in the country. it’s a relic that should have been replaced long ago and the fact is truck traffic is a concern and one that is larger than either of our wants or concerns. to say that it’s clark county’s fault for not using carpools, bus or trains is simply short-sighted. it is a regional concern. my house is less than 1 mile from I-5 (and on a major artierial) and i see on a daily basis the increased residential traffic that you mention that ocurrs in portland. incerased air and noise pollution occurs with congested and stagnent traffic. if traffic is moving at moderate speeds (40mph+) the noise and pollution levels decrease. this is not my opinion but rather a statistical fact. yes if portland does not seek to improve traffic flow it will be a lingering issue. i personally have not gone to a professional sporting event, theater or play, symphony or like event in over 15 years but i can see that these are a draw for folks in washington. portland has a larger and much more robust employment diversity than clark county. the types of jobs and pay scale are simply not available here, hence the many folks that are employed in your state. as far as tax structure we have a local sales tax at almost 9% and i have $1800+ in property taxes levied on me each year. oreogon has consistently voted down sales tax and property owners and the working class have had to bear the brunt of your decision. underfunding has always been an issue in regards to schools, roads, police & fire and social services in oregon. washington’s tax structure and voters have consistenty supported these things. i would suggest you re-examine your priorities as an oregonian. tim levitt is a welcome change to vancouver politics. he has made it clear that tolling on a new bridge is something he does not support but he certainly has not ruled it out. he (like me) belives there are alternate way to achieve funding for the crc project. it is a project that does in fact (not just my opinion) include pedestrian, bicycle and light rail facilities. all options that i have seen (at bikeme!vancouver, neighborhood association and crc public meetings) have included these in the design options. i have lived in vancouver for 40+ of my 43 years. when and where did you come from? vancouver is just as much a part of portland as beaverton or gresham, we just have a big river and a odd thing like a state line seperating us. economicallu and socially we are tied to oregon wether you like it or not. you say “Y’all made your bed…. now you expect us to build you a new bridge.” but in reality it is really us. as in we. our problem, not just yours or mine. and in fact a regional issue larger than just for portland and vancouver. i certainly don’t think i’ll convince you of anything but i do hope you can consider what i’m trying to get at. and to look at the bigger picture.

peace and ride safe… we are all on the same team.

Duncan
Duncan
14 years ago

The RR bridge can be realigned to get rid of 99% of bridge lifts.

That traffic that is backing up at your house now? It would simply be backing up in the rose quarter if the 12 lane bridge was built- i say the people who chose to live on one side of a huge river, knowing they will work on the other, who have refused to prioritize alternative transportation should bear the effects of their choices.

My taxes are slightly lower than yours. But comparable. I will add this though- if you add the cost of gas, and wear and tear on your vehicles (valued at .54 dollars per mile) your own time at the same rate you get paid- how much do you REALLY save living in Clark County? Or the fact that you have to have a car- I own one, but I know that I can sell mine at anytime should I get laid off and still get everywhere I need to go.

I prefer income tax to sales tax. To me income tax is honest- I know how much I spend on govt (and it isnt a small amount) where as WA’s mix of taxes and fees is slippery, and feels like a nickel and dime approach. I lived in WA (Oly) for 8 years, and the sales tax (which we in Oly could not dodge as you do in the ‘Couve) the B&O tax I payed when self employed (which cost me as much as income tax, only without deductions) the high fees and lousy service when dealing with the state all irritated me.

These things did not however make me move- I simply had no desire to live in Oly and work in King County like 30% of Thurston County do)… especially as Washington’s State-wide Distaste for public transit (you want a bottle neck- why doesnt anyone mention the Tacoma S curves or Renton on I-5? They are far worse than Vancouver.) meant that if I wanted to be a home owner I would be commuting three hours a day. I chose to move to avoid that life.

My son goes to an excellent public school, and bad roads just make people drive slower in my neighborhood. Meanwhile you avoid paying the primary way that Clark County lives is by (more or less) evading their states big income generator- the sales tax. This sales tax (which I agree is stupid- sales taxes are regressive because sales tax hits poorer people harder.) is why you cant get a decent meal or have a vibrant downtown.

While where I am from doesnt (and should not) matter- as an American I have the right and ability to live anywhere within the United States, I will say I have lived out here for 21 years now, so even my second life can drink legally. I lived in Vermont before that, and thought I would move back after college- but didnt. Where ever I am from I live here, vote here, pay taxes here, and read the local paper… much as I may miss Vermont (and even Olympia) I am a local Oregonian now. My opinion is that this bridge is bad for my City, my region and my state.

I also believe that Clark County, which has for 20 years defined itself as the anti-portland now wants us to bring their poor planning decisions to us. The final straw for me was when the CRC tried to value engineer everything good out of the bridge. I think a lot of oregonians are going to need tolls to limit traffic, along with light rail to be OK with it going forward. Myself I would add that decent pedestrian and bike facilities are a must have before I quit writing every one I can about what a bad idea it is.

I am not a huge fan of Gresham either. . . they come screaming down powell and run stop lights getting to portland in the morning…