A key group of elected officials and transportation bigwigs from Oregon and Washington convened this morning and agreed to adopt a major set of recommendations that will move the Columbia River Crossing project forward. The Project Sponsors Council unanimously agreed to push ahead on a 10-lane bridge and also agreed on significant changes to the Hayden Island interchange.
With Portland Mayor Sam Adams and Metro President David Bragdon saying they support a 10-lane bridge and a recent report by the Independent Review Panel calling for something to be done “sooner than later,” momentum seems to be surging for the project. But while Project Sponsors Council members congratulated each other today for making headway and healing some of the wounds of controversy that have plagued the project in the past, a coalition of environmental, public health, and bicycling advocates issued a statement making it clear they are still not happy with the direction of the project.
“… the current proposal would create congestion in the Rose Quarter and I-205, increase global warming pollution from cars and trucks, worsen air quality, and decrease bicycle and pedestrian safety.”
— From a statement signed by the BTA and other transportation and health advocacy groups
In a statement, the coalition — which includes the Bicycle Transportation Alliance — says the CRC “megaproject” is “overly expensive and completely out of line with Oregon’s vision for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
At today’s meeting, BTA advocacy manager Gerik Kransky sat in the crowd and listened to experts rattle off a host of benefits that would come with building a new 10-12 lane bridge.
Counter to what the BTA and other land-use and health groups have been saying for years, a recent modeling exercise done by Metro showed that building a 12-lane bridge with light rail and a $2 peak-period toll would not result in sprawl. (With tolls, the study found that Clark County would have a negligible increase in household growth compared to 0.7% growth without tolls.)
Katy Brooks from the Port of Portland shared details on an analysis of travel times and number of accidents with and without a new bridge. Currently, traveling north during the evening commute from the Morrison Bridge exit in Portland to 99th Street in Vancouver would take over 45 minutes. With a new 10-12 bridge, by 2030, the estimated travel time would be around 20 minutes — less than half of what it is today. Brooks also said that, given expected growth, there would be about 750 crashes along the project corridor by 2030 if no new bridge was built, but with a new bridge that number would drop to just 240 crashes.
After hearing these numbers and despite Mayor Adams supporting a 10-lane bridge, the BTA remains unconvinced that it’s necessary. The BTA’s Kranksy wrote via Twitter during the meeting that while he appreciates Adams’ desire for a smaller bridge, “a 10-lane permanent bridge is still massive.” (Note: Adams has said he’s still interested in discussing an 8-lane option, but hasn’t had time to do the full analysis.)
As momentum builds around the project, the BTA will have to lobby and build resistance from outside the process. Last August, former BTA staffer Michelle Poyourow decided to walk away from the project after feeling their concerns were not being taken seriously. Kransky told me today they have no intention of officially re-engaging with the project and that they’ll be looking to publish op-eds in The Oregonian and issue a more detailed position statement later this month.
The BTA and other advocacy groups will have plenty of time to mount their campaigns against the current direction of the CRC. While there was significant progress and agreement at the meeting today, major hurdles — such as binding decisions on the bridge’s design, how it will be governed and who will pick up the estimated $3.6 billion tab — remain elusive.
— Read our past CRC coverage here.
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Another goverment boon-doggle looking for local political affirmation, supplying photo back slapping for campaign support(and backroom money handshaking)
Another $42 million was just spent by the US Senate. Add that to the $100 million spent in the past.
The resulting sales pitch: We have to build this bridge or we would waste all that money to plan it.
The only way to stop the CRC: Convert the BTA from a 401c3 into a 401c4, and begin to lead a real anti-CRC campaign, working with local churches, groups, endorse people for office, and rat out pro CRC “environmentalists” like the phony Tina Kotek. Flood her phones until she is pissed.
Beware of groups who say they oppose the CRC. The CLF is in the pants of pro-CRC folks. The CLF showed up at a CRC rally and hijacked the clipboards. They don’t urge the list of 500 activits who showed up to call Kotek or anyone. The CLF just sends email updates. Yawn.
Thanks for covering today’s meeting Jonathan.
Just to clarify the BTA’s strategy going forward, yes, we are in fact working on a more detailed policy position around issues related to the CRC.
However, we may choose to re-engage with the Project Sponsors Council or related governing entity at a later date. Considering the short shrift we were given during our previous round of engagement, this is not likely unless we are sure that our concerns will be reflected in the final project.
Also, we will be looking for opportunities to engage members and supporters in direct advocacy in support of a project more in line with our vision.
My comment was deleted. Please explain.
Joe, your comment was not deleted. As I’ve explained to you in the past, sometimes comments get caught in the spam filter. I found yours there and I pushed it through. cheers. –Jonathan
There’s no way that the commute time from Morrison Bridge to 99th Street would ever be just 20 minutes, even with this project.. common sense will tell you that the increased capacity at the river crossing will encourage more driving on I-5 further up and downstream of the improvements, resulting in more congestion elsewhere and offsetting any travel time savings in the vicinity of the $3.6 billion bridge project. Unless there’s a desire to widen I-5 through Rose Quarter, we shouldn’t be attempting to widen I-5 to this size at the Columbia River. How many $3.6 billion dollar projects do we expect to afford between now and 2030?
The Portland metro area is GROWING.
More people are moving here, in spite of brutal unemployment and a shortage of affordable housing.
And guess what? Most of them are still bringing their CARS with them.
Short of enacting legislation to prevent people from moving here, there is NOTHING that can be done, except to anticipate the growth and to PLAN for it.
You don’t plan for a doubling of our regional population —
–by building a 4-lane Interstate Bridge. At this point in our growth cycle, that would ALMOST be like tearing down the existing bridge wholesale and demanding that everyone use ferries to cross the Columbia River.
I’m not happy about a 12- or even a 10-lane bridge, but unless someone out there has a watertight plan for secession from the Union I’m not sure what else can be done here without increasing gridlock and anger.
Serious, realistic ideas, anyone?
STOP THE CRC
If there was a proposal to build another six lane bridge (That matches the width on both sides of the bridge) but had MAX on it, and tolls, and a bike/ ped bridge that was even better to ride than the east bank esplanade, I’d listen further.
Any more than six lanes will only cause bottlenecks on both sides. The CRC would be an irresponsible use of funds (there isn’t a funding source for the bridge anyways.) It is an environmental disaster. The current bridge is fine. If you want to fix a bridge, fix the Sellwood Bridge.
The CRC proposal is a horrible idea.
Nobody wants this bridge other than the company that would get paid to build it (And their puppet politicians)
More Lanes = More Cars = More Climate Change. STOP THE CRC
This should be old ground in the debate.
You dedicate lanes to freight, you establish congestion and usage based tolling, you provide viable public transit alternatives and you don’t plan as though all incomers will be driving across the bridge at rush hour.
You then don’t need a massively inflated bridge project that will transfer the congestion burden to other points in the system (the Rose Quarter).
And it’s a heck of a lot cheaper too.
Serious, realistic ideas, Beth?
Let’s get off the oil addiction as a region. Great cities of the world have great public transit. They are less car dependent. 3.6 Billion would send MAX and streetcar to communities metrowide with enough money left over to give all residents free rides for the next 20 years…OR YOU CAN BUILD A 5 MILE LONG BRIDGE TO VANTUCKY? This is Bullshit!
I can imagine that NYC had similar discussions back in the day of whether to build pro-car or pro-person. I vote pro person.
If the bridge was about getting trucks around, we would start tolling the I-5 and I-205 immediately, and give one lane all of the way across (24 hours a day) to car poolers and truckers and busses and not charge those folks a toll.
142 million has been spent just PLANNING this 10 lane 5 mile long bridge?
Math folks- please correct me: but wouldn’t that only be 0.0394% of the 3,600,000,000 it would cost to build this thing? Let’s get out before we get any more invested.
If congestion is a problem then tolls on the current bridge would seem to make sense.
Maybe, but only if you can retain the political will to keep tolls in place.
With a megabridge crossing providing way more capacity than the segments of freeway it connects, and nothing but tolls holding back induced travel, it sets up a situation in which some future politician can run (and win) on a platform of striking down those tolls.
We’ve already seen that being against tolls even being enacted is a winning platform. Imagine the points a political could score being the hero who promises to get rid of tolls once and for all?
Why not just keep the capacity of the crossing consistent with the capacity of the connecting freeways? Anything more than that is a lot of arterial connections built to accommodate local traffic.
Like that, but waaaaay more expensive.
After all of the work is done there will still only be 3 through lanes in each direction, we aren’t gaining anything. Sam Adams isn’t helping any either
a new bridge? bring it on!!!!
way too much money has already been spent without even breaking ground. as a concerned taxpayer seeing the dollar loose it’s value and costs going up constantly we can ill afford to delay construction of such a regionally pivital piece of infastructure. if the port of portland with it’s relation to over the road and rail connections were not on the I-5 corridor i would certainly reconsider my position. and for those of you out there that believe tolling is a viable option to substantially decrease commuter and truck traffic please don’t delude yourselves. unless mass transit (bus and light rail)is vasty improved there will be little incentive or option for drivers to get out of their cars. increased otr costs will also be paid by end consumers, yup.. you and me. tolling will have the greatest negative effect those who can least afford the increased costs of goods and services affected by tolls as well.
personally i just want a wide well lit bike route. the current bridge is dangerous beyond all reason. how about a pathway for lower speed vehicles (ie. small electric and gas scooters) too. they currently use the existing mup (illegally) and amplify the dangers we face on the bridge as cyclists and pedestrians. haven’t heard anything about provisions for them egh? with gas and transportation costs going up there will only be an increase in the use of these types of vehicles.
portland will also be forced to deal with the outdated interstate freeway system into downtown as well… or neighborhoods that parallel I-5 will bear the brunt of not doing so. about damn time. it’s called progress folks. for years i was oppesed to light rail moving into vancouver but in the past few years having rode max (yea a friend called me out on that one) i’m sold. the only bad part of light rail extending into vancouver is that there is no plan to extend light rail past the hwy 500/I-5 interchange and out to the 134th st park and ride where it would have the greatest benefit.
quote: way too much money has already been spent without even breaking ground. as a concerned taxpayer
my reply: Wasting money on a bad plan is not a reason to justify more waste to build a bad plan.
Let’s wake up: Interstate 5 is only 2 lanes in central Portland. From the Rose Quarter to OMSI.
Given the real bottlenecks, what good is adding 2 lanes to the 3 existing lanes at the river?
Answer: Allow more sprawl commuters over the bridge and on to streets used by pedestrians, bikes, local freight etc. This is really going to kill local small business freight in favor of interstate freight and sprawl.
Last I checked, this is not an agrarian society, I am all for the bridge. Your food, clothes and consumer products almost certainly come from somewhere else – and if you ride a Chinese bike, don’t even think of complaining.
As for the BTA, what a Hindenburg they pulled, by removing themselves from the process. It is so incredulous that they would do that, it almost seems as if it was malfeasance.
How many of you Adams voters are gonna stick with your boy now?
joe evidently your “bad plan” is something i can not only live with but would welcome. did you get to the part in my comment about portland having to address their outdated freeway system? evidently not. please take a bit of time to re-read my entire posting.
Stop having babies. Most of the bloody arguments in politics – and everything finds a home in politics – come down to growth. Just don’t do it.
$4,000,000,000, I can almost realize the difference between millions and billions. C.R.C. – not very resourceful, quite wasteful and smelly
@ Gus (@8) and Greg (#9):
I would love to see us create toll roads and designate lanes for specific purposes. I would also LOVE to see us get clear of our oil addiction. But I think that both of those visions are a tough sell these days.
a. You’ve got the “don’t-tread-on-me” folks who would rather die than pay a toll.
b. You’ve got the drivers who can’t even wrap their head around carpooling, much less taking transit one or two days a week.
c. Then, you’ve got the many people who still live very far away from where they work, and/or whose housing is far from reliable transit that runs frequently AND early or late enough to accommodate the many swing shift and service workers who have odd hours. (On top of that, Trimet’s making service cuts and raising fares. Again.)
d. You’ve got a HUGE population that’s growing every day, as more people move here. You’re not going to prevent that with “smart planning” at this stage of the game.
We all know — or should know — that subsidies for oil and cars could rightly be transferred to mass transit. But the political will isn’t there. And neither is the stomach on the part of most Americans.
2008 was a wake-up call: gas went above $4.00 a gallon and that was the beginning of a tipping point where people began to change some of the transportation habits. I’ll assume that the powers-that-be — whomever stands to profit most from the car-centric infrastructure we have — put its collective foot down and sent gas prices back down to a more “reasonable” level. As soon as that happened, people got back in their cars with a vengeance.
I would like to believe that this vision of a more sustainable metro region is possible, but such a vision will take generations to become reality and lots of us won’t be around to see the results of what could be an ugly infrastructure war.
Finally, @ Stop Planning (# 18): Yeah, well, you’re right. There are too many of us, not just in Portland but all over the place, and more are moving here by the DAY. Problem is that too many people are afraid to have that much harder, larger discussion about population and resources. It’s just easier to keep telling ourselves that this is an argument about a bridge; and besides, how do you have that bigger discussion without coming off sounding like a Fascist, or worse? Sorry.
The commenters so far have missed the real reason why this bridge is being pushed so hard.
Real Estate. Quite simply, there is a glut of unsold properties in rural Vancouver. There is virtually no employment in vancouver presently, so, not crossing that bridge isn’t an option, and housing prices are so high in Portland that all the “Marginal wage” jobs have to be filled by someone. Developers have farms divided up, all the way to woodland, and out to Yacolt, ready to build, however no one wants these places, because of how long the commute is to centers of employment is so long, they’ll never sell for any profit. A new, toll-free bridge is needed, to drive new immigrants to Vancouver. This project is a mirror to what the I-205 bridge project was in 1979. Before that, east clark county was very rural. Adding capacity, increases sprawl. The numbers these folks are trotting out, are vastly incorrect. The same reason these people are afraid of light rail, is that it will increase the property values of areas surrounding the rail line, while leaving the new, as of yet undeveloped land below their expectations. Because Portland has maintained (relatively) their urban growth boundary, and Vancouver virtually has none, the leadership of both communities are using Vancouver as a “safety valve” on Portland’s growth. This is irresponsible, in every sense of the word. For those of us that live in Vancouver proper, a 10 lane bridge would cause an explosion of out of vancouver traffic flooding through our neighborhoods. Bicycling in Vancouver is already suicidal, but with 20,000 new californians, it would be certain death.
Sorry beth, but planning for more people moving to portland doesn’t have to mean planning to make portland more like dallas, LA, or Phoenix.
Portland can plan for more people moving here by planning to take portland in steps towards copenhagen, amsterdam, berlin, and new york.
That means no 10 lane bridge to vantucky.
That would mean building the bicycle master plan (Which is about 1/10,000th the price of the proposed bridge.)
If we can’t afford the 580,000 bicycle master plan, how can we afford a 5 mile long 10 lane bridge that costs almost 10,000 TIMES as much???
According to Wiki, Vantucky has 165,809 people. If 10 percent of them drive to Portland everyday and won’t carpool or alleviate traffic by voting in MAX, I say we give those 16,581 daily Vantucky commuters each a check for 10,000 bucks to stop driving to Portland.
Let’s see 16,581 times 10,000 = 1.658 Billion.
Bridge proposal = 3.6 Billion
We would save 1.94109 Billion.
We would have 16,581 happy Vantuckians.
Roads would be clear- we could dedicate one of the newly freed lanes only for busses, freight, and carpoolers.
We would save a LOT more than we spend.
We would save 1,941,900,000 dollars that we could instead spend on social security, education, libraries, parks, the bicycle master plan, MAX, reinstating fareless square, rebuilding the Sellwood Bridge, job creation in Vantucky, etc.
Why are they proposing to build a 10 lane bridge that would induce sprawl- a bridge that nobody wants (except for suburban Clark County developers?)
Oh yeah- Exile #21 already told us.
Washinton State will have plenty to say about tolls on this bridge. Remember if you ride a washington state ferry they charge for every person boarding the ferry, if you have a bike there is an extra fee for it also. This is only fair as there are no free rides. I expect the same for the bridge also, but only until it is paid off. Free for your great grandkids??
Yeah, but my grandkids won’t be driving cars one at a time. The cost of fuel will, thankfully, be prohibitively high by then. My grandkids will be cycling or taking mass transit. By that time, this bridge to the ‘Couv will be virtually empty of SOVs!
No more welfare for Clark County real estate developers and SOV commuters!
Re: Gregg Woodlawn #9, “Math folks- please correct me: but wouldn’t that only be 0.0394% of the 3,600,000,000 it would cost to build this thing?”
I don’t disagree with your larger point, but you asked for a correction. Your math was right until that extra % sign made the number appear 100 times smaller. $142 million is 0.0394 of $3.6 billion, which is equal to 3.94%.
@beth h, #6:
Get real. Building a 10 or 12 lane bridge is only going to shift the current bottlenecks north and south, creating true gridlocks (not mere I-5 slowdowns) in the city streets themselves.
The underlying problem is that the bridge advocates are attempting to fix something that isn’t broken. The infrastructure we have is sufficient for all freight and interstate commerce needs: the next bridge could be as small as a 4 lane bridge and be fine for that purpose. The problem is that we need to find a way to encourage people to stop commuting by cars. Either move closer to their jobs or take some other form of transit.
This should be a no-brainer. Anyone with eyes can see that the current 4 lane bridge is adequate for all traffic except the rush hour commuting traffic.
We probably need more pleasant urban neighborhoods, street cars, light rail systems, bikeways, etc. We definitely do not need more lanes over the river.
But what we really need are planners who are capable of recognizing that what they are looking at is not a nail, even though they’ve been holding on to this really comfortable hammer for a long time.
I’m guessing that most Vancouverites perceive the term “Vantucky” to be offensive. Anyone who actually wants to be taken seriously and engage in a productive dialog about the CRC should drop that type of language immediately.
It doesn’t matter how strong or logical your criticisms of the project are. If you start out your argument with name calling, no one will listen to what you have to say.
By suggesting that ‘Vantucky’ is a bad thing, I think you are offending the residents of Kentucky.
wow, I can’t believe this is still going to happen.
Gus and Gregg have this right. The fact that politicians cannot summon enough backbone to install tolls now leads me to think that they don’t have what it takes to get this thing built, thank god.
When people living in Vancouver are as intelligent, hip, green, fashionable, handsome, etc., as those living in Portland, then they can loose the nickname.
Until then they will have to put up with our elitism douchie-ness (thank you BSNYC for creating a whole new douche-cabulary).
I know that it’s easy to cast this as a portland/vancouver duality, however only a vocal minority is screaming for a 12 lane, no train, no tolls bridge. I’ve had discussions with many local residents, and the damage a bridge would cause to vancouver proper would be immense. Despite the soundbites, this project is equally unpopular in Vancouver. Light rail, has had a dangerous campaign lodged against it by Randall O’toole at the CATO institute for almost 15 years, that spread misinformation and lies. That is what’s driving the anti-rail sentiment.
@Gregg Woodlawn & Elliot:
Referring to Vancouver as Vantucky represents regionalist elitism. As if a great unwashed horde of hillbillys are massing at the border. Maybe you’d prefer to tear the current bridge down?
The people of Vancouver who remain silent while the shrill minority lead the discussion are tacit accomplices in the approval of the bridge.
I don’t know about how hip, green or handsome Vancouverians are, but I saw pink Crocs on the feet of one last time I was there.
@ # 28:
I’m NOT happy about a 10-lane bridge; perhaps I didn’t make myself clear enough before. I live in a neighborhood that will be immediately affected by it and so far my concerns have fallen upon deaf ears (those of my State representative and senator, who both insist that the large bridge is needed to anticipate growth in the region.
I think that Exile (# 21) gets one point but misses another. Selling expansion of housing in Cark County is one thing. But getting people to WANT to live there is another. With housing you must also have jobs and schools nearby. What does THAT planning look like?
As for encouraging people to “move closer to their jobs”, EmGee, that is easier said than done in the Portland metro area. My sister lives in Parkrose — one of the few places left in Portland proper where she could find an affordable house — but must commute to a job in Tigard. Going by transit would take her nearly two hours with transfers and wait time; and her shift is an iron-clad 6:30 to 3:30 pm. In a town with such high unemployment, she’s not in a good position to seek employment closer to home. Neither are a great many other Portlanders who have NO affordable choice but to live very far from where their jobs are.
Building a ten-lane bridge won’t solve these problems, but neither will NOT building one. We’ve dug ourselves a Very Big Hole and it will take us a very long time to dig our way out, especially when much of it depends on political will and on changing the habits of so many people.
I am not, repeat, NOT happy with a ten-lane bridge. It’s a bad and expensive idea. But I also don’t see how sticking to our guns and demanding a much smaller bridge will solve the problems mentioned above.
Sustainability is a great goal. But it is NOT affordable for the numerous hourly-wage workers who make up the lion’s share of our post-affluent, recessionary workforce. Asking them to simply “move closer to their jobs” or to put up with 90-minute to 2 hour commute (one way) seems a bit much without demanding that developers and government work together to bring jobs and housing closer to each other.
If tolls will manage traffic on a new bridge why won’t they manage traffic on the current bridge? Let’s do the least cost options first, toll money collected NOW can be used to either pay for the new bridge or used to pay to upgrade the current bridges. Tolls alone may solve most of the problem, we could have spent all that study money errecting toll booths. The sales tax incentive is never brought up, but a drive to Portland can save you nearly $100 on a new TV. Mayor Leavitt wanted no tolls now wants all tolls. If they don’t build the bridge I won’t need the on ramps,he thinks I’m benefiting from. It’s time there was a disel tax so that truckers can pay for the bridge there using to save money (time).
Everyone who wants the bridge has not offered a plan on how to pay for it except they just want it. It’s unfair to burden future generations with anymore debt, let’s pay as we go. No Pay No Go.
The Rose Quarter’s 4 lanes are more of a bottle neck than the bridge. Originally 12 lanes is all that would solve the problem but apparantley 10 lanes will work, it makes me think that number is somewhat suspicous too.
beth h (#6) – Possibility 1: Your projection of growth is correct. In this case, building 10 or 12 lanes will do nothing BUT increase gridlock and anger. Right now, the bridge is saturated – it crawls at least 6 hours of day with only 6 lanes. Build 12, and more people will use it until it is again saturated – only now it’ll be 12 lanes of gridlock instead of 6. It’ll continue doing that .
Even without gridlock on the bridge itself, you’ll still have gridlock wherever it dumps everyone off, or narrows the highway.
Possibility 2: Your projection of growth is incorrect. Vehicle miles decrease and we’re left with a giant bridge that serves a fraction of the traffic it was designed to serve, once which will be enormously expensive to pull down in another 40 years. In the meantime, bridges all over the state will have maintenance or replacement deferred in order to pay for this one, all while state revenues drop.
Are there other possibilities? Sure, but how likely are they? We already have more paved infrastructure than we can support at current funding levels, and the federal government just spent trillions of dollars bailing out the banks. Do we have the money to pay for this, at the local, state, or federal levels? When do we decide to be fiscally responsible? After the government collapses from insolvency?
and that’s not even addressing the climate issues.
jim (#12) – We’re gaining a more human-scaled environment. How does a 10-lane (or 8, or 12) CRC help anything? What else does it do besides make everyone’s commute a little shorter? As others said, the truck problem can be solved with the existing infrastructure.
matthew vilhauer (#13) – We can ill-afford to have the monster that is CRC. The I-5 corridor should be using rail, not trucks for the majority of its freight.
“dangerous beyond reason”? How many deaths or injuries have there been on the sidewalks of the I-5 bridge? It’s certainly loud, and narrow in spots, but when taken at a reasonable speed it’s perfectly safe.
“outdated interstate freeway system” – It’d be great if they dealt with it by removing the freeways entirely, and going back to the old road grid, but that isn’t going to happen. Updating the current freeways requires only one thing – pick a number of lanes for the system, and make it consistent. Paving 2 more lanes from Rose Quarter to the Freemont bridge would be fine – get rid of the bottleneck. Then just keep 6 lanes across the Columbia and all the way out to Longview (and south to Salem), and leave it there.
KWW (#15) – No it’s not, but we need to become one again, and as expeditiously as possible, or the situation will get a lot worse.
and WTF is a “Hindenburg”?
Red Five (#17) – That depends. If CRC goes through, he loses my vote.
beth h (#20) – Spot on regarding population, especially here in the NW. As the SW continues to warm up and dry out, and as the current water sources there diminish and ultimately fail, a lot of those folk are going to move here in search of someplace that can support people. In addition to addressing population pressure, we’ll have the unenviable choice between allowing sprawl or accepting an even higher cost of living.
PDX Rider (#30) – Exactly. Everyone knows it should be “Vankansas” (pronounced Van-ken-saw)
I’m sure I’ve offended everybody now. 🙂
Hindenburg , as in to fail spectacularly…
beth h, #28:
You have repeated a part of the whole problem, this thing about the American Dream of owning your own home. It was just that: a dream fashioned to keep real estate values and new car sales climbing. It never had any basis in the economies of true wealth; it was a fiction of the consumerism era that we have finally (thankfully) begun to get beyond.
If you have a good job and a long commute, move closer to the job. If you can’t do that because you have saddled yourself with a mortgage rather than paying rent… well, that sounds like a personal problem and not something that society should spend billions on enabling.
Life styles have to change. That is going to involve some critical reappraisals of what constitutes a “good life.”
matt picio #38, yes an agrarian society would be wonderful. however i do prefer to live in the real world and it has been several generations since the U.S. has become industrialized. it may return to what it was (highly unlikely) but it would also take several more generations to do so.
with our current rail system it is simply not possible to rely on rail to transport the levels of freight needed. how about forming a lobbying group powerful enough to combat the oil and auto/truck industries? good luck with that.
try riding over the I-5 bridge several times a week for a year. at all hours and in all weather conditions. have you even rode over it more than a few times? or at all? if you did it on a regular basis you would change your opinion. i currently owe more than $20K for a cycling accident on the mup earlier this year. yes, admittedly my assessment of the bridge may be harsher than most.
eliminating our freeway system altogether? climb down from your horse drawn buggy and please read the first paragraph of this posting again. we are an industrialized country that for all it’s good and evils has chosen the auto as our primary mode of transport. this can certainly change but i won’t try to fool myself into thinking it will happen overnight or even in the immediate future.
i like the bta/hindenbirg metaphor. i think the bta also pulled a “cartman” by basicly saying “screw you guys, i’m going home” in regards to the crc. a friend put the bta’s actions into context quite well (i’m sure i’ll muddle it a bit but…) by saying that the bta may not have understood the nuances of being an advisor in the crc planning process. as an advisor there are limitations to your role. to me at least it seems they tried to leverage their power when they really had none to begin with and compounded the mistake by walking away from the table so they in effect have not imput or voice in the project at all. running a anti-crc campaign in the press seems to make even less sense. come back to the table and join the discussion.
no matt i don’t think you have offended everyone…. haven’t heard a peep from vance… yet….
It appears that the society that considers the “good life” renting so you can be closer to work is the minority. Why wouldn’t home ownership be a part of the good life? Why is renting a part of it? Or is it just being closer to work?
This is not Beth’s personal problem. This is the majority of society’s problem(name your city/state).
I do question your assertion that we are getting beyond the consumerism era. Perhaps in the little corner of PDX that are BikePortland followers, but there is a whole lot more society out there that is still just as concerned about buying the new iPhone or whatever. What do you base this on? Certainly not US economics.
Another perspective for the “move closer to your job” group. What about the dual earners? My husband and I work 10 miles apart. I know other couples who work 15 or 20 or more miles apart. Not everyone has the luxury of moving to their job, finding a job closer to home or going down to one income. At least one of us *has* to drive. And that isn’t even factoring in school preferences into the housing choices…
On a side note, but that picture of Adams above – I can picture him about to say “Yep, I’ll go along with whatever – just as long as I can still be mayor.”
Give ’em HELL! Down wit da CR ‘effin’ C!
paul #45. where exactly do you live?
matthew vilhauer (#41) – I would argue it’s a fantasy world. The current society is not sustainable and inherently cannot be. We *will* return to a agrarian society – we have the option to do it by choice, or circumstances will force it upon us. read Derrick Jensen’s “Endgame” for the reasons why. (there are other books, but Jensen spells it out better than most – Jared Diamond’s “Collapse” covers much of it as well)
Rail – I disagree. There are a few corridors that would need expansion (laying another track), but in most locations that can be done without expanding the right-of-way.
I-5 – I’ve ridden it frequently, but not daily. Obviously we have different views of the experience.
Freeways – Climb off your own pedestal and re-read *my* post. “It’d be great” does not equal “This is what I think we should do”, and the following sentence states that I realize it isn’t going to happen. In any case, we’ve chosen automobiles, but we won’t be able to maintain that. The replacement costs have gotten too high, there’s too much invested in the oil infrastructure, and that energy source will soon be tapped out for practical purposes.
Cartman – love it. Yeah, Hindenburg doesn’t work for me. Can’t comment on the BTA’s strategy since I don’t know their objectives. I think they made their point, but what was the cost of that?
Offended – True, haven’t heard from Vance, but it’s early yet. I wouldn’t mind it – Vance and I frequently disagree, but he usually makes really good and inconvenient points, and if I’ve learned one thing in the last decade, it’s that convenience is far overrated.
Having spent a good portion of my life in Houston I can say, without a doubt, “If you build it, it will back up.”
There are better solutions. Dense urban living and public transportation are the two most reasonable.
Paul Tay is from Oklahoma. Occasionally he comes up for Pedalpalooza.
I wasn’t talking so much about the folks who own homes, I was talking about the lower-income majority who rent and still can’t afford to live closer to where they work — if they can find a living-wage job at all. Do THEY have a “personal problem” because they’re the working poor and because infrstraucture wasn’t developed with their needs or interests in mind?
I hear some pussyfooting around the ideas of a collapse of commerce, of a collapse of the Portland-as-we-know-it as more people move here from parts of tha country that are failing in terms of society, economy AND climate. No one’s spelling out longer term nightmaresin detail here but folks are sure hinting loudly at them.
Again, I maintain that this is not simply an argument about a bridge; rather it’s a larger discussion about class, race, the distribution of wealth and how certain sectors of society and the economy seem to get the upper hand time and again.
If the neighborhoods immediately affected were Raleigh Hills and Multnomah instead of King and Woodlawn, you BET there’d be a hue and cry about a ten-freaking-lane bridge FROM Vancouver (because hardly anyone there is thinking in terms of “TO” Vancouver). And that is only a teeny tiny sumptom of the many larger problems we face as this region continues to grow willy-nilly.