Friday Cartoon: The CRC, coming soon to a theater near you

(Illustration by Mark Markovich for BikePortland)

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– See past cartoons here.

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dmc
dmc
11 years ago

๐Ÿ™‚ It looks like the CRC monster is gonna eat the train or house. Does it like to normally eat these sort of things?

Im gonna name him “Fred”. ๐Ÿ™‚

Jessica Roberts
Jessica Roberts
11 years ago

Starring: “Nearly all the consultants in Portland except for one bike-ped planning firm…” ๐Ÿ˜›

Dabby
Dabby
11 years ago

We need a new bridge people…

Spencer Boomhower
Spencer Boomhower
11 years ago
Reply to  Dabby

Dabby, I think there’s a good argument to be made for a new bridge. The best I’ve heard is part of the “Common Sense Alternative” which proposes a combo arterial/light rail/pedestrian/bike bridge, along with seismically upgrading the current bridge for continued use as a freeway, and adding a lift to the downstream rail bridge to fix the “S-curve” issue (that would eliminate the vast majority of lifts on the current I-5 bridge).

But the CRC? That’s not a bridge. It’s 4 miles of extremely wide, elaborate, and expensive freeway with .5 miles of bridge in the middle of it.

It’s being sold as a bridge project – the focus is being directed at that .5 miles of bridge – because we in the general public tend to like bridges, don’t want to see them fall down, and want to see them built. A lot more than we tend to want to see freeways built.

Spencer Boomhower
Spencer Boomhower
11 years ago

Oh, and there’s another bridge that it would make a whole lot of sense to build: a second rail bridge, a little further downstream from the current rail bridge. This would be for high-speed, or highER-speed rail and commuter rail. Which always sounded like kind of a luxury to me until I heard Jim Howell explain how a passenger rail bridge could greatly benefit freight movement over the existing rail bridge, by drawing passenger trains off of the extremely backed-up freight route. Apparently passenger trains take up a huge amount of track space that could otherwise be devoted to freight.

A second rail bridge in that location could be tall and majestic, because it would be far enough away from Pearson to not intrude on its airspace.

Not to get all self-promotional here, but this updated version of a video I did does at least help specify where a lot of these structures are located and the issues that surround them: http://www.vimeo.com/20762135. No mention of the new rail bridge in the video (yet), but it does discuss the current one.

jim
jim
11 years ago

So you think you can fix the problem by not adding any more lanes at all? I don’t see how that is going to relieve any congestion. Bridge lifts are seldom and are not the problem. The problem is a 100 year old bridge has outlived its capacity and its time to retire it

adamdoug2011
adamdoug2011
11 years ago
Reply to  jim

wrong, the problem with that bridge is way larger than its’ lanes or the congestion – but, keep burying your head in the tar sands, me, I will keep riding.

Spencer Boomhower
Spencer Boomhower
11 years ago
Reply to  jim

jim,

“So you think you can fix the problem by not adding any more lanes at all?”

I’m not sure. Seems possible.

But I was mainly talking about the “Common Sense Alternative,” which seems reasonable enough, and it would add lanes. Enough to match the number of lanes proposed by the CRC. These would be the six lanes of the current bridge, plus four more in the form of a new local auto/light rail bridge, combined with auto lanes on the rail bridge.

Here’s a link to the CSA presentation, by George Crandall: http://bit.ly/h3IBQo. There’s a slide in there shows the CRC and the CSA both proposing ten lanes.

“I don’t see how that is going to relieve any congestion. Bridge lifts are seldom and are not the problem.”

This chart from that CSA presentation shows something like 600 lifts a year:

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5053/5521408107_cf1f03944a_b.jpg

The 525 lifts in that chart are what could be eliminated by fixing the downstream rail bridge and eliminating the S-curve problem:

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5216/5521442927_bff0bbca44_b.jpg

“The problem is a 100 year old bridge has outlived its capacity and its time to retire it”

It’s not exactly accurate to call the Interstate Bride a hundred years old. That’s because it’s actually two bridges, and one of them was built in 1958. The other, older one was built in 1917 and was refurbished in 1958.

So you’ve got, in the Interstate Bridge, two bridges: one that’s 53 years young and another that’s 94.

So it’s fair to say that *half* the bridge is pushing 100.

Now 100 sounds old. But if a bridge being 100 is a problem, we’d better start mothballing the Hawthorne Bridge, which turned 100 last year.

And what about the Steel Bridge, or the Broadway Bridge? Both of them are older than the oldest parts of the Interstate Bridge:

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5176/5521454875_58954c71cb_z.jpg

The really geezer of the bunch is the downstream rail bridge, which was built in 1908. It’s over a hundred, it’s congested and in rough shape, and it’s the only rail bridge at a point where we already have two freeway bridges. What if something was to happen to it?

Sigma
Sigma
11 years ago

The number of lifts is irrelevant. When did they occur? The vast majority, if not all of them, are between 10 pm and 4 am. Off-peak delay is not the critical issue, so “fixing” the rail bridge won’t solve anything.

Alan 1.0
Alan 1.0
11 years ago

When the old span was refurbished and the new span added in 1958, what were the contemporary engineering expectations for the lifespan and capacity of the I5 bridges?

was carless
was carless
11 years ago
Reply to  jim

Name ONE city that has successfully expanded its freeways to the point of defeating traffic congestion.

Hint: there is not one example, in the entire world.

Toll the bridges and offer alternative transit (MAX), and then we can talk about rehabbing the structurally sound existing bridges.

matthew vilhauer
matthew vilhauer
11 years ago
Reply to  Dabby

thanks man… glad i’m not the only one here that thinks this. aren’t we entitled (as taxpayers) for something safe? oh… by the way the pitman barrier covers most of the MUP on the west side getting on the bridge perhaps 20 inches of paved pathway should be sufficient? exactly when will we have a truly safe pathway?

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago
Reply to  Dabby

I’m in favor of a new bridge, one that’s…seismically safer, and allows for better crossing by foot, bike and mass transit, but not one that would enable and encourage the phenomena of people crossing the river by motor vehicle, especially with SOV’s…morning and evening between home and job.

With the population increases the region is experiencing, it makes no sense to keep on allowing that practice to be considered practical. Operating under the illusion that such a practice is practical ensures that no bridge would ever be wide enough to handle the growing numbers of people that seek to live this way where they see the opportunity for such a commute as somehow viable.

Tomas Quinones
11 years ago

Brilliantly Illustrated!

matthew vilhauer
matthew vilhauer
11 years ago
Reply to  Tomas Quinones

yes… one particular viewpoint. not mine.

Spencer Boomhower
Spencer Boomhower
11 years ago

Great comic; the CRC makes a fine movie monster. You could imagine it being animated like a centipede, with all those off-ramps as appendages. Skittering up the coast from Orange County, whence such monsters issue forth.

Oh Word?
Oh Word?
11 years ago

I find this offensive to all river crossings.

Duncan
Duncan
11 years ago
Reply to  Oh Word?

Just one I was thinking ๐Ÿ˜›

matt picio
11 years ago

Brilliant – can we get posters? And maybe a grass-roots campaign to put them all over town?

There are solutions to the earthquake issue and to cyclist/pedestrian safety which don’t require $2-4 billion that we currently don’t and aren’t likely to have.

Mark Markovich
11 years ago
Reply to  matt picio

Sounds great to me, Matt. If you or anyone else wants to print this, feel free. If you need it at a higher resolution than what is available here just let me know.

K'Tesh
K'Tesh
11 years ago

I’ll admit, I haven’t given the CRC a lot of thought. Forgive me if I’m messing up on this…

Wouldn’t it be possible to make the bridge narrower, but having a movable barrier. So, in the morning when traffic is heavy southbound, that side is wider, then move the barrier later in the day to widen the northbound lanes. Just whatever they do, don’t sandwich the bike lane/sidewalk in the middle like the Glen Jacksonightmare.

adamdoug2011
adamdoug2011
11 years ago
Reply to  K'Tesh

yes, that is possible, they do it in SF and in New Zealand where land is precious. This CRC is all about the tax difference between WA and OR causing fools to commute – then complain about their commute, etc. as has been pointed out, its a boondoggle that WA is fighting for since they take advantage of the ease of “working in portland and living(no tax) in Vantucky”. And, yeah, its not the bridges, it is the poorly designed interchanges north of the bridge.

If you wanna “solve this problem” then you will advocate a trucking lane, a public Transit lane and a car lane, on the EXISTING bridge. There are many solutions to the problem of traffic congestion that work – adding more lanes and spending more money are not two of them.

matthew vilhauer
matthew vilhauer
11 years ago
Reply to  adamdoug2011

washington residents who work in oregon pay your state income tax. clark county has consistently been the 3rd or 4th highest income tax generating county for oregon. if i’m missing something please feel free to explain exactly how we do not pay taxes in oregon.

Greg
Greg
11 years ago

Obviously, many WA residents do pay taxes in OR, however, I’ve worked with plenty of consultants who work in Oregon, but their consulting company was based in WA, hence no taxes.

justinridin
justinridin
11 years ago

um, anyone else think that this cartoon is a bit ill timed considering the event in japan where scenes like the one depicted became a realatiy and claimed many lives?

matt picio
11 years ago
Reply to  justinridin

A giant monster attacked Japan?

The earthquake & tsunami in Japan is an absolute catastrophe – thousands of people died, and it was possibly the largest quake ever recorded in Japan and the 4th strongest in the world. In a nation which has suffered these disasters before (the 1923 quake killed over 100,000), this is still a horrific, terrible loss.

That said, this poster has nothing to do with that disaster, save for Japan’s predilection for monster movies. We can’t suspend political commentary simply because another event happened somewhere in the world. And in fact, the timeline for comments and input into the bridge is now VERY short. The final comments to the governors are being collected and sent out, and in less than 10 days, the current comment period will close. Both governors have made it clear that they want to fast track this project.

I respect that we should try to avoid offending folk whenever practical, and we should never minimize an event which causes pain, loss, and destruction – but life also goes on. The world is so large, and communication so ubiquitous, that there will always be an event somewhere where unrelated political commentary / art / news / opinion will be considered in poor taste.

adamdoug2011
adamdoug2011
11 years ago
Reply to  justinridin

no, no one else thinks that – it is a cartoon and not a politician. I really do hope you don’t find this comment offensive…

Matt M
Matt M
11 years ago
Reply to  justinridin

I agree with you. I thought the timing of this post was bad. It could have waited a few days.

007
007
11 years ago

Wouldn’t a billboard be awesome? Cover up the gross Timber ads.

Joe Rowe
Joe Rowe
11 years ago

10 lanes at the beach, 4 lanes at the stadium, you do the math. $5billion, more problems.

f
f
11 years ago

Quick question: Have you ever biked across the current bridge towing a trailer?

I am a homeowner in Portland and a bike commuter that needs to get to Vancouver frequently with things in tow. It’s an f-ing terrifying nightmare right now.

Just build the damn bridge. Build it so the car people and the train people and the bike people and the bum people with their bags of cans can use it safely in the way that they need.

This is not about Portland vs. it’s suburbs, it’s an ANCIENT DRAWBRIDGE on the main highway that connects Canada to Mexico for goodness sake. Stop being so insular.

mo
mo
11 years ago
Reply to  f

Quick answer: I’m too terrified to try crossing this bridge with a trailer.

dmc
dmc
11 years ago
Reply to  mo

I wouldnt do it either. Mad props to the people that do.

matt picio
11 years ago
Reply to  f

It’s a lift bridge, not a drawbridge. The existing bridge can be modified to be wider for bike/ped – at far cheaper. Cars needing more space have the option to take 205. We don’t need a massive bridge that will blot out the sun on Hayden Island, suck up the entire transportation budget, and add to the congestion issues at the Rose Quarter. You’re right – it’s not city vs. suburbs, it’s financial and civic responsibility vs. irresponsibility.

Canada to Mexico traffic already has 6 lanes in each direction (3 on I-5, 3 on I-205) – this only affects local traffic. And the bridge has less traffic on it the past 3 years than it did before that. It’s 15,000 cars fewer per day right now than projections. Why, exactly do we need a new and bigger bridge?

adamdoug2011
adamdoug2011
11 years ago
Reply to  matt picio

good point, Matt – when I wanted to bike to the Couv, I would take the 205 bridge bike path – which I thought was awesome, until that one time when a pick up truck was coming the other way taking up the whole bike lane – true story. luckily, he worked for the highway dept and did not run me over ๐Ÿ˜‰

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago
Reply to  f

While at it, why not just cover the entire river two tenths of a mile or so wide, with a surface that can be driven on? Cover the river like as been done with some of the creeks that flow through where it’s decided towns and cities must be built. That would provide lots of room for increased bridge crossing.

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago

Responding to f March 12, 2011 at 2:29 pm.

adamdoug2011
adamdoug2011
11 years ago

wow, it is amazing what happens when people share their real opinions….here is mine: that bridge is fine, so long as you are a single man riding his bike to play disc golf in Leverich., otherwise, I would recommend taking the bus or train, its much safer. to those that ride, keep riding, but we need much more space(at least another 5 feet) to feel safe). notice that Elly and the “shifties” are conspicuous with their silence on this issue.

Dan Kaufman
11 years ago
Reply to  adamdoug2011

Adam seems like you are opposed to this bridge so not sure why you are calling out the bike funnists.

Well, I can’t speak for Elly or others involved with SHIFT. I can tell you my opinion.

1. I think the Shift folks would be pretty foolish to back this monument to sprawl even if it came with a climate controlled habitrail and a mini-bike slip’n’slide.

2. This bridge is an entitlement program for motorists, some select firms (many from overseas), and members of a handful of labor unions that are probably tight with the Governor. There is a good chance it will get built WITHOUT lightrail (as promised) and that cyclists will end up with another nasty bike gutter akin to the Glenn Jackson. Woo hoo – ’cause that’s such a FUN ride!

3. I rode I-5 bridge for three years – the first time was terrifying. Then you get used to it and ride slow and enjoy and awesome view. Btw, you can always walk it. Regardless it’s a much better view then the Glenn Jackson garbage tunnel.

4. If I’m gonna blow beaucoups bucks on bike fun I can think of much better ways to do it. Oregon’s share of of the project could build bike freeways up and down and across this beautiful state of ours. Imagine the local jobs created in building the paths and the resulting increase in tourism and health for our citizens.

5. Adam you may already agree, but I must say the CRC project (as presented) has been a waste of money and will be a monumental mistake.

michweek
michweek
11 years ago

Mt.hood freeway was defeated and obviously not needed, the crc can be defeated and is obviously not needed! One day cars will not be as commmon even with alternative fuels there is a lot og ghg output in manufacturing and shipping that we can’t keep doing. If we reach that place with a crc we’ll have a large expanse of wasted, ugly space. What do you want for the future?? I want to be able to see and enjoy the river.

Spencer Boomhower
Spencer Boomhower
11 years ago

@Sigma:

“The number of lifts is irrelevant. When did they occur? The vast majority, if not all of them, are between 10 pm and 4 am. Off-peak delay is not the critical issue, so “fixing” the rail bridge won’t solve anything.”

Interesting. If it’s not a problem, then that would seem to negate the pro-CRC argument that declares it shameful that we have a drawbridge on an interstate highway.

was carless
was carless
11 years ago

We don’t need a new bridge – people are driving way less in Portland:

http://daily.sightline.org/daily_score/archive/2011/03/01/whered-the-traffic-go

Spencer Boomhower
Spencer Boomhower
11 years ago

@Alan 1.0:

“When the old span was refurbished and the new span added in 1958, what were the contemporary engineering expectations for the lifespan and capacity of the I5 bridges?”

Haven’t a clue. Though the 1958 half of the Interstate Bridge seems to have been designed to be just like the 1917 half (only newer). So considering the oldest parts of the older half are still 7 years younger than the spry and upright Hawthorne Bridge, I would guess – from a layman’s point of view – the 1958 half has plenty of life left in it.

Capacity is another matter, but again, if capacity is needed, it seems as if there’s better ways to make it happen than spending 4000 million or so (and ultimately 10000 million) on a project that is ultimately even more mega-freeway than it is mega-bridge.

Alan 1.0
Alan 1.0
11 years ago

A comparison of the I-5 and Hawthorne bridges needs to consider not only their age but traffic volume and speed, capacity, span, load, alternate routes (~10 for the Hawthorne, one for the I-5), impacts if it fails (including seismic risks) or requires closure (like for rehabilitation). Back in January I mentioned some problems to the I-5 bridge that are specific to it. Only a new bridge can resolve many of those problems.

What’s become most frustrating to me about the whole expensive process that’s come to be known as “The CRC” is that creative solutions such as Spencer B. so well proposes seem to have been ignored, and that project has been defined in a relatively narrow scope which excludes issues like Rose Quarter and further south, or the railway crossing. Good, strong, safe, high-functioning, multi-modal bridges are essential to Portland, Vancouver, and our neighbors up and down I-5, and even if all we can build now is an improved I-5 bridge, at least make that decision in the context of a comprehensive corridor plan with clearly stated proposals and contingencies for integrating more widespread regional plans.

Steve B
Steve B
11 years ago

This comic is AMAZING. Nicely done, Mark!

Lenny Anderson
Lenny Anderson
11 years ago

What happened in 1958 is that ODOT, then the Highway Department, converted the original 1917 arterial bridge (which even had a streetcar at one point) into the northbound I-5 freeway. It was the typical Oregon “on the cheap” way of doing things in those days. Now ODOT should just give us back an arterial bridge, put light rail and bike/ped facilities on it, and remove a few of the excess on/off ramps so the freeway works worth a damn.
Oh can charge the same toll we paid for the ’58 bridge adjusted for inflation or about $5 in-bound only.