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Two new lawsuits for controversial CRC mega-project

Posted by on July 3rd, 2012 at 12:55 pm

The already controversial $3.6 billion Columbia River Crossing mega-project was slapped with two new lawsuits yesterday; one from environmental advocacy groups and the other from a 200-employee business.

A trio of regional non-profits — the Coalition for a Livable Future, Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, and Northwest Environmental Defense Center — filed a federal lawsuit under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). According to a statement from the groups, CRC planners have, “Not followed the environmental laws designed to ensure that development is safe for people and the environment,” and that, “the most expensive public works project in the region’s history has failed to consider even a basic analysis of key environmental issues.”

Here’s more from their statement:

Issues in the case include the CRC’s failure to include a reasonable range of alternatives, instead creating a false choice between two extremes. The litigation also discusses the highway department’s failure to properly analyze air pollution, disclose the health impacts, and disclose the impact of additional traffic lanes on air and water resources, ecosystems and greenhouse gas emissions. They also repeatedly designed a public process that failed to include real public input.

The other legal challenge against the project announced yesterday comes from Thompson Metal Fab, a company based in Vancouver that makes equipment for barges. According to a story in The Oregonian, the company claims their business will be negatively impacted because CRC project planners didn’t make the bridge tall enough (despite learning of height concerns earlier in the design process).

These lawsuits comes as CRC project staff continue to receive permits move the project forward as if all systems are go despite the fact that they have yet to secure any significant funding. Nearly $150 million has already been spent by the Oregon and Washington DOTs just to plan this project. Last month, during testimony in Salem, Washington DOT staff let slip that the project wouldn’t be underway until the “end of 2014” — one year later than previously thought.

One source tells me that at a current burn rate of $2-3 million per month, that delay could add $24-36 million to the overall project cost.

With last week’s passage of the transportation bill, CRC project staff are hoping to grab a big chunk of federal money through the Projects of Regional and National Significance program. Congress has put $500 million into that account — which is equal the total amount CRC planners are looking for from the federal government. Unfortunately for them, Congress’s appetite for mega-projects (especially controversial ones that make voters angry) seems to be waning.

In a recent Willamette Week interview, Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Eugene) warned that the project was too big and said, “We cautioned them there isn’t going to be anywhere near that kind of money.” And back in December, US DOT Assistant Secretary Polly Trottenberg told me during a visit to Portland that, for “big and grand projects [like the CRC].. the scale of funding that’s available at the state and national level is just not what it used to be.”

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Charlie
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Charlie

Bummer. When I was watching the “process” one evening on a local access channel, they spent over 1/2 hour on where a comma would go in a sentence for their “mission statement”. That’s all I needed to know about this project.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“at a current burn rate of $2-3 million per month”

Jonathan (or anyone) can you explain this number, what it refers to, and, secondly, relate that cost to some of the potshots Beth Slovic took? In other words, how much useful infrastructure (rather than debt servicing which is what I assume that money corresponds to) could we buy for $2-3 million per month?

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

The further CRC moves along, the more sense the Common Sense Alternative seems to make. And it looks increasingly like it will be a challenge to fund CRC, with Seattle’s mega-tunnel-project sure to suck away every spare dollar WSDOT has.

Evan Manvel
Guest
Evan Manvel

The burn rate quote I’ve had from the project is $1.8 to $1.9 million a month. That is, the amount of money they pile in a corner of their office and light on fire. Kidding!

With that money they’re continuing to do studies, pre-construction things like test pilings, and a bunch of PR and “outreach” by which they mean telling people what the mega-project will be and tweeting misleading facts to the public.

So some of the money that is spent has some value if the project is repurposed — doing affordable, targeted actions in the area. Some of it’s being eaten up by high-priced consultants.

And lots of great projects (in the maintenance, biking, and walking areas) could be afforded with those funds instead.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

I would assume…given the [past] consultant roster and knowledge of past employees…that over 50% of the joint state funding makes it back to Oregon vs. staying in Washington…except for the lunches and coffee purchased by the CRC staff in downtown Vancouver. Oregon wins!

dan
Guest
dan

This project is a mess. Why don’t we put a dedicated freight lane on the existing bridge, toll it for everyone else, save $3 billion, and call it a day?

What is it that they say? “Steal with a gun, go to jail, steal with a pen and…” don’t remember exactly, but you know where I’m going with this. The firms and agencies that have sucked up $150 million on this project should face charges for misuse of public funds.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The project isn’t really about freight mobility. The number one enemy to freight mobility are single commuters. You can solve that problem with good transit and steep tolls on both bridges.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Good point, but we move way too much freight (on our highways) as it is. Why not toll everyone?

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

I’m not sure how much tolls will discourage excess freight. If we’re talking Portland-Seattle, we’d need more distribution hubs to get freight on and off trains. I’m not aware of a model where a company can show up with a truck load and stick it on train and have it in Seattle in a few hours.

Longer distances still suffers the same problem. You have intermodal containers, but those all seem destined for or from a ship, wood, grain, coal, etc. Bulk stuff. Even if its more efficient, how can you get little shippers (more than a truck load, but less than a trainload involved?)

captainkarma
Guest
captainkarma

From Woody Guthrie’s “Pretty Boy Floyd”:

Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered
I’ve seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

DG
Guest
DG

this project only expands the freeway and adds light rail, it is a horrible for the surrounding communities, for river traffic and rail freight! It costs way too much and it isa giant step backward for the region. We need to demand that all spending for the CRC is stopped, and start focusing on achievable alternatives that better serve everyone (not just commuters! The extent to which this design team ignored the needs of river traffic seems negligent to me, and I hope the court agrees. Please consider signing this petition and help me promote it! thanks.

Please join this campaign:
http://www.change.org/petitions/oregon-governor-kitzhaber-and-washington-governor-gregoire-consider-alternatives-to-the-columbia-river-crossing?share_id=DimqXCXpdU&utm_campaign=mailto_link&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition

Grandpa
Guest
Grandpa

The echo in a fishbowl continues. This blog continues to disregard the reasons the CRC is underway: Crashes, delays, substandard lanes for cars and cyclists, and the inability of transit to use the existing structures to cross to Portland’s Washington suburb, Vancouver are the reason this project is moving forward. I read rants that consultants and testing are overpriced. The money is being spent because the bridge will be built and there are still issues to be addressed. All the contract conditions are public record, and building a bridge without first quality consultants or without testing is dangerous folly. I expect that replies will bash the design because one manufacturer east of the bridge can’t move its tallest product under the new structure. The Pearson airfield FAA requirements set the height requirements and local regulatory agencies OK’d the design height. The enterprise of one does not outweigh the benefits to the many. (kind of a liberal concept)

Anyway I know that my support of the project will change no minds with this audience. I’m just chiming in to remind folk that there is a wider world out there than the bicycle community and they still hold some influence in the greater Portland area.

rwallis
Guest
rwallis

What you refer to as “rants” I call common sense.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

When you say that you support this project, that means that you also support miles of freeway expansion in Vancouver, tolls for crossing the bridge, and the diversion of funding from other critical projects in Oregon and Washington. Personally, I would rather see the states use a phased approach similar to the CSA, that does not divert such a large amount of funding and introduce tolling.

007
Guest
007

And miles of freeway expansion in Portland.

Michael
Guest
Michael

I question your premise that the bridge will be built. As many others have pointed out, the funding is hardly a given. The saddest thing about those who support moving forward with this particular design is the following: if it does transpire that the bridge is built (as designed), it will NOT solve any of the problems you describe as the fundamental rationale for the bridge. Moreover, there are well documented expected negative consequences of the project (in terms of environmental, financial and other impacts). So you are taking a bad situation, pushing a solution than can only make things worse, and then discount or ignore concerns raised by people. If the case for the project cannot be made (and it hasn’t), then it should not go forward.

Carol
Guest
Carol

Gee Grandpa, you are treading in dangerous waters here by using real information and a broader, non-hysterical approach to the subject. You will gain no popularity with that kind of radical thinking – or more accurately, by actually thinking as opposed to the majority of the other folks that deign to share their “wisdom” (in rants, and raves).
I have taken the time to actually read many of the documents produced by the CRC which is all public information posted to their website. Of course nobody that wishes to engage in endless controversy is interested in facts. Fact is that CRC had meaningful discussions with the Coast Guard as far back as 2006 and these discussions did not continue for two reasons (1) There was never a problem with the 95 foot clearance heretofore (until the new admiral came on board), and (2) The Coast Guard could not review the proposed plan until the Record of Decision was received. Then suddenly the 95 foot clearance that was never an issue became a maelstrom of controversy. Perhaps the motives of others should be questioned. Now there is a little thing called mitigation and many opportunistic folks are willing to capitalize on that. As you so rightfully pointed out that among the thousands of users of the Columbia, the impact only potentially affects one business.

Seems pretty amazing to me that the CRC figured a way to accommodate the people at Pearson’s Airfield, the Coast Guard (notice the impact on their operations are minimal and may affect some Corp of Engineers operations on extremely rare occasions), and all others that use and enjoy the river. Of course the detractors will cite one example out of thousands as the problem. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble but in an operation of this magnitude it is virtually impossible to accommodate everybody. That would be like saying everyone in America agrees on a particular political agenda – is not going to happen. I would have to emphasize the fact that CRC threaded this physical and political needle with only one business dissatisfied is an amazing feat.

“Oh, but it is a local business that employees 200 people!” That is substantive, but correct me if I am wrong, the CRC itself is a local business that employees at least 100 people regularly, and if that is extended out over the tangential operational employees it is probably well over 200. Yet the detractors want to throw them out on their collective ear and accuse them of wrong doing. That is just silly; the vast majority of people working at CRC are dedicated professionals, a diversified group of men and women devoted to the cause of improving a major transportation problem. They are dedicated professionals of all shapes and sizes and ethnic backgrounds that earn their paychecks in order to support their families by spending that hard earned moneyin your (detractors included) neighborhoods.

It is incredible that no one seems to get this point, the $150 million dollars that the evil CRC is “stealing” from the po’ folks of Oregon and Washing is being recycled right back into your businesses, schools, properties, etc…. What the heck do people think the staff of CRC does with its money? Hide it in a Swiss bank account? I actually read one foolish post that intimated people at CRC should be shot. I would like to see that person explain his reasoning to one of the young mothers that works at CRC. She is spending her hard earned money in the very community that advocates violence against her.

It is crazy; her check is taxed like everyone else’s which in turn contributes to the local tax base. That is what happens to tax dollars and that is what a stimulus is about (agree or disagree) – stimulating the economy. If the largely uninformed, pitch fork wielding townsfolk spent one quarter the time researching actual facts instead of listing to spin doctors with an agenda to spread misinformation in an effort to gain readership, they would realize there is no evil and wicked plot by the CRC to overthrow civilization. But then what fun would that be?

Thanks again Grandpa…it is genuinely refreshing to hear the occasional voice of quiet reason among the roaring rants of the hysterical crowd.

007
Guest
007

Your points are not lost on us, but just because a project “creates jobs” (the only time corporations and governments seem to care about jobs is when they are going to benefit in some obscene way) or contributes to the economy does not make it a worthwhile one.

Drug dealers contribute to the economy and create jobs. I can think of many immoral and unethical industries that stimulate the economy.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

There is a strong chance that this project will get cancelled, for one of the many reasons that have been stated by the opposition. If this happens, it doesn’t matter that the $150 million spent “goes back into the economy”. We aren’t retarded; we understand basic economics. If the project is cancelled, you may as well have been paying people to dig ditches and then fill them in. Money spent on failed projects is wasted money, because it could have been spent on projects that actually benefit the region.

Secondly, it seems that you are not using the term “hysterical” in the correct context. The discussions here about the CRC have been very civil, and fact based. Just because a group of individuals do not agree with your position, does not mean that they are hysterical. If you want to see “hysterical” commentary on the CRC, you may want to head over to Oregonlive…

Paul
Guest
Paul

Bicycle community. I have yet to find one, but it sounds magical.

Evan Manvel
Guest
Evan Manvel

Except all the data show if we were really interested in crashes we’d be focusing our resources nowhere near the CRC.

As I said over at BlueOregon:
http://www.blueoregon.com/2012/02/soylent-grey-crc/

ODOT Transportation Safety Administrator Troy Costales notes, “Interstates are — by far — the safest roads in the state.” On Portland’s fatality maps 82nd Ave, Foster, Barbur, and 122nd jump out, not I-5.

ODOT targets the state’s worst crash areas on state highways with its traffic safety corridor program. Guess what? The CRC area doesn’t make the cut, because it’s not one of Oregon’s worst safety areas.

If ODOT wanted to, it could implement a safety corridor on I-5, increasing enforcement, education, and low-cost engineering improvements. As Costales testified on Monday, “The implementation of safety corridors is relatively inexpensive and has been shown to have dramatic impacts on crash rates.”

But to focus our safety investments on areas that aren’t our most dangerous means more Oregonians will die on our roads. Thus spending on the CRC undermines safety, instead of supporting it.

And as Metro’s recent safety report shows, the real safety problems – the deadly crashes – are mostly elsewhere, not on our highways.
http://bikeportland.org/2012/06/20/metro-state-of-safety-report-collisions-cost-region-958-million-per-year-73564

The CRC’s PR department is busy. And they’re hoping the public will fail to do a simple thing: compare investments and benefits from spending $4,000,000,000+ on the CRC with spending it on other projects. Opportunity costs are real.

007
Guest
007

The End of Suburbia. See it. It’s probably at your library. Oh, never mind, if you’re in Clark County. MultCoLib has it.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0
Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

So, besides mistyping the URI it also seems that those search results are transient. Anway, it’s in the Fort Vancouver Regional Library.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“there is a wider world out there than the bicycle community and they still hold some influence in the greater Portland area.”

There is a wider world out there than the myopic capital projects-focused ODOT cabal. In most places this side of Dubai and China we’re moving away from obscenely large and expensive capital projects like this, and there’s a reason–actually there are many.

We can’t afford this much infrastructure that is solely premised on continued availability of cheap oil.

We don’t need the CRC, even if some folks may be persuaded that aspects of the current bridge could use some adjustments that does not ipso facto mean the CRC is necessary or even salutary.

If we had $4B (and I’m persuaded we don’t) there are a lot of nifty things we could build in this world of transportation, and all of them would have more utility to actual people who wish to move about this region.

Wells
Guest
Wells

The Marine Drive interchange looks reasonably well designed and could go forward. That interchange is terrible for trucks, cars, pedestrians, bicyclists, terrible. I was shocked but not surprised when it was put on the chopping block to be deferred/constructed some later date to reduce costs now.

My main concern is still the Hayden Island Interchange which they’re saying it’s “safer” (according to a recent Oregonian article), but it’s actually much more dangerous (and they know it).

The proposed West Hayden Island marine terminal seems directly related to the CRC. Oh yeah, import cars, like we need to import more cars. I suspect the Columbia River deepening to handle the new bigger class of ships is also a part of the marine terminal. Oh, now it makes sense. General Motors, we are all so proud of your wonderful turnaround, not.

007
Guest
007

It is time the acronym CRC is retired and replaced with CROC – “Consuming Resources of Oregon Citizens” – or perhaps “Consummate Robbery of Oregon Citizens.” Either way, CROC would destroy Portland as we know it.

MIddle of the Road Guy
Guest
MIddle of the Road Guy

I wonder how many people ranting about this project actually use the I5 bridge on a regular basis. It’s easy to talk about high tolls, fees, whatever when you will not be impacted by them.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Because the gas tax has not been increased in nearly 2 decades, and interstate users have not been paying their fare share, states have been forced to resort to tolling as a way to fund new capital projects. This is new to Oregon, but is the standard practice in much of the country. I would be happy if they raised the gas tax by a significant amount and were able to take away tolling. I don’t want the state and federal governments to subsidize the inefficient, polluting travel that we see clogging I-5 every day.

dan
Guest
dan

I wonder how many of the people who shout for bicycle licensing and banning bicycles from arterials actually ride bicycles.

Oliver
Guest
Oliver

I never use the I-5 bridge. I live in a (very) modest home in a neighborhood with easy access to transit so I don’t need to drive my car for 2 hours a day to get to work. I have made adjustments to my lifestyle to suit the realities of what I want and can afford.

But, I do live in North Portland. People sitting in traffic in SOV’s to get to oversized homes in the exurbs are not the only people who suffer that choice, that is the point. My quality of life will suffer because due to a 12 lane freeway to Clark county through my neighborhood and I am expected to chip in for it. I also don’t care that freight traffic from the Port of Tacoma gets backed up in Washington State, bring that cargo into Portland and ship it from here.

007
Guest
007

Stay home.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I use it regularly. My wife has family up north and we often find ourselves on I-5, crossing the Columbia on our way towards Puget Sound. Several times in the past year we have seen the dreaded “BRIDGE LIFT AHEAD” sign and frantically tried to decide whether to stay on the freeway and endure a long delay of unknown duration, vs. cutting over to I-205 on Columbia Blvd for an unfortunate but known delay. It sucks, no doubt about it.

But even so, I don’t support the CRC. If we redesign the rail bridge to the west, we can eliminate the goofy ship navigation that triggers most of the bridge lifts . This bridge could also provide the light rail/bike/pedestrian access that is often cited as a key motivation for the CRC. And much of the congestion on I-5 around Hayden Island would go away if we gave the island its own modestly priced local-access bridge.

In other words, there’s a better and cheaper way to fix I-5’s problems, and it is the COMMON SENSE ALTERNATIVE! Interesting how the verbose comments of CRC apologists like Carol and Grandpa seem to studiously ignore this option.

Carol
Guest
Carol

Apologist? I offer no apologies for the lack of reason behind all the negativity spewed against CRC by uninformed armchair qb’s. Verbose, you got me there…I have never really acquired a taste for the McDonald’s menu mentality behind the hit and run blather so common today. I suppose when an iPhone is ones mentor it is to be expected. After all McD’s menu speeches is what got George Bush Jr. elected, and that worked out so well. Here are some more words to chew on.

I am sooo glad someone brought up the Common Sense Alternative (CSA). If anyone bothers doing the research they would know that the so called CSA is eerily familiar to one of the alternatives offered by the CRC which was publicly turned down in favor of the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA); the current design. This happened during the course of over 3000 publicly held meetings.

I am pretty familiar with the construction industry and from a professional perspective and I can safely say that trying to horn in on another firm’s project by using negative slurs, or slinging mud, as we say, is a pretty low way of doing business. It is particularly repulsive when the outfit that is trying to underhandedly move in on another’s territory is using the other firm’s own idea. Clever, but shady.

Any layman can see that the CSA’s hodgepodge of scattered structures is hideous compared to the current LPA’s elegant design. The CSA approaches the esthetics of Northern New Jersey, an area lovingly referred to as “The armpit of the nation” BTW (how’s that for brevity?), the CSA is only about 300% off in its budget projections, but why would the instigators (perpetrators) of this “Alternative” care about budget – it is just an idea on the drawing board – and not even an original idea.

Now that makes a lot of common sense, scrap the current design, flush the $150M already spent, start from scratch, spend at least another $150M to come up with a significantly more costly design that would desecrate the Columbia River for the next 100 years. The Common Sense Alternative may have been conceived by Common rip-offs, but it makes no Sense, and it certainly isn’t a viable Alternative – at least not in the public’s eye.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

A 12-lane concrete truss bridge is an “elegant design”?

You must work for a firm that designs highways if that is your idea of elegance. You can’t pave your way out of congestion. I don’t know why most of the Civil Engineers in the U.S. can’t seem to grasp this…

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Your primary objection to the CSA is aesthetics?

Dan M.
Guest
Dan M.

I think her main objection to the CSA is that she works for David Evans and Associates and would hate for all the money D.E.&A. has used of the years to grease the palms of decision makers in Oregon and Washington would be wasted if they didn’t get their shiny new bridge – a monument to their own ego. Functionality, economics, and other needs be damned!

Secondary objection is the CRC is purty.

Dan M.
Guest
Dan M.

I commute by bike daily over the I5 bridge. I’m also a civil engineer. The Interstate Bridge is fine for cars, trucks, bikes, and pedestrians. It could use some improvements, but if you’re going to spend billions on a bridge that operates just fine now, you better improve it significantly for all intents and purposes. The CRC doesn’t drastically improve any of the supposed issues, at least not in my cost/benefit analysis. The CRC is a load of BS and is a vanity project for the consultants who have been greasing the palms of those in charge for years to build an monument to their own ego with taxpayer money.

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

MIddle of the Road Guy
I wonder how many people ranting about this project actually use the I5 bridge on a regular basis. It’s easy to talk about high tolls, fees, whatever when you will not be impacted by them.
Recommended 0

Every time somebody with a car registered in WA nearly creams me while I’m riding my bike…that’s how I am impacted by this project.

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

Carol
Gee Grandpa, you are treading in dangerous waters here by using real information and a broader, non-hysterical approach to the subject. You will gain no popularity with that kind of radical thinking – or more accurately, by actually thinking as opposed to the majority of the other folks that deign to share their “wisdom” (in rants, and raves).
I have taken the time to actually read many of the documents produced by the CRC which is all public information posted to their website. Of course nobody that wishes to engage in endless controversy is interested in facts. Fact is that CRC had meaningful discussions with the Coast Guard as far back as 2006 and these discussions did not continue for two reasons (1) There was never a problem with the 95 foot clearance heretofore (until the new admiral came on board), and (2) The Coast Guard could not review the proposed plan until the Record of Decision was received. Then suddenly the 95 foot clearance that was never an issue became a maelstrom of controversy. Perhaps the motives of others should be questioned. Now there is a little thing called mitigation and many opportunistic folks are willing to capitalize on that. As you so rightfully pointed out that among the thousands of users of the Columbia, the impact only potentially affects one business.
Seems pretty amazing to me that the CRC figured a way to accommodate the people at Pearson’s Airfield, the Coast Guard (notice the impact on their operations are minimal and may affect some Corp of Engineers operations on extremely rare occasions), and all others that use and enjoy the river. Of course the detractors will cite one example out of thousands as the problem. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble but in an operation of this magnitude it is virtually impossible to accommodate everybody. That would be like saying everyone in America agrees on a particular political agenda – is not going to happen. I would have to emphasize the fact that CRC threaded this physical and political needle with only one business dissatisfied is an amazing feat.
“Oh, but it is a local business that employees 200 people!” That is substantive, but correct me if I am wrong, the CRC itself is a local business that employees at least 100 people regularly, and if that is extended out over the tangential operational employees it is probably well over 200. Yet the detractors want to throw them out on their collective ear and accuse them of wrong doing. That is just silly; the vast majority of people working at CRC are dedicated professionals, a diversified group of men and women devoted to the cause of improving a major transportation problem. They are dedicated professionals of all shapes and sizes and ethnic backgrounds that earn their paychecks in order to support their families by spending that hard earned moneyin your (detractors included) neighborhoods.
It is incredible that no one seems to get this point, the $150 million dollars that the evil CRC is “stealing” from the po’ folks of Oregon and Washing is being recycled right back into your businesses, schools, properties, etc…. What the heck do people think the staff of CRC does with its money? Hide it in a Swiss bank account? I actually read one foolish post that intimated people at CRC should be shot. I would like to see that person explain his reasoning to one of the young mothers that works at CRC. She is spending her hard earned money in the very community that advocates violence against her.
It is crazy; her check is taxed like everyone else’s which in turn contributes to the local tax base. That is what happens to tax dollars and that is what a stimulus is about (agree or disagree) – stimulating the economy. If the largely uninformed, pitch fork wielding townsfolk spent one quarter the time researching actual facts instead of listing to spin doctors with an agenda to spread misinformation in an effort to gain readership, they would realize there is no evil and wicked plot by the CRC to overthrow civilization. But then what fun would that be?
Thanks again Grandpa…it is genuinely refreshing to hear the occasional voice of quiet reason among the roaring rants of the hysterical crowd.
Recommended 1

Uhh, which “facts” are you referring to? The bridge is not a safety hazard and transit travels over it every day. Also, Grandpa neglected to mention that traffic counts on I-5 have been declining, as is VMT in general, so the modeling to justify why the CRC needs to be built doesn’t reflect reality.

There are plenty of other ways that the transportation system could be improved for all modes across the region – for less money than the CRC is going to cost us – that I would support over this. Let’s start by improving safety on our arterials for all users – autos, bikes, peds, transit users.

Carol
Guest
Carol

Great! Are we really willing to ignore the “fact” of all the extensive study that has gone into the CRC project and found the current bridge presents traffic hazards? Is it really just a bunch of guys and gals sitting around in a room thinking of ways to steal taxpayer money and annoy the public? That is an odd vision of the world and I personally am very glad that it is not the world I live in.

VMT is declining on a relative percentage basis than in past years. This is a current trend and it is unknown if that will continue or is simply a blip. The “fact” is for certain that whatever the percentage differential is from earlier in the decade, total traffic burden will continue to increase. That percentage factor is compounding and whether the increase is 2% or 5% it will continue exponentially and irresistibly until the current infrastructure is overwhelmed in the very near future.

The planning going into the CRC project goes well beyond, tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. The C-Tran study, for example goes to 2030 (if anyone is interested they should go to the website and read about the credentials of the panel of experts and their findings, all public information – interesting stuff). It is probably not easy to look a couple of decades into the future and anticipate with absolute certainty public transportation needs. It is an imperfect science.

There probably are other alternatives that make sense (please just do not mention that counterfeit Common Sense Alternative). One “fact” is for sure, when these types of long range plans are contemplated, I for one want a group of consummate professionals doing the planning and not people that make casual comments on the blogosphere in their spare time.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“The ‘fact’ is for certain that whatever the percentage differential is from earlier in the decade, total traffic burden will continue to increase. That percentage factor is compounding and whether the increase is 2% or 5% it will continue exponentially and irresistibly until the current infrastructure is overwhelmed in the very near future.”

Carol,
that is fascinating. And your crystal ball told you somewhere between 2% and 5% in perpetuity? Hm.
“Exponentially and irresistibly.” I like it.
But I am going to resist anyway.

Carol
Guest
Carol

Excellent, wonderful! This is the first time I have ventured into the fray; I am usually too busy to deal with a bunch of public controversy, particularly uninformed hype. Do not get me wrong I appreciate some of the low keyed disagreement that I have received, and I think it is great that people’s opinions vary on the subject. It is just some of the belligerent comments that are obviously blurted in ignorance (like the “Let’s hang ‘em on that 95’ blunder”, when the facts clearly show otherwise in a record of public information for everyone to see – it…is…maddening!).

No it is not a crystal ball. The percentages of vehicular frequency are well documented, I did not even bother to look them up because if my statement is read correctly it says that, even if the differential is only several percent, the bottom line is that the current infrastructure in question will become overwhelmed eventually (OK, I threw in “in the very near future” for dramatic effect – maybe it will take 20 years before traffic slows to a crawl in present conditions). It seems as though the actual numbers I read, you know back when the traffic study controversy was all the rage, now it has become overshadowed by bridge heights and lawsuits, in the continuing melodrama of “As the Bridge Turns” were in that range, but do not quote me on that. Oops, too late you already did….

You are against –perfect! I am only against the non-sense and have no political feelings either way. Because I started reading about the project to find out information about what this evil and corrupt thing called CRC….oooooo, evil CRC, bad CRC, and because I have acquaintances that work for CRC, upright citizens working for a living and too busy to enter into the controversy to even defend themselves, I got all messed up by reading actual facts.

I will admit this bombastic, militant opinionating is rather addictive and I can see why folks prefer to while their lives away in idle opinionating instead of wasting all that time objectively gathering and weighing evidence, after all a good old lynching is more convenient – and so much fun!

Thus my fourth and final blog, it has been real fun trying to be sensible in my own humble way and have found out that it only adds to the fire. Good luck, in my opinion you will be getting a new bridge and your area will reap benefits from that structure. There will come a time in our children’s, children’s future that they couldn’t imagine not having the CRC bridge, and in their wildest imagination could not conceive of driving across that old rickety, narrow, deathtrap of a bridge – “and it had a section that actually went up and down, can you believe it?”, that their grandparents tells stories about.

See ya, love ya….

9watts
Guest
9watts

“There will come a time in our children’s, children’s future that they couldn’t imagine not having the CRC bridge, and in their wildest imagination could not conceive of driving across that old rickety, narrow, deathtrap of a bridge.”

Did you say ‘drive’? Our children’s children were going to drive across the CRC and thank us?

Two things are wrong with that statement: the driving part and the (implicit) thanking us part.
But why take my word for it? Let me quote from Bill McKibben’s excellent book Eaarth:
“‘Arctic Melt-off Ahead of Schedule’ (the Christian Science Monitor, which quoted one scientist as saying ‘we’re a hundred years ahead of schedule’ in thawing Greenland), ‘Dry Future Well Ahead of Schedule’ the Australian, ‘Acidified Seawater Showing Up Along Coast Ahead of Schedule’ (the Seattle Times). The implication was that global warming hadn’t read the invitation correctly and was showing up at four for the reception instead of six. In fact, of course, the ‘schedule’ was wrong.” (p. 15)

dan
Guest
dan

Really, building more roads will solve congestion? That strategy hasn’t worked in SoCal…why would it work here? You’re just giving the yeast cells a bigger petri dish — one that they’ll fill to capacity, it will just take slightly longer.

What we need to do is teach the yeast cells not to max out the carrying capacity of their infrastructure (if you’ll forgive the mixed metaphor). Tolls are an excellent way to do this — people that are willing to pay get a quicker trip, everyone else carpools or takes transit. Tolls are also an excellent market-based response that conservatives can get behind (at least, if they’re real conservatives) — we have a good, freeway lanes, for which we will adjust the price until demand (traffic) matches supply. People who benefit from the resource pay for it.