Machines for Freedom launch at Western Bikeworks

Activists will speak out against GM’s support of freeway expansions at TriMet board meeting

Posted by on March 17th, 2017 at 10:35 am

Jessica Engelman of BikeLoudPDX.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The thought of our regional public transit agency advocating for urban freeway expansions — including one in Portland’s central city — does not sit well with many transportation reform activists.

After TriMet GM Neil McFarlane told an audience last month that “It would be nice to make some progress on” three freeway “bottlenecks” in order to “keep our region moving,” volunteers with BikeLoudPDX decided it was time to speak out.

The plucky group is planning to attend the upcoming TriMet board meeting. They want to tell the people who appointed McFarlane that some Portlanders don’t think he should promote a billion dollars of regional transportation funds just to make driving easier.

“It is completely inappropriate for the head of TriMet to advocate for scarce transportation funds to be directed to highway widening,” wrote BikeLoudPDX leader Jessica Engelman in an email about the event. That email has led to an official event being promoted by the group. Here’s more from the event description:

Advertise with BikePortland.

TriMet’s General Manager, Neil McFarlane, went on record in February advocating for state transportation funding to prioritize four big projects, three of which are interstate-widening projects (I-5 & I-84 at Rose Quarter, I-217, and I-205) and would cost nearly one billion dollars.

It is completely inappropriate for the head of TriMet to advocate for scarce state transportation funds to be directed to highway widening.

As the General Manager of TriMet is appointed by its board, BikeLoudPDX members and our allies are showing up en-masse to the next TriMet board meeting (which also includes 45 minutes for public testimony) to testify that highway widening is generally bad policy, that we want TriMet to advocate for active transportation funding, and that we want a TriMet General Manager who shares these values.”

Unlike past freeway expansion proposals, the powerful political snowball that has formed behind these three widening projects hasn’t faced any organized opposition. The only pushback so far has come from an unlikely place: the Portland Planning Commission. A proposal from Commissioner Chris Smith to remove the I-5/Rose Quarter expansion project from the Transportation System Plan (which would have put the City of Portland in the awkward position of having to explain to regional leaders why it shouldn’t be a priority — or have to put it back into the TSP and give the public an opportunity to debate the issue at City Council) was narrowly voted down 4-6 earlier this month.

The TriMet board meeting is scheduled for this coming Wednesday (3/22) at 9:00 am. BikeLoud encourages people to sign up and speak during the public testimony portion of the meeting (first 45 minutes).

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

225 Comments
  • rick March 17, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Just say NO !

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    • Middle of the Road Guy March 17, 2017 at 10:53 am

      That’s easy to say. Now, say that to the people who are impacted by the traffic and congestion. They have as much a right to mobility as you do.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 17, 2017 at 10:59 am

        Middle of the Road Guy,

        That’s not a great argument in my opinion. Yes, everyone has a right to mobility — but that doesn’t simply mean that anything goes. Whether I sit in that traffic or not and whether I benefit from goods shipped through that traffic or not is not the point. This is about making good public policy and wise investment decisions, and urban freeways are neither. Expanding them is the definition of insanity.

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        • SE Rider March 17, 2017 at 12:11 pm

          Is there an argument for trying to reduce gridlock on highways to improve flow on surface streets for TRIMET buses?

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          • Chris I March 17, 2017 at 12:40 pm

            If you have a bottomless piggy bank, yes. The Federal money is a diminishing pot, so spending billions on highway expansion will leave less for transit and active transportation spending.

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            • SE Rider March 17, 2017 at 1:46 pm

              But transit on even more clogged surface roads becomes less and less enticing for potential riders.

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              • Alex Reedin March 17, 2017 at 2:29 pm

                Despite the almost total lack of them in Portland, dedicated bus lanes are a thing, and there is plenty of space for them on many Portland-area roads, were political will for bus lanes to arise.

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              • SE Rider March 18, 2017 at 9:28 am

                Which roads are you thinking of?

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              • Alex Reedin March 18, 2017 at 2:48 pm

                Powell, Hawthorne, MLK, Grand, Sandy, Foster, Lombard, 122nd, 82nd…. Some of those are politically easier than others but they all physically have the space without widespread demolitions.

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        • longgone March 18, 2017 at 12:48 am

          Live in a place where people move to without impunity and deal with the outcome. When are you people going to get it. I suggest that you quit pissing up a tree and ride yer friggin’ bike. Guess what? Butt loads of people need freeways. Hell, just today after my bike commute home today, I used no less than two interstates and a major arterial road along with countless side streets in the metro to get shit done for myself. Sorry.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 8:28 am

          JM, taking the side that any investment in a roadway is a bad investment is pretty closed minded. I would argue the merit depends on the individual project.

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          • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 20, 2017 at 10:10 am

            That’s not what I’m doing Middle of the Road Guy,

            I’m saying urban freeway expansions are a bad idea… And I’m even willing to say I could even advocate FOR them… but only if we are willing to make more strategic and larger investments in other streets where driving is prohibited. I just want a system that more closely aligns with our planning goals and with what will make our city a better place to live, work, and play. Making driving easier is very bad public policy — especially if we aren’t more to make walking/biking/transit easier at the same time.

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            • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 3:31 pm

              But what of projects that eliminate bottlenecks to allow the rest of the system to move more optimally?

              Minor expansions in some areas would allow for other parts of the system that are below capacity to move more freely. It’s like cleaning the ducts in your home ventilation system. Capacity is still the same but we move more air, more efficiently.

              There doesn’t have to be a tit-for-tat discussion on trading one type of project for another. A project can stand on it’s own merits and need not be saddle with the supposition that it (in and of itself) is simply bad because it doesn’t fit a chosen philosophy.

              If one takes the “never any expansion” viewpoint back far enough, roads would never have been built in the first place because they were adding capacity.

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              • 9watts March 20, 2017 at 10:53 pm

                “But what of projects that eliminate bottlenecks to allow the rest of the system to move more optimally?”

                to what end are we here proposing to optimize? Because free flow of fossil fueled autos is hardly optimal in a climate constrained world.

                Minor expansions in some areas would allow for other parts of the system that are below capacity to move more freely. It’s like cleaning the ducts in your home ventilation system. Capacity is still the same but we move more air, more efficiently.”

                Except efficiency is a terrible metric to use here since it cannot tell us whether the thing in question is even worth doing, has a future, is compatible with future wellbeing of our species, etc.

                “A project can stand on it’s own merits and need not be saddle with the supposition that it (in and of itself) is simply bad because it doesn’t fit a chosen philosophy.”

                When you say ‘chosen philosophy’ what exactly are you driving at? The cumulative and inexorable damage wrought by automobility is measurable, well understood, and is subject to political curtailments if/when we so choose. My philosophy is to side with meteorology and climate science.

                If one takes the “never any expansion” viewpoint back far enough, roads would never have been built in the first place because they were adding capacity.”

                You’re willfully skipping over the difference that a *full world* makes to this conversation. Back when we lived in an *empty world* none of this conversation would have made sense. Your pitch here harks back to an empty world, but we no longer live in that world.
                http://forestpolicy.typepad.com/ecowatch/ew920714.htm

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        • Steve Scarich March 20, 2017 at 9:31 am

          My experience last week. I live in Bend, drove over for a medical appointment Thursday. Smooth sailing all the way (via Hwy 22 to I-5 N. to OHSU S. Waterfront). After appointment, got on I-5 N. to connect up with 84 at 2:15. Within one minute, was at dead stop. Took about 20 minutes to connect up with 84 East. No wrecks, just what I guess is normal bottleneck at I-5/84. I am not a big fan of adding lanes, but does it make any sense for thousands of cars to be travelling 2 mph polluting the air?

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          • TheCat March 20, 2017 at 9:33 am

            Widening the freeway will result in even more cars driving 2mph and polluting the air. We have to do things that reduce the number of cars, not things that induce demand.

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            • dan March 20, 2017 at 11:19 am

              I’ve often thought that in regards to the housing ‘crisis’. Building more units will only encourages more people to move to Portland.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 20, 2017 at 11:24 am

                It’s almost like more housing induces demand.

                Just as an aside, a neighbor told me he went to a preschool open house, and of the 10 or so other families there, all but his own were people living in Portland and working remotely at their jobs in the Bay Area. This is an example of people literally moving to Portland, attracted by the availability of housing.

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          • Gary B March 20, 2017 at 1:10 pm

            My experience: I deal with traffic on I-5 a few times a week. It sucks. It’s not worth a billion dollars to ameliorate my personal inconvenience, and I’d never expect my fellow taxpayers to subsidize my choices at the expense of projects that could save lives and meaningfully address pollution.

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      • MaxD March 17, 2017 at 11:09 am

        There is a finite any never-large-enough amount of money for transportation projects. There is also a finite of space within the UGB and an ever-increasing number of people. Portland has been trying to increase transportation efficiency by investing in transit and bike networks. Reducing SOV trips by getting people on trains, buses, or bikes frees up road space for freight and emergency vehicles. If the GM does not whole-heartedly believe this and, in fact advocates for a massive sabotage of this goal by spending a massive percentage of available money on non-transit projects, he is not the right person for the job. There are plenty of advocates for highway-widening, it is is incredibly self-destructive and against Portland’s best interests for McFarlane to join them.

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        • mh March 17, 2017 at 12:52 pm

          Thank you. I hope you’ve written that to the TriMet board if you don’t get a chance to appear and say it in person.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 8:32 am

          Maybe the GM has more experience and knowledge than you to make a more informed decision based upon the needs of the who area. That’s a possibility, also.

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          • 9watts March 20, 2017 at 12:24 pm

            Well you’d think the same about Matt Garrett, given the responsibility he has and the salary he receives, but in my experience that possibility you floated there is not a good assumption to make.

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            • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 3:32 pm

              And everyone on BP is a transportation planning expert!

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              • Dan A March 21, 2017 at 6:46 am

                Maybe not, but at least we aren’t using a playbook from the 1960s.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty March 17, 2017 at 11:15 am

        Some people would argue they have a right to affordable mobility in any neighborhood they want.

        I think this view ignores economic reality, and pursuing it would destroy the city.

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        • Justin M March 17, 2017 at 4:22 pm

          A lot of people don’t live in whatever neighborhood they want, they live in the one where they could find an affordable unit. Only putting money towards cycling and transit ignores the needs of those people who are forced to live driving-distance away because of the lack of affordable housing.

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          • 9watts March 17, 2017 at 4:24 pm

            Um, I think you have that backwards. Freeway widening sucks up all the money that could have gone to actually provide alternative to those people you purport to be concerned about. I recommend Catherine Lutz’s work. It is all about the disproportionate costs automobility saddles the poor in this country with.

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            • Justin M March 17, 2017 at 5:33 pm

              What alternatives could be made available for someone who lives all the way down in Tigard and works off Powell for instance? Spend an hour or more waiting for, riding, and changing busses? Yes, cars are expensive and there’s so much that sucks about them, but if there’s a good alternative for people who live far from their jobs then I certainly haven’t heard of it. Tho I’d like to.

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              • 9watts March 17, 2017 at 5:41 pm

                Taking the long view (which I realize may be cold comfort to someone right here right now stuck with a long commute), we can be sure that this kind of nonsense is self-correcting. The chief reason we have suburbs and the long commutes that follow is that our society and land use and real estate priorities have been predicated on cheap gas for generations. Start indexing the gas tax to 3x the asphalt index going forward and you’ll see how this will be reversed. Of course population growth can wreck even the best laid plans, but perhaps we’ll one day face that music as well.

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              • 9watts March 17, 2017 at 5:44 pm

                Tigard to Powell. I’d look into Trimet. I take the #96 to Wilsonville from downtown after getting off the #14. In Wilsonville I get on the free circulator down there and then hop on the 1x to the bus mall in downtown Salem. Walk across the river and get on the West Salem Connector. I know, quite a series of buses, but it does work, is fantastically cheap, and provides door to door service very reliably.

                Trimet runs to Tigard and to Powell Blvd. Have you tried to line up a schedule, tried it out? You might be surprised.

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              • Justin M March 17, 2017 at 5:55 pm

                that just seems like so much waiting outside in the cold rain, switching busses twice like that. I appreciate you being thoughtful about the topic. I wonder if higher gas taxes would just further increase the cost of living in the city, and would we actually allocate these taxes to better transit in from the suburbs? Especially now when Oregon is so broke. When lower-income people cannot afford to live close enough to get to work they end up moving to other towns where they can. Then you get cities with tons of jobs available with nobody who can afford to live close enough to do them. If you’re ever in San Francisco you should keep an eye out for all the help wanted signs. You end up with a city of two classes: the rich and the homeless, with the population in the middle declining every year.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 17, 2017 at 6:07 pm

                Do San Francisco employers offer higher wages when they can’t fill positions for clerks, baristas, and retail assistants?

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              • Tom Hardy March 17, 2017 at 6:18 pm

                For 13 years I commuted to work in Clackamas by Camp Whiticom from next to Washington Square. It generally took me from 55 to 70 minutes each way by bike. Fog lines and not bikepaths, on thoroughfares. By car it was 45-60 minutes each way. By car it was the same time by bike route or via I-5 to I-205. With the widening on 205, the times have gotten worse than when I was commuting on it.

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              • 9watts March 18, 2017 at 8:50 am

                “I wonder if higher gas taxes would just further increase the cost of living in the city, and would we actually allocate these taxes to better transit in from the suburbs? Especially now when Oregon is so broke. ”

                We can speculate, but wouldn’t it make more sense to look at how this sort of question was handled in places that have historically pursued serious gas tax hikes? My hunch is that you would find half a dozen mutually reinforcing positive outcomes from that strategy. We can (a) refuse to concede that pouring money into highways never works out, (b) refuse to look at how other countries have approached this problem, (c) insist that somehow we are different, that widening a particular stretch of freeway will be exempt from the well known countervailing tendencies…..
                …or we can suck it up and learn from others who for whatever reason have actually figured it out.

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              • SE Rider March 18, 2017 at 9:34 am

                9, I think you’re missing some of his point. It’s not just about people who are choosing to live in the suburbs, it’s about a large swath of the city that are forced to live in areas that are essentially car-dependent because of housing prices.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 18, 2017 at 11:52 am

                I know a lot of people who live in the suburbs because they would never consider living in the city. People have all sorts of reasons for making the choices they do.

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              • K Taylor March 18, 2017 at 1:01 pm

                I haven’t had a car since 1989, and I’ve spent a lot of time organizing my life so I can get around as easily as possible by transit or bike. Once you get used to it, it’s not a big deal. I’ve saved a wad of money and was able to buy a house on secretarial wages, which I wouldn’t have been able to do if I was sinking all my money into a car. At its longest, my commute took 90 minutes each way and involved the Max, two bus lines and either a shuttle from Clackamas Town Center or a two-mile walk up a steep hill with no shoulder. I did that for about 3 years. Now I have a job I can walk to in 20 minutes and there’s a grocery store within the same walking distance. I don’t have a college degree and I don’t come from money. I just made mobility without a car a priority in all my planning about where to live, where to work, etc. There are still affordable places you can live that are not super desirable to our descending hordes of newcomers and are on reliable transit lines. It’s just a matter of checking out where the transit routes are as part of evaluating an apartment or house before you take it.

                I think one of the biggest hurdles we have in reforming transportation in the U.S. is people expect not just convenience, but luxury. Driving alone in a car or truck to every destination is a luxury, like owning your own helicopter. Ditto choosing a place to live without considering how you might get around from there without investing thousands of dollars every year in a car. According to AAA, owning a car runs a about $8600 a year. If you don’t own a car, you can put that $700ish/month toward your housing and live in a more convenient location.

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              • 9watts March 18, 2017 at 1:35 pm

                SE Rider wrote: “it’s about a large swath of the city that are forced to live in areas that are essentially car-dependent because of housing prices.”

                Are you suggesting that those prices have nothing to do with our long running penchant for keeping gas prices low and historically orienting our land use around this central economic fact? If we wanted to we could/should start undoing this incredibly damaging cause and multiplier of much of the inequality we here experience. I will recommend Catherine Lutz’s work again:

                Catherine Lutz. 2014. “The U.S. car colossus and the production of inequality.” AMERICAN ETHNOLOGIST, Vol. 41, No. 2, pp. 232–245.

                Here’s the abstract:

                The contemporary world is one of restless mobilities, radically morphing physical landscapes, baroque technologies, new forms of governance and subjectivity, and onerous inequalities. The automobile provides vivid insight into all five phenomena as well as into their relationship. I ask how the car-dependent mobility system of the United States not only reflects but also intensively generates the inequalities that characterize U.S. society. I propose that “compulsory consumption” and the automobile’s centrality to the current regime of accumulation can help account for this. Theories of inequality and mobility, I suggest, can be adapted to account for the automobile industry’s capture of contemporary life. [mobility, transportation, inequality, automobile, regime of accumulation, political economy, United States]

                And a paragraph:
                “This material allows insight into the several significant pathways by which the car produces or amplifies inequality in the United States and, potentially, elsewhere. I argue that the car system not only reflects inequality but also actively produces it, massively redistributing wealth, status, well-being, and the means to mobility and its power. While declining wages, rising corporate control of the state, and rising costs of higher education and health care are also crucial to these redistributions, understanding the car system’s special and deeply consequential inequality-producing processes is key to any attempt to solve a number of problems. Prominent among the problems that the U.S. car system exacerbates are inequality of job access, rising wealth inequality, and environmental degradation and its unequal health effects.”

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              • 9watts March 18, 2017 at 5:29 pm

                “that just seems like so much waiting outside in the cold rain, switching busses twice like that.”

                You didn’t read my post very closely: four bus changes/five buses. My point was that it can be done, and I do it (not every day but regularly). Given our countries historically screwed up priorities and refusal to heed Ivan Illich’s warnings, this is what we’re stuck with: traffic jams on I5 or transferring between buses in the dark/rain. You could just bike. Some here do just that. It gets around most of the headaches, and if you have good rain gear you may come out ahead in the end.

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            • longgone March 18, 2017 at 1:03 am

              Uh, I think YOU HAVE IT BACKWARDS. oops… Sorry for all caps, I believe I’ll leave them. Greedy soul sucking landlords drive up rent costs. Nothing else. Take it from me, a white guy relegated to living in a van. In addition the largest segment of people that are impoverished in the U.S. live in rural areas. Riddle me that Batman. Every friggin thing you own related to cycling had to come to you via a freeway. There is no turning back. No square one utopia. Hate to break it to you. Portland isn’t Amsterdam.

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              • 9watts March 18, 2017 at 8:51 am

                “Portland isn’t Amsterdam.”

                Interesting style of conversation you are exhibiting. We here tend to look at places like Amsterdam or Copenhagen or other European cities and appreciate some of the arrangements that seem to work there as far as the overall transportation network is concerned, people getting around by means other than a car, not owning a car, more money in people’s pockets, etc. So let me ask you this:
                – would it be so terrible if we tried to make Portland a bit more like Amsterdam?
                – if the answer is no, then why the histrionics?

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              • GlowBoy March 21, 2017 at 12:34 pm

                “Every friggin thing you own related to cycling had to come to you via a freeway. ”

                Ah yes, the old goods-delivery meme. Yes, probably most of the cycling things I own traveled on a freeway at some point. But they did not travel those freeways in private passenger cars, which are what’s clogging up the freeway and preventing the free flow of goods.

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            • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 8:34 am

              9, even with an unlimited pot of money, there are people who would be against increasing capacity on roadways.

              if we had unlimited funds, would you support freeway widening (although in this case, it is removing bottlenecks – which is different).

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              • Dan A March 20, 2017 at 10:53 am

                Are we expanding the size of the earth as well?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 20, 2017 at 10:57 am

                With unlimited funds, I’d want a pony.

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              • 9watts March 20, 2017 at 12:20 pm

                What a strange counterfactual.
                “if we had unlimited funds, would you support freeway widening”

                NO! Would you? And if so, why?

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              • Pete March 20, 2017 at 3:33 pm

                If there was no caveat on funding, then a far more safe and efficient mass transportation network, or a far less impactful personal transportation systems would be better options than widening highways.

                Boston widened and buried its central artery when I was younger. For a while there was less congestion and fewer crashes, but now there’s more traffic then before and they’re back to square one (many billions of taxpayer dollars later).

                Just down the street from me is an expressway widening project. All it will do is move the nightly congestion (where drivers are slowed to a crawl as they wait through multiple cycles of red lights) a mile down the road (two intersections, to be precise). On the next expressway north of us the county proposes to elevate the freeway, but they can’t come up with the funds, and of course you can’t widen an elevated freeway once it’s built… at least not easily.

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              • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 3:34 pm

                I just wanted to confirm that it isn’t really a financial argument with you. That you just have the belief that ANY expansion is bad.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 20, 2017 at 3:40 pm

                Not quite back to zero… now there is a nice greenway on the site of the previous highway, and we have an eternal monument to the shoddy concrete road work done by state contractors. I mean, it just wouldn’t be Boston if the roads were smooth.

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      • SaferStreetsPlease March 17, 2017 at 11:32 am

        This is just baffling. Drivers are already heavily subsidized by taxpayers. Now we want to invest on billion more in a couple widening projects to enable more driving? At some point, we need to wise up and invest that money to make the alternative options viable for many commuters. It is still easier to drive than take public transit for many, and that’s why our congestion is so bad. That billion dollars should go toward congestion mitigation, not toward INDUCING more driving.

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        • Dave March 17, 2017 at 12:16 pm

          Amen! Here in Vantucky a lot of us would love a transit system that, the Vine aside, was more effective than the sick joke called C-Tran. I have lived here (Vancouver) almost thirty years and can come to no conclusion other than the powers that be in Vantucky/Clark County have an active animosity towards mass transit and a complete disregard for the lives of pedestrians. For no reason that I can figure, it continues to be a pretty good place to be a cyclist.

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          • Chris I March 17, 2017 at 12:46 pm

            It’s just insane that we have a LRT line running directly into downtown Portland that stops at the Expo center. A parallel local-access, bike + transit bridge next to the existing highway bridges should be a top priority for our region, but they can’t seem to look past an opportunity for a massive highway expansion instead.

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            • JD March 17, 2017 at 5:48 pm

              OPB reported on this recently. Oregon’s residents do want a light-rail bridge. Washington’s residents voted by an almost 60% margin that they wanted nothing to do with that vision. So you can’t really blame the elected representatives for representing their constituents. Until the people on the Oregon and Washington sides can find middle ground, the status quo will remain.

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          • Todd Boulanger March 17, 2017 at 2:16 pm

            Per good place to ride: its likely due to less traffic congestion/ wider roadways than Portland has…this is why the Portland Wheelmen and other PDX riding groups always seem to train up here…and long before “we” built the first modern bike lane in the City back in 1999…

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      • SD March 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm

        …And the people who live in the city have a right to a livable city.

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      • wsbob March 17, 2017 at 12:02 pm

        I’d be fine with the freeway congestion bottleneck resolution effort projects…if they actually did resolve freeway congestion…but they don’t really do this. These type projects just kind of move the problem further somewhere down the line. In Beaverton, the north terminus at Hwy 26, is an example of this.

        Don’t have the figures, but I think a ton of money was spent so traffic wouldn’t have to negotiate a dead stop and a right angle turn to east or west. Traffic had been starting to back up south of the intersection. So now, while it’s kind of fun to loop around the big radius and head westbound…once arriving at the highway, just figure on joining the super long double lanes of jam packed traffic visible way down the road for at least two or three miles.

        The days of traffic moving during rush hour, ‘freely’, on freeways in the Portland Metro area, are long gone. Paying people money to build stuff that helps everyone get around? Not a bad idea. At least some of the homeless people could probably do a job if one was available for them…I don’t particularly mind paying to create work for people, even if it’s not at lowest possible dollar.

        If we’re going build stuff, though, I’d rather see the public build something good, that truly does help people and the communities we all spend time in…rather than simply extending the asphalt mobile prison that so many rush hour highways and freeways have become.

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        • Tom Hardy March 17, 2017 at 6:21 pm

          Half of the forecasted “Improvements” are to make it easier on the tax dodgers living in the couv that work in Hilllsboro.

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          • SE Rider March 18, 2017 at 9:37 am

            Taxdodgers? Do you know how Oregon income tax works?

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      • 9watts March 17, 2017 at 12:48 pm

        “They have as much a right to mobility as you do.”

        Except you seem to have overlooked that the (auto)mobility always and predictably undermines and threatens all the other kinds of mobility we now recognize. In practice this is a zero sum thing. Putting money toward cars-only or cars-first infrastructure in 2017 makes exactly no sense given what we know about our present moment.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 3:36 pm

          Nobody said this was only cars. But I think even one who is not car first can admit that some improvements can be made to the system to allow it to work more efficiently.

          You can still have your bike projects.

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          • 9watts March 21, 2017 at 7:10 am

            “You can still have your bike projects.”

            Such largesse!

            Are you authorized to make these promises?

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      • dan March 17, 2017 at 1:09 pm

        Your right to swing your fist ends at my face; when SOV operators are impacting my quality of life, I feel very comfortable with the idea that I have a stake in how their mobility needs are met. Expanding freeways is a losing game, billions of dollars for a year of improved flow before induced demand catches up. Time to explore other options.

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      • GlowBoy March 17, 2017 at 2:58 pm

        No, MORG, they don’t. Driving is not a right. AT ALL. First thing they teach you in any decent Driver Ed class.

        Driving is a privilege, and an overly subsidized one, at that. I’m not opposed to putting some money into roads, but I think most of us here know about induced demand and that continual road expansion is just throwing money down a rabbit hole.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 9:02 am

          Cycling isn’t a right either 🙂 You’re not entitled to facilities.

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          • GlowBoy March 20, 2017 at 11:13 am

            Actually, traveling under your own power IS a right. Driving is not. Operating a multi-ton vehicle requires a revocable license, and state governments for many decades have invested considerable taxpayer money on driver testing, licensing, and (in most states, but unfortunately not Oregon) training.

            I would further argue that cyclists and pedestrians do in fact have the right to equal, safe access to the entire transportation grid. Government has a responsibility to provide this. Failure to do so – which so far has been nearly utter, since around the 1920s – is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

            This is an important equity issue when driving is expensive and many people have difficulty affording it. Far too many people of limited means find themselves forced by our transportation system to drive, with vehicle costs eating far too much of their income.

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            • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 3:37 pm

              So you can WALK.

              No right to bike facilities.

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              • El Biciclero March 21, 2017 at 10:28 am

                But wait, pedestrians are faring worse than bicyclists recently, as far as numbers killed by drivers. So if there is a right to walk anywhere one chooses, does that confer a right to walking facilities/infrastructure? Or are you imagining the existing roadways ought to accommodate pedestrians and drivers, but not bicyclists? If so, those facilities are failing woefully in their accommodation of pedestrians. The original statement by GlowBoy was that traveling under one’s own power is a right. That doesn’t equate to having a right to specific facilities for traveling by any particular mode; that isn’t what GlowBoy claimed at all. But we could discuss “rights” and “facilities” a bit…

                If drivers have no “right” to drive (which they don’t), then how much less do motor vehicle users have a “right” to have “auto facilities” (roads) built for them? There is a difference between having a right to use something that already exists, something that could be considered a “public good”, and demanding that something new be built because there is an imagined “right” to have something provided that currently isn’t being provided. I think the equity argument makes the most sense; those facilities that do exist ought to be equally usable by all, regardless of their choice of vehicle (or non-vehicle). Since we have made travel outside of a motor vehicle too dangerous by ignoring abuses of the driving privilege for too long, then how will government/society restore balance to the system so that everyone has a safe way to get around? If we continue to insist on driver privilege (and I mean that in the contemporary social sense), then how can those with a right even to walk expect to ever be protected? Will we protect non-motorists by strengthening and enforcing laws? By further restricting/revoking driving privileges (in the legal sense)? Or are we forcing ourselves to provide equity/protection by creating special facilities for pedestrians (and yes, bicyclists) because we refuse to do it any other way?

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          • 9watts March 20, 2017 at 12:13 pm

            that’s so confused, MotRG. Cycling does not equal facilities. I don’t need no stinkin facilities to cycle, but if we’re talking facilities then they are as I’ve pointed out dozens of times here – defensive, only necessary because of the overwhelming and dangerous presence of autos. If you disagree with that interpretation you should explain.

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      • Smokey Bear March 17, 2017 at 9:13 pm

        MotRG,
        This is the way of the left. Divide everyone into groups, and try to give special rights to the groups you favor – we know who they are. Only the special groups get special treatment. This is part of the reason you now have Mr T in office – people are getting tired of this stuff.

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        • Ktaylor March 18, 2017 at 4:49 pm

          you mean special interest groups like motorists and white people, right? Oh wait – those are the right’s special interest groups.

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          • Dan A March 19, 2017 at 3:58 pm

            Don’t forget the ‘forgotten man’. You know, the extremely wealthy white dudes.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 9:03 am

          And demonize/shame anyone who doesn’t agree with you. And I’m saying this as a left leaning Independent.

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      • Mark smith March 17, 2017 at 10:54 pm

        It’s about 11:00pm . Are the freeways pretty free flowing now? Main streets? Side streets? I bet they are pretty close to wide open.

        Have at that mobility.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 9:05 am

          It’s all about peak flow.

          if you average things out, all roadways are not even close to being used to capacity. Which also means they are pretty safe to bike on and there is little additional need for more investment in bike facilities – there are obviously tons of safe, undertrafficked routes to use – IF you look at averages.

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          • Dan A March 20, 2017 at 10:55 am

            and if they go where you want to go.

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          • Mark smith March 21, 2017 at 1:44 pm

            Actually no, it’s not about averaged use. It is about, however, leveraged use. The freeway is there for anyone with a license to use for any reason, legal or otherwise as long as they follow the road rules(When the last time a criminal was busted for misusing a freeway or road). Anyhow, freight companies can and do leverage freeways at night or in the middle of the day. If they don’t, it’s their choice. It’s not my requirement to widen a road because people don’t choose better.

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  • I wear many hats March 17, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Freeway expansion creates ghettos, shantytowns, displaces people, and does NOTHING to reduce congestion. It just throws tax money at construction and property development interests. It all gets mashed up when people show up to fill empty lanes.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 9:07 am

      Hang on, if it does nothing to reduce congestion, then the concept of induced demand is not true. Induced demand means that the increased capacity attracts additional usage at which point it becomes congested again.

      So which is it?

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty March 20, 2017 at 11:03 am

        Induced demand is real (and has been experimentally verified), but whether it explains a particular observation is probably unknowable.

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      • 9watts March 20, 2017 at 12:14 pm

        I think you have your time frames mixed up. In your description I mostly see congestion, both before and after the ‘treatment.’

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      • Mark smith March 21, 2017 at 1:46 pm

        The term is “induced demand” not “deduced demand”. Create an environment friendly to cars, they show up. It’s pretty straight forward.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty March 21, 2017 at 1:55 pm

          With no limit?

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  • maccoinnich March 17, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Earlier this week PBOT staff presented to the Planning and Sustainability Commission with updates on two projects that would affect transit: Growing Transit Communities Plan, and the Enhanced Transit Corridors Plan. The presentation is available here:

    http://efiles.portlandoregon.gov/Record/10711685/File/Document

    The first project is about access to transit, and will make bike / pedestrian improvements around existing TriMet lines. As it gets easier for people to access transit the ridership should grow, and help justify the upgrade of these lines to frequent service.

    The second project will look at existing frequent service lines, and determine what kind of small scale capital improvements could be made to speed them up and generally improve service. Examples of what they’ll be looking at include signal priority, queue jumps, bus lanes, and level boarding.

    These are the sort of projects TriMet should be championing, not freeway expansions where they don’t even run any buses.

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  • Matthew in Portsmouth March 17, 2017 at 11:12 am

    I left work in Clackamas last night around 5 p.m., driving. It took me over an hour to get home to N Portland. If I had left at 6.30 p.m. it would have taken 45 minutes tops. The worst part of the trip is dealing with the damaged road surface on I-5. Quite frankly, I think we need do not need to expand I-5, but rather maintain it. If people want to avoid bottlenecks, they need change the timing of their travel, or just suck it up. I listen to a lot of audio books during my commute. It would have been quicker for me to cycle home, but that’s another story.

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    • rick March 17, 2017 at 11:33 am

      On what bike route ?

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    • Mark smith March 17, 2017 at 10:56 pm

      So, what are you saying?

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      • Matthew in Portsmouth March 20, 2017 at 8:34 am

        We don’t need to expand the freeway system, people can change the time of their commute or suck it up.

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  • Kyle Banerjee March 17, 2017 at 11:51 am

    I haven’t looked at the proposal closely enough to have an opinion. My experience with PDX traffic is that it’s never that bad — including during rush hour — except along a few specific routes and choke points. I do believe the I-5 mixing in that area is hopeless and don’t know how much difference the proposed improvements would make.

    I don’t believe opposing projects like this on principle will get anywhere. Way more people like cars than bikes so that battle gets lost before it’s started. Rather, it’s best to think what would really help people given what we have now and can likely achieve. The track record for cities that have tried to pave their way out of their traffic problems is poor and loosening traffic one place tends to shifts the problem elsewhere — as bad as that area is, it’s hard to imagine this will suddenly make cars start elsewhere on I-5, the Banfield, 205, or anyplace else.

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    • J.E. March 17, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      The idea is to oppose *TriMet*’s advocating for funding these highway projects, not necessarily the projects themselves. They should be out there advocating for public transportation funding, or walking/cycling projects that help people get to/from their buses and trains. There are plenty of other interest groups advocating for highways; we need TriMet to stick to active transportation.

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      • JD March 17, 2017 at 6:04 pm

        Thank you for putting it this way. Stating it as you did — that it’s not Trimet’s role to advocate for this project — is an idea I can get behind.

        But I do think I-5 through Rose Quarter is a project that probably needs to happen. It’s become a choke point for commercial and freight traffic for 60 miles in either direction, and that’s starting to have region-wide economic and environmental impact on a scale that — imo — weighs more heavily than concerns about the impact to the immediate local area.

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  • fourknees March 17, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    I noticed two things this week while in LA.
    1. I was in a few places they have recently widened highways and nothing has improved congestion. This is a widely accepted by everyone I discussed with who are very pro car.

    2. I also noticed that the “pay to drive” express lanes in several spots did seem to be moving. (I’m sure this varies) This continues to support the types of congestion pricing I’ve read about.

    More public education is needed on the lack of ROI on these widening projects and how pay to drive is more effective. Most people will agree that adding an extra lane or two is a good idea. Most also agree they’d like tax dollars to be used efficiently too. Perspectives change on these projects when they know the outcome is no better than today and your govt has wasted a ton of your money to do it that could have been put toward something else.

    The opposition in this case needs to be a better job of marketing and educating the public to build support. I know it’s been said before, just not sure of how to effectively get the message out.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty March 17, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      How do you answer the argument that even though congestion did not improve, it kept things from getting worse? “Think how bad it would have been without this project!”

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      • BB March 17, 2017 at 12:14 pm

        That’s not how induced demand works.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty March 17, 2017 at 12:21 pm

          And yet, otherwise intelligent people argue that congestion is a sign of demand, and the way to address increased demand is with greater supply. With sufficient supply, demand will be met, and congestion will decrease.

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          • 9watts March 17, 2017 at 12:50 pm

            “otherwise intelligent people”

            Maybe the emphasis should be on the first of those three words?

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            • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 9:09 am

              except everyone thinks they are intelligent.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 20, 2017 at 11:04 am

                Some us know they are!

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          • Chris I March 17, 2017 at 12:51 pm

            And to do that in our region, we would have to spend tens of billions and displace thousands of homeowners and renters in the process. I’ll take the congestion, because it also encourages alternatives. I can drive my kid to the zoo in about 20 minutes (outside of rush hour), but it takes about 45 to walk and take MAX. When the highways are congested, the drive time can roughly double, so we end up taking MAX, and are one less car on the road. More people will take transit and bike when the roads are congested.

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            • SE Rider March 17, 2017 at 1:50 pm

              More people who live in bike-able, transit-friendly inner neighborhoods maybe.

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          • Tom Hardy March 17, 2017 at 6:32 pm

            The only way to improve congestion by widening the roadways fallacy is proven in Dallas Texas. Widening a 4 lane freeway to cut commute times over a 10 mile section wound up doubling the time it took from 15 minutes to over 35 minutes and 14 lanes each way.

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  • Dave March 17, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Hello, Kitty
    Some people would argue they have a right to affordable mobility in any neighborhood they want.
    I think this view ignores economic reality, and pursuing it would destroy the city.
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    Funny, our country’s appetite for pursuing ill-advised military adventures seems to be without any regard for what we can afford. If we want a decent USA fifty years from now, better vote for any politician who has the guts to say we need to shrink our military to about the size of Luxembourg’s.

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    • rainbike March 17, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      I doubt that shrinking our military to about the size of Luxembourg’s will leave us with a decent (you imply better?) USA in fifty years. But, back to the conversation about bikes…

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      • 9watts March 17, 2017 at 12:51 pm

        I think it certainly would. What makes you think otherwise?
        It would give us a better USA in one year.

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        • rainbike March 17, 2017 at 2:43 pm

          I guess we’ll never know.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 9:10 am

          I completely agree!

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  • 9watts March 17, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Did anyone else read GM as General Motors?

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    • Adam March 17, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      Yes. I thought the vehicle company had voice in this based on the title. Moving the ‘Trimet’ in the title to in front of GM would help clarify.

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    • GlowBoy March 17, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Yes.

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    • Tom Hardy March 17, 2017 at 6:41 pm

      Mentally it does. the consortium that killed the trolleys and the electric bus’s in the 50’s in Portland was General Motors, Chevron, and Firestone. They also killed the trollys in nearly every other city in the US in order to make and sell diesel fuel, diesel Buses, and tires for those buses. The trolley lines were all over Portland thru Gresham, Oregon City, to Hillsboro and Salem. the fare was also only 25 cents. It started to climb rapidly after the trolleys and electric buses vanished in 1959. Ridership declined when the stinky buses came in.

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  • Stephen Keller March 17, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Road rationing would reduce congestion. Car with even numbers on their plate can drive on even dates, odd numbers on odd dates; vanity plates without numbers are only allowed out on the weekends. (Yes, I’m kidding, a little.)

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    • Ryan March 17, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      I remember when I was stationed in Italy they did this sometimes. I think it was during the Summer when pollution numbers were high. Don’t know how well that would go over here, though; our culture in general is more car-dependent and high-strung.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty March 17, 2017 at 3:09 pm

        We did it here during the gas crisis in the 1970s.

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        • Ryan March 17, 2017 at 3:49 pm

          True, but that was 40 years ago and during a nationwide fuel shortage. Not that I don’t think it would be beneficial, I just don’t think a lot of Portlanders would go for it just to help with congestion. As much as people complain about it many would probably rather deal with it than have to give up their private mode of conveyance a couple times a week.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty March 17, 2017 at 4:00 pm

            I totally agree with you.

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          • 9watts March 17, 2017 at 4:09 pm

            “I just don’t think a lot of Portlanders would go for it just to help with congestion.”

            Important not to get ahead of ourselves. Some of the best, most important things have come about/been enacted not because someone polled the public about their proclivities, but because it was *the right thing to do*.
            Do you think smokers would—if asked—support the bans on smoking now in place everywhere? or that drivers in other countries would check the Yes, more please box on the survey asking if the gas tax should be raised from $4/gallon to $4.50/gallon?

            Sometimes you face constraints that make it necessary to enact something that specifically does not appeal to the consumer in us, but the citizen.

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            • SE Rider March 20, 2017 at 8:40 am

              So I take it you’re all on board with the proposal to tax new bike purchases to pay for more cycling infrastructure?

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              • Dan A March 20, 2017 at 10:00 am

                I’m not — that’s a silly idea. Oh, unless you plan to start taxing shoes to help pay for sidewalks too. And then you can tax canes and seeing eye dogs to help pay for audible traffic signals. Tax wheelchairs to pay for curb cuts. Tax kids to help pay for crossing guards and school speed zone signs. Tax sleepy people to help pay for rumble strips. Tax homeowners who have safety railings protecting their property. I’m sure I could come up with others.

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              • GlowBoy March 20, 2017 at 11:19 am

                No, because these programs cost more to administer than they raise, which means the only effect they have is to discourage cycling (which drives up transportation costs overall). This has been studied to death.

                I would only support it if drivers had to pay the FULL cost of the roads they use. Which right now, they don’t. Not even half.

                You want to tax me based on the cost of the facilities I use? Fine. Stop paying for roads out of my income and property taxes. I drive less than most people, and cycling facilities cost less per user, and per user-mile, than car facilities. I’d come out way ahead under such a scheme. But I don’t think that’s really what you want.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 20, 2017 at 11:27 am

                You say drivers pay less than half of the cost of roads. That means that more than half of our road infrastructure is paid for by non-drivers. Even if you ignore the benefits non-drivers get from roads (they provide access for trucks, taxis, delivery vehicles, emergency vehicles, buses, etc.), that is still an astounding and probably incorrect fact.

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              • 9watts March 20, 2017 at 7:08 pm

                “You say drivers pay less than half of the cost of roads.”

                I think a distinction is in order here.

                In the USA drivers qua drivers pay roughly half the direct costs associated with the infrastructure their driving is predicated on. The balance of these (direct) costs is paid for through other means than fees and taxes related to driving. This says nothing about *who* the folks paying are, just about how the funds are raised, and the degree to which the funds are proportional to use (gas tax – yes; property tax – no).

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 20, 2017 at 9:53 pm

                I’m going to suggest that those who derive no benefits from the street network don’t pay a significant share of its construction and upkeep. I have no data to support this, but combining gas taxes (mostly paid by drivers) with the percentage of the population who drives at each income level x the amount of tax paid at those levels (i.e. the poor, who are less likely to drive, also pay less tax), and considering the non-driver-specific benefits that accrue to society at large from a good road system, well, I’m not at all sure the current system is particularly unfair.

                Would you also complain that non-parents pay for public education?

                Once again, I do support higher gas taxes, so mine is not an anti-tax argument.

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              • 9watts March 20, 2017 at 10:04 pm

                “and considering the non-driver-specific benefits that accrue to society at large from a good road system, well, I’m not at all sure the current system is particularly unfair.”

                A good road system is hardly what we have. We have an extensive road system that is in dreadful repair because we don’t do maintenance well and don’t charge those whose mode choice brings about its degradation. Other countries have excellent road systems and I wager that every one of those countries charges drivers *much* more for that privilege.
                The unfairness stems from the fact that our system is so incredibly lopsided. Because we don’t have nearly enough money to maintain the autos-only/autos-first infrastructure there is never any money left to do meaningful alternatives. Which perpetuates the crazy dependence we’ve created.

                “Would you also complain that non-parents pay for public education?”

                I’ve gone out of my way in comments here to differentiate between the public good that I think education represents, and the very different though commonly conflated situation we have with our motorized vehicle infrastructure, which obviously coevolved with the auto on which our society is so dependent. I don’t see the roads we have, built as they are to support cement mixers and 18 wheelers and military transports, as a public good in any unqualified sense. It is an expensive, fossil fuel dependent, monomodal albatross that is managed by the likes of ODOT and kills tens of thousands every year. If instead we’d seen fit to build a system of transport that Ivan Illich envisioned I think it would be much easier to make the case for roads-as-public-good.
                And if we view our current all-eggs-in-the-SOV-basket approach to transportation in the light of climate change, then I think the case could easily be made that what we have is rather a PUBLIC BAD, a stranded asset, something we will soon enough come to regret.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 20, 2017 at 10:10 pm

                I will simplify the argument and state that I see roads as a public good (but am not shocked that you do not). I am not opposed to levying drivers more heavily to pay for their upkeep, but I do not see that as a moral argument for inherent fairness.

                I share your dislike for our current transportation system, but that is a question quite separate from how to pay for the one we have.

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              • 9watts March 20, 2017 at 10:16 pm

                “I share your dislike for our current transportation system, but that is a question quite separate from how to pay for the one we have.”

                Except that we here are discussing doubling down on the Cold War highway expansion priorities. What we’re talking about is being bilked for yet more of this expansionary Autos Űber Alles nonsense.

                Maintenance (a fancy way of concretizing the commitment to ‘ the one we have’) isn’t, as far as I know, at issue here.

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              • 9watts March 20, 2017 at 10:18 pm

                “I see roads as a public good”

                Roads are, or rather could/should be a public good. I just don’t happen to think that offering a facile endorsement of *our* roads here in the USA as a public good does us any good since it lets those who make the decisions about how to go about them off the hook, removes the most obvious lever we could hope to pull to right this ship.

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          • El Biciclero March 20, 2017 at 9:17 am

            Also, we’d kind of have to enact a one-car policy, to avoid having people just go out and get a second car with a number that was +/- 2n + 1 from their existing plate. Or somehow ensure that additional cars purchased at the same address all had numbers of the same parity. Or just issue additional registration stickers for odd or even. Or something.

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    • Tom Hardy March 17, 2017 at 6:43 pm

      That one did not work in India.

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  • Todd Boulanger March 17, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    It will be interesting to learn more about Neil McFarlane’s (TRIMET GM) thinking on this topic…if it is pure foolishness/ misspoken, pragmatism or a real strategy to get HOV/ HOT lanes (for regional express transit) added to Portland’s highway network.

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  • Justin M March 17, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    I can’t imagine how anybody who actually drives on these freeways would be against widening them. I leave to go to class three hours early on days when i drive just so i won’t have to spend an hour in traffic on the 5. my drive back home after class is 20 minutes. I would love to bike every day but it’s too scary riding home on Barbur at 9pm when it’s raining. I would love to be able to take transit, but I would have to change busses and I am not willing to wait out in the cold rain four times to get to school and back. I bike when I can. I love biking. I really don’t care for driving, but it’s the only thing that works for me this time of year. What kind of people who actually drive these freeways regularly would be against widening? Probably nobody. Those who are against widening probably never drive on the 5 or they’re bike-supremacists who are “car free”. well good for you all, but that’s not the reality that MOST people have to live in.

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    • bikeninja March 17, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      Justin,

      Your missing the part about the experience in LA and other places where widening the freeways just breeds more traffic and does not change traffic flow or commute times.

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      • Justin M March 17, 2017 at 5:25 pm

        That doesn’t even make sense. More traffic comes from more people moving into the area and having to live farther from work. Yes, the widening projects have not reduced traffic, but considering the continued population growth in LA, I wonder if the projects have kept it from getting worse as quickly as it would have.

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        • 9watts March 17, 2017 at 5:39 pm

          “That doesn’t even make sense.”

          That may be, but it is widely understood to occur in exactly that manner.

          These are dynamic problems that are not adequately understood or described with only two variables.

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        • Tom Hardy March 17, 2017 at 6:49 pm

          LA is seeing a surge now in cycle commuting. I really cannot see why it took so long. I rode all over the city and up to San Jose and down to San Diego in the 60’s. the freeways were nice to ride on while they were being built. the main thoroughfares were OK and the Druggies were the only ones that tended to use cyclists as targets.

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        • El Biciclero March 19, 2017 at 4:25 pm

          “That doesn’t even make sense.”

          I think the word you’re looking for is counter-intuitive. It may be a surprising result, but it is the result nonetheless.

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    • 9watts March 17, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      That is a very nice story you’re telling us, but you’re forgetting the key theme woven throughout the comments here which is that the proposed plan won’t deliver the goods. It hardly matters whether people who drive on I-5 are for or against something that won’t have any salutary effect on their commute, and in the meantime will waste hundreds of millions of dollars.
      Lots of people (especially apparently if they watch Fox News habitually) still believe that Saddam Hussein had WMDs or that our former president was born in Kenya. Are you really suggesting we make policy based on broad misconceptions about how the world works?

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      • Justin M March 17, 2017 at 5:29 pm

        According to recent reports, the 405 widening project in Los Angeles has reduced travel times. Of course as millions of people move into the area, I’m sure travel times will go back up. Maybe if they hadn’t widened the freeway all the people wouldn’t be moving there. Talk about short-sighted.

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        • dan March 17, 2017 at 5:55 pm

          Sources? A cursory Google describes the project as a failure: http://www.laweekly.com/news/11-billion-and-five-years-later-the-405-congestion-relief-project-is-a-fail-5415772

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty March 17, 2017 at 6:05 pm

            It probably depends on your criteria for success.

            * Did commute times improve compared to what they were before the project? No.

            * Did they improve compared to what they would have been without the project? Unknowable, but many would answer yes.

            * Did the project induce new demand thus undermining its own success? Also unknowable, but many (probably a different group than above) would answer yes.

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            • 9watts March 18, 2017 at 5:40 pm

              “It probably depends on your criteria for success”

              With all due respect, I’m not sure why it is worth speculating.

              <<Freeway Widening Does Not Lead To Reduced Congestion>>

              I think that could be considered as much an iron law as anything we regularly discuss. Sort of like the Republicans’ favorite bit of nonsense:

              <<Lowering Taxes Does Not Generate More Jobs>>

              In the case of road widening, we even know that the opposite (road narrowing) does lead to the anticipated outcome, so why persist with this *very expensive* misconception?

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            • Dan A March 19, 2017 at 4:05 pm

              Your source is too early. Let’s check back in 5-10 years.

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      • Stephen Keller March 22, 2017 at 9:51 am

        I’ve got to admit that I’m ambivalent about the project for I-5 widening at the Rose Quarter. Since I moved here in 1979, the design of that stretch of road has always seemed rather stupid: suggestive that bureaucrats got hold of some pristine functional design, tortured it near to death and then handed the result over to builders, who no doubt scratched their heads while putting it all together. I agree that what is planned will not likely accomplish the goal of relieving congestion, but it might soothe my wounded engineering aesthetic when I drive through the new thing.

        Personally, I’d rather see a half-billion spent on a decent bike commute through/over the west hills. Simply connecting up the various half-built bits would go a long way to making cycling in Portland more accessible. I will never get why designers feel it is appropriate to dump bike lanes and cycle paths out into traffic. I sure many others here would have similar ideas that would benefit from the dollars.

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    • dan March 17, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      “the 5”?

      California snark aside, it sounds like congestion is working – you have chosen a different way to meet your mobility needs. If you were sufficiently motivated (tax credit?), you might even find someone to carpool with. Now, if you can do that, why would we spend billions on road widening, knowing induced demand will catch up with any expansion? Much better ROI to spend on transit, bike lanes, housing close to your classes, etc.

      If people will drive in their SOVs until the pain becomes greater than the pain of all the options, it seems to me that rather than reduce the pain of SOV driving, we should reduce the pain of all the other options.

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      • Justin M March 17, 2017 at 5:18 pm

        Sorry, do we not call it the 5 here? I was only born here. Sorry if I don’t talk like a local yet. And who am I going to drive with? Nobody in my class lives near me and I would LOVE to live close to my classes but I can’t AFFORD it because it’s too expensive to live in Portland. If freeway widening doesn’t ease congestion, I hope this activists show up with actual alternatives other than money for transit and bike infrastructure, because that is not going to help those of us who can’t afford to live close enough to use transit or bike more.

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        • 9watts March 17, 2017 at 5:33 pm

          “because that is not going to help those of us who can’t afford to live close enough to use transit or bike more.”

          this problem you/we are talking about is not solved overnight. Countries that do a much better job of this have been at it for generations. More money for alternatives to the auto, which in most countries is raised by a real worthy-of-the-name gas tax is plowed back into these alternatives which if done well have the potential to blossom over a span of decades into real, honest-to-goodness alternatives that benefit everyone in myriad ways. The point is to start on this trajectory. We here in this country for reasons hard to fathom sometimes keep insisting that we’re different, that the lessons everyone else pretty much learned in the seventies don’t apply to us.

          …And here we are, forty years later, with a totally unworkable transportation system that is almost entirely built around the one mode that has no future, that is sunsetting.

          I will draw your attention to this chart, which shows the percentage of incomes spent by the average adult or household on gas in various countries. note that those countries with low gas taxes have the highest share of funds being spent on gas. See how this works?
          http://www.bloomberg.com/visual-data/gas-prices/

          and here’s an explanation of the chart (which back when it was first published looked a little different):

          from Grist: http://grist.org/climate-energy/why-we-should-raise-the-gas-tax-and-why-we-wont/

          “There is a counterintuitive relationship between gas prices and the burden they place on the average citizen’s finances: The more gas costs, the less gas people buy, and so the less they are weighed down by gas costs. Just look at this chart, courtesy of Bloomberg, which shows that the U.S. has the world’s 50th highest gasoline prices, $3.66 per gallon in September, but the fifth highest proportion of annual income spent on gas purchases. Those rankings are almost exactly reversed in European countries with high gas taxes. The Netherlands has the world’s third highest gas price, $8.89 per gallon, but the 34th highest proportion of income spent on gasoline. Italy ranks fourth highest in gas prices, $8.61 per gallon, and 38th in proportional spending on gas. Gas taxes in Italy and the Netherlands, like most of Europe, are about 10 times higher than those in the U.S. Furthermore, in a country such as Norway, where gas currently costs $10.08 per gallon, that revenue comes back to the public in the form of government programs, such as free college tuition. Lower gas consumption also means better local air quality and reduced greenhouse emissions, and more exercise and less obesity among the populace.”

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        • dan March 17, 2017 at 5:42 pm

          Justin M
          I would LOVE to live close to my classes but I can’t AFFORD it because it’s too expensive to live in Portland.
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          Well, I would much rather throw hundreds of millions at housing than expanding roads…if it cost in the $200k range per unit, $400m (estimated cost of the I5 widening project) would get us 2,000 apartments. If we spitball 2k cars in those apartments, does that move the needle enough? TBH, I’m not sure, but it is at least a step in the right direction and it addresses both housing and traffic, rather than just throwing money at asphalt.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty March 17, 2017 at 5:47 pm

            You’re assuming the only people who would live there would be those with the particular commute you’re trying to ease. Hell, maybe the place would fill up with people telecommuting to their tech jobs in Silicon Valley. There’s a lot of people moving up here to do that, enjoying our low housing costs.

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            • dan March 17, 2017 at 5:52 pm

              Yeah, that’s true. I think the basic takeaway, that we can take some number of SOVs off the road, and put funds towards our housing problem, still holds though. When was the last time the city of Portland had even $100M to spend on housing?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 17, 2017 at 6:01 pm

                Probably never. They don’t have that for roads, either.

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            • dan March 17, 2017 at 5:57 pm

              I had a cabbie tell me recently that she had a regular who commuted by plane to the Bay Area for work 3 or 4 days a week, working the remaining days at home. Said it worked out cheaper than buying a house in the Bay Area. That sounded pretty crazy to me initially, but depending on the assumptions you make, it could actually pencil out.

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              • GlowBoy March 20, 2017 at 11:30 am

                Not taking cabs to the airport would be one way to make that pencil out.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 20, 2017 at 11:34 am

                We’re really luck to have MAX at the airport… when you visit a city that has no decent airport transit, it really underscores the point.

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          • Justin M March 18, 2017 at 11:31 am

            Dan, I would love if they spent that money on affordable housing instead. I just don’t see us spending more money to help poor people when we could be spending the money of highways. The car driving demographic is probably a bigger voter bloc than the poor. Sorry if that sounds cynical.

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            • dan March 20, 2017 at 9:27 am

              I drive a car, but on this issue would 100% vote for “the poor”, which is really just people earning the median income these days.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 20, 2017 at 9:33 am

                50% of Portlanders are poor? I don’t think I would agree with that sentiment.

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        • GlowBoy March 20, 2017 at 11:38 am

          Like “Ore-ah-GONE” and “WILL-am-ette”, prefixing a highway number (not talking about The Banfield or The Sunset) with “the” definite article is one of those classic things that gives non-locals away. I’m sure there are even Portland natives who say those things, but they generally tend to get made fun of or corrected. As far as I know, Southern California is one of the few places in the country where “the (highway number)” is the common practice, and the only people I’ve ever met who use it have lived a substantial part of their lives there.

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    • MaxD March 17, 2017 at 5:57 pm

      By not paying for freeway expansion, there could be money for bike facilities on Barbur, transit shelters, more frequent buses, etc

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    • JD March 17, 2017 at 6:16 pm

      If I can cherry-pick a couple of your comments:
      “I would love to bike every day but it’s too scary…”
      “I would love to be able to take transit, but I would have to change busses and I am not willing to wait out in the cold rain four times…”

      I think what most people here would say is that points to the need for safer bike routes, and for better bus routes, and for more convenient transportation options. We can have all those things… with some money. But we won’t have the money to spend on bike routes and buses if we spend it all on highway asphalt instead. And so forced to choose between those options, the asphalt starts to look less like a good deal.

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      • Justin M March 18, 2017 at 11:33 am

        You have a great point. Yes, if we could spend that money in such a way that actually makes transit and cycling more appealing and practical to drivers then we absolutely should, but they need to be programs that will reduce traffic. I mean, that’s the whole point I suppose. Less traffic.

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        • Dan A March 19, 2017 at 4:14 pm

          There are lots of ways to achieve ‘less traffic’. Highway widening certainly won’t do it. Some of the ways I help:

          Biking
          Driving to/from work at off-hours
          Driving less
          Driving slowly & safely around VRUs
          Staying out of rush hour traffic (eg not going out for groceries at 5pm)
          Combining trips
          Carpooling
          Kids walk to school
          MAX
          Telecommuting 2 days a week
          etc

          Currently it’s very tempting to take greater advantage of all of the government subsidies that encourage me to drive more. We really should be subsidizing behavior we WANT, rather than more driving.

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          • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 9:16 am

            People want different things.

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            • Dan A March 20, 2017 at 10:58 am

              Right, some people want free super-wide highways that get them to work in 20 minutes or less no matter where they live. Good luck with that.

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              • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 3:43 pm

                That would be great! But it’s unrealistic. However, we can make improvements throughout the system to allow for it to work more efficiently across its entirety.

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              • Dan A March 21, 2017 at 6:56 am

                In what world would that be great?

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  • Justin M March 17, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Also, I did not choose another way to meet my mobility needs. The congestion is not my motivator for cycling.

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    • dan March 17, 2017 at 5:34 pm

      I was talking about leaving 3 hours early 😉

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      • Justin M March 17, 2017 at 5:39 pm

        Luckily my schedule this term allows me to do so. Not everyone is lucky to have the same flexibility that I do.

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  • dan March 17, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Hello, Kitty
    Probably never. They don’t have that for roads, either.
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    Yeah, they have to plunder it from the landlubbers over at ODOT. If only it were that easy…

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty March 17, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      Ahoy, ODOT, prepare to be boarded!

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      • dan March 17, 2017 at 6:22 pm

        Ye soft-bottomed, cud-chewin’ out of touch bureacracy! After we’ve liberated yer holds of their ill-gotten (and all too frequently misallocated) gains, we’ll be offering ye saucy scalawags your choice of going down with your ship or swimming for it!

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  • john prentice March 17, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    What I find strange about this whole thread is that a great discussion of problems with highway expansion skips over the claim that it is “inappropriate” (BikeLoud) for the head of TriMet to “advocate” (Maus) for a couple of highway projects.

    He gave a speech. He said there are four big infrastructure projects being considered in the region, and three of them would, in his opinion, deal with highway bottlenecks.

    Why is this “advocacy”? Why is this “inappropriate”? He is certainly well positioned to have an informed opinion on these projects, and it is certainly possible that his opinion about the virtues of these projects differs from BikeLoud activists.

    Totally OK to try to educate him, but protest him? As if a requirement of being the head of TriMet is to oppose all highways? Should he also oppose bike infrastructure, since that also takes funding away from mass transit? Or perhaps a head of TriMet needs to be anti car, even though it’s likely that a ton of the ridership drives a car to a satellite parking lot and then takes Max or a bus into their job.

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    • J.E. March 17, 2017 at 10:58 pm

      The original Portland Tribune article sure makes it sound like he’s advocating directing finding toward these projects, well beyond simply acknowledging they exist as proposals: http://portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/346188-226066-transit-chief-build-light-rail-line-three-highway-projects

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    • 9watts March 18, 2017 at 8:46 am

      “Or perhaps a head of TriMet needs to be anti car,”

      There are several alternatives here. You don’t need to be ‘anti-car,’ whatever that means in practice, to oppose freeway expansion. Recognizing the climate juggernaut, being interested in fiscal health, safety, livability are all perfectly reasonable concerns that might lead someone (or an agency such as Trimet) to oppose freeway widening without having to resort to tropes like ‘anti-car.’
      Frankly given what we know about how well this sort of thing works I have a hard time believing that anyone is still advocating for freeway expansion in this day and age.

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      • SE Rider March 18, 2017 at 9:51 am

        Sure buy you have a hard time understanding how anyone drives a car.

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        • 9watts March 18, 2017 at 5:44 pm

          “hard time understanding how anyone drives a car.”

          You are missing a distinction I think is crucial here. We are not talking about why people drive (I get that); we are talking here about policy priorities and whether to put money toward alternatives so fewer people in the future will experience the compulsion to drive, will have alternatives. A dynamic problem if there ever was one.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty March 18, 2017 at 11:50 am

        If we were only interested in CO2 emissions, we’d scrap TriMet and buy everyone a highly efficient electric car and/or bicycle. Buses and LRT are not a particularly climate-efficient way to move people around.

        Luckily, we think about the issue a little more holistically.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 3:44 pm

          And we would subsidize the purchase of smaller carbon shoes, to reduce our carbon footprints.

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    • soren March 18, 2017 at 11:39 am

      The fact that the head of a public transit organization would champion induced demand — something that directly harms mass transit — is definitely worth protesting.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 3:46 pm

        Soren, perhaps they are looking at the current chokepoints in the system that currently impact the efficient flow of transit vehicles? From that context, it makes sense to make improvements in some areas.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 9:17 am

      well stated!

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  • Smokey Bear March 17, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    Seattle used to have the same problem as Portland in the downtown area. I-5 was only 2 or 3 lanes wide. Then, they added lanes that switched direction depending on time of day and it helped congestion a lot. I did feel uneasy driving thru it because some of it was under ground, under buildings, etc – what if the big one hit – ouch.

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    • Chris I March 18, 2017 at 3:20 pm

      Yep, Seattle has definitely solved their congestion problems!

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    • GlowBoy March 20, 2017 at 11:28 am

      I used to live in Seattle. Even in the 90s traffic was far, far worse than it is in Portland now, despite the width of I-5.

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  • Andrew Margeson March 17, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Like much of the Portland area, congestion is terrible and getting worse everyday where I live (West Linn). One of the chief problems is that local streets are used as overflow routes for I 205 between Exits 3 and 8, the area where widening is proposed. Hwy 43 is terribly congested by commuter traffic, making it nearly impassable during rush hours, even for those of us who only travel locally. Unfortunately, these commuters have no options because Max is inaccessible and bus service is pathetic. This commuter traffic dumps into Portland, compounding its traffic problems.

    I understand and accept the arguments against freeway widening, but this five mile segment on I 205 seems to have ROW available and is a bottleneck compared to the rest of the freeway. Whether it would actually increase traffic capacity or just move the bottleneck to the I 5 intersection is an empirical question that can be readily studied with models. It won’t do much for our community anyway, unless something could be devised to prevent surface streets from being used for overflow. As for Hwy. 43, there is no possibility of widening and improved mass transit and bike lanes would make a huge difference. According to local government officials, TriMet won’t improve service because of low ridership, but, of course, low ridership results from poor service. Catch 22. TriMet is part of the problem and it’s a shame they don’t focus on that.

    When I talk about congestion with people from around suburban Portland one of the constants I always hear is that taking Max is impossible because the Park and Rides are always full and there is no alternative way to access light rail. I know this is true from personal experience. Why doesn’t that concern TriMet?

    Congestion pricing is an extremely effective and efficient way to utilize fixed resources like highways more efficiently, but it always dies for political reasons. It is a horrible shame that ODOT is championing an absolutely terrible alternative based on vehicle miles travelled regardless of congestion. Talk about a way to discourage efficient energy use: charge an Escalade and a Civic the same price to use the highway and deemphasize gas taxes. There should be high prices during periods of congestion and no prices when excess capacity is available. That’s how traffic gets shifted, employers are incented to change work schedules, etc. The proceeds could be used to expand mass transit and subsidize transit fares for low income riders.

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    • wsbob March 17, 2017 at 11:39 pm

      “…When I talk about congestion with people from around suburban Portland one of the constants I always hear is that taking Max is impossible because the Park and Rides are always full and there is no alternative way to access light rail. I know this is true from personal experience. Why doesn’t that concern TriMet? …” a margeson

      Has trimet equipped your park and rides with one of the card locked bike sheds? Out here in Beaverton, there is one. Nice facility, underutilized. Especially in high population density areas, I would think it makes sense, now, to make bike use facilities first class, to persuade people to ride to the park and if they at all can. It can get crazy busy at the park and ride. Elmonica station out west of Beaverton, has a big park and ride (not good at guessing capacity…easily a couple hundred car parking spots.)….and during weekdays, it seems to regularly be near capacity. And all around it, are multi-story apartments and condos. From what distances away, are these people driving to and parking at the park and ride, to take the Max?

      I know the term, but have not read much about congestion pricing. My impression to date, is that it may be effective in certain specific circumstances, but I’m skeptical that it would be the panacea for reducing traffic congestion, some people apparently believe it is. Years ago, London did it, with some good results, right?

      Do you think congestion pricing could be crafted in such a way to resolve some of the congestion you describe reaching critical levels on the roads you mentioned? Tends to sound more to me like a way to get money from people. Not so great for people that have to be to work at such and such a time…so they pay the congestion fee, or don’t get to work when they need to.

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      • Andrew Margeson March 18, 2017 at 8:37 am

        An accessible Park and Ride with secure bike parking would be wonderful but, unfortunately, the nearest one is 9 miles away in Milwaukie.

        Congestion pricing could definitely be crafted to relieve the congestion on the roads around me. There really isn’t any question about that. The issue is what the price would have to be, which depends on the elasticity of demand for freeway travel during peak periods. It is true that this could work a hardship on lower income people who have to be at work at a certain time and who don’t have a viable public transportation option. I would have to research and think about it more but, for example, you could have a one round trip per day exemption for these folks.

        If it were up to me, I would implement congestion pricing together with radical improvement in bus service and the construction of many more park and rides with bike parking. Relieving congestion would speed up the buses and make taking them more attractive.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty March 18, 2017 at 11:45 am

        I totally support the idea of congestion pricing, but I do not delude myself — it is a highly regressive tax, as those who have the least flexibility in their schedules are often those who earn the least. But for me, the good outweighs the bad.

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        • Andrew Margeson March 19, 2017 at 9:34 pm

          It is simply not true that congestion pricing is necessarily regressive. It can but needn’t be. In fact, a congestion pricing program can be as progressive as you want.

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          • soren March 20, 2017 at 8:23 pm

            as can gas taxes. oops.

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      • lop March 19, 2017 at 4:01 pm

        Elmonica has 435 car parking spots according to trimet

        https://trimet.org/parkandride/

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      • Dan A March 19, 2017 at 7:16 pm

        Parking at the Sunset TC is full before my wife leaves for work, and the bike routes to get there from our neighborhood are not good. She generally drives the wrong way to go to that Elmonica lot instead.

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  • TheCat March 18, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Justin M
    Yes. http://www.laloyolan.com/news/traffic-improved-by-metro-s-expensive-freeway-widening-project/article_da18eb18-9197-55fe-be92-71e69557d7df.html
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    I just read that article. The title doesn’t match the text, which is primarily about why the high cost overruns and delays resulted in lawsuits and poor conditions for drivers. At the end, there’s a single sentence citing a 30 minute time savings at 3pm and a 5 minute time savings at 5pm – for occupants of the new carpool lane only.

    The project isn’t even complete yet. All the studies show those initial time savings will be lost as induced demand causes even more congestion than before. Come back in five years and I have no doubt we’ll find out that there are, in fact, no time savings gained.

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    • Justin M March 18, 2017 at 11:36 am

      It’s a shitty article to be sure, but the data it points to is interesting. Also, considering the millions of people who have moved to LA since the project began, the fact that congestion hasn’t gotten worse is also worth pointing out.

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  • RobotGirl March 18, 2017 at 11:10 am

    9watts
    Tigard to Powell. I’d look into Trimet. I take the #96 to Wilsonville from downtown after getting off the #14. In Wilsonville I get on the free circulator down there and then hop on the 1x to the bus mall in downtown Salem. Walk across the river and get on the West Salem Connector. I know, quite a series of buses, but it does work, is fantastically cheap, and provides door to door service very reliably.
    Trimet runs to Tigard and to Powell Blvd. Have you tried to line up a schedule, tried it out? You might be surprised.
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    I used to all that sort of stuff until I had a family. Now time is more of a factor and school for the kiddo is an extra destination that needs to be factored in. The ability to live and work and have school at various age levels all within easy reach and with travel times that work for all family members doesn’t always happen. So yes, I sit on I-5 way more than I’d like and feel that Lloyd/RQ bottleneck could be helped AND other measures taken to improve both mobility options and the possibility of home/work/school/services being in closer proximity for folks. Not sure why it is presented as an either or and why we must make it hard for people? I’d rather raise the cost of parking downtown… currently, it’s hard to justify bus fare for a family vs the cost of SmartPark .

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    • 9watts March 18, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      “I used to all that sort of stuff until I had a family. Now time is more of a factor and school for the kiddo is an extra destination that needs to be factored in.”

      As K Taylor pointed out above – https://bikeportland.org/2017/03/17/activists-will-speak-at-trimet-board-meeting-against-gms-support-of-freeway-expansions-221859#comment-6787635
      you pays your money and you takes your choice There are people with children who manage well without a car. Can this work for everyone? Probably not. But I think we should guard against suggesting it is inevitable.

      “So yes, I sit on I-5 way more than I’d like and feel that Lloyd/RQ bottleneck could be helped AND other measures taken to improve both mobility options and the possibility of home/work/school/services being in closer proximity for folks.”

      Sure, I get the desire to fix what is obviously not working. but the desire and the proffered fix are in this instance unlikely to lead to the desired outcome. We have reason to be suspicious.

      “Not sure why it is presented as an either or and why we must make it hard for people?”

      A peculiarly American dilemma. It is an either or because of what I said above. If we do this, spend the hundreds of millions and – surprise! – it doesn’t solve the problem, we’re that much further in the hole to actually spend the money we now no longer have on a real fix. As for making it hard for people – I agree, that does seem particularly unfair, but that is how we do it in this country. Haven’t you heard?

      “I’d rather raise the cost of parking downtown… currently, it’s hard to justify bus fare for a family vs the cost of SmartPark .”

      Yes. And congestion pricing and gas tax and get rid of mortgage tax deduction and the spending of all our money on the military and and and….

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    • wsbob March 19, 2017 at 11:54 am

      “…I’d rather raise the cost of parking downtown… currently, it’s hard to justify bus fare for a family vs the cost of SmartPark .” robotgirl

      Make the cost of parking downtown, equal to bus fare for a family? What amount of money are you thinking of?

      I can recognize easily, the problems you suggest exist with two or three kids needing to be delivered to and picked up, possibly all to and from different locations, on a routine basis. Transport by car has its own aggravations, but it can be simpler than trying to have the kids shuttled around to where they need to go, by bus.

      Walkable, bike-able communities with employment abounding within them, are a great idea, but one far more easily suggested than actually done. I’m skeptical too, about how wonderful they are. Some people here in the U.S., like to rave about how wonderful it is to live car free in amsterdam, copenhagen. What about other high density population cities in the world, some in japan, china or maybe korea? Too many people living too closely together, is how I think many U.S. citizens would respond to the idea of life in those cities.

      Open space, your own relatively open space, is one of the reasons for decades, people in the Portland metro area have been willing to put up with lengthy, daily commutes; endure a tough job in the city, so you could enjoy a nice, quiet place in a rural or suburban community. Downtown living can be exciting for some people, but for many people, it’s noisy, dirty, and wearing on nerves and peace of mind. Living there is being trapped in a cage, as some people like to dismissively, and I think…disrespectfully…refer to people commuting in motor vehicles, particularly, the personal car. And that kind of disrespect hardly helps to resolve the different issues contributing to massive and increasingly aggravating road congestion largely arising from overwhelming use of motor vehicles for travel.

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  • Justin M March 18, 2017 at 11:36 am

    It’s a (should have said) poorly-written article to be sure, but the data it points to is interesting. Also, considering the millions of people who have moved to LA since the project began, the fact that congestion hasn’t gotten worse is also worth pointing out.

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    • Justin M March 18, 2017 at 11:37 am

      The one I linked to. Not this article. As always, this article is great.

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  • Kittens March 19, 2017 at 2:45 am

    The thing which really gets my goat is that most of the congestion about the Rose Quarter bottleneck is due to elective events happening at the arena, nothing more. Blazers games starting at 7pm on a weekday is just evil to the majority of us who do not attend nor wish to.

    If they are willing to spend $500M to ease congestion largely to move people into the Rose Garden spending a few hundred million less and beefing up TriMet service, a new dedicated transit bridge and shuttle busses would make more sense. But no, some ODOT, MAGA guys in Salem want everyone in their cages to get to the games without looking at poor people.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty March 19, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      Aren’t “elective events” kind of the point of the Rose Quarter?

      And why do you conclude that ODOT has some desire to shelter concert-goers from “poor people”?

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      • Kittens March 19, 2017 at 11:23 pm

        Just to clarify: By elective events, I mean the events happening at the Rose Garden are scheduled and not some fluke of nature like a car accident or snow storm yet they cause a great deal of disruption to those who are not participating. They are private, for-profit ventures that are completely within the realm of human decision making and planning.

        Regarding Odot, my point is that this agency sees everything as a problem solved with more roads and greater capacity.

        Not, how do we most efficiently move 25,000 people into an arena?

        Every_Single_Ticket sold at the Rose Quarter should include a $5 surcharge which gives the holder a free all-day ticket on Trimet. And Trimet be required to run extra capacity on MAX and have dedicated express shuttle buses serving the facility from major TC’s

        But no. We get small thinking from small heads in Salem and Washington.

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        • 9watts March 19, 2017 at 11:28 pm

          Excellent points. Thank you for making them!
          Reminds me of my version of your complaint which was the recent ($70milion?) upgrade to the Woodburn interchange, all for the damn outlet mall. Taxpayers funding this nonsense!!!

          Oh, and if you happen by around Thanksgiving, it’s still all jammed up.
          We never seem to learn how that works.

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          • Middle of the Road Guy March 20, 2017 at 3:46 pm

            Yeah, but at least that sweet, sweet sales tax made up for it.

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  • Jim Labbe
    Jim Labbe March 19, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Jonathan… can you post the location of the Trimet Board Meeting next Wednesday in the main body of the article?

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    • gtrain March 20, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      From Jonathan: 9am at 121 SW Salmon (World Trade Center building, Sky Bridge A & B).

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  • pdxbusman March 19, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Read it and weep TriMet. Don’t waste a dime on widening. Figure out a better way.

    http://cityobservatory.org/reducing-congestion-katy-didnt/

    “It’s yet another classic example of the problem of induced demand: adding more freeway capacity in urban areas just generates additional driving, longer trips and more sprawl; and new lanes are jammed to capacity almost as soon as they’re open. Induced demand is now so well-established in the literature that economists Gilles Duranton and Matthew Turner call it “The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion.”

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    • Pete March 20, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      I have several colleagues living in Katy. I met them in Houston for a meeting last year and all they could do was bitch about the traffic there. They had to stop and think about it when I reminded them that they were the traffic there…

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      • Mark smith March 21, 2017 at 1:47 pm

        It’s always “everyone else”.

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  • Mark smith March 19, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    How many billions for these futile tweaks?

    How many billions less or a simple crossing at Lloyd Center? Just one?

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  • Matthew in Portsmouth March 20, 2017 at 8:33 am

    rick
    On what bike route ?
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    Springwater Trail, N Williams, N Ainsworth, N Willamette.

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  • Paul Atkinson March 20, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    9watts
    “Portland isn’t Amsterdam.”
    Interesting style of conversation you are exhibiting. We here tend to look at places like Amsterdam or Copenhagen or other European cities and appreciate some of the arrangements that seem to work there as far as the overall transportation network is concerned, people getting around by means other than a car, not owning a car, more money in people’s pockets, etc. So let me ask you this:
    – would it be so terrible if we tried to make Portland a bit more like Amsterdam?
    – if the answer is no, then why the histrionics?
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    It’s also good to remember, when making that argument, that Amsterdam wasn’t always like Amsterdam.

    They became that way, and I believe we can follow a similar path if we choose. We may or may not choose that, but it’s not impossible on the face of it just because they went first. Literally the opposite.

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    • Paul Atkinson March 20, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      Drat…that was supposed to be a reply to 9watts, but now it’s on its own. #OrphanComment

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  • GlowBoy March 21, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Hello, Kitty
    I will simplify the argument and state that I see roads as a public good (but am not shocked that you do not). I am not opposed to levying drivers more heavily to pay for their upkeep, but I do not see that as a moral argument for inherent fairness.
    I share your dislike for our current transportation system, but that is a question quite separate from how to pay for the one we have.
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    I am absolute not arguing for people paying for transportation proportional to their use of it. I’m just pointing out that drivers don’t (even though many mistakenly think that they do), so it’s particularly absurd to expect cyclists to.

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  • GlowBoy March 21, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Hello, Kitty
    We’re really luck to have MAX at the airport… when you visit a city that has no decent airport transit, it really underscores the point.
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    This is true. Portland has an airport that is accessible by both transit and bike. Many cities have neither.

    I can and do use both modes when I arrive or depart PDX, and I’m grateful to have both options at my MSP home as well.

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  • Mark smith March 21, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    longgone
    Live in a place where people move to without impunity and deal with the outcome. When are you people going to get it. I suggest that you quit pissing up a tree and ride yer friggin’ bike. Guess what? Butt loads of people need freeways. Hell, just today after my bike commute home today, I used no less than two interstates and a major arterial road along with countless side streets in the metro to get shit done for myself. Sorry.
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    I can sort of you imagie you writing this as Lars Larson or Glen Beck is playing in the background…And almost spitting at the screen. I get it….And was once like you. Here is the deal….Are there two lanes east to west and North to South for a freeway? Great. The conditions for freight and military movement have been met. See? Wasn’t that easy?

    Moving on…..

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  • Mark smith March 21, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Chris I
    Yep, Seattle has definitely solved their congestion problems!
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    They did. Adding density and adding transit. Although WSDOT, seeking to remain relevent, still adds road capacity like a drunken sailor.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty March 21, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      Uh…. I’m going to guess that if you missed the sarcasm in Chris I’s reply, you have never tried driving in Seattle. Congestion there is horrific.

      Density does not solve congestion problems, unless, possibly, you have a world class transit system, but even then I’m having a hard time thinking of any dense cities without congestion. Can anyone propose an example?

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      • Mark smith March 21, 2017 at 2:21 pm

        Yes, driven there many times. Stating “adding density doesn’t solve congestion” is disingenuous and one-sided. Transit systems need density in order to plan higher fare box recovery routes. Higher density boost light rail -which you stated you were apart of planning.

        Congestion there is a bit rough..but no more than LA or Boston..or NYC.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty March 21, 2017 at 2:28 pm

          I agree density is critical for transit.

          Transit helps move more people around a city, but it doesn’t reduce congestion… any slack in congestion induces more driving, returning the city to it’s steady-state where “pain of driving” = “benefit of driving” for the set of people involved.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty March 21, 2017 at 2:33 pm

            Also… LA, Boston, NYC, Seattle… all cities with plenty o’ congestion, but which vary widely in density and transit quality.

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  • Josh G March 22, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    I wrote the board recommending installation of 2nd max line over the river taking the place of 1 or more of the freeway projects. Currently when their is a switch problem or other issue at Steel bridge, all the Max system is affected.

    Also suggested GM of Trimet should advocate for public transportation funding since that is part of the job!

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