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Lawmakers weigh in on bus-only lanes, Powell Blvd, and more at east Portland forum

Posted by on August 4th, 2017 at 1:24 pm

Oregon State Rep Janelle Bynum last night. Seated are Congressman Earl Blumenauer and County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Transportation is such a hot topic in east Portland right now that, “We need to be inside with the air conditioning,” said Lee Cha last night in the gym of the Immigration & Refugee Community Organization, located near the intersection of 102nd and Glisan. Cha, IRCO’s executive director, welcomed a panel of three lawmakers to a public forum on the topic: County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, Oregon State Representative Janelle Bynum and U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer.

The trio shared their perspectives on the issues and were asked questions by the audience.

Blumenauer played emcee and kicked things off. A veteran bike advocate and the face of cycling in Congress, Blumenauer knows the big picture here: He went to high school nearby and served as both a county and city commissioner before moving to D.C.

One-by-one he checked off some of the big problems. “Since the first light rail and a few freeway projects, there’s been very little federal investment east of 82nd,” he said. “And the 205 freeway was a mixed blessings in terms of what it did to the neighborhoods it was dropped into. It took a lot of time for the communities to recover… This area has been sort of a stepchild.”

Blumenauer added that “orphaned highways” like Powell and 82nd are “stuck in limbo” and “aren’t much different from when I went to high school out here and that was a long, long, long time ago.”

The crux of the problem, he said, was that because the federal government hasn’t raised the gas tax in 24 years, making it increasingly difficult for cities to raise enough matching funds to build things. “We’re trying to meet the federal partnership with 1993 dollars dealing with 2017 problems.” Add autonomous vehicles, which he said will “happen quickly,” and our traditional funding mechanisms — gas tax, traffic fines, and parking — will dry up quickly.

“I was sick of taking my kids’ strollers out into the streets because there were no sidewalks.”
— Jessica Vega Pederson, Multnomah County Commissioner

Pointing to that future, Blumenauer questioned the wisdom of building more space to park private cars. “We have parking garages being built that in a decade won’t make enough money to pay back their bonds.” He’s already eyeing new garages and existing ones for repurposing into affordable housing.

Jessica Vega Pederson, whom County Chair Deborah Kafoury has given the transportation portfolio, said her interest lies in making east Portland safer. “I came into this from a pedestrian safety standpoint… I was sick of taking my kids’ strollers out into the streets because there were no sidewalks.”

Newly elected State Rep Janelle Bynum (District 51) still has young children — both of whom were at last night’s event. Bynum was a major voice in pushing for funding of safety projects on Powell Blvd, a project that got $110 million in the recently passed statewide transportation bill. “I’m a very big proponent of making sure our neighborhoods are walkable and safe for kids and families,” she said. “I’ve pushed a stroller more miles than I care to share and I want to make sure our parents with strollers, and our bikes and our pedestrians can walk through our communities and enjoy their neighborhoods.”

As an owner of four local McDonald’s franchises with her husband, Bynum also carries weight as a business owner and you can rest assured she will be watching future projects on Powell very closely. “You can’t walk along Powell safely,” she said. “And that affects quality of life.”

Keeping to her promise that she’s “just a vessel” and that she “represents the people,” Bynum ceded her time to noted neighborhood activist Kem Marks. For him, the funding of Powell was more than just a political victory.

“This is something I think a lot of people didn’t think was ever going to happen,” he said. “To me personally, this is almost the elimination of what is a daily existential threat of trying to walk across and walking along Powell. To just do basic things.”

“From a social justice standpoint I’m willing to look at every option on the table.”
— Janelle Bynum, Oregon State Rep responding to a question about bus-only lanes.

When the event turned to the crowd for questions, someone brought up the Green Loop, a proposal the city describes as a “6-mile signature linear park and active transportation path that will bring new life and energy to the Central City.”

Vega Pederson foreshadowed the debate about that project by saying, “I think that sounds wonderful. But I also want to see the projects that have been waiting in east Portland for a long, long time get funded and started before I see that happen.”

One woman from the crowd said she was frustated that so many drivers clogging streets are from Washington. She wanted to impose a tax on them. This spurred discussion of congestion pricing. “We shouldn’t let the only companies that get to monentize congestion be Uber and Lyft,” was Blumenauer’s novel framing.

And Vega Pederson got perhaps the loudest spontaneous cheer of the night with her unequivocal support of charging people to drive. “We have to look at congestion pricing to help with demand,” she said, “And do it in a way that respects the fact that not everybody can afford pricing and do it in a way that rewards people for using less taxing modes like public transportation.”

On a related note, Luke Norman, a volunteer with the fledgling Portland Bus Lane Project asked the three electeds point-blank: “Would you be willing to provide leadership and support for bus-only lanes?”

Unsurprisingly Blumenauer said yes. He also mentioned that doing a pilot project à la Better Naito would be wise, “So people can try it out first.”

Vega Pederson also threw her support behind more bus-only lanes and mentioned that she’s already met with Portland Bus Lane Project. “We’ve started discussions about Hawthorne,” she said. “Even if it’s a pilot like Better Naito… In the future it’s something we have to consider.” Vega Pederson added she’s very interested in getting a bus-only concept into the discussion of the county’s Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge project.

Bynum had a much more nuanced answer. She tied the issue back to housing affordability and the experiences of people who struggle to make ends meet:

“If you are forced farther out, and if you’re working in the city and you choose — or cannot afford to — have a vehicle to travel into the city than you’re forced to take [public] transportation. And you look at your smartphone and you say, ‘OK I need to go from 122nd into the city.’ If you’re on the bus or if you’re walking it’ll say it takes an hour and 28 minutes to get there. But if have a car it takes you 23 minutes to get there. When I look at numbers like that it tells me it costs money to be poor. And that to me is a social justice issue.

I think that when we try to equalize things and make it easier for people to get to there jobs and places of enjoyment they’d like to get to — then that’s the justice we seek. If it’s bus-only lanes. Great… From a social justice standpoint I’m willing to look at every option on the table to make sure that quality of life remains high.”

— 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

57 Comments
  • Todd Boulanger August 4, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Jonathan, again thanks for covering these regional issues…

    A) In response to the attendee who complained about too many Washingtonian licensed cars clogging up PDX streets and the need for a tax on them (I wish to remind her that most of them are already taxed by Oregon thru their wages; Oregon leaders would get a lot of bi-state regional cred if they earmarked more of that revenue stream to regional transportation fixes); and

    B) Earl also hit on part of the legacy problem per “orphaned highways”: federal and state DOTs are great at funding expanding motorization facilities but very poor at funding projects that attempt to decommission this extra capacity when it is no longer needed (or appropriate). Thus we are all struck with legacy infrastructure that is both deficient in terms of safety, multimodalism and an economic drag on their host communities.

    PS. In “A” above there may be a lot of Washington support for congestion pricing if “Washingtonians Working in Oregon” (WWiO) were given a credit for their income taxes paid in Oregon. (Like what WA retailers do for Oregonians by waiving their sales tax if asked.)

    PSS> I also know of a lot of Vancouver retailers and bars that would get more business if a bridge toll were reinstated…the peak congestion already keeps some business from crossing the river if its a discretionary trip.

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    • David Hampsten August 4, 2017 at 5:02 pm

      From the US Congress: https://www.congress.gov/bill/111th-congress/house-bill/3461

      Orphan Highway Restoration Act – Defines “orphan highway” to mean a highway that: (1) formerly was a U.S. numbered highway;
      (2) no longer is a principal route for traffic passing through a state; and
      (3) because of decreased importance to statewide transportation, has received only routine maintenance but needs significant restoration.

      Powell Blvd is still listed as a US Highway, #26, but it meets the other 2 criteria.

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      • Racer X August 5, 2017 at 3:43 pm

        So it looks like it never got adopted?

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      • David Hampsten August 5, 2017 at 5:29 pm

        Nope, little orphan Powell…

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    • emerson August 7, 2017 at 7:05 am

      If those WWiOs lived in Oregon, they would have less distance to cover to get to their jobs. Then Oregon would receive taxes on their payrolls and local communities wouldn’t have to deal with the traffic they contribute (as they could walk, ride or roll more easily as a commuting option.)

      Noting their payroll is taxed is well and good, but everyone in Oregon pays the same tax. The difference is we (Portlanders) are subsidizing their monster homes and “more affordable living” in Washington because we have to deal with the traffic, havoc and all the other ills we face when those WWiOs use PDX as a cut-through (or DT destination.)

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  • Mossby Pomegranate August 4, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    So lets see here…you force lower income people out of the central city with ridiculous housing costs then want to screw them again when they drive back in to their jobs.

    And who are we fooling? What amount of money would ever make city leaders care about east PDX? It’s exactly why they’ve been happy to foist much of the homeless problem on that part of the city. Pure intentional neglect.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty August 7, 2017 at 12:23 am

      >>> So lets see here…you force lower income people out of the central city with ridiculous housing costs then want to screw them again when they drive back in to their jobs. <<<

      Toll the bridges and build light rail to Vancouver.

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    • SE Rider August 7, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      I’m convinced there has to be a rule throughout Portland government that all projects must move West to East. Almost every improvement project I’ve seen in this city over the last five years, has always been implemented in the core first and then slowly worked out east to eventually get to East Portland. The change over to LED streetlights is a perfect example. Or the improvement to ADA curb cuts on street corners. It just seems like the city doesn’t care about the optics. Surely they can’t be that oblivious.

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  • rick August 4, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Then let’s ban the construction of future drive-thrus.

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    • Todd Boulanger August 4, 2017 at 4:37 pm

      This is an issue you can take up with the City / County Land Use commissions…with a lot of patience and other political support…I am only aware of local instances of restrictions on such driveway dependant businesses taking access off of high capacity transit corridors (LRT etc). [I was able to fight a bank drivethru in Vancouver due to such a code.]

      A more effective short term tool for “fighting” fast food drivethrus might be the federal ADA law…all too many of this type of business close their ADA compliant entries at night but still operate drivethrus without ADA wheelchair/ pedestrian access… (Except Burgerville).

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  • Ted Buehler August 4, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks for the coverage, Jonathan.

    Good to see “Bus Only Lanes” hitting prime time.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Mark Smith August 4, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    Well, it’s good to know the car is social justice and the bus is gentrification. Who knew?

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    • David Hampsten August 5, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      That’s not what she said, and you know it. Currently transit in East Portland does a good job connecting workers to downtown, but very few East Portlanders actually work downtown, as most work in the industrial areas of Swan Island, the Columbia Corridor, Clark County, Clackamas Town Center, and Gresham, where transit service isn’t as good, and it’s really bad for those who have grave-yard shifts, when transit hardly runs at all. So if folks want to work and keep their jobs, they have to drive, or else get a lift from someone who can drive. And of course bike connections between East Portland and those areas are horrible.

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  • John Mulvey August 5, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Rep. Bynam is right to raise her issue. Low-income people have been pushed to areas where non-auto options are inadequate. Their concerns are real.

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    • Paul August 5, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      That’s why we need to make their non-auto options much better.

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      • billyjo August 6, 2017 at 7:32 am

        And then once we have great transit connections and big beautiful bikeways, the rents can go up and the gentrifiers can move in……. We’ve been down this road before. Many of us in east Portland have lived closer in with better access, only to be priced out. There has to be a better option.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty August 7, 2017 at 12:27 am

          And when you moved east, you priced someone else out.

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          • billyjo August 7, 2017 at 10:50 am

            kinda my point. It’s an endless cycle that doesn’t solve anything. Maybe we should be spending some time solving the real problem.

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          • I Voted For Trump August 7, 2017 at 1:16 pm

            That’s right. Solution is to allow people to do what they want on their property – and not gouge them with high fees and taxes if, for example, they want to build a tiny home in the back yard and rent it out, etc.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty August 7, 2017 at 2:48 pm

              Damned straight. The next city inspector who tells me I can’t burn tires in my yard is going to have to get a good hard look at my pocket constitution.

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        • oliver August 7, 2017 at 8:59 am

          It’s a point I’ve been making for awhile, though less with an eye toward bikeways and transit and more specifically do to with pedestrian safety.

          When those sidewalks go in, and neighborhoods become safe for families with small children, out they will come, and they’ll be bringing their money. Then all the $200K homes will start being bought with cash and flipped for double that or demo’d/developed and sold for triple that.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty August 7, 2017 at 3:16 pm

            Improving the neighborhood makes it a more attractive place to live, which means housing prices increase because people are willing to pay more to live there. The people who can’t or won’t pay more have to move to somewhere less attractive where prices are lower. Which sucks.

            The only solution that I see is to not improve the neighborhood.

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            • SE Rider August 7, 2017 at 3:31 pm

              Or make the improvements where it’s mostly (high percentage, like above 80%) owner-occupied properties. Then at least most of the local residents will benefit if they choose to leave (via improved home sales prices).
              I don’t know if any area like this actually exists in Portland though.

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            • 9watts August 7, 2017 at 4:35 pm

              not really.

              if you don’t have population growth so much is possible.

              I’m curious for your thoughts on this piece:
              https://www.forbes.com/sites/eamonnfingleton/2014/02/02/in-worlds-best-run-economy-home-prices-just-keep-falling-because-thats-what-home-prices-are-supposed-to-do/#77f05ddc6ad0

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              • I Voted for Trump August 7, 2017 at 6:07 pm

                The title of the article is clickbait “..world’s best-run economy…” Europe in general is in turmoil – some nations want to exit, at least one already has done it. Of course our nation also has it’s troubles; all of them do.

                The article says that the German government basically tells home owners how much they can sell their homes for in order to keep housing prices stable. I don’t know much about their system, but perhaps that is because the state guarantees them some kind of pension in old age. We have a different type of system. Most folks in the US have no pension – we have SS, but all that really guarantees is enough money to buy food, and not much else for many low wage earners; and 401Ks work sometimes and fail at other times; thus, over here, due to high inflation and no pension for most folks, we hope to be able to sell our home when it’s time to retire (replacing it with a less expensive one) for a big price in order to have a nest egg to help pay bills in old age.

                And, yes, we do have high population growth which drives demand.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 7, 2017 at 8:06 pm

                “A key to the story is that German municipal authorities consistently increase housing supply by releasing land for development on a regular basis.”

                In other words, no UGB.

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              • 9watts August 7, 2017 at 8:08 pm

                I think that is actually exactly what our UGB is/does (20 year supply of buildable land). Though it (the Metro area UGB) is commonly misunderstood to be something else.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 7, 2017 at 8:19 pm

                With 20 years of buildable land available (a supply that takes account of projected population growth, by the way), why are prices rising?

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              • 9watts August 7, 2017 at 8:24 pm

                OK I think our conversation has bifurcated: we were talking just now about Germany’s approach to keeping housing prices stable (or actually falling) with a population that has grown very little over my lifetime.
                Now you’ve added in the UGB parameter, and you appear to be equating it to Germany’s policies, which I think is a stretch. You are forgetting the difference in population growth rates btw. Oregon/Metro area and Germany, for starters.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 7, 2017 at 8:45 pm

                The article you referred me to contained the quote I supplied, which listed a policy very similar to our UGB policy as the key to housing price stability. The article didn’t talk about falling population as a driving factor, but instead a ready supply of land, government policies that encouraged renting over owning, and government intervention in the property market. In fact, the word “population” appeared nowhere in the article.

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              • 9watts August 8, 2017 at 1:00 am

                “the word ‘population’ appeared nowhere in the article.”

                that was my biggest critique of the article.

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              • 9watts August 8, 2017 at 11:55 am

                “I don’t know much about their system”

                maybe it would be worth finding out more about their system before castigating it.

                “Of course our nation also has it’s troubles; all of them do.”

                I don’t find this kind of imputed, reflexive equivalence helpful. There are hundreds of metrics by which to compare countries objectively, and—I say this with no satisfaction—ours does rank near the bottom on very nearly all the metrics I can think of. I am at a loss to explain this, given our principles and our wealth, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

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    • 9watts August 5, 2017 at 6:26 pm

      Yes, but.

      This framing of the problem is just hopelessly narrow:
      “And you look at your smartphone and you say, ‘OK I need to go from 122nd into the city.’ If you’re on the bus or if you’re walking it’ll say it takes an hour and 28 minutes to get there. But if have a car it takes you 23 minutes to get there. When I look at numbers like that it tells me it costs money to be poor.”

      Ivan Illich predicted this dependency thinking forty years ago, this forgetting how to get around except as a passenger:

      The product of the transportation industry is the habitual passenger. He has been boosted out of the world in which people still move on their own, and he has lost the sense that he stands at the center of his world. The habitual passenger is conscious of the exasperating time scarcity that results from daily recourse to the cars, trains, buses, subways, and elevators that force him to cover an average of twenty miles each day, frequently criss-crossing his path within a radius of less than five miles. He has been lifted off his feet. No matter if he goes by subway or jet plane, he feels slower and poorer than someone else and resents the shortcuts taken by the privileged few who can escape the frustrations of traffic. If he is cramped by the timetable of his commuter train, he dreams of a car. If he drives, exhausted by the rush hour, he envies the speed capitalist who drives against the traffic. The habitual passenger is caught at the wrong end of growing inequality, time scarcity, and personal impotence, but he can see no way out of this bind except to demand more of the same: more traffic by transport. He stands in wait for technical changes in the design of vehicles, roads, and schedules; or else he expects a revolution to produce mass rapid transport under public control. In neither case does he calculate the price of being hauled into a better future. He forgets that he is the one who will pay the bill, either in fares or in taxes. He overlooks the hidden costs of replacing private cars with equally rapid public transport.

      The habitual passenger cannot grasp the folly of traffic based overwhelmingly on transport. His inherited perceptions of space and time and of personal pace have been industrially deformed. He has lost the power to conceive of himself outside the passenger role. To “gather” for him means to be brought together by vehicles. He takes freedom of movement to be the same as one’s claim on propulsion. He has lost faith in the political power of the feet and of the tongue. As a result, what he wants is not more liberty as a citizen but better service as a client. http://ranprieur.com/readings/illichcars.html

      [to bike from 122nd into the city might only take 45 minutes (says googlemaps)]

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      • David Hampsten August 5, 2017 at 7:33 pm

        45 min by bike from EP to downtown: It depends where you start from. I lived around 102nd & Stark, so it often did take me 45 min to get to the Hawthorne Bridge into downtown as it was mostly downhill, but because of the hills on the return, it usually took me 60-75 min returning. 122nd should add 10 min each way, but 162nd another 20 min, and anywhere from Wilkes even longer.

        But none of that matters. Ivan Illich, as an East Portland Russian-speaking member of the industrial proletariat, likely commutes (much like most of his soviet brethren of East Portland) to jobs in the factories in Swan Island, the Columbia Corridor, or in Gresham, and almost never to downtown, according to a BPS study. Which makes me concerned about State Rep Janelle Bynum, as she seems to be totally unaware of who her poorer constituents are or where they work, let alone how they get there.

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        • 9watts August 5, 2017 at 7:34 pm

          ++

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        • I Voted For Trump August 6, 2017 at 4:42 pm

          I can guess, with 100% certainty, that all of Janelle’s constituents, poor or not, can determine far better for themselves how to get around than she and all the politicians on the planet combined.

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  • Al August 5, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    I, for one, am glad to see Powell get some funding. It’s been a disaster far too long.

    “Add autonomous vehicles, which he [Blumenauer] said will “happen quickly,” and our traditional funding mechanisms — gas tax, traffic fines, and parking — will dry up quickly.”

    I don’t follow any of this logic. First of all, autonomous vehicles are not going to “happen quickly”. I’ll explain later. Second of all even if they did, there is nothing that guarantees autonomous vehicles to be electric which is the only way that they will avoid a gas tax. Finally, while autonomous vehicles will alleviate parking, they will do so at the expense of traffic congestion because your vehicle can technically drive itself home and park in your driveway which, while it frees up downtown parking, creates twice the trips for each commute.

    Autonomous vehicles are not just around the corner. Or more exactly, they will be “just around the corner” for quite some time because while manufacturers are excited that they solved 80% of the problems quickly, it will be the last 20% of problem solving to get autonomous vehicles on the roads that will take forever. They got all of the low hanging fruit which makes autonomous travel appear within reach. Remember how hydrogen vehicles were just around the corner a decade ago? Yeah, it will be just like that. The technology that made autonomous vehicles appear magical is actually not in the car at all. It’s the map databases that google and apple have put together.

    I personally lobbied for a gas tax increase while the price of gasoline was falling in 2015. It was the perfect opportunity to raise the tax without impacting drivers. The gas tax should bear virtually all of the transportation infrastructure cost. Once gasoline vehicles have become a minority on roads, we can discuss an appropriate level of electric utility tax to add in order to create a new funding source. Yes, this will impact trucking and the downstream effect of raising shipping costs. This is not a bad thing however much UPS and Amazon complain about it.

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    • 9watts August 5, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      Thank you, Al, for saying that. I stumbled over Blumenauer’s foolish talk as well.

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    • El Biciclero August 6, 2017 at 9:56 am

      “They got all of the low hanging fruit which makes autonomous travel appear within reach.”

      As someone who works in technology, I’ve experienced a few companies that have fallen for this tempting claim. As you say, seeing 80% of the [easy] problems solved quickly creates overconfidence that the remaining problems will be solved just as quickly, rather than an acknowledgment that those problems are likely to be or become exponentially harder to solve. Within the details lies the Devil’s abode.

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      • Alex Reedin August 6, 2017 at 10:49 am

        Yeah, I read some article saying, “We’ve got autonomous vehicles figured out pretty well for driving around human drivers. Pedestrians are trickier, especially young kids. And then people on bikes – well, that’s a huge problem!” Which I took to mean, “We are really, really far away from autonomous vehicles except on freeways. “

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        • I Voted For Trump August 6, 2017 at 4:26 pm

          If autonomous vehicles were perfected today, people can not afford to take their existing cars to the scrap yard, and buy an autonomous car; thus, you re correct – they’re 2, maybe 3 decades away from comprising “nearly all” vehicles.

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          • paikiala August 7, 2017 at 2:09 pm

            Level 2 is already in use in higher end cars. Level 3 and 4 is possible in 10 years. The insurance cost to manually drive will be prohibitive in the future.

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            • I Voted for Trump August 7, 2017 at 6:10 pm

              Nope. If that were true, it would be prohibitively expensive today when 99.99% of cars are driver-operated. If there are fewer accidents in the future due to autonomous cars, then everyone’s insurance rates will fall. It’s a win-win.

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              • SE Rider August 8, 2017 at 12:44 pm

                That’s not true, if 90%+ of the crashes involve non-autonomous cars, you’d better believe the insurers are going to charge more for driver-operated insurance (since they’re are much more likely to get in a crash).

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    • I Voted For Trump August 6, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      UPS and Amazon don’t care how much gasoline costs and will not complain or whine even if gasoline costs $20/gallon. YOU will pay the cost in your shipping fees, and on every product your buy.

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      • paikiala August 7, 2017 at 2:09 pm

        And they certainly care about the skilled human labor cost to deliver packages.

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  • billyjo August 6, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Why not a transit tax for people who live in areas with high walk, bike and transit options? Make it equal to the cost of an annual pass on tri met. Once you pay your tax, you get free trips on tri met? If you use non car options, the tax wouldn’t matter since you’d be buying the pass anyways. If you insist on driving only, you can pay the tax.

    Places like NW, and close in Eastside? You don’t need a car there. transit, bike, walking and an occasional Uber gets you around.

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    • Bjorn August 7, 2017 at 10:59 am

      Why stop there, we could make Trimet fareless systemwide for less than a 100 dollar per person per year utility fee.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty August 7, 2017 at 1:16 pm

        I really like this idea, though I’ve often wondered if it would pencil out.

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        • David Hampsten August 7, 2017 at 5:04 pm

          Well, let’s assume there are 640,000 residents in Portland. Those who live in poorly connected areas include most of SW, East Portland, & Cully, and Bethany Heights, say 240,000 people, means 400,000 would be eligible for the tax. Exclude 15% for children and 15% for the senior/veteran/disabled discount, so that leaves 280,000 residents. So the $100 tax should raise roughly $28 million/year for TriMet.

          Mind you, everyone who works for a paycheck already pays for some transit through the payroll tax.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty August 7, 2017 at 7:28 pm

            Let’s see… in 2016, TriMet had revenues of $325,074,000, 24% of which came from the farebox. That is $780,17,760. If we accept your population numbers, each of the 280,000 residents would need to pay about $280 each, assuming only minimal additional capacity would be needed to carry what we would hope would be a much increased ridership.

            Given the popularity of the $35 Arts Tax, a $280 Bus Tax would be an easy sell.

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      • SE Rider August 7, 2017 at 3:32 pm

        Except then TRIMET would be required to equitably serve all.

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  • I Voted For Trump August 6, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Most ridiculous observation of the month: “One woman from the crowd said she was frustated that so many drivers clogging streets are from Washington.”

    How does she know this? BECAUSE SHE IS IN HER CAR CLOGGING THE STREETS!!!!!
    🙂
    🙂
    🙂

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty August 7, 2017 at 12:32 am

      Wait… I thought she was in the meeting. Who was she talking to?

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    • emerson August 7, 2017 at 7:17 am

      Or a bus, or walking, or riding (or driving.)

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    • oliver August 7, 2017 at 9:04 am

      Nice try. Most of the #@%**!! with Washington plates I encounter when I’m riding my bicycle or walking the dogs.

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  • Bjorn August 7, 2017 at 10:57 am

    This morning I noticed that the center lane of sandy approaching the parkrose transit center has been painted as a bus only lane. This should help buses that are trying to get to the transit center when the onramp to the 205 backs up on to sandy in the afternoon, although this morning I also noticed an SOV driving down it so who knows… Nice to see the city implementing some bus only lanes though even if they are short, but I think we probably need camera enforcement if they are going to work long term.

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