Metro vote Thursday could be pivotal in push for Interstate Bridge project

Posted by on January 3rd, 2022 at 11:43 am

View northbound at I-5/Marine Drive interchange. (Source: Google Maps)

It’s not clear how much leverage local leaders will have to press for major changes after this point.

This Thursday (1/6) Metro Council will vote on whether to allocate $35 million to the Interstate Bridge Replacement (IBR) program, funding that would allow the five-mile highway project to move forward into a “preliminary engineering” (PE) phase, a precursor to full design. This vote, which was originally scheduled to take place in early December but was delayed after Metro failed to give adequate notice of the hearing, will be a rare public hearing on the project and one of the few junctures where elected officials will take an official stance on whether the estimated $4.5 billion expansion of I-5 between Oregon and Washington should move ahead.

The outcome of the vote is not really in doubt. So far no regional electeds have voted against more funding for the project, with Councilor Mary Nolan and their outspoken questioning of major aspects of the project serving as an outlier.

Councilor Juan Carlos Gonzalez, who voted yes on an earlier stage of the same funding allocation at Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT), has said his vote this week is dependent on the answers to two specific questions:

First: “Can you confirm that there has been no definitive decision made on project design including the [Locally Preferred Alternative], and that the PE phase will work with community to identify project elements and co-create design?” The LPA will be the final design of the project that is subjected to environmental review. No definitive decision has been made, but there is a rush to get one by the end of June. So far all three designs for the highway itself on either side of the river look very similar to the LPA that was arrived at ten years ago with the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project: none differ in their capacity for traffic, with ten traffic lanes each.

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[Traffic] volumes were about 15,000 vehicles per day below where the assumptions in the CRC predicted they’d be in 2019.

The second question: “Can you confirm that this phase of PE will analyze alternatives that include congestion pricing, induced demand, high capacity transit and GHG emission reduction?” This is the primary ask that Metro President Lynn Peterson and Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty have made of the project team: to conduct modeling that shows what the impact of additional transit investments, paired with progressive congestion pricing options, would be. (We should be seeing the result of the modeling in the next few months.)

“When I see the modeling the comes back, I want to see that we’re committed to multimodal transportation, that we’re not allowing traffic to be diverted into neighborhoods… that we’re not only interested in funding a bridge, but we’re funding the other transportation components that are attached to the bridge, so it is my hope that when you come back with these options, that will be the make-or-break moment for us,” Hardesty said at the JPACT meeting in November. But it’s not clear how much leverage local leaders will have to press for major changes after this point.

The committee that will ultimately sign off on the project, made up of state legislators from both states, isn’t asking very many questions about the project apart from “how fast can it be built”. It doesn’t include any vocal skeptics like Councilor Nolan. Rep. Khan Pham, who wrote a letter to Metro asking them to hold off on funding, doesn’t serve on the project’s legislative committee. Other climate change-focused officials, like Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal, clearly see the Metro vote as a pivotal moment. Jayapal wrote via Twitter November 22nd that, “… any funding of the IBRP be conditioned upon an agreement to develop alternatives that show a commitment to addressing climate change, including through a holistic analysis of robust transit options and equitable congestion pricing focused on curbing gas emissions and reducing vehicle miles traveled.”

While we wait for results of modeling on these issues, the project team has previewed some of the data being used to generate them. Traffic volumes, last updated in 2005 for the CRC, show that traffic on the I-5 bridge grew just 0.3% per year since that time — and those are pre-pandemic, 2019 numbers. That’s just a fraction of the annual growth (1.3%) projected for the CRC and means volumes were about 15,000 vehicles per day below where the assumptions in the CRC predicted they’d be in 2019.

Freight traffic is growing at a much faster rate than general purpose traffic (chart at right), which only increased 4.3% total over those fourteen years. So far, dedicated space for freight across the river hasn’t really been a part of the discussion but given the centrality of freight in discussions about the future highway, perhaps it should be.

Traffic on the I-205 bridge has grown faster than on I-5, but still not as fast as the CRC forecasts assumed either. Together both bridges are about 30,000 vehicle trips behind where the CRC said they would be. This points to taking any future predictions of dramatic increases in traffic with a boulder of salt.

In the next six months, the IBR team is looking to get elected leaders to sign off on what the project will look like. The original timeline for that was the end of March, but the questions being asked by people like Councilors Nolan and Gonzalez are requiring more time to answer. That additional time may prove vital to improving the IBR, or we may just end up delaying the return of the CRC.

The IBR at Metro: Thursday, January 6th from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm. Zoom link and meeting materials here.

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kernals12
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kernals12

This expansion will make Portland a more livable place. It says a lot that Portland is getting fed up with the anti-car lobby.

Watts
Guest
Watts

It sounds more like it will make Vancouver a more livable place for those who frequently drive to Portland by car, at the cost of livability in Portland.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

And five billion dollars.

squareman
Subscriber

The expansion makes the Vancouver suburbs more livable to people in cars. It does little to make Portland more livable and does quite the opposite to the neighborhoods surrounding. The added pollution from induced demand makes everywhere less livable for everyone.

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

Most Portlanders own cars

squareman
Subscriber

I own two in my household of four because America makes it necessary sometimes. I rarely drive either car but do so when necessary. You’ve swung and missed. The expansion will not make “Portland a more livable place,” it will do quite the opposite.

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

God forbid ODOT makes it easier for motorists to get around. And yes, reducing congestion and facilitating mobility does increase livability. I found that out when I went to Phoenix and encountered exactly one traffic jam in 2 days of almost continuous driving (on a section of Freeway ADOT is planning to widen).

Adam
Guest
Adam

Cars seem to already be very dominant in Portland, and we certainly do not want to be like Phoenix. Phoenix probably won’t be very livable by the end of the century.

Watts
Guest
Watts

Phoenix probably won’t be very livable by the end of the century.

Agreed; you don’t want to be a southwestern desert city with a fickle water supply in an age of climate change. But this would be equally true even if Phoenix had no cars, so it’s a bit of a non-sequitur.

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

Most of the Portland Area is like Phoenix, just with freeways that have half as many lanes.

Alex
Subscriber
Alex

Portland has about 1000 more people per sq mile. Probably don’t need as many freeways with that much density.

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

More density means it would need more lanes

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

More density does not mean more lanes. It means more people live in close proximity to destinations, like employers, stores, and restaurants. Distances traveled for an average trip need not be as long because neighborhoods have complete access to services for local residents. A greater percentage of their trips can be served by modes other than SOVs. Therefore, people are less reliant on freeways, and fewer freeway lane miles are needed. Can people still drive long distances to get to far flung destinations? Sure, and many do. But their needs can be meet closer to home, and infrastructure should not be designed to cater to those that choose to travel long distances. That’s a choice, and if you want to make that choice, don’t expect giant publicly financed road networks that will speed you there unimpeded by the slightest hint of traffic. Maybe that’s what people are accustomed to in Phoenix, but Portland isn’t Phoenix and it doesn’t aspire to be Phoenix.
Your view of transportation is extremely myopic and freeway centric.

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

Have you ever been to a dense city? Is traffic better or worse?

Alex
Subscriber
Alex

I have been to many more population dense cities. The traffic is often times worse, but the public transit is about 1000x more efficient and there is no reason to drive. Again, the whole point is not to make traffic better, it’s to make life easier to live. It is much easier and less expensive to not own a car when there is infrastructure to support living without it.

Your question could be rephrased: is traffic better or worse in a city that is not optimized for traveling by car? It would be like me saying: “do you live in a less dense city? how is the public transportation?” It’s obviously going to be worse because having large scale public transportation in a sparsely populated area doesn’t make sense. I have no idea where you are going with your logic, but maybe doing some rudimentary reading on city planning would answer a lot of these questions/assumptions that you have.

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

I don’t know what you mean by better or worse. You are imposing your own values and biases to the concept of traffic.

squareman
Subscriber

“facilitating mobility does increase livability” – yes it can do that, provided it’s not mobility designed only for automobiles über alles. There are other transportation options, especially in a Metro area.

“reducing congestion … does increase livability.” Only if fewer people drive does it reduce congestion. Adding more lanes just fills in with more congestion. It’s like digging in wet sand. It will always fill in with more. This is mathematically and historically proven over and over. One cannot build their way out of congestion.

Regarding Arizona, good luck walking, riding, or busing to any destination in that kind of auto-dominated sprawl. Not that too many people will find Arizona very livable in 20 years as the Colorado River continues to dry up.

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

““reducing congestion … does increase livability.” Only if fewer people drive does it reduce congestion. Adding more lanes just fills in with more congestion. It’s like digging in wet sand. It will always fill in with more. This is mathematically and historically proven over and over. One cannot build their way out of congestion.”

It’s extremely easy to debunk this. How much traffic do you get on the street outside your house?

15 years ago, Washington DC was in a similar situation. It had an extremely congested 6 lane bridge. They then widened it to 10. Traffic in 2019 on that bridge was a mere 25% higher than it was in 2001 despite a 66% increase in capacity (and a 29% increase in the population of the DC area).

“Regarding Arizona, good luck walking, riding, or busing to any destination in that kind of auto-dominated sprawl.”
I don’t like riding or busing. But Phoenix has plenty of places for walking.

Alex
Subscriber
Alex

You should look up induced demand.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-06/traffic-jam-blame-induced-demand

There are many articles and much research done it.

I find your example of Washington DC kind of funny, in 2019, Washington, DC had the 3rd worst congestion in the US. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/its-a-waste-of-time-washington-is-no-3-in-traffic-congestion-study-says/2019/08/22/e6602e0e-c4d6-11e9-b72f-b31dfaa77212_story.html

Another article saying it has one of the world’s worst traffic cities in 2018 – https://patch.com/district-columbia/washingtondc/dc-ranks-one-worlds-worst-traffic-cities-report

The fact that you think there isn’t much congestion in Phoenix is also kind of laughable – supposedly it has 2 of the worst bottlenecks in the country: https://www.abc15.com/news/business/phoenix-has-2-of-the-countrys-worst-traffic-bottlenecks-study-says

In fact, Phoenix had higher than average commute times per year than the national average for quite some time.

You can do some pretty simple googling to find out how things are doing. Funny enough, the pandemic has cut down on the traffic in both areas quite a bit – there have remained fewer drivers on the road. That probably explains why you didn’t feel congestion in Phoenix and why DC is feeling better than normal. If we get even more cars off the road, there will be even less congestion!

Brad Barnhall
Guest
Brad Barnhall

To be fair, the original poster wasn’t referring to all of the DC area, which does have terrible traffic. They were referring specifically to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge between Virginia and Maryland on the Capital Beltway, which indeed used to be 6 lanes and is now 10 with room for 12 and a public transit ROW. It used to cause a tremendous backup everyday for thousands of people (mostly lower income Marylanders traveling to jobs in Virginia.) That particular backup, once the most notorious in the whole area, has now been eliminated.

Jeff S
Guest
Jeff S

Phoenix livable? That’s a stretch of the imagination. To me it’s a prime example of exactly how not to build out a metropolis.

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

I was there in September. I encountered precisely one traffic jam in a two day period when I was driving pretty much from sunrise to sunset. Phoenix is a modern marvel. It is a metropolis of 5 million with very little congestion. And contrary to the mantra of the chattering classes, it did it not with bike lanes, or congestion pricing, or trams, but with freeways with 8-10 lanes.

nic.cota
Subscriber

That’s the problem right there: Driving from sunrise to sunset is not sustainable and expanding freeways only accommodates the most inefficient/expensive/destructive form of transportation. It cements a dependency of car-use for future generations and further incentivizes to develop out instead of up and in between.

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

You’re saying the quiet part out loud now. You don’t like how people choose to live and travel so you want to force them out of it.

Alex
Subscriber
Alex

I really don’t think the bikeportland blog or its readers are being quiet about wanting to minimize automobiles for countless reasons.

squareman
Subscriber

Sounds like a concrete hell to me. You should move there.

damiene
Subscriber
damiene

Sounds like a concrete hell to me. You should move there.

It is. I’ve never been in a city I’ve wanted to return to less than Phoenix.

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

I’m a car owner and an opponent of freeway expansion and the increased sprawl that it would inevitably facilitate.

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

There is nothing more tone-deaf than whining about sprawl amidst a severe housing shortage.

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

Are you proposing that people live on the freeway? How is paving over more land going to solve Portland’s housing needs? Put billions of dollars into public housing projects, not redundant road capacity that is just going to turn into gridlock at rush hour.

You don’t have any connection to Portland. You live in Massachusetts. Why do you troll this blog?

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

Paving over land doesn’t help Portland’s housing needs. Put houses on land does.

Have you ever read about Cabrini Green or Pruitt-Igoe?

Watts
Guest
Watts

This is Portland. When we want more housing, we don’t build highways, we build bike trails so people will have a place to camp. We discourage people living on highway lanes.

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

There are plenty of examples of successful subsidized housing developments.

nate
Guest
nate

I think you misspelled Vancouver. This project does absolutely nothing for anyone who actually lives in Portland other than facilitate more traffic and pollution.

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

It makes it easier for Portland residents to drive to Vancouver.

squareman
Subscriber

Every time I go to Vancouver, I wish I had a convenient alternative to do it without relying on a car.

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

Then save up and buy a helicopter

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

That’s your answer for people that are interested in transit options. But if it’s a question of tax payer handouts for people that like to travel in private vehicles, you’re all for opening up the spigot, no matter the cost.

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

People in private vehicles come much closer to paying their way than those on public transit.

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

They don’t pay a lick to mitigate the externalities of their lifestyle: 30k-40k fatalities per year caused by collisions (and many times that number injured or maimed), obesity, asthma, lead and mercury pollution, carbon emissions, massive amounts of public space wasted for subsidized vehicle storage that could otherwise be shared public spaces, massive amounts of time spent sitting in lengthy commutes, environmental destruction caused by fracking fluid disposal and tar sand extraction, toxic emissions from petro chemical processing plants, carbon emissions from concrete manufacturing, conversion of open space into sprawling sub divisions…

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

Those externalities are nothing compared to subsidies for transit. And many of them aren’t externalities at all.

squareman
Subscriber

If you don’t think your driving habits aren’t heavily subsidized, I’d like to know what you’re smoking.

Watts
Guest
Watts

They don’t pay a lick to mitigate the externalities

You could say this about a whole range of activities, including mining the metals that go into our bikes.

We’re just not good at internalizing costs. A lot of those costs aren’t even really tied to driving; take fracking or tar sands for example. Internalize those costs, and maybe no one would do it. We’d might just get our oil from a different source without dramatically impacting the cost of gas.

Clem Fandango
Guest
Clem Fandango

Evidence?

Alex
Subscriber
Alex

@Jonathan – this doesn’t seem like a useful comment to allow through. Any insights into how this is useful to the conversation?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin

Thanks Alex. I’ll watch their comments and consider moderation. In general though, “useful” isn’t a high priority metric when I consider what stays/goes. That’s because useful is in the eye of the beholder.

Alex
Subscriber
Alex

Perhaps useful wasn’t the best word; telling someone to save up and buy a helicopter just seems like trolling.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin

I delete comments when one person calls another person a “troll” and/or tries to dismiss someone as a “troll” simply because they don’t like what they write. I might not love someone’s comment and it might feel/sound like someone is trolling, but I know that folks have a lot of different styles of communication and as long as their comment isn’t blatantly unproductive or mean or insensitive or otherwise hits my “DELETE” threshold, I’m very likely to let it stand.

My goal here is to welcome as many perspectives as possible. I believe we need bigger tents, not smaller ones. And I abhor echo chambers.

JimK
Guest

There is no viable alternative. That is why cars are so popular – they are convenient, door to door, fast, and lower cost than the actual cost of transit (users only pay about 30% at the farebox).

Watts
Guest
Watts

Though I have a car that I enjoy driving at hand, I very rarely use it. I’ve found “viable alternatives” for almost all of my regular trips (shopping, drinking, visiting, commuting, etc.)

So “there is no viable alternative” is demonstrably false.

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

Do you have kids?
Do you have friends or family members living in the suburbs?
Does your house have a big yard?
How many cars are parked on your street?

So yes, you can get by without a car, but you have to give up a whole lot of things that most people would rather not do without.

Watts
Guest
Watts

Yes, yes (though not in Portland, but I generally make-do without a car when I visit them), no, my street is typically 50-60% parked up, depending on time of day.

I don’t feel that I’ve given up anything of real value. I’ve just made decisions that allow me to get by without a car. For example, commute is always one of my very top priorities when looking for jobs or choosing where to live, and distance was a deciding factor when picking a school for my kids.

Watts
Guest
Watts

Every time I go to Vancouver, I wish I had a convenient alternative to do it without relying on a car.

It is inconceivable that this project will be built without extending light rail to Vancouver. So if you want better transit (or biking or walking) options, this project will provide them. It’s hard to see how we’ll get those things without expanding auto capacity.

squareman
Subscriber

It is conceivable that it could be built without light rail or a decent bike/walk solution. As demonstrated in the past, those are the first things usually chucked off a project, or built as much less than promised, unless there’s some kind of poison pill that kills the project if those items come under threat. Otherwise, they are the first aspects of a project to get cut as budget overruns are mitigated.

Watts
Guest
Watts

Given that opposition to including LRT killed the project last time (as opposed to it just being “left off”), it’s hard to believe its omission would have a lesser effect now, given vastly increased visibility of climate change and the attitudes of the (Oregon) decision makers.

“Decent” walk/bike facilities are very much in the eye of the beholder, but whatever is built will be better than what we have today (it really couldn’t get much worse), with the possible exception of a long hill climb to get over the shipping channel.

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

Portland seems to be in more of a pro-freeway, anti-transit mood now than it was a decade ago

Racer X
Guest
Racer X

Sadly, there is a strong possibility that this project may be built “without LRT” as a bi-state BRT extension has very strong political support up in Clark County…so much so that Oregon politicians / project stakeholders may just decide its ‘not worth the fight’ and ‘give in’ for ANY improvement to bi-state transit and the larger project…even if BRT has been very underperforming (pre2020) compared to its historic pre BRT ridership on Fourth Plain. https://www.clarkcountytoday.com/news/c-trans-brt-savings-for-the-vine-dont-appear-to-pencil-out/
[It would be great if CTRAN challenged these ‘report findings’ or better if there was an independent review.]

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Very few people in Portland need to drive to Vancouver. It’s definitely not worth five billion dollars to me.

nate
Guest
nate

I honestly can’t think of a single reason why I would want to do that.

JimK
Guest

1. There are a lot of people who live in Portland and work in Vancouver.
2. Trucking is being harmed by congestion. Not surprisingly some of those company are based in Portland.
3. Farms & industry all over Oregon (& Washington) rely on road transportation.

squareman
Subscriber

Don’t give me the trucking defense. Anyone concerned about freight congestion should also want to get more drivers off the freeways. Fewer drivers would open it up to freight.

Racer X
Guest
Racer X

Yes, agreed…likely the vote will allow the project to move to next stage…and more important discussion on:

Two things to talk about to your elected representatives AND IBR public comment sessions:
– vote for the “No Interchange Option” = I-5 fewer lanes per the topic ‘Hayden Island/Marine Drive Options’
– vote for MAX service to cross the Columbia, as the alternative option (CTRAN BRT) frequently fails to operate to both its Turtle Place downtown hub station AND with its full capacity 60FT buses during any ice or snow event (and often during Washington Street traffic jams too). For example, just last week it happened again, per KGW: “In Clark County, C-Tran announced that the Vine had switched to regular 40-foot buses rather than the extended vehicles the rapid transit line normally uses, and the downtown Vancouver Turtle Place bus station was closed.”

Next Meeting:
https://www.interstatebridge.org/get-involved-folder/calendar/cag-january-6-2022-meeting/

Psmith
Guest
Psmith

No light rail extension should equal no project. If there was ever line to draw in the sand for Portland, that’s the one. The Yellow Line would never have made sense to build in the first place with Expo Center as the terminus. It was built under the assumption it would be extended to Vancouver, and it will get much higher ridership as soon as it does because it will have much better anchors and more bi-directional travel. I personally would love to hop on the MAX and go to downtown Vancouver sometimes. Currently there’s no way to do that other than driving, since C-TRAN doesn’t really even operate in the reverse direction. It’s a more commuter-oriented service. MAX is all day, every day.

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

I thought public transit was meant to serve cities, not the other way around.

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

It does serve cities, and Portland wants more transit. It’s people that live in the far flung suburbs that are the loudest voices in favor of freeway expansion through the heart of Portland, not Portland residents.

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

So why did they vote against a new tax for transit expansion in November 2020?

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

Measure 26-218 wasn’t a straight vote on transit funding. It included a whole bunch of road projects, too. Transit and active transportation only made up about half of the spending. The support was much higher in the city of Portland than it was in other municipalities in the Portland metro region. That bill needed majority support in the whole tri county metro region to pass. Also, all of the opposition articles, editorials, opinion pieces, etc, focused on the structure of the funding scheme rather than the content of the bill or the package of transportation proposals. I personally talked to a number of people that support the expansion of transit in principle, but who voted against the measure because they disagreed with the structure of the tax. People just didn’t like the use of a payroll tax to pay for the package, and they didn’t like that it exempted public employees and other groups from paying the tax.

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

If the proposal was to raise money to expand the I-5 bridge with a payroll tax, the metro region would vote against that, too.

Todd/Boulanger
Guest

The interesting thing that “we” see at our family bar in Downtown Vancouver every ~3 years are new waves of ‘Portlanders’ moving to outer adjoining areas as their life situation changes…public schools get a little ‘less better’, housing gets a bit ‘smaller’, retail zones depressed by ‘too much boarded up windows’, and now they can Zoom to work and relocate to a state with no income tax etc. This seems to have added a $200k premium.

Perversely this middle market demand may be now recreating a reverse commute scenario…as our youngest son is looking for his first “adult” [on his own] housing and he reports it to be more affordable in Portland and so he might be “reverse” commuting by car to his Battle Ground software engineering job. He would rather live in Vancouver’s Downtown…as he has for 18 of his 23 years…but most of the newest market housing here is more expensive.

nic.cota
Subscriber

Honestly: Expanding freeways is a slap to the face for Metro and everything it was founded on. What’s the point of all this planning to support density and land conservation around Portland if we end up just spending billions to just let folks spill out and develop into Washington and other exurbs? Metro should instead use this funding to support high-speed rail, more frequent commuter-style trains, and express bus service to accommodate personal vehicle travel on the I-5 corridor.

I’d argue if we are concerned for freight: lets get a freight-only lane!

Or better: have I-5 be a freight/transit/emergency only corridor between I84 and Vancouver.

Or best: lets get rid of the freeway and build housing for all of the folks that are eager to drive into Portland everyday from WA. Bet it would be cheaper than 5 whole billion dollars.

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

Very well put

Sigma
Guest
Sigma

LOL. Removing ~5 miles of freeway, rebuilding the street network, and putting in utilities would cost way more than $5 billion. After you do that you could start to think about building housing.

kernals12
Guest
kernals12

So they should build a bunch of trains a few hundred people will use over a bridge hundreds of thousands of people will use

Brad Barnhall
Guest
Brad Barnhall

Do the anti-road people understand that electric vehicles are the most realistic solution to the problem of transportation based emissions? Those vehicles need roads too. By forcing people to sit in traffic, we are discouraging the purchase of electric vehicles. They estimate by 2030, 30% of vehicle sales will be EV’s. We should be encouraging that.

I wonder if all the people who campaign vigorously against any road improvements that increase capacity and/or relieve congestion and use environmental concerns (presumably increased emissions worsening climate change) as their justification really believe that everyday Portland area residents really will switch to biking around or riding the MAX? I doubt it, and to try to force them to do it smacks of the elitism that the left is so frequently accused of.

Last time I rode the MAX, a maniac hopped on and assaulted a stranger, saying he owed him money. Myself and every other male on the train had to surround him and threaten him to get him to leave. Then I ended up having to testify in court. No thanks on the MAX until they get security under control.

squareman
Subscriber

You do realize there’s a giant greenhouse component to building the freeways (including adding lanes) because asphalt and concrete are two horrible sources for GHG. Plus, electric cars need to be manufactured (more GHG from that too) from materials, especially rare-earth materials, for batteries. They aren’t called “rare-earth” for nothing. There simply is not enough of it to go around the whole globe and Americans are demanding the most of these materials. Just because it’s out-of-site and out-of-mind doesn’t mean that it’s not creating long-term harm to the globe and foreign economies (even it if it’s good for their bottom line in the short term). Plus, electrifying the world’s SOVs will not do anything for the congestion. A stand needs to be made to start changing our behaviors as consumers.

Boyd
Guest
Boyd

By forcing people to sit in traffic, we are discouraging the purchase of electric vehicles.

This doesn’t make any sense at all. You could argue that traffic is deterring vehicle trips or auto ownership, or even that it is driving people away from the region or stifling business (I would argue that you are probably not correct, but at least there would be a logical basis for the argument). But it sounds like you are arguing that traffic is discouraging people from switching their vehicles from gas to electric, which is nonsensical.

No thanks on the MAX until they get security under control.

Agree. There need to be a lot of improvements to the Max system and to public transit in general in the Portland area before a significant portion of the population views it as a viable alternative to cars. So let’s make investments in transit, not freeways!

Brendan P
Guest
Brendan P

The I5 span over the Columbia is the only interstate hwy drawbridge on the west coast [the rest are in Virgina and New Jersey]. From a risk perspective it is worth replacing. However, it is entirely debatable as to what it is replaced with. It’s also not debatable that public transit and walking/cycling should be a part of any new structure.

squareman
Subscriber

Thank you. Stated as simply and factual as possible.

What people against this project are against is the unfettered widening of the freeways. The bridge could be replaced without inducing more demand. The bridge could be replaced without widening (in fact, if the Jantzen Beach access was decoupled from the freeway, it would have a massive impact). The bridge could be replaced while facilitating better access (equity!) for people who cannot afford to drive or who are unable to drive.

soren (sorin)
Guest
soren (sorin)

From a risk perspective it is worth replacing.

I’ve noticed that middle-upper-income people repeat this claim like a mantra but never support it with evidence.

Is the very, very small risk of a large earthquake a greater risk than ongoing ecocidal climate change? I think not.

Is the very, very small risk of a large earthquake a greater risk than our ongoing housing crisis? I think not.

Watts
Guest
Watts

The risk is hardly “very, very small”:

The calculated odds that a Cascadia earthquake will occur in the next 50 years range from 7-15 percent for a great earthquake affecting the entire Pacific Northwest to about 37 percent for a very large earthquake affecting southern Oregon and northern California.

And the consequences would be sudden and severe:

When, not if, the next great Cascadia subduction zone earthquake strikes the Pacific Northwest, Oregon will face the greatest challenge in its history. Oregon’s buildings, transportation network, utilities, and population are simply not prepared for such an event. Were it to occur today, thousands of Oregonians would die, and economic losses would be at least $32 billion. In their current state, our buildings and lifelines (transportation, energy, telecommunications, and water/wastewater systems) would be damaged so severely that it would take three months to a year to restore full service in the western valleys, more than a year in the hardest-hit coastal areas, and many years in the coastal communities inundated by the tsunami. Experience from past disasters has shown that businesses will move or fail if services cannot be restored in one month; so Oregon faces a very real threat of permanent population loss and long-term economic decline.

https://www.oregon.gov/oem/Documents/01_ORP_Cascadia.pdf

JaredO
Guest
JaredO

More people go over the I-205 bridge than the I-5 bridge.

The drawbridge thing is a factoid, without any understanding of whether it’s important. The drawbridge won’t open during rush hour, opens less than once a day, and is a seasonal thing when the river is high. It can be annoying, but it’s not a serious problem.

What’s so risky about a drawbridge?

The risky part *may* be the earthquake, which can be addressed by strengthening the existing structure for 5% of the costs of building a whole new thing. We could then use 95% of remaining funds to address actually risky and dangerous roads (not limited-access highways – generally the safest part of the trip), where over 400 Oregonians lose their lives every year.