Sunday, September 27, 2015

Portland Oregon Transportation Fails (and Vancouver)

Portland Oregon is sometimes viewed as a transportation model for other cities because of our light rail, buses, and bike lanes.
But in the last ten years or so we have had nothing but transportation failures.
1. The Tram (to nowhere) came in almost four times over budget, the operating costs are almost twice estimated, and the fare is almost twice estimated. AND they said you would be able to ride it with your Tri-Met bus/train transfer. YOU CAN’T.
2. Fareless Square killed. Portland had a fareless square where anyone could ride buses and trains downtown for free. It set us apart from other cities and was ONE OF THE GREATEST THINGS ABOUT PORTLAND. It is now gone, first replaced by the Free Rail Zone in 2010 then eliminated entirely.
3. Tri-Met has cut back service and at the same time raised fares. THESE THINGS SHOULD NEVER BE DONE SIMULTANEOUSLY. If you need more money OK, if you need to cut service OK, but how can you do both at the same time? You should see the results of one on your budget before doing the other. Always wondered how reducing service and raising rates at the same time would translate to other businesses. This is how tri-met treats their customers they do it because they have no competition so they can do whatever they want. It should be noted that Tri-Met board members DO NOT RIDE TRI-MET!
4. Portland Streetcar. This should be a success once the PMLR bridge, aka Tilikum Crossing, is finished, but they should have waited until the Streetcar connection to OMSI was finished before eliminating the Free Rail Zone. Also enormous delays and cost overruns due to the city choosing a contractor to build the streetcars that HAD NEVER BUILT STREETCARS BEFORE.
5. The complete and total failure of the CRC , an ill-concieved bridge between Oregon and Washington. It failed mostly because of opposition to Light Rail and tolling. 175 Million spent on a BRIDGE THAT WILL NEVER BE BUILT . This is a tough issue. To receive federal funding we need to put the Light Rail through, but Vancouver WA doesn’t want it. Also, if you toll one bridge people will just drive to the other. You can’t toll the I-205 unless you make improvements to it in some way, so the answer could be to eventually toll both bridges, and also put light rail through to Vancouver on both bridges at the same time. Since this will probably be opposed by Vancouverites, Portland should concentrate on its own problems, and the first thing they should do is extend MAX to Jantzen Beach / Hayden Island by building a small bridge that would also allow auto access to Hayden Island from Portland without having to take I-5. Can we recycle a portion of the CRC plan to do this? Salvaging some of the wasted taxpayer money? It seems like they should be able to use one of these options. see also a great video on the CSA.
the MAX project to Jantzen Beach could be combined with fixing the rail bridges to Vancouver WA, and since they don’t want light rail maybe we could just run a commuter train similar to the WES on Portland’s west side on the existing rail lines.
Hopefully we can learn from the failure of the Columbia River Crossing and design a smarter, dare I say prettier bridge to connect Oregon and Washington, and eliminate the ONLY STOPLIGHT on I-5 between Canada and Mexico.
It might be a good thing this project failed, because the bridge was designed too low for river traffic and too high for pearson air field air traffic
It seems silly to design a 3 billion dollar bridge around a tiny airport in the first place. And to give Pearson field traffic which is mostly recreational priority over billions of dollars worth of commercial river traffic business seems backward. If Vancouver wants a new bridge they should shut down Pearson, and accept the tolling and Light Rail so we can build a bridge. They can fly out of Troutdale, further from metropolitan areas. Remember Portland had to move its airport once too
Or we can just do nothing, and hope we don’t get any earthquakes.
CATEGORY/TAGS Portland Transport 99825 99826

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