Anyone know how I can listen to an archive of this show? Found a link at http://action.publicbroadcasting.net/opb/posts/list/1125410.page but it's broken and I'm not seeing one on the TOL page.
No one seems to be talking about water quality. What are the impacts of no build, supplemental and replacement bridges on the watershed and river?
As a professional truck driver I can say there are two other larger bottle necks on I-5. One to the north is called Seattle the other is to the south, Las Angeles. Both add much more time to north south travel than crossing the Columbia. Should we bridge both of these impediments?
The main reason for the congestion is 3 lanes going south into 2 lanes. Making the bridge wider will not ease congestion at all if the roadway into Portland is not widend as well
Andykari, I've heard that truck drivers schedule their trips along the I-5 to avoid hitting the Columbia River during rush hour. Is this true?
1 We're being told to conserve, drive less and use mass transit. To make more lanes for cars would encourage just the opposite.
2 "Build it and they will come". Just like all the freeway expansions, any new auto lanes would just fill up and we'd be right back where we started. Someone once said, "You can't build your way out of congestion."
3 Four Billion dollars is just too much right now (and probably in the future as will). The US economy is being ruined by too much debt. Would this be the last straw to break it?
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement produced by the Columbia River Crossing Project is technically deficient. As an environmental document, it does not include hydrogeologic information, protections for the river and contigous waterways, does not protect the river, and does not satisfy technical requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The document infers that other federal entities are supposed to produce the needed data, but that is not what and EIS is about. Most alarming, the document specifically identifies about 250 businesses and homes that could be demolished or have property removed to make way for bridge/light rail/bicycle lane improvements, yet those individuals are not even aware their properties have been singled out in thsi fashion. In a down-turned real estate market, this could be devastating to those affected. This cannot be sumarily dismissed with excuses that the few cannot stand in the way of progress. The public process is negligent, and seems prejudiced in favor of the outcome to replace the bridge and include light rail, irregardless of the costs -- pursuing a preferred alternative (replacement of bridge with light rail) also violates the NEPA process when such decisions are made prior to the issuance of an official record of decision or ROD. There is no mention of financial contstraints to the property owners or public subsidies needed to operate and maintain light rail. The people who are going to be hurt the most by this are those who live within the corridor where light rail could be placed -- as usual, these are disadvantaged neighborhoods that meet environmental justice thresholds. The draft EIS claims to satisfy executive civil rights for the disadvantaged, but this is clearly untrue. Many have spoken out that they do not want their residential neighborhoods overrun by park and rides that are larger than the entire Vancouver Shopping Mall, but this seems to be ignored by the decision makers. The worst thing in all of this is that agencies are attempting to commit the community to this expensive project without a vote of the people, purposefully removing the public from its ability to decide on taxes that will be collected to support the project. That is unequivocably unfair to the public. The EIS should not have been developed without a public vote to decide the light rail issue.
Three points ?ﾠ
1, and at present, the most important. I'm baffled by the three Metro councilors who seek to toll the Interstate Bridge and push light rail. It's an insult to the thousands of Vancouver residents who already pay their share in Oregon income taxes and now are being told there will be an extra cost ?ﾠwith no improvement ? to working in Oregon.
Vancouver's car culture is a monster created, at least in part, by Metro. Clark County is Metro's "overflow" for single-family homes, six-lane boulevards and strip malls. As they craft new urbanism in Oregon, they force traditional suburbia across the river. With one fell swoop, a toll, they will not unilaterally change another culture.
That brings me to my second point. The cost of replacing that bridge is only going to go up. If it had gotten done five years ago ? something delayed, in part, because Vancouver was unwilling to accept light rail ? we could be talking $1 billion, not $4 billion. If we stall replacement of the bridge ?ﾠnearing its century anniversary and the only red-light on I-5 from Canada to Mexico ? the cost will only go up.
In last week's Willy Week, the paper cited the cancellation of the Mt. Hood Freeway as an example of how Portland is capable of stopping environmentally unfriendly projects. But look at the other side of that. The Sunrise Corridor would have undoubtedly cost less than $50 million if built in the 1970s. Now, the project, which will be necessary to help move people in and out of Metro's Damascus Land Run, will cost at least $1 billion.
Councilors Liberty, Hosticka and Colette, this must not be the future of the Columbia River Crossing. The bridge, one day, will be replaced. The cost will only go up. How many zeroes are you willing to put on the check?
P.S. Vancouver ? Stop complaining about light rail. It hasn't crushed downtown Hillsboro or Beaverton and it won't kill the Couv either. If you could get a third of your Portland-bound commuters, a realistic goal if the Westside light rail is any indication, to take transit, then what's wrong with that? You'll thank Portland when that day comes that $4 a gallon is a distant memory.
I have five questions concerning the I-5 mega-bridge proposal and its proponents and the answers ought to be disturbing to all who care about the future of our metropolitan area and state:
1) Did they exhaustively look at all the viable solutions and combination of solutions before concluding the 10-12 lane freeway bridge is the only one that satisfies all the needs for the crossing? Have they really been open to other ideas besides a highway-oriented solution?
ANSWER: NO, they did not exhaustively study all viable solutions. They tout that they "considered" 37 options, but fail to mention that they often looked at the options in isolation (i.e. did not attempt to bundle various solutions so as to address all their objectives). The record is full of examples of the CRC Task Force staff summarily rejecting perfectly viable proposals, either because the proposed solution component didn't solve all the problems or for blantantly specious reasons. As an examples, consider the interchanges between CRC staff and AORTA (Assn. of Oregon Ral & Transit Advocates) concerning the latter's 11/8/06 proposal that would have retained the existing bridges for the freeway, improved interchanges and addressed navigational safety and conflicts or the clear request of the Metro Council on 2/22/07 to carry forward an alternative that had many similar features as the AORTA alternative. See http://www.smarterbridge.org/?q=node/25
I have five questions concerning the I-5 mega-bridge proposal and its proponents and the answers ought to be disturbing to all who care about the future of our metropolitan area and state:2) Have they properly addressed the issues of increased travel and sprawl induced by the significant extra capacity they propose for this 5-mile stretch of I-5?
ANSWER: NO. The DEIS does not really address those issues and other staff responses minimizing those potential impacts defy decades of empirical evidence that increased road capacity encourages more and longer auto trips and increases sprawl.
3) Are they providing the public and decision-makers the kind of information and sufficient amount of time to make an informed decision about how to address the problems at and near the Columbia crossing?
ANSWER: NO. Proponents falsely claim that decision-makers must choose only between the five options currently proposed and are implying that a decision has to be made by August 2008 or the region will miss out on a 6-year federal funding cycle. The truth is that decision-makers are allowed by federal law to combine any of the elements of the alternatives presented in the DEIS. The August 2008 deadline is for application for federal funds for the transit component only and that cycle is yearly. We will NOT lose out for six years, if we take our time to make a good decision.
4) Do their proposals meet adopted policies in both Oregon and Washington to massively reduce Vehicle-miles Traveled (VMT) and Greenhouse Gas production?
ANSWER: NO. By the use of tolling and high capacity transit, their models show a smaller increase in VMT than the No Build option. However, the policies call for drastic overall REDUCTION in VMT, not merely slowing the growth of VMT.
5) Does their forecast of future demand properly take into account recent trends of rapidly rising fuel prices, notable decreases in driving and significant increases in transit and alternative transportation use?
ANSWER: NO. Their modeling did not make allowances for this, because such considerations were not included in the assumptions used in doing the modeling. The result: the capacity needs were significantly over-estimated and thus, the solutions heavily tilted toward freeway expansion.
Despite the tens of millions already spent on planning this project, the work has been biased toward a big bridge solution from the start and thus is neither complete nor has it resulted in a credible, transparent decision process. No one denies that the current Columbia crossing suffers from major mobility and safety problems that affect all the modes, which need to be addressed. However, the problems aren't just a matter of improving freeway throughput. The problems stem primarily from a combination of inadequate parallel local traffic facilities, too much peak commuter traffic, lack of competitive transit options and dangerous misalignment of bridge openings between the I-5 bridges and the nearby railroad bridge.
There is no viable alternative among those developed for the DEIS that meets this region and state's fiscal, growth management, social justice and environmental objectives. The package of alternatives needs to be sent back to committee for it to include an option that meets all those objectives.
This controversy -- and the invective on both sides -- clearly illustrates the cultural divide separating Clark County and the Portland Area. Neither side is going to suddenly change its mind. A majority on one side is conservative, tax-cutting, wants to drive, and prefers to live in a suburban setting. Most people on the other side are liberal, willing to pay for public services, ride transit and bikes, and are satisfied living in denser, more urbanize settings. The CRC attempts to "bridge" this political/cultural divide by proposing a massive project that includes a little bit for everyone. But it doesn't work. Instead of pleasing everyone, it infuriates.
Given the political stalemate, the best solution may be to simply wait.
There's no divine right to congestion-free highways, and nor is there a right to public transit and bikeways for all. And yet, cultures and opinions gradually change.
Over time, if congestion continues to increase, or fuel prices stay high, Clark County residents may reconsider their aversion to public transportation and and density, and start funding busses and moving to denser communities like Vancouver or (heaven forbid!) even Portland. Alternately, many of them may get sick of driving all the way to Portland and take jobs in Clark County. That seems like a good result for everyone: less traffic on I-5, and a more diversified economic base in Clark County. People nationwide are already carpooling and riding transit more every week, and traffic volumes on the I-5 bridge are declining. Transit ridership is increasing. All of this is happening without a $4.2 billion bridge.
My point is that this problem -- congestion -- is at least somewhat self-regulating. It will ultimately impact decisions and behaviors. With smart public policy we can accelerate those changes with inexpensive "tweaks" like: a dedicated HOV/transit/freight only lane on the bridge; changes in zoning to allow (not mandate!) denser, more mixed-use development in Clark County; better online carpool "ride matching" services; and modest, strategic tolls -- especially during peak demand periods. Those tolls should be applied everywhere during peak demand periods -- on Highway 26 and I-84 as well as I-5. These sorts of measures, collectively known as Transportation Demand Management, would not only cost far less than big new bridges and highway expansions, but they'd also, ultimately, be far more effective.
Transportation is at an inflection point not unlike the electricity generation sector was in 15-20 years ago, when utilities started realizing that building more power plants often isn't necessary. We just needed to insulate our homes, change our lightbulbs, tighten up building codes, and use energy more wisely. We should take a page from the power sector's playbook, and start doing the cheap, easy demand-reducing stuff first.
Thank you for asking our opinions.
I regularly travel from Portland to Seattle, crossing the bridge during rush hours. While I respect the efforts of the Columbia River Task Force to craft recommendations that work for politicians on both sides of the river, I have watched numerous highway expansion projects in Oregon and Washington fail to reduce congestion.
The traffic projections in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)were based on $59/barrel oil in 2030, which is no longer a reasonable assumption. The DEIS was also developed before the current awareness of the need to reduce global warming pollution from cars; adding six "auxiliary" lanes would increase single occupant vehicle capacity and thus global warming pollution (the claim that free flowing traffic will reduce global warming pollution is not supported by research on the effects of increased highway capacity - see http://www.sightline.org/research/energy/res_pubs/climate-analysis-gge-new-lanes-10-07).
That said, some of the CRC staff conclusions are reasonable: need for safety improvements, transit and bicycle connections to Vancouver.
It would be reasonable for the CRC to take a step back, revise their assumptions and develop a plan that reflects current realities around fuel prices and global warming pollution, retaining the best elements of their current plan. That's why we have a "draft" EIS and not a final EIS, to make midcourse corrections.
Peter in Portland and Seattle
But people ?ﾠwe're missing the overarching point: It is not going to get cheaper to build this bridge. Ever. Look at the Sellwood Bridge. That measly little thing is going to cost $300 million to replace. You think some day down the road a replacement bridge ?ﾠno matter how smart or small ?ﾠis ever going to be cheaper than a bridge we start building in 2010?
Can someone please tell me how 12 lanes at the Columbia, reducing down to two lanes at the Rose Garden, is going to significantly impact congestion?
Nice fallacy there. 12 lanes at the Columbia equals 4 lanes at the Rose Garden. You mixed your references ?ﾠ12 total lanes at the Columbia vs. 2 lanes in each direction at the Rose Garden.
But to answer your question, I-5 in that area is considered to be 8 lanes total ? 2 southbound lanes each on I-5 and 405, same for northbound.
And the Columbia is essentially at the heart of a major freeway interchange. Freeways get wider at freeway-to-freeway interchanges to accommodate merging and exiting traffic.
So, in answer to your question ? 6 through lanes of I-5 at SR 14 in Vancouver will decrease congestion as traffic heads towards 8 through lanes of I-5 in downtown Portland (just spread across both freeways).
It seems like we want it both ways. We want fast access to and from either side of the river but we don't want to spend the money. I remember when the existing bridge was updated in the late 1950's and we happily paid a .20 toll for the privilege of using the streamlined bridge. Drive down the gorge to Bridge of the Gods and pay the 1.00 toll for a trip across the Columbia from the north or south. Drive from Chicago's O'Hare Airport north to Wisconsin and stop at least 8 times to pay a turnpike toll. A toll to pay for the expansion of the bridge and addition of mass transit lanes or level makes the most sense. Illinois sells an annual pass for commuters on the turnpike. There are so many options if we would just brainstorm and respect one another's ideas we are bound to come up with a uniquely Oregon solution.
Has anyone thought about two new bridges? One for non-commercial and one for trucks, buses, and trains?
What about a tunnel for mass transit and trucks with a bridge for all the non-commercial traffic?
I like the idea of a toll for people with a variable fee based on time sector.
+ I used to agree with the "don't build and they won't come." Is there any evidence to support this though? It seems foolish to punish everyone because some people are not conscious of their impact. Most of us have to cross the river at some-point and experience the traffic directly or indirectly.
+ I am beginning to think this "don't build" is rather childish and half-baked. It seems that even if people were much more responsible we would still need a new bridge. Not building infrastructure because we think it will punish people is kind of lame and irresponsible. What if a pollution free car comes out and we could drive willy-nilly all over? We need the infrastructure and the lack of it is embarrassing! We can find other ways to force people to be environmentally conscious.
- Portland, Oregon
The Friday May 2nd issue of the Portland Tribune, two artists renderings of bridge options were published within the front page article, "Bridge faces a wide gulf," the 'cadillac' new 12-lane bridge with light rail, and, 'Supplemental bridge with light rail.'
My question: The cost for the supplemental is project at only $50 million less than the 'cadillac', yet, it is so much smaller in scale, I have a hard time believing this figure. The old bridges are left in-place as 'northbound lanes', and the new bridge supplemental bridge is noticeably smaller than the 'cadillac' version. What's up with this cost figure? Is the $3.95 million figure include an eventual replacement of the old bridges?
-The most overlooked concern about the CRC is the health impact on communities in North and Northeast Portland.
-These communities are generally more impoverished, and at higher risk for disparities in health outcomes. If plans for the CRC move forward with little or no consideration of potential health impacts, these already vulnerable communities may experience widening health inequality.
-We must support a Climate Smart CRC, which would reduce all pollutants, re-green the corridor, and give people more transportation choices ? all of which offer numerous health benefits.
I'll keep it short and sweet: opposition to bridge construction and interstate light rail extensions have kept congestion relief and improved mass transit options from being implemented for far too long. It's time to bring Max to Vancouver. It's time to build a new, wider bridge. Let's stop bickering over the details and make it happen.
I do not necessarily buy the argument that building a new bridge with an increase in lanes is counter to Oregon environmental goals. If the traffic is backed up for miles and miles, bumper to bumper, the engines are still on and emitting pollution. Those current traffic jams can take well over an hour to go from moving traffic to crossing the river and back to moving traffic. If we can keep the traffic moving and reduce the transit time, we are actually reducing the specific environmental exposure to the area.
Is the leadership willing to allow a vote on tolls and light rail?
This would be a truly Oregonian solution. A vote. Except here in Oregon, the vote would have four choices:
1. No build
2. Light rail only
3. Wider bridge only
4. Both projects
50% approval needed in all four counties of the Metro area (Clark + ClackMultWash) to pass. And nothing would get done.
We need to reach an 80 percent reduction in global warming emissions by 2050. That is just 42 short years away! To do that, the region's drivers need to reduce vehicle miles traveled by 68 percent. I don't see how a 12-lane bridge will do that for the region. In fact, it will just produce "induced demand," more drivers to fill up the lanes as soon as it's built.
We need a creative solution to the Columbia Crossing solution, not an 1985-style highway bridge.
1. I look forward to the day when politicians stop saying that we should "do it for our children and grandchildren". It's that mentality that has contributed to the mess we're in now. If we really cared about future generations we'd stop repeating the mistaken belief that growth is good.
2. Has there ever been an example where increasing highway capacity has provided long term congestion relief? In my experience, increasing capacity just encourages more use. Perhaps we should consider the Dutch approach, close down a lane to force people to adopt other forms or routes of transport.
just my opinion......
I hear all of this talk about commerce, however, will commerce work the same way under $10 a gallon diesel fuel? America lost something when we got away from what built us in the first place - the railroad system. Truck shipping is not a viable means of commerce in the future, and no one seems to be addressing this issue.
Also, build your city around cars and you will get cars. It seems that people still want this.
I see a future that includes lanes on major highways for slower electric or alternate forms of propellant powered small vehicle traffic. These provide allot less wear and tear and will cut carbon emissions greatly and maybe could have lower speed limits to conserve energy.
It makes me upset to think our closed minded decision makers can not think out side the current cars design models and way of thinking with using gas and it's prices going through the roof other transportation options will be figured out and brought on line allot faster than in days past. I'm an American and an Oregonian, and I resent the fact that the only way to cut carbon emissions is to force people off of the roads of our great nation.
Light rail and buses can help but if my freedoms of travel get restricted I'll not be happy and I'm sure many others feel the same way.
Let gas prices and cost of vehicles dictate who can travel our Nation, not tolls, constrictive roads and bridges, and closed minded decision makers. Growth is inevitable, deal with it and make the room that's what we pay our lawmakers to do.
I have seen the impact of lightrail in Portland, and I believe it will cause more traffic problems in Vancouver then it will solve. I think it is working in Portland, but is just not a good idea for the way Vancouver is set up. I think to solve the traffic problems we need a eastern bridge to East Vancouver and Camas.
How is the demand for various uses established? I have a sister who lives in SE Portland and works in Vancouver, a brother who lives in Vancouver whose wife works in Portland, and a friend who lives in SE Portland and works in Vancouver. All daily commuters, all would prefer mass transit options but find a quadrupled (or more) length of commute on transit compared with car. How are these folks to be heard and enumerated? Seems like decisions are made based on current behaviors and not based on what the silent citizens may actually want as an outcome.
I found myself feeling very frustrated as I listened to this program while driving in heavy traffic to work. Putting the regions economic growth priorities above environmental ones reflects very shortsighted and selfish thinking. Those with vested economic interests, the Portland Business Alliance for example, don't seem to grasp the reality of the climate crisis: the survival of life on earth as we know it, including the human species, is now uncertain. No one knows exactly when we will reach a point where global warming becomes irreversible. We may already be there. Building this proposed bridge is prima facie evidence of what I call dinosaur thinking. If we continue to compromise on environmental concerns, we will all end up rich and dead.
I have a better idea. Why not restrict trucks from the Interstate Bridge and other areas of heavy traffic during rush hours? Invest a fraction of the funds proposed for building the new bridge in layover areas with facilities for truck maintenance and driver comforts. I suspect that the amount of fuel saved by not idling and creeping forward in heavy traffic would offset the cost of these delays. If not, the provide further economic incentives for drivers and trucking companies. For example, the cost of fuel at layover facilities might be subsidized during mandated layover times. The costs of funding this type of project would probably be far less than that of building the proposed bridge, and the environmental benefits would far outweigh the minor inconveniences to truckers.
+ Cars are popular because they are convenient, practical and functional. They are not inherently evil. Yes, the pollution is terrible. But this could change; would a pollution free car still be evil? If all cars were pollution free would the traffic be something we would wish to remedy?
+ Perhaps, the desire to drive cars, doesn't make drivers bad or unconscious either. When I go to Europe in September I am going to take the train for some trips but I am also going to rent a car, because in many ways it is the best way to get around, especially with a suitcase or when you wish to see the countryside and make frequent stops.
+ I love Europe! I would much rather live there---but, this boring trend of saying lets do what they do, and everything is better there, is really starting to get absurd. A lot of the things we love about modern Europe were not necessarily created out of good-will; many things we admire were the result of necessity and economics, not altruistic decisions. In many cases, the modern European "green philosophy" was added later, as an after-thought, on what was orginally an economically induced frugal-ness.
It seems to me that if we are going to encourage more mass transit and smaller more efficient cars for people we should also include more rail and fewer trucks for the transportation of goods.
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