Here's some more good news from Portland, Oregon!
>Pridemore said the study rejected the Los Angeles approach of building
>more and more
>freeways. "That has not worked. Instead, we see transportation as part of
>development and land use. Multiple lanes are not a help."
>the basic freeway backbone will
>remain at three lanes in each direction, with one of those lanes reserved
>for car pools,
>express buses and possibly trucks.
Bistate panel tackles I-5 gridlock
A two-year, bistate effort to fix Interstate 5's gridlock doesn't need
any more freeway
lanes, according to a draft package that goes to the public this week.
Three current lanes in each direction will do nicely, the report says,
provided there's a
bigger new bridge across the Columbia River, and the start of a
light-rail loop through
That loop would employ lines extending north from both Interstate MAX --
construction -- and Airport MAX.
"There are some people who don't agree with that, and I am sure we will
hear from them
at the meetings," said Craig Pridemore, Clark County commissioner and
member of the
task force. One group demanding more freeway lanes, Pridemore said, is
community, which wants trucks moving faster.
"There was a great amount of debate," agreed Multnomah County
Cruz. "But even expanding from three to four lanes is off the table.
There would be too
great an impact on the community, the neighborhoods along the freeway. We
to revisit 'big bad I-5.' "
Exorbitant dreams, such as 15 lanes of concrete as the freeway passes the
hospital in Vancouver, have been discarded by the 28-member task force.
members represented governments, businesses and neighborhoods in Oregon
Projects remaining on the table are far from cheap, but the basic freeway
remain at three lanes in each direction, with one of those lanes reserved
for car pools,
express buses and possibly trucks. Dreams of double-decker freeways have
scrapped, as has a westside beltway route and even a freeway that would
stacked above the trains in the St. Johns "cut."
Still on the table are: Adding one lane southbound through Delta Park and
widening lanes headed north and south. A stretch of two-lane pavement
a daily bottleneck. Adding a northbound on-ramp and a southbound off-ramp
Boulevard, a route heavily used by trucks. A light-rail loop in Clark
County. A new bridge
will be needed on I-5, but Interstate 205 can handle a rail line in the
middle if bicyclists
and pedestrians are moved to the bridge's edge. The loop would go north
to SR 500 and
old Vancouver Mall area, and would be built in phases. The Interstate
Bridge would be
replaced. Testimony has favored three lanes in each direction plus a
local-access lane and an auxiliary lane. If one of the existing bridges
is retained for local
access and light-rail trains, a new bridge could be high, eliminating the
need for a lift
span. Widening the freeway to three lanes in each direction in Vancouver
Street north to the intersection with I-205.
"The HOV or car-pool lane is going to be very important," Cruz said.
"Fifty percent of the
task force's members served on the I-5 trade corridor study, which was
very high on
the HOV lane concept." High-occupancy vehicle lanes are set aside for use
vehicles carrying multiple passengers. The idea is to encourage ride
The bistate panel, appointed by the two governors, expects to reach a
final decision in
Money source unknown One of the biggest unknowns is where to find money.
metropolitan area, a committee distributes federal and state
transportation dollars. But
the bistate project's financial requirements equal the metro totals many
times over. And
member cities and counties on that committee already have long lists of
and transit projects.
"We could have gone for four freeway lanes from the Columbia River to the
Bridge," Pridemore said, "but the freeway drops to two lanes there. What
supposed to do with the traffic when it gets to the Rose Quarter?"
Pridemore, who also heads Clark County's C-Tran transit agency, said
light rail and
express bus service should help to get drivers off the freeway, allowing
more room for
trucks. Tri-Met envisions C-Tran providing service to the nearest MAX
he said, "but we will continue to run express buses all the way downtown
that's what the people want."
Pridemore said the study rejected the Los Angeles approach of building
more and more
freeways. "That has not worked. Instead, we see transportation as part of
development and land use. Multiple lanes are not a help."
He said light rail was defeated at the Clark County polls several years
ago because the
idea was posed as "I-205 vs. I-5, and the proposal lacked specifics. On
top of that, it
was a poorly conceived campaign. You don't hear 2-to-1 opposition to
light rail today."
You can reach Bill Stewart at 503-294-7670 or by e-mail at