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More good news from Portland

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  • michelle@giansante.net
    Here s some more good news from Portland, Oregon! Michelle Giansante ... *** http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/oregonian/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 10, 2002
      Here's some more good news from Portland, Oregon!
      Michelle Giansante

      Some quotes:
      >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 --
      still under
      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
      the business
      community, which wants trucks moving faster.

      "There was a great amount of debate," agreed Multnomah County
      Commissioner Serena
      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
      didn't want
      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
      backbone will
      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
      have been
      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
      southbound is
      a daily bottleneck. Adding a northbound on-ramp and a southbound off-ramp
      at Columbia
      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
      from 99th
      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
      only by
      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.
      In the
      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
      overdue road
      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
      are we
      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
      light-rail station,
      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
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