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Old 12-13-2018, 10:45 PM
Status: "Enjoying the the beauty of the PNW" (set 1 day ago)
 
Location: Vancouver, WA
5,503 posts, read 12,351,445 times
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It looks like they are trying again to come to some sort of agreement. Curious if you think political wrangling and special interests killed this last time they tried it?

https://www.columbian.com/news/2018/...ut-i-5-bridge/

Derek
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Old 12-14-2018, 12:27 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,527 posts, read 39,903,732 times
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well ... the I-5 crossing killer is the mandatory inclusion of MAX (portland's idea of 'mass transit') which seems to be 'non-negotiable' from the south side. (must be included in Crossing)

Unfortunately... MAX did not provide a 'dedicated' easement on north I-5 (As they have done on I-84 and I-205 = fast and safe) This results in a 30 -40 min MAX trip to cover the same distance as a 7 - 10 min drive up I-5 (in low traffic).

Of course ideally there would be a Vancouver Mass Transit Loop over both bridges connection to Portland Mass Transit with extensions to Ridgefield and Battleground that could drop you in dwtn Portland in 30 - 40 min (very possible if done correctly). But the North MAX line in Oregon was NOT done correctly (for moving lots of people quickly and safely).

So... this will not go anywhere
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Old 12-14-2018, 08:11 AM
 
Location: WA
5,392 posts, read 21,382,389 times
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Last time these geniuses (on both sides of the river) tried to come up with a plan they spent $200 million to agree to disagree... no progress!

I have no faith and would hate to see more of my taxes wasted on this effort.
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Old 12-14-2018, 08:59 AM
 
Location: WA
2,911 posts, read 3,989,743 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MtnSurfer View Post
It looks like they are trying again to come to some sort of agreement. Curious if you think political wrangling and special interests killed this last time they tried it?

https://www.columbian.com/news/2018/...ut-i-5-bridge/

Derek
Republicans from rural Clark County managed to get the Republican state Senate to pull the plug last time around, thinking....I don't know. That they could get some "better" deal later? I don't know what they were thinking. It wasn't so much "special interests" as right wing politics and opposition to transit. It happened at the peak of the tea party movement both nationally and in Clark County.

These days Democrats have a lock on the State Senate (and House) in WA so that particular obstacle is gone. But times have also changed at the national level.

Ultimately the problem is that Portland has become a transit-oriented city and generally opposes new freeways, especially those that will carve through existing Portland neighborhoods. Whereas Clark County has gone all-in with a suburban sprawl develpment pattern. The two different development philosophies just don't mix.

This started back in the early 70s when Portland killed what was then going to be the Mt. Hood Freeway that would have sliced through SE Portland towards Clackamas and also removed the waterfront freeway and built waterfront park. Since then there really haven't been any new highways through Portland and aren't likely to be. I-84 is constrained by passenger and freight rail on one side and urban development on the other so it can't expand unless they double deck it like Austin. The real bottleneck on I-5 is at the Rose Quarter where it reduces to 2-lanes in either direction. The state DOT has plans to expand that section but it will be extraordinarily expensive due to all the bridge ramps that will have to be moved and all the existing development in the area. And even this relatively modest (yet pricey) proposal is generating a lot of opposition from urban Portland.

Meanwhile there is very little brake on suburban sprawl development in Vancouver as more and more subdivisions keep popping up on the edges in places like Ridgefield, Hockinson, and Battle Ground that are so dispersed that they really require cars. So rapid expansion of car-centric Clark County is running headlong into car-wary Portland.

From a Portland perspective, a bridge expansion that dumps thousands of more Clark county commuters onto Portland's already over-capacity streets and freeways is simply going to be a non-starter unless Clark County decides to join with the Portland area in regional transit solutions. You can absolutely guarantee that the Oregon side will not approve any car-only bridge expansion. That would be political suicide for Portland area politicians. Portlanders are not interested in seeing their tax dollars subsidize more sprawl in Clark County and bring more commuters with WA plates onto Portland streets and highways.

Over the next few years you will see all manner of proposals from conservative Clark County politicians and activists. You'll see new bridges proposed west at Ridgefield and east at Camas which are both ridiculous non-starters because there are no existing highway connections on the Oregon side to tie into those sort of new bridges and Portlanders have no interest in spending billions on a faster route to Camas or Ridgefield. The only thing Oregon (which mostly means Portland) will be interested in spending money on is improvements on the north-south hub connecting Oregon to Puget Sound which mainly means I-5 and I-205. Since I-5 is by far the oldest of the two bridges and biggest bottleneck that is where the focus will be.

You will also see all manner of proposals from Clark County to do any kind of transit other than light rail. The latest suggestion from some Vancouver interests is to put Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on a new I-5 bridge. I expect this will also be a non-starter for the Oregon side. Portland is actually exploring and building BRT but on the east-west axis along Division St in SE Portland. Portland has no plans whatsoever to build a N-S axis BRT line from downtown to Vancouver because they have already invested in light rail along the corridor. Why would Portland be interested in paying for a useless BRT lane on a new bridge when there is no BRT line on the Oregon side to connect to it? And I suspect that Clark County is not interested in paying a billon or so dollars to build a new dedicated BRT corridor from Vancouver into Portland. If we were starting from scratch then a BRT line from Vancouver to Portland might make sense. But we are not starting from scratch. Portland has already made the transit investments on its side of the river and isn't going to be interested in starting over with something new just because suburban Clark County doesn't like rail.

My prediction? There will be no new bridges across the Columbia unless they contain a rail component that ties into the existing Portland system. Portland holds all the cards and Clark County needs the bridges a LOT more than Portland does. What gets built may look radically different from what was proposed a decade ago. The original CRC project was really a giant freeway expansion project from Portland to Salmon Creek of which the new bridge was just one part. It may make sense to build several smaller bridges, perhaps a new rail bridge and pedestrian bridge to accommmodate both freight and passenger rail as well as bikes, pededstrians and other small vehicles like scooters combined with a new car-only bridge. But it will have to tie into the existing light rail networks in Portland or it simply isn't going to get built. It would be political suicide for Portland politicians to do anything different.

Because Clark County needs the bridge a whole lot more than Portland I think the best that Clark County is going to be able to do is leverage a massive new bridge project into rail improvements on the Portland side that will benefit Clark County commuters. Perhaps a more direct and faster yellow line MAX that will provide faster and more direct connections for Vancouver area commuters. But I expect the opposite will happen. Clark County will grudgingly drag its feet and go along with the bare minimum investment necessary to get the project finished and end up with a much worse transit connection to Portland than could have been the case had they been more proactive about the whole thing.

Also don't hold your breath. Our generation threw away its chance to build a new bridge. I expect the next one is 15-20 years away and it will be our kids generation that will end up planning and building it. By then the world is likely to look a lot different than it does today.
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:47 AM
 
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I’d bet we won’t see a new one until the big Cascadia subduction zone quake sends the existing one into the river.
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Old 12-14-2018, 10:12 AM
 
Location: WA
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Originally Posted by notnamed View Post
I’d bet we won’t see a new one until the big Cascadia subduction zone quake sends the existing one into the river.
I honestly think you might be right. And then whatever replacement happens will be the quickest and easiest option to replace the existing bridges in the shortest amount of time and not something that re-engineers the entire area.
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Old 12-14-2018, 10:41 AM
 
1,180 posts, read 388,694 times
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1. Bridge replacement with railroad

2. Park & ride in the grassy round at the I5/14 offramp

3. MAX line to that park & ride terminal

4. Light rail transfers to and from C-Tran bus there

5. Potland gets their way, no major infrastructure changes downtown (remember the old light rail proposal several years ago? C-tran-railroad-to-nowhere), rainbows, marshmallow clouds and puppy dogs.

See? Nice and simple. Won't ever happen because it makes sense.
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:10 AM
 
Location: SF, CA
1,508 posts, read 677,239 times
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Remarkable treatise there (post #4), Texasdiver!
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:49 AM
 
Location: WA
2,911 posts, read 3,989,743 times
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Originally Posted by NW4me View Post
Remarkable treatise there (post #4), Texasdiver!
People considering moving to Clark County should understand the political reality about transportation in this region.

From a Portland perspective, a new I-5 bridge would be a nice thing but it isn't remotely the only or top priority. The sunset corridor to Beaverton. I-5 south to Tigard and Wilsonvile. 205 to Clackamas and Gresham. Renovating or replacing some of the century-old bridges in downtown Portland. Improving infrastucture in inner NE around the I-5, I-205 and I-405 spaghetti mess, BRT and improved protected bike and pedestrian routes throughout the city. Those are also all priorities competing for money and attention. Portland has dozens of other priorities on its plate.

On the other hand, highway access to Portland is easily the #1 tranportation issue in Clark County. There probably isn't even a close second. There are lots of smaller projects out there like expanding the WA-14 2-lane bridge between Camas and Washougal and various other smaller projects around the region. But the I-5 ridge replacement is far and above the #1 priority.

Remember also that Oregon is a Portland-centric state whereas Washington is a Puget Sound centric state which means that Portland carries a LOT more weight in the state of Oregon than Vancouver carries in the state of Washington. Remember also that state politics in WA are becoming increasingly Democratic and Puget Sound centric where priorities like climate change and transit are becoming more and more important. Puget Sound has just chosen to devote tens of billions into light rail expansion with their Sound Transit project and transit in Puget Sound is growing faster and more popular than in Portland. Seattle area politicans who control the state's purse strings are not going to want to hear from Clark County suburbanites who are "allergic" to mass transit.

Where this leaves us is that conservative Clark County politicians who want to push highway-centric solutions and limit or eliminate transit alternatives are going to get a cold hearing in both Portland and Puget Sound where all the money for this sort of project is going to come from. They no longer have the slightest leverage over the WA legislature and less then zero leverage over the Oregon legislature. In our political system it is always much easier to obstruct and foot-drag than it is to actually get things done. So I have no doubt that Clark County politicians can continue to obstruct new bridge proposals that aren't to their liking. But what they will be absolutely unable to do is shape the project to their liking if that is going to be a primarily or exclusively highway-centric project to the detriment of transit and other users. Clark County no longer has ANY politicans at the state or federal level that are in the majority. So the region basically no longer has any leverage or ability to influence policy at the state or federal level. None.

So if you are planning to move here with the idea that you can easily commute by car to Portland over the next two decades because "someone" is going to build a new bridge to fix your current commuting woes I think you are going to be sorely disappointed. No matter what eventually gets built, I don't think the car commute to Portland is EVER going to be any better than it is today and likely much worse for the rest of any of our lifetimes. There may or may not be viable mass transit alternatives and that depends mainly on how much effort Clark County puts into making that happen.

For those of us live here and don't actually commute to Portland on a daily basis (which is I think most of us on the forum) it's basically time to get out the popcorn. Because it is going to be a very long show.

Last edited by texasdiver; 12-14-2018 at 12:00 PM..
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:07 PM
Status: "Enjoying the the beauty of the PNW" (set 1 day ago)
 
Location: Vancouver, WA
5,503 posts, read 12,351,445 times
Reputation: 5826
Quote:
Originally Posted by texasdiver View Post
People considering moving to Clark County should understand the political reality about transportation in this region.
...

For those of us live here and don't actually commute to Portland on a daily basis (which is I think most of us on the forum) it's basically time to get out the popcorn. Because it is going to be a very long show.


I really appreciate the historic background including the current political mess, texasdiver. For newbies it seems like a no brainier. Duh, of course these the I-5 needs to be updated. So get working on it already! I've even heard both sides have $millions more allocated for this very purpose. Money that they will need to give back if it is not spent as earmarked. Since I work with the with gov't, I understand things like this all too well. Had a meeting this week regarding infrastructure problems with the new contractors overseeing ITOps. The answer seemed so obvious to them. 'Of course you need new hardware, what's the big deal?' All those in the room with experience looked around and smiled. Politics, foot dragging, blame games, pet agendas, bureaucratic bs, etc... Where's the popcorn?

Maybe our kids will get it right, as you suggest, after seeing decades of wasted $$$ and incompetence. Or maybe before then someone will actually find a way to capitulate and allow both sides to win 'at least in part' to save political face and more importantly make some progress.

Derek
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