Real Congestion Relief? Fuggedaboutit!

by lewwaters

Brancaccio FuggedaboutitNow that the plug has been pulled on the bloated CRC light rail project, it is very apparent that proponents of that boondoggle are going to oppose any and every suggestion to actually work towards easing congestion along the I-5 Corridor through Vancouver, out of pure, hateful spite.

Never mind that their darling light rail extension from Portland that commanded the project never enjoyed the support of Clark County citizens, it was light rail or nothing at all, evidence by the calls of “no light rail, no bridge” from several proponents.

Figg Engineering has now provided the community with a proposal for an East County Bridge , a proposal they drew up at no charge to taxpayers. Contrast that to the CRC light rail project that sucked over $200 Million away from taxpayers, leaving us with nothing to show for our money, just bitter memories of out of touch elected officials ignoring our voices and attempting to go against our desires.

Almost immediately, CRC light rail project proponents began their spiteful opposition, without even any serious consideration of whether or not it is even a viable solution.

The Lazy C and their worthless editor quickly labeled it “Madore’s Bridge,” linking it to controversial County Commissioner, David Madore, who they have demonized at every chance even before he was elected County Commissioner by a very wide margin.

Even though the idea of a Third Bridge across the Columbia River isn’t new, you would think this is a whole new project dreamt up solely by Madore when in fact, it was Sen. Ann Rivers (R. 18) that initially met with Linda Figg of Figg Engineering and invited her to look over our problems in crossing the river, covered in the post It’s Not “Madore’s Bridge.”

The Lazy C, that seemed deeply invested in slamming us into the unwanted light rail extension for several years, is leading the charge, slapping Madore and citizens that see real congestion relief will only come with additional crossings, not an unwanted light rail that would only serve to carry people, and their money, out of Clark County and into Portland.

How Portland draining our economy is of benefit to us I never understood and any questioning of that was met with scorn and ridicule from those same proponents.

And yet, not one of them ever answered or addressed just how they planned on dealing with the 8 to 10 years of massively increased congestion over the I-5 Bridge as the new light rail carrier bridge was to be constructed alongside the current bridges, what with rubber neckers slowing down to look and the coming and going of construction equipment and materials to the site.

To me, it is ludicrous to ignore that 800 pound gorilla while proclaiming a short light rail extension on a bridge with the exact number of through lanes currently there was going to resolve congestion, while the bottlenecks deep inside Portland remain untouched.

It never was about relieving congestion, mind you and was seemingly admitted to by former Mayor of Portland, Tom Potter in a June 25, 2008 interview with KPAM radio’s Bob Miller Show as an effort to “force people out of their cars” and onto their light rail service.

That people would be largely unwilling to be placed at the mercy of such an unreliable mode of transportation by abandoning their cars was ignored over the years as every effort imaginable was brought to bear to force light rail on us, all efforts that eventually failed.

But we still have the congestion problem to deal with. And the only realistic means of easing congestion is more crossings.

But, as efforts were instituted to begin an actual and serious discussion to address the issue, instead of being met with open arms as a long overdue discussion, CRC light rail proponents began throwing tantrums, as did Rep. Jim Moeller (D. 49) on his facebook page.

Moeller, CRC Shutdown 2014

Again, not one thought of how to deal with the increased congestion during such a period of construction, what with only one other means to cross the river.

The very first Vancouver City Council Meeting after the Figg presentation saw 6 of the 7 Councilors take a stand against the proposal, City Council Member Jack Burkman saying, “Either (Madore) is delusional, or he’s deliberately trying to fool the public.”

Mayor Tim ‘the Liar’ Leavitt chimed in with, “I think it’s going to be a real smack upside the head when he realizes that you need partnerships to build an interstate bridge,” adding, “Madore’s rogue actions serve as a distraction from a need to address congestion and replace aging twin drawbridges on Interstate 5, a key economic corridor.”

Again, Leavitt, who claims to be an Engineer himself, ignores that 800 pound Gorilla of massively increased congestion during the construction period and no relief offered.

Note too how they assign the proposal to Madore as if he and he alone is proposing it. He isn’t. He is but one supporter.

Apparently believing he is now a spokesman for Portland and clinging to the “no light rail, no bridge” theme he held, Leavitt added, “Like our friends across the river, we’re going to keep an arm’s-length distance while Madore continues to spin his wheels.”

Where is the concern over congestion now, Mayor? Does it no longer matter, unless it is your idea? To hell with the citizens unless the play patty cake with your misguided notions?

The Lazy C, in one of their many editorial demeaning both Madore and any notion of an additional crossing to relieve congestion penned, “the I-5 corridor should remain the region’s primary transportation focus.”

Again, completely ignored is the increased congestion during the construction period with nowhere else for people to cross but one bridge 6 miles east on I-205.

You needn’t be an engineer to realize there must be an additional crossing in place before undertaking replacing the current and fully functional spans along the I-5 corridor.

You don’t have to be overly intelligent to realize the real bottleneck exists well inside Portland, not the bridge and that Portland is reluctant to actually address their poorly designed, restrictively narrow corridor through their city, opting instead to force their financially troubled light rail upon us, even holding any new bridges hostage to their choo choo train.

Yes, we have real troubles facing both communities. Portland has the jobs, but are dependent upon thousands of Clark County Citizens to fill them.

We have the people, but their access across the river is very limited what with only 2 crossings for several miles, while Portland itself has some 8 bridges in a 3 mile stretch across the Willamette River downtown.

And there are real solutions to be offered, even beyond the East County Bridge currently being offered.

But all we will hear from our current batch of elected fools is “fuggedaboutit,” unless the project is their plan, whether citizens support it or not.

Elections have consequences and we are experiencing them now as tantrums are being thrown because these people did not get their way. Instead, they work against real solutions.

14 Comments to “Real Congestion Relief? Fuggedaboutit!”

  1. Lefties always act like vey spoiled, petulant little brats continuously throwing tantrums when they don’t get their way.

  2. I am a relatively new resident of SW Washington. I grew up and spent most of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area. I saw the lies used to sell the population on paying for BART. And I saw that not a single one of the numerous promises about BART service were actually realized. (One promise, “a seat for everyone” may actually have been believed by the BART promoters — as the original BART rail cars did not have poles and ceiling “hangers” for standees to use to brace themselves. Of course the cars were retrofitted with these implements within a few months of the start of service.)

    The San Francisco Bay Area voters also rejected a “southern crossing” that would have bridged the bay south of the existing San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. This proposal was actively campaigned against by “greens” who supported BART (which was still quite new at the time of the proposal) and the voters rejected the Southern Crossing. Meanwhile the SF-O bridge is at capacity — travelers to/from the SF Airport from East Bay locations must pass through San Francisco, becoming engulfed in the regular congestion and contributing to it as well. (The southern crossing would have avoided San Francisco, relieving congestion on both the SF-O bridge and on the San Mateo bridge…)

    So… what does this have to do with Portland/Vancouver? Actually more than you might think. I don’t want to see Vancouver make the same silly (but expensive) mistakes as the SF Bay Area. Look at Portland — and count the number of bridges that cross the Willamette. Then count the bridges crossing between Portland and Vancouver across the Columbia. (Yes, the Columbia is a much bigger river than the Willamette — but there is sufficient traffic and economic coordination between the two sides of the river that at least two more bridges can be justified between Clark County and Portland.

    An “eastern” bridge east of the I-205 bridge and a “western” bridge, to the west of the I-5 bridge can easily be justified. Both could be positioned and connected up to the existing freeways in ways to reduce congestion — and to allow freight carriers, who wish to simply pass through Portland, to use lesser traveled routes — reducing primary bridges’ congestion.

    One final comment. BART is considered one of the most successful “new” transit systems in the U.S. And even though it carries a significant volume of riders, it has not made any real impact on the level of traffic on Bay Area freeways or bridges. The BART trains only serve a fraction of the populated area. And jobs are poorly distributed, causing many super-long commutes (both myself and my wife at different times had 55 and 45 mile commutes) simply to stay employed. BART did not serve either of them….

    The same situation would occur in Clark County if Trimet’s trolley cars ever get to this side of the river. It’ll be wildly expensive and have no significant impact on congestion. (Another of the leftist/statist utopian dreams that actual facts and visible reality does not seem able to shake.)

  3. The policy of the left is driven here by petulance and spite.

    This is about punishing the people of Clark County because we stood up to these scum. Now, instead of addressing the issues remaining, they mean to hurt this community in an effort to force support of their schemes.


  4. Light rail and new low I5 bridge is all about making money with the commercial waterfront property that used to be the shipyards. The thieves will never quit trying to make hay off the public sector, ie: the tax payer.

  5. Of course there is the option of voting these fools at the legislative level out here in the 49th! You all could and should vote for me! 🙂

  6. Voting the fools out is our first option, beginning with Jim Moeller, up for reelection this time

  7. I am galled that Ed Barnes wants to hold hostage an east Vancouver bridge till he gets his pet project on I-5. We all know that nearly a decade and a half of meetings, talk and more talk did not bring forth a replacement bridge on I-5. It is amazing all the foes who came out of the woodwork to pan the idea of a bridge in east Vancouver. Vancouver is growing and will need some-sort of outlet into Portland.

    Those who have said that Portland is tired of suburbanites driving into their fair city, forget that even without a new bridge or new lanes, people will keep on coming.

    It is time for the nay-Sayers to come up with an option similar to FIGGs. Maybe FIGGs could come up with a solution to the I-5 bridge and hopefully end the bottleneck at the Rose Quarter?

  8. Leavitt, Burkman, and Smith were never about doing what they did for the sake of the citizens of Vancouver – now, they continue in the same petulant vein. Remember grade school and you had kids who would pack up their marbles and skulk off? Same thing here.

  9. I think Moeller needs a laxative for his “congestion

  10. The problem with any I-5 bridge replacement is that it will never alleviate the congestion further south on I-5 because unless there is a radical change of leadership, Portland will never do anything to improve traffic flow through the I-5/405 corridor. The majority of traffic reports one hears each morning has little to do with the current bridge. Advocates of the CRC project have consistently and repeatedly lied to the public about this incontrovertible fact.

    Without a doubt more crossings are needed. One west of I-5 (connecting with Hwy 30), one between 1-5 and 205 (connecting Hwy 14 to Marine Drive), one at 192nd connecting to I-84, and one connecting Hwy 14 at Washougal to I-84. That would bring the total to 6 – still 2 less than the crossings over the Willamette. Each one of these additional crossings would take pressure off the current crossings and help to alleviate the bottleneck at the Rose Quarter. This would be a long range project of course, but what do we have to show for 10 years on the CRC project other than a big bucketful of nothing?

  11. Since there really is no viable solution to the bottleneck in Portland, I don’t recall who suggested it, but a reroute of I-5, redesignate I-205 as I-5 and make the current I-5 more of local corridor seems like a good idea. Then, more bridges, including a direct line to the Ports from North of Vancouver.

    And yes, it will have to a very long range plan. Whoever decided to align I-5 as they did, an effort to save money I believe, did not think far ahead of the congestion they were creating.

    It will take the next couple generations to correct that and a short light rail extension will do nothing of substance, other than drain revenue from Vancouver to Portland.

  12. Routes for highways get selected by a terrible process:

    1. A deer lept and ran through the woods…
    2. A “native american”/indian followed the deer…
    3. A fir trapper followed the path broken by the deer and the indian…
    and so on until…
    72. The interstate highway was put through the center of the city that sprung up from where the trapper’s trading post had once been.

    Both Portland and Vancouver (Wash.) can easily trace their origins back to trading posts/forts built in the area. Old US 99 runs through the middle of town … indeed, towns built up around the access provided by the early trails, roads, and highways that eventually became freeways.

    During the 1960s, as the Interstate Highways were built, routing was almost always parallel (and fairly close to) existing routes. It was only later on, that “beltways” ringing a central city or other bypass routes started to be created. (Yet, even in the 1960s, the ability of highway builders to modify terrain had reached monumental levels. (Just south of Vallejo, CA, Interstate 80 passes through the hills along side the Carquinez Strait (that connects to the inland delta of the Sacramento and San Juaquin rivers). This “cut” required the removal of more material than required for the Gaillard Cut at the Panama Canal (more than 100 million cubic yards) — yet was done by relatively standard highway building equipment. So, the ease of travel, often the primary criteria for route selection before heavy equipment was available, is no longer an overriding concern. But historically, we’re left with problematical routes that often traverse central parts of cities (where their presence can be detrimental to the area) … and there’s little political will to build alternate routes that bypass these congested routes.

    The idea of re-designating I-205 as I-5, etc. makes good sense. When I need to travel south beyond Portland, I often take the I-205 route to avoid the congestion on the slightly more direct (current) I-5 route.

    A problem that has affected transportation planning for a good many years, now, is the anti-automobile bias that “planners” have acquired in their academic background. Over the years, I’ve been to way too many “community sessions” where planners have presented various plans including “traffic calming” features (e.g. that means ways to make drivers go slower) and various other ideas that simply create more congestion. Indeed, asking the obvious question: “Why don’t you make a plan that efficiently and quickly gets the autos and their occupants to their destination?” often results in a blank stare.

  13. With our state spending $819 million dollars a year on bike and pedestrian pathways we have divided the funding in almost half and expect the balance to cover all our roads bridges and ferries and transit infrastructure. I think that there is a bit of an imbalance don’t you?

  14. Carolyn,

    You are entirely correct. The anti-auto crowd has been taping into automobile “user fees” (as gas taxes are often characterized) for mass transit (including ongoing subsidies in addition to capital expenses), bike lanes (bikes pay no “user fees”), pedestrian pathways — including those on old railroad right-of-ways that aren’t even associated with a highway, and many other non automotive amenities. This has been commonly done in every state…

    The result is that our national highway infrastructure has been declining and has now reached a point were it infringes on economic activity due to congestion and losses to damaged vehicles and damaged freight caused by rough roads and potholes.

    If vehicle taxes and fuel taxes are truly “user fees” as politicians tend to characterize them, then the use of these funds for projects that are, at best, only distantly related to automotive needs is a serious fraud upon the driving public. All too often, people say “it’s for a good reason” … but if the “reason” is so good, then ask the voters to approve specific taxes to fund bike paths, hiking trails and scenic pathways, and mass transit separate from the “user fees” collected through vehicle taxes and fees and through fuel taxes. It might surprise the politicians that the voters might not think some of these projects, using funds stolen from the vehicle “user fees,” are all so desirable if they’re actually asked to pay for them outright.

    I note too, the idea of the Bus Rapid Transit that our wonderful C-TRAN board is pressing, would be much more beneficial if spent to add a lane in each direction on Fourth Plain instead of an exclusive separate right-of-way. For example, San Francisco has designated one lane (in each direction) on Mission Street as for exclusive use of busses. This has considerably speeded movement of transit vehicles, especially during “commute hours.” While that example did not include adding any capacity to the street (conditions didn’t permit that) adding capacity to Fourth Plain and setting exclusivity for certain hours would likely give 90% of the benefit that BRT provides, but also, during non-commute hours, give greater capacity for non-transit vehicles during off hours.

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