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POL Government Elected Officials Commissioner Amanda Fritz Blog
Columbia River Bridge Discussion - Printable Version - February 23, 2009 - 5 Comments

On Wednesday afternoon, the Council will vote on a Resolution to recommend forming a Regional Transportation Authority to make future decisions on the $4.2 billion Columbia River Crossing bridge on I-5. 

 

198  TIME CERTAIN: 3:00 PM - Support the creation of a Columbia Crossing Mobility Council charged with developing performance-based management recommendations for the Columbia River Crossing Project  (Resolution introduced by Commissioner Adams)

 

The Reolution is here; it doesn't give much information.  I am skeptical about giving up the Portland City Council's right to help make decisions on lane configuration, tolling, and other important factors in the bridge configuration, to an unelected body with limited accountability to Oregon voters.  I'd like to know your opinion.  Please discuss in the comments. 



Comments

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Posted by: Benjamin Kaplin - February 23, 2009 06:35 PM

I just want to see the durned thing built. I understand that trust is in short supply these days, but success lies in delegating to the right people, allowing them to use their best judgment and not micromanaging.

Now, I don't think that just *anyone* should be on the council, that's why we elected *you* and trust *you* to use your judgment. Just get the durned thing built, please. I'd like to be able to take a train up to the 'couve at SOME point before I die...

Posted by: Carol McCreary - February 25, 2009 05:50 AM

The plan articulated in the editorial by Sam Adams and Royce Pollard in today's Oregonian makes sense.   Bridges need to take future capacity needs into account.  

I-5 is part of our national highway system and it's been distressing to see otherwise well-informed local environmentalists take such an unbending stance.     I also share the concerns of Bridgeport neighborhood activists on their need for access to this artery.

Transportation MANAGEMENT is what Portland does well.   We can manage this bridge for hydrocarbon impact, cost recovery to support maintenance, swifter passage of trucks and busses, and the creation of a corridor of livability through our two state urban area.

Posted by: Monica Kirk - February 27, 2009 09:03 AM

Was 12-lanes among the alternatives evaluated in the draft EIS?

Thank you for proposing representation of environmental justice and health communities. That seemed to be a very reasonable proposal, especially in light of those communities' involvement in the past.

I am 'pro green' and a sustainability advocate, but would need to be persuaded to waive environmental health and environmental justice requirements of NEPA.

Please let me know (1) whether the 12-lane alternative was evaluated in the NEPA process, and (2) how do we achieve EJ and environmental health representation at this stage of the process.

Thank you.

Posted by: Amanda Fritz - February 27, 2009 10:23 PM

Thank you for your comments.  Those who want to see the thing built, might consider how to pay for it.  To me, evaluation of the costs and benefits should have been part of the discussion on number of lanes.  Instead, there was no discussion of the right number of lanes on Wednesday, only about the Mobility Council that won't start work for maybe ten years.

Yes, Monica, the 12 lane alternative was evaluated in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

I have not seen real attention to Environmental Justice and environmental health to this point.  The EJ Committee was fine with the 12 lane bridge, which speaks volumes to me.  "Oh yes, give me more freeway lanes near my home" is not advice that usually comes from those most impacted.  

Advocates and I will now need to work for environmental justice and health values through setting of the "performance measures" that will guide the Project Council and then the bi-state management/Mobility Council.  The draft attached to the resolution on Wednesday called only for no "hot-spots" of pollution, implying it would be fine for overall pollution to increase near the freeway as long as it isn't concentrated in one area.  That's not acceptable to me.

We are not done yet.  We can and should continue to work to improve the performance standards, and add new, objective, higher ones.  And I think we should start looking for Plan B.  I will be submerged in the City's budget process for the next few weeks, but soon I want to pull together folks interested in discussing alternatives for if the funding doesn't come through from the feds, states, and tolls.

Posted by: Michael Bidwell - February 03, 2010 02:06 PM

I know this is an old post, but I wanted to share an idea I heard from former Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, Bob Stacey (now Metro candidate) on an alternative to the CRC as proposed.

He stated that a large majority of the bridge lifts deal with tugboats unable to do an "S" maneuver past the railroad bridge to the high part of the Interstate Bridge.  When the current is too strong, the tugboats have to ask for a lift of the bridge.  Making the railroad bridge lift instead of existing configuration will eliminate the S-maneuver, which will eliminate most bridge lifts.

Bob Stacey proposes that the existing bridge be seismically retrofitted.  He suggests the railroad bridge across the Columbia be modified to have a lift span versus current configuration.  The exits to Delta Park and Jantzen Beach on I-5 should be removed and have a local bridge reach Delta Park and Jantzen Beach to alleviate the traffic logjam at these two exits.

A new bridge across the Columbia to Vancouver would be for bike, ped, and transit (BRT and/or LRT depending on Vancouver and Clark County's high capacity transit decision) only.  This approach will prevent more "unforeseen" land use sprawl caused by the extra lanes on the Washington side. Bob Stacey thinks this would cost in the neighborhood of 1.6 billion versus the 4+ billion for the existing CRC bridge.

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