Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Transit Links

There's a good read about how the Fort Worth Streetcar idea came to the forefront of local planning. It's quite extensive, the way only a local weekly could do.
The first run of the Savannah Streetcar.
If the auto bailout passes, it looks like there will be help for transit agencies involved in those leaseback deals. While these deals might not have been a great idea, it just shows how underfunded our transit agencies are compared to the road complex.
Some leaders in Milwaukie, Oregon are a bit skeptical about the MAX line that is proposed to come to town.


Robert Cruickshank said...

I didn't get the sense that Milwaukie was skeptical of the MAX line but of having to pay for it. Seems a fairly typical suburban attitude, where residents expect someone else will pay to subsidize their lifestyles. I think they want a basically free light rail line.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

The Mayor has been really supportive, but you're right, its the usual suburban attitude. Someone else pays. The locals might have more to say about it. I'm wondering if the article line will get a response from BOB R or Adron.

jon said...

As the article mentioned, there was a huge issue and opposition 10-15 years ago over the route through Milwaukie (as part of the failed South-North MAX line) and TriMet and Metro have been cautious about this particular stretch of route in the years since. Earlier this decade when this route was up for study, Metro and TriMet studied every transit mode but LRT and realized the results weren't sufficent with these other modes and only later added LRT to the mode options which then became the chosen mode. But first, as part of this "South Corridor" study, they pursued the now under construction I-205 line serving a more suburban route further out. Randall O'Toole used to live right by Milwaukie and I believe got his start opposing this very project 15 years ago and likes to think that he killed the South-North line.

But the proposed route through Milwaukie was terrible and made a full cloverleaf loop around on its self in downtown Milwaukie.

Its worth mentioning the "South-North MAX" line from the mid-1990s which LRT opponents keep bringing up thinking that a failed LRT tax vote 15 years ago means that there is no support for LRT construction ever again. First off the South-North line tax had to be approved in 3 seperate counties including one in WA state. It was approved in the two OR counties and lost in WA state (Vancouver WA attracts all the fiscal conservatives who play tax loophole games by living in WA and paying no state income taxes and shopping in OR with no sales tax). Anyhow Vancouver's lack of support killed the whole proposal and so it was broken up into smaller pieces and pitched to voters again but the momentum was lost from this earlier 3 county vote and this shorter route ended up losing in OR. So planners ended up building the Interstate/Yellow line using urban renewal money instead of a local tax. But this tax defeat has also made TriMet afraid to put any LRT proposals on the ballot again and instead has pursued much less ambitous single line projects every 5-6 years while other regions build multiple lines at once.

That said, things have changed and recent polls in Vancouver now have strong support for extending LRT to Vancouver which is planned as part of a huge overpriced boondoggle replacement I-5 12 lane Columbia River bridge (nevermind that no freeway in the Portland area has more than 6 lanes).

Back to the Milwaukie line...
It really seems to me (and I think many others) that this line needs to continue all the way to Oregon City, which is a major destination in the region and a designated 'regional center' in the metro 2040 plan. It wouldnt be too good if the buses to Oregon City had to turn back at Milwaukie requiring a transfer.
Plus its a lot of money at $1.4 billion to go from downtown Portland to Milwaukie, it seems it would be better justified cost and ridership-wise to go all the way to O.C.

jfruh said...

That article about Milwaukee -- and the comments on it -- are something else. God forbid everyone in town pays $240 a head for a major piece of commuting infrastructure that will provide benefits for decades. But oh noes, it will attract musicians!

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

I always get a kick out of the Clackamas paper and other minor daily papers in Portland. The commenters are the nuttiest.

AJ said...

Robert Pamplin Jr., who founded anti-transit mouthpiece KPAM and is the biggest opponent to MAX and the South Corridor also created Bibleman.

Think about that one.