Ever wonder what the Central Planners at Metro, Clackamas County, Oregon Department of Transportation, Federal Transportation Administration, etc. do all day? They draw lines on papers - or trace lines on computer CAD programs to come up with the next big thing. It is usually what the Planners think will make life better, the region more livable, and people more… happy? I don't know if happy ever enters into their deliberations. If it did, wouldn't you think they would ask us first before they made big changes? Not just the handful of people that go to the open houses, and not just the politically aware people that hang out online and fill out questionnaires, but getting approval from the public at large before charging ahead with a plan or, as they like to say, "vision."
Here are some Central Planners' visions for our future. Let me know if they make you happy. I know I fell tingly all over, but it doesn't feel like happy.
Exhibit 1: The SW Corridor High-Capacity Transit map, part of Metro's Southwest Corridor Plan.
The SW Corridor Plan encompasses the area mostly west of I-5, though does directly touch upon the Kruse Way - Center Point Employment Center. But what I find even more interesting is the yellow line passing through the middle of Lake Oswego - from Milwaukie to Tualatin - as part of a "Next Phase Regional Priority Corridor."
ODOT had this route marked as an option for their Eugene-to-Portland heavy rail passenger line, however, in recent months their proposed route has moved off to join the Am-Track route through Oregon City and then to Portland. This makes one wonder why ODOT isn't updating Am-Track instead, except that would not allow more people to be hired and employed in Salem and creating projects for heavy industries - whether they are needed or not. It's not their money.
But what about Lake Oswego? And what about the residents who would be living next to the tracks that would be in use all day long (and evenings too?) bringing people from all over the Metro area into the neighborhoods? Many people can hear the freight trains now when they pass through town, but it is so infrequent it is tolerable. Getting from North to South will cause one to ask, "What side of the tracks are you on?" since getting across them will be more difficult. Put that in your "place-making" and "community-building" hat and smoke it.
In order not to go too long in one message, I will continue reporting on transportation planning in future blogs posts. If you have any information or questions, please contact me. I will leave you with one last thought - why would we want to be like everywhere else? These trains aren't cute toys and they are being pushed way too hard in a rather low density region to be all that useful or desirable. Something is up.