Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Thursday, April 7, 2016

What Metro wants

We want light rail!  

Did you ever think there was a doubt what they wanted?

Metro's planning efforts purport to be what local community "partners want," but the goal is about achieving a unified Smart Growth plan for the region.  And getting us to pay for it all.  The end justifies the means.

The "end" is increased density in the city and the suburbs and a planned way of living for the masses.  Suburban taxpayers will have to pay for their allocation of smart growth through the "shared investment" strategy plan of project funding.

Tigard and Tualatin voters put a stick in the wheels of the SW Corridor Plan (SWCP) light rail planning when they told Metro and their own city governments they wanted to vote on any High Capacity Transit (HCT) plans for their towns.  Metro decided to take an extra year to begin again and include the local communities in the planning process.  It appears the outcome is heading toward the same conclusion but is just further down the road with the pre-engineering analysis needed for the DEIS.

If all plans and funding were left up to a vote of the people to get the ultimate thumbs up or down, how much and what type of density, transit, funding and developer subsidies would be approved?  

The results are too risky, so that is why most planning efforts and financing are not left up to the people - and why indirect means are used to pay for projects citizens may not want but that will need public funding.  (LIDs, Grants, Urban Renewal, Tax Abatements, public amenities, etc.)

The money for transit and development comes from one place - the taxpayers.  And so many people have a stake in the light rail projects that are laid out decades in advance, the process is virtually impossible to stop: developers, the construction industry, rail industry, manufacturing, unions, politicians, bureaucrats... they can't live without (your) public funding. 


Staff Recommendations regarding the 
Preferred Package for the Southwest Corridor Plan

May 2016 Decisions
The decisions on mode and the PCC tunnel will complete the 18-month workplan established by the steering committee in December 2014. The workplan calls for the development of a Preferred Package of transportation investments to support community land use goals, including a preferred transit mode and terminus. The Preferred Package outlines what proposed actions will be studied in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act.

On May 9, 2016, the Southwest Corridor Plan Steering Committee will consider two major, inter-related questions: What is the preferred high capacity transit mode, BRT or light rail, for the Southwest Corridor? If light rail is the preferred mode, should a light rail tunnel directly serving the PCC Sylvania campus be advanced into the DEIS?

Summary of Staff Recommendations
Based on direction from the committee, technical analysis, and consideration of input from community and business groups and the general public, staff proposes the following recommendations for steering committee consideration:
  • Light rail is the preferred high capacity transit mode for the Southwest Corridor 
  • Remove the light rail tunnel alignment to PCC Sylvania from further consideration
  • Continue to explore and refine alternative options for improved transit connections to the Sylvania campus 
Higher level of public support
Input gathered through community engagement efforts shows a clear public preference for light rail over BRT for the Southwest Corridor.

It is essential to note that Metro did NOT conduct a statistically valid survey to see what the preferred transit mode option was.

Public Input: Light rail or bus rapid transit
Throughout the last year there were several opportunities to connect with stakeholders to understand their questions, concerns and preferences regarding whether bus rapid transit (BRT) or light rail is the best choice to serve residents in the Southwest Corridor and surrounding communities. To date, project partners have collected public input on a preferred mode through open-ended questionnaires, online surveys and in-person dialogues.

During all types of public outreach, four themes consistently rise to the top when the public is asked what bene ts they want a Southwest Corridor project to deliver:
  • shorter travel time,
  • higher ridership,
  • greater reliability,
  • increased access to employment and education centers. 
Without being informed about the facts, respondents to Metro's surveys can only give their perceptions of each transit option.   Did Metro even offer the option of BRT in mixed traffic as opposed to dedicated lanes?  This type of information is anecdotal and should not be included in a report.  The questionnaires were done to satisfy public input requirements.  

Open-ended survey questions and in-person discussions provided a sense of how the public views the trade-offs between the mode options and their perspectives in selecting their preferred mode.The largest number of open-ended comments were in support of light rail, citing the need to think long-term, higher ridership capacity, automatic exclusive right of way and more positive public perceptions of light rail as comfortable and modern. Comments in support of BRT cite the perception that BRT is more flexible, it doesn’t require fixed infrastructure, that the fleet is easier to upgrade than MAX, lower construction costs and public perception that MAX is unreliable. 


Officials take a ride on new Orange Line train
Portland Tribune  Friday, 15 May 2015

TRIBUNE PHOTO: JOHN M. VINCENT - Nearly 400 invited guests joined TriMet and light rail car manufacturer Siemens Friday to celebrate the first full-speed passenger-carrying run on the MAX Orange line from Downtown Portland to northern Clackamas County. The route is expected to open to the public in September.


A Smart Growther's Hootenany. I will be more impressed the second time these folks ride this line, which will be never,

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