Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Tigard OKs light rail

The Tigard Times, November 17, 2016 By Mark Miller
Light rail measure narrowly passes in Tigard 

It would appear that the ayes have it on Ballot Measure 34-255. 
“Yes” leads with 50.3 percent of the vote on the local measure, which would authorize Tigard's city government to support a MAX light rail line through Tigard, according to unofficial election results on the Oregon secretary of state's website, as of Thursday afternoon. 
    The vote on Measure 34-255 was required due to Tigard voters' adoption of a charter amendment in March 2014 that states that the municipal government opposes any high-capacity transit project within Tigard city limits “as a matter of public policy” unless voters authorize its support.

The planned MAX line is the centerpiece of the Southwest Corridor Plan, a Metro-led planning effort that envisions changes and improvements to transit services in Tigard, Tualatin, Sherwood, parts of Beaverton, Southwest Portland and adjacent communities. Current plans call for it to run from downtown Portland to Bridgeport Village, serving stops in Tigard along the way.
The project could cost as much as $2.8 billion, with about half of that money expected to come from federal sources. 
Tigard's city charter prohibits the city from levying a tax or fee to pay for light rail construction without another public vote — which would be separate from Measure 34-255 — and Mayor John L. Cook has said he expects Metro to seek voter approval for a levy in 2018.
I bet citizens in Tigard think the light rail is for them and that it will relieve traffic congestion on Hwy. 99W.   They may even think a train will take them to Portland faster than driving.  They would be wrong on all counts.  
When Metro begins a transit (or other land use) plan that involves local jurisdictions (what they like to call "partners" because Metro has no authority to implement a plan in any city without its approval), usually the city's approval comes with local tax dollars and debt.  
Metro gives lip service to their locally-preferred transportation plans and makes citizens think their input counts.  Just like the Lake Oswego streetcar, it doesn't matter if another mode of transit was better or that residents simply preferred something else - if development is wanted, rail transit is what the plan will be.  The rest is PR.  
Metro knows that developers want to see a permanent commitment to transit in an area before they sign on.  Having expensive train tacks nearby that aren't going to disappear anytime soon is preferable to a BRT system that can be converted back to auto traffic if the demand doesn't meet projections or changes.  Developers say, build it and we might come, depending on what the transit will be.  Oh yeah, and we want some funding too. ;-)
Metro's goal of spreading Smart Growth planning and density into every corner of their boundaries depends on selling it to the cities.  It is no secret that Tigard and Metro want more dense development in the landlocked Tigard Triangle; The area has many issues, getting in and out of the area is only one.  People do not abandon their cars because Metro and Central Planners want them to.  Even if the train does not come into Lake Oswego, Tigard's expansion will have major impacts on development in the areas closest to I-5 as was planned all along.

5.6 Porential Development Impacts
A development analysis was not conducted for the BRT alternative. Experience in the region has not shown a substantial increase in development based on the presence of high quality bus service without exclusive right-of-way or a fixed guideway. The key factor in development decisions as observed for both light rail and Streetcar is the permanence of transit service based on a fixed guideway. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh, great we did not analyze the alternative. Just spend whether it makes sense or not. No business would ever do this.