News Sep 6, 2017 at 4:00 am

But Can Activists Kill Another Highway Megaproject?

K. Marie


Congestion pricing is a good way to finance roads. But we need larger roads if we are growing. We are not all going to be able to ride bikes and public transport. Indeed, most of public transport relies on roads.
Oregon's Plan to Widen I-5 has Portlanders prepared for boredom as the "I am afraid of parking lots because they used to steal my lunch money" caucus versus the "build baby build" people have the same argument over and over again until a back room deal is cut.
Sorta sounds like I-5 shouldn't run through downtown at all. What if it took a serious dogleg at Hayden Island and briefly hopped on Marine Drive over through Kelley Point, Thence over a new bridge (the St. Johns is hell at rush hour) across the west hills, linking to a newly expanded Cornelius Pass rd.? Follow that down to a greatly expanded Hwy. 47, all the way to McMinnville, where it gradually starts to wander back over to the valley floor, joining the extant I-5 at, say, Wilsonville.
See? Easy!
Congestion pricing will just cause traffic to move from the freeway to all the arterial streets throughout the city.. the larger issue with it is addressing how this affects lower income residents, whom many of have already been pushed out to the suburbs and have increasingly longer commutes.
My commute is 45 miles total each day from North Portland to Tualatin. Trimet doesn't go to where I work, and it would take me 4 hours of cycling to get to/from work. I already feel like I pay enough in gas, car expenses, insurance, and time loss. Before I had this job, I bike commuted every day to work - but work was town. I would 100% prefer to bike commute again if it were realistic. The congestion pricing shouldn't be considered until there is a plan in place that considers and mitigates the affects this will have on lower income people.
They are saying that "You can't build your way out of congestion", yet when the I205 bridge was opened, traffic on the I5 bridge didn't reach the same level for 18 years. Building a third system, west of I5 would facilitate freight and traffic going west on Hwy 26, getting both out of the city core. And 18 years would give us a chance to see if other means of transportation (buses, auto-driving cars, ???) are robust enough to eliminate the need for more.
People on one side of this debate bring their people to speak to the City Council.

People on the other side are too smart for that. They comment online because obviously that's where the real decisions get made.
The only thing that made this proposal even slightly palatible was that we would get congestion pricing, now Washington State is doing an end run around the process and trying to ban Oregon from using congestion pricing to fix our gridlock. I hope they kill this whole widening project now.

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