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Portland is a PR machine for light rail & streetcar

Here are Some Facts About Portland Oregon          

“It must always be remembered how cost-effectiveness works in the public sector: the cost IS the benefit.” - author unknown


Draft Environmental Statement, page S-26

This is from page S-26 of the Draft Draft Environmental Statement available here.

Draft Environmental Statement, page S-4

This is from page S-4 of the Draft Draft Environmental Statement available here.

Approximately 81,000 people make round trips across the river:

CRC, DEIS, Page 3-6:


Average daily traffic volumes represent the average 24-hour weekday traffic on a roadway segment. The I-5 bridges currently carry 135,000 vehicles each day.

At an average of 1.2 people per vehicle, this is 162,000 people crossing daily.

Divide this by two to get the number of people making round trips: 81,000.

Approximately 30 people make round trips on foot each day:

Approximately 150 people make round trips on bikes each day:

From  CRC DEIS, Page 3-12:

a substantial number of pedestrians and bicyclists use the existing crossing facilities. Year 2007 (September) 14-hour weekday counts (from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.) showed about 60 pedestrians and 300 bicyclists using the crossing. About twice as many bicyclists use the western bridge’s sidewalk, primarily because it connects more directly with bicycle routes to the north and south. About 60 percent of the pedestrians crossing the Columbia River use the western sidewalk.

A multi-use pathway is located on the east side of the I-5 crossing of North Portland Harbor. The 14-hour counts showed about 30 pedestrians and 350 bicyclists using the pathway. For comparative purposes, pedestrian and bicycle counts were also conducted on the I-205 crossing. The 14-hour counts showed about 10 pedestrians and 190 bicyclists using the I-205 crossing’s multi-use pathway, which meets current standards

We chose to use the 60 pedestrians and 300 bicycle numbers as they appear to be those actually crossing the Interstate Bridge, while the 30 & 350 numbers are for the North Portland Harbor crossing

Approximately 1650 people, per day make round trips across the bridge on transit.

From  CRC DEIS, Page 3-18:

About 3,300 weekday daily transit passenger trips across the Columbia River used the I-5 corridor in 2006.1 This includes approximately 1,400 trips on the four C-TRAN express bus routes and 1,900 local bus trips.

Of course these people make round trips, so 3300 trips  is the result of  1650 people making round trips.

Light rail IS NOT REQUIRED by any government agency.

“High Capacity Transit” IS NOT REQUIRED by any government agency.

From minutes of the RTC board meeting, June 2, 2009:

Steve Stuart said it is not legally true that you must have a multi modal project to get approval or funding from Federal Highway Administration. There has been a lot who have said it because they believe that functionally, it would be necessary to have a project. Bicycle and Pedestrian facilities are legally required for transportation improvements.

There are no documents in our possession that claim that the federal government requires light rail as a part of the CRC project.

Email from the CRC:

In response to your request for records dated January 31, 2010,:

" Please provide copies of all documents in your posession that claim that the federal government

requires light rail as part of the CRC project. "

Please find the answers to the your questions below:

There are no documents in our possession that claim that the federal government requires light rail as a

part of the CRC project. The Columbia River Crossing project worked with the public, the CRC Task

Force, local agencies and elected officials to develop the problem definition and the purpose and need

statement. The purpose and need statement received concurrence from the Federal Transit

Administration (FTA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and identifies six problems which

the CRC project will address: growing travel demand and congestion; impaired freight movement;

limited public transportation operation, connectivity and reliability; safety and vulnerability to collisions;

substandard pedestrian and bicycle facilities; and, seismic vulnerability.

To address the problem of limited public transportation operation, CRC analyzed several transit modes,

including light rail, local buses, express buses and bus rapid transit in consultation with the public, the

task force and local agencies and elected officials. Transit alternatives analyzed in the Draft

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) were identified through this public process and received

concurrence by FTA and FHWA. Technical findings in the Draft EIS show that light rail would provide

faster and more direct access to key destinations, which would help attract more daily transit riders than

bus rapid transit. The project’s local partner agencies considered the technical findings, the Task Force

recommendation and about 1,600 public comments when they selected a replacement I-5 bridge with

light rail as the CRC’s Locally Preferred Alternative in summer 2008. These project elements were

selected because they could best address the transportation problems on I-5 identified in the purpose

and need statement.

With this letter, your request for records dated January 31,2010 is complete.

If you have any further questions you may contact me at 360.816.2188.


Tonja L. Gleason C.P.A.

Public Disclosure Coordinator

Columbia River Crossing Project

700 Washington Ave. STE 300,

Vancouver, Washington 98660



Both of the bridges are structurally sufficient and meet all of the requirements."

From:  minutes of the October 20 & 21 2004 Washington Transportation Commission, pg 17 (no longer on line) Archived copy here

High transit usage projections rely on Vancouver population density increasing due to development caused by light rail.  (Verbal communication at a June 2009 CRC open house.)

Federal maximum money available = $ 600 million

CRC DEIS, Page 4-13:

The preliminary financial scenarios target a cumulative total of $400-$600 million from congressionally and administratively approved federal highway discretionary grants throughout project development and construction.

Financial Capacity of Toll Bonds, exhibit 4.3-2, Ch 4 CRC DEIS

Bus is  twice as fast as MAX  from Vancouver to Downtown Portland    

C-Tran Bus #105 Salmon Creek Express

MAX Yellow line

Bus Travel Time from Vancouver to downtown Portland, 7:10 am - 11:34 am :

15 min

Here is the C-Tran source of the above

MAX travel time from Vancouver to downtown Portland, 7:33 am - 11:33 am:

33.6 min *

* add 3.6 min to Expo time to get Vancouver time. Source of 3.6 min: CRC Transit Technicial Report Exhibit 20

Here is the  source of the Trimet Schedule

Here is the source of the map

Afternoon, Northbound is still much faster than MAX, at 22 min

(same source as above)

15 min

30 min

Is The Bus Really that fast?

To check, we emailed C-Tran this on November 11, 2009:

Can I count on the travel times listed for your lines to/from Portland (#65, 105 & 164) being accurate during rush hour? Or do the buses generally arrive later than the listed times? Thanks JK

and got this answer (bold added):

Mr. Karlock,

Thank you for your e-mail and interest in riding C-Tran.  Our commuter buses along with non-commuter buses do their best to keep their given schedules, they are however subject to traffic issues.  Generally, they are on schedule but may at times run into unavoidable difficulties particularly on Friday afternoons.  

Hope this helps answer your question.


Pam F

Passenger Service Rep

MAX = 34 min        

C-Tran Bus = 15 min