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Author Topic: CRC Revival?  (Read 29973 times)

Bruce

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #150 on: February 27, 2020, 03:15:21 PM »

Most of the country, including the "hostile" areas of Portland, are very friendly and accommodating towards existing single-family homes. Too much so, which is why we have a regional housing crisis. Hopefully Oregon's density bill results in some significant development, and maybe a similar bill can be passed in Washington (with support from Seattle).

As for light rail and commuter rail: getting BNSF on board is not at all easy. Even before the explosion in bakken oil shipments that is causing capacity issues all around the Northwest, they squeezed Sound Transit as much as they could for the lease that the Sounder North Line operates on. Since this hypothetical commuter rail would go through a similar chokepoint (the Columbia River bridge), there's no way they will give up slots for anything less than it would cost to add light rail onto the highway bridge replacement (which is bound to happen anyway, so it doesn't hurt to add 5% to the budget to ensure we have light rail at the onset).
 

jakeroot

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #151 on: February 27, 2020, 03:54:30 PM »

Clark County is the Vancouver/Portland metro area's "Little Los Angeles": largely suburban tract housing, freeways and arterial routes to connect the housing, mildly spread-out job centers, and halfway-decent transit (Clark County's Vine BRT has been quite successful).

But that's just the way things are right now: people change; housing changes; job centers change; everything slowly, of course. An extension of the MAX could connect to an expanded Clark County BRT system, and the county could start to see more dense infill. It could certainly prove to be a catalyst for downtown Vancouver, which is simply not that great compared to downtown Portland.

As someone studying transportation right now, I have some questions:

* should the new bridge be tolled, assuming it has more than three GP lanes each direction?
* should Clark County's Vine BRT run over the new bridge instead of an extension of the MAX?
* is there anywhere in Clark County, minus downtown Vancouver, that could be upzoned to support a MAX line?
* is Clark County's only chance for future development housing? Given Oregon's sales tax.
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sparker

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #152 on: February 27, 2020, 06:43:24 PM »

^^^^^^^^^^^
Question to WA/OR posters who might know the answer:  has there been any official (or semi-) chatter about using some of the capacity on the I-205/Jackson Columbia crossing for LR -- seeing as how the PDX extension comes close to the southern end of the bridge?  Obviously, it wouldn't be the most efficient way to get from central Portland over to the denser areas of Vancouver -- and WSU for that matter -- but if there's an impasse regarding new I-5 bridge configuration and LR accommodation, alternatives may need to be explored. 
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Bruce

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #153 on: February 27, 2020, 07:13:00 PM »

^^^^^^^^^^^
Question to WA/OR posters who might know the answer:  has there been any official (or semi-) chatter about using some of the capacity on the I-205/Jackson Columbia crossing for LR -- seeing as how the PDX extension comes close to the southern end of the bridge?  Obviously, it wouldn't be the most efficient way to get from central Portland over to the denser areas of Vancouver -- and WSU for that matter -- but if there's an impasse regarding new I-5 bridge configuration and LR accommodation, alternatives may need to be explored. 

Adding yet another line into the triple-interline along the Banfield Expressway would not be wise from a network design perspective, especially since frequency for the Red Line to the airport is already limited. Another light rail crossing of the Columbia would be unnecessary and could cause the proper crossing to be canned entirely as redundant.

nexus73

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #154 on: February 27, 2020, 09:48:54 PM »

^^^^^^^^^^^
Question to WA/OR posters who might know the answer:  has there been any official (or semi-) chatter about using some of the capacity on the I-205/Jackson Columbia crossing for LR -- seeing as how the PDX extension comes close to the southern end of the bridge?  Obviously, it wouldn't be the most efficient way to get from central Portland over to the denser areas of Vancouver -- and WSU for that matter -- but if there's an impasse regarding new I-5 bridge configuration and LR accommodation, alternatives may need to be explored. 

Adding yet another line into the triple-interline along the Banfield Expressway would not be wise from a network design perspective, especially since frequency for the Red Line to the airport is already limited. Another light rail crossing of the Columbia would be unnecessary and could cause the proper crossing to be canned entirely as redundant.

Having a circular loop with two bridge crossings makes for a better light rail transit network IMO.

Rick
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jakeroot

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #155 on: February 27, 2020, 10:55:43 PM »

Could always extend the MAX Red line to parallel the 205, and use dedicated trains from Parkrose/Sumner that either go to PDX or into Clark County. SkyTrain does this for the Canada Line.

Alternatively, create a new line that follows the Red and Green lines past Gateway/NE 99th, hopefully eliminating that single-track section with the tight curve. There's just no way there isn't room for extra passengers westbound from that point (to ferry extra passengers heading into Portland from Clark County, who would have to transfer).
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bookem

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #156 on: February 27, 2020, 11:55:29 PM »

Clark County is the Vancouver/Portland metro area's "Little Los Angeles": largely suburban tract housing, freeways and arterial routes to connect the housing, mildly spread-out job centers, and halfway-decent transit (Clark County's Vine BRT has been quite successful).

But that's just the way things are right now: people change; housing changes; job centers change; everything slowly, of course. An extension of the MAX could connect to an expanded Clark County BRT system, and the county could start to see more dense infill. It could certainly prove to be a catalyst for downtown Vancouver, which is simply not that great compared to downtown Portland.

While I can't speak to Clark County as a whole, I do believe Vancouver proper would be more amenable to light rail than it has been in the past, particularly with the waterfront development currently taking off.
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bookem

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #157 on: February 28, 2020, 12:08:10 AM »

Could always extend the MAX Red line to parallel the 205, and use dedicated trains from Parkrose/Sumner that either go to PDX or into Clark County. SkyTrain does this for the Canada Line.

Alternatively, create a new line that follows the Red and Green lines past Gateway/NE 99th, hopefully eliminating that single-track section with the tight curve. There's just no way there isn't room for extra passengers westbound from that point (to ferry extra passengers heading into Portland from Clark County, who would have to transfer).

TriMet is planning to offer a solution of sorts by relegating the tight curve segment on the Red Line to outbound trains only and building a new second track for inbound trains.

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sparker

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #158 on: February 28, 2020, 01:00:03 AM »

^^^^^^^^^^^
Question to WA/OR posters who might know the answer:  has there been any official (or semi-) chatter about using some of the capacity on the I-205/Jackson Columbia crossing for LR -- seeing as how the PDX extension comes close to the southern end of the bridge?  Obviously, it wouldn't be the most efficient way to get from central Portland over to the denser areas of Vancouver -- and WSU for that matter -- but if there's an impasse regarding new I-5 bridge configuration and LR accommodation, alternatives may need to be explored. 

Adding yet another line into the triple-interline along the Banfield Expressway would not be wise from a network design perspective, especially since frequency for the Red Line to the airport is already limited. Another light rail crossing of the Columbia would be unnecessary and could cause the proper crossing to be canned entirely as redundant.

Obviously the context of my question was misinterpreted; my suggestion was not to suggest that a crossing at I-205 would be preferable or even equal to one at or close to the I-5 bridge, but an alternative potential location if LR is omitted from I-5 plans.   I'm not one to consider throwing away sub-optimal but possibly doable concepts if the ideal cannot be achieved -- i.e. don't dismiss the imperfect if you can't have the perfect! 
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jakeroot

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #159 on: March 11, 2020, 03:44:53 PM »

Could always extend the MAX Red line to parallel the 205, and use dedicated trains from Parkrose/Sumner that either go to PDX or into Clark County. SkyTrain does this for the Canada Line.

Alternatively, create a new line that follows the Red and Green lines past Gateway/NE 99th, hopefully eliminating that single-track section with the tight curve. There's just no way there isn't room for extra passengers westbound from that point (to ferry extra passengers heading into Portland from Clark County, who would have to transfer).

TriMet is planning to offer a solution of sorts by relegating the tight curve segment on the Red Line to outbound trains only and building a new second track for inbound trains.

Sorry for the massive reply delay.

Portland's MAX train can sure take some insanely tight corners. The new turn that cuts off the loop still seems wicked sharp. But I'm glad they're working on it. Definitely important for more than just hypothetical reasons.
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sparker

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #160 on: March 12, 2020, 06:02:57 PM »

Could always extend the MAX Red line to parallel the 205, and use dedicated trains from Parkrose/Sumner that either go to PDX or into Clark County. SkyTrain does this for the Canada Line.

Alternatively, create a new line that follows the Red and Green lines past Gateway/NE 99th, hopefully eliminating that single-track section with the tight curve. There's just no way there isn't room for extra passengers westbound from that point (to ferry extra passengers heading into Portland from Clark County, who would have to transfer).

TriMet is planning to offer a solution of sorts by relegating the tight curve segment on the Red Line to outbound trains only and building a new second track for inbound trains.

Sorry for the massive reply delay.

Portland's MAX train can sure take some insanely tight corners. The new turn that cuts off the loop still seems wicked sharp. But I'm glad they're working on it. Definitely important for more than just hypothetical reasons.

Yeah -- dual/directional trackage is the way to go with LR.  Down here in San Jose, the saving grace of the oft-maligned VTA system is that except for a short branch down in Almaden Valley (not currently in use anyway!) and the lightly-used Winchester (Campbell) line the main trunk system is fully double-tracked.  Except when they hit a car or pedestrian, the redundancy of twin tracks (with periodic crossovers) has kept the system moving even when a trainset breaks down or is otherwise forced to stop in place.   It's good that MAX is planning to eliminate the single-track "gauntlet" over at Gateway; since the line down 205 opened and overall train frequency increased, that segment of the line has posed recurring problems. 
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jakeroot

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #161 on: March 12, 2020, 08:52:41 PM »

Could always extend the MAX Red line to parallel the 205, and use dedicated trains from Parkrose/Sumner that either go to PDX or into Clark County. SkyTrain does this for the Canada Line.

Alternatively, create a new line that follows the Red and Green lines past Gateway/NE 99th, hopefully eliminating that single-track section with the tight curve. There's just no way there isn't room for extra passengers westbound from that point (to ferry extra passengers heading into Portland from Clark County, who would have to transfer).

TriMet is planning to offer a solution of sorts by relegating the tight curve segment on the Red Line to outbound trains only and building a new second track for inbound trains.

Sorry for the massive reply delay.

Portland's MAX train can sure take some insanely tight corners. The new turn that cuts off the loop still seems wicked sharp. But I'm glad they're working on it. Definitely important for more than just hypothetical reasons.

Yeah -- dual/directional trackage is the way to go with LR.  Down here in San Jose, the saving grace of the oft-maligned VTA system is that except for a short branch down in Almaden Valley (not currently in use anyway!) and the lightly-used Winchester (Campbell) line the main trunk system is fully double-tracked.  Except when they hit a car or pedestrian, the redundancy of twin tracks (with periodic crossovers) has kept the system moving even when a trainset breaks down or is otherwise forced to stop in place.   It's good that MAX is planning to eliminate the single-track "gauntlet" over at Gateway; since the line down 205 opened and overall train frequency increased, that segment of the line has posed recurring problems.

Indeed, it's very important. Single-track sections obviously save money, particularly when there is limited ROW to work with, but it's not ideal long-term.

Here in Tacoma, the TacomaLink Streetcar has a long section of single-track at its southern end, which limits the headways to max about 10 minutes, which is what they'll be hitting when a northerly extension opens up in a couple years. Long-term, I don't like the prospects of the single-track section, particularly if an extension to the south is to ever happen. The southern end of the line is near the Tacoma Dome, which is a transit core (Amtrak, Sounder, local and regional buses, future Central Link light rail terminus); if that core gets any busier, that single-track section is quickly going to handicap the network.
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Kniwt

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #162 on: December 01, 2020, 02:05:25 PM »

According to a new report from The Urbanist, the CRC project is back under consideration, now the "Interstate Bridge Replacement":
https://www.theurbanist.org/2020/11/30/columbia-river-crossing-freeway-project-is-back/

Quote
Last week, members of the legislatures of both states held a committee meeting to get an update on the project, where they were told that absent a significant increase in federal funding for the project, each stateís unfunded share of the project could end up being an additional $750 million to $1 billion. They were shown early cost estimates ranging from $3.17 billion to $4.81 billion for the entire project. Those numbers should be taken with a boulder of salt at this point, though.

The project manager, Greg Johnson, who has a long resume in nationwide bridge projects, told the committee that the new project isnít CRC 2.0, using the new name: Interstate Bridge Replacement (IBR) program. Yet those cost estimates are based on the old project, because there arenít any concepts to estimate costs for on the IBR project. It was Washington State Representative Jake Fey, chair of the house transportation committee, who was so eager to get that price tag for each stateís share to include in a possible state transportation package in this upcoming legislative session. More accurate cost estimates arenít expected for another year.

Clearly the need to distinguish this project as a clean slate stems from the reasons for the CRCís demise. Yet the agencies will clearly be looking for any elements they can salvage from the previous planning process, and have said as much. When asked by a legislator if they might be able to speed up the process to take advantage of a federal infrastructure package expected in 2021, Johnson was clear that the entire environmental review process was being completed again, with no corners cut. ďIf we do cut corners, the people who are adverse to this will be there to knock us back to square one,Ē he said.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) apparently already has nearly $100 million ready for one of the interchange expansions in the CRC, at Mill Plain Boulevard in Vancouver, allocated from a 2015 transportation funding measure. This certainly makes it look like WSDOT assumes many of the elements of the CRC are set to return with the IBR project. WSDOT has funding for an element of the project that itís currently telling the public doesnít exist yet.

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The Ghostbuster

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #163 on: December 01, 2020, 09:52:11 PM »

Will this new proposal go through? Or will it crash and burn like the previous proposals? I am not a betting man, but I would not be surprised if this proposal also goes down in flames. The two sides should come to an agreement about replacing the bridge, and not continue bickering until the bridge collapses into the Columbia River.
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jakeroot

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #164 on: December 01, 2020, 11:59:58 PM »

Will this new proposal go through? Or will it crash and burn like the previous proposals? I am not a betting man, but I would not be surprised if this proposal also goes down in flames. The two sides should come to an agreement about replacing the bridge, and not continue bickering until the bridge collapses into the Columbia River.

I'm betting 70-30 in favor of this project, or an immediate successor, working out. Those bridges need to be replaced ASAP.
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sparker

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #165 on: December 02, 2020, 12:18:23 AM »

If the bridge picture shown in the above pose is in any way an accurate depiction of the plans, it looks like the highest/most clearance point lies near mid-river, a bit south of where the current navigable channel goes through the drawbridge section of the current bridge(s).  That would likely entail some sort of dredging; but it's probably something that was done to accommodate the airfield along the north side of the Columbia east of I-5 -- keeping the bridge structure relatively low near the flight path. 
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nexus73

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #166 on: December 02, 2020, 03:18:38 PM »

That little airport should be shut down.  It serves a very small amount of people.  The bridge serves millions.  Then add some beauty elements to make this bridge a real centerpiece.  It looks so plain in the illustration. For the final touch, add the light rail. 

Rick
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jakeroot

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #167 on: December 02, 2020, 06:08:36 PM »

That little airport should be shut down.  It serves a very small amount of people.  The bridge serves millions.  Then add some beauty elements to make this bridge a real centerpiece.  It looks so plain in the illustration. For the final touch, add the light rail.

I think you'd be hard-pressed to close Pearson Field. It has around 200 landings per day, and around 150-200 based aircraft. It's not PDX-level important (though an irrelevant comparison as PDX is not typically used by general aviation), but compared to other Clark County GA airports, its pretty nice. Asphalt landing strip, plenty of covered parking, near the city (who owns it and I'm sure makes a lot of money off it), etc.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2020, 06:12:54 PM by jakeroot »
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jakeroot

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #168 on: December 02, 2020, 06:18:50 PM »

If the bridge picture shown in the above pose is in any way an accurate depiction of the plans, it looks like the highest/most clearance point lies near mid-river, a bit south of where the current navigable channel goes through the drawbridge section of the current bridge(s).  That would likely entail some sort of dredging; but it's probably something that was done to accommodate the airfield along the north side of the Columbia east of I-5 -- keeping the bridge structure relatively low near the flight path.

As far as clearances, the current Interstate Bridges are vertical lift bridges that are about 230 feet tall (according to Wiki). They are not directly in line with runway 26 at Pearson Field, but this should give some idea as to the allowable vertical space we're dealing with.

To me, the biggest obstacle to reconstruction would be where to put the MAX light rail, and how to reconfigure the I-5/WA-14/Washington St interchange in a way that allows traffic to access a taller bridge but without conflicting with the BNSF Railway line. The image above seems to indicate that I-5 will be raised at least 100 feet, which is simply staggering for such an urban area. Talk about a wall-like freeway.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #169 on: December 02, 2020, 07:00:06 PM »

Could they not tunnel the MAX rail?
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jakeroot

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #170 on: December 02, 2020, 10:45:30 PM »

Could they not tunnel the MAX rail?

Not if you ever want it built. It would cost substantially more to tunnel that route than to add MAX to the new bridge.

Opposition to MAX will always remain but I think it has simmered a bit, especially as Clark County continues to build out their BRT systems.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #171 on: December 03, 2020, 12:31:47 AM »

I donít understand why Vancouver is so opposed a Max extension. IIRC, Vancouver isnít part of Metros jurisdiction and if built that would change. Is that true?
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sparker

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #172 on: December 03, 2020, 02:26:47 AM »

I donít understand why Vancouver is so opposed a Max extension. IIRC, Vancouver isnít part of Metros jurisdiction and if built that would change. Is that true?

When I lived in Portland in the mid-90's, when Metro was in its infancy, there was definitely a backlash against an additional layer of government added to the traditional mix, and Vancouver was a "hot spot" of this.  In the '94 election a measure was on the ballot to fund a MAX extension (which at that time was projected to have its own river crossing immediately upstream from the BNSF rail bridge) to downtown Vancouver and then up to WSUV, which had just opened.  The political ads opposing the project were particularly nasty, claiming that LR would bring PDX street gang activity across the river to prey on innocent WA residents -- but the most effective ones simply asked Clark County voters to assert their independence from Portland and the Metro urban district.  The argument was of the "camel through the tent flap" type -- that if LR was allowed in, Metro would press for WA state legislation allowing it to effectively "annex" Clark County and apply its strictures there.  Whatever the negative argument was, it proved highly effective -- the funding measure failed 68%-32%!  Since then, Clark County has functioned as a "safety valve" regarding Metro slow-growth measures, since larger-lot ranch-style homes that are effectively prohibited in Metro territory in OR are common over the river out of Metro's reach.  So developers that would be butting heads with Metro on a regular basis if they tried to ply their craft in OR simply relocate across the river and plant their "product" over in Camas, Battle Ground or Woodland where the going is decidedly easier.  But at the same time that keeps Metro's legal team out of the courts fighting the developers at every turn, since their jurisdiction stops in the middle of the Columbia.  While that aspect of Metro's control wouldn't change with MAX entering WA, it would likely entail some restructuring of the Clark County transit system to funnel traffic toward MAX and their new river crossing.  It's likely the current argument echoes in large part that heard 26 years ago -- that Metro, who functionally control the MAX developmental agenda, will now be in a position to affect policy on the north side of the river, threatening the level of independence and separation now enjoyed.  To a noticeable degree, it mimics the national urban/rural political divide quite closely right down to the electoral rancor.  Although some attitudes may have somewhat subsided, an effective resolution may remain elusive. 
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Sub-Urbanite

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #173 on: December 04, 2020, 02:50:30 PM »

I donít understand why Vancouver is so opposed a Max extension. IIRC, Vancouver isnít part of Metros jurisdiction and if built that would change. Is that true?

That is not only untrue, it's impossible. Metro exists because of A) Provisions in Oregon Revised Statutes and B) A charter approved by the voters of the Portland area. So even if Metro one day said "VANCOUVER IS OURS!!!!" that would literally be impossible to administer. The MPOs even function differently Ė Southwest Washington has its own MPO.

Any operation of MAX north of the river would be a joint effort between TriMet and CTRAN, and CTRAN would be responsible for figuring out what to do with any potential MAX extensions beyond the bridge.

The politics aren't as stark as when Sparker was here 25 years ago. Vancouver has an urban growth boundary; Portland is more flexible about growth. The real question with the bridge is how much influence special interests have: Portland fringe groups who don't want more than 3 lanes in any direction, and Vancouver exurban leaders who don't want light rail (or a new bridge, really) because they want new bridges for cars only. If the middle prevails this time, new bridge gets built. If the extremes prevail, that old relic will stay in place.
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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #174 on: December 04, 2020, 03:06:45 PM »

Any operation of MAX north of the river would be a joint effort between TriMet and CTRAN, and CTRAN would be responsible for figuring out what to do with any potential MAX extensions beyond the bridge.

This is news to me. Everything I've seen indicates that a MAX extension was feared by Clark County officials because of how the leaders of MAX might begin to influence planning decisions north of the river. I've never seen anything that said something about joint efforts beyond basic things like getting it built.
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