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Author Topic: CRC Revival?  (Read 4349 times)

sparker

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #100 on: June 11, 2019, 01:06:48 AM »

The original 1994 LR extension, which was to be located adjacent to the BNSF rail crossing, was single-track; the operating idea was that most of the volume would be temporally directional for commute purposes (SB in the AM, NB in the PM); double track would merge at the bridge anchorages so that only the section over the water would be single-track (cost containment was the driving factor 25 years ago).  During the day, the service would be scheduled so as to not result in significant delays because of the single track. 

Increasing freeway general-lane capacity is a "third rail" (no pun intended) with Metro and PDX planners; they've fought the idea of widening I-5 between the Fremont Bridge and the Columbia River for close to 30 years; planning even a single unencumbered additional lane per direction on a new crossing would likely result in such plans being disapproved.  The driving concept (again, no pun here) behind the new crossing is the substandard physical structure of the extant twin truss/lift spans rather than the overall capacity.   Yeah, it's a political judgment call -- but that's the policy direction Metro has taken since its inception.   That being said, what is illustrated in the above posts would likely be one of the concepts that would pass muster without much trouble with Metro, the City of Portland, and both ODOT and WDOT.  Now to locate and secure the funding................. 
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Sub-Urbanite

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #101 on: June 11, 2019, 11:50:55 AM »

There's just no point to increasing the number of through-lanes on I-5 at the CRC.

Exit-only lanes to and from SR 14 and SR 500? Sure. But I don't see what a full widening gets you without widening the rest of the freeway, which isn't happening.
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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #102 on: June 11, 2019, 05:16:06 PM »

Freeway capacity increases only lead to more traffic

This phenomenon is known, well-documented, and is inescapable. Given the state of our climate (which is worsening due in large part to transportation emissions), it would be reckless and idiotic to try and cram more freeway lanes into Portland. If transit is faster than driving, then people will switch to it and avoid driving...this formula works in other North American cities (in particular, Vancouver and Seattle), so there's no reason that Portland can't follow suit.

C-TRAN, the bus agency in Vancouver, WA, has seen ridership growth thanks to their new BRT corridor and is adding a second soon. Both are intended to feed into a Yellow Line extension to downtown, and would likely be joined by dozens of commuter expresses from other areas of the county. The Yellow Line extension would carry far more commuting traffic than the extra freeway lanes, at a far smaller environmental cost.

Rothman

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #103 on: June 11, 2019, 05:38:59 PM »

Your first sentence is incorrect.
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jakeroot

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #104 on: June 11, 2019, 05:50:05 PM »

Your first sentence is incorrect.

Increasing the capacity of anything will increase its use, especially if that "thing" is easier than another "thing".
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Rothman

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #105 on: June 11, 2019, 06:16:33 PM »



Your first sentence is incorrect.

Increasing the capacity of anything will increase its use, especially if that "thing" is easier than another "thing".

Absolutely not.  Take a drive down CT 11 sometime.  The traffic counts are pathetic.
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Bruce

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #106 on: June 11, 2019, 06:22:33 PM »



Your first sentence is incorrect.

Increasing the capacity of anything will increase its use, especially if that "thing" is easier than another "thing".

Absolutely not.  Take a drive down CT 11 sometime.  The traffic counts are pathetic.

So a rural highway with no real connections between cities is supposed to prove what exactly?

We're talking about a major urban corridor that cannot physically expand without destroying its surroundings even further than it already has. A more comparable anecdote would be I-405 in West Los Angeles...surprise, the traffic got worse after the expansion.

jakeroot

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #107 on: June 11, 2019, 06:37:00 PM »

We're talking about a major urban corridor that cannot physically expand without destroying its surroundings even further than it already has. A more comparable anecdote would be I-405 in West Los Angeles...surprise, the traffic got worse after the expansion.

Katy Freeway, too. Are these roads moving more cars? Of course, but was the only purpose of widening to push more cars through at the same snail's pace as before? Because, realistically, that's the only thing that actually changed.
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Hurricane Rex

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #108 on: June 11, 2019, 06:53:35 PM »



Your first sentence is incorrect.

Increasing the capacity of anything will increase its use, especially if that "thing" is easier than another "thing".

Tell that to the orange line of trimet or the new travel lane between OR 217 and I-205. The problem with a lot of these minor expansions is that it's just one extra lane in a super busy area or it's so poorly planned

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Rothman

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #109 on: June 11, 2019, 07:07:52 PM »



Your first sentence is incorrect.

Increasing the capacity of anything will increase its use, especially if that "thing" is easier than another "thing".

Absolutely not.  Take a drive down CT 11 sometime.  The traffic counts are pathetic.

So a rural highway with no real connections between cities is supposed to prove what exactly?

We're talking about a major urban corridor that cannot physically expand without destroying its surroundings even further than it already has. A more comparable anecdote would be I-405 in West Los Angeles...surprise, the traffic got worse after the expansion.
I am proving that more lanes do not mean more congestion.  You made blatantly unfounded blanket statements.

(And, CT 11 connects Hartford with New London)
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 07:23:32 PM by Rothman »
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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #110 on: June 11, 2019, 07:59:43 PM »

Your first sentence is incorrect.
Concur. A holistic look at the entire network is required. Increasing capacity in a link that is favorable to use (such as a freeway) decreases demand on other links (such as surface streets).

jakeroot

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #111 on: June 11, 2019, 08:02:20 PM »

I am proving that more lanes do not mean more congestion.  You made blatantly unfounded blanket statements.

(And, CT 11 connects Hartford with New London)

Induced demand is only possible in areas with reasonably-rapid growth. CT Route 11 is an area with no population growth. Your point is moot because there's no people to add to the congestion. Both Hartford and New London have shrunk since 2010.

The 405 and the Katy Fwy are two examples of over-burdened, newly-widened roads in areas with quickly-growing populations. The newly-widened roads were able to absorb this new growth, but the abysmal travel times have not changed (at least in TX...I'm sure it's the same situation in Los Angeles). Both Portland and Seattle are growing extremely fast, and need to find ways to move these new people around. For the most part, leaders in the area would like to avoid adding more cars to the roads. Hence, bus lanes, light rail, etc.



A holistic look at the entire network is required. Increasing capacity in a link that is favorable to use (such as a freeway) decreases demand on other links (such as surface streets).

But for how long? There is not a finite number of cars on the road. Suburbs encourage car usage...as long as suburbs keep growing, why would there be a steady number of cars?

EDIT: simply telling people to use light rail is not really possible. You have to encourage it. This is done by making it more convenient, right? We do this with roads, why not with transit?
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 08:05:27 PM by jakeroot »
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Rothman

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #112 on: June 11, 2019, 08:54:25 PM »

My point is not moot, because it was only one of many examples that shows that more lanes do not necessarily mean more traffic.

I appreciate your more nuanced position, but when Bruce barks his blanket statement, it's jusr ridiculous on its face.
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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #113 on: June 11, 2019, 10:36:48 PM »

Isn't this a "which came first, the chicken or the egg" argument?

It's obvious that traffic volumes will increase after freeway widenings in places like Houston and the PNW that are fast-growing. But to say that the widenings cause the increased traffic is backwards and illogical. The demand came first. They wouldn't have done the widening if the demand wasn't there. The fact that lanes were added, and then traffic increased, does not mean that the former caused the latter.

Try adding lanes to a freeway in Michigan or Upstate NY and see what happens. Population isn't growing, and people aren't going to switch to driving from other transportation methods. So adding lanes isn't going to lead to more traffic.
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sparker

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #114 on: June 12, 2019, 01:30:06 AM »

When it comes to I-5 between central Portland and the Columbia River, pretty much every argument pro and con expansion has been trotted out at one time or another.  I remember a Metro meeting I attended back in late summer 1994 (a couple of months prior to the Vancouver LR-funding election) when an ODOT-originated proposal to emulate the CA "idiom" of adding one additional lane per direction to the freeway from I-405 north to Lombard (ODOT declined to put $$$ into widening the long bridge over Portland Ave. and the UP tracks farther north) -- but with those lanes being HOV-only during peak traffic hours.  The proposal was eventually "back-burnered" (and dropped within a year or so) -- but one of the opposing arguments proffered by opponents was that WA residents were already getting a "free ride" by coming into OR to purchase high-ticket items (appliances, audio, TV's, even cars) because of the lack of an OR sales tax -- and that any expansion of I-5 (or 205, for that matter) beyond what was then on the ground would "only encourage that sort of activity" without benefits (besides some retailers remaining in business and issuing paychecks!) to Oregon in general and Portland in particular.   But that was a mild exchange compared with some -- discussed earlier in the thread -- comments from north of the river concerning the social aspects of LR into Vancouver!   Let's just say that cross-river issues invariably provoke heated arguments from just about any party with an axe to grind or a point to make! :fight:
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #115 on: June 12, 2019, 04:31:34 PM »

Use congestion pricing, and the "induced travel" theory goes out the window.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #116 on: June 12, 2019, 07:21:40 PM »

The induced demand theory is a fallacy. It “stats” that back it up are cherry picked from major metros that are already suffering from horrid congestion. It leaves out so many variables it’s unreal. If I go more into city planning and transportation planning I hope to champion a study one day that really challenges the views of current city planners who think bike lanes, road diets, and streetcars can solve everything because induced demand man.
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Sub-Urbanite

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #117 on: June 13, 2019, 12:47:48 PM »

The induced demand theory is a fallacy. It “stats” that back it up are cherry picked from major metros that are already suffering from horrid congestion.

But that's exactly the point – the induced demand argument is only really relevant in metropolitan areas. Of course if you build a freeway to nowhere, it's not going to be a perpetual traffic jam (unless the freeway induces development around it, in which case, yes, the demand was induced).

But in a major metropolitan area, there are always going to be people who choose to make a trip in a car because it's quicker now than it was before.

Road widening projects seem to get caught in this philosophical trap of "Will the road just fill up with more cars thus making the widening a waste of money?" When it's much, much more nuanced than that:

  • Does a road widening project improve conditions in an area by making mobility more accessible?
  • Is the widening project the best way to improve that mobility, both for short-term and long-term?
  • Is the widening project needed because of growth that is likely to continue, or is it needed because of poor initial engineering?
  • Are there political reasons for the widening project that prevent other worthwhile transportation projects from occurring until the widening project happens?
  • If your widening project is likely to just fill up with more cars and create a 4-lane traffic jam for 3 hours a day instead of a 3-lane traffic jam for 4 hours a day, are you prepared to respond to calls to then widen to a 5-lane traffic jam for 2.5 hours a day?

To be clear, there are idealogues on both sides who aren't looking at the data. But to say flat-out that induced demand isn't part of a conversation is just silly.

If you built a 10 lane freeway from Portland to Vancouver, it would fill up. Maybe not immediately, but eventually. It would discourage people from using transit, which, until we're all driving EVs, has a pollution impact. These are just facts. The problem is everyone's so damned idealogical about widening or transit or whatever, that nothing gets done.
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Rothman

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #118 on: June 13, 2019, 01:01:02 PM »

His point about ignoring other variables is still pertinent, though.  My experience with research in the planning field is that it is rife with studies concluding causality based upon mere correlation.

I do agree that highways do fill up in economically sound and growing urban areas, but I do scoff at New Urbanists that go around naively barking "More lanes, more traffic!"

That all said, I am beginning to think that this roads versus transit war ("us versus them") is due to all around scarcity of investment.  I wonder if there's some magical mix of improvements -- through a true intermodal approach, that would get both sides working together rather than at odds with each other.

That would keep both sides honest and provide true modal choice rather than travelers just being forced into one or the other due to wherever the money goes.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2019, 01:03:42 PM by Rothman »
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Sub-Urbanite

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #119 on: June 13, 2019, 01:11:06 PM »


That all said, I am beginning to think that this roads versus transit war ("us versus them") is due to all around scarcity of investment.  I wonder if there's some magical mix of improvements -- through a true intermodal approach, that would get both sides working together rather than at odds with each other.

That would keep both sides honest and provide true modal choice rather than travelers just being forced into one or the other due to wherever the money goes.

I think you're right, but then the conversation gets caught, to a degree, in "See, there are 150,000 cars a day on the road and only 20,000 people a day using the adjacent light rail line and so obviously light rail is a boondoggle" by those who are not interested in intellectual honesty in the debate.

Yes, we should have *all the things*. We are a wealthy enough nation to have all the things. That we choose not to is a shame.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #120 on: June 13, 2019, 02:55:27 PM »

Suburbanite, I get what you’re saying but my claim about metros is that even among metros only certain ones are cherry picked. With the exception of geographical restrains like for better or worse affects Portland, cities like many in the Midwest remain largely unaffected by traffic and with lane miles per capita being very high in cities like St. Louis or KC adding lanes to those metros goes a long way in solving traffic. Only in major cities like LA or Atlanta are freeway lane addition projects cherry picked to support the induced demand theory. Many of those freeways needed more lanes than what was added. Furthermore, those projects almost always push a bottleneck further down like the case with the 405 Sepulveda pass project.
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Re: CRC Revival?
« Reply #121 on: June 13, 2019, 07:19:24 PM »

Freeway capacity increases only lead to more traffic


This is only half of the story.  It encourages people to move from city streets to free-er flowing, more efficient routing, reducing overall pollution.  It removes the barriers to mass transit, that being other cars.  Once the transit can move reliably at similar speeds to driving, it will become more attractive to more people.


Without totalitarian measures, you cannot legislate people out of their cars an onto busses or trains.  Working to increase highway capacity, while also increasing mass transit capacity will make things better in the long run for everybody.
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