Meetings, Starting the Day and Trimet Bus #4

Overall, I have an odd day compared to many people. I don’t go to a specific office, nor location, but often to many different locations. I do this so that I can go to the people that I need to meet. I don’t use a car, that would make this style of life a rather unfortunate and morbid business. Not to say I haven’t experienced this lifestyle with a car, I have, and know it’s an unfortunate and morbid business because of that. In great luck and fortune I’ve been able to work my life into living and working this way. It’s a great benefit to myself and also a great benefit to those that I work with.

Today I had a number of places to go to throughout the city of Portland. One in the north eastern part of the city, one meeting in the south easy and one in downtown. Each of these meetings was business related, but also personal, for each of the people I’d be going to meet are friends. Again, one more thing to work towards in life, work and live in and around friends. It beats the hell out of working and living around mere acquaintances and enemies.

Another key to this day, each meeting was spaced perfectly. I wouldn’t need to hurry between each meeting so I could use a more relaxed and slower form of transportation. I decided it was going to be a transit only day. Usually, when there are a lot of meetings I use the fastest mode for city transportation, the bicycle. Yes, that’s right, and don’t even get me started, the bicycle is easily the fastest way to get around in any urban landscape. The automobile has to be one of the slowest (along with NYC buses). With that key bit of information ascertained I was off.

I started the day in north east Portland near Alberta street. Walking down the street on this cool brisk day my first ride was going to be the westward bound #72 Bus. The first meeting just a short 8 minute ride away at Coffee House Five at Albina and Killingsworth. The #72 is a great bus, usually arriving much more often than a freqent service bus (this by Trimet’s definition is every 15 minutes). Usually the #72, as with any non-dedicated right of way running transportation, gets bunched at times. Everything from traffic lights to people crossing the street throw a wrench in the scheduling, so the #72 is sometimes running in clumps of 5, 7 or some short variance between buses. Today was no exception. As I walked to the stop a bus drove by. But as I arrived at the stop another #72 arrived which I boarded.

Westward the bus rolled. The short distance was covered in not 8, but 7 minutes. Yes, I timed it because I tend to count everything. I strolled into Coffee House Five. Inside the regular chill crew was slinging the rounds. A cappuccino here and a macchiato there. It’s a consistent shop with a precocious vibe. Something that’s pleasant considering the onslaught of “San Francisco” vibe style coffee shops invading our Portland vibe these days. I enjoyed my cap and a standard boring bagel and cream cheese. After my meeting I walked across the street and waiting two minutes for the arrival of the south bound #4 heading into Portland.

The bus pulled up and she and I left for Portland.

Conversations Overheard

I pulled out my laptop, as I do, to write this blog entry and other material related to other things. While sitting in the raised rear seat by the back door of the bus a lady joined me. I went on with my typing and into the trip a ways she received a phone call. That phone call was rather interesting, and went something like this.

“Hello.”

…  [the other person talking]

“Yes, funny thing, I’m on the bus and I dropped off the car to get detailed. It’s actually a lot easier to just leave the car and take the bus into town, it only takes about 15 minutes.”

… [other person asking why she even brought the car down]

“Oh, I wanted to get it detailed. But usually I drive and then just park it somewhere to come into town. No really, it’s far easier than trying to park and figure out what is close to where I’m trying to go.”

… [other person realizes, yes, that this is obviously true, then says something about coming into town]

“Yeah, since it would take only 30 minutes to get into the city just take the bus.”

… [says something about the MAX]

“Oh yeah, that would actually be faster to get there [referring to Lloyd Center] and then you can just take the MAX or bus over to the city.”

… [says farewell, thanks and something else]

“See ya later.”

Then she turns to me and asks if Couch is closer to this or the next stop. I tell her the first stop we’re coming to is pretty close by one block. She then decides to get off there.

It just strikes me interesting when people make this realization, that there is little reason to drive into downtown Portland and that it is indeed, actually a bad idea. Just go to a park and ride or otherwise and do everybody and yourself a favor, leave the car outside of downtown.

Willamette Crossing

The bus went through downtown, turned onto the southern part of the #4 route toward Gresham and left downtown via the Hawthorne Bridge. I looked south toward the new bridge construction for the transit, bike and pedestrian only bridge. It’s a gorgeous structure that will eventually be immensely useful. I can only imagine what the final through count on that bridge will be when the buses, light rail, cycle and pedestrians are rolling across it daily.

Onward up Division the bus rolled, I eventually got off near 50th, close to where my next meeting would be and decided I’d hang out at Stumptown for a few. In I went and wrapped this blog entry up…   happy transiting all, regardless of your mode; feet, hull, wheel or wing.

Ride To… Downtown Portland on Trimet Bus #6 – AKA Why Stereotypes Are Wrong

Boarded the #6 today. Another one of those days were life countermands stereatypes. Not that stereotypes are any good except as a joke (which I suppose that’s where they’re used most of the time anyway). I walked straight to the back of the bus for the last seat. The last seat is was center of bus between two people.

Stereotypes

As the bus pulled away from the Alberta and MLK stop an average person would assume many things. An average American might assume that I’m poor. An average person might assume that everybody on this bus is poor or close to below the poverty income. They might assume that the younger individuals are from broken homes and that the older folk are almost destitute. The average American might think that half the bus smokes pot. Average Americans would probably judge this bus to be full of uneducated individuals, that probaby didn’t attend high school.

Out of all those stereotypes about transit users there is one that’s true. It’s a fact about all of the population of the United States however, not just transit riders. Can you guess which one it is? Keep reading, I’ll let you in on that trivia in a bit. For all the other stereotypes the average American is wrong. Horribly, embarrassingly wrong. Let’s take a dive into this bus full of people and who they are.

You might ask how I know who these people are. Well, that’s easy. I talk to all of these people. I talk to my neighbors and the people in my community. Transit and urban living give a person, including myself, the maximum potential to connect with communities and have true transformative positive effect on society. It is the most dynamic, open minded, inclusive way to live in the United States. After all, the country is a melting pot, and the reason it is a melting pot is because of the cities and urban lifestyles.

Bus Demographics

This bus today, the 6 that arrives at the Convention Center transfer point at 9:45am, is full of a total melting pot of people. Even for white Portland it’s a diverse group of interesting, intelligent, educated and educating people. Here’s the break out.

Over the course of my trip 49 people got on and 58 people got off. 12 people were still on board when I got off. Doing a little math, double checking, and having sat on the back of the bus where I can see everybody and count like an obsessive compulsive, that totals 70 total riders that I saw while on the bus. The on and off occurred at many stops along the way, with the biggest exodus (11 people) from the bus to transfer to the MAX at Convention Center.

The bus was approximately 37 people of Western European descent (that’s caucasion), there were 13 black, 10 asian, 8 of mexican & South American descent and the last few I could tell. There were 37 men and 33 women.

As far as I could verify from people I know, identification hanging lazily at their side and other means I attained some other information about these riders. Several were heading to school, some to college and some to trade schools. Many of the riders were headed to work. However the bulk of people were out running their daily errands. It was about a 55% to 45% split between people out taking care of the daily life necessities and 45% heading off to business of some sort.

The other measurement, I know because I know the stats on Trimet ridership in Portland, is that over 60% of these people are riders that could have driven in an automobile but elected not to. They instead chose not to, for a multitude of reasons. Even though I didn’t get to talk to every single one of these people riding the bus I could tell, just by activities some of these reasons.

Reasons to Take Transit

Music: The number of people with earphones or headphones hit a peak of 16 people during the short commute in this morning. Those people could be seen enjoying their music, sometimes with heads bobbing back and forth a bit. Some scrolling through changing songs. But all of them were enjoying the opportunity to listen to music and just relax, sit back and not focus on anything but the music.

TV / Movie: One person was finishing up Shrek with their child. Yup, this parent was able to sit with a headphone splitter and watched the movie with their young girl. Both were polite, obivously the child being raised well, as they laughed the covered their mouths and looked at each other. Smiling and holding in an outright burst of laughter. The smile were contagious though and some of the people sitting behind them were giggling silently too while the commute progressed.

Another two people talked, while looking at each other and paying attention to a complex topic. They discussed how some type of architectural structure would work and after a moment pulled out some blue prints on an iPad and commenced to discuss and work through their discussion. They continued to gain more and more understanding as they worked through various floors and designs.

Another odd number, 5 total, had their laptops out and were working through a number of things. One person I could tell was working with office documents, another was writing some JavaScript code for a website they were building, and the others were beyond my perview. I only could see that the laptops were out and they were typing away with their keyboards.

Last metric, most of the people on the bus are employed above poverty line, and more than 30% are employed above median income (that’s more than 40ish thousand a year these days). In Portland, a little math will tell you this by simple looking at the demographics, looking at who takes transit, and the minimum amount of what percentage of what incomes are riding the bus. The math comes out pretty good and shows that the vast majority of riders are not poor, nor are they limited to only transit. They could be using other means, but indeed choose to make transit their mode.

Stereotypes Are Often Misinformed

Just like racism, sexism and other such absurd stereotypes that belittle and estrange people. So do stereotypes about people that take transit. The average American that might assume the bus is full of poor people, would be wrong. The stereotype that people are from broken homes, destitute or otherwise, also terribly wrong. Uneducated, lower than average IQ and a host of other stereotypes. All wrong.

The simple fact is, the average American assumption about transit is just wrong. In summary, the average American is wrong. So stop being average, take some transit, learn about your city and get out and among the people that keep this country ticking.

Oh, and the one thing you can assume though, is that the majority of people in this nation have actually tried pot. So besides enjoying your city, go ahead, light it up. Ya know, if you have the freedom to. We all will again eventually. 😉

Cheers, Transit Sleuth

Let’s Talk About Cost of Commute, Transit & Trimet Fares

Using & Owning a Car

First things first, let’s talk about how much out of pocket costs it is to use a car to commute to work. The way most average US Citizens travel to and from work.

Item Lowest 20% of Income Earners Second 20% of Income Earners Third 20% of Income Earners Fourth 20% of Income Earners Highest 20% of Income Earners
Total $2,856 $5,058 $7,310 $9,571 $15,198
Purchase $987 $1,954 $2,940 $3,774 $7,442
Gasoline/Oil $991 $1,624 $2,182 $2,829 $3,508
Other $879 $1,489 $2,188 $2,968 $4,248
Figure 1: 2006 household cost of owning a vehicle per quintiles of income.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

…and just a few more stats about how insanely expensive it is to drive.

2007 Model 10,000 Miles per Year 15,000 Miles per Year 20,000 Miles per Year
Small Sedan 50.5 cents 41.4 cents 37.4 cents
Medium Sedan 61.8 cents 52.5 cents 48.2 cents
Large Sedan 74.2 cents 62.5 cents 56.8 cents
4WD SUV 81.5 cents 66.6 cents 59.6 cents
Minivan 69.2 cents 57.6 cents 52.2 cents
Figure 2: Yearly cost per mile of various vehicles based on number of miles driven
Source: American Automobile Association

Even though we won’t talk about the other costs of driving remember that you’re only paying for about 30-50% of the cost of your driving to and from work. The rest of the cost of driving, maintaining the Interstates, Highways and roadways, plus free parking, subsidies and oil region stabilization adds a tremendous cost that isn’t taken out of pocket at the time one actually drives to and from work – or wherever they’re driving to. Nor does it cover the cost of the 35-50k killed per year, the 90-130k injured per year and the $100’s of billions of dollars in medical cost. I’ve also not added in the hundreds of billions of dollars in debt incurred by the Government to pay for infrastructure such as bridges and roads or the write offs that oil companies take for oil exploration and discovery. If one wants to get idealogical and talk about other costs like the ways and blowback from terrorists that is largely due to our over utilization of foreign energy sources for this, you can put the percentage you’re actually paying at 20-40%. But as I said, I digress, let’s just talk about what we pay out of pocket on a daily basis to own, maintain and pay at the pump to drive.

Suffice it to say, that $0.55 cents of “recovery” cost the Government allows one to write off is purely the average cost they grant you take based on out of pocket expenses. So now that we’ve clarified these very real costs of having automobile infrastructure let’s think about what the daily costs of NOT using a car are.

Let’s work with the lowest cost auto option, that of the poorest income earners in the United States. That’s 2,856 + 987 + 991 + 879 which equals $5,713 per year, equating to an average per day cost of $15.65. So we’ll use that baseline as the average cost of a resident of the United States to get around everyday for their costs. This is an EXTREMELY low cost estimate, the actual cost upon society is closer to 3-5x that much, but we won’t use that. I’ll only be using this low number to do the calculations on. Keep in mind also, that the lowest income bracket, that 20% of the population earns is less than $20k per year. After taxes $20k is about 17600 in hand. In most states, keep in mind another 6%-21% is taken out via sales taxes and other costs, lowering this amount even more. Putting the actual cash income of the lowest 20% of the population somewhere around $16,600 (I rounded up a few bucks just to make it more obvious that this is a big deal). Now take that amount and let’s figure out how much cash this family has in hand to pay for these automobile expenses. That’s $16,500 in cash split between 365 days giving the family $45.20. Take away the average cost of transit, $42.50 – $15.65 gives you $29.55 to live on per day and you see why the bottom 20% have almost zero chance at changing their circumstances based on this horrifying juxtaposition of suburban American lifestyles. The only saving grace, is the median household size is 1.96 people for this income. But take that as you will, it’s still a horrible situation to be in, and owning a car will pretty much guarantee that you will be damned to this income bracket for the rest of your life. In other words, this automobile dependent lifestyle that the US has created (and trust me, it has been “created”, it is absolutely NOT a market driven or free-market driven choice that people have made of their own cognition, it’s systematic policy throughout the United States).

Let’s Talk Transit

Alright, now we’re talking business. I wrote all of the above and did all of the research to get that information so that we’d have context for the costs of transit compared to living an automobile dependent lifestyle. Let’s take a look at out of pocket fares. This is the only real cost, such as those I’ve detailed in the above automobile section, that the end user of transit has to pay. So here’s a collection of large and small transit agencies throughout the United States.

San Francisco MTA

http://www.sfmta.com/getting-around/transit/fares-passes
Single Ride (i.e. no transfer) $2.00 (Subsidies are easily 60-70 cents per dollar, transfers are allowed for 90 minutes after purchase)
Cable Car $6.00 (Which is net operationally and capital sustainable – i.e. subsidies amount to a few cents per dollar) During the hours of 9pm to 7am the cable cars are $3.00.
Muni Only: $66.00 (does not include any of the other agencies in the Bay area)
Muni & BART: $76.00 (does not include any of the other agencies in the Bay area)

Seattle’s King County Metro

http://metro.kingcounty.gov/fares/index.html
All-Zone Regular Fare: $2.25, Rush Hour $2.50, All-Zone Rush Hour $3.00 (Transfers are allowed only on Metro buses, you must pay each transit system you board, you must pay transfer cost associated with this, etc – example: transfer to Sound Transit express bus, Metro fare listed plus 25 cents. Also note this does include Washington State Ferries or Sounder Commuter Rail – additional costs apply to each of these systems)
A monthly pass, which has an odd structure – see here: https://www.orcacard.com/ERG-Seattle/common/images/ORCA%20Card%20Order_Value%20Form.pdf – ranges from $81 for regular fare inside Seattle King County area to $189 dollars, which covers all rides up to $5.25 each (ferry & commuter rail riders usually need this). It’s a tricky system that takes some explanation to understand.

New York MTA

http://web.mta.info/metrocard/mcgtreng.htm
Single Ride Fare: $2.75 Minimum Purchase on a Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard is $5.00 w/ a 5% bonus. i.e. $20 purchase gets you $21 dollars toward fares. New Fare Card fee for new MetroCard is $1.00 for each card purchased.
7-day Unlimited Fare Card: $30 Unlimited rides until midnight, after that regular fares apply.
30-day Unlimited Fare Cards: $112 Unlimited rides until midnight, after that regular fares apply.

Los Angeles Metro

http://www.metro.net/riding/fares/
Base Fare, Every Boarding: $1.50
Metro-to-Muni Transfer: $0.35 cents
Freeway Express Add-Ons: $0.70 Zone 1, $1.40 Zone 2
Metro Silver Line: $2.45 (Connects South Bay, San Grabriel Valley & Downtown LA via a pseudo BRT style route http://www.metro.net/projects/silverline/overview/)
Day Pass: $5.00
7-day Pass: $20.00
30-day Pass: $75.00

Vancouver Canada’s Translink

http://www.translink.ca/
Single Ride Fare
Day Pass $9.75
Monthly 1 Zone $91
Monthly 2 Zone $124
Monthly 3 Zone $170

Trimet

http://trimet.org/fares/index.htm
Single Fare, good for all transfers for 2 hours $2.50
Day Pass: $5.00
7-day Pass: $26.00
14-day Pass: $51.00
30-day Pass: $100.00

Half Price at The Worst!

Ok, this now makes it simple to compare transit to auto ownership and usage. If we take the most expensive transit option, living and commuting into Seattle from the far metro area of Tacoma or ferry trip from Bremerton, at a monthly fare cost of $189 dollars that gives us a yearly cost of $2268 dollars. Comparing that to the auto cost of $5,713 really shows how much damage we do to the poor in this country by forcing ourselves into an auto dependent culture. Remember also if you aren’t poor, that just means you’re screwing yourself out of THAT MUCH MORE MONEY! Because transit is still the same cost for you, so if you’re auto-dependent that means you’re spending several thousand dollars per year, minimum, on JUST DRIVING ALONE. That is money that can’t be spent on video games, food, health insurance, entertainment, travel, seeing other countries and other things that actually make life better for you. Just think about that for a minute and let it stew in your gray matter. That’s some SERIOUS cash that’s being burned. There ARE indeed alternatives, but you have to find them instead of living the average life of an american. You have to take the lead in getting more out of your life. You only live once, are you sure you want to spend such a huge amount of money on something that actually doesn’t improve your life in any dramatic way except to shackle you to a single, set, limited lifestyle?

Want Even Lower Costs & More Cash in Your Pocket?

If you’re lucky enough, or strive a little and work yourself into the situation, you can live without a car and without transit. You can go the walking and biking route. Human powered transportation is the cheapest by orders of magnitude. We’re talking about less than half the cost of the cheapest yearly transit. A few hundred dollars per year of costs, often even less. All this and living without the dependencies of automobiles or transit will make you stronger, mentally quicker (yes, there are studies), your children will learn better and faster, you’re breath better and have more energy. On top of all that it’s proven that when healthier you will be able to taste food, wine, beer and chocolates better than any soul that isn’t healthy. Is there any greater argument for moving to a truly healthy lifestyle as being able to truly taste food in every way? I don’t know about you, but truly being able to enjoy food, sweets, wine beer and the finest things in life is a huge argument for me to stay as healthy as possible. Living a human powered lifestyle is one huge step toward living that way at just a few hundred bucks a year!

I could go on for days about how excellent this lifestyle is, but I have a few other quick topics to broach. So I’ll leave this topic with this spectacular video.

Trimet Fare or so high!

First off, that statement is patently fales. Sometimes Trimet fares are higher than other cities, sometimes Trimet fares are lower than other cities. The fact is though, Trimet fairs pretty well in comparison to most other agencies, especially compared to other agencies of larger cities and similar sized cities. No city is completely cheaper than Trimet in every way. When looking at these fare costs, be sure to actually look at the cost in an apples to apples comparison. Such as Los Angeles might seem cheaper at first glance, it’s only a $1.50 to get on a bus (or light rail vehicle). That’s great, but likely you’ll have to come back to where you started, which means another $1.50. If you do that in less than 2 hours, it’s more expensive than Trimet, as you can make a round trip in 2 hours on a $2.50 ticket. However, if you start in the morning and come back in the evening it’s actually cheaper, because with Trimet it will cost you $5.00 for an early morning trip in and a later trip out exceeding 2 hours.

The day passes are also often argued and fussed about here in Portland, which is patently absurd too. Our day passes are ridiculously cheap. No other system out there has an actual unlimited day card for $5.00 that includes an entire metropolitan area. Los Angeles, again seems like it might, but keep in mind that day pass only includes the LA Metro, if you go to most of the locations outside of that, Newport Beach for instance, you’ll be adding on addition fares to cover the trip. Seattle’s King County Metro I believe cuts off the cost at a certain amount during the day, but their site is so horribly organized I couldn’t find out what the limit is. (still one of the worst sites on the Internet, they obviously didn’t hire an information architect – I’m sure there is some idiot bureaucrat as I’ve heard sitting around making poor decisions)

Monthly passes also vary, as do 7-day, 30-day or monthly passes. Some places are a bit higher, some are lower, but none offer a comparable monthly pass that covers all transit except Seattle. However Seattle’s monthly pass for the entire metropolitan area is $189 dollars. A slightly larger amount over Trimet’s $100 amount.

So simply, just shush about this whole notion that fares are out of control. They’re nothing remotely close to out of control. Hidden auto-costs, and auto-costs in general are something that’s out of control. If you want to argue that point, I’m all for collecting information and finding out ways to get rid of our destructive dependence by so many americans on the automobile. I’m even happier to collect information and put information together on how people can improve their lives. So drop the silly “fares are too high” nonsense and let’s do something constructive.

A Last Note

I didn’t write this blog entry to say that I support Trimet’s fare structure, nor any other agencies. Personally I think they’re all too low and kind of a mess. Trimet’s recent move to centralize the cost structure on a single price for a single ticket, single day, 7-day, 14-day or 30-day fares are a welcome relief compared to the previous structure. I do look forward to the day when we can more easily just charge people an amount based on our phones, usage and other metrics. If anything I wrote this as something to fire up anyone and everyone who has thought about dropping their car and improving their lives. But in the end, I had to point out that transit costs are absurdly low, even for the poor.

So get out there, live your life the best you can, and I wish you all the best; auto-dependent, bikers, cyclists, transit users, walkers and everybody! Cheers!

Summary

  • Want to improve your life?  Get rid of your automobile dependence. Sell your car, if you need a car once in a while, get a ZipCar, rental car or borrow something. No need to own a car. Owning makes you dependent, it draws out cash for gas, insurance, break downs and other maintenance.
  • Want real options for a rich life?  Get a transit pass. Take a train. Buy a bike. Slow down. Find ways to live by walking around your community or walking to work!

I promise any option besides car dependence will open up a world, a massive world with more options, more things to see, more art, more time with your children, more time to live, more time to be healthy, alive and in this adventure we call life. It will improve your community, your community connections, your options for a house, an apartment, living options and more. You’ll have the choice to travel, even on median or lower incomes, you could see parts of the world you never imagined. You could even see the city or town and the heart of what makes those places exciting more often, or even just see them for the first time by dropping auto-dependence.

References & Links:

Either Way, Worst Case CRC Scenario…

Mark my words…

If the CRC does manage to go forward, it’ll get pushed out, delayed and cost more than it is estimated solely because it is too large of a project as it is. These are notorious for failing to meet the original goals. Here’s my estimations of what will realistically happen.

  • I’m betting it’ll bust budgets and probably spiral into the $4-6 billion dollar range. Currently it’s decreased by $100 million to 3.1-3.5 billion, which is weird since the original environmental assessment and other project work is easily $100 million dollars over budget (at least any reasonable budget for this type of work).
  • It will likely, even running over budget from the current, have to cut at least one of the corridor amenities. What I mean by this, is that they’ll end up dropping an exit or some other feature to save some money when things start to run over.
  • It is also likely, on big projects like this especially (see big dig as a prime example), that they’ll start to reduce the “niceties” of the bike, pedestrian and light rail features. Likely either cutting the distance of the light rail to just downtown Vancouver and not reaching the community college and also prospectively cutting the bike & pedestrian facilities.
  • Access to the bridge in anything but a car will be painful in various ways. With high speed auto & truck traffic above the pathway it will leave the pedestrian and bike travel exposed to the high decibal sounds of the traffic in addition to the uncomfortable lack of real light into the pathway. Maybe they’ll add lights, but more likely that’ll be cut to make sure they can cover the roadway costs.
  • Traffic will not increase to fill the bridge for years, namely because the three lanes in each state feeding the bridge will not increase anytime soon. At least they are basing this 10 lanes on the idea that the majority of traffic that causes congestion on the I-5 bridge gets on or off the bridge within 3-4 exist on either side of the state line. Which of course begs the question, why are we not building an arterial bridge instead of a multi-billion dollar Interstate Bridge that doesn’t really help local communities in a reasonable, healthy or effective way?
  • North Portlanders will get a 5-15% increase in preventable deaths from poisoning related to automobiles on the Interstate.

So that’s a few bets. So far, I’ve not been wrong about large scale projects like this. I started guessing when I first started studying the Boston Big Dig years ago. Sad to say I was off by a billion dollars on that final bill, but that was still less than 10%.  o_O

Anyway, we move forward toward the CRC Nightmare as it is…  but alas, I have some positives that might come out of this, and these are my estimates from that perspective.

  • If the bridge is built, light rail ridership on the Yellow Line will double. Win for Vancouver and Portland.
  • Vancouver will be the base of more trips from alcoholics, drug dealers, meth heads, heroine addicts and prostitution than Portland will be a base for trips to Portland. In other words, Vancouver can rest easy, their problems will come to Portland, not the other way around. (and yes, if you’re not aware of this fact, per capita Vancouver has vastly more drug, alcohol and related problems than Portland, fitting much closer to its conservative Republican voting base). Win for Vancouver.
  • Approximately 100-200 tax evading people will actually move to Vancouver to use the light rail but lower their cost of housing. Only to find their livability decreases and transport costs actually go up since they’ll only be able to use the light rail to get to Portland, where they really want to be anyway. Then they’ll just return to Portland 2-3 years after moving. Win for Portland over the long run, immediate win for Vancouver.
  • Vancouver will become the “gateway” city for people moving from the midwest and California thinking that it is actually part of the “Portland” experience when in reality it is much different. They’ll move at first to Vancouver, realize it is harder to live there and work in Portland, and then just end up moving to Portland after they realize the best way to live and work in Portland. Win for Vancouver & Portland.
  • Bicyclists in Vancouver will suffer less, even though the crossing won’t be dramatically improved. For bicyclists that use the light rail, it’ll be a dramatically improved crossing experience, getting them to the Kenton Neighborhood in quick fashion.  Win for Vancouver & Portland.
  • Traffic delays will stay relatively the same, and this project will kill off any attempt to spend money on and remedy any other Interstate bottlenecks for 10-20 years. Increasing congestion in other parts of the city and making it more troublesome to resolve traffic issues for the Portland metro area, making every other mode except the automobile more attractive. Win for Vancouver and Portland.
  • Getting the Lloyd Center area Interstate fixes built will likely be broken apart after the budget woes begin in earnest with the CRC. Which means we’ll be able to break apart the budget of the Lloyd Center area projects into reasonable chunks and implement the ones the communities in those areas care about, such as the Intersate cover, biking, and pedestrian safety improvements instead of cutting massive swaths into the I-5 to I-84 corridor to add lanes.  Win for Portland.
  • The roadway will be smoother with newer plates & roadway built. Win for Portland and Vancouver.
  • The bridge will make driving more expensive for Vancouver residents that hate Portland. More people that hate how Portland is run and it’s intent around building community will hopefully move away. Maybe to Houston or something, I hear almost every inch of that city is paved, it’d be great for Portland haters and automobile dependent people. Win for Portland and Vancouver.

So at this time, these are my estimates – or projections – for the future of the CRC. What are yours?

In one of my upcoming write ups, I intend to cover a full break down of the Milwaukee Light Rail Project.

A Grand Lodge, A Long Transit Ride, A Great Weekend

Over this last weekend I headed out to Forest Grove to Mcmenamins Grand Lodge. It’s a great place to spend a weekend away from everything, with the bonus of actually being reachable by transit. From downtown, take any MAX that goes to either Beaverton Transit Center or Hillsboro and transfer at either of those places to the #57 Bus that goes to Forest Grobe. I prefer to take the MAX for and wait until the end of the line to transfer. It always makes working on a laptop dramatically easier than riding on a bus, thus my main reason on many trips for taking rail over the bus.

Between the soaking pool, which is a great heated pool that is absolutely wonderful during the winter, I started pondering. I ought to spearhead a website that lays out the locations that are close to stops on the light rail, streetcar, WES and bus corridors in the TriMet Service area. However I’d not want to do this alone. If you’d like to volunteer to help me out (don’t worry, we’re only talking about content and helping to find cool places, you don’t have to code or actually create the website) with this let me know. Just enter the things you could provide and I’ll get in touch ASAP.

Cheers – Transit Sleuth

The Side Door

Barista

Barista, classically amazing coffee.

Today I headed to The Side Door as my second office of the day. After making my postal pick up at the UPS Store and enjoying a good Barista espresso & cappuccino to kick off the day I wanted a different side of the Willamette. I cut through along Yamhill to Naito Parkway and then along the water front and over the Hawthorne Bridge. Once on the other side it was a loop under the bridge and out to Water Avenue up to The Side Door.

At The Side Door I had a great working session before heading back out for an easy commute back to the home office via the Portland Streetcar CL Line. Yup, that’s right, two trips confirmed on the CL Line.

The working session at The Side Door was great too, in that I was able to get a lot of work done, but also got introduced to a lot of rocking doom metal via the rocking staff. Thanks Side Door staff!

…with that, I’m at the home office and it’s all foot traffic for the rest of this day.

The Best Commute is The Faux Commute

So technically, I don’t really have a commute. I wake up, walk across the hall and I’m in the office. Sometimes, if I sit down at a coffee shop I’m in the office or simply while on the bus, train or in a park. There’s a big plus to this type of work style; the freedom, higher productivity and related things for the ephemeral “creative class”, but there are negatives too. Namely that I’m always “at work”. However, even though I do love what I do and don’t technically have a commute, I sometimes give myself one to get started in the morning.

The Faux Commute

The commute that I sometimes give myself consists of a 2+ mile hustle down the bike corridors, lanes and roads of Portland to one of my favorite coffee shops. Going from the west side of the river to the east, here’s a video of my commute to the coffee shop office. Also note, I’m a metal head true and true, so I put some material from my favorite band into rotation for this video (hope it’s alright by them, if they contact me I’ll take it down, sadly).