Sunday, December 14, 2008

CRC Project Sponsors Council

With 2009 quickly approaching, the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) process is pressing forward.

Since the discussions and adoption of ALL of the local agencies of the Locally Preferred Alternative --- New Interstate 5 Bridge with Light Rail Transit -- the 39 member CRC Task Force had completed its responsibilities and was disbanded.

The CRC Project Sponsors are those public agencies that have a key role in the project and ultimately have to accept certain components. For example, the public transit agency in Clark County, CTRAN, is a Project Sponsor because CTRAN is anticipated to be the owner/operator of the light rail transit system in our community. The other Project Sponsor include: Trimet, City of Vancouver, City of Portland, Metro, RTC (Clark County Regional Transportation Council), and WSDOT & ODOT.

The Governors of both Oregon and Washington have appointed representatives from all the Project Sponsors to continue where the Task Force left off. This group is known as the Project Sponsors Council.

The Governor appointees include (in no particular order):

Fred Hansen, Trimet (CEO)
Steve Stuart, RTC (Clark County Commissioner)
David Bragdon, Metro (Board President)
Tim Leavitt, CTRAN (Vancouver City Council)
Paula Hammond, WSDOT (Director)
Royce Pollard, City of Vancouver (Mayor)
Sam Adams, City of Portland (Mayor elect)
Matt Garrett, ODOT (Director)

The primary purpose of this group (facilitated by co-chairs Henry Hewitt and Hal Dengerink), is to reach decisions on the project design refinement. More specifically, this group is to advise the departments of transportation on project development. Recommendations will be made after considering technical information, receiving input from advisory groups and reviewing public comments. This group is charged with advising the project on these issues:

  • Completion of the Environmental Impact Statement
  • Project design
  • Project timeline
  • Sustainable construction methods
  • Compliance with greenhouse gas emission reduction goals
  • Financial plan
To date, we have had two meetings.

The primary issue of consideration (and significant to the project) at this time is the number of lanes to be included in the project. The project is proposing a varying number of traffic lanes throughout the project, based on the locations of on-ramps and off-ramps. As you might suspect, there's a real issue with providing adequate merging and traffic weaving distance so drivers can SAFELY enter and exit the interstate.

My observation is that there appears to be a misconception about the number of lanes and the purpose of the lanes. At the December Project Sponsors Council meeting, Staff completed a detailed presentation about the number of lanes. There has been much talk (or malicious rumoring) that the project will construct twelve (12) new lanes of traffic. This inaccurate rumor has incited some opposition to the roadway portion of the project. Unfortunately, the suggestion that the CRC project is constructing 12 lanes of traffic is not entirely accurate. Indeed, there are 12 lanes for a short distance on only the bridge to accommodate the three (3) through lanes (as exist now) and the merging/weaving activities for the nearby on-ramps and off-ramps. There is NOT 12 lanes of traffic funnelling from Washington into Oregon!!!

The December presentation demonstrated the safety and design issues resulting in the proposed number of lanes throughout the project. Any reduction in the number of merging/weaving lanes will result in freeway conditions that are not safe for traffic at speed. At this point, I have no reason or inclination to support anything less than the safest conditions a new project will provide for automobile and truck drivers.

Updates to come as our meetings continue...

1 comment:

Bob Koski said...

" The Governors of both Oregon and Washington have appointed representatives from all the Project Sponsors to continue where the Task Force left off. This group is known as the Project Sponsors Council.

The Governor appointees include (in no particular order):

Fred Hansen, Trimet (CEO)
Steve Stuart, RTC (Clark County Commissioner)
David Bragdon, Metro (Board President)
Tim Leavitt, CTRAN (Vancouver City Council)
Paula Hammond, WSDOT (Director)
Royce Pollard, City of Vancouver (Mayor)
Sam Adams, City of Portland (Mayor elect)
Matt Garrett, ODOT (Director)

The primary purpose of this group (facilitated by co-chairs Henry Hewitt and Hal Dengerink), is to reach decisions on the project design refinement. More specifically, this group is to advise the departments of transportation on project development. Recommendations will be made after considering technical information, receiving input from advisory groups and reviewing public comments. This group is charged with advising the project on these issues:

* Completion of the Environmental Impact Statement
* Project design
* Project timeline
* Sustainable construction methods
* Compliance with greenhouse gas emission reduction goals
* Financial plan "

**SCHNIPP**

What a difference a few months makes, eh Tim??

I would love to hear your explanation of why you as an elected official on Vancouver City Council, as well as the sitting Chairman of C-Tran, think that the extremely Light Rail biased "Vancouver Working Group" is the best way to get input for anything as opposed to the "Sponsors Council" that the Governor said was supposed to make those decisions??

(For the uninitiated, you can download the entire "Vancouver Working Group Introductory Package" for yourself at the Columbia Crossing Project's website.)

Vancouver City Council obviously thinks it has finally dodged asking the taxpayers in town about this issue, and it's clear that you think that because you approved the LPA, that Council has made the final decision on behalf of all of us, and that the discussion about whether or not to build Light Rail is over.

I can assure you that discussion is not over, and that there is lots more to come on this...