Regarding the so-called Bus Rapid Transit plan, an $80 million federal grant is good news for TriMet and Outer Division bus riders as it will indeed improve transit efficiency on the four-lane portion of Southeast Division Street east of 82nd Avenue.
The bad idea is the poor thinking and unworkable planning intended for the two-lane stretch west from 82nd all the way to Southeast 10th Avenue, where TriMet proposes to eliminate many well-patronized bus stops and inconvenience daily riders.
A good example is the proposed elimination of the stop at 32nd and Division, right in the middle of a concentration of new apartment buildings.
Portland's City Council flogged this type of development, with no off-street parking, because it was on a bus line. Now TriMet is going to take away the bus stops.
Is anyone paying attention?
Let's not forget that operating this line on Southeast Division west of 82nd was a second choice to operating BRT on Southeast Powell Boulevard. TriMet and Metro, chasing a federal grant, had to scramble after their Powell plan blew up, and now riders along inner Southeast Division, including physically challenged and elderly riders, have to pay the price with reduced service and inconvenience.
If City Council members were elected by district, inner Southeast Division riders would have advocates to demand no elimination of stops.
The City That Works continues to be clueless with its outdated and uncoordinated form of government.
5G technology is hardly 'new' or 'unproven'
In a March 28 column ("5G: What we don't know might hurt us"), Adriana Voss-Andreae and Julia DeGraw argue that 5G telecoms technology is unproven and creates an inescapable cloud of electromagnetic radiation.
5G technology is new, but that does not mean that it is unproven and certainly does not mean that its possible health effects are a mystery. Saying this is like claiming that this year's coffee crop is new and therefore needs to be examined for its possible effects on health.
The effects of electromagnetic radiation on animal tissue has been heavily studied for many decades and nothing has ever been conclusively demonstrated.
The only new aspect of 5G that might affect health is its use of a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (meaning frequencies) that were previously reserved for other uses like radio navigation. But these frequencies have been studied and are proven safe.
While the idea of a "cloud of electromagnetic radiation" sounds alarming, we should remember that light is electromagnetic radiation, and that, generally, we enjoy the sunshine.
The only difference between radio waves and light is that the radio waves are considerably more gentle, and are therefore much safer than light (which, after all, sometimes can cause sunburn).
The FCC sets very conservative limits on telecom equipment. These limits have been scientifically proven to be safe over a large portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, including that used by 5G.
So while sometimes it is prudent to fear new things, in this case we should just look forward to a world in which remote medicine, robotic electric vehicles and instantaneous streaming are possible.
Editor's note: The author has consulted for CTIA, a telecoms industry organization.
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