Letters: New thinking needed for mass transit options
Political viewpoint held by a fair proportion of citizens — especially in dissent — should not be suppressed. Those who present concerns before City Hall or Metro cannot expect those concerns to be addressed until after it's too late. Public agencies and committees invite participation, then act as unquestionable arbiters whose decisions leave participants disillusioned and sorely disappointed when outcomes fall woefully short of predicted expectations.
News outlets, likewise, act as censors. The Portland Tribune recently censored my description of the Tigard Triangle development as a laughably exaggerated next Pearl District despite overlooking adjacent Walmart, Costco, Winco and other big box store parking lots with related traffic. Delightful!
My professional viewpoint exposing MAX on Barbur Boulevard as dreadfully high impact, hazardous for pedestrians and motorists, unproductive as an expensive transit investment and whose development is similarly exaggerated also has been ignored by public agency leaders.
A face-saving suggestion I've offered Metro is to authorize an "independent" study of bus rapid transit on Barbur and the WES corridor for MAX to Wilsonville. Obsolete, uncomfortable, roaring rattletrap, diesel-spewing buses are best suited for electric on routes like Barbur.
We are decades overdue for truly modern buses built from the ground up for electric and hybrid/electrics. TriMet's new subway proposal is likewise poorly engineered.
TriMet shouldn't leave dependability behind
I have been a TriMet-dependent commuter for over a decade. We used to have a world-class transit system. I believe it is possible to regain this rating, but I have some concerns.
I love light rail, but the dependability of the system is not laudable. Don't convince us how great it will be to close stations to save two minutes when the system faces delays consistently due to mechanical failure. Expand your trained union work force and spend a couple more bucks on parts. Don't ask to build more when you don't maintain what you have.
TriMet touts 24-hour service, but it's extremely limited and not many feeder lines get to the 24-hour routes. TriMet has many good employees and they deserve to feel safe at work. Step up efforts to achieve this.
The main revenue source is not fares, but government grants and employer taxes, yet many swing and graveyard shifts are not reachable like they were when "owl service" was available. It's not very friendly to tax someone and not serve them.
I like the new ideas for expansion, but we should demand that TriMet not treat the existing system like the weight bench you get for Christmas.
Mueller showed need for impeachment inquiry
The July 24 hearings with Robert Mueller clearly show that this president and his administration committed crimes that they must be held accountable for.
This can only happen with an impeachment inquiry.
We cannot allow this administration to go on damaging our country, and indeed the world, for any longer. Certainly we do not trust this administration to stand up to Russian interference in our coming elections. Those are not safe at this point with Trump still in office.
We cannot wait for the 2020 elections. We must act now to prevent more damage and rigged elections that will keep the Republicans in power.
This country is on the brink of destruction, and it is up to Congress to do the hard job appointed to them — the job that Mueller so clearly called them to do in his report. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Sen. Jeff Merkley and Sen. Ron Wyden's constituents are counting on them to act and act now.
I urge my elected officials to call for an impeachment inquiry and lobby your fellow congressmen and congresswomen to do the same.
The time is now.
TriMet's BRT choice is wrong route
The botched "second choice" planning to run the so-called Division Bus Rapid Transit along narrow Southeast Division Street west of 82nd Avenue not only results in the elimination of many stops in this apartment-dense area, but now also requires the new 60-foot buses to cross the dreaded railroad tracks, famously known for hourlong traffic blockages.
In their insistence on routing these buses over the Tilikcum Bridge, TriMet also cuts off current vital service along Southeast Seventh Avenue and over the Hawthorne Bridge.
Originally planned to run on Southeast Powell Boulevard until they figured out that there is heavy traffic there, TriMet desperately shifted the BRT to two-lane Inner Southeast Division (also at capacity) so they could continue to chase a federal grant.
See the map at trimet.org/division and notice the elimination of stops along Inner Southeast Division Street.
TriMet's board and Portland's Bureau of Transportation should wake up and rethink this idea before they start even one day of disruptive construction. Maybe they could even talk to each other, which could be a new concept for Portland.
Arrogance and unrealistic planning among siloed bureaucracies are a bad combination and a sad trademark of Portland's current form of government.
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