The only regional government of its kind in the nation - with good reason - is "leading the planning" for a Portland - Tualatin light rail line (though they're also considering BRT for a change). Their term for this is the Southwest Corridor. As part of their process to waste invest more public money, it occurred to somebody at the brain-trust that until now, they've built stuff based upon predictions, but nobody's ever bothered to check to see if those predictions panned out.
So they audited three light rail stations, and what they've determined is that the station at S.E. 8th in Hillsboro is under-utilized when compared with the other two. The reason, they believe, is that the city constructed an "Intermodal Transit Facility" there.
The downtown facility combines a parking garage with electric vehicle charging stations, a bicycle storage and repair shop and retail space at the Tuality Hospital/Southeast Eighth Avenue in Hillsboro.
According to Metro, the convenient parking there is "discouraging" people from riding the adjacent light rail cars. The other two stations they audited don't provide such amenities, so the problem in Hillsboro boils down to too much parking - which goes against the whole idea of forcing encouraging people to quit driving. It seems kind of hard to believe, as a glance at the lines of EV's waiting to charge up there clearly demonstrates the popularity of the facility.
Naturally, the folks who spent a lot of money on this "public-private investment" take exception to the Metro brain-trust's take on this:
Hillsboro Economic Development Director Mark Clemons disagreed with that assessment, however. He said the facility replaced a series of service parking lots and allowed the construction of two buildings by Pacific University. Students are charged a fee to park there, which encourages transit use.
“The Intermodal Transit Facility is essential to an economic development project that benefits Hillsboro and increases light rail ridership,” said Clemons.
Well alrighty then. Metro's prediction for ridership didn't pan out, so it's due to the availability of convenient parking, as opposed to the fact that they've never checked to see if their predictions match reality. Hillsboro, on the other hand, objects to being scapegoated by the regional brain-trust, and it must be admitted that with bicycle storage and repair, solar panels galore, and EV charging stations, they're certainly demonstrating their "commitment to sustainability".
Maybe the problem's more straightforward, as both governments burnish their "sustainability" credentials: maybe sustainability isn't sustainable. Rather than blowing through cash in pursuit of idealism, perhaps governments should buy a clue from business; COSTCO had EV charging stations for a few years, and they removed them. Why? Because they actually looked at them, and they found that on average, one EV a month charged up at a station. And they have better uses for that space.
Oh, right - we're talking about government, here. Nevermind.