A light rail train broke down due to a mechanical problem (possibly heat-related), prompting the evacuation of all riders. Firefighters successfully removed all eight passengers from the stricken train.
With temperatures expected in the triple digits today in Portland, the Goldilocks light rail lines will be running at less than 35 mph (assuming that they run at all). That shouldn't be an issue, since nobody works on Saturdays, so the power lines that Tri-Met has that conveniently sag when it gets warm really shouldn't be a problem for anybody. Heck, it's not as though light rail has much of anything to do with transit, anyway:
"Light rail "is not worth the cost if you're just looking at transit" says top Metro growth planner John Fregonese. "It's a way to develop your community to higher densities."
They came right out and admitted it, 20 years ago. They don't care if their silly little two-car "trains" are delayed by warm weather or cold weather or whatever; the whole idea is to spend billions of dollars on rail systems so that they can spend millions of dollars to entice developers to build apartment and condo bunkers in so-called "public-private partnership" arrangements.
Turns out, Seattle's light rail isn't worth the "investment". Gee, what a surprise!
Today, light rail carries 0.23 percent of all trips in our region and congestion has increased 52 percent since 2010. Meanwhile, rush-hour buses are packed or not available at all.
The justification for building out rail is that it improves things during rush hour for downtown Seattle and a few other urban corridors - but as with Tri-Met's light rail in the Portland area, everybody in the region pays for it, and most people don't benefit from it because what they need is job accessibility; light rail doesn't provide that for most people.
"Planners" would do well to take a page from long-established medical standards: first, do no harm. And it's worth noting that the people who crunched the numbers aren't exactly amateurs:
Maggie Fimia is a former Metropolitan King County Council member, 1994-2001. John Niles, president of Global Telematics, is a Seattle-based independent researcher. Victor H. Bishop is a transportation planner and traffic engineer with 50 years’ experience.
Portland's "Goldilocks" light rail has run into problems again:
Blue and Red lines through downtown Portland and its inner-eastside has been disrupted by damage to an overhead power cable. Buses are carrying passengers between the Providence Park MAX station and the Rose Quarter Transit Center.
The detour is expected to continue into the Tuesday evening commute, according to TriMet, the Portland area's public transit agency.
It's 70 degrees outside, so of course the well-designed, multi-billion-dollar lines' catenary lines have sagged due to the heat, causing the pantograph that transmits power to the two-car "trains" to catch; damaging the lines. It's buses to the rescue, once again. It's too bad that they can't figure out how to build these toy train-sets so that they can run in normal weather conditions, but it must be admitted that they look pretty cool, sitting there on their tracks.
Despite their protestations to the contrary, Metro and Tri-Met have their little hearts set on ramming another light rail line through, this time in what they call the "Southwest Corridor". They've spent years "planning", and had high hopes to bore a deep tunnel that would've run through Marquam Hill beneath OHSU, then over to Hillsdale, then to Portland Community College's Sylvan campus before emerging somewhere around the Tigard Triangle area. They really, really want to build another light rail line, but it's run into a few problems.
Just boring the tunnel would have cost $2 billion, according to their liars' budget. So that's out. They're still considering boring a $200 million hole from SW Barbur to the PCC campus, though. They were hoping to spend nearly $1 billion to tunnel through Marquam Hill and into Hillsdale, but the "planners" have recommended dropping that as well; impacts on medical equipment at OHSU, along with cost, lead them to believe that a surface route would be the better way to go.
Planners say the impacts and costs of a deep-bored tunnel beneath Marquam Hill and Hillsdale (long dashed line) and a shorter loop to serve just Hillsdale via Capitol/Bertha are too great. They propose focusing on Barbur or Naito surface routes instead.
They're still paying lip service to bus rapid transit (BRT), but it's abundantly clear that what they're really hoping to do is more light rail. PCC officials seem to prefer that as well, although residents in the area are seriously unenthused over the prospect of being driven out of their homes for a year or so in order for a tunnel to be constructed to PCC.
The direct-to-PCC light rail tunnel (shown as a dashed line) is the most costly, but planners want more time to study it.
They want more time to "study" the costliest possible link to PCC because of course they do. There's money to be spent, and their buddies at Hoffman Construction want a piece of it. Why go with BRT when you can slurp up piles of cash with light rail?
They were all for the $68 billion project until they discovered that it'd run through where they live. Now, they're getting pretty worked up. It seems that they don't mind blowing tens of billions of dollars that nobody has, but they don't want a bullet train running through their towns.
San Fernando Mayor Joel Fajardo said the surface route would reverse the progress his small working-class community has made in recent years, splitting the city in half with a 20-foot-high sound wall. The route would cut through the city's downtown, he added, displacing businesses that provide 7% of the city's tax revenue. And the surface route could require demolition of the city's police headquarters, he said.
"The high-speed rail cannot come barreling through our community," Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean said. "Some of the plans will be devastating."
Frankly, nobody cares about San Fernando; that's a mostly blue-collar town. But Santa Clarita's upscale, so politicians are going to want to be really careful about ticking them off. A lot of campaign donations are involved.
It's really an amusing situation; Democratics there were all for spending tons of money on a train to nowhere, but they're not too keen on a train that actually goes somewhere - particularly if getting to somewhere means the thing goes through their little slices of heaven.
In their latest move, the EPA has determined that commercial American aircraft represent a clear and present danger to the planet because they emit an estimated 3% of greenhouse gas emissions and therefore require new regulations to reduce the hazard. Mooch and Barry will of course be free to continue jetting around the country, as military planes and private jets are expected to be exempted.
The EPA is going hard after everything that works, because everything that works uses energy. It has long forgotten its mission to take care of real pollution.
Either the EPA or our economy will survive, but not both.
Well, that's certainly one way to look at it, if you want to be a Negative Nancy, but I'm pleased to see that the Obama administration has chosen to preserve my right to purchase a private jet and my freedom to fly whenever and wherever I wish.
Despite widespread opposition in three affected Washington County communities, Metro planners are pushing ahead with light rail "options" for the area:
A light rail tunnel that could run from Marquam Hill to Hillsdale is still just a twinkle in the eye of Metro planners and transportation enthusiasts — and Chris Braidwood-Reid is one of several community members who hope it stays that way.
Voters in Tualatin, Tigard, and King City have already approved measures requiring a vote before their city funds could be diverted to such a project, but as we've repeatedly seen in the past, Metro not only doesn't care what voters think - they'll go to their fellow Democratics in the state legislature to nullify voting requirements if need be.
They want to build another two-car "train" line, and they're perfectly happy to ram it through, no matter what it takes. As are their friends at Tri-Met - although some economists predict that the so-called "transit agency" will be bankrupt within fifteen years.
The committee’s July decision could help narrow the tunnel options so that Metro planners can have a clearer idea of which routes the Southwest Corridor Plan could take.
David Aulwes, a senior transit corridor designer for TriMet, says the options are all in the “high-level concept” stage, and are waiting to be moved forward by the Southwest Corridor Plan’s steering committee.
“Frankly, it would be super convenient to just jump on the light rail here and go downtown, or to a Blazers game, or to an appointment at OHSU,” he said. “I think we have a lot of great options on the table.”
As long as the options involve light rail, you bet. Metro and Tri-Met would dearly love to spend roughly $3 billion on another light rail line, which is about what it would cost to bore a tunnel under Marquam Hill and run some cut-and cover tunnels through the Hillsdale area, and of course add the elevators to OHSU atop Marquam Hill, run the tracks and other stuff in (don't forget the "public art"!), and so on. But hey - they're "building for the 21st century". With technology developed in 1825.