Congestion comes from not enough capacity in our transportation corridors and transit system. The larger the population the more capacity is needed. Roads or transportation corridors are not about what is currently traveling on these corridors, fossil fuel propelled vehicles, but their location and capacity levels. Roads keep civilization functioning. At one time people walked on these corridors, then horse, wagon, steam engines, and currently fossil-fueled vehicles. Limiting our transportation corridors is damaging to our environment, economy, military and safety. Transportation is a system with a variety of options to help create a healthy balance. Here are some basic beginning steps to ease congestion.
1. We must establish a 24-hour bus system. Portland is a 24-hour town with an employment and entertainment transportation need. The traffic increase at 1:30 PM every day starts with employees who were not offered the opportunity to take mass transit to work. Employees working swing shift, graveyard and early morning shifts do not have transit service to and from work. The employer pays for mass transit services and so do many employees. They deserve and need the services they have paid for.
2. Bus transit service must be increased to include adequate service into the industrial areas.
3. All bus stops need to have a bench and cover to attract clients and for comfort. Benches with advertisement can raise revenue. These funds can maintain bus stops and up grade pedestrian sidewalk access to transits stops. 25% of the transit stops in Portland are considered inaccessible to the physically challenged, elderly and young due to lack of sidewalks and unsafe walking conditions.
4. Create a network of Limited Motorized Corridors to help separate different modes of transportation for safety, reliability, and less congestion on major streets of commerce. These corridors would be for pedestrians, bikes, and small motorized vehicles, up to 20 MPH. Limited Motorized Corridors would parallel main streets of commerce for business access and transit opportunities. Please see Limited Motorized Corridor on my web-site.
5. Build a new third North/South corridor to the west of the current I-5. By building a new Columbia River crossing connecting our industrial areas together it will create direct access. This will relieve congestion on the I-5 Corridor and take truck traffic out of several neighbors. Please see Bi-State Industrial Corridor www.newinterstatebridge.com. This must to be started right away. Because of the drain on the economy the current I-5 study monies must be dedicated to solve congestion.
6. Heavy Rail is the backbone of our transportation system. It is the most cost effective, least polluting, environmentally friendly, and safest way to transport goods. It is one of the least expensive infrastructures to build and brings the largest amount of freight into an area. It supports our trucking industry and brings good family wage jobs into hubs all across the United States. Rail is friendly to all commodities it carries from goods and services to people. Besides providing jobs, railroads put a majority of their money back into their infrastructure. They provide stability for the economy by building into the land and are an industry that cannot just pick up and leave. To relieve congestion and strengthen our economy we need to double and triple track our existing rail system. Rail tends to be less intrusive to land use policy, due to the right of way generally being set aside and owned. With the increase of rail capacity by the adding of additional tracks you have the ability to relieve congestion and pressure on our road system. Rail already serves many of our centers of employment, commerce, and entertainment. Rail has the ability to make small towns and coastal towns year around destinations. There are many ways of creatively financing multi track rail capacity. Because rail tends to be less expensive than highway and road infrastructure you get way more bang for your buck. Encouraging resort areas , casinos, shipping suppliers, commuters, and tourism to purchase advance, future options to use the rail similar to time share for future is one financing option. A rail lottery and other creative fundraising ideas are ways to defray the cost of adding to our rail system.
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