Report Shows $52 Million Street Project Makes Traffic Worse


By John A. Charles, Jr.

case study released last week by Cascade Policy Institute shows that the $52 million retrofit to Portland’s Southwest Moody Avenue is already increasing local traffic congestion and will be unable to accommodate future road capacity needs for the South Waterfront district in the future.

During 2011-12 SW Moody Avenue was raised 14 feet and the overall right-of-way (ROW) widened to 75 feet. This was done to accommodate double-tracking of the Portland streetcar, pedestrian walkways on either side, a massive two-way bicycle track, storm water treatment planters, and relocated utilities. The primary purpose of the retrofit was to allow the Portland-Milwaukie light rail line to pass over Moody Avenue at-grade and stop at the OHSU Collaborative Life Sciences Building, currently under construction.

The retrofit reduced lane capacity on Moody for motor vehicles by moving the streetcar directly onto the road (it had previously run on adjacent ROW) and adding a double-track, despite the fact that motor vehicles are the dominant mode of travel in the district. Before-and-after traffic counts conducted by Cascade Policy Institute on Moody Avenue show that the percentage of all trips by automobile has increased since the retrofit was completed, despite the generous ROW allocated to non-motorized travelers.

To make matters worse, in September 2013 the entire road was shut down for three weeks and much of the new work torn up so that the light rail tracks could cross at grade just west of the new Willamette River rail bridge. Since accommodating light rail was the primary purpose of raising Moody in the first place, this additional retrofit simply wasted tax dollars and inconvenienced local travelers. Neither the City of Portland nor TriMet has provide a credible public explanation of why this was done.

According to Cascade President John A. Charles, Jr., “The South Waterfront has long been a Potemkin Village for Portland planners. It’s likely the only neighborhood in the world that will soon be served by an aerial tram, streetcar, light rail, elevated pedestrian walkway, a monster cycle track, and a 100-foot wide pedestrian greenway. But the actual evidence shows that the district is highly reliant on auto use, and the reliance is growing. Now it’s too late to provide road capacity for future build-out because so much space was allocated to the streetcar and light rail.”

Click here to read the report.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Transportation, TriMet | Tagged , , , , | 23 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • bob clark

    Meanwhile Portland City Hall neglects basic safety measures like putting in sidewalks on outter parts of its east side, such as Powell blvd. As a result, people walk along the shoulder of the road in darkened conditions. City hall says it doesn’t have the money for such basic city services. It’s all about glitz and glamour at City Hall, and basic stuff like maintenance is such a drag unless it can be used politically to sell its naive electorate on the urgent need for a new tax.

    • Calling Dems a scam Callahan

      Weird Pot Land, “the city that works”… you over – and, ‘tokes’ in pet projects before common sense taxpaying citizen’s needs.

      D’oh what the hails Charlie Hales: Feral Vera Katz and her DemWaiter, Scam Adams, still have their flawed mentality intact, larges-sly due to duh mental midgets supporting Dem – alas, dubiously intact and obscene, witness, the inane lemmings fallowing all over their left bling fiscal cliff.



      why are many conservatives retarded when it comes to government? They don’t know who has jurisdiction; what agencies have what responsibilities; where funding comes from; what restrictions there are on where money goes; or even where the mandates for programs and requirements come from.

  • Ralph

    I just love the new improvements. I ride my bike every day to combat global warming and there is nothing wrong with a new bike lane. Nothing.
    Can’t you people wake up and see what is happening to our planet and mother, the earth??? She is warming too fast and she is going to be hurt so much that she will no longer care for us, her children.
    I, for one, am proud to ride and save the planet from the massive fossil fuel burnings that go on each and every day in this stupid land of plenty.

    • .

      Ralph, heaving giving back from the Toilet Zone.

    • Ballistic45

      Sell that to those “Global Warming” Scientist who’s ship got froze in the rapidly expanding Ice of the South Pole, Betcha we don’t hear squat from them on the subject… To embarrassing I guess.. But you are not as smart as they are, just keep on with the Bla, Bla, Bla Global Warming Agenda 21 BS if it makes you feel good about riding your bike…

      • Bruce Thornton

        Snow in Cairo, Egypt and the coldest temperatures in several decades. But the Al Gore supporters/propagandists still bend the figures to support their untruths and waste more taxpayer $..

        • 3H

          Yes, because weather and climate are the same thing. Why don’t all those other scientists realize that?

    • Rick Lakehomer

      And I will continue to DRIVE. GW is nothing but climate voodoo. So please explain to us about how GW caused the dumb ass environazis to get stuck in near record ice? Oh please, Ralph, spin the stupid for us some more . There has always been climate change. You want to bike from a collective village of mud huts in the future, leave me out of your earth muffin world.

      I refuse to have your GW garbage shoved down my throat and this country could be entirely energy independent if it was not the environazis and the EPA. There is NOTHING wrong with fossil fuels and using them while we all die waiting for green energy. Solar is the only thing that is even feasible or somewhat affordable.

    • David Clark

      Ralph, what world are you living on?
      Global warming stopped 10-20 years ago on this one.
      You have been reading too much Al Gore, Grist, Rolling Stones and Mother Jones.

  • Jack Lord God

    Why is it that Portland’s road planning seems to be entirely based on the classic attitude of a 13 year old after her first trip to Europe?

    It seems as if all planning is done by an eye rolling teenager, convinced of the superiority of all things European and intent on forcing her new found intellectualism on any and all by insisting the European solution is the best one regardless of circumstances or reality at hand.

    In short, the party bore, who really has no practical insight and who values anything in direct proportion to its irrelevance and distance from current conditions in her own country.

    I propose two solutions, either will work. Either put these people on the first one way plane to Amsterdam, or buy them a model rail road set and triple their vacation time so they can stay home and play with it rather than continue to wreck havoc on the society that supports them.

  • realsolution

    Portland is not doing enough to save the planet. If the City really wanted to go green using the mentioned vehicles then the City of Portland and TriMet need to eliminate all private vehicle parking in the downtown area, parking garages, street parking, parking lots. Leave the streets but make them narrower for vehicle traffic. The non-environmentally aware people can still drive to downtown and drop somone off and then come back later to pick them up. This way it becomes impossible to drive and polute. The city and trimet are only interested in getting as much money as possible from taxpayers for environmentally friendly projects that give the appearence of environmental responsibility, not solving any problems or saving the planet.

    • .

      Sewe-e-e ey, jig jig jig and the bleep d’ohs on, massaged by Dem mental midgets!

    • Rick Lakehomer

      You and Ralph must be related. Time for more firewood into the woodstove. BTW, wood heat is a RENEWABLE resource.

    • David Clark

      Apparently you aren’t big on looking at real world data.
      Trimet uses MORE ENERGY per person per mile than modern cars.
      Your proposal will increase harmless CO2 emissions and waste lots of money as transit also costs a lot more than driving. (You do know that riders pay less than 30% of the actual cost, don’t you?)

  • Rick Lakehomer

    I am a huge supporter of railroading but will
    this boondoggle pay off in the end? I do not think so and this ties in
    quite badly with UN Agenda 21. Maybe my tinfoil hat is a bit too tight
    but if you do not have a clue about Agenda 21, get a
    clue. Not every light rail and green project is good planning nor an
    efficient use of our tax dollars. Many are but this is a typical
    ‘Oregon’ project where they had to go back and tear up the new finished

    @Bob Clark: you are spot on about Powell Blvd. I do not live in Portland(thankfully!!) but have driven down Powell several times and it is extremely dangerous at night as you mention. Even in the day time it is a nasty drive and of course any new tax to fix this, right? Portland has been so good about efficient use of tax payer dollars just like Salem.

    • guest

      Powell Blvd still a mell of hess…, thanks to dotty-govs Straub and Goldschmidt and the sustaining udders, Roberts, Kulongonski and Kitzhaber.

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