Friday, February 26, 2010

Olympics Transportation Planning

One of the best projects I worked on. I will miss those unique opportunities at the City, but Portland is quite a laboratory in and of itself.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Streetcar Construction on Grand Avenue

The transition to working at the City has presented a tremendous amount of opportunities to contribute on projects happening "close to home". The Portland Streetcar is one of the most difficult projects because of the range of traffic impacts associated with construction throughout the project and the pace that is anticipated by the Project Team. The primary intent with the expedited schedule is to control costs and to reduce business impacts which are laudable goals.
The first two photos here were shot the first week in February outside of Metro's office building, literally two days after they began construction. The last photo was taken less than two weeks later and shows the concrete slab with the rails completely in place in this section of the project. I have heard that the intent is to be in and out of a block within four weeks. At this pace, it appears that it's possible given that the crews are able to work during the peak hours of traffic.
We're working on the traffic impacts and exploring ways we can reduce the adverse impacts of the construction. One of the strategies we've undertaken is to install six cameras that can be used to monitor conditions along the corridor. The cameras will allow us to visually identify the positive effects of the signal timing changes we implement on the corridor. It would be advantageous if we had the ability to implement Media Access Control (MAC) readers to measure the actual performance on the street system.
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

State Bill Introduces GHG assessment requirement

I couldn't help but post this interesting article on legislation in the Oregon Senate. “This bill deals with one important piece of the climate puzzle – transportation,” said Senator Alan Bates (D-Ashland), who carried the bill on the floor. “We must design our cities more efficiently, everything from timing our traffic signals to...

I need to write Mr. Bates a thank you note for promoting our efforts.

The link was edited and the text is at the bottom of the page.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Transit Signal Priority in Boulder

I worked on this project and wasn't able to take the project to implementation unfortunately. This is disappointing one of the key frustrations was that so much of the work in consulting didn't lead to building something or making it better. I found myself trying to make the perfect decision. Hopefully, the new team on the job can build a project that meets the needs of Boulder County.

I blame the missed opportunity on the old cost benefit analysis which stifles the ability of engineers to make decisions. At times, we ask for these analyses when we want to make sure we're doing the right things, yet we don't ask for these to study some of things we already do. Taking into account the environment is a significant challenge and there's a lot of guess work that's going to be necessary in the short-term to make good decisions for our world.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

ITS Award for the City of Portland

One of the great things about working for the City is that Bill Kloos built a legacy for excellence. That was acknowledged by ITS America this past week when the organization's president Scott Belcher was in town. The award was a great honor as ITS has only given out a few of them in the past few years.

Reminded me a bit about the article I wrote for the Daily Journal of Commerce describing the benefits of signal retiming.

ITS America's website has posted our award online and Sue Keil and I were interviewed by ITS International this week. Here's the link.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Portland Bike Plan Video Highlight

The Portland Bike Plan was in front of the City Council on Thursday and Fox 12 was on the scene. The standard, Jim Hyde, produced this epic video that sums it up pretty well.

Quoting the opposition: Mr. Moorman (if that's his real name :)) - "There's not much in it for you except the extra cost. On balance it’s hard to believe that kind of bicycle infrastructure will improve commuting times for non bicycle riders."

I guess the good news is that the plan isn't trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes.