Monday, September 8, 2014

Clackastani News

It has come to our attention that the city is intending on signing an agreement with Metro before the Sept vote. 
An agreement to commit the city to moving forward with studying and funding the SW Corridor design process.
This proposed Inter-Governmental Agreement calls for Tualatin to wire transfer funds for the SW Corridor DEIS portion of the design process within 30 days. This is for a study that may or may not be approved in November.    
The city council appears to be preparing to sign a contractual agreement and pay Metro city funds just days before voters intervene with the September 16th election.  

On behalf of the volunteers who gathered signatures and roughly 2000 Tualatin voters who signed the initiative petition we are requesting that the city pull this action item from the scheduled consent agenda.
We additionally request that the city delay any such action until: 
After the September election;
After the SW Corridor Steering Committee and Metro Council approves a defined Scope and determined Cost of the DEIS;
And after a public vote approves the city expenditure of these funds. (Assuming M34-220 passes)  

As shown below the DEIS is clearly part of the design process. Measure 34-220 will require voter approval for spending any city funds  
on "financing, design, construction, or operation of a public rail project"

Thank you for your prompt attention.

Aaron Crowley, Chief Petitioner
Additional concerns related to M34-220  http://›.ws/TualatinLifeM34-220

Explanation for request. 
It is clear to many that the city is premature in rushing to sign an agreement with Metro (ahead of the Sept 16 vote).
This will commit the city to funding a SW Corridor study that has not been defined or approved by anyone.
The SW Corridor Steering Committee  will not do so any sooner than their November meeting. 
Until then the scope and cost are unknown.  
This action appears to be an effort by the City of Tualatin to thwart Measure 34-220 in order to justify the spending of $160,000 on the SW Corridor DEIS. 
City staff has invented a false distinction between design and planning while asserting that the DEIS is NOT part of the SW Corridor "design process". 
M34-220 will prohibit city spending on design.  

City staff has prepared an interesting report which justifies signing the IGA prior to the Sept election on the basis that spending money on the DEIS is somehow not spending on design.

Staff is referring to the DEIS as "planning" while acknowledging the coming measure prohibits spending on "design".

This distinction between "design" and "planning" is invalid according to Metro itself referring to the DEIS as 
part of the "design" process.   

From doc/source below- Metro addressing the DEIS:
initiating further study of the HCT design options, 
the design process

From numerous sources throughout Metro and the greater the planning arena any DEIS of this kind is considered a major part of the "design process".
Tualatin staff refers to the DEIS as "The next step in the process". 
This wordsmithing to omit the word "design" is an unacceptable way to to allow the city to simultaneously spend city funds on the DEIS (design process) while claiming it is not spending funds on design. 
"Under the IGA, no Tualatin funds will be used for the financing, design, construction, or operation of a public rail project, as those terms are used in the initiative language."

Staff also misrepresents the status of the DEIS and the IGA.
The SW Corridor Steering Committee members have not agreed or approved the scope of study for the DEIS and have postponed doing so until at least November.
Yet staff writes: 
"The Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the City and Metro outlines the specific scope of the work and
payment of these funds."

The scope of the DEIS has yet to be determined and the IGA does NOT "outline" ANY "specifics" at all. 

Staff Report and the Inter-Governmental Agreement are Here: 

Staff writes: 
Staff respectfully asks the City Council to consider the Intergovernmental Agreement between
the City and Metro to fund planning and public involvement efforts related to the Southwest

In May, the Tualatin City Council provided direction to the Metro Southwest Corridor Steering
Committee to continue studying high capacity transit (HCT) between Portland and Tualatin, via
Tigard. The next step in the process is to complete a Draft Environmental Impact Statement
(DEIS). The purpose of the DEIS is to discover the potential impacts and benefits of a future
alignment and gather additional public feedback. 

Metro has identified an overall cost to complete the DEIS of $10-$12 million. Each partnering
jurisdiction has been asked to contribute funds to assist in the work, with the majority of the
funding coming from Metro and TriMet. Based on the scope of work, Tualatin's share of this
phase will be $160,000 split evenly between the next two fiscal years. The Intergovernmental
Agreement (IGA) between the City and Metro outlines the specific scope of the work and
payment of these funds. 

The IGA specifies that Metro will use funds from Tualatin for planning and public involvement
efforts. As the Council is aware, an initiative is scheduled to be voted upon that would amend
the Charter to prohibit the Council from authorizing the use of “city resources” to finance, design,
construct, or operate any public rail transit system without first obtaining prior approval from the
voters through an “authorization ordinance.” While the initiative cannot restrict the Council’s
current authority under the Charter, the expenditure of funds under the IGA is consistent with the proposed limitations in the initiative if the initiative passes. Under the IGA, no Tualatin funds will be used for the financing, design, construction, or operation of a public rail project, as those terms are used in the initiative language.

The SW Corridor Steering committee postponed action on the DEIS until their November meeting.
 Questions remain on Southwest Corridor, leaders hold off launching environmental study 

"Regional leaders tapped the brakes on the Southwest Corridor study Monday, saying they wanted answers to the project's core questions before they start a more thorough, and more expensive, environmental review.  The committee is now scheduled to decide in November whether to proceed to the Environmental Impact Statement process. That study will look at the costs, and societal and environmental impacts of several transit project options." 

This action was NOT taken. 
However, Metro staff clearly refers to the DEIS as part of the "design" process.

10:05 a.m. Recommendation for further study Co-Chair Dirksen, Metro 
 ACTION REQUESTED Steering committee discussion and action on the HCT 
options, multimodal projects and potential station areas defined for further 
study, based on the discussion draft recommendation and the PTL proposed 
 changes and defined questions to be answered either prior to or during an 
initial DEIS scoping phase

10:50 a.m. Calendar and next steps Malu Wilkinson, Metro 
Overview of calendar and next steps for moving a Steering Committee 
recommendation forward and initiating further study of the HCT design 
options, multimodal projects and potential station locations.

"Between Capitol Highway and the Barbur Transit Center, however, the transit line would take over the existing middle turn lane, allowing four lanes of traffic in one of Barbur's most chaotic stretches of road. It's one of several design options being recommended for further study by Metro planners."

Quote from Metro Spokesperson: 
Juan Carlos Ocaña-Chíu Senior Public Affairs Specialist
"I want to reiterate that we are very early in the design process, and more detailed study in the DEIS could change these assumptions." 
"As I mentioned in my previous email, I want to answer your question about traffic lane capacity on Barbur Blvd separately from your question about 99W. Detailed study of how Barbur Blvd. would be reconfigured to accommodate transit (whether BRT or LRT) will take place during the proposed DEIS phase. The Southwest Corridor Plan Steering Committee will consider a decision of whether to enter into a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) phase at its June 9 meeting.
Current staff assumptions about conversion of lanes to accommodate transit operations are based on preliminary traffic analysis that indicates where available roadway capacity could be converted to transit use without significantly impacting auto travel or where impacts can be mitigated.  I want to reiterate that we are very early in the design process, and more detailed study in the DEIS could change these assumptions. 
Based on current design, lane conversions resulting in one auto lane on Barbur Boulevard would in two segments:  
1.Between downtown Portland and the intersection with Naito Parkway (recommended option 1A), about ¾ mile;
2.South of the Barbur Transit Center until HCT leaves 99W to cross into the Tigard Triangle (recommended option 3B), about 1.2 miles.
You can view or download the entire set of recommended options at
In the northern segment (north of the ramps to/from Capitol Highway in the “Woods” section, there would be additional conversion from 3 lanes to 2 lanes, mainly northbound. Between the Capitol Highway ramps and the Barbur Transit Center, approximately 3.1 miles, there would be no reduction in auto lanes in either direction.  Unlike LRT, BRT can operate in mixed traffic, which could also change the assumptions.  For example, south of the Barbur Transit Center BRT could potentially travel in mixed traffic and no lanes would be converted.
Thanks again for your interest. Please let me know if you have additional questions.
Juan Carlos Ocaña-Chíu
Senior Public Affairs SpecialistCommunications, Metro
 Questions remain on Southwest Corridor, leaders hold off launching environmental study 

Light Rail design process
I. Introduction
Project Description
A component of the Columbia River Crossing Project (CRC) is an 
extension of TriMet’s light rail system across the Columbia River 
into the City of Vancouver (the City). The design and operation 
of light rail transit (LRT) in a dense urban environment requires 
a thoughtful design process. The details of street configuration, 
access changes, turning movements, sidewalk widths, and 
trackway treatments are important to property owners, business 
owners, residents, and city traffic engineers. These details 
impact project costs, schedule, and community character. 
This report on Best Practices for Light Rail Design is primarily for 
the benefit of the citizens of Vancouver, who will be addressing 
light rail design issues for the first time. It will also benefit agency 
staff and elected officials who are charged with implementing 
light rail in a way that meets the needs of Vancouver citizens. 
“Best practices” are not a rigid set of design standards. Instead, 
they provide guidance based upon what has and has not worked 
in other cities during the 25 years that light rail systems have 
been in operation in American cities. 
The report was prepared by David Evans & Associates, Inc. 
(DEA) with input from CRC staff.

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