Today’s Headlines

  • Changes to Ped Signals Might Make Federal Blvd Slightly Less Deadly (9News)
  • West Colfax Residents Imagine Razing Colfax-Federal Cloverleaf to Build Human Scaled Streets (Denverite)
  • DenPo Syndicates Column Decrying Environmental Reviews, Laments Hurdles in Way of Wider I-70
  • High-Visibility Rainbow Crosswalk May Appear at Broadway Intersection (Denverite)
  • Annual List Reminds Us That Denver’s Traffic Isn’t That Bad (ABC7)
  • Turns Out Trains Require Maintenance, DBJ Reports

National headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • TakeFive

    DenPo Syndicates Column Decrying Environmental Reviews, Laments Hurdles in Way of Wider I-70

    That is a well written and substantive opinion piece, to wit?

    Some projects are stuck in regulatory limbo for decades. These delays amount to billions of dollars in additional costs for governmental and private projects alike without providing any obvious environmental benefits

    There are very few times when I’d agree with our narcissistic, goofball Pres. but on occasion:

    Trump correctly called these delays a “disgrace.” Streamlining the current labyrinthine system to a maximum of two years should continue to be a priority for an administration that has prided itself on sensible deregulation.

    I’ve always believed/preferred that States should find there own way. While there’s a place for a Federal ‘guiding’ role it should not be Highly Intrusive. The growing Nanny State at the Federal level has gone beyond ridiculous for the amount of red tape and waste of taxpayer $’s.

    • In the 1940’s-50’s Oregon’s well-regarded Highway Department planned what became I-5 on the German autobahn concept, bypassing Portland to the west, with feeders entering, but not piercing, the Rose City. Then the Interstate (92% Federal funding) program came along and the Bureau of Public Roads told them to go through the center of town. An engineer who objected on the grounds that it would get congested with local traffic told me that the BPR people in a meeting looked at him as if he were stupid. Of course it would get congested and they’d need to build more. He was relocated to desk work in Salem.

      I-5 went down the East Bank of the Willamette River and the first anti-freeway protests in Portland began. Construction crews just pitched lime-coated wooden forms into the river (see photo). The African-American community was hard hit. Soooo… lots of regulations now for Federally-funded projects. Much of this would have been avoided if the state plan had been followed.

      • TakeFive

        Pretty interesting; I wasn’t familiar with all that. Long time ago and I guess you could make arguments either way with respect to Federal versus local. Not sure it indicates anything with respect to what I said. With respect to affected populations, freeways have often been cut through industrial areas. Lower socioeconomic populations, typically minority, would choose to live in such areas for their affordability. It was what it was I guess.

        You might be able to answer a question though. Pretty sure I read recently that federal grants for highways generally were in the 80% range. Any knowledge of how that has worked? Seems like the percentage has come down quite a lot on federally approved and partially funded projects, whether road or transit.

        • I never worked directly on highway projects, but long ago worked with OreDOT’s long-range planning. The federal grant shares varied by program. The Interstate share was 92% federal. Federal Aid Primary (US97 for example) was less, Federal Aid Secondary even less. There also were smaller programs.

          This resulted in public consternation when our budget was cut and we continued on a million dollar expansion of an I-5 rest area. The cost to our budget was only 8% of that project. Rebuilding some old segments of the Oregon Trail under FAS would have cost our budget more and served little traffic.

          Regarding the racism issue, if I-5 had bypassed Portland as the then State Highway Department had planned, it would have gone through farmland. That would have created land-use issues later, but the issues created in the black residential and commercial district were immediate. Later it came out that the alignment on Minnesota Avenue was selected to create a wall between Mayor Terry Schrunk’s white, blue-collar Democrats and African-Americans. I didn’t know that at the time, but I witnessed the destruction.