Wrongly Discarded Alternatives
Two important alternatives were wrongly discarded by the CRC, and both should have been analyzed in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). These would have cost less and been more environmentally responsible.
This option was developed by CRC staff in response to a request from the “Fourth Alternative Subcommittee” of the CRC Task Force, in March of 2007. We are developing an article that explains this in further detail, with links to the relevant memos, minutes, and meeting materials available on the CRC web site.
This option consisted of these components: A new, stand-alone bridge for high capacity transit (LRT or BRT), continued use of existing bridges by I-5, seismic strengthening of the existing bridges, and moving the opening span of the close-by downstream railroad bridge to the south to line up with the “hump” span on the I-5 bridges, thereby eliminating the need to raise the I-5 bridges for barge traffic, and expanded bike and pedestrian pathways on the existing bridges.
See "Option A+: What happened?" for a more detailed explanation of the “Fourth Alternative Subcommittee” and how it arose from Metro Council dissatisfaction with the Big Bridge, and how it ultimately was discarded.
The Association of Oregon Rail and Transit Advocates put forth and refined an option that would have also kept the I-5 bridges, and added a separate bridge for transit, SR-14 traffic, local street access to Hayden Island, bicycles, and pedestrians.
It also assumed an additional local street connection across the “Portland Harbor” or “Slough” from the Oregon mainland to Hayden Island.
This option was misrepresented or misunderstood by CRC staff, and not accepted by the CRC Task Force. Here is a link to the AORTA web site: AORTA Alternative that contains the actual proposal, CRC staff criticism, and the AORTA rebuttal to that criticism (some portions, including the actual proposal, may be slow to download).