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  #1  
Old Posted Jul 8, 2008, 5:37 PM
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Burnside/Couch couplet

Wish there was more information in this article about the project being split into two pieces, eastside and westside. I think the eastside is much farther along.


Engineering phase next for Burnside/Couch

Portland Office of Transportation finishes survey work quickly with help of laser technology

POSTED: 04:00 AM PDT Tuesday, July 8, 2008
BY TYLER GRAF (djc)

Street-level surveying for the Burnside Couch Street Project, which will turn those major roads into one-way couplets, has completed, and now the fast-tracked project is rushing into the engineering phase.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the project will start construction in 2009, however.

Yet the Portland Office of Transportation is trying to stay on schedule for the project, which has garnered mixed reviews from residents and developers in regard to how it will change the look and feel of the streets. So the city sought the assistance of a planning and engineering company that could expedite the surveying process in the quickest possible way.

H.W. Lochner Inc. was the company contracted to do the surveying work using its innovative LD3 LIDAR laser technology. It melds traditional laser scanning with digital photography and GPS tracking, delivering a photo-realistic “cloud of information points.”

“It was a lot of work to work on a project of this magnitude,” said Eric DeLeon, a Lochner engineering technician, referring specifically to the heavy amount of traffic and construction work happening in Old Town/Chinatown, where the couplet will run.

But the surveying work was much quicker using the laser technology, he added.

Project managers, including Bill Hoffman of PDOT, want to keep that speed-of-light quickness continuing during the project’s early phases – during what’s known as the “30- percent design” portion of the project. PDOT wants 30 percent of the design work completed before money for the final project is earmarked, to determine if there “are any surprises,” Hoffman said.

In the 30-percent design phase, engineers map and align the horizontal, ground-level aspects of the project. That work will likely wrap up during early 2009.

Afterward, PDOT will update City Council on the project, with new cost estimates taking into account the work performed by Lochner and the engineering contractor Harper Houf Peterson Righellis.

“Right now, we’re finalizing the work we are going to be doing with HHPR,” Hoffman said. “Those guys will be doing the engineering on the project, and that’s at the final stages. … we’re just working on final editing.”

But taking long strides on the project past the 30-percent design phase will likely be difficult. Hurdles – namely money, Hoffman said – may arise. In addition, it’s unknown what the city’s priorities will be a year from now.

Still the couplet project expected to cost an unspecified, yet expectedly sizable, sum of money to construct: “It also costs a lot to even get there,” Hoffman said, referring to the current engineering work.

Although surveying and scanning went quickly, PDOT remains guarded about how expeditiously it will continue to move after the engineering phase.

“The speed at which the project moves forward really depends on the funding and the availability of federal dollars,” Hoffman said.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jul 8, 2008, 5:50 PM
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Haha, Mayor Sam said he'd make sure this happened and look, he isn't even waiting to get into office to get started!

Best. Mayor. EVAR.
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Old Posted Jul 8, 2008, 7:48 PM
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Stupidist. Idea. Evar.


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Old Posted Jul 8, 2008, 8:03 PM
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I think its a great idea for the east side, but I'm still not convinced about the west side
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  #5  
Old Posted Jul 8, 2008, 8:24 PM
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Silly mortals, downtown Portland is for walking, not driving!
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Old Posted Jul 8, 2008, 9:04 PM
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Quote:
I think its a great idea for the east side, but I'm still not convinced about the west side
Me too. It's one of those projects that could be totally visionary, particularly if the automobile becomes less of a transportation option, or it could be a big mistake and increase congestion all around. The biggest advantage to the east side, I think, is getting rid of that ridiculous intersection at 12th and connecting lower and upper Burnside.
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Old Posted Jul 8, 2008, 9:32 PM
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Whether or not we think the burnside/couch couplet is a good idea or not I think we can ALL agree that something needs to be done about W. Burnside. It is a nasty street! Especially for peds.
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Old Posted Jul 8, 2008, 9:42 PM
hymalaia hymalaia is offline
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Originally Posted by alexjon View Post
Silly mortals, downtown Portland is for walking, not driving!
what about cycling? Nothing is more frickin' annoying than trying to make your way around downtown on a bike, flowing with traffic, only to keep having to go round about routes to deal with all the stupid one way streets. It especially sucks if you don't know the street layout aka forget about visitors and tourists cycling downtown.

I'll agree that west Burnside sucks for peds and the one-ways do make walking easier. But I'm not convinced that one-way streets are all that great. Mostly they just confuse visitors. Maybe that's the point?
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Old Posted Jul 8, 2008, 10:17 PM
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Create two grade-separated bike lanes on Burnside. Done.
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Old Posted Jul 8, 2008, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by hymalaia View Post
what about cycling? Nothing is more frickin' annoying than trying to make your way around downtown on a bike, flowing with traffic, only to keep having to go round about routes to deal with all the stupid one way streets. It especially sucks if you don't know the street layout aka forget about visitors and tourists cycling downtown.

I'll agree that west Burnside sucks for peds and the one-ways do make walking easier. But I'm not convinced that one-way streets are all that great. Mostly they just confuse visitors. Maybe that's the point?
Downtown would be gridlock with two-way streets. Most of the east/west streets downtown are two lanes wide. Making them two-way would mean all traffic lanes would be subject to being stuck behind cars waiting to make left turns at each intersection, unless left turns were not allowed and then cars would have to go to the next street and make a right and go around the (incredibly long 200') block... just like today.

And how would you propose turning the currently three-lanes-wide north/south avenues into two-way streets? Center left turn lane with only two through lanes (one in each direction)? Two lanes one direction, one lane the other? Take out one side of parking to make two lanes in each direction? Take out parking on both sides for two travel lanes each direction plus a center turn lane? That would make every north-south avenue downtown a Burnside Street.

One way streets are very effective at traffic flow, and much more efficient than allowing left turns in front of on-coming traffic. Who the hell cares about confused tourists?

For a cyclist relying upon body power I can see where having to go around the block to account for the one-way street grid might be a burden. But to simply label them "stupid one way streets" is, to me, stupid.
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Old Posted Jul 8, 2008, 11:10 PM
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^^^Yes, one-way streets are much better than two-way at least in a downtown area. They make so much more sense and as rsbear said they keep traffic moving. Not to mention that one ways make it MUCH easier for pedestrians trying to cross the street.
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Old Posted Jul 8, 2008, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by alexjon View Post
Silly mortals, downtown Portland is for walking, not driving!
So I drive my car from deep southeast Portland to the Willamette river, get out a huff it?



That sounds like a plan.
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Old Posted Jul 8, 2008, 11:52 PM
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So I drive my car from deep southeast Portland to the Willamette river, get out a huff it?



That sounds like a plan.
Oh, I'm sorry! I forgot that you have to drive a car to have an opinion.
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  #14  
Old Posted Jul 8, 2008, 11:57 PM
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How far out on the east side is this planned? I live on NE 16th and Couch and don't really want to have my place torn down.
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  #15  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2008, 12:16 AM
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as far as i know there aren't ANY buildings that will have to removed for this plan. and it's supposed to go to the intersection with Sandy and 12th anyway.
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  #16  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2008, 12:16 AM
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*phew*
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  #17  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2008, 3:09 AM
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lots of pdfs to download about this project here.
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  #18  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2008, 3:41 AM
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This laser surveying approach on the couplet is old news.. that story broke almost a year ago.. october 30th, 2007, to be exact, by the DJC.. wonder why they bothered republishing the same news?
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  #19  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2008, 4:29 AM
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Originally Posted by RED_PDXer View Post
This laser surveying approach on the couplet is old news.. that story broke almost a year ago.. october 30th, 2007, to be exact, by the DJC.. wonder why they bothered republishing the same news?
I did not see the DJC article but perhaps it was published to announce that laser surveying was to be utilized on the project? The Oregonian article states that surveying has been completed. Perhaps that's the distinction and, therefore, not old news.
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  #20  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2008, 5:23 AM
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I think requiring people to drive around the block in-order to "go left" is far better than people wating to make lefts on small street and blocking traffic while the right lane is blocked at the same time by a friggin bus.

Just restrict left hand turns during rush hour (on ALL streets), if not all hours. The majority of people are just trying to get back the burbs anyway.

Thats a quick fix. Oh, and buses also aren't allowed to stop during those hours either. And nobody better think about crossing the street.
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