transportation

M.O. Stevens/Wikimedia

Oregon's last big legislative session--a year ago--was supposed to produce a major transportation bill.  It didn't. 

Now it falls on the next session, in early 2017, to pull together a package of transportation improvements and enhancements. 

So legislative leaders sent the Joint Transportation Committee on Preservation and Modernization on a road trip, collecting information from all over the state. 

Medford gets a committee meeting on Wednesday evening at the main library. 

ODOT

Roads and bridges wear out over time, and have to be replaced. 

But entire transportation systems--roads, rails, air--require attention to keep up with demands of travelers and shippers. 

In Oregon, the Governor's Transportation Vision Panel paid that attention, in a comprehensive look at the state's transport needs.  Among the findings: Southern Oregon needs more transit, and more seismic retrofits to guard against earthquake damage. 

Nicholas Blah/Flickr

Voters gave increased bus operations in Jackson County the green light in Tuesday's primary. Measure 15-141, for the Rogue Valley Transportation District, led with 62 percent of votes as of 8pm. 

A bond measure to pay for $20 million in facilities improvements at Rogue Community College also won approval from Jackson and Josephine County voters. Initial counts had Measure 17-69 passing with 36,587 yes votes and 30,944 no votes between the two counties. The contribution of property owners in both counties will be 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. 

Chronicle Books

First, a disclaimer: please do not drive as fast as Ben Collins drives in the movies.

His driving is featured in several James Bond films and other recent features, and he's a veteran of NASCAR and other racing circuits. 

And he shares techniques that can help drivers at any speed in his book How To Drive, now in paperback.  It's not about going fast, it's about going safe, with advice you didn't get in driver's ed. 

Nicholas Blah/Flickr

For a brief time a few years ago, the greater Medford area enjoyed bus service well into weekday evenings, and on Saturday, too. 

Then the grant money to provide the extra service ran out, the Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) put a tax levy before voters, and they rejected it. 

RVTD tries again with Jackson County ballot measure 15-141 on the May 17th ballot, a property tax increase of 13 cents per thousand dollars assessed value.  There's a mix of benefits the levy would provide or protect. 

ODOT

The vast majority of traveling across much of our region is done by car. 

And that's due in part to limited public transportation. 

But efforts continue to separate our steering wheels from our hands, both in public transit and expanded options for people using alternative means like bicycles. 

Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) will challenge businesses to reduce car trips later this spring in the Rogue Commute Challenge.  Edem Gómez from the agency joins us. 

We also hear about Bike/Walk Roseburg from Dick Dolganas, and get a statewide overview from Jenna Stanke Marmon, who serves on the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

Viking Press

For all its reputation as a place of white-knuckle driving, New York City is rather friendly to drivers and other occupants of the streets. 

Janette Sadik-Khan saw to that in her time as the city transportation commissioner.  Her work included creating bike lanes on streets, forcing other vehicles to share the road and making the streets more pedestrian-friendly in the process. 

But making the changes was not always easy, as Sadik-Khan explains in her book Streetfight

CalTrans

Driving on coastal roads in our region can be spectacular at times... and utterly frustrating at others. 

The land that leads down to the ocean can be slide-prone and unstable, leading to closures and short-term repairs. 

The Last Chance Grade on US 101 in Del Norte County is a particular headache for CalTrans, and now the agency is collecting public input on a range of alternatives to re-route the road. 

Wikipedia

The sound of an urban bus is nearly unmistakable... easy to spot, even in heavy traffic. 

And that is now changing, thanks to all-electric buses now hitting the streets. 

Lane Transit District has ordered five of the all-electric busses for its service in and around Eugene, along with five more hybrid buses. 

Moller International

We're 15 years into the 21st century, and still looking for the flying cars.  But perhaps not much longer. 

Paul Moller, engineer and entrepreneur, focuses the efforts of his company, Moller International, on that very goal. 

Moller already has prototypes that can hover ten feet off the ground, with plans for sleeker and more impressive vehicles ahead. 

Wikimedia

The end of container service at the Port of Portland may sound at first like a story affecting just the Portland area. 

But the port says ships carried containers going to and from 31 of Oregon's 36 counties, affecting exports and imports across the state. 

The Agriculture Transportation Coalition, the State of Oregon and other entities are hosting workshops across the state, to help importers and exporters find solutions that do not involve shipping out of Portland. 

Pump It Up: Oregon's Clean Fuels Debate

Mar 25, 2015
Wikimedia

The Oregon legislature recently voted to continue the "clean fuels" program begun six years ago. 

The program requires companies selling motor fuels in Oregon to reduce carbon by 10% over the next ten years. 

The Oregon Environmental Council and other groups pushed for the passage of this year's bill, despite warnings from opponents that passage could set up fights over transportation funding. 

ACTing Locally For Regional Transportation

Jan 14, 2015
Ken Lund

Anybody stuck in traffic on a regular basis wonders just what's being done to improve the transportation system. 

The fact is, work is going on all the time, at the state and local level. 

Oregon's transportation system includes Area Commissions on Transportation (ACTs), which coordinate local efforts with the state, in all modes of transportation. 

Encouraging Students To Drive Less

Jan 12, 2015
SOU Center For Sustainability

College campuses can be fun for walking, but driving… that's another matter. 

Streets clog easily, and parking can be tricky to find, at least free parking. 

Which is why Southern Oregon University just started a Drive Less Connect program. 

The general approach is to convince students to find ways to get to campus that do not involve private vehicles. 

Commenting On Transportation Safety

Dec 2, 2014
Geoffrey Riley/JPR

Next time you drive through a construction zone, think about how long it takes to move a project from conception to completion. 

And while you're at it, think about the safety considerations that go into the mix. 

ODOT, the Oregon Department of Transportation, has a safety action plan to complement its overall transportation plan. 

And ODOT is taking input on the safety plan at a series of meetings around the state. 

The New Rogue Valley Commuter Line

Sep 24, 2014
Nicholas Blah/Flickr

Two bucks gets you a one-way ride from, say, Medford to Ashland. 

Now the same expenditure can get you all the way from Medford to Grants Pass, or vice-versa. 

The Rogue Valley Commuter Line started service in early September. 

It offers cheap rides for the car-free between two of the Rogue Valley's major cities. 

Traffic Cameras That Change The Lights

Jun 24, 2014
Wikimedia

Anybody who's been driving for a while learns to look for the devices buried in the pavement that trigger changes in traffic lights. 

But those old devices--you know, make sure your car is directly over the sensor--are being replaced. 

Now cameras are being used to gauge traffic waiting for a green light. 

Getting To Class Without The Car

Feb 24, 2014
University of Oregon

Anybody who ever tried to find a free parking spot near a major university can understand why many people opt not to drive to campus. 

Parking is scarce and often expensive. 

Lawsuit Filed In Fatal Oregon Interstate Crash

Dec 27, 2013

A British Columbia lawyer representing 12 victims from the 2012 charter bus crash on Interstate 84 near Pendleton, Oregon filed a lawsuit this week seeking $700 million.

The East Oregonian reports the group is seeking a jury trial on accusations that tour operators were negligent. The lawsuit also accuses Oregon and the state Transportation Department for failing to make an icy stretch of the interstate safe, and failing to erect barriers to keep the bus from going over a cliff.