Relevant to my interests –
- Deleting ice caps on overhead caternary system: $1.1 million
- Deleting track switch heaters: $1 million
I want to say that I can’t believe TriMet would seriously be so shortsighted to think that ice caps and switch heaters are a design feature that can be cut from the Orange Line Milwaukie light rail project to save money, but sadly of course I can. This isn’t the first time and it’s not going to be the last that there is a disconnect the size of Russia between the people who plan these things and the frontline workers (and riders!) that actually have to deal with the fallout of bad decision making.
Never mind the fact that TriMet spent $1,510,000 of stimulus money installing switch heaters and ice caps after the snow storm a few winters ago shut down sections of the alignment for days. Remember that?
Switches freezing at Gateway, ice building upon the overhead, trains not running on any kind of predictable schedule with bus bridge operators doing their best to get through it and haul around people who can’t opt to work from home in inclement weather?
Yet somehow that’s all in the distant past, so snow and ice measures are optional enough to float as proposed cuts to the Milwaukie rail project?
I also saw in the list of cuts that the art budget is going to be reduced by 10%, saving $320,000. Look, instead of needing to retrofit the alignment with critical features like switch heaters, how about we hold off on the art for now and retrofit that later instead? I’m not anti-art, I think in a lot of cases it can be pretty useful in that it can act as a graffiti deterrent on platforms. But does it add the same value to the line as things that will actually keep the trains running? Of course not.
On top of that there is also the planned reduction of bike parking from 460 spots to 413. No other details are given, so I don’t know if that means bike staples, lockers, or more bike and rides. If it’s the latter, can we please give up on that, after the not-really-a-smashing-success the one at Sunset has been? Two months after it opened and I’ve never seen more than 4 bikes in it at once.
But no, in their lack of concern for actual function, consideration is being given to removing aspects of the rail alignment that will keep it running during snowstorms. Hey, maybe they should incorporate that into the Milwaukie Light Rail tag line! How about