Tualatin resident Kathy Newcomb, discusses two "mysterious" transportation plans in Tualatin.

For a year, many of us citizens have been working on the issue of transportation in Tualatin. Our work backs up the draft Transportation System Plan. Mysteriously, two rejected issues are coming up again, perhaps in the City Council’s Feb. 25 meeting.

One is the Hall Street Extension, and the other is the “Bridge Over the Park” under an outdated name — the “Lower Boones Ferry Road Bridge.” Both have been rejected for many reasons. And yet there are people such as the mayor and some members of the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce supporting reconsideration of these projects.

There are three major issues here: First, why don’t we want the Hall Street Extension? Second: Why don’t we want the Lower Boones Ferry Road Bridge? And third: What do we want instead?

First: What does the Hall Street Extension consist of? It is basically a continuation of Hall Boulevard, coming south over a Tigard wetland and the Tualatin River, through Tualatin alongside the railroad by the dog park, etc., then along Boones Ferry Road, continuing south to Wilsonville. This road would provide a new throughway from Cedar Hills Boulevard in Beaverton, south through Tualatin all the way to Wilsonville. It would add substantial congestion to Boones Ferry Road through Tualatin’s downtown. It would certainly also add congestion to Tualatin’s south residential areas along Boones Ferry Road.

And, as Tualatin’s knowledgeable Jan Giunta was the first to point out, the Hall Street Extension would directly parallel the WES light rail. WES was completed north/south through Tualatin in recent years at great expense. We don’t need both.

Second: I wondered what on earth is the “Lower Boones Ferry Road Bridge?” I learned it is the mayor’s out-of-date name for the “Bridge Over the Park.” Yes, it is the same bridge proposed over Tualatin Community Park! In 2009, it was called the “Northern Arterial” ($95 million). And then it was Tualatin’s Project l0731 ($47.5 million).

We have fought hard to protect Tualatin’s parks against this monstrosity. Remember, as estimated by Metro, the “Bridge Over the Park” would have brought 3,000 vehicles over the park in the two-hour evening rush hour period, going west. This was not what we wanted over our playing fields and picnic areas. It was not a good reason to cut down 100-year-old historic trees. I am so happy we citizens have achieved at least some protection against such a plan: Thanks to the voters, our initiative is firmly in the city charter, helping protect our parks since March 2010.

Third: What do we need instead? We probably all agree that our greatest traffic congestion priority is to reduce traffic congestion on Tualatin/Sherwood Road.

• What is the first goal? To reduce the number of single-occupancy-vehicles on Tualatin/Sherwood Road, focusing first on commute hours. The chamber’s studies have advised us that we should aim for a reduction of 5 percent of those SOVs.

• How do we manage that? We land-bank space for a Park and Ride on 99W, or at least on 124th Avenue. Then we design an east-west loop bus route on 124th, Tualatin/Sherwood Road, Boones Ferry Road and Tualatin Road. This would circle around the Leveton industrial area, which is only about 65 percent full at present.

Did you know we are the only city from Portland to Sherwood without one or more Park and Rides on 99W? Did you know Tualatin has no east/west public transit — just north-south lines?

Finally, did you know that our city of 26,000 employs 21,000 people? And that 90 percent of these people come from outside Tualatin? We are years out of date in dealing with our commute-hour traffic problems.

It is time to start now — not with out-of-date and incredibly bad plans to add more congestion to our main streets. It is time to focus on east/west public transit — with a matching Park and Ride — to encourage as many commuters as possible out of their single-occupancy-vehicles and into public transit.

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