Going on a week without a government, and other musings on Wreck-Free Sunday

I’m really trying to stay away from politics that are not about transportation issues, and in many ways this is about transportation as the shutdown brings thousands of projects to a grinding halt. Basically anything that does not involve contractors pouring concrete or laying asphalt has been shut down with the government, which includes almost every non-motorized transportation project. My take on this is when projects for us people moving around are cancelled because of the shutdown a motorized project should also be cancelled, starting with the most expensive. I take this stance because projects for us non-motored people are mostly done for safety to save lives, while most projects for motorized people are to save minutes or seconds off a commute. In my math, lives saved>seconds saved, when they cancel a project intended to save lives a project to shave a few seconds off a commute has to go too.

The biggest example of huge projects designed to shave a few seconds off a commute is the Columbia River Crossing between Portland OR and Vancouver WA. This now cancelled project had a projected cost of $4.5 Billion. All of the bicycle projects for the last 12 years in the city of Portland come to rounding errors in this one project. I’m not kidding about this, every infrastructure project since the turn of the century for an entire city could be funded for the costs of the rounding just this one mega project that was intended to save at most a minute from the commute from Vancouver to Portland. Removing every transit and bicycle feature from the project (which would paradoxically erase all the time savings from the project for other commuters) only reduced the project costs by $.5 Billion. This is what eventually killed the CRC, making it car-only erased the time saving benefit from the project by increasing the number of cars that had to use the project.

Enough about politics, I had fun freezing my nether regions and fingers yesterday at D/FW Pagan Pride Day. I got Mrs. the Poet a Yule gift, and as I wrote yesterday I got caught up with all the people I used to hang out with years ago. The weather had a 38°F swing from Friday’s high to yesterday’s low. I turned off all the AC units last night and still had a lower morning temperature than we see during the summer except when one of the AC units has a thermostat glitch.

Something that needs to be done today is I have to pay the rent on the storage unit before I have to pay the late fee. So I will have to cut this post short so I can get that paid today. I also have to leave before seeing the winners in the various races today, the Indycar race from Houston, and the Sprint Cup race from Kansas. Darn it all.

PSA, Opus


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