|Minto Bridge - via Facebook|
Some will want to see in these overruns an argument against the bridge at all. That's not going to be the argument here of course.
|Eugene's Greenway Bike Bridge, completed in 1978|
|Commercial Street Bridge Replacement, March, 2013|
Second Stage Demo, West-side Beams in place
So what are the factors that made the Minto Bridge more complicated and more difficult? So far the City has pooh-poohed them, or tried to displace blame onto the contractor.
But maybe, just maybe, this was a more complicated project than people wanted to think initially. How much "optimism bias" did we have on the project?
|The Preferred Alternative is still in a liquefaction zone|
(via N3B, adapted from chapt 3.18 of the DEIS)
|ODOT's recent history of cost overruns on big projects|
via BikePortland and Joe Cortright
The Mayor has published his list of appointments for the Council Transit Committee, and it has a real presence from the Chamber, who has not been very supportive of transit. So this could go either way: Folks aligned with the Chamber could really dig in and think through ways that they have hindered transit and ways they could instead support transit in Salem; or they could act as a brake and ensure the Committee does nothing more than produce an empty "study," and say "well, we tried." The Committee also appears to lack much presence from riders and looks pretty anglo and male. If a goal was to represent a diverse community, the Committee's composition may not meet that goal.
|Damien Gilley talking about "Mirror Maze," July 5th|
It is sometimes mean and low to complain too much about public art. But how it is possible that "Mirror Maze" costs the same as the "Waldo Stewards" project on the stairwell across the street, which seems like it is way more complicated? (More on those here.) Anyway, these are budgets and valuations to consider when we assess things like bike share. Art shouldn't be commodified (though of course it is at auction and such), and it is difficult to price instances of art as if they had some direct utility. They express non-monetary values. At the same time, it is reasonable to ask "if we value X with this amount of public subsidy, how should we value Y with public subsidy." Or "if we fund thing X, what valuable thing Y do we have to give up?" Comparison will help make sure there is a reasonable proportionality and that the trade-offs are right in levels of subsidy and support.
Just in general we don't do enough comparison.
One of the central claims in the contest over the Salem River Crossing is that the process and case for UGB expansion really didn't compare in a deep and sophisticated way the costs and benefits of Alternative 2A and of making a serious attempt to implement a robust suite of traffic demand management actions. The argument was framed instead as "how little can we do and still justify the big highway and bridge"? It was motivated reasoning, not dispassionate analysis.
And from the Strategic Planning process, two relevant and related observations:
- Finding 3. Elected officials and staff do not have coordinated systems to make, implement, and evaluate policy decisions
- Finding 4. The City needs more staff capacity to implement a coordinated package of forecasting, planning, and evaluation systems