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How bike-sharing could spur revamp of transit fares in Portland

Posted by on April 26th, 2011 at 12:02 pm

“Reshape the fareless zone to put a greater emphasis on carbon-free circulation; and the best free circulation in the Central City probably ought to be on bikes.”
— Rick Gustafson, former TriMet planner and Director of Operations for Portland Streetcar Inc.

A few weeks back, we shared how momentum is building for the City of Portland to implement their Central City Bike Share plan. Today, I’ll share more from an interview I did with Rick Gustafson for that story.

Gustafson, Director of Operations for the Portland Streetcar Loop project and a well known figure in local politics and transportation for over four decades, is “noodling” (along with transit guru and City Planning Commissioner Chris Smith) on an interesting idea that would revamp transit fares and transportation in the Central City.

Gustafson — who stresses that his ideas about this are his own and are not endorsed by Portland Streetcar Inc. — sees the bike-share plan as a path to revamping transit fares in Portland.

The current Central City Bike Share plan would place kiosks and rental bikes across an area that’s the same as the new streetcar loop, which is being extended to the east side from the Lloyd District south to OMSI. In many ways, bike-sharing is similar to public transit. Successful systems are inexpensive (free if used less than 30 minutes), widely available to everyone, and in most cases at least partly subsidized by the government.

As a senior planner for TriMet back in the 1970s, Gustafson wrote their policy for “Fareless Square” (now known as “Free Rail Zone”). Currently TriMet’s Free Rail Zone only covers downtown Portland and a spur of four stops on the inner east side. When the new Eastside Streetcar Loop opens, the line will be outside of the existing free fare zone. Gustafson feels the current transit fare structure, “doesn’t work effectively for the loop that we’re building.” That’s in part because Portland Streetcar and TriMet have a commitment to have a seamless fare structure.

Why, Gustafson wonders, should people have to pay a fare just because they’re on the east side?

“It’s really just unfair and needs to be changed, and so that starts a domino of other things. You get down to the fact that the fareless square system is really downtown oriented and has not really made a transition to be integrated into the system of how we deal with Central City circulation.”

So, how exactly should the fare system make the transition to the east side? Gustafson points out that expanding Free Rail Zone to an even larger section of the system (to cover the new streetcar loop) wouldn’t make sense in today’s fiscal environment. “It’s not a time for TriMet to reduce revenue,” he says.

Instead, Gustafson thinks perhaps it’s time to scrap Free Rail Zone entirely and replace it with a free bike zone (a.k.a. a bike-share system).

“One of the things you could do is get rid of Free Rail Zone, but replace it with a readily available bike [share] program so people could still circulate for 30 minutes at no cost.” Or, put another way, “Reshape the fareless zone to put a greater emphasis on carbon-free circulation; and the best free circulation in the Central City probably ought to be on bikes.”

For Gustafson, the goal is to seamlessly connect the Central Eastside with downtown Portland and create what he envisions as, “A more equitable Central City loop.”

It would be exciting if bicycles remained central to that vision.

UPDATE, 2:50pm: For some context on Gustafson, commenter Jessica Roberts writes below,

“I’d say this is a long shot except that it’s coming from Rick Gustafson – and if any of you don’t know him, he’s a former GM economist, TriMet planner, Oregon House rep, Metro executive officer, and current president of Portland Streetcar. He’s incredibly smart and well-connected. I’d say this is an idea to watch.”

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  • Dave April 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    What I think would be even more awesome, is putting a congestion pricing fare on driving into or through downtown, and use the revenue to support both Tri-Met and the bike share program.

    For myself, personally, at least, it doesn’t make much sense to take a bus into inner SE/NE, just to rent a bike and ride into downtown from there. I can see how that might be beneficial for people coming into downtown from outer city or suburban areas though.

    For close-in residents, I think the rail free zone still makes more sense.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      I’m w/ you on congestion pricing into downtown…. But the political will isn’t anywhere close to even being able to explore that idea at this point.

      Right now, local leaders aren’t even excited about charging tolls on rural roads, so I think a central city toll is a long ways off (barring a major cultural-shifting event of course).

      But then again, Mayor Adams understands the impact that congestion is having on downtown businesses… Here’s a snip from my recent interview w/ him..

      “… from a transportation point of view for central Portland my biggest concern is actually around jobs and prosperous business. The biggest challenge for downtown is to get, as high as possible, the work-to-home commute on anything other than a car. Whether that’s transit, pedestrian, bikes, or a combination of all that, it’s to the benefit of everything else. Because the #1 criticism, according to public opinion surveys, as to why people don’t come downtown, is the lack of available parking and congestion. So the win-win is relieving the congestion, freeing up parking, except for those that are here to play and spend money and those that don’t have a choice.”

      He gets the problem, but the test is what solution he’ll choose to pursue.

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      • Dave April 26, 2011 at 12:46 pm

        What motivates me to see congestion pricing and traffic reduction in Downtown is things like our friends who live near PSU and have an 8-yr-old and 2-yr-old child, and can’t let them out of the apartment on their own because people driving up Market, Clay, Jefferson, etc WILL NOT stop for people on their way to/from the freeway.

        Business is vital, for sure. But our citizens being able to let their children out of the house, or you know, cross the street, to me, is a bigger motivation.

        I know I tend to be overly idealistic, but I don’t feel it’s an unrealistic goal to have both thriving business and streets as *actual* public space, not just space for moving as many cars as possible. I know we’re a LONG way off from being able to do it, but I dream about it every day.

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        • Paul Souders April 26, 2011 at 3:10 pm

          In the case of downtown Portland, business-friendliness and livability are mutually reinforcing, not mutually exclusive. The comparative advantage of doing business in downtown PDX vs. suburbs derives from density, walkability, ease of non-car transit. Easing cars in/out of downtown (and cheap parking) puts it in a competitive landscape with Washington Square or Gresham, which is a losing proposition: those places have lots more land for parking.

          For downtown, reducing car dependence for short trips will improve livability AND competitiveness.

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  • TheCowabungaDude April 26, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    What I see as a big problem with Free Bikes is that it’s much easier for them to become Free Property than a bus seat. Although Eugene has a pretty good bike share program. Find a bike, ride it without a lock until it gets stolen. Then find another bike until it gets stolen. It worked for my friend for 4 years. Perhaps we should implement the program in Portland.

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    • Paul Souders April 26, 2011 at 3:17 pm

      I think this would work more like the Velib program (Paris) or the bikeshare in DC. Those programs require a credit card to get a bike, and lost bikes charge back to the credit card.

      I used the DC bikeshare last month when I was there for a conference. It was brilliant. I saw a lot of the sites, the Mall etc. for the daily membership ($5). Trips under 30minutes are free, I think it was a few bucks an hour after that. Much faster than Metro, much much faster than buses and cars.

      My concern is for a lack of good bike routes downtown for less confident riders, especially N/S.

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    • Tbird June 3, 2011 at 8:52 am

      I’m sure it won’t be “free” The systems in place now in Europe require a credit card to activate the account then you either use your credit card or a pin code to rent. Typically the first 15-30 minutes are free, then you’re charged an hourly rate. If it’s not returned then you’re charged for the entire bike.

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  • Bob R. April 26, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    “TriMet’s Free Rail Zone only covers downtown Portland and one stop near Lloyd Center on the east side”

    Minor correction:
    The Free Rail Zone covers the following four east-side stops: Rose Quarter, Convention Center, NE 7th Ave., Lloyd Center, not just one.

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  • kww April 26, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Interesting concept, but not at the expense of the free rail zone. What about ADA accommodation?

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  • gregg woodlawn April 26, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    First they take away Fareless Square, now there is suggestion to take away Fareless Rail area? No Thanks!
    Need monies? How about a toll on the 205 and the I-5, as well as a toll to pass through the 26 tunnel?

    Fareless Square should be free city wide- so should a bike share system. Let’s pay to drive cars/ trucks. Let’s encourage walking/ cycling by taking away obsticles- including fares.

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  • Charley April 26, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Non-starter. Scrap Fareless Square entirely? No way. Let’s not turn this into bikes vs transit, because we’ll lose that even worse than bikes vs cars!

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 26, 2011 at 1:26 pm

      who’s turning this into “bikes vs. transit”? seriously.

      To me, this is about re-envisioning our definition of transit so that it includes bike-share.

      As the article says, once the eastside streetcar loop is complete, it will seem odd that one side of the river is free and the other is not.

      What Gustafson is saying, is that a decision point will be reached wherein we’ll have to decide if free rail zone is expanded. He thinks, given the financial picture, that won’t fly… So instead of remaining un-equal, it would make more sense to get rid of the free rail zone and replace it with another form of free transit – bike-share.

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      • cyclist April 26, 2011 at 3:22 pm

        When you suggest getting rid of a free transit ride and then taking that money and putting it into a free bike ride you are creating a bikes v. transit conversation.

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        • Dabby April 26, 2011 at 4:22 pm

          Bingo…

          And remember, this is Tri Met we are dealing with.
          Life is already bikes versus transit for most of us…
          If only because they are no good at sharing the road.

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        • Charley April 26, 2011 at 11:19 pm

          That’s exactly what I meant. I’m a regular transit rider and regular bike commuter, so I’m totally into both modes! Why should we have to compromise for these two great modes of transportation? And it’s not at all hard to imagine this getting turned into a “healthy biker type” versus elderly or “impaired transit user” fight.

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        • kww April 27, 2011 at 9:20 am

          Truff!

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  • AL M April 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    I like this concept!

    The free ride days should have been over by now, unless of course you make the entire transit system a free riding system.

    There is no transit equity when one group of riders get something for nothing while another group of riders have to pay through the nose.

    Gustafson is thinking outside the box on this one, and I for one think he is on the mark.

    Fareless is a 70′s concept.

    Take a look around those of us old enough, things are not the same now as they were then!

    Time to bring new thinking into this ballpark.

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  • Alexis April 26, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    TriMet’s whole zone structure is biased toward downtown. I can go all the way out to Barbur TC and not leave Zone 2, but if I take the bus to the Green Line, I’m in Zone 3.

    If Trimet and Portland Streetcar are committed to a harmonized fare structure and looking at central city circulation generally, it woukd maks sense to look at the zone arrangement in a broader way too.

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    • some body April 26, 2011 at 9:14 pm

      I believe TriMet is reconsidering the zone system as part of the eastside streetcar line.

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  • Chris Smith April 26, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    TriMet’s whole zone structure is biased toward downtown. I can go all the way out to Barbur TC and not leave Zone 2, but if I take the bus to the Green Line, I’m in Zone 3.

    But note that the percentage increase in fare from zone 2 to zone 3 is much lower now than when the zone system was introduced due to the practice of increasing all fares by a nickel at a time.

    We no longer really have a distance-based fare system, which I would suggest is a bias AGAINST short central-city trips.

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  • AL M April 26, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Chris if you want to get technical we have to scrap the entire fare/zone/pass system and create a fare system that makes some sense.
    The one we have now is completely whacked for lack of a better term.

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    • Dabby April 26, 2011 at 4:26 pm

      Yeah, whacked as in run by tri met..

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  • Jessica Roberts April 26, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I think this idea is incredibly interesting and smart for so many reasons, including:

    1. It would help to solve the last-mile problem for transit users. Bicycles are much better suited for distributing people from high-capacity transit (e.g. the transit mall) to every possible downtown destination. Unlike larger cities, we just don’t have a robust network of lines that circulate within downtown. Unless you happen to work just a few blocks from the transit mall, you’re facing a decent walk. And the inner east side always requires a transfer unless you happen to live on the 6! This is why my 4-mile commute from NoPo to the inner east side takes 25 minutes by bike and 45 minutes by bus.

    This would set the bike sharing system up for instant success (captive audience, financial incentive to use), and would help create ridership and therefore much more demand for good bike facilities (which are badly needed in downtown and the inner east side).

    It would make TriMet and Portland Streetcar – agencies with national renown for their ability to raise capital – potential partners in securing funding and making sure bike sharing is done right. It would also be a major economic boon for the inner east side, and might result in a case study in making bikes part of an integrated “great streets/great places” economic development strategy.

    I’d say this is a long shot except that it’s coming from Rick Gustafson – and if any of you don’t know him, he’s a former GM economist, TriMet planner, Oregon House rep, Metro executive officer, and current president of Portland Streetcar. He’s incredibly smart and well-connected. I’d say this is an idea to watch.

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    • Chris Smith April 26, 2011 at 1:55 pm

      You also have at least one Planning Commissioner pushing for it too :-)

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      • Jessica Roberts April 26, 2011 at 1:57 pm

        Mea maxima culpa – make that TWO of the smartest Portland thinkers on the role of bikes in an integrated urban transportation network. Seriously, you could do worse than track *any* idea shared by Rick Gustafson and Chris Smith.

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  • Cora Potter April 26, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I think it could be a way to approach the problem, but my main concern is that there is a concrete plan to provide a similar, accessible level of service for seniors and people with disabilities. If this means free rail and bus throughout the central city for these populations – then the free bike share idea could work.

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    • Steve B April 26, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      Excellent point, Cora.. thanks for making it.

      Ideally, I’d like to see the free fare zone increased in size to include the inner NE/SE, and likewise a bike share in that zone have a free period (an hour?) so it would vastly increase the options for carfree trips.

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    • beth h April 26, 2011 at 5:24 pm

      Cora — I agree that seniors and the disabled must have their transit needs provided for. Bear in mind, though, that the overall population is graying (beacuse Boomers currently make up the largest chunk of the population and the oldest are already in their 60′s). What happens when there aren;t enough younger folks paying into the transit system — just as there aren’t enough paying into other services that are trying to keep pace with an aging population?

      I fear that lack of funding will kill the Free Zone before anything else does. When that happens, many disadvantaged and/or less mobile people will be almost completely shut out of affordable transit use in the Central City area.

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      • mh June 2, 2011 at 1:10 pm

        I’d like to see statistics on the ages of bike commuters in Portland. The only one I know is from the OHSU study, which is probably not a representative sample, the average being about 37 y/o. In my workplace, I think we tend older than that. That leaves you with SOME seniors and the disabled who aren’t already in powered wheelchairs to accommodate, which is a smaller number.

        mh

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  • AL M April 26, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    “It would make TriMet and Portland Streetcar – agencies with national renown for their ability to raise capital – potential partners in securing funding and making sure bike sharing is done right.”

    ~~~>Following that thinking take a look at these new BIKE&RIDE facilities that are being built at Transit Centers.
    Imagine if those had a suitable stock of bikes for sharing!
    It’s a perfect match!

    Transit and bikes-it will be the future, there is no doubt about that.

    The car culture will die, it could be sooner than people imagine.

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    • Dabby April 27, 2011 at 9:36 am

      Tri Met has these bike parking facilities because, as they stated in the past, they want people to not take their bike on transit.
      I recall they actualy suggested that people have a bike at both ends of their commute instead of taking the bike on the train with them.

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  • Lance P April 26, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    This is horrible idea. Scrapping the free rails zone is a nonstarter. The free zone started to convince people to take transit for short trips while in the city center. The number one reason was to cut down on the massive pollution in the city center. This is still relevant! I work at a company with 700 employees in the Lloyd. When we go downtown for lunch or events it is company policy to take the max. If it is anywhere outsite of the free zone, they drive (even when there is a direct bus). Without the free zone there will be a lot more people driving for short trips.

    The free zone does exactly what it was intended to do, cut down on vehicle trips in the city center.

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    • q`Tzal April 26, 2011 at 3:16 pm

      If they want to encourage use of the transit system they should make the whole rail system free and institute a congestion charge.

      Wouldn’t hurt if we could get the MAX trains packed in tighter on lines going faster though. This seems to be mainly a technical and legal issue about railroad switching systems.

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    • Sigma April 26, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      Will the program provide free rain gear and saddlebags? That pretty much rules out short business trips for 8 months a year. And what about the other 4? People in business attire generally like to avoid sweating, especially before meeting with clients. I agree with lance- replacing free transit with free bikes will only encourage more driving.

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      • snapbrim April 27, 2011 at 11:19 am

        This is just a thought, but how about if it’s puring rain when you get downtown, then you wait a few minutes for your connecting bus. If, on the other hand, it’s not raining, then you grab a bike. And, as for the warmer months, seven minutes of slowish pedaling ought to get a person to work in signicantly less sweaty condition than a frenzied four minute sprint. In other words, this seems like a bit of a non-issue to me.

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        • snapbrim April 27, 2011 at 11:21 am

          pouring. pouring rain.

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  • Jessica Roberts April 26, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Who said that the primary purpose of the Free Rail Zone is to serve seniors and people with disabilities? The purpose of Fareless Square, implemented in the early 1970s, was to improve air quality by reducing peak-hour trips in the core because we were regularly violating federal emissions regulations. It was a “park once” measure, to allow people to come downtown (including by car) and then, theoretically, take transit within downtown.

    Senior and disabled passengers, like every passenger, can use transfers in downtown to make chained transfer trips, and social service agencies can and do work to provide subsidized transit passes to specific groups of disadvantaged citizens. Seniors and the disabled are also at the same disadvantage as the rest of us when they happen to want to travel just across the river – clearly part of the functional “city center” yet excluded from the Free Rail Zone.

    The Free Rail Zone just doesn’t fit where people are coming from and going to anymore. The Pearl District wasn’t a destination when Fareless Square was created, nor was PSU the powerhouse it is today – and both are still served poorly by our transit mall spine system. Bikes, however, fit the times – they are more flexible, easier to calibrate to match changing demand, don’t have “service hours,” are served by more and more facilities and the safety in numbers principle, and, with five bike-friendly Willamette River bridges, could knit together the east and west sides of the City Center.

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    • cyclist April 26, 2011 at 3:30 pm

      PSU is served by the Yellow Line, the Green Line, Streetcar, and bus lines 1, 6, 12, 8, 9, 17, 19, 35, 36, 38, 43, 44, 45, 54, 55, 56, 58, 68, 92, 94, and 96. I may have missed a few, but that’s at least close.

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      • Jessica Roberts April 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm

        Thanks, cyclist, but when I want to get there by the buses that go from my house in North Portland, I have to get off and transfer or walk the last decent distance. And from my work in the inner east side I also have to transfer every time. So, it’s nice you provided me with that long list, but based on my experience I don’t feel that it’s ideally served by transit. Luckily for me I like to bike, and I even like to bus and walk a ways, but if I were comparing transit options to driving, I wouldn’t be so impressed.

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        • cyclist April 26, 2011 at 7:16 pm

          I just can’t understand this take on transit. PSU is served by 24 different transit lines, it’s got better coverage than 95% of the city. Granted, in your specific case you might have to make a single transfer to reach your destination, but I’d put money on that transfer being a transfer on the bus mall to one of the 24 options that runs all the way down the mall to your destination. You’re likely waiting no more than 5 minutes for a transfer opportunity (and definitely no more than 15 because I don’t think you ever wait more than 15 minutes between trains). That hardly means that PSU is underserved.

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          • snapbrim April 27, 2011 at 11:28 am

            I missed the part where she said PSU is underserved by public transit. I thought she just said it takes almost twice as long as riding her bike, which was easily the case for me when I attended PSU.

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        • Teresda (@PDXsays) Boze April 26, 2011 at 8:38 pm

          North Portland as intentionally throttled when the Rose Quarter was built on lame claims to be a community center. And the transportation system is used to keep it that way. There. I said it.

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  • Michael, Portland Afoot April 26, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    To Lance’s point, seems to me that a $1 cashless system would be likely to keep most people riding MAX – the difference between $0 and $1 is more about convenience than cost, especially when you’re comparing it to driving.

    Going cashless would also help TriMet scrap the zone system, which its execs seem to dislike for the same reasons as some of the commenters above.

    But I keep hearing that the technology for a Seattle-like card system or a SLC-like phone system costs a ton of money.

    Also, Lance, isn’t it possible that parking costs might also be contributing to your colleagues’ choice of vehicle? Would they really prefer to pay a few bucks to drive and park rather than pay a dollar to ride MAX downtown and back?

    And wouldn’t a lot of them happily hop on a city bike for their lunch trip, if they could do it for free?

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    • Andrew Seger April 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm

      I wonder how much the cost is versus the ticket machines? When the vandal was hitting up the ticket machines TriMet spent more than 10k on repairs. Plus only 90% of them work at any given time. (http://www.oregonlive.com/roadreport/index.ssf/2011/03/cigarette-butt_bandit_crashing.html)

      I know the oyster card in London is offset by a £5 deposit, perhaps something like that would help offset the cost? They also charge a lot more to ride public transit if you don’t have an oyster card.

      Imagine seamlessly paying for parking at the sunset park ‘n ride, hopping on the max, and grabbing a yellow bike from goose hollow to your office downtown. Seems like a pretty good model.

      Also, how is the phone option that expensive? In prague you just text in a payment and they send you a text that self validates your fare, and which you can just show the inspectors.

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      • Teresda (@PDXsays) Boze April 26, 2011 at 8:33 pm

        Imagine a world where the 25% below the digital divide have a phone – yeah. No cell, no ride. The boomers, for example. Or at least the boomers who are on entitlement. Think Prague has a program that subsidies the heck outta the poor for transit? Oops. There goes expenses and costs again!

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    • Teresda (@PDXsays) Boze April 26, 2011 at 8:35 pm

      Would you be surprised to find that most of Portland afoot at any given time is either homeless, disabled or under-employed? A dollar a ride? Inaccessible.

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  • q`Tzal April 26, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I like bike sharing.
    I like(d) fareless square.

    I don’t see how any bike sharing program that allows users to borrow bikes for free for any short period of time is going to be able to avoid the same safety, security and cost criticism that got the fareless square canceled.

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  • q`Tzal April 26, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Might just as well make the entire public transit system free to users on the same basis that the US Constitution makes road building mandatory: commerce.

    Without roads commerce and freight can’t move, at least the last few miles from an intermodal depot.
    By extension people can’t get to jobs from home, to perform “commerce”, without a method of transit.

    As the supply of petrol declines more precipitously than the international demand explodes we can reasonably see a scenario where the workers that move commerce are no longer able to afford to be able to commute to their job moving commerce. It is in the interest, revenue wise

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    • q`Tzal April 26, 2011 at 3:29 pm

      durn stubby fingers
      …It is in the interest, revenue wise, for governments to ensure that their revenue base can continue to be employed so we can continue to pay taxes.

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    • Teresda (@PDXsays) Boze April 26, 2011 at 8:28 pm

      Well, by that logic – and not too shabby logic at that -it would make sense to have a super broadband backbone infrastructural that is a public utility, and everyone can stay home or go to local workshare spaces and log in to work, thereby embracing the 20-minute neighborhood.

      The fact is – carbon footprint-wise – that the studies show it is not the commute to work that creates the carbon, it is the hauling around everywhere to the store, shops, schools, events. The auxiliary driving, not the work commute, creates the greater carbon foot print.

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  • Teresda (@PDXsays) Boze April 26, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Coming in as a newbie to this topic, and wondering about a few factors.

    Has anyone considered the effect of the weather? It rains eight months out of the year. You have to dress for that to ride. Only the avid bike riders are out November through March.

    You can’t go from work to lunch DT on a bike in your business clothes when it’s pouring rain. Or reasonably in 40-degree weather.

    Has anyone considered the effect of social strata?

    Everyone I know of who chooses to drive into DT and then drive to other destinations DT or nearby ,do so because:
    1) they are wearing business good clothes
    2) they don’t want to deal with the riders who are drunk,abusive,dirty, or screaming on cell phones.

    They chose to go to business meetings and events by private car OR – irony of ironies- chose not to go because of DT congestion. Such is the life at large corporations (99+ jobs) we view as the life-blood and future for economic growth.

    If these are not the results of the studies , surveys and polls on transportation, it’s because these people didn’t even deem to respond. Or so they tell me.

    My main transportation is mass trans.

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    • Dave April 27, 2011 at 11:52 am

      I just did a quick internet search, and according to many online sources, Copenhagen has a similar climate to Washington state. They have an average of 170 days of rain per year. They also have a very large number of daily cyclists. So if they can ride bikes in the rain while wearing business clothing, I think we can learn how to do it as well.

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      • Teresda (@PDXsays) Boze April 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm

        So you read the climatology for Copenhagen. And where did you get your information on business dress for that fair city, which has a COMPLETELY different economic ecology. It’s a university and research and services town. Note that in the pic from Wikipedia captioned as representing the 37% of the population that bikes during rush hour, * not one person is wearing “business attire”* as defined even in Portland. > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bikecultureincopenhagen.jpg

        Did we just make a leap to assumption?

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  • Dabby April 26, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Also, while it is limited, many, many residents in Portland rely on the small area they are allowed to ride free in.
    Simply to take them as far as possible towards a destination, when they have no money.

    So much to say on this..

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  • Dabby April 26, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    And on that same note you might think that having a free-ride close in with the bike sharing program will help exactly these folks right?
    Well wrong, because it is exactly the people that need services such as this that will not be financially based enough, or responsible enough, to use this system, which will be based on plastic for sure.

    And a honor based system will not work either, as experienced here and in many other areas…

    So I say Scrap tourist oriented Bike Share, and slow as walking trolley’s, and hand Tri Met over to someone who can run like actual functional and public transportation.

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  • ilikeyournewhaircut April 26, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Do you really think the average person it gonna goretex up and start riding in the rain just because somebody dreamed this up?

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  • dwainedibbly April 26, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Bikeshare would be great, but it isn’t a wonderful substitute for light rail or streetcar for reasons already mentioned (weather, not everyone can ride, etc). I see a lot of families with young kids going to the downtown Library via streetcar on the weekends. Not sure that a bike share program is going to be much use to them.To tie the two together is a bit of a stretch.

    Yes, it’ll be “strange” to have a free rail area in the downtown core while the inner eastside served by the new streetcar loop doesn’t, but the two areas aren’t comparable. Apples, meet oranges… If the goal is equity (and that isn’t a bad goal), then extend the free rail zone to the eastside.

    Frankly, this smacks of Portland Streetcar trying to kill the free rail zone and avoid having to extend it to the eastside streetcar loop, if you ask me.

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    • cyclist April 26, 2011 at 7:24 pm

      Local businesses in the free zone district pay to keep up the district, the Lloyd businesses lobbied TriMet to extend the district (and pay to continue it). The only way TriMet will extend free rail to the east side is if east side businesses pay for it, and that’s unlikely given how much of the eastside loop is light industrial.

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  • kenny April 26, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    drop the zones. it is aggravating and confuses the system.
    consider free transit. while not insignificant, the fees attained from passes are about 15%, it is not much in the grander scheme of things/not worth the barriers. Just make all street cars, busses, max come from gas taxes and congestion charges. Consider a state tax to also fund the free top notch Amsterdam of USA systems.

    Increase frequency of busses and trains people will be lining up to use the system.

    Create a totally interconnected street car line that goes to every major business district (MLK, Belmont, Foster, Woodstock, Reed, Sellwood, Lake O, Water front, various downtown, and everything in between or beyond/connections to other street cars as needed).

    I just over heard someone talking in a local shop about how she just took her car to a garage and has had to bus it from Alberta to Hawthorne. Took her over 1.5 hrs. Have a street car that while slower, will be at every stop within 10 minutes or less. No need to stand in the cold and rain and this type of connectivity issue will be resolved if the street cars flow to every hood main street.

    People like Street car, they enjoy rail 40% more than busses, so bring it. This would also bring in many tourists that also would enjoy a rail line going to every one of our downtowns. Economic power house, cure our addictions to cars with comfort frequency and convenience.

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  • elle April 26, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    The idea of bike share sounds fun – but don’t we all have our own bikes already? Is it mainly for visitors?

    Create the right infrastructure and services like this will appear from the private sector. Maybe not for free, but very cheap.

    We should not be spending billions on the streetcar, which is basically a cute theme park ride, but not a meaningful transit option. The streetcar is ungodly slow. You can walk faster. Take the pork money and use it for dedicated human-powered lanes.

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    • cyclist April 27, 2011 at 9:30 am

      The estimated cost for the eastside extension is $147 million. The original streetcar route cost a total of $57 million. That’s millions, not “billions.”

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      • Teresda (@PDXsays) Boze April 27, 2011 at 5:15 pm

        …and isnt’ Sec. of Trans Ray LaHood throwing a bucket of millions at this rail thing?

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  • Jack April 27, 2011 at 6:43 am

    Bike share works really well in Minneapolis for locals and visitors alike. Check out niceridemn.org for an example that I’m surprised Portland doesn’t already have.

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    • Teresda (@PDXsays) Boze April 27, 2011 at 5:13 pm

      Minneapolis.. you mean that town buried in snow and ice six months outta the year, in the state with coldest winter temperatures in the continuous United States? That Minneapolis?

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      • Jack April 27, 2011 at 5:20 pm

        As a matter of fact….!

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  • Dabby April 27, 2011 at 9:41 am

    I am going to say it.

    It would be a wiser choice to pile this street car funding on the waterfront, and burn it to warm up the homeless that to lay lame tracks all over town.

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    • snapbrim April 27, 2011 at 11:41 am

      Dabby for president! Why,this ole country’ll be ship-shape in no time flat!

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  • kenny April 27, 2011 at 11:38 am

    We will not reach the masses as well with infrequent poorly lit bus stops that have no I.D. # on them. I have stood in rain with no cover for 30 minutes plus, and I am sick of it. I could care less how slow street car moves, I don’t want to stand in 40 degree pouring rain. Busses get cancelled, decreased in already lack luster service… why would anyone unless they are mostly desperate totally choose this? I mean, I do when I do not ride my bike on occasion… but it is far from the best system in the world, I do it for sustainability reasons more than anything else. One night last week, a Saturday, I met some friend that just flew in from out of town. I told them let’s meet at the bike movie on Clinton then go to my casa in Woodstock. I was on my bike. After 10pm we walked to the 10 bus stop… and it was not running. Great. So we called for alternate routes… “nothing”. No 10 on weekends at all now, in fact. Woodstock is a long walk, and carrying luggage to the 9 Powell was not happening. Street Car on Powell or another adjacent street that was guaranteed every 7 minutes would make sense & reach a wider audience. Right now we have infrequent, inconvenient, poorly executed options outside of cars unless one is in the bus mall area, ultra close-in. Let’s think much bigger.

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    • cyclist April 27, 2011 at 2:10 pm

      The #4 runs down Division every half hour on Saturday nights, you could have walked two blocks to Division and caught the 75 to Woodstock.

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      • Teresda (@PDXsays) Boze April 27, 2011 at 5:10 pm

        you are obviously not familiar with the completely random and erratic bizarro world reality of the appearances of the #4 bus.

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        • cyclist April 27, 2011 at 11:31 pm

          The 4 can hit traffic during the day, but it runs pretty on schedule late at night. Kenny said he couldn’t get to Woodstock without walking to Powell, I was pointing out that he could have easily walked two blocks to Division to catch the 4 down to 39th.

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          • Teresda (@PDXsays) Boze April 27, 2011 at 11:42 pm

            Yes, I heard you the first time. And no, I don’t believe for one minute you’ve relied on the #4 bus regularly late at night close-in east headed east. Or been in deep east headed west in the morning.

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  • kenny April 28, 2011 at 8:46 am

    39th would sadly still be a big walk out to 52nd near Woodstock. 2 people, 2 bags each. I just want to see transit become totally undeniably convenient. An interconnected, under 10 min service street car linking each major district all day… and preferably after night clubs and bars close… that would change the face and use of transit.

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    • Dave April 28, 2011 at 8:52 am

      So, essentially how Portland *was* until they tore out all the streetcars in the 40s and 50s to make more room for cars :)

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    • cyclist April 28, 2011 at 9:14 am

      The 75 turns east on Woodstock before turning south on 46th, so you’d just have to walk to 52nd from 46th.

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      • Teresda (@PDXsays) Boze April 28, 2011 at 9:32 am

        Yeah, Ken. Why don’t you lug those heavy bags, maybe with a toddler in tow and a bad back or bum leg, down the side walk adjoining one of the main streets in SE for six blocks? I mean, why don’t you just put a bird on it? That will fix everything and you can stop being such a kill joy for the SE snob set.

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  • cyclist April 28, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Teresda (@PDXsays) Boze
    Yes, I heard you the first time. And no, I don’t believe for one minute you’ve relied on the #4 bus regularly late at night close-in east headed east. Or been in deep east headed west in the morning.

    I didn’t say I lived in deep east, I lived near 37th and Division. That’s why I’m aware of the schedules for the 4 and the 75.

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    • Teresda (@PDXsays) Boze April 28, 2011 at 9:28 am

      I didn’t say you lived anywhere. I didn’t say where I lived. What I said is that I don’t believe you know from experience about service on the #4. It’s about transportation – travel, motion, going places, not you where you are sitting in your pajama bottoms.

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  • Teresda (@PDXsays) Boze April 28, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I noticed that the Woodstock area has a lot of “unimproved” roadway, even. [READ: Hug pond-like craters every block, where ducks swim and dip down to bottom feed when it rains. Seen it.] I can’t understand why this area of the city, which serves Reed College, is ignored above 39th Ave for transportation.

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    • Over and Doubt April 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      I dunno, Teresa; those unimproved roadways can be a boon for “traffic calming,” and they let me and my school-age son get in a little hyper-local mountain-biking time even as we run errands. I kinda heart them. And it’s really not that far from anywhere in Woodstock to the 10, 17, 19, 71 and 75 lines.

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      • Teresda (@PDXsays) Boze April 29, 2011 at 7:18 pm

        Well, When I try and walk down any four outta five of the unimproved roads in Woodstock after a rain, I was forced onto the muddy roadside because the ridges between ponds wasn’t wide enough to walk.

        But the duck are *really* adorable!

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