TriMet story archives

Browse headlines below for all my TriMet stories.

This blog will put you inside a TriMet bus operator’s head

Posted on November 23rd, 2015 at 3:29 pm.


Perspective is everything.

If I’ve learned anything in 10 years of blogging about bikes it’s that empathy for other people’s views is the key to quality discourse, policymaking, and reporting. Heck, I’d even say that walking, riding, and driving in someone else’s shoes might be the most powerful way for us to improve road culture in general.

That’s one reason I’m happy to have come across a new (to me) blog written by a TriMet bus operator.

For two and-a-half years now the From the driver’s side blog has offered what its author, The Deacon in Blue, calls, “Musings from a contemplative bus operator’s point of view.”

From what I’ve read so far, the blog offers important insights into what it’s like to operate a TriMet bus on Portland’s busy streets.

I first heard about it thanks to a reader who emailed us an excerpt from a post published yesterday titled, Blame sharing for tragic incidents. In that post The Deacon (I don’t know his/her real name) offers thoughts after a woman lost her leg following a collision with a MAX train on November 16th.


A backwards incentive in Portland, where bus rides cost more than parking spaces

Posted on November 17th, 2015 at 10:07 am.

Bike-Bus leapfrog -1
We’ve made driving both cheap and convenient even though it causes a whole lot of problems.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Though lovers of bikes, transit and walking hate to admit it, driving a car is often the most convenient way to get around Portland. Until we start reconfiguring our roads to give more space to bicycling and dedicated transit lines, that will likely remain the case years into the future.

An odd thing about driving is that not only is it usually convenient; it’s also usually pretty cheap.

The question is, why are we also going out of our way to make driving so cheap?

At least, that’s the question asked Sunday by Tony Jordan, a member of the committee that’s currently advising the city on whether it should raise its downtown parking rates from $1.60 to $2 per hour.


TriMet survey finds no clear answers for cutting bikes-on-MAX crowding

Posted on November 4th, 2015 at 10:19 am.

bikes on max-1
Bikes and people squeeze
onto a MAX train.
(Photos © J.Maus/BikePortland)

Many people who take their bikes on MAX have had to skip a train at least a few times because it’s too full of people.

But park a bike at the station because all the hooks are full? Not so common. Most riders will wheel it on anyway if they can, even if it’ll block other people from boarding down the line.

Those are two findings from an online survey, conducted as part of TriMet’s bike plan, that explored the problem of people trying to take their bikes on MAX and bus but running out of space.

Here’s the question about skipping trains that can’t fit a bike. 21 percent of respondents said this happens to them “often,” and another 38 percent said they’ve done so once or twice:


TriMet survey and mapping exercise seeks input from riders who ride

Posted on October 7th, 2015 at 2:13 pm.

Ride Along with Justin Gast-14
Take your bike on MAX? Be sure to share your feedback and ideas with TriMet.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

As part of an ongoing effort to create their first-ever Bike Plan, TriMet has launched an online survey and mapping exercise.


TriMet adjusts Orange Line crossing plans after community opposition – UPDATED

Posted on September 29th, 2015 at 10:45 am.

Orange Line crossings
How concerned is TriMet about safety of inner southeast rail crossings? At Sunday Parkways they had a police officer standing guard.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Despite opposition from the city’s official biking and walking advisory committees, TriMet plans to install manual “swing” gates at crossings of the Orange Line in inner southeast Portland.


TriMet announces open houses for first-ever Bike Plan

Posted on September 25th, 2015 at 11:52 am.

Bikes on TriMet MAX-5.jpg
How can we make it easier and more efficient to take bikes on transit vehicles? TriMet’s Bike Plan is our chance to weigh in on that and other issues.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

With the opening of the new Orange Line giving TriMet railcars and buses even larger footprint in our region, there’s never been a more important time for the agency improve access for bicycles. Making sure that bikes integrate well with transit stops, parking options and on transit vehicles themselves is crucial to Portland’s low-car future.


TriMet police stake out new train-track crossings east of Tilikum Crossing

Posted on September 1st, 2015 at 3:33 pm.

Portland’s regional transit agency is trying to educate people about navigating the new expanse of pavement near the corner of SE 8th and Division.

With the new Orange Line due to begin service on Saturday, Sept. 12, transit police have been stationed in the area issuing formal warnings to people who break traffic laws such as crossing the tracks after a train has passed but before the warning signals have stopped ringing.

Here’s the statement TriMet put out about this effort last week:


City advisory committees oppose TriMet’s plans for swing gates on Orange Line

Posted on July 27th, 2015 at 3:52 pm.

Swing gates.
(Photo: TriMet)

Official Bureau of Transportation committees that represent two of the groups TriMet is trying to keep safe from MAX trains on the new Orange Line — people who walk and bike — oppose the agency’s plan to use swing gates at the entry and exit of tracks at two intersections in inner southeast Portland.

After hearing about plans for the path at SE 8th and 11th, the City of Portland’s Bicycle Advisory Committee and Pedestrian Advisory Committee have both issued formal letters of opposition to TriMet.

The bicycle committee outlined several reasons for their disapproval. The main reason is, “the operating difficulties they will impose on members of the traveling public – principally those who are bicycling or walking.”

Here’s more from their letter:


Citing safety concerns, TriMet wants “swing gates” at inner southeast MAX crossings

Posted on July 16th, 2015 at 11:37 am.

TriMet says this still from a May 2015 on-board video which shows people on bikes near an oncoming MAX train, is evidence that safety gates are needed.


Sneak peek inside TriMet’s new Orange Line MAX trains

Posted on April 1st, 2015 at 10:42 am.

Lower hooks and more room in new MAX trains coming to the Orange line.
(Photos by Jim “K’Tesh” Parsons)

TriMet has spent just over $79 million on 18 new MAX trains that will run on the Orange Line when it opens in September. If you board the new “Type 5” trains with a bike, you’ll notice that they differ in some key ways.

Yesterday TriMet gave a few lucky folks a chance to step inside and get a closer look. Our correspondent Jim Parsons was one of them.