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Powell-Division Transit Project in-depth: Bike lanes and bus lanes both unlikely on 82nd

Posted on January 20th, 2016 at 10:52 am.

south on 82nd
A draft rendering of one possible design for 82nd Avenue with one block of “business access transit” lane approaching the right turn onto Division. Cars could legally use BAT lanes only to turn into a driveway.
(Images via TriMet)

The Oregon Department of Transportation says it needs to preserve five auto lanes on 82nd so the dramatically increased number of cars that Metro expects on the street by the year 2035 will have somewhere to sit during rush hour.

Should a new high-capacity express bus line through Southeast Portland run on the most important street in Southeast Portland, or 30 blocks away?

The question seems odd. But as Metro and TriMet ask the region whether the new “bus rapid transit” line they’re planning should run on half a mile of 82nd Avenue, here’s part of the subtext: In order to get permission to run the bus line on 82nd Avenue, project planners have agreed not to aspire to do anything for biking, walking or transit on 82nd that might significantly reduce the number or capacity of cars there.

In fact, even if the highest-quality version of the project currently being considered were built, buses there are projected to travel slightly slower in 2035 than they do now. Rush-hour travel times would rise to about four to five minutes for the half-mile stretch, up from about three minutes during the afternoon peak today.

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Could driving get catastrophically cheap? One smart Portlander speculates

Posted on January 15th, 2016 at 11:55 am.

car2go in the wild
Still pretty expensive.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Here’s an interesting argument about the near future from a Portland entrepreneur who’s also been a longtime advocate for biking and mass transit.

It’s a useful counterpoint to yesterday’s news that the U.S. Department of Transportation will kick off a $4 billion program to write national rules for self-driving cars.

The futurism here comes from Steve Gutmann, a Southeast Portland resident who has worked at various transportation-related startups since becoming an early employee at the local company that later merged with Zipcar. He’s also on the board of the anti-sprawl group 1000 Friends of Oregon.

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Tell Metro where bus stations should go on Powell, 82nd and Division

Posted on January 13th, 2016 at 9:08 am.

full route
It’s not yet official which route the line will take between Powell and Division, but project staff are pushing hard for that because of all the destinations on 82nd.
(Map: Metro)

This is a small preview to a big story we’ve been working on about Metro’s next big Southeast Portland project: the Powell-Division bus rapid transit corridor.

“Bus rapid transit” is the neat, fast-spreading idea of making a bus line feel and function like a train line. Part of that is that instead of a stop every two or three blocks, the big new buses will have stations (don’t call them “stops”!) every six to 12 blocks.

That means it’s especially important to get the station locations right. An online survey open through the end of this week asks where the stations should land.

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Despite objections, TriMet installs swing-gates at 11th Avenue rail crossing

Posted on December 23rd, 2015 at 1:49 pm.

New swing gate at the Orange Line crossing
of 11th Avenue.
(Photo: TriMet)

Portland’s regional transit agency has installed swing-out gates that biking advocates say will force people on bikes and trikes to stop or dismount in order to cross its new MAX tracks at SE 11th Avenue.

However, it installed only two out of eight swing gates it had earlier proposed for the area.

As part of a collaboration with the Portland Bureau of Transportation, TriMet crews installed the new gates on Tuesday. The idea is that if people biking are forced to stop and open a gate, they won’t roll onto the tracks without first checking to see if a train is coming.

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In some metro areas, bike commuting is nearing the scale of transit commuting

Posted on December 4th, 2015 at 9:59 am.

bike commuting transit commuting
This data from the U.S. Census includes both urban and suburban areas.
(Chart: BikePortland)

The unfortunately named new federal transportation bill, the FAST Act, is headed for a presidential signature after passing the House of Representatives Thursday.

While biking and transit advocates are sounding two cheers for the latest extension of the status quo (rather than the complete car-centrism favored by Koch-funded advocacy groups), it’s a good time to consider the ways transportation differs in cities across the country.

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

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

driversside

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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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