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TriMet story archives

Browse headlines below for all my TriMet stories.


Yikes! Bikes almost roll in the way of buses, trains in close-call videos

Posted on April 25th, 2016 at 12:11 pm.

Sometimes we all make mistakes. TriMet wants more people to think about the fact that some mistakes can be fatal.

It can be difficult to talk about this subject without blaming the victims of traffic violence. To its credit, the video TriMet released today focuses on examples of people who are acting both illegally and at least a little recklessly rather than (as the New York City transit union did recently) condemning people simply for not being cautious. There’s a big difference.

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Bike share stations on transit mall and city parks land? TriMet says yes, Parks Bureau says no

Posted on April 5th, 2016 at 11:11 am.

possible biketown station locations
Possible station locations downtown. No sites are proposed for Waterfront Park (the green strip on the left of the river).
(Image from the city’s feedback website)

Though other cities have seen some memorable freakouts about the prospect of bike sharing stations, Portland hasn’t yet heard many loud complaints that Biketown stations would begrime beloved public spaces.

TriMet, for example, said last week that although it doesn’t allow blue bike “staple” racks on its downtown transit mall (more on that below), it won’t have a problem with orange bikes being parked there.

But so far, there’s one major city department that’s been keeping its distance from bike sharing: Portland Parks and Recreation.

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TriMet work on 1st Ave will mean smoother pavement and crowded trains

Posted on April 4th, 2016 at 4:35 pm.

unnamed
Damaged track switches on 1st Avenue.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

“The trains will be so crowded that cyclists will be waiting to get into a train.”
— TriMet spokeswoman Roberta Altstadt on MAX overcrowding during the project

Here’s the good news: the badly worn pavement on NW 1st Avenue, an important but unpleasant biking connection to the Steel Bridge and Waterfront Park, is about to be fixed.

Here’s the bad news: the repair project will snarl TriMet’s entire light rail system for two weeks next month, cutting the frequency of every MAX line and leading to extremely crowded trains that will probably be unable to fit bikes.

That’s why TriMet is urging people to avoid taking bikes on MAX during the repair work, May 8-21.

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Bus riders’ union launches new campaign: Discount fares for low-income people

Posted on March 11th, 2016 at 9:45 am.

TriMet bus with rack
Great transit access is closely linked with
less driving and more cycling.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

One year after it persuaded TriMet to add 30 minutes to the life of every transit fare, a local transit advocacy group has a new goal.

Bus Riders Unite, a rider-led project of OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, will launch a new campaign chosen by its members: for the Portland region’s transit system to follow Seattle’s and San Francisco’s by offering lower transit fares to lower-income people.

“We think the most reasonable and simplest approach would be to let low-income people have the same fare honored citizens currently receive,” said OPAL spokesman Shawn Fleek.

Due in part to federal law, TriMet offers half-price tickets to people ages 65 and up, people on Medicare and people with disabilities, a grouping the agency refers to as “honored citizens.”

But over the years, U.S. poverty trends have shifted. As of 2014, 15 percent of Oregonians age 19 to 64 live in poverty. So do 20 percent of Oregonians under age 19. For Oregonians aged 65 and up, the figure is 7 percent.

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TriMet driver publishes his latest ‘Report Card’ for Portland bikers

Posted on February 26th, 2016 at 8:30 am.

Ride Along with Ali Reis-23
A time for empathy in both seats.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Dan Christensen, a former TV writer and stand-up comedian turned TriMet bus operator, is one of the best windows Portlanders have into the emotional life of our transit system.

On his recently rebooted Roll Easy Blog, Christensen has an interesting set of perspectives about the things he feels the city’s bike users are doing well, and where they (or the streets beneath them) could improve.

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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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