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ODOT eyes expansion of Gorge bus service after successful first year

by on October 24th, 2016 at 10:31 am

Half of the four-bus fleet.(Photo: ODOT)

Half of the four-bus fleet.
(Photo: ODOT)

Turns out there are other ways to solve auto overcrowding and congestion than spending billions on freeway expansions.

The first season of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Columbia Gorge Express bus service has “far surpassed” expectations, the agency announced this morning. “The public response highlighted a significant demand for transit service in the Gorge.”

Launched in May as a way to relieve serious overcrowding of private cars in the Gorge, the service carried more than 30,000 people between the Gateway Transit Center, Rooster Rock State Park, and Multnomah Falls. The service was offered for 18 weekends and it was the first year of a two-year pilot project. There were initially three, 20-seat buses, with a third, 53-seat bus added in July. All four buses had bicycle racks that ODOT says were “used every day.”
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People keep talking about a regional transportation ballot measure for 2018

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on July 11th, 2016 at 10:32 am

build-funding-timeline
The region’s biking and walking goals (green line) are far cheaper to build than its auto or transit goals, but at the current rate they won’t be built until 2209.

As Oregon legislators start talking about the statewide transportation bill many hope to pass in 2017 (look for some reporting on that soon), others are starting to think locally, too.

We’ve heard from various sources recently that some people in the Portland area are looking toward November 2018 as the right moment for a region-wide bond measure for transportation. The idea is to create a burst of new money for public transit, roadways, biking and walking.

How much of each, you ask? Those negotiations would probably get underway over the next year.

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New Columbia Gorge Express will carry you — and your bike — to Historic Highway destinations

by on May 20th, 2016 at 9:22 am

Another way to explore the Gorge without a car.

Another way to explore the Gorge without a car.

2016 is a huge year for the Columbia River Gorge. 100 years ago Oregon celebrated the opening of Route 30 — the Columbia River Highway — and this year we’ll celebrate its grand re-opening as a State Trail with miles of new biking and walking-only paths that open up exciting carfree exploration opportunities.

But even as new pieces of the State Trail are completed, our overuse of cars is killing the Gorge vibe. In an effort to reduce automobiling’s impacts to this historic natural resource we all share, the Oregon Department of Transportation has launched a new public transit line.

The Columbia Gorge Express opens next Friday. The new line will have 12 departures a day Friday through Sunday from the Gateway Transit Center with stops in Rooster Rock State Park (25 miles east of Portland) and Multnomah Falls (30 miles east of Portland). It’s just $5 for a round-trip ticket and bicycle riders are welcome aboard: Each transit vehicle has capacity for three bikes on the rack.
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City wants taxpayers to finance $26 million hotel parking garage next to light rail

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on February 24th, 2016 at 9:36 am

rendering with bikeportland
An architect’s rendering of the proposed six-story parking garage in the Rose Quarter.
The viaduct on the left is Interstate 5.
(Renderings via NextPortland)

The city’s economic development agency agreed this month to have city taxpayers make an eight-figure bet that driving to the Rose Quarter area is going to remain popular for decades.

The Portland Development Commission voted Feb. 10 to borrow $26 million from one of its property tax funds to build a new 425-stall parking garage on public land between NE Holladay Street, Multnomah Street, 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue, across the street from the Rose Quarter Transit Center.

Fifty of those stalls would then be resold to TriMet for an estimated $8 million, and the other 375 would be set aside for rental to the publicly subsidized 600-room Hyatt Regency Convention Center Hotel that’s supposed to go up across the street.

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

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by 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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Metro and TriMet introduce bus rapid transit for Powell-Division corridor

by on December 2nd, 2014 at 12:54 pm

brt-elementsofbrt
Room for bikes?
(Image: From a Metro slide presentation)

Only in Portland would a regional planning agency host a lunchtime event titled “Bus Rapid Transit 101” in a movie theater with free popcorn.

That was the setting yesterday for a meeting hosted by Metro to introduce Portlanders to their Powell-Division Transit Development Project. The planning effort is just getting started and the aim is to create the region’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) service on a 15-mile route along SE Powell and Division streets between Portland and Gresham.
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Guest article: From Portland to Timberline Lodge via transit and two wheels

by on September 10th, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Larua Before Ride
Starting at Laura’s home in NW Portland, Laura (left) and Ellen excited to depart on their journey.
(Photos courtesy Jen Sotolongo)

[This story was written by Jen Sotolongo, a Clackamas County tourism development specialist. It first appeared in the Clackamas County Bicycle Tourism Newsletter and is being used with her permission.]
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As bike tourism takes off in Oregon, so do transit options

by on July 3rd, 2014 at 3:17 pm

For just $30 you can get 7 days of
bus service between Portland and several
destinations along the Oregon Coast.
(Photo: Tillamook Breeze)

As bike tourism matures throughout Oregon, its economic ripple effects are being felt in many interesting ways.

With more people seeking out the growing number of bike adventures being developed by both the public and private sector, transit providers are responding to meet a growing demand for car-free tourism. This demand is growing because for many people, having to drive a car to their riding destination is a major buzzkill, if not a deal-breaker altogether.

Fortunately, we’ve noticed a growing number of developments in bike/transit options that allow people to access destinations they could never (or don’t want to) reach by leg-power alone.
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Skamania County’s bike-friendly transit to the Gorge expands to weekends

by on April 28th, 2014 at 10:35 am

Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-71
Starting May 1, you’ll have transit access to
Cascade Locks seven days a week.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

As bike tourism booms in and around Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge areas, there’s a growing interest in transit service. With a reliable way to integrate transit into a bike trip, people can reach destinations that are further away and complete longer loops — all without the hassle and expense of using a car.

Earlier this year we reported on new bus service in Sandy that offers access to Timberline and other Mt. Hood destinations. Now a transit option on the Washington side of the river is set to expand, offering great promise for people looking to access the Gorge, Cascade Locks and more.
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“We’re all in this together”: A Q & A with transit activist Jonathan Ostar

by on February 10th, 2012 at 11:22 am

Executive Director of OPAL, Jonathan Ostar, photographed at the Active Transportation debate on Monday night.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

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