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Want to name that bridge? Now's your chance

Thursday, October 17th, 2013
TriMet's yet-to-be-named bridge
TriMet's new bridge is shaping up, but it still needs a name.
(Concept drawing)

All joking aside, what is that new Willamette River bridge going to be called? Starting this morning, the citizens' committee appointed to decide is asking for ideas.

In construction for more than a year, the new cable-stay bridge is being built by TriMet as part of its Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project. The agency says it'll be the only one in the country to carry buses, trains, emergency vehicles, and people on bike, foot or skate, but no private cars. It'll connect the fast-developing Southeast Division Street area with the South Waterfront.

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TriMet to promote visibility during annual 'Be seen Be safe' campaign

Monday, October 14th, 2013
TriMet promotional photo.

The days are getting shorter and that means more of our travel trips are being made in low-light and dark conditions. In an effort to promote visibility, TriMet is gearing up for their annual — and award-winning — "Be Seen. Be Safe" promotional campaign. The idea behind the effort, says TriMet, is to "educate people with simple steps we can all take to stay safe when walking and biking."

According to their own study, on average, about 30 percent of collision incidents throughout the TriMet system occur in dark or dusk conditions. Statewide, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) data shows that in 2012, 23 of the 60 fatal pedestrian/motor vehicle collisions either happened at night or were caused in part by a lack of visibility.
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Via Reddit, man shares account of being hit by MAX train

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013
TriMet released this image of the man who was hit and
the operator who came to his aid.

A man posted on Reddit this morning about his harrowing experience of being struck by a MAX train. He said it happened at a station somewhere near the northeast Portland/Gresham border and that his use of headphones directly contributed to the collision. Here's "fehu's" post:

I was on my way to work, and got off at my stop in Northeast Portland/Gresham. I had my headphones in like a dumb ass, and went to cross the intersection before my train had left.

I mounted my bike, like I do every day, and went to cross the intersection. When I noticed the train, it was about 20 feet away, and my body was dead in the center of the tracks. I turned a sharp left, because I knew I couldn't push past it in time. My front wheel got caught in the track. I unclipped from my pedal, put my foot down, and pushed myself and the bike about six inches back. (more...)

Complaints about TriMet operators using phones behind the wheel plunge 85%

Thursday, August 29th, 2013
Riding Portland's urban highways-38
TriMet requires its drivers to keep electronic
devices off and out of sight while working.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

TriMet's total ban on the use of electronic devices while driving seems to be working, though some of the transit agency's operators still seem to flout the rule.

The Oregonian's Joseph Rose opened his notebook Thursday to share a wealth of reporting about TriMet operators' use of electronic devices, including the results of a public record request showing that the number of complaints received by TriMet about drivers and cell phones fell from 530, in the two years to 2009, to 80, in the two years to 2013.

In 2010, as one of his first orders on the job, General Manager Neil McFarlane began requiring operators to keep their cell phones off and out of sight while on duty. Matters came to a head when one passenger captured a video that seemed to show a driver with a history of past incidents reading a Kindle while behind the wheel of a bus on Interstate 5.

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Surveying the SE light rail construction detours: How are you coping?

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
SE light rail construction detours-2
It's a mess out there. This view is looking east from the 99E viaduct onto SE Division Place.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

With two weeks to go for a set of major construction-related detours in Southeast Portland, they're continuing to be a major hassle for all road users. We went out to survey the situation yesterday and we're curious how you're coping. (more...)

TriMet steps up efforts to keep panniers and buckets off bus racks

Monday, July 15th, 2013
TriMet bus with rack

TriMet says its drivers are temporarily emphasizing a longstanding rule that bikes loaded on its bus racks ares supposed to be stripped of bulky accessories before boarding.

According to the transit agency's bikes-on-buses policy, these rules apply to "panniers, child seats or any object that could block the headlights or the operator’s vision."

We heard about this after two readers sent accounts of bus drivers telling people to remove such add-ons before boarding. TriMet Bicycle Coordinator Jeff Owen confirms that it's "a reinforcement of our messaging for a while." The issue may take new importance due to TriMet's newest bus model, which improves driver lines of sight by extending its windshield almost as far down as the rack.

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Major new pro-transit advocacy group prepares to launch in Portland

Monday, July 8th, 2013
David Knowles
David Knowles, a longtime politico,
is leading the new effort.
(2012 photo by Portland Afoot)

A new nonprofit advocacy group is setting out to be public transportation's answer to the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.

Using Seattle's Transportation Choices Coalition as their working model, a small group of Portland-based advocates has been working since December under the leadership of David Knowles, the top Portland executive at government contractor CH2M Hill, to discuss the nonprofit startup.

The group is in the process of recruiting its founding staffer.

"I think this region has generally been committed to transit, but a focused effort to expand transit is really needed at this time," Mara Gross, interim executive director of the Coalition for a Livable Future and a participant in the conversation, said Monday. "Lower-income communities and communities of color are increasingly living in a ring around the central cities. They're in East Portland, east county, Washington County, Clark County ... regions that are harder to serve by transit."

Rob Sadowsky and Steph Routh, executive directors of the BTA and Oregon Walks, have also been invited to the talks, as have TriMet, Bernie Bottomly of the Portland Business Alliance, the anti-sprawl nonprofit 1000 Friends of Oregon, and representatives of many local businesses including chipmaker Intel, planning firm David Evans and Associates, architects Zimmer Gunsul Frasca and downtown real estate firm Melvin Mark.
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Forthcoming mobile app helps plan 'bike + transit' trips

Thursday, June 27th, 2013
A sample Nimbler trip in San Francisco.
(Images courtesy Nimbler.)

A new, free iPhone app that lets you plan crosstown trips that combine transit, personal bicycle and bikeshare is preparing to launch in Portland, its creator says.

The startup, Nimbler, launched its first app in the Bay Area last year and plans to add Washington D.C. in early July.

"Portland is next on our list because of the strong bicycling and transit community there and the commitment of Portland and Oregon to open data," said CEO John Canfield, who describes himself as a "transit rider and occasional recreational bicyclist." "But we do not yet have a timeframe."

If multimodal trip planning software sounds familiar, it should: Nimbler is actually built using the open-source software developed primarily by TriMet two years ago as part of its web-based multimodal trip planner.
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With $400,000 grant, TriMet will try audible turn warning system (again)

Monday, April 29th, 2013
random shots need to edit
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

TriMet is once again looking at technology to improve street safety when their buses make turns. Last week, the agency announced a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant of $400,000 to test three turn warning systems for possible integration with their fleet.

TriMet first looked into an audible turn-warning systems for their buses back in August 2010. That step came after a TriMet driver made a left turn in northwest Portland and killed two people who were walking in a crosswalk in April 2010. They began testing a system in March 2011, but pulled the plug a few months later. At the time, TriMet said they didn't move forward with it because," ... it was determined that the technology has not advanced enough to make it an effective tool to help alert pedestrians and people riding bikes that a bus is turning." (more...)

TriMet detour near OMSI will come with permanent bike traffic improvement

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
Map of SE Water Ave just north of OMSI in the central eastside. TriMet plans to install a left-turn box for bicycle traffic as part of their light rail project.
(Turn box graphic: TriMet)

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