(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.
This morning TriMet announced four open houses aimed at getting your input on how to make their first-ever Bike Plan as good as it can be. They want to know: “What’s most important to you when it comes to bikes and transit?”
Here’s when and where you can tell them your answer:
- Monday, October 5, 5-6:30 p.m.
Community Cycling Center
1700 NE Alberta St.
- Tuesday, October 6, 5-6:30 p.m.
Oregon Rail Heritage Center
2250 SE Water Ave.
- Wednesday, October 7, 5-6:30 p.m.
The Oregon Clinic, 1st Floor
1111 NE 99th Ave
- Thursday, October 8, 5-6:30 p.m.
Orenco Bike & Ride in Hillsboro
(west side of NW 231st at MAX tracks)
Funds for this plan come from the State of Oregon’s transportation and growth management program. As we reported a year ago, the $108,000 grant will allow TriMet to do what they called a “pretty major” review of how its system interacts with bicycling.
Jeff Owen, TriMet’s active transportation planner, said he hopes bicycle riders can give the agency some expertise. “We can’t think of everything ourselves, and outside ideas are really beneficial and powerful,” Owen shared with us last year. “A lot of it might be things that we’re aware of, of course, but they could really bring some new ideas and creative thinking into it.”
New ideas? Creative thinking? That’s what BikePortlanders do best right?
If you want to help TriMet create a solid roadmap for future bike policies and bike-related investments, please consider getting involved with this plan. You can learn more about it at TriMet.org and stay tuned for more coverage and opportunities to offer feedback.
If you can’t make it to one of these open houses, TriMet is also accepting written feedback via email@example.com through October 31st.
(Note: In related news, we’ve just received an update from TriMet about their proposal to install swing gates on crossings of the new Orange Line in inner southeast. We will share more about that as soon as we can.)
If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.
Protected bike lanes parallel to all rail routes! If people are wanting to combine bike and train trips, they need a safe way to get to the train station in the first place.
If you were trying to accommodate multi modal trips you would want bike facilities that radiate out from stops, and secure parking at the stops (if a few people take their bikes on the train it’s usually fine, if everyone did you’d need to run twice as many trains at peak, or more if enough of those bikes have trailers). That includes parallel paths in places, but elsewhere that won’t be the best way to channel access to stations.
If you focus only on a parallel path it’ll be because you aren’t asking for infrastructure to support a multi modal trip, you just think it’s a good place for a bike path.
Agreed, we also need protected bike facilities leading to/from MAX stations. Not sure if that’s outside of TriMet’s jurisdiction, though.
With covered archways to protect us from the sun and rain!
Seconded! All the heavy work of obtaining easements has already been done; why not double the bang for the buck by providing two modes of travel within that easement, at least for the sections where the width is sufficient, which is almost all of the Max route, as I see it.
Nice to have a diverse number of meeting places. Time is another issue. Can’t make a single one of these because the time slots are identical. I know that lots of people work other than strictly daytime hours. Will there be Skype or streaming video or any other way to participate, if trimet really wants representative input (cough cough) from the community?
From the article:
“Finish” the streetcar viaduct from SE MLK to Se 2nd Pl/ the Esplanade by adding bike lanes and sidewalks. It is a shocking oversight that these were not originally included.
Is the point of this plan to integrate bikes into the transit system so that it makes sense to talk of a station’s ‘bikeshed’ instead of only speaking of it’s ‘walkshed’?
Or is it to build parallel facilities for cyclists so they don’t have to use the trains/buses? Even if that means driving up the cost of new transit projects to the point that some are cancelled.
If the project is a bridge or viaduct, your are talking about, at most, a 5% cost increase to add a 10ft MUP. They can do it, they just aren’t trying hard enough.
Portland Streetcar (PBOT) =! TriMet. TriMet does Bus, MAX, Commuter Rail, Lift. Portland Streetcar does that tourist slow train thing.
From Sept. 2017 – June 2019 the MAX from NE and specifically Hollywood will have to accommodate a lot of teens with bikes. The entire population of Grant High School (currently about 1500 kids plus staff) will relocate to Marshall High (92nd/Powell) for 2 years while Grant is rebuilt. Yes, oy freaking vey but it seems to be the plan and not open for discussion.
Bikes will help kids get from the train station to home but its not safe to leave bikes locked at the station all day so they will be bringing them to school.
I will submit this to written comments as well. PPS is in such a silo bunker who knows if they talk to Tri-Met at all. Car trips will increase greatly as many parents (especially of girls) will drive the kids rather than let them take transit.
More secure bike parking at trimet stations, and more bike racks at bus stops, please!
And the secure bike parking should be free (as is the case with the – far more expensive to build and maintain – car parking).
The car parking shouldn’t be free. A lot of it isn’t owned by trimet. Does trimet pay anything to lease those parking spots?
How does secure bike parking usually work? Just lockers? How much would it cost to build a little cage and staff a valet bike parking system? If cyclists did have to pay enough to cover costs, what would a ballpark cost for it have to be?
the free car parking isn’t secure…
17-25% of reported crimes from trimet riders were thefts of or from vehicles at park and rides.
A prelude to removing bikes from MAX?
How about MAX cars with fewer seats to accommodate more bikes, trailers, long bikes?
Perhaps we can educate TriMet that elevators and stairs are not acceptable bike infrastructure?
Also, 3-bike bus racks.
And TriMet, please don’t use this as an opportunity to pitch your CRC 2.0 zombie bridge, okthx.
Instead of the CRC, we need another Tilikum Crossing over the Columbia.
Can TriMet really design a bridge system that properly serves cyclists? If the Tilikum and the Orange Line is their example, then no. Mixed ROW, poor grades, gates, elevators, etc. What else could TriMet have done better to serve the different modes?
“Can TriMet really design a bridge system that properly serves cyclists? If the Tilikum and the Orange Line is their example, then no….” Wondering
Perhaps you have some ideas that would to your mind, have qualified the Tillikum Bridge as a bridge system such as you’ve described: Let’s hear them.
The Tillikum so far seems to be working quite well for people traveling the bridge by bike, foot, bus and light rail train. No mishaps reported on the bike and pedestrian portions of the bridge. The bridge seems successfully to be doing, what no other bridge in Portland has done for people traveling by foot and bike, for a very long time: allow them a bridge crossing free from an overwhelming motor vehicle presence primarily consisting of cars.
The only time Tilikum fails is when there is a special event highlighting the bridge (e.g. Bridge Pedal, Sunday Parkways, etc.), but these are infrequent events and are likely to taper off anyway. I ride the bridge every day and have no complains about the bridge itself. The east side approach and MUP are the weak points.
The Washington Republicans won’t pay for anything with rails or mass transit over the Columbia.
Ok, what they said! Three-bike bus racks systemwide. Dedicated comment for that.
From what I have seen on the MAX trains. The bike hangers can be moved 3″ toward the bulkhead from where they are now with no problem. the bikes will not be swinging all over the place then as the hooks are too far in. A second hook can be mounted 10 inches from the inner rail and double the number of Cycle hangers on each car. Handle bars will touch each other but I don’t think any paint will be disturbed. Keeping the bikes from swinging like they are will not take up any more room. Total cost is less than 3 daily tickets.
Three-bike racks are not realistic because the extended length would greatly affect the bus’ turning radius.
I am very surprised at the photo of the Xtracycle on a MAX train; Trimet rules are pretty clear about oversized bikes and trailers being barred from transit vehicles.
In fact, two bike hooks at each end of the MAX car are no longer sufficient to keep up with the growth. It’s not uncommon to see four and even five bicycles at an end of the car, with two hanging from hooks and the remaining two or three taking up space on the floor, blocking entry and exit by transit riders.
I don’t think Trimet has any vested interest in supporting MORE bikes on transit when additional bicycles will take up space that could be occupied by many more fare-paying bodies. It will not surprise me at all to see Trimet look for ways to reduce the number of bicycles allowed on its transit vehicles in the coming years, especially as Portland’s population soars and more people will need to use transit. Unless Trimet prices itself out of the market by making it too expensive to ride the bus.
all I want is a place to stand with a bike where I’m not in the way…
no, I’m not hanging my bike on the hook… many people can’t do that for various reasons…
the spot beneath the hook is not large enough to have a bike without blocking the door or the aisle… the priority seating area isn’t big enough for a bike when the seats are down…
oddly, I like the original high-floor max cars the best for bringing my bike on because there are 3 spots at the end of every car to stand with your bike, instead of 2 spots to hang a bike…
since bikes aren’t given priority for the hook space anymore (they now have to share with strollers and luggage) then they shouldn’t get upset if we’re standing with a bike any more than they get upset with people having luggage and strollers…
they need to make a larger open area to accommodate cyclists and rush hour crowds… turn the hooks sideways and remove the half wall between door areas so that you’re left with a wide open area if there are no bikes and no seats folded down…
Hanging is really rough on rear fenders.
1)improve the pedestrian overpass at the Hollywood station to accommodate bicycles better.
2) take over bikeshare from, or in conjunction with the city(s) for a regional system.
TriMet is the problem, not a solution. TriMet sees us as competition and does everything they can to appear to accommodate us while making it harder to actual bike in Portland. That’s why we have streetcar tracks and MAX tracks mucking up the road and bridges that bikes aren’t allowed to travel on (hello Orange Line!). I mean really, do you really think they want you riding your bike? If everybody rides who’s going to pay their salaries?
My first impression is: “wow, they never had a plan?”
and the second is: “at least they are fixing it now”
Tri-met boasts that it came in $50mil under budget on the new Orange Line. They also cut many bike and ped improvements that would’ve made the new Tilikum Crossing a world-class facility. How about coming in at budget with a complete project instead of the giant cluster F*** that they created instead? The approaches to the bridge on both sides are unintuitive, indirect and in some cases outright dangerous.
Now, they want to have a bike plan? Sorry, the horse is already out of the barn.
Thanks for nothing, Tri-met.
Remember when I said Trimet needs to become the Trimet of bikes? Looks like somebody heard me.
Maybe get their buses off of high-cyclist routes?
Agreed, buses skills run on intestates and state highways. Get buses off of bungalow streets like division, Williams, and Alberta.
I think they meant more like get them off of neighborhood greenways. They should be running on collectors and arterials.
Ideas: add Brompton storage bins on buses (above the front right wheel well) and in the light rail carriages (in place of 1 bike hook) or in those ill placed single seats few like to use…additionally perhaps convert some of the older MAX trains into bike cars ala Caltrain. Perhaps 12 Bromptons could fit into the space of 1 hanging bike if a bin system were made.
Better yet would be secure covered bike parking at ALL stations / major platforms.
I concur with other comments: break the link between free car parking and commuter transit (that is so 1980s and expensive)…its very difficult to sustain paid secure bike parking facilities when they are surrounded by acres of free car parking or poorly located (need to be in bike dense / land scarce areas).
Jolly-good idea, chap.
With planning going on for the SW Corridor, mixing bikes & transit is going to become even more important, given that SW is pretty hilly in places and a lot of people won’t ride on much of that but might take their bikes on transit to use once they get to their destination. I think it’s good that Trimet is asking the questions now. (Yes, they should have asked before Orange was designed but at least they’re doing it for Purple.)
Thanks for asking for public input, Trimet!
This is Portland, the bike town, right? If so, let’s think big for bikes – we need dedicated bike cars on each train, at least during peak hours. This way we don’t have to fight about limited hooks and strollers, and there is plenty of capacity, which will, in turn, encourage a lot more bike riding, especially in winter months. Then Trimet can also get rid of the policy outlawing long bikes and trailers. I sometimes have to skip riding a bike and/or the train altogether and drive, ugh, because I would risk needing to get my loaded Yuba Mundo onto a train (I have school-age children, carry music gear, and sometimes sh!@#$t happens).
Hopefully Trimet can/is working with PBOT on “multi-modal oriented development”, like LA’s Metro is now doing, and is seriously considering ‘real’ BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) along major corridors. I read recently about 82nd Ave. being a candidate.
They really can not add cars, they fit nearly perfectly on the downtown blocks right now as is. Any longer and they’d be blocking intersections at stops.
Also, adding cars will not work easily on some of the sharper turns in the tracks in east county. Addition cars only works in cities with blocks twice as long as ours.
I’m going to come to Trimet’s defense on the issue of bike cars. The MAX system capacity is limited by two major things. Portland has the smallest block size of any major city on the west coast, this limits the number of cars to two to meet turning radius requirements. The lines are further limited by the headway, the distance between trains on the line, requirements between trains.
There is a distinct advantage and disadvantage to allowing bicycles on the trains. The advantage is that it is convenient and allows more people to utilize the MAX by fixing first and last mile commute issues. The disadvantage is that the goal of MAX is to move the most people as possible and a bicycle takes up more functional space on a train and reduces the crush capacity. Just like a car takes up more space on the roadway and reduces its theoretical ability to move people, a bicycle takes up more space on a train and reduces its theoretical ability to move people. I think cyclists need to identify this issue and realize that the calculus for Trimet is more complex than liking or disliking the act of cycling.
I love the idea of a dedicated car on MAX that’s just for bikes! One where you just walk your bike on – no hooks. I hate those hooks. I am old, fat, & weak (which is why I ride my bike everywhere, to keep from getting worse!) and it takes everything I’ve got to lift my heavy cruiser onto the hook without popping a disc in my back. It took public transportation years to adapt their equipment for disabled & senior citizens. And now that I am one – I find they’ve completely forgotten the concept of Accessibility when it comes to bike riders!
On MAX: if TriMet officials are going to chase off any cyclists over 4 per train the absolute LEAST they can do is forcibly eject the rude selfish people that decide to occupy the bike hanging spots.
I’m only allowed to bring my bicycle if I hang it there; your luggage, stroller or obnoxious @$$ can sit anywhere.
“How can we make it easier and more efficient to take bikes on transit vehicles?”
TriMet won’t. They’ve asked before and the public resoundingly said they want more racks on buses, more hooks on MAX. TriMet’s response? Try to incentivize people NOT to bring their bikes – Bike and Ride stations. These stations have basically all failed…because TriMet ignored the public.
Seattle has had 3 bike racks on buses for many years. We haven’t even had an eval by TriMet yet. Like I said, they just don’t care. Kirk Reeves bridge anyone?
Does anyone actually bike to Sunset TC and then leave their bike at the bike and ride?
Occasionally. Like, say, for a Timbers or Thorns game.
> the public resoundingly said they want…more hooks on MAX.
A subset of the public that brings their bike on transit or would like to, or the public at large? Those trains get pretty crowded, what level of crowding is it fair to subject those who don’t bring bikes for the sake of those who do? Is it fair to ask someone to stand from Gresham to downtown to make room for a bike someone brings through the tunnel to Beaverton? Transit agencies have a hard time getting public support to get rid of seats to make room for more standees, I don’t see why it would be reasonable to expect most riders would support it to add space for bikes.
> TriMet’s response? Try to incentivize people NOT to bring their bikes
Of course! Bikes are big and bulky, and the trains are crowded. You make it sound like it’s a bad thing though. Why is it impossible to believe that some peak hour cyclists could be accommodated perfectly well not bringing their bike on board? If there’s a public bike share system in Portland Downtown and Gateway, in Beaverton, and in Hillsboro how many won’t feel the need to bring their bike on board? Doesn’t help those who need a bike to get to Max, so add a card access bike cage at all stations. What if there are corporate bike share systems for Intel and Nike employees? Focus on accommodating those who don’t really need to bring their bike with them. It’ll make sure there’s a free hook for those who do.
>TriMet ignored the public.
The cycling public didn’t consider the impact their requests would have on non cyclists or the capacity constraints on trimet’s rail system that prevent them from running enough extra trains with plenty of open bike space to accommodate all potential cycling demand without adverse impacts on non cyclist transit riders.
You’re completely missing the point. The idea that TriMet is going to solicit a wish list from the bike community and then begin implementing is ridiculous. They already know what the biking public wants – bicycle riders have spoken loud and clear over and over again — they want more space to bring their bikes on the bus/MAX. TriMet has known this for ages, and yet they have made exactly ZERO progress in this direction within the last 20+ years. 3-bike bike racks on buses do not inconvenience anyone, yet TriMet has not conducted a serious evaluation for these bike racks that have been installed on *ALL* Seattle buses since 2010.
TriMet’s bike survey from 2007:
“As a result, more than three-quarters (76%) cited that they needed their bike to reach their destination and indicated that they were not willing to use secure bike parking at their boarding station instead of bringing their bike onboard”
“Almost all (94%) respondents took their bike onboard on their most recent trip (only 6% parked their bike at a station).”
… and yet what did TriMet do? They built secure bike parking…that (big surprise) very few actually use.
>The idea that TriMet is going to solicit a wish list from the bike community and then begin implementing is ridiculous.
I don’t think trimet putting together a bike plan should be taken to mean they’re going to accommodate cyclists perfectly at the expense of other users. Within the confines of what’s feasible, they want current and potential cyclists to let them know how to accommodate them. Adding a rail car for cyclists and their bikes won’t be feasible. Getting rid of most seats to accommodate more cyclists or standees probably isn’t either. Running more trains so you can have a bike car without making more people stand can’t happen.
Adding room for a few extra bikes on a train might be possible. Or putting in bike cages at some stations. Or an expanded bike share system. Or maybe a bike maintenance program to make it more convenient to have a station bike. Or charging to bring a bike on MAX so that the alternatives they put together are a cheaper option to encourage people to use it.
I don’t know, go to one of the open houses and find out what they’re up to.
>3-bike bike racks on buses do not inconvenience anyone, yet TriMet has not conducted a serious evaluation
What counts as a serious evaluation?
From your survey link
>49% were willing to use a free- or low-cost rental bike and 41% were willing to park a bike at their alighting station
>In contrast to current bike-MAX customers, almost half (46%) of potential customers that would travel during peak hours would be willing to use bike parking. All respondents in this sample indicated that they do not currently commute by bike or transit.
Why ignore them? If they don’t bring their bike on board there’s more room for yours.
“… Adding a rail car for cyclists and their bikes won’t be feasible. …” lop
Such a car, no standard seats, floor space configured primarily for the most efficient transport of customers bikes with the owner standing alongside, may at least be worth trying some as an experiment. The two car consist limitation of Portland’s light rail, is a consideration.
Bikes transported on light rail trains, particularly standard non-folding types, are a very inefficient use of limited floor space, if the majority of people the system must serve, won’t be bringing bikes on board and would hope to have a regular bus seat.
All of this is why Trimet should take over bike share and make it a regional system. Every MAX station and the more popular bus stops would have bike stations, coupled with stations at libraries, schools, universities, parks and shopping/employment centers would give many great neighborhood stations to match. The time frame of your bus pass would also cover the use of a bike at the end of your bus/max ride for a limited time – say 1/2 an hour.
Redistribution of the bikes would be handled for the most part with the buses and max. Though for the most part I don’t see this being much of a problem since the morning commuters would basically be returning the bikes in the evening to the stations where often that same bike will then be waiting for them in the morning.
Redistribution of bicycles could be handled with a service run at night/early morning when there is no regular service and the trains could be packed with nothing but bikes and a couple of workers doing the shuffle.
I’ve even got a few different ideas for a new kind corporate/private sponsorship system to accompany such a system as well, but they wouldn’t work (as well) without a lot of support from trimet.
Regardless, integrating public transportation and bike share would decrease the number of bikes on buses and MAX, increase revenue from packing more riders into the cars where the bikes take up room, and would increase ridership on trimet with better transportation options available at stops, and increase bike share across the entire metro area. And I don’t think trimet would even need to increase its fares since the system would be mostly self sufficient and the likely increase in ridership would cover the expenses – even more so with a different kind of sponsorship/partnership system.
>Redistribution of bicycles could be handled with a service run at night/early morning when there is no regular service
Citibike sees an average of 7.3 trips per bike per day. ~4600 active bikes in the system, ~2k rebalancing moves per day. Not sure you can do all rebalancing at night, there’s probably demand for it during the day. And at night when trimet isn’t running trains they want the tracks clear so they can perform any needed maintenance.
> Trimet should take over bike share and make it a regional system.
A regional bike share would amplify the rebalancing issues. How many bikes will be in Gateway midday if people can ride them downtown in the morning and not worry about parking? You could avoid that by buying a lot more bikes and setting up a lot more docks, but that would be expensive.
I wonder if a zoned bike share system would make sense. So if you take a bike from Gateway to downtown you pay a surcharge to cover the added rebalancing costs that you don’t pay if you ride from Gateway to the shopping strip on 122nd and Glisan. Regardless of who runs the possibly distinct bike share systems and bike cages at transit stations and possibly elsewhere it would be great to make sure they all accept trimet’s future fare card. $20 for a bike link card to use a bike cage and you can’t even buy it wherever you can get a max ticket? Lowers the barrier to entry if people can use the card already in their wallet, even if you charge $0.40 a day to use it.
>decrease the number of bikes on buses and MAX
It’s my understanding that the generally bike friendly Copenhagen bans bikes on their metro during rush hour most of the year, and even when your bike is allowed you have to buy a ticket for it. If it’s cheaper to bring your bike on MAX than it is to park it in a bike cage at your originating station and use bike share on the other end will you get many bikes off the train?
Yep. Public transportation is for people, not bikes.
When car parking is free but bike parking requires a special card and a fee, what do you think people will choose to do?
Take their bike on the train because it’s free and doesn’t require a card.
They sort of made a mistake when they didn’t do that with the Orange line. But…they they made up with it by hitting up the 2 for 1 special on signals at homedepot.
Here is my message to Trimet-stop with the signals. Go with yield signs. Stop making people reliant on electric signals, run by computers. Go to 7:47 on this video. It works.
Although I share your enthusiasm for a Dutch system, there are some issues to get over in the US before this will be the norm. First of all, the Dutch do not have the right to make a right turn on a red light at a signal, this reduces the turning conflicts for the average dutch cyclist immensely. Secondly, Civil Engineers in the United States can be held criminally liable for deaths and damages associated with their designs; its highly unlikely someone would be willing to stake their career on such a design in a climate that heavily favors the automobile.
Or, only run the tiny buses.