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TriMet survey and mapping exercise seeks input from riders who ride

Posted by 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.

The survey offers hints about which bike-related policies TriMet is hoping to improve on and the map allows you to drop a pin and share ideas about the system in general.

trimet-map

Once you log into the mapping exercise you can view an interactive map. Click into an area of interest then drop a pin and leave a comment. TriMet prompts users with several questions including: “Where do you connect between a bike ride and your transit trip? Do you have a suggestion for adding bike parking? Do you know of a gap in the bike network to reach your stop or station that needs to be improved? Do you have a favorite route to get to your regular stop or station?”

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In the first week of use the map already has 94 “ideas”. Once logged in you can read other people’s ideas and vote on them.

The survey portion of the feedback tool is split into questions relating to bus, MAX, WES, and bike parking.

In addition to general questions like how often you use TriMet and why you use it in conjunction with cycling, the agency asks more specific questions that hint at their policy considerations. “Are you open to using a folding bike that can be brought onboard TriMet vehicles?”

As BikePortland readers know, TriMet has been struggling with overcrowding and how to fit more bikes on their transit vehicles for many years. It’s no secret they are interested in encouraging (or even subsidizing?) folding bikes as a solution.

One intriguing question in the survey was about taking bikes onto buses: “How would you feel about allowing more space on the front of the bus for customers with a bike?” it asks.

It’s obvious TriMet wants to nail down some clear policy language around bringing bikes on transit. At the end of the survey, after asking for basic demographic data, they sneak in a final question: “Do you have any further comments about bringing a bike to or on transit?”

This online tool will be available through the end of October. Check it out here.

If you want to share your feedback in person, there are two more TriMet Bike Plan open houses this week, including one tonight (10/7):

Wednesday, October 7
5 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
Oregon Clinic, 1st Floor
1111 NE 99th Ave.

Thursday, October 8
5 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
Orenco Bike & Ride in Hillsboro
West side of NW 231st at the MAX tracks

Get involved with this plan at TriMet.org/bikeplan.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Granpa
Guest
Granpa

If a cyclist with a bicycle takes the space of 3 passengers it strikes me as selfish. Where is it written that rail commuting cyclists are entitled to displace two riders?

Folding bikes as Brompton would be reasonable as they fold to the size of a carry-on. Bike share will soon be mixed into the equation. OR cycle commuters could ride their bikes.

Spiffy
Subscriber

I used to commute over the hill to Hillsboro and there were a lot of bike commuters on packed trains… often they would get kicked off when the train got full coming back into Portland…

it seems to me that the bikes take up no extra space at all… since they’re only about 4″ wide they fit into the space between people… I kind of like having that low rail between me and the next passenger… if it wasn’t for the one section of bike with a greasy chain you wouldn’t even need to pay attention to bumping into it…

the main issue is mobility; since the end of the trains have so many unneeded dividers it causes a lot of problems for people trying to move around the bike… the easy solution is to just remove the dividers and attach those 4 seats to the exterior wall instead… then we have room to move around between those low rolling rails called bikes…

J_R
Guest
J_R

Spiffy, Your claim about bikes taking “no extra space at all” and being 4 inches wide is beyond ridiculous. Besides that, even on a belt drive bike with no chain, there are plenty of other part of my bike that are pretty dirty especially in wet weather. I don’t think it’s fair to expect others to be forced to rub up against it.

I’m no fan of Trimet, but ignoring the effect of the space occupied bikes on Max trains and other passengers is to ignore reality.

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

Agreed. Let’s be real.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Not to mention the extra space they take for maneuvering in and out of the train.

BeavertonRider
Guest
BeavertonRider

Oh for goodness sake. No wonder bike commuting is not becoming more popular – rude people. Is it that much of an inconvenience to step aside for a cyclist getting on or off the train? To let the cyclist stand next to his hanging bike which means you don’t have to worry about rubbing against it?

Now, the real problem with cyclists and the max trains are those regular commuters who, when the trains are full, insist on cramming others into one another to get at the bike hangar or, even worse, push their bikes into through the middle doors of the train and hold their bike right in the middle of the aisle (a violation, I believe). These are the very worst bike commuters. There are at least four to five regulars that I see doing this routinely each month.

I will wait for three and sometimes four trains to go by at Goose Hollow toward Beaverton for a hanger. Even if a hanger is available, if there’s a crowded train, I will not attempt to board. That is discourteous. I will be polite and ask to get access to the hanger…and I’ve never had a problem.

But, please, do not complain about bikes on the max train when cyclists are properly utilizing the hangers. Take a moment to move for them, be courteous.

So often I think this Keep Portland Weird business is just “Keep Portland Pretentious”.

Spiffy
Subscriber

Where is it written that rail commuting cyclists are entitled to displace two riders?

where is it written that ***inappropriate word deleted by moderator*** prams are entitled to displace two riders?

why should one form of conveyance be so scorned?

Justin Carinci
Guest
Justin Carinci

I’m sure you could make your point and still be civil, Spiffy.

Adam
Subscriber

But think of the children!!

lop
Guest
lop

The ones in the stroller?

Adam
Subscriber

No, all of them.

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

If there is a pram, there should be a person in it.

bridgitiri
Subscriber
bridgitiri

A lot of cycle commuters take their bikes on the train to cover first/last mile connections on both ends, where other transit would be prohibitively slow or wouldn’t reach. Often the rail trip in between those locations is long enough to be really impractical to ask people to ride twice a day (for instance between SE and Hillsboro).

Having a bike along is what makes the train trip practicable for many. Discouraging bikes and failing to provide for mix-mode commuting I think harms ridership more than it helps. And if Trimet was able to design better, higher-capacity on-train facilities for storing bikes, it would keep those commuters using transit instead of driving, while simultaneously solving the problem of bikes being in the way in other parts of the train car – making it a better experience for everyone.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

This is exactly where a folding bike or bike share could be used and still facilitate the maximum number of transit users. I appreciate that a pram for triplets is just as big a space hog, but that is a third rail I won’t touch.
How long will it be before someone posts of a need to bring their cargo bike on the train?

Transit operates at a loss and the ability to maximize capacity and offset those losses require compromises.

invisiblebikes
Guest
invisiblebikes

I am asking Trimet for exactly that! I ride a long tail so that I can take my kids to and from School. If Trimet is losing money on ridership then they need to change their pricing structure, nobody told them to act like US Postal!
If they have a problem allowing bikes and or Non hangable (cargo bikes) then charge me for it. If bikes take up the space of 3 people which BS (they don’t take up the space of 3 people!) hanging they take 1 extra space on wheels they take barely 2. Then Charge for it, I would gladly pay more for a bike if it means I get where I need to go faster on the occasions that I need to.

There are plenty of options for allowing bikes and long tails on trains, they can restrict when they are allowed to not be on hooks restricting cargo bikes to off commuter hours .
If they want more ridership then allowing parents to access with kid carrying bikes on weekends and off commuter hours is a good start!

Mao
Guest
Mao

The current prices of trimet is why I use it so rarely now. I can bike about the same speed as the buses, or even faster during rush hour. (Once I even caught up to a 74 at Rosaparks that passed me at the Rose Quarter).

Also some of the MAX stations won’t always take cash. The one on Lombard and Interstate for example. So if I didn’t bring along my wallet I need to walk one stop south or north.

lop
Guest
lop

>If Trimet is losing money on ridership then they need to change their pricing structure

Trimet has to offer mobility to those who can’t afford other options, just like every other public transit agency in the country. It’s why they run low ridership buses that would need a fare of $30 at current ridership to break even. Take into account capital expenses and MAX system wide probably needs $10. Still willing to pay a double fare? They’re also tasked with reducing congestion, and have to be kept cheaper than driving. Marginal cost of driving (once you own a car) isn’t that much, even with $200 a month for parking downtown. Trimet sells a pass for $100. If they charge enough to break even it would be cheaper for people to drive.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

Which is why Trimet should take over bike share. MAx stations would be hubs, it’s be Metro wide, restocking could be done after hours with the empty trains and a couple employees. Low rental rates available to ride back from other stations throughout the city to Max stations.

You could then have bigger institutions (like PSU/OHSU downtown, Nike and Intel out in the west burbs, Providence in Hollywood, etc, Kaiser in Clackmas)- perhaps even grocery stores or malls) sponsor (ie buy – with logo variations etc) individual racks and bikes at specific Max stations for their employees (or even customers/clients) to use between their facilities and the Max stations. Those companies could also opt to allow the bikes to be rented by the public for other destinations for a small cut of the rental fees as well.

This would dramatically cut down on the bikes taken on Max, increase ridership, and pass on some of the costs of expanding the system. Would likely increase corporate purchases of Trimet passes as well, since free transportation to and from work would be a pretty cheap and attractive option to offer their employees.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Your personal bike covers 1-2 miles on each end of a train trip. Bike share covers only the downtown end, but the longer gap is in the burbs (unless you can take them home at night — which might not be a bad idea.) Yes, it would make sense to have one agency running all forms of transit.

lop
Guest
lop

>unless you can take them home at night — which might not be a bad idea

What’s the point then? Let someone else be responsible for the bike during the day? Take your bike for the proverbial first mile, secure parking at transit centers (and definitely one in Goose Hollow), bike share to get people from the MAX station to the corporate campus or other job center.

Beth
Guest

If our close-in infrastructure were better designed to make bicycling safer during rush hour, then perhaps fewer bicycle riders would feel inclined to take MAX for part of their commute.
Then, too, if Portland were a lot less hilly, the same might also hold true.
Half of it is how damned hilly our city is, and past a certain point I just don’t feel like riding over dead volcanoes every day, so sometimes I take my bike onto MAX to shorten the ride.
There may come a time when bikes will be banned altogether from MAX, or at least during peak hours. Portland is growing too fast to avoid ducking that question for much longer.

Dan M.
Guest
Dan M.

Good lord if you’re complaining about the topography of your city then move.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

Nice. Topography is a serious consideration for HPVs, whether you are willing to acknowledge it or not. My problem with a lot of neighborhood greenways is that PBOT DOESN’T consider topography when siting them, e.g. SE Salmon climbs the highest hill between SE Hawthorne and Belmont, and proposed routes for the mid-20’s N-S bikeway all have significant topographic barriers to bicycling.

Mark
Guest
Mark

I have the same problem with some of the bikeway routing. Specifically, the Fifties bikeway between Hawthorne and Stark. It goes up and down a big hill and zig-zags around a lot. That’s why I never use that section and instead use the direct and level route on SE 49th.

It’s like the planners are only looking at traffic counts when choosing routes. “Oooh, this street has almost no traffic on it, let’s use that!” Yeah, the reason there’s so little traffic is that it’s indirect and inconvenient. Thanks for nothing. It also fuels aggression from motorists who are angry that I’m on a direct route when there’s a “perfectly good” rambling, indirect alternative that’s full of stop signs and only eight or ten blocks out of my way.

zholz
Subscriber

Topography is super important for people deciding which mode — or in this case, which combination of modes — they’ll use to get around. I found Beth’s comment honest, certainly not one that was “complaining.”

I think asking people to leave their city because the hills make it more difficult for them to cycle everywhere they want — that discourages more people from getting on bikes. It doesn’t matter how much struggle your mode entails. Trimet realizes that not everyone can or wants to ride over hills to get where they need to go.

Anyway, my main point is that you don’t have to be a geographic determinist to agree that hills and other topography can significantly effect mode choices.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Electric bikes, but then you don’t need trimet unless you prefer to sit and read a book. Maybe folding electric bikes, but not 50lbs.

BLINKY
Subscriber

There are what, maybe 4 iterations of the max train design? It seems they keep streamlining the same concept. I’m not complaining, the new versions seem incrementally better to me. I wonder though if trimet has or would consider different train types. I’m envisioning a train car with half seats half hooks or maybe all folding seats with hooks above them so riders could configure the seating to meet the sitting / biking demand more dynamically.

A few of those intermixed during rush hour could go a long way.

Jessica Roberts
Guest
Jessica Roberts

Half seats half hooks makes no sense unless TriMet changes their mission to be “transporting bicycles and their related people” instead of “transporting people.”

bridgitiri
Subscriber
bridgitiri

I feel like the most ideal application of finding better bike storage solutions on the MAX isn’t to oust non-cyclists, but to get the current volume of bikes safely stored and out of the way of people without bikes.

I doubt there’s an easy way to get people to just stop bringing their bikes, unless (as suggested) Trimet takes over bike share and establishes it at many stations out in the suburbs as well as downtown. Asking Trimet to come up with a better solution for bikes on trains isn’t to prioritize cyclists, it’s to give them adequate designated space so that they aren’t crowding the halls and getting in the way of all other riders.

Jim Labbe
Subscriber
Jim Labbe

If Tri-met pursues Bus Rapid Transit on SE Powell or elsewhere there needs to be greater capacity for bikes than is provided on current Tri-met buses. I wonder if they could design a bike rack that would fit three bikes.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

These 3 bike racks are being used by a lot of transit systems now.

http://www.sportworks.com/product/apex-3

AndyC of Linnton
Guest
AndyC of Linnton

I’ve brought this up numerous times to Trimet and get the same answer. Something to the effect that they cannot be used in Portland due to the turning radius on a lot of bus routes. It’s what they’ve consistently told me when I inquire about a 3-bike rack.

Anne Hawley
Subscriber
Anne Hawley

As the owner of no car and only one bike, which is too large to go on the MAX and too heavy for me to lift onto the front rack of a bus, I accepted early on that my transportation needs probably couldn’t be mixed. It’s all-bike or all-TriMet for me.

While I don’t often agree with wsbob, here I think I do. As a relatively able-bodied citizen, I’d never feel comfortable taking up more than one seat (well, there may be a bit of butt-overlap on crowded buses…). I’ve considered investing in a folding bike which would let me combine modes, or an e-assist bike, which would let me ride farther and need TriMet less. Neither is a perfect option for me.

Bike Share, however, might work out perfectly.

As for complaining about people with babies in strollers, good lord. I’m not a huge fan of babies either, but seriously? Parenting must be hard enough without feeling like you’re putting somebody out merely by riding a bus.

Dead Salmon
Guest
Dead Salmon

For better security, get one of these lightweight bikes and carry it to class:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUOnLx1-7BQ

Endo
Guest
Endo

TriMet goes through the motions every few years so that it seems like they actually care about what cyclists need or want. But when it comes time for them to *do* something, their plan ends up being worse for cyclists than doing nothing at all. I’m thinking about Interstate MAX, or the new swing gate crossing at SE 11th, or the lack of good options once you get off the west side of the Tillikum bridge.

The message they want you to think they’re sending is, “We love bikes.” The message they hope you get is “Biking is a hassle. Ride TriMet.”

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

TriMet’s performance in the Bike Commute Challenge says it all: only 49 of 2500 TriMet employees participated and their bike commute rate was a dismal 1.36%, well below the city average.

https://btaoregon.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Public-Agencies-500-.pdf

Michael Andersen (Contributor)
Editor

Free transit passes for all staff members goes a long way.

Adam
Subscriber

Each rush hour train should have a section at the end that can store 10 bikes. Also, build protected bike lanes parallel to each MAX line to take pressure off bike storage onboard. Every MAX station should also have a bike share dock.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Every MAX station should have a bike share dock?

So how would it work to have one single dock in Gresham or Clackamas or Hillsboro?

Adam
Subscriber

The service area should encompass the entire metro region. Our bike share will be a “dock anywhere” system, so users can lock up at work even without an official dock. Large employers like Nike and Intel can get official docking stations.

BeavertonRider
Guest
BeavertonRider

Not every rush hour train, but perhaps every other one or every third. They’re scheduled times so they are stable and predictable and people could time their schedules. But I like the idea of trains with one end devoted to bikes. Not every train needs this adaptation, though.

Bob Cummings
Guest
Bob Cummings

What TriMet says and what it does is always two different things. If TriMet is pretending to care about cyclist they are looking for a way to put the screws to them while pointing the finger to surveys and meetings while saying see how much we care. If TriMet does not want bicycles on trains and buses then provide safe and secure facilities for people park their bike without worrying about theft, vandalism and personal safety. I for one rarely use TriMet simply because my bike is more reliable than TriMet service.

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

Bikes and Trimet seems like a great match to me. Making last mile connections with my bike allows me to use the MAX/bike at times where I otherwise would have driven. However, not adequately accommodating bikes introduces a lot of uncertainty into trip planning that usually results in a car trip. Since the trains have become so crowded, it seems reasonable to expect Trimet to run trains more frequently during high-use times. More storage capacity on the trains and charging for the space also seem appropriate.

Adam
Subscriber

Absolutely this. Why is is so hard for TriMet to understand that if there’s even a 10% chance someone won’t be able to bring their bike on MAX or bus, then they generally won’t ever bother with it at all? For something as important as getting to work on time, people need a guarantee that they’ll have that bike connection.

Mark
Guest
Mark

It seems a little much to ask to be accommodated by Trimet during crush load times. I mean, you are standing next to a bike..ride it? Comparing trimet to RtD is sort of limo vs rickshaw. RTD makes you carry your bike up the steep stairs (they don’t have low floor), there is no hook and there is a big sign that states “keep bike behind this line”. Yeah…no love… But hey, if you bring a stroller, the RTD driver will exit the cab, drop the ramp and wait for you to enter with your stroller ..your highness.

So…yeah, moms with prams scream louder than bikers.

soren
Subscriber

Why is it that most large cities with extensive light rail or subway systems allow unlimited access to bikes?

One of many examples:

http://web.mta.info/bike/

lop
Guest
lop

>unlimited access to bikes

Many (most?) NYC subway stations don’t allow you to enter or leave with a bike – built long before ADA regulations, and they don’t want you lifting your bike over the turnstile. Where they exist elevators are often out, no rail to roll your bike up/down the stairs. There are no hooks on the trains, you have to stand with your bike. You have to keep your bike at the edge of a car, you aren’t allowed to block the aisle or doors. If there are too many people on the train and you can’t squeeze through to the edge of the car? It’s too crowded and you aren’t permitted to bring your bike on board. Other than the operator you have one employee on a train that might have 1000 people, so little worry about him bothering to kick you off, but don’t expect people to move to let you on when your bike would jammed up against them. And good luck getting your bike off the at capacity train. The real reason they don’t ban bikes during rush hour:

https://www.google.com/search?q=nyc+subway+crowd&tbm=isch

The crowding serves as a defacto ban on bikes already.

PATH (subway/rapid transit), Metronorth and LIRR (commuter rail) ban bikes during rush hour.

Copenhagen metro bans bikes during rush hour 9 months a year and charges extra all other times.

http://intl.m.dk/#!/about+the+metro/tickets/bicycles

>Why is it that most large cities with extensive light rail or subway systems allow unlimited access to bikes?

Do they? To the extent you might be right is it because few people are bringing their bikes on the trains so there’s no need to try to ‘manage’ the demand? If one person brings their bike on board it’s usually not a big deal. If everyone does you need to run a lot more trains.

Adam
Subscriber

In Chicago, both the ‘L’ and Metra commuter trains ban bikes outright during rush hour (typically 7-9am and 5-7pm). Additionally, if a person in a wheelchair needs the ADA spot on a Metra train, the conductor can kick you off the train to wait sometimes an hour or more for the next one.