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Faster buses, better biking: Weigh in on TriMet’s Division Transit project

Posted by on June 28th, 2017 at 9:23 am

TriMet plans to build 10 of these station types east of 82nd on the new high-capacity bus line coming to Division Street.

Division Transit Project Open House

A key chance to weigh in

  • Thursday, June 29 from 5:00 to 7:30 pm
  • Portland Community College Southeast
    Community Annex Hall (2305 SE 82nd Ave)

Project website

Remember Metro and TriMet’s attempt to build a bus rapid transit line between downtown Portland and Gresham?

Three years ago the agencies embarked on an ambitious plan to route super-fast buses along SE Powell Blvd.

Unfortunately, a reluctance to constrain existing auto capacity on busy 82nd Avenue — a key link in the route — led to projected bus travel times that fell below federal requirements. In other words, their “bus rapid transit” wasn’t rapid enough.

The new plan agreed to by both agencies and a steering committee is to make significant bus upgrades and route a new, “high capacity transit” line on Division Street. If funding plans materialize as expected (they’re hoping to get into President Trump’s infrastructure budget), the $175 million project is scheduled to open in 2021 and will run 14 miles from Northwest Portland to the Gresham Transit Center/Mt. Hood Community College.

With the route utilizing Division Street, the Portland Bureau of Transportation wants to make sure the transit project maximizes potential of the Outer Division Safety Project, which is the centerpiece of their Vision Zero efforts. PBOT has teamed up with TriMet for the project’s first big open house tomorrow (6/29) Portland Community College Southeast (2305 SE 82nd) from 5:00 to 7:30 pm.

Like PBOT’s plans, TriMet’s project will impact bicycling in several important ways. The agency needs your feedback on new station locations and designs and how best to take bikes on-board the new — and longer — buses planned for the route. Whether you ride bikes, the bus, or both, now is the time to weigh in.

Last week I sat down with TriMet’s Division Transit Project Manager Michael Kiser and Active Transportation Planner Jeffrey Owen to learn more about the project.

Coordination with PBOT

PBOT graphic showing how elements of their Outer Division project intersect with TriMet’s Division Transit project.

TriMet’s Kiser says his project will “clarify the corridor” and create a better place for PBOT to insert its updates to Outer Division. “We will build off the approach they’ve defined,” he said.

For instance, PBOT’s plans call for protected bike lanes on Division from 82nd to the eastern city limits (164th or so). The city aims to complete these lanes with a temporary design using plastic “flexible posts” by the end of 2018. Then TriMet will come along and make the protected bike lanes permanent by 2021. Kiser said the TriMet project will include funding for real, physically protected (not just flex posts!) bike lanes “as a condition of project approval.”

Similar to the Orange Line MAX project, this transit investment will attract all sorts of attention in terms of planning and financial resources. At this relatively early stage in the design (plans are at 15 percent now and public feedback will help inform 30 percent plans), now is the time make sure current and future bikeways are smartly integrated.

Why not use Hawthorne instead of Tilikum?

The chosen alignment has raised eyebrows because it must cross the Union Pacific Railroad line at SE 8th Avenue. Some people hoped it would use Hawthorne instead due to fears about long railroad crossing wait times. TriMet prefers the Tilikum/SE 8th alignment for reliability (see below) and its stronger connections to OHSU and South Waterfront.

Kiser said Hawthorne was analyzed as a potential option, but was ultimately thrown out because projections showed it gets too clogged with auto traffic too often. TriMet also analyzed UPRR rail crossings and found that “incidents” (crossings) during AM and PM peak times are “pretty minor” and infrequent. “That gave us comfort about the risk of using the Tilikum route,” Kiser said. The assumption from TriMet is that wait times during morning and evening rush-hour would be less than three minutes.

TriMet says they’re also working with UPRR to speed up trains through the area. One method would be to install automatic train switches in the Brooklyn yard to replace manual onces currently in use.

Station designs and locations

With 41 stations and 80 platforms, the new Division transit line will significantly change the look and feel of the street.

TriMet will use four types of station designs along the route, depending on right-of-way and traffic volume restrictions. Here are the three designs:

Island 1:

Island 2:

Integrated 1:

Integrated 2:

Learn more about each design at the online open house.

Space for faster buses

None of this works if buses can’t go fast. And absent real, 100 percent bus-only lanes for the entire route, TriMet has devised several ways to increase bus speeds.

“Sometimes this project has exclusive right-of-way,” Kiser said, “But for the most part we’re operating within existing travel lanes.”

To keep buses moving quickly, TriMet is laser-focused on decreasing “dwell times” (when the bus is stopped for passenger loading) and using a combination of “bus access and transit” (BAT) lanes and high-tech traffic signals to clear cars out of the way.

There will be no more fare-checking by drivers (it will be more like getting on MAX light rail). Station platforms will be raised up so buses don’t have to kneel down for customers. The Hop Fastpass will be operational by the line’s opening day. The buses will have three boarding doors.

And about those BAT lanes: Some of the stations will have specially marked lanes where only buses and right-turning cars are allowed. To keep cars from blocking buses, new signals will be installed to give buses priority. “We’ll be implementing advanced technology for transit signal priority,” Kiser said. “Using systems we don’t even have in place today.”

The signals will be programmed to “flush” cars through the right-turn only BAT lanes so that approaching buses can access stops. TriMet’s Owen said, “It’s an invisible priority that will allow us to sneak through.”

Getting bikes on board (no more front racks!)

One of the biggest changes coming with this project are longer buses. They’ll be 60-feet long, 20-feet longer than typical TriMet buses. And they’ll have three doors instead of two. TriMet’s bike planner Jeff Owen says, “They’re kind of like a standard bus with half another bus attached to it.”

The upshot for bicycle users is threefold; room for more bikes, a bike-specific loading door, and the ability to store bikes on racks inside the bus instead of on exterior front racks.

TriMet says putting bikes inside the bus is meant to improve loading speeds. It’s a bonus that people won’t have to mess with those front racks — which take longer and are intimidating for many people to use.

As for the type of rack that will be in the new buses, that’s still undecided. Based on what other cities are using, TriMet’s Owen says the racks will either be a hook on the roof (similar to MAX) or more of a ramp-style.

If you’d rather park your bike, TriMet plans to install bike parking staples at the new stations. Because this project has a limited budget and existing right-of-way is so constrained, they won’t build new bike parking shelters or bike-and-rides.


As you can see, there’s a lot to consider here. While it won’t be the full-fledged bus rapid transit we need; it will be TriMet’s first-ever high capacity bus line.

“We’re introducing a new type of mode,” Kiser shared with me last week. “We want it to be successful not just for this project but for future projects. We have to set our priorities accordingly, creating that balance between community needs, performance, and costs — and doing it in a way that is transportation and has integrity and equity built into it.”

How does it look to you? Is TriMet Please attend Thursday night’s open house and/or check out TriMet’s online open house.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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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. Thank you — Jonathan

131 Comments
  • rick June 28, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Will there be a moratorium for no construction allowed for car dealers on SE Division? Land use.

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    • Kyle Banerjee June 28, 2017 at 10:56 am

      As if that would impact car use in any way.

      In any case, riding past car dealerships is easier/safer than most places because sight lines are excellent, entrances/exits are spaced out, relatively little traffic goes in/out, and that tends to be way mellower since drivers are babysat or at least noticed by dealership staff.

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      • rick June 28, 2017 at 11:33 am

        other cities have placed moratoriums on the construction of new car dealers and auto parts store. why not portland?

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty June 28, 2017 at 12:30 pm

          There are lots of places you can’t build a car dealership — for example, you couldn’t do it on inner Division, even if you could afford the space.

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          • Bald One June 28, 2017 at 1:40 pm

            there are lots of car dealerships around the inner eastside – maybe not your typical “lot” dealer but rather the luxury, custom, european, etc where cars are housed inside. division is not out of the question – maybe the first dispensary/car dealership will find a nice home there.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty June 28, 2017 at 4:37 pm

              It depends on the zoning.

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            • Spiffy June 29, 2017 at 12:33 pm

              dispensary/car dealer? they’s have to sell electric cars to tout the “green” aspect of both businesses…

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          • Kyle Banerjee June 28, 2017 at 1:57 pm

            Zoning is a legitimate reason to say who can and cannot do what and where. Targeting businesses simply because you don’t like their product (i.e. political reasons) does not.

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            • maccoinnich June 28, 2017 at 3:21 pm

              I’d encourage you to read chapter 831 of the Clackamas County Zoning Code if you think local governments don’t already target businesses simply because the government doesn’t like the product being sold.

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              • Kyle Banerjee June 28, 2017 at 3:31 pm

                Our state laws are a big enough joke and it gets worse as you get more local. That doesn’t make the practice right or mean that it should be continued.

                Using political position to screw people just because you don’t like them makes a mockery of government.

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        • eawrist June 28, 2017 at 2:12 pm

          I would love to see a progressively increasing tax on any business with over 10 ground level car parking spaces within inner Pland. This would free up a lot of space for people. A lot of car parking lots in the central east side are rarely used to capacity.

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          • Kyle Banerjee June 28, 2017 at 2:41 pm

            I’m sure the grocery stores will think this is a great idea…

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            • eawrist June 28, 2017 at 3:03 pm

              Indeed. Or it may encourage them to develop their parking lots with apartments and underground parking.

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              • Kyle Banerjee June 28, 2017 at 3:21 pm

                I didn’t catch the ground level part. Very relevant for this particular suggestion.

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            • Spiffy June 29, 2017 at 12:36 pm

              people shouldn’t have to drive to a grocery store… and as driving gets more annoying then more grocery stores will be located close to housing…

              and grocery delivery is becoming more common…

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty June 29, 2017 at 12:39 pm

                Not to be cynical, but the way it will work is as neighborhoods become wealthier, grocery stores will be located closer to housing.

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              • Kyle Banerjee June 29, 2017 at 12:47 pm

                It is becoming more common and I see this as a good thing. But there are still all kinds of issues with delivery — such as dealing with perishables, theft, etc.

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              • Dave June 29, 2017 at 6:18 pm

                …and grocery delivery adds to traffic. Not really a way to reduce congestion.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty June 29, 2017 at 6:24 pm

                One car making 5 stops may be better than 5 cars making one stop. Even better would be 5 bikes making one stop.

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        • bikeninja June 28, 2017 at 2:55 pm

          Luckily the upcoming collapse in subprime car loans, lease return armageddon and the financial debacle in the tight oil business will decimate the auto pushers and their associated rackets ( car insurance, body shops, auto advertising, etc.). They will join their well deserved place in history’s dust-bin along with fur trappers, whalers and asbestos miners.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty June 28, 2017 at 6:40 pm

            People have been predicting the demise of the auto business for decades. Eventually it might come to pass.

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            • David Hampsten June 29, 2017 at 12:40 pm

              Yup, it musta been a hunnern years ago we had hosses erywhere, ereyone with personal hoss barns, hoss parking garages (livery stables), an hoss waste erywhere. Remember the smell? Pee-ew! Now all we have are them those lariat rings in the curbsand the Springwater hoss buttons at Foster, plus the odd pile of hoss sit on the trail. Yup, them were the days…

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        • Kyle Banerjee June 30, 2017 at 7:16 am

          rick
          other cities have placed moratoriums on the construction of new car dealers and auto parts store. why not portland?

          If you want a lot of super dirty and illegal activity, just keep going after the auto parts stores.

          If you make it too inconvenient to responsibly dispose of fluids such as oil and old car parts, people just dump these things in the trash.

          On an aside note, except in NoPo, the density of auto parts stores strikes me as incredibly low.

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    • Kittens June 28, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      lol, never saw this response coming! Funny.

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    • Joe Adamski June 28, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      New auto based businesses are no longer given permits in the St Johns Lombard Plan area, roughly Lombard from Portsmouth to St Louis, and the Cathedral Park hillside. Existing auto based businesses are ‘grandfathered in’. Despite 10 years of that policy, and a number of auto businesses going away, Lombard corridor is as auto centric as ever.

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  • bikeninja June 28, 2017 at 10:08 am

    I like it, but I am skeptical of the buses being able to obtain any real speed through the heart of the Division retail and apartment district because of slow moving cars gawking at the ice cream shops or looking for parking. Perhaps if the cars were taken off Division in this area it would work ( and solve some other problems) but the auto flow on to the neighborhood streets on either side of Division would be terrible. Automobile travel is kind of like the lump of dirt you try and hide under the carpet, you can push it around but it keeps popping up somewhere else.

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    • Kittens June 28, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      It’s just a real stinker. The busses will all be jammed up from 50th inbound. Any time savings from the millions spent building this will be obliterated by Kelly in her Rav4 hunting for parking near Pok Pok and grandpa driving Lyft to supplement his social security, double parked for wealthy tourists from SF to get their VooDoo Salt & Straw -or whatever.

      The whole neighborhood needs to move aggressively to solve the problem in tandem with the Division project:
      1) Metered parking with resident permits throughout
      2) remove parking from both sides of Division to make way for swales, protected dedicated bike lanes and new raised platforms for the BRT>
      3) construction of modest city-owned parking structures at either end of the commercial strip to sweeten the deal for myopic shop owners afraid the sky is falling.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty June 28, 2017 at 4:24 pm

        Given the width of Division, we can’t have both swales and bike lanes (without removing a travel lane). Given that the swales are already there, literally set in concrete, I think Division is fated to not have bike lanes. Once you have swales (and curb extensions), parking doesn’t take away anyone.

        That said, I agree with you about the fact that traffic speeds and the lack of passing opportunities on Division will limit the potential speed improvements of any transit service on the street. Neither cars nor buses will be able to pass one another no matter how congested things get.

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        • Buzz June 29, 2017 at 9:19 am

          The swales in the parking lane have only been there a few years, and the city lost a huge opportunity to put through bike lanes on lower SE Division when they made the unfortunate decision to build the swales in the parking lane instead.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty June 29, 2017 at 12:36 pm

            It was a good decision if you value the ability to cross safely. The curb extensions made a huge difference in the pedestrian usability of the street. Pedestrians are at the apex of the transportation hierarchy.

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      • John Liu
        John Liu June 28, 2017 at 6:37 pm

        Considering that Clinton parallels Division and is only a block away, the need for bike lanes on Division isn’t huge. A nice-to-have but not a have-to-have. And considering the traffic speeds on Division are often pretty slow, sometimes a doesn’t-matter-to-have.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty June 28, 2017 at 6:38 pm

          Especially not when going downhill.

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        • Kyle Banerjee June 29, 2017 at 10:04 am

          Bike lanes on Division where Clinton is nearby is a waste of resources and possibly more harm than good.

          If you get caught by a single light or have to stop a couple times for peds, any speed advantage you would have gotten by taking Division is lost. Traffic is slow even uphill on Division except when the road is empty, and even then it’s not bad.

          There is an especially high number of peds on Division and sight lines aren’t great. Given the huge number of cyclists that insist on blasting by on the right of cars when they can’t see what’s going on in front of them and the poor treatment of pedestrians, the logical outcome of putting bike lanes on Division would be to dramatically increase bike/car and bike/ped conflicts while not even speeding bikes up much if at all.

          There are plenty of places that bike lanes would be useful. For example, Lombard has been getting some airplay yesterday with the predictable whining that the new striping is inadequate and needs improvement. Personally, I’d rather see any striping on the very long section of Lombard that has none whatsoever and has none coming anytime soon. I rode it yesterday and saw zero cyclists other than myself, the same as I’ve seen zero cyclists every time I ride that stretch. There are other areas of town that need bike improvements a lot more than inner Division.

          If you want people riding bikes, the infrastructure needs to be dispersed a lot more evenly than it is rather than focus enormous amounts of attention on tiny areas.

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          • Buzz June 29, 2017 at 11:22 am

            I’d much rather ride on Division than on the SE Clinton fustercluck, particularly if my destination is on Division.

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          • Kyle Banerjee June 29, 2017 at 1:06 pm

            Believe me, I feel you on this.

            I ride Division rather than Clinton even when I have to cross Clinton except during peak periods when traffic is just too mucked up. I’ll take ordinary traffic to gaggles of bikes any day. Riding Clinton is not entirely unlike riding an extra wide MUP.

            I still don’t think bike lanes are a good idea in that area of Division. Increased conflicts are likely to degrade safety and slow down what is already a slow street. People who don’t like mixing with cars already have an excellent option and there are areas much more deserving of attention than this.

            If they want to mess with the area, maybe some more signals that give peds and cars dedicated right of way to create a safer and more predictable flow.

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        • Bald One June 29, 2017 at 11:08 am

          I would say this is similar to bike lanes on Lombard. Very simple, safe, and easy to bike around the grid in STJ adjacent to this new section. Getting over the RR cut needs to be improved: bike lanes on Lombard over the cut, improved maintanance, improvement on nothern Willamette Blvd (lower traffic speeds, add bike lanes, widen and buffer bike lanes around the swerves just south of the cut).

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      • David Hampsten June 28, 2017 at 7:04 pm

        I dare say that folks using the bus from 92nd to 164th will often transfer to/from the Green Line MAX at I-205, skipping the slow inner section.

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        • Joseph E June 29, 2017 at 7:47 am

          Right! This line is useful for the section in East Portland, even if the bus along division will still be slow through inner SE.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty June 29, 2017 at 8:22 am

            So why not just build it in the east, spending more money to make a better connection to the Green Line / Gateway (where riders can transfer to rail and bypass the crowds), and leave inner Division bus service as-is?

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            • SE Rider June 29, 2017 at 9:37 am

              Because the line on division is already over-crowded and people are getting skipped at stops because of full buses. This will at least add some more capacity even if it doesn’t greatly improve travel times.

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              • David Hampsten June 29, 2017 at 12:42 pm

                That’s only if they keep the local service. The proposals I’ve seen are to eliminate and replace the local service with this system, with far fewer stops.

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              • SE Rider June 29, 2017 at 3:11 pm

                I don’t know about “far fewer” I’ve only seen them eliminating a few of them, and I know this has been a hotly debated topic for many.

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        • osmill June 29, 2017 at 8:25 am

          Why would they be any more likely to transfer to the Green line from the proposed changes if they don’t already transfer from the 4? In *theory,* the bus trip from 205 to downtown will be faster then than it is now.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty June 29, 2017 at 8:33 am

            No one believes that TriMet will be able to make traveling along inner Division faster than today, and that what time they can save with enhanced boarding will be minimal in the big scheme.

            Does anyone at TriMet actually believe this?

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  • Kyle Banerjee June 28, 2017 at 10:12 am

    I have mixed feelings about bikes on public transit. On one hand, I get it — people need to get from their true start and end points to the bus stops.

    On the other, transit is very crowded, very few bikes fit even in a best case scenario and they slow boarding and disembarking. I’m not sure this should be a priority, particularly as bike share expands.

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    • Chris I June 28, 2017 at 10:22 am

      If fast buses are the goal, they shouldn’t have front racks, instead providing space onboard, similar to MAX. If we are moving to offboard pavement, a single cyclist will double or triple the dwell time at a stop if they have to use a front rack.

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      • Kyle Banerjee June 28, 2017 at 10:51 am

        I’m not sure bikes should be accommodated at all. Two bikes is too insignificant to rely on in addition to slowing things down, they’re a nuisance on board (where you still can’t fit that many), and bike facilities only accommodate a few specific types of bikes ridden by able bodied people. As much as I like to take my bike everywhere, they don’t belong everywhere.

        What would be nice is if bike lockers were available in addition to staples which only allow you to protect the frame and wheels at best. Staples and bike racks are better than nothing, but aren’t good for security except for short periods of time or when you’re still in sight.

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        • Austin June 28, 2017 at 1:02 pm

          What if some folks need their bike on both ends of their trip?

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          • Alex Reedin June 28, 2017 at 3:29 pm

            I think the obvious solution for those folks is a folding bike.

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          • SE Rider June 28, 2017 at 4:13 pm

            Isn’t this a strong argument for expanding bikeshare?

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    • bikeninja June 28, 2017 at 1:22 pm

      But if you back away and look at it from a theoretical perspective figuring out how to accommodate bikes on mass transit smoothly and efficiently is the “killer app”. They share a symbiotic relationship that is hard to beat. Mass Transit for Distance and Difficult geography ( west hills) and bikes for the beginning and ending 1-3 miles that is very difficult to cover with frequent Trains or Buses. No matter how much some people like them, individuals moving around in 4000lb hunks of metal is a thermodynamic and mathematical dead end. With the physical resources we have left. combining mass transit and bikes is the logical solution to urban transportation. We must think outside the box and apply creative and innovative solutions to making this work.

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      • Kyle Banerjee June 28, 2017 at 1:48 pm

        The basic issue is that bikes take loads of space as well as more time to load and unload. Addressing these space and time issues would require running transit more frequently or bigger trains/buses with a dedicated area designed to support getting bikes on/off quickly.

        Those who need bikes at both ends and for whom a combination of bikeshare, walking, and other public transit isn’t an option would be good candidates for folding bikes which take a fraction of the space of regular bikes and don’t introduce the same issue when brought on board.

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        • David Hampsten June 28, 2017 at 7:11 pm

          Folding bikes as a solution is a dead-end when dealing with the poorer residents of Division between 82nd & 164th, who often use Walmart or used bikes that they can afford, and not an $800 Tikket, let alone a Brompton. The roll-on-roll-off solution is clearly designed to increase bicycle use in East portland, knowing full well that alternate routes and solutions exist in inner portland.

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          • Kyle Banerjee June 28, 2017 at 10:25 pm

            As if bkes on transit were ever more than window dressing. The number of people served this way has never been more than symbolic.

            Rather than figuring out how to make bikes work on transit, we need to first get transit working and bikes working better on their own.

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            • Clark in Vancouver June 29, 2017 at 9:10 am

              I think it’s more than just window dressing. In Vancouver, BC every single bus has a rack on the front. This changes many things. You don’t have to find out which buses have racks and which don’t since all of them do. You don’t have to be concerned about carrying tools all the time since when you get a flat you can just stick it on the bus and go home and fix it. Sure they only carry two bikes but it makes a huge difference.
              It’s not good at times when everyone wants to go to the same place with a bike of course.

              I like the idea written here about the long buses having a bike door and racks inside.

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              • Kyle Banerjee June 29, 2017 at 10:27 am

                Two bikes is window dressing. It means that only a tiny percentage of riders can take advantage of the service and they can’t count on it.

                I find the argument for dedicated bike capacity on public transit weak. For all intents and purposes, bringing a bike on transit is like bringing on any kind of large and dirty object. Transit’s not good for that.

                I find the number of cyclists unprepared or unwilling to deal with minor mechanicals like flats surprising. But that’s neither here nor there since most people only have a few miles to go, bike shops seem to be everywhere, other cyclists offer assistance, and you can always call rideshare to take you back if you don’t own a car.

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    • BB June 29, 2017 at 11:00 am

      In other words because people using bikes on transit doesn’t fit your personal expectations of how everyone should behave based on criteria from your life, it should be banned.

      Ok.

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      • Kyle Banerjee June 29, 2017 at 1:36 pm

        No.

        It’s because the justification for using public resources to unreliably benefit a tiny group is weak. There are better uses for these resources than feeding cyclist entitlement.

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    • Spiffy June 29, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      the same argument can be made for strollers… they waste even more space in proportion to their tiny riders… many people don’t even bother to fold them up on the bus and they block the aisle…

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      • Kyle Banerjee June 29, 2017 at 3:45 pm

        Comparing able bodied people who choose to ride a particular type of bike to get around and people who still need a specific appliance to get kids around is ridiculous.

        Note that the bike facilities do not support cargo bikes that people use to haul kids. These bikes typically weigh well over double what a normal bike does even before you throw a kid or two on that increases that even more. They don’t handle adaptive bikes either. So the groups that arguably need it the most get no relief.

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        • X June 30, 2017 at 8:30 am

          Kyle: We get it that you don’t need to put your bike on transit. Some of us find it very useful at times. It’s not good at commute hours (crowded, slow) but it’s great for starting a tour at the edge of town, or speeding up a trip to the West slope, or reducing the number of transfers in an otherwise convoluted transit routing. You present yourself as a strong cyclist and then reject the choices of people who aren’t out prove anything, physically. Procrustean!
          I’d like to see TriMet adopt the three-bike racks that are used in Seattle, especially on the 30 bus and similar routes.

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          • Kyle Banerjee July 1, 2017 at 12:04 am

            I don’t doubt it’s very useful to some people. All I’m saying is that the number of people it benefits is so small that the resources would be better spent elsewhere.

            Every detail about transit is critically important to someone. When and where it goes, what times, etc. That details just happen to line up with a small number of people doesn’t make it a good idea.

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          • Kyle Banerjee July 1, 2017 at 12:13 pm

            BTW, it’s not that I don’t want to put my bike on transit. Nor do I think there is any value to trying to prove anything when commuting. It’s that I think mass transit needs to be about moving lots of people as efficiently as possible.

            For example, consider the tram. The hill is steeper and longer than many people can handle, so it’s totally logical to want to bring a bike on the tram. Bikes get to load before everyone else regardless when they arrive and during peak times not everyone fits so some people have to wait an extra cycle. I’ve also seen situations where MAX trains with bikes on them didn’t have enough room for all the people. And if it’s a tight fit, the bikes slow things down even when everyone can get on.

            Situations like these are not good from a service perspective and they contribute to the perception of bikes being a nuisance — which they are in these specific cases.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu June 28, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Seems to me that if Trimet and PBOT invest this much money and effort in the Division bus line, and the buses are still stuck in traffic, then there will be even more pressure to establish bus-only lanes where they are needed. Eventually the pressure will produce changes. In other words, we might eventually get BRT after all.

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    • Kevin June 28, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      My thoughts exactly.

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    • David Hampsten June 28, 2017 at 7:15 pm

      Make inner Division bus & bike only: Eliminate car parking and through-travel on inner Division, and only allow local access to driveways and off-street parking. Outer Division has plenty of space for both traffic and buses, as the parking lane is rarely used, and there is plenty of off-street parking.

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      • John Liu
        John Liu June 29, 2017 at 8:01 am

        So all that traffic gets shunted to Clinton and other residential streets?

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty June 29, 2017 at 8:18 am

          Not all. Through the magic of reverse induced demand, it just disappears. *Poof!*

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        • David Hampsten June 29, 2017 at 12:52 pm

          There isn’t as much “through traffic” on inner Division, but rather a lot of folks trying to get to local businesses or to other places and passing through. Yes, some of it will be shunted to other streets, but a lot of it is from drivers who should be using other modes, such as bicycling, to do local errands, but who currently find driving significantly more convenient. By making it that much less convenient, some drivers will be more willing to use other modes or bypass the area altogether. Outer Division car traffic, alas, is mostly pass-through, to and from Gresham. There are no good substitute parallel routes to shunt traffic to in East portland; Powell is already more congested than Division, with far fewer lanes.

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  • Allan Rudwick June 28, 2017 at 11:13 am

    One idea- Figure out the train schedules and re-route when the trains are going to cause long wait times. People who want to go to the South Waterfront can transfer and everyone else will get to skip the wait.

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    • Bald One June 28, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      Or, figure out how to route the BRT bus over the existing Tri-Met / Streetcar flyover bridge over the UPRR tracks and Water Ave that was built a few years ago near OMSI.

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      • MaxD June 29, 2017 at 2:31 pm

        can you believe they built that thing without sidewalks?! Talk about short-sighted. It is as if they don’t believe their plans will work, so they build everything to a minimum and have to retrofit

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    • David Hampsten June 28, 2017 at 7:18 pm

      Good luck with that. Cities nationwide have tried to get the private railroads to give them such schedules, to no avail, for decades. The railroads have a higher level of right-of-way than emergency services such as fire or police do.

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  • Buzz June 28, 2017 at 11:33 am

    So cyclists will be pushed all the way over to the right and hidden from motorists view by the busses and platforms, and they will suddenly emerge in front of the bus where right-turning motorists are queuing to turn?

    Sounds to me like a recipe for a whole new rash of right-hook crashes.

    Plus you have to deal with a bunch of clueless bus riders crossing the bike lane to access the bus?

    Really folks, these ‘protected’ bike lanes are nowhere near as safe as advocates like to claim.

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    • peejay June 28, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      You’re going to have to back that statement up with data.

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      • Buzz June 28, 2017 at 3:49 pm

        If and when they build this crap, the data will become available.

        This proposal is just another TriMet design failure which cyclists are gonna have to suck up and like it, for better or worse.

        If nothing else, the bus stops should be at the upstream end of the street and not at the downstream end of the street, so they don’t block right-turning motorists’ view of the bike lane. The drawings they show for the ‘island 2 design’ don’t even pass the laugh test for cyclist safety.

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        • Buzz June 28, 2017 at 4:07 pm

          and it’s even worse for the ‘island 1’ design if right turns are still allowed at these intersections…

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        • eawrist June 28, 2017 at 5:45 pm

          Perhaps. Although there are lead interval and separated signal possibilities. Given a protected intersection design, many of these criticisms are irrelevant.

          http://www.protectedintersection.com

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          • Buzz June 29, 2017 at 9:21 am

            Sure, but they are not building that type of protected intersection here, so whatever.

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            • eawrist June 29, 2017 at 10:49 am

              Maybe something to suggest on their online/in person open house?

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              • Buzz June 29, 2017 at 11:22 am

                go for it, then.

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            • Another Engineer July 6, 2017 at 1:03 pm

              There are signal modifications with the project which will likely upgrade intersections with bicycle detection. In addition, the Transit Signal Priority will require all of the right turn signal heads to be run as individually wired overlap heads to allow them to be cleared out independent of the through movement. These upgrades will make implementing leading cyclist intervals a matter of timing changes and a cheap single three section bicycle head.

              If a bike is detected and there is no bus to clear out, then the overlap right turn head could remain red for a bicyclist clear out interval before allowing through and right movments. If a bike is detected and there is a bus then the bus priority will clear out the right hand turn lane to allow the bus to clear the intersection which could be followed by a red right hand turn signal, no right on red regulatory sign, and a green through and bicycle movement.

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              • Another Engineer July 6, 2017 at 1:05 pm

                If a bike is detected and there is no bus to clear out, then the overlap right turn head could remain red for a bicyclist clear out interval before allowing right turn movements.**

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    • Bald One June 28, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      agreed. bike lane should not be to the right of the bus platform. I think at this point, we can do a better job creating a tri-met feature that does not impede cyclists.

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      • Kyle Banerjee June 28, 2017 at 3:20 pm

        One way to do that is pass on the left rather than the right of stopping buses. That kind of sensible approach will never play here though.

        BTW, the issues regarding conflicts between bus passengers and cyclists are the same as they are on streets where transit is in the center such as Tilikum and MAX line on Interstate.

        It’s not that big a deal, except too many bоnеhead cyclists fail to yield to peds.

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    • Kyle Banerjee June 28, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Note that the peds are being described as clueless for being in a crosswalk specifically designed to service them.

      But I do agree that this design is likely to lead to many conflicts.

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      • Buzz June 28, 2017 at 4:06 pm

        When they are looking at their phone AND running for the bus they are late for, they are clueless.

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        • Kyle Banerjee June 28, 2017 at 4:39 pm

          Crosswalk laws still apply. I personally appreciate it when people move quickly rather than lollygagging.

          Interesting people are worried about people stepping in front of bikes since consensus here is that cars should be prepared for that even though they’re much faster and less maneuverable.

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          • SE Rider June 29, 2017 at 9:40 am

            a double standard on BP, say it ain’t so.

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      • mark June 28, 2017 at 7:51 pm

        Every one of the renderings that show a bike lane has people standing or walking in the bike lane outside of the crosswalks.

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        • Kyle Banerjee June 28, 2017 at 10:16 pm

          Sounds realistic enough. You still can’t run into them.

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          • mark June 29, 2017 at 7:54 am

            I understand that, but being trapped between a curb and a railing sucks. I would rather take the lane, avoiding the whole bus stop completely, then merge back into the bike lane after the intersection. Unfortunately, until the mandatory sidepath law is repealed, that move is illegal. I hate when sub-par infrastructure is built that is unsafe or inconvenient and we are forced to use it.

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            • John Liu
              John Liu June 29, 2017 at 8:19 am

              If a cyclist leaves the bike lane to pass a stopped bus on the left and then goes back into the bike lane, the chance of getting a traffic citation is very low, regardless of any sidepath law.

              Come to think of it, the chance of getting a traffic citation for any maneuver on a bike is very low.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty June 29, 2017 at 8:24 am

                Cyclists, as a rule, don’t like to disobey traffic laws.

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            • Spiffy June 29, 2017 at 12:56 pm

              you can still ride up on the sidewalk though…

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty June 28, 2017 at 11:18 pm

          That’s how that sort of bike lane works in reality.

          But look closer; I think they are actually unclearly rendered cyclists.

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          • David Hampsten June 29, 2017 at 10:32 am

            … living in the dark shadows of fear, worried about cars suddenly turning into the parking lots…

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    • Edward June 28, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      Y’know that spot on the Hawthorne bridge that’s always a problem? Because bikes / bus-stop? Seems so rife with problems … And fails to deal with cars.

      Time to nut up and deal with cars.

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      • X June 30, 2017 at 9:31 am

        Nut up? Give me a break. I’m all for interesting use of language but what have squirrels got to do with this?

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty June 30, 2017 at 8:14 pm

          C’mon. Even I know that “nut up” doesn’t mean squirrels. I know a chipmunk reference when I hear one.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu June 28, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      The only way a bus at the stop will block a driver’s view of a cyclist in the lane if is the driver is stuck waiting behind the bus. In which case the driver is not able to turn right anyway, hence no threat to the cyclist.

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      • Buzz June 28, 2017 at 4:56 pm

        Wrong, the Island 2 design has a short right-turn lane in front of the bus stop, and the Island 1 design will have some motorists passing the bus on the left and then making an immediate right turn in front of the bus, either legally or illegally.

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        • John Liu
          John Liu June 28, 2017 at 6:47 pm

          The driver will have a clear view of the bike lane and crosswalk after passing the bus, before entering the intersection and starting the right turn. That is as much of a view as drivers usually take before starting right turns. In dense, low speed urban driving, drivers don’t usually start looking for bikes/peds until fairly close to the start of the turning maneuver.

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          • Buzz June 29, 2017 at 9:22 am

            LOL!

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          • Spiffy June 29, 2017 at 12:58 pm

            that’s not my reality… but it’s hilarious…

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  • CaptainKarma June 28, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Bikes on busses are a major plus to getting around the city without a car. If I cannot combine the two, and safe cycling environments continue to be last priority, in spite of the stated hierarchy, I for one, will be forced to drive a car. Yay. We need a raised monorail.

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    • Buzz June 28, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      Or a real subway.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty June 28, 2017 at 12:40 pm

        Or more frequent service.

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  • Jonathan Owens June 28, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    BAT lanes are for “business-access-and-transit”. The “transit” part is the bus.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty June 28, 2017 at 6:41 pm

      You just made them seem about 200% less interesting.

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  • Ryan June 28, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Kinda excited about this. Looking at going down to one car as a family in the next few months, so on days I don’t feel like making my full round-trip commute by bike (~28 miles) I’ve been trying out a bike/transit combo. Has been a lot easier than I thought it would be, and since it cuts my biking down to around 3 miles each way I don’t mind wearing my work clothes. What’s so nice in my situation is that I can take the 4 line the whole way (from Gresham TC to SE 28th) on Division.

    Having faster travel times down this route would be awesome, and make it not feel like I’m sacrificing as much time vs. driving (it’s nearly the same as biking currently when you take into account cleaning up/changing after the ride). The biggest drawback has been frequent delayed buses on my commute home. I’ve only tried riding the bus home about 6-7 times so far and have had >10 minute delays at least 3 times already. Not a huge deal typically, but is one of those things that could make it seem not reliable enough for someone thinking about ditching their car for transit. Hopefully a new system like this could significantly improve the reliability/consistency.

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    • Spiffy June 29, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      you can’t count on buses being on time any more than you can count on the streets being congestion-free…

      I get to work early nearly every day via bus because I take the bus that comes before the one that I really need to…

      always plan on being delayed…

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      • Kyle Banerjee June 30, 2017 at 1:38 pm

        This is one of the many reasons I don’t ride transit. Having to take the one before (a wise and unfortunately necessary measure) significantly increases door to door times — particularly during off times or when you’re along a route that just isn’t as frequent.

        The other major reason is transit is so slow you can ride faster anyway except for a few extended stretches on a handful of routes.

        Except for peak times when congestion is miserable, I sometimes wonder about the efficiency of transit — there needs to be enough people on board for the economics to work out.

        The typical commuter in the PDX area lives 7 miles away. A ride of that length costs two and a half bucks or about 37 cents a mile and will probably take most commuters around an hour unless you’re on a section that moves really fast such as MAX from Hillsboro to the edge of town. Many, many people can drive for much less than that solo, let alone with others and they find the insides of their cars much more pleasant even when they’re slower.

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  • I Voted for Trump June 28, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Trump will make cycling great again.

    Why didn’t the guy before him do this?

    🙂

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  • JJJ June 29, 2017 at 7:44 am

    “they’re hoping to get into President Trump’s infrastructure budget”

    LOL

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  • Clark in Vancouver June 29, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Buzz
    Plus you have to deal with a bunch of clueless bus riders crossing the bike lane to access the bus?
    Recommended 8

    Well, the experience with a bus bypass cycle track in Vancouver (Dunsmuir and Cambie) is very good. People slow down when cycling to let people walk across it. People walking look both ways and cross.
    There was a short period when it was new that people didn’t know what to do. Some signage about protocol and some familiarity was all it took.

    But these things could be easily designed badly if the engineers don’t have any experience with such a thing and don’t “get it.”.

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  • Spiffy June 29, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Integrated 2: block the bike lane and encourage drivers to pass head on into oncoming traffic…

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  • Spiffy June 29, 2017 at 11:09 am

    I still don’t know how they’re going to increase travel times on a route that has 50 blocks of stopped bumper to bumper commute traffic…

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  • Gary B June 29, 2017 at 11:17 am

    I think this is extremely exciting! What a welcome surprise. It’s not perfect, but it’s bold. They could’ve just done something modest like increased frequency on Division, but instead they’ve proposed something that’s a big step forward. Lots of details to work out, but promising.

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  • Buzz June 30, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Dave
    …and grocery delivery adds to traffic. Not really a way to reduce congestion.

    Actually, if one delivery truck replaces dozens of people driving SOVs to the store, it does reduce congestion.

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    • OregonJelly July 1, 2017 at 12:44 am

      Maybe, but you can’t make that conclusion without knowing the total distance traveled. It’s possible that this one delivery truck is circling the city traveling just as many miles as those individual trips. In which case, there is no reduction. It’er certainly possible, but you say it like it’s a simple 12:1 reduction, which is not true.

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      • Buzz July 2, 2017 at 7:56 pm

        It’s actually not about miles driven, but rather, the number of vehicles on the road.

        The soccer mom driving their kids to school don’t rack up a lot of miles, but boy do they create a problem…

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  • Randy June 30, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    What about Trimet’s environmental impact statement? More, bigger buses = more diesel exhaust air pollution = + health risk for those who live adjacent to Division. Why would one want walk or bicycle in a high air pollution zone?

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    • Kyle Banerjee July 1, 2017 at 12:14 am

      If people are actually riding the bus, there is less pollution because one bus generates less pollution than dozens of people driving individual vehicles. Though buses need enough riders for the equation to work out.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty July 1, 2017 at 10:37 am

      Oh don’t worry… TriMet buses use at least 5% bio-diesel, so it’s all good, right?

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  • OregonJelly July 1, 2017 at 12:40 am

    They could have completed all of these changes in the amount of time they have spent talking about them.

    My take is the same. It’s 95% talk. Look at that accomplishment list. How many of the items have anything to do with faster transit? Two? In short, they have bigger buses and give them signal priority. Groundbreaking.

    Am I wrong, or is this just another Portland one-off test?

    Any serious plan for improving transit and pedestrian efficiency would START by removing on-street parking. This is a weak compromise by politicians who don’t believe in the mission their purporting to have embarked upon.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu July 1, 2017 at 6:30 am

    What do people think about reducing the number of bus stops?

    On the lines I ride, there is usually a bus stop every two blocks. This means the bus is constantly stopping and blocking traffic. The good thing is that wherever you are on the street, a bus stop is no more than one block away.

    Suppose bus stops were every four blocks. Half as much stopping and blocking. But you’d potentially have to walk up to two blocks to a bus stop.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty July 1, 2017 at 10:34 am

      I say reduce the number of stops. But then I have no problem walking, and I don’t take the bus much anyway.

      This is a change that can be made without federal money. If it makes sense, TriMet should just do it.

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    • Kyle Banerjee July 1, 2017 at 11:05 am

      One of the reasons transit doesn’t work is the stops are way too close together. Of course people would rather walk less. But when the stops are too close it takes so long to cover modest distances that it becomes impractical as a way of getting around.

      It is way, way too easy to have a transit commute be more than an hour each way when things are functioning normally. Add in the persistent reliability problems and it becomes much less attractive.

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  • Dan Packard July 2, 2017 at 7:52 am

    To get a taste of the ease of use with these new long 60 ft low floor rapid transit buses, check out the Vine across the river in Vancouver, USA. Easy on and off with bikes and stowage thru middle doors. Frequent service between downtown and out 4th Plain with fewer and brand new stations. It works marvelously!
    C-TRAN Vine, http://www.thevine.c-tran.com/how-to-ride-videos

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    • John Liu
      John Liu July 2, 2017 at 8:27 am

      How well do the bus queue jump signals work on C-TRAN Vine?

      The BAT lanes could be combined with a queue jump signal phase. It would work like
      – right-most lane is right-turn-only except buses
      – signals flush right turning cars through the turn
      – bus gets to its stop at the front of the lane
      – riders get on and off
      – signal turns green only for bus, bus proceeds while cars is adjoining lane still have red
      – bus thus gets in front of traffic, for a block or so

      Unclear it TriMet plans to use bus queue jump on Division, but seems the stops should be positioned so that this is a future option.

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