Posted by Jeffrey Owen (Contributor) on September 7th, 2017 at 8:20 am
This is the latest from our columnist and TriMet Senior Planner Jeffrey Owen. Last month he gave us the inside scoop on the Orenco Station Bike & Ride.
Secure bike parking plays a crucial role in having options on one or both ends of a longer transit trip and helps to extend the reach of the transit service.
Thanks to a recent grant from the State of Oregon, TriMet is able to upgrade bike parking at two key MAX stations — Goose Hollow/SW Jefferson Street and Beaverton Creek. Here’s what in store for both of these crucial links in our bike-transit network.
For east-west commuters who combine bike and transit trips, the Goose Hollow/SW Jefferson St MAX Station is a major link for riders who bike through downtown Portland and then board a MAX train to head farther west. This route eliminates biking over the west hills and saves time between Goose Hollow and other westbound destinations. It is common for MAX trains to carry a high number of riders with bikes on both Blue and Red MAX lines. This is especially true on MAX Blue Line, which connects farther west than the Red Line, towards Hillsboro and many large Washington County employers, including Nike and Intel.
It’s no surprise that TriMet bike count data shows the Goose Hollow/SW Jefferson St MAX Station is among the busiest stations in the TriMet system for riders boarding with bikes. The graph below shows a limited snapshot of daily bike activity at select MAX stations around the region, with a large portion of bikes getting off the train in the eastbound direction at Goose Hollow/SW Jefferson St MAX Station (labeled as “EB” on chart shown in gray) in the afternoon:
There are numerous options for reaching transit service from home or work, what we often refer to as the “first and last mile” for transit access. When biking to transit, utilizing the full array of these options reduces the reliance on having to bring your personal bike with you throughout your entire trip. Bike & Rides offer a place for riders to store a personal bike on one end of their transit trip, and then use their choice of several options on the other end of the trip such as a TriMet bus, Community Connectors like the North Hillsboro Link, employer bus shuttles, employer provided bike share, or walking. Some people even leave a second, personal bike at another station.
Due to physical constraints of trains, and riders who need access to the priority seating areas, TriMet cannot accommodate every rider’s personal bike on the entire transit trip. Secure bike parking plays a crucial role in having options on one or both ends of a longer transit trip and helps to extend the reach of the transit service.
As seen in the photos below at the Goose Hollow/SW Jefferson St MAX Station, a typical weekday morning might easily find between five and ten riders with bikes waiting on the westbound MAX platform. It is also common for some riders to avoid this crowd boarding the train a few stops earlier to improve their chances for hanging their bike on the bike hooks.
The Goose Hollow/SW Jefferson St MAX Station provides a particularly unique challenge to locate secure bike parking due to space constraints on all sides and a lack of available spaces upon which to build. The station area does not have a lot of extra space; secure bike parking was not originally part of the vision for this station.
We first began by considering various conceptual locations between SW 22nd and SW 17th Avenues, and from Providence Park to Goose Hollow. Quickly, it became obvious that the ideal site would need to be as close to the MAX platform area as possible. I reached out to the First United Methodist Church (whose property begins at the back edge of the eastbound MAX platform along SW Jefferson Street) to see if we could find a mutually beneficial solution to locate a new bike parking area for MAX riders. The church has been an incredible community partner who understood our constraints and was interested in helping to add bike parking to the Goose Hollow neighborhood. The Goose Hollow Neighborhood Association embraced the vision of the project and was supportive of our intentions to seek grant funding for its completion.
After working with the church for a few years, we reached an agreement for TriMet to purchase a small amount of property on the back edge of the eastbound platform from the church, and then dedicate it to the City of Portland right-of-way for the purposes of constructing secure bike parking.
We’ve been progressing through the design of the secure bike parking facility, which will include about 30 bike parking spaces: 16 spaces inside an enclosed, secure area, and 14 spaces just outside, within coverage of security cameras. This has been an exciting and challenging project to work on over many years. It has pushed the envelope for creative solutions in tight spaces for TriMet delivering secure bike parking as an attractive alternative to taking your bike onboard already crowded MAX trains.
As part of the same project funded through the Connect Oregon grant, TriMet is also improving bike access to and across the Beaverton Creek MAX Station, with a recently completed, new path crossing. This path crossing increases access to transit for users getting to the MAX platform. With a new crossing in place, north-south and east-west routes across the MAX tracks are also improved. The Beaverton Creek Regional Trail, currently in design by Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District (THPRD), will provide a new regional trail connection to this station and run east west in this area, between SW Murray Boulevard and SW 153rd Drive, and will utilize the recently completed crossing to connect over the MAX tracks. The trail will be designed, built and maintained by THPRD, and will increase connections for commuters and recreational riders. In addition, this location also provides a Park & Ride for transit riders arriving by car, secure keyed bike lockers and bike racks.
Reflecting increased demand at this station, a new Bike & Ride is on the way, designed at the same time as the Goose Hollow Bike & Ride. It will be similar in style, but with more open bike racks and a new direct connection to the trail. As a reminder, for safety, riding bikes on MAX platforms is not allowed.
We are excited to progress through final design, and happy to hear your thoughts about these two new Bike & Rides. Both facilities are slated to open in spring 2018.
Have ideas on improving access to transit by bike? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, contact TriMet Customer Service or add your thoughts to the comments below.
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