TriMet is working with an affordable housing nonprofit to turn the Hollywood Transit Center into a, “mixed-use, mixed-income, transit-oriented development that embraces the site, its history, and the Hollywood District as a hub for transit, equity, and community.”
Dubbed “HollywoodHub” the project’s first phase would build 110-120 housing units and ground floor retail on what is now a bus loop and platform adjacent to I-84 and the MAX light rail station on Northeast Hasley Street and 42nd Avenue. This is the location where a memorial has been created to remember victims of the racism-fueled stabbing that happened on a MAX train in May 2017.
There’s also a carfree highway overpass at this location that serves as a key cycling route over I-84 between the Laurelhurst and Hollywood neighborhoods. Given the scale of redevelopment planned, the bikeway and transportation access in general is likely to be significantly altered by this project.
According to the project website, TriMet and project partners will “modernize” the transit center so that it “seamlessly connects” bus, bike, MAX and other transit center users. The existing ramp and stairs would be replaced. Concept drawings show a stair/ramp combo design similar to Pioneer Square downtown that has eight switchbacks. There are also plans to work with the Portland Bureau of Transportation to make changes on Halsey and 42nd. The website specifically calls out “safety improvements” and “pedestrian and bike access improvements”.
Here are a few more visuals from a feasibility analysis report (PDF) created by Holst Architecture:
Iain Mackenzie is an architect, blogger, and member of the PBOT Bicycle Advisory Committee who lives near the transit center and regularly uses the overpass and MAX station. “I’m really excited to see affordable housing proposed in a location with such great transit access,” He shared with us today.
Mackenzie applauds the goals of the project but says early designs show there’s a lot of work to do. He’s concerned that relocating bus stops to Halsey increases walking distance from the MAX stop. Another issue he sees is the proposed ramp configuration doesn’t seem to be much improved from the existing condition. “The ramp/stair combination likely creates a trip hazard for people walking down the stairs,” he said. Mackenzie hopes different concepts can be considered such as a straighter ramp that connects directly to 42nd, an elevator from the overpass level to street level, or a different building layout that would allow more convenient bus access.
Currently, cycling access through the transit center is less than ideal. In 2007 PBOT made a few changes aimed at making it better. They added wayfinding signage, pavement markings (to show where bike riders are routed onto a sidewalk), and a wheel gutter on the stairs. Unfortunately neither the stairs or the ramp are easy for everyone to use. The existing ramp has tight switchbacks with narrow clearances that most people — especially those with large cargo bikes, tricycles, or trailers find very difficult or impossible to ride.
With more housing and businesses at the transit center, it would be unlikely a bike rider could get through unless they dismounted.
Safety improvements on Halsey should be a top priority with this project. Back in March a 36-year-old woman was hit and killed by a driver as she tried to cross southbound from 42nd.
Construction of Phase 1 is slated to begin in fall 2022. Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities to weigh in on the design and check out HollywoodHubPDX.com for more information.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
— Get our headlines delivered to your inbox.
— Support this independent community media outlet with a one-time contribution or monthly subscription.
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.
This looks like a great start to improving that spot and there’s definitely a lot of potential. It would be great to see transit-oriented-development happen at more MAX stations. I got excited a couple years ago when I saw the new building going up on the east side of 60th. Apartments?! Nope, storage… right next to a transit stop. Hmm.. maybe 82nd stop area could be next?
The storage buildings are strange but often built as a placeholder. On a site with previous pollution issues they are easier to clear permits as they are not occupied full time. With that, they are usually built with re-use in mind. The interior walls of the storage units aren’t permanent, they just sit on concrete slabs underneath steel rafters. So with a pretty low amount of work can be converted into offices or residential at a later date.
I wondered why they seem to have really great windows. I’m sure it helps with lighting the storage areas during the daytime but it would make even more sense if converted to housing.
As someone who works on the design of multifamily housing, I can say that converting a self-storage building to housing probably wouldn’t be impossible, but it would be really tough.
Some of the storage buildings are, some aren’t. It depends on how they are built to code. I can say from experience that a few of the storage buildings will not be adaptable to anything but storage. Storage buildings are extremely profitable for their owners – they pay out more per square foot than commercial real estate and have virtually no overhead.
Wait, what? No more bus-turn around and shelters for riders off the public street?
We’re dissuading people from using transit now? I thought we wanted people to use transit.
This is public land. It doesn’t exist for the easy exploitation by the already richly-endowed cabal of architects, developers, and low income housing tax credit operators, who can finance land purchases using other means.
It exists so buses can turn around and riders can have a place to embark without having to cross Halsey St, which is dangerous even in a crosswalk. We have one recent fatality cited in your article to prove that.
These claim jumpers are getting blatant, and aren’t helping our mission of reducing fossil fuel use. Think about whether this development is consistent with the ends of bikeportland.
Operationally, this would work better with bus lanes on Halsey, with stops on either side of the street. Looping in/out of the transit center is time consuming and only cuts a few feet off of the transfer distance. I use this transit center a lot, and I would much prefer an activated space with a large building blocking the noise from the freeway. I would also like to see Trimet use this as a reason to re-route the 77 onto Halsey. The detour over to Broadway wastes a lot of time.
‘cuts a few feet’. No, it cuts the Halsey crossing off the transfer. It’s an important difference since cars speed through the intersection with fatal results.
Only for half of the transfers. And this project also eliminates the road south of Halsey, so an entire pedestrian crossing (with hundreds of busses every day and a really awkward/sketchy pedestrian island on the SW side of the intersection) is eliminated completely. The new intersection would be a good candidate for an “all-walk” phase if this project moves forward.
I have my issues with the proposal (see comments in article above) but transit oriented development is generally seen as a good thing. I’m glad that TriMet is getting more active in finding partners to develop their land, and in particular for affordable housing. Recent examples include Renaissance Commons on N Argyle and Wy’East Plaza at SE 124th & Ash.
where in TriMet’s mandate is housing?
TOD reduces VMT and increases transit ridership, and both items are part of their mandate. The West Side and Interstate light rail lines were both developed with TOD in mind. This is nothing new.
I’m all for the transit-oriented development with affordable housing. Portland needs it and proximity to transit is a good thing (someone commented that Portland’s focusing growth in mixed-use centers – where there is good access to services and transit – is “racist”. What the heck?). What I don’t like are the narrow strips of public open space – they are more like wide circulation spaces. Better to have the public plaza/square as a larger and more centering element, so it can be used for more community purposes. Should maybe have the plaza take up some of the phase 2 square, and maybe give more space to the buildings in phase 1 so they are not so squeezed.
An entire block walkable to all of Hollywood dedicated to turning buses around (because planners wouldn’t put the MAX stop where it would sensibly interface with the rest of the transit network in ways that doesn’t steal 2-3 minutes from everyone on the 75 and 77 not MAX-bound) is a pretty poor use of land. I applaud the effort to streamline the transit network and make better use of the parcel.
Trimet should consider extending the platform west and adding a second access point at the 39th overpass. This would do a few things:
1. Move the transfer point for the 75 to the east/west sidewalks on the 39th overpass, enabling a more efficient bus routing and transfers.
2. Improve the walkshed and security of the MAX platform by providing additional access points.
3. Allow service with 4-car trains (this is a very long term goal, since it would require a downtown MAX tunnel).
It’s interesting to note that this would require no track work. When Trimet built this station, they left median space for a platform extension here. This is one of the few stations that has that space already.
The bus turnarounds slow down buses. Creating a sidewalk stop shared by more lines (preferably with a much nicer shelter) will improve transit service. The key to making it work is a really strong connection between the bus stop(s) and the MAX station and I don’t think this plan succeeds at that
It’s great to build more housing, especially affordable housing, at this location.
Trimet and PBOT should take this opportunity to rebuild the bike/wheelchair ramp without 180 degree switchbacks, or add an elevator, perhaps integrated into the corner of the building.
A ramp could wrap around the site on the west side, which would allow connecting with the future Sullivan’s Gulch / I-84 multi-use path.
I used this transit station for years, but it was always a pain to get up and down those stairs. Usually I carried my bike, since the switchback ramp is difficult to ride, and this means that I always avoid going this way, if it’s possible to detour to 54th or 28th instead. But those crossings are a long way away, and the nearest streets are very busy (Sandy and Cesar Chavez), so this bridge needs to be a better way to connect to the 40s neighborhood greenway.
I hope they make the ramp suitable for family bikes: front loaders, long tails, and bikes with trailers and tag-alongs.
I’d prefer a long ramp to all those switchbacks.
(On a positive note, riding down steps is fun!)
bArboo – you took the words right out of my ‘design’ mouth!
This “car free” connection needs to be designed for 2040 NOT 1980. Making it ‘bakfiets friendly’ / ‘family bike friendly’ is just one area to focus on…mixing bikes/ scooters with peds/ ADA folks on a ‘Pioneer Courthouse Sq shared switchback’ would be a mistake for the generations. [If I understand the design correctly.] How about making a ‘mini Highline’ along the route with a cantilevered ramp structure leading down to Halsey? [Which could also be designed to integrate with the future Ph2 building and activate its second floor too!] [The current design would make a ‘great’ attractive nuisance for attracting downhill mountain bikers for a little urbane X Games.]
The potential for a longer straight ramp would depend on the decision to pedestrianize or one-way 42nd through Tillamook. A ramp could easily fit in that case. Max ADA slope is 1:12. Not sure what the height requirements for an overpass on Halsey (16′?). It would be interesting to know the data on trip endpoints for people traveling through Hollywood.
Public housing right next to a noisy polluting freeway, with no recreational facilities nearby – the wrong use for the wrong location. For shame, Portland!
Laurelhurst school playground is about 4 blocks south. 24 Hour Fitness and NE Community Center within blocks. This location is better than many affordable housing projects in Portland, if recreation access is the standard.
let’s just tear out the freeway then
snarking about Portland’s racist and classist multifamily land use policy (e.g. centers and corridors) is so very woke.
Implementing a land use strategy that places so much housing density in the fumesheds of busy transportation corridors full of cars, trucks, and buses emitting harmful particles into the air is a challenge we’ve yet to adequately respond to.
Gateway Green is just a couple stops away on the MAX. Could be a cool spot to live and be able to mountain bike without needing a car.
Right, the 4-year old kids will just hop on the MAX to the nearest playground, or else walk through a crowded MAX station and a further 4 blocks to a swing set. Yeah, that’s going to go well, I’m sure.
Where is the playground in this design? Where are the kids in the public housing supposed to play? On the narrow concrete sidewalk air shafts between buildings? This design looks like the worst tenement design from 1916, which is what modern planning was supposed to eliminate.
This design as presented has nothing to do with family housing, which is what “public housing” is all about. Instead, they took a design for urban office space and decided it would be public housing instead – a recipe for disaster and high crime. I can’t believe anyone is actually advocating for this.
This isn’t public housing. What are you on about?
Is Phase 2 (the huge yellow square) a parking garage?
No. Per the website FAQ:
How can you be so sure about Phase 2 when they have deliberately not presented any of their plans yet for it? Not even a massing. The 5,000 square foot retail tenant is going to want on-site parking and their banker will insist upon it, even when city parking requirements aren’t mandated.
You asked if it was a parking garage and I answered your question.
I can tell you that no one is going to build an entire parking garage on a 100′ x 100′ site. There are some examples of that downtown, but they’re only 2 stories because otherwise the circulation eats up too much of the space. They also employ parking attendants to shuffle cars, which makes sense downtown but probably not in Hollywood. It’s of course possible that some parking is provided on the site, but that’s not what you asked, and in any case it’s pretty rare for retail in new mixed use buildings to have dedicated parking.
Thank you. I appreciate your reply.
Perhaps the space for Phase 2: could be a modular temporary parking structure for Phase 1 use…then when Phase 2 is built it becomes 100% [private] car free? Where else could such work so well outside of downtown? (Site: MAX transit hub, walkable community commercial area, Trader Joe’s across the street?) [The parking structure then is reused for the next project?]
It would be great of the design could widen the connection or even add a second link to the MAX platform over the UPRR line. And the current ramp is a bad joke for bikers.
Next phase should look to covert TJ’s parking into more housing with parking underneath.
Like what New Seasons should have done with the Interstate and Williams/Fremont stores.
Extending the platform west and adding a connection to 39th would be the cheapest and most logical option.
Assuming the south/westbound bus stop is going to be on 42nd next to the Trader Joe’s parking lot, that bike lane’s gonna be frequently blocked by the 75 and 77. They should consider sharrows down both lanes between Broadway and Halsey. Bikers have to take the lane here anyway heading northbound where there’s no bike lane next to the clinic. Make this stretch of 42nd more bike-centric seeing that it’s already an important connection from the TC to the north.
So TriMet just gets to unilaterally sell off it’s land for other purposes when it wants a little $$$?
The reason we have a transit agency is to make transit better, not make developers wet under the pretext of densification.
TriMet should focus on delivering their core service and making it better first and foremost, not cash grabs when it suits them. And no way is standing out on Halsey in a wind battered bus shelter while a four-lane arterial blasts by at 35 is an improvement. Almost worse to be out there when traffic is congested, breathing in the dust and fumes. Where is the line 75? Presumably on the other side of the street? Yikes.
Would be nice to see that whole pedestrian way get regraded. No stairs, no ramp. Perhaps with retail opening onto it. That station also needs work. An escalator and a more architectural shelter would go a long way
They need to modify the entire grade/slope between the existing stairs and Halsey to integrate with the remainder of the parcel. This could be transformative but right now it just looks like they are simply replacing the stairs with stairs/ramp and maintaining an easement. They need to make the grade and horizontal distance between the existing stairs and Halsey work better for all users.
Do this and you offset many of the issues created by moving the bus stops to Halsey. The total travel time for bus passengers may even improve without the deviation into the transit center.
Wow, a lot of negativity for a pretty positive development.
To my understanding, TriMet does not give away land. They may provide it at a discount in some cases, but the sell off or lease benefits the transit agency while increasing ridership (more $$). This is pretty common in other places and a win-win for riders and the agency and affordable housing. I think it’s referred to as Joint Development in Federal Transit Administration parlance.
As a regular TriMet rider, this transfer location on Halsey would likely save the buses some time by not having to make a circle in the lot. For some people, the transfer location is already at Halsey – I believe that’s the 75 northbound stop near the 24hr fitness entry. Also, having more activity (places to eat or buy things) is a great benefit to transit riders. It’s common throughout European transit centers, where there can be a much longer walk between bus (outside)and rail stops (underground or indoors). Finally, I’d much rather walk past a development with outdoor active space than a paved drive area where walking is not allowed. This would be a great improvement over what’s there now.
One thing I appreciate about the renderings is that they show the views I most wanted to see, from locations and eye levels that someone would actually experience them. The stair/ramp is a big concern, and the renderings show it well from top and bottom, plus a plan view. So people can go straight to commenting about how/whether it will work, instead of overlooking it, or having to theorize about what it might be.
In contrast, as one of many examples, the County’s Burnside Bridge video and renderings had numerous views, but none or almost none that actually showed the view someone would have while walking or biking across it.
If we’ve got a long ramp on the south side they can certainly do one on the north side. Extend the bridge all the way to Halsey. It could be a seamless part of the memorial plaza and it’d be accessible to everyone. WE WANT A LONG RAMP!!!
Glad to see so many people in the article and in the comments calling B.S. on both the current bike way and this proposed ramp/stair. And how do bikes even get to it? On the sidewalk still?
I ride that 42nd Ave. route frequently and have finally started cutting up to 47th and back just to avoid the poor access to the overpass from the north side.
It is great to have more “mixed-use, mixed-income, transit-oriented development that embraces the site, its history, and the Hollywood District as a hub for transit, equity, and community.” But we cannot have that without including efficient bike access and thoroughfare.
The stairs with switchback ramps looks like a nasty accident waiting to happen. Putting a wheel off the ramp while trying to navigate a tight turn or avoid another cyclist or people sitting on the stairs, then tumbling down the stairs whilst entangled in one’s bicycle. Ouch. Perhaps they could route the bike path around the building’s south and east sides, using the distance to achieve a reasonable grade.
Yes, switchbacks are pretty impractical. I hope PBOT considers a longer MUP ramp design that bypasses Halsey.
“where do you live” “the bus station”
“The bus lofts at The Transit Center. New units starting at $2,000 per month”.
I’m excited about the new housing but the stair/ramp combo will be a disaster. I hope they can integrate a gradual ramp down to street level without switchbacks.