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HollywoodHUB project would remake bikeway and transit center at 42nd Avenue

Posted by on August 27th, 2020 at 12:06 pm

Concept drawing shows Phase 1 building with stairs/ramp on the left. This view is from Halsey looking south toward I-84.
(Image: Holst Architecture)

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.”

The transit center today. (NE Halsey in the foreground.)

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:

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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 jonathan@bikeportland.org
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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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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EP
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EP

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?

Bike Guy
Guest
Bike Guy

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.

Joseph E
Guest
Joseph E

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.

bArbaroo
Guest
bArbaroo

I hope they make the ramp suitable for family bikes: front loaders, long tails, and bikes with trailers and tag-alongs.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Public housing right next to a noisy polluting freeway, with no recreational facilities nearby – the wrong use for the wrong location. For shame, Portland!

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Is Phase 2 (the huge yellow square) a parking garage?

squareman
Subscriber

The height profile rendering of the stairs from the sidewalk look both lower from what I remember it looking like and seem to be missing the switchback ramps. Is this a case of fudging it to make it seem more attractive than it is?

I also hope that they still put in a gutter rail on both sides of the stairs to make it easier to bring a bike up and down more directly than either portaging the bike or having to walk the switchbacks. I can almost guarantee that the switchback in that tight of a space still won’t be navigable for most riders, especially at the height of commute hour with people on foot crossing their path over and over.

I liked someone else’s suggestion of preemptively building (or at least allowing the space to build) a long smooth ramp down to what might be the Sullivan Gulch Trail if it ever comes to fruition.

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

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.

Toke Vihn
Subscriber
Toke Vihn

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.

Kittens
Guest
Kittens

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.

AW
Guest
AW

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

Thomas
Guest
Thomas

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.

JR
Guest
JR

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.

qqq
Guest
qqq

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.

King Cully
Guest
King Cully

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!!!

Betsy Reese
Guest
Betsy Reese

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.

https://bikeportland.org/2019/08/16/comment-of-the-week-lets-stop-with-the-bikes-on-sidewalk-b-s-303548

John Liu
Subscriber

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.

whoever
Guest
whoever

“where do you live” “the bus station”

Cory P
Guest
Cory P

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.