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

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:


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 for more information.

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