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TriMet details $558 million in bus rapid transit projects included in Measure 26-218

Posted by on October 22nd, 2020 at 11:27 am

(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Less than two weeks before voters get final say on Metro’s transportation funding measure 26-218, TriMet has released a statement outlining the four major bus rapid transit projects it would fund.

TriMet defines bus rapid transit as, “A different type of bus service that uses treatments such as specially timed signals and dedicated transit travel lanes to move buses around traffic and get riders to their destination efficiently.”

“If the measure does not pass… the bus rapid transit projects, as proposed, would not be completed.”
— TriMet

The measure, which would raise just over $5 billion via a 0.75% payroll tax on businesses with over 25 employees starting in 2022 would fund four corridors that are pegged to include significant bus-related investments: 82nd Avenue, Tualatin Valley Highway, Burnside, and McLoughlin (99E). The combined funding for bus rapid transit projects on those four corridors is $557.5 million.

When added to other projects in the measure the total bus-related investment swells to $712.7 million.

Here are the four bus rapid transit project summaries provided by TriMet (with bus-specific investment added by me in parentheses):

82nd Avenue bus rapid transit line ($205 million):

Line 72-82nd/Killingsworth serves the 82nd Avenue corridor, a major north-south arterial that spans the city of Portland and crosses into Clackamas County. It is TriMet’s highest ridership line and provided nearly 84,500 rides a week prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Line 72 connects Northeast Portland, Southeast Portland and Clackamas Town Center and offers Frequent Service, with buses arriving every 15 minutes or better, most of the day, every day. The proposed 10-mile bus rapid transit line on 82nd Avenue would run between Northeast Killingsworth Street in Portland and Southeast Monterrey Avenue in Happy Valley. If the measure passes, the proposed 82nd Avenue bus rapid transit line would include:

— Transit priority signals
— Business access and transit (BAT) lanes
— Stations with shelters and real-time arrival information
— Bus fleet upgrades (TriMet proposes using 60-foot articulated electric buses)
— Queue jump signals and queue bypasses at high-traffic intersections
— Companion projects including adding or upgrading sidewalks, bike facilities and pedestrian crossings

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Tualatin Valley Highway bus rapid transit line ($105 million)
TriMet’s Line 57-TV Hwy/Forest Grove is a 17-mile bus line that connects the communities of Beaverton, Aloha, Hillsboro, Cornelius and Forest Grove in Washington County. It also has Frequent Service, and prior to the pandemic, saw nearly 45,500 trips each week. If the measure passes, the proposed Tualatin Valley Highway bus rapid transit and companion projects would include:

— Transit signal priority
— Queue jump signals and bypass lanes
— Business and Transit (BAT) lanes
— Bus fleet upgrades (TriMet proposes using 60-foot articulated electric buses)
— Stations with shelters and real-time arrival information and bus pullouts
— Companion projects including adding or upgrading sidewalks, bike facilities and pedestrian crossings

McLoughlin Boulevard bus rapid transit line ($92.5 million):
Line 33-McLoughlin/King Rd connects Clackamas Town Center, Downtown Milwaukie, Gladstone, Oregon City and Clackamas Community College. It is another one of TriMet’s Frequent Service lines and prior to the pandemic, provided about 31,060 trips each week. Line 33 travels primarily along King Road and McLoughlin Boulevard (OR-99E). If the measure passes, the proposed McLoughlin Boulevard bus rapid transit and companion transportation projects would include:

— Transit priority signals
— Business Access and Transit (BAT) lane
— Bus fleet upgrades (TriMet proposes using 40-foot electric buses)
— Stations with shelters and real-time arrival information
— Companion projects including adding or upgrading sidewalks, bike facilities and pedestrian crossings

Burnside Road bus rapid transit line ($155 million)
TriMet’s Line 20-Burnside/Stark is the longest regular bus route in TriMet’s system, serving a corridor that spans from Beaverton to Gresham. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Line 20 was one of two bus lines offering 24-hour service, with nearly 70,800 trips per week. The proposed bus rapid transit project along Burnside would include the following, if the measure passes:

— Transit priority signals
— Queue bypasses
— Bus fleet upgrades (TriMet proposes using 60-foot articulated electric buses)
— Stations with shelters and real-time arrival information
— Companion projects including upgrading crossings to access transit stops

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TriMet doesn’t mention it, but 26-218 would include another $2 million in a program called “Better Bus” that would fund, “nimble, low-cost improvements to make buses more reliable and convenient for more people.”

TriMet also doesn’t include other Better Bus projects that would invest an additional $153.2 million on corridors including 181st (from Clackamas to the Columbia River), SW 185th (from Rock Creek Blvd to Farmington), 122nd (from Skidmore to Foster), 162nd (from Sandy to Powell), and on SE Powell (from the Willamette River to Mt. Hood Hwy).

By my calculations, Measure 26-218 includes $712.7 million in bus-specific funding.

Learn more about the measure on Metro’s website.

— 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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David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

A bit like the B-Line in Vancouver BC?

Hello, Kitty
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Hello, Kitty

Hello, Kitty to Metro: Show me the emissions reductions, then I’ll vote for your bond. I can’t support a huge transportation package that fails to meaningfully address climate change.

raktajino
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raktajino

Okay, I’m sold. I love the VINE in the Couv: it has the benefits of the MAX with easy loading and more space, without the drawbacks of a rigid expensive infrastructure. If we can keep cars out of the rapid transit lanes (and keep it as electric as possible) then I am a superfan.

Chris I
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Chris I

TV HWY and McLoughlin are no-brainers, and should be fairly easy to implement. 82nd and inner-Burnside are definitely more problematic. How do we add BAT lanes and queue jumps with the already tight cross-sections we have on these roads? You can take away parking on Burnside to make space, but there will be a lot of local opposition. 82nd would either require taking huge swaths of private land to widen the roadway, or taking the existing outside lane for transit. Both options will have a lot of opposition.

J_Wink
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J_Wink

I know that “election day” isn’t for another 12 days, but with the push to vote early this year, most people I know have already submitted their ballots. I feel like a lot of advocates, not just Metro, have completely missed the boat by releasing things like this after voter’s guides and ballots have been mailed.

CA
Guest
CA

In regards to climate change, Joe Cortright already published a very complete article 6 months ago with multiple references explaining why the Metro measure is a complete failure in addressing climate change. If he was wrong on this point, Metro would have refuted him by now.

https://cityobservatory.org/climate-fail-metros-2020-transportation-package-2/

As far as the “BRT” claims in the BikePortland article above…TriMet’s Division Street Bus Rapid Transit Project is expected to cost $175m for 15 miles of “BRT”. Actually, check that – because it’s not going to be “BRT”, the named was changed to just the Division Street Transit Project. At the cost listed above, that’s roughly $12m/mile for “improved bus”. And that’s in today’s dollars. Maybe someone can explain to me how this measure is going to be able to build actual “BRT” on McLoughlin for $14m/mile? Or “BRT” on TV Highway for $6.5m/mile? Or “BRT” on 82nd Ave (you know taking a lane is never going to happen, certainly not for that price) for $22m/mile? Or “BRT” on Burnside for $7m/mile?

It’s all fake. There is nowhere near enough funds to build all the projects that are promised. That means more reaching into your pocket to cover “cost overruns” and “unforeseen expenses” as well as eliminating entire projects (starting with those in areas with the least political power – we know where and who that will be) and eliminating key project elements (protected bikeways) on other projects.

Don’t be fooled. When Congressman (!) Kurt Schrader comes out against the measure…well, just who do you think is going to carry Oregon’s water back in DC?

https://www.wweek.com/news/2020/10/21/add-kurt-schrader-and-janelle-bynum-to-list-of-democratic-elected-officials-against-metro-transportation-tax/

John Ley
Guest

What is the need for transit on the replacement I-5 bridge?

https://www.clarkcountytoday.com/news/what-is-the-need-for-transit-on-a-replacement-interstate-bridge/

Transit ridership has declined precipitously in the era of COVID.

Matt
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Matt

These are all great but the measure doesn’t do anything about carbon emissions and it builds a max line to a mall. People in SW, if they use it, will drive to a station – very few people live along Barbur Blvd. There isn’t great density in that part of town and most people who choose to live there made that choice because they don’t mind being in their cars all the time. It’s not going to change their behavior. The stop below OHSU will need a funicular and the initial designs of that would just get people up to Terwilliger – still a big uphill hike to get up to campus and will not be useful at all for people coming for hospital visits. It just didn’t seem well thought out to me. Put it back up without the max extension and it will get my vote, but I voted no this time.

setha
Subscriber
setha

I still haven’t quite decided how to vote on this one. I’m leaning NO.

But, this last minute attempt to detail how part of the $5 billion will be spent makes me more likely to vote NO. Yes, it’s only about 10% of the entire package, but it’s still $558M, which is still a lot of money. I’d feel more comfortable if this list were included as part of the package itself. That they are coming up with this at the last minute indicates that this measure is half baked.

The package also does NOT include fixes for crash corner (also known as Beaverton-Hillsdale/Oleson/Scholls intersection,) the bike lanes northbound on Hall Blvd where it passes over 217, and the missing bike lanes on 92nd and Garden Home Road between Allen and Oleson.

Michael Mann
Guest
Michael Mann

As someone who has lived near the intersection of Burnside and 82nd for nearly 20 years, I applaud this plan. My neighborhood is heavily transit dependent and these improvements will benefit my community and, I believe, make both those roads safer. A big step in the right direction.

Cary D Moro
Guest
Cary D Moro

F*** tri met. They just screwed over all of its employees and stole all their benefits and futures and had this planned way before covid but is using covid as an excuse to really fuck them all over. Trimet treats its employees like shit especially its employees of color nobody should be riding TriMet it should be a full boycott. The workers would strike but Oregon has made it illegal for them to strike. Nobody but homeless and kids ride the bus and Metro’s plan to force everybody to pay for rapid transit there’s a joke. cars work just fine. Boycott TriMet and kate browns team of lackeys that are destroying the employees union.

Kittens
Subscriber
Kittens

I have voted for every transportation tax I can remember but this one is not on my YES list because it is wildly bloated by the LRT line to nowhere. I think the voters need to remind TriMet capital projects who is in charge here. The line just doesn’t make sense to anyone who thinks about it critically.
1: It doesn’t connect major destinations in the corridor (OHSU, PSU)
2: The corridor it serves isn’t very dense and probably will never be due to topography and land values
3: Relative to other areas, it doesn’t have that much congestion

As a TriMet employee I think I can say with some insight, ridership across TriMet is falling not due to lack of rail lines or service frequency (both of which have dramatically increased in the last 20 years) but because service quality (speed, comfort, safety, convenience, reliability) haven’t kept pace with options available to riders with other choices.

I appreciate that providing rides to those with no other options is ethically the proper thing to do but we have really lost sight of the all the potential benefits of transit. No amount of capital will fix a system which is unwilling to enforce rules or look daily for new ways to improve the ridership experience end to end.

SERider
Guest
SERider

The 82nd route is interesting. But really it parallels much of the MAX green line. Is this just admitting that the Green line has not worked as hoped? Or is the 10 block difference (for most of the stretch) between the MAX and 82nd that big of an issue?