Splendid Cycles Big Sale

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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David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

A bit like the B-Line in Vancouver BC?

Alain L.
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Alain L.

The B-Line is terrible in light of the fact that it does not have a dedicated bus only lane. Space was ceded to SOV travel lanes and SOV curbside parking.

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

This is arterial BRT, which is not as fast as dedicated-ROW BRT, but is a huge improvement over normal milk-run service.

We now have two aBRT lines functioning in the Twin Cities (with two under construction or about to start, and half a dozen more lined up behind them, about one per year). So far they have been a huge success, reducing travel times by about a third, and with a large increase in ridership, compared to the stop-every-block lines they largely replaced. By improving transfer connections it has also boosted ridership on connecting routes. The difference between these routes and the regular ones is night and day.

Most of the time wasted in arterial buses is not so much being caught in congestion, or even waiting for lights (our aBRT buses do get some signal prioritization to reduce this, BTW) but the frequent stops, and waiting for passengers to board and pay their fares every block. With aBRT you still have people pre-paying on the platform and boarding through both extra-wide doorways at once, just like on MAX, which drastically reduces all that wasteful dwell time.

Ironically, our one highway-BRT line, the kind that the the-perfect-is-the-enemy-of-the-good crowd fixate on, has been an abject failure in terms of ridership. That’s mostly because while it is very fast and efficient, it’s not serving a good transit corridor. But the point is that even aBRT without dedicated ROW is a huge improvement, and you’re doing yourself a disservice by holding out for full BRT.

matchupancakes
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matchupancakes

Additional information on the Metropolitan Council (Twin Cities metro) study on aBRT including executive summary and full report here.

https://metrocouncil.org/Transportation/Planning-2/Transit-Plans,-Studies-Reports/Transit-Transitways/Arterial-Bus-Rapid-Transit-(BRT).aspx

deck_chairs
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deck_chairs

Just like Portland, Minneapolis has seen transit ridership markedly decline over the past 4 years. In what will soon be a post-pandemic era, with a raging climate and biodiversity crisis, we need far more aggressive policy than an “A-line”. I hope that you agree that it is shameful that 6 billion dollars out of 7 will be spent on making it easier to drive and building a “doomed to fail” rail line to a shopping mall. Dedicating 8% of a 7 billion budget to transit improvements is like rearranging deck chairs on the titanic. The Portland Metro can do much better than this bond. The repeated failure of the state transportation omnibus bill resulted in an unprecedented increase in transit funding when it finally passed. If we reject this clunker of a bond, we will almost certainly have a better bond in a few years.

X
Guest
X

Trimet provides mediocre service to almost anyplace. In my neighborhood it’s a 5-minute walk to a crosstown bus that connects to the MAX at Hollywood, where 2 out of 3 trains take you downtown, so it’s not so bad if that’s where you want to go. You can synchronize with the first bus which cuts down on waiting time.

This breaks apart if you’re not headed downtown. Every transfer adds time that you have to plan into your trip and the service is at its worst during times of peak demand. Lousy connections, long waits and then two buses at once.

I’m not familiar with Vancouver, BC, so I read the Wikipedia article on the 99 B-line. They set out to build an optimized arterial bus line and, as demand grew, improved the equipment and frequency to the point that currently a 60 passenger 3-door bus arrives at 90-120 seconds during peak travel times.

Arterial BRT may not be the very best but if you know that you can step off one bus and straight onto another, that would be amazing. Are you there, Trimet? Also: a bus driver should never see a red light, unless it’s for an emergency vehicle or another bus. PBOT?

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

I remember being stunned by the quality of bus service in Vancouver, back in the 1990s. The same month Amtrak’s Cascades service finally started crossing the border, my wife and I took a trip up there without a car. We rode buses (and the SkyTrain) all over, and were stunned to find that many of the major bus lines operated on 5 minute intervals – on Sundays. And that was long before BRT.

To make transit really work for a big chunk of the population, you need fast AND frequent service.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
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.

Aaron
Guest

Kitty, due to the carbon impact, groups including Verde, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Climate Solutions, OPAL – Environmental Justice Oregon, Our Climate, Sunrise PDX, Sunrise Beaverton, and climate advocates including Chris Smith, Mark Gamba, and myself all support the package.

Please don’t be fooled by the corporate opposition to this campaign, that literally sent a mailer lying saying that climate leaders opposed this package. The package ain’t perfect, but virtually anyone who advocates for lower carbon emissions has looked at this package and concluded that we’re better off with it than without it.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I haven’t actually seen any corporate propaganda about this measure, so if I’m wrong, Nike gets no credit.

I haven’t voted yet, and my criteria is clear. If you can point me to an analysis that makes a convincing case that we’ll get CO2 reductions commensurate to the spending, I’ll vote Yes on this or any other transportation package.

Aaron
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Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I read it. In the article, you make the statement “Make no mistake – this is an investment in a climate-friendly transportation package”, but then cite no evidence whatsoever to back that statement up. You provide no analysis, and make no case at all that this measure will reduce CO2 emissions enough to make it good investment. For me, the most compelling section was your summary of Cortright’s position (which I had not read before seeing your article), which helped clarify my thinking on the measure.

There may be reasons to support this measure, but arguing that emissions reduction is one of them just doesn’t hold up.

I actually don’t agree at all with those who say this measure will make Portland’s business climate inhospitable. I say let’s spend the money, but do so in a way that will move the needle on our region’s emissions.

Aaron
Guest

Kitty, it’s virtually impossible to *model* – there are so many other variables, like whether we get congestion pricing, a higher gas tax, a carbon tax, zoning reform. We can only look at what a truly low-carbon region looks like – dense neighborhoods connected by frequent and reliable transit – and figure out which policies we look at that help us get there. building transit is a key component of achieving that goal. This builds transit across the region. I don’t understand what more I could provide for you to prove its “reducing carbon emissions enough.” It’s one of many policies we have to implement, and we are better off with it than without it.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

I don’t want to spend $5B on transportation in hopes it benefits the climate; I want to spend $5B on a climate package that necessarily focuses on transportation.

Your goal may be building a better transit system; mine is slowing climate change. Those are not necessarily at odds, but they’re not automatically compatible, either. This measure feels very much like something from 20 years ago. It does not feel like the future.

unite behind climate science
Guest
unite behind climate science

“due to the carbon impact”

what exactly ido you mean by “carbon impact” and how do you reconcile your claim with Metro’s own analyses which found essentially no reduction in CO2e emissions (despite the fact that a large reduction in CO2e emissions was one of the primary goals of this process).

Aaron
Guest

I encourage you to read my article, posted above! Metro’s modeling isn’t able to accurately capture what this region looks like *with* this measure as well as with the numerous other policies we need – cleaner cars, more frequent transit, more dense housing near transit, congestion pricing, carbon taxes, gas taxes, the whole shebang. There’s simply too many variables, but we *do* know that investments in a robust transit system provides the backbone to get us a lower-carbon region. And if you don’t wanna take my word for it, why not take the word of all these other advocacy groups that care deeply about the climate crisis and know what they are talking about?

galavantista
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galavantista

Hello, Kitty,

I recently learned that the modeling that Metro did was only on the 17 roads, and as others in the comments have indicated, the modeling wasn’t great, but that things like 100% electrification of the bus fleet, creation of a rapid bus network that will be more reliable and likely attract more ridership (out of cars), transit passes for all youth (so they don’t have to rely on their parents to drive them if that’s even an option), plus around $40 million that would be available every year toward completing the regional bike/ped network and safety and safe routes to school projects among other things. They didn’t model any of that and while they certainly could have modeled the transit electrification, the rest is still unknown, yet certainly going to have an emission reduction impact based on how it’s set up.

I get that that info may not satisfy your need to see the payoff, but it certainly made a difference for me from what I originally heard Metro’s models said — also it makes more sense because I was unclear how could it possibly be that there’s so much investment in transit and so little impact?

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

I don’t doubt the Metro measure would have a positive impact on many things that I value, and in an earlier age, that would have been enough. You suggest that increased biking to school and bus passes for kids will reduce trips, and you may well be right. How much would that cut emissions? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. Maybe none at all. Who knows?

We’ve come to a point where, from a transportation systems perspective, I really feel the need to focus on the one issue that will make or break human civilization, if not in my generation, then potentially the next. If it’s this measure, with its speculative benefits, or hold out for/work toward something better, I’ll wait.

One additional point: even if many more trips transfer from cars to buses or bikes as a result of the projects in this measure, the magic of induced demand (we all believe in that, right?) will refill the roadways, and the net effect will be the same or worse than the do nothing option. As Cortright noted, this factor was not included in the Metro models, so, while we’re waving hands, it is possible the “refilling” effect would completely offset whatever gains we made through better cycling and walking facilities (and if there’s more mostly-empty buses driving around, it could actually make things worse).

breadandroses
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breadandroses

Hi Galavantista, Please correct me if I am mistaken but I believe the programs and FTE that you help manage or oversee stand to benefit financially from the insufficient crumbs that Metro directed to safety and active transportation.

“I recently learned that the modeling that Metro did was only…”

Even if this is true, isn’t the lack of a good fiath analysis an indictment of a process that made addressing carbon emissions one of its central goals? And, if this climate model is as crappy as you claim (without a link or explanation of how you know this) then the effort to ram this through is a glaring counterpoint to the hard-fought grass-roots battle to force ODOT to prepare a through EIS for the I5/Rose Quarter project. IMO, this bond needed far more public input and less back room negotiation with a select group of non-profits, many of whom also failed to oppose the I5/Rose Quarter project.

galavantista
Guest
galavantista

Hey breadandroses, I do have to correct you because I don’t manage or oversee any programs or FTE, and I certainly won’t benefit financially from anything in this measure. The benefit I will see, we will all see, and why I support the measure, is in my and my kids’ and the whole community’s ability to get around more safely and easily because these investments happen.

You are right, though, I should have cited my sources and I will own that with my excuses, and a link! I was tired after a long day of managing my kids school-at-home, a sick partner, a car that had parts of it hacked off overnight, trying to also put in a day of work so I still have a job next year, fighting corporate hypocrisy and this pesky characterization of climate impact, plus my computer crashed and I couldn’t find the link in the moment. Thanks 2020! Fortunately, it’s a brand new day and for those who are still undecided, another chance to stop doing nothing about climate and transportation injustices — by saying yes to much needed investments in our community.

“I recently learned” by digging back through the meeting notes from the extensive and very public nearly two-year process that Metro held: that the modeling presented, in December 2019, was only of the roadway projects, and it was done before the programs were finalized, which happened in 2020. You don’t have to dig, you can see those materials here and do the calendar math yourself. https://www.oregonmetro.gov/events/transportation-funding-task-force-meeting/2019-12-18

Finally, in mind-blowing non-sequitur, please share a link or explanation of which select group of non-profits did back room negotiation while also failing to oppose the I5/Rose Quarter project?

breadandroses
Guest
breadandroses

Board leadership positions are considered to be essential oversight positions.

Thanks for the link. It does seem that the analysis Cortright mentioned was restricted to major corridors. Howeover, almost all of the $7 billion estimated total budget targets those corridors so I’m not sure this makes much of a difference.

It’s also fascinating that participants mirrored my concerns by repeatedly asking for more modeling:

It would be helpful to see more GHG modeling.

To which Metro responded:

“We don’t have a major controlled model, but we will come back with more ways of looking at GHG emissions”

Why was this additional modeling not publicly reported? Is metro attempting to bury even more damning modeling?

“select group of non-profits”

Multiple “Getting There Together” non-profits were silent about the I5/RQ project and some even supported it: https://bikeportland.org/2017/08/31/backers-say-i-5-rose-quarter-could-be-model-for-future-freeway-projects-240988. The fact that some of them now oppose it, like Tevis Wheeler, does not change their earlier silence.

raktajino
Guest
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.

Matt D
Guest
Matt D

My problem with this is that TriMet pedalled electric BRT for the Division Transit Project and then axed that when they learned these buses couldn’t go that far. Now they’re saying they aim for electric BRT for the much longer Line-20. Classic bait-and-switch.

Chris I
Guest
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.

Alain L.
Guest
Alain L.

And…BRT does not really work without a dedicated lane. The B-Line in Vancouver BC is a great example. No dedicated lane increases bus travel times significantly.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

That’s false. True, aBRT does not work as well as fully-dedicated-ROW BRT, but it still works vastly better than standard stop-every-block service. See my above post about aBRT successes in the Twin Cities.

Momo
Guest
Momo

Are you kidding? The B-Line is a good example of how you can make up for lack of dedicated lanes through increased frequency. It runs every 90 seconds, if I remember right. And it has incredibly high ridership. It’s a bit weird to attack one of the most successful BRT lines in North America.

J_Wink
Guest
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.

Jon
Guest
Jon

Good point. I put my completed ballot in my local drop box last weekend.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

In Metro’s defense, most people who choose to vote early tend to be those who are either always against any new taxes and those who support any new tax for schools and transportation – in other words, those who know quite well how they are going to vote, and any arguments Metro might make will not change the early votes (by much.)

It’s the 70%+ of undecided voters they are reaching out to, those who may or may not vote, or who might vote for a congressperson but not a president, people who split their votes or procrastinate, and those who might vote for a bond but not for a candidate.

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/

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Most of the service gains on Division are due to stop removal. We could have captured a big chunk of the benefit for about 0% of the price.

unite behind climate science
Guest
unite behind climate science

The Division-Powell Rapid Transit Project was also initially described as BRT by local governments but this terminology was criticized by the DOT in initial TIGER grant consulations. It’s outragous that Metro is making the same false claims for projects that will be funded at a far lower level than the Division-Powell project.

BRT systems have dedicated lane of travel, dedicated bus stock, platform stations, and signaling priority. Describing a few signaling changes (some of which are also designed to improve “throughput” for cars) and small stretches of BAT/passing lanes as BRT is a cynical attempt to throw wool over voter’s eyes.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Last I read they were including dedicated 60′ articulated buses for the line as well as new stations.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

So for the Burnside and 82nd lines, we will get bendy busses that are just as slow as the current service?

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

No, they won’t be as slow as the current service, not by a long shot. As I point out near the top of this thread, much of the time wasted on regular buses is the dwell time while passengers board and pay their fares. If you have a busy line stopping every block, the delays can be positively agonizing. Even without dedicated right of way, aBRT has passengers pre-paying on the platform and then boarding through two super-wide doors simultaneously, just as on MAX. Combined with signal prioritization, you get a huge reduction in travel time.

No, not as good as dedicated-ROW BRT, but don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Our aBRT service in the Twin Cities (two lines so far, more under construction and coming soon) is a fantastic improvement of the standard service it mostly replaced – with a big ridership boost to show for it, too.

And, by the way, the signaling changes should be specific to bus prioritization. Won’t help car throughput when a bus isn’t present.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

How much better value for money would the public get if TriMet took a typical bus line, eliminated half the stops, and made fares free to speed boarding times. Besides door size, that sounds a lot like the way you described your aBRT.

Almost all the benefits of “BRT” at a tiny fraction of the cost. TriMet could probably implement that without a federal match. Of course, if they did that, they wouldn’t need as many planners or grant writers.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Sure, eliminating fares is a great idea. Some transit systems, such as Island County in Washington, have done that. But it’s a political non-starter. Remember Fareless Square?

Most of the cost of aBRT is in constructing the platforms: these not only give people a means to pay their fares before boarding, but provide more room for people to wait for the vehicle (important for busy lines when you’ve taken out over half the stops), and add an overhead cover to shelter from the weather (much as you have at MAX stations). Important to travel time, the raised nature of the platform allows disabled users to walk or roll directly on without the bus having to “kneel”.

Sure, you could get some of the benefits at “a tiny fraction of the cost” of aBRT by cutting stops and eliminating fares, but aBRT itself is a tiny fraction of the cost of light rail or anything else with a dedicated ROW, while providing much quicker travel times than regular buses. Worth the money IMO, and it’s what Metro Transit is zeroing in on for most future transit lines, as the most cost-efficient large transit system in the country.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I hear what you’re saying, but I am not convinced the (high) cost is worthwhile when it’s mostly unnecessary to get the desired performance. On Division, at least, the new (diesel) buses will still have to kneel, and most stops already have shelters.

Maybe I’ll become a believer when travel times are slashed and ridership rockets and the special buses age better than the ever-breaking elevators TriMet builds. Until then I see BRT “TriMet style” as an expensive mechanism for capturing federal dollars and doing things in the most ludicrous way possible (such as sticking with inner Division and re-routing the line to cross the active UPRR mainline that is very frequently blocked).

And while I’m on a roll, just take your bike out for a ride along SE 17th (with its street-level bike lanes, which could have been curb-level essentially for free), and see what a great impact the Orange Line has had on the area. The place, adjacent to a residential neighborhood, has become an ocean of concrete and asphalt, with all traces of human life scraped away. And how did TriMet do with their redesign of the intersection at 12th & Clinton? It functions terribly for all modes.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Why would the new buses still have to kneel? Half the point of a platform raised a foot above the street is so they don’t have to. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with what aBRT platforms look like – because Portland doesn’t have any. Also the shelters are a lot bigger than the dinky things you see on regular bus routes. As I said above, a BRT platform looks a lot more like a MAX station than the bus stops you’re familiar with.

If you have significant volume of boardings and deboardings along the route, you’re still not going to get the travel-time improvements unless you get rid of fareboxes on the buses, either by making fares free (not going to happen) or by putting ticket machines on the platforms. Yes, aBRT costs a few tens of millions per line, but that’s a tiny fraction the cost of rail. (And probably a better choice for the SW corridor)

Frequent, limited-stop service, as you suggest, would help improve travel times, and TriMet could take a lesson from 1990s Seattle, which used to have a bunch of those. They ran express buses, stopping every mile or so, side-by-side with local milk-run buses and even sharing the same route number except with an “E” modifier. When I lived along the Aurora corridor I had my pick of both: one faster, one serving all the minor stops (and, at rush hour, less crowded).

But a better example than 1990s Seattle would be contemporary Seattle, which has converted many of these mixed-bus routes to aBRT. There’s a reason for that, and the route I used to take through north Seattle is now the RapidRide E-line.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I think the Division buses are going to kneel because the street configuration limits platform height. The original idea was that they would not, but, like so many other aspects of the Division “BRT” project, this feature was compromised out.

TriMet has walked back a lot of their early claims for the system (which were always unrealistic); we’ll see if what remains works as promised, or if it’s just really expensive diesel bus service with fewer stops and schedule challenges due to inner Division and unpredictable freight trains. I hope I’m wrong in thinking that choosing this particular route to be the the exemplar of a new class of bus service was a strategic error.

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.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

COVID will be over by the time construction even starts. When you make investments expected to last decades, you plan for future travel demand, not current travel demand.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Since I’m making a number of comments in favor of transit improvements, I should clarify this doesn’t mean I am endorsing the measure. I am endorsing transit improvements which should be done with or without this measure.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Transit ridership in this country has been stagnant or decreasing, pre-COVID, for about a decade even with increased investments and density. Maybe COVID will be over and demand will come back, still very hard to envision how a light rail to Bridgeport mall will ever attract the ridership to justify it.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Sure, it was stagnant. Same reason cycling is flat. Gas is cheap. Won’t always be.

You may be right about LRT to Bridgeport. The south I-5 corridor is not overall as transit-amenable as the Sunset corridor was. But as a whole, transit will make a comeback, especially far more cost-effective BRT and aBRT.

was carless
Guest
was carless

People won’t even be driving gas-powered cars 10 years from now! Electricity is even cheaper than gas.
However, cars are very expensive and congestion is a geometry problem, not a technology one.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Who said we are replacing the I-5 bridges? We have no funding source, and no cross-state agreement. I’ll be surprised if this happens in the next 20 years.

Momo
Guest
Momo

The fact that pre-Covid you came up with other arguments for why we should be against transit, and now during Covid you use Covid as the reason we should be against transit, shows how intellectually bankrupt you are. If ridership was going up, you would just shift to some argument about the subsidy cost per rider. When someone can always come up with a reason to be against something no matter the circumstances, you know that person is an ideologue.

Matt
Guest
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.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

One of the arguments for rail projects is the private development that it attracts along the line. It should be interesting to see if more development occurs along the I-5/Barbur corridor if SW MAX is approved.

Interesting lesson here in the lower-density, more car-supremacist Twin Cities: the rail line under construction from downtown Minneapolis to our own southwest suburbs. Demographically, Hopkins and Eden Prairie are not too different from outer SW Portland, Tigard and Tualatin. In other words, not great density for rail. I’m not saying this $2 billion project (now about halfway through construction) has been a great use of taxpayer dollars, but in its defense it has already attracted an additional billion dollars in development, including thousands of jobs as several large companies have relocated offices to be near the stations. I think similar opportunities are possible for SW MAX.

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?