TriMet launches online open house on Division Transit Project station designs

Posted on July 3rd, 2018 at 9:06 am.

Latest iteration of how TriMet will design eight new stations on outer SE Division.

After months of feedback from partner agencies and advisory committees, and “recalibrating” due to a budget shortfall, TriMet has released its latest designs for how bicycle riders will pass through its new bus stations as part of the Division Transit project. An online open house went live last week and is accepting public comments through July 12th.

We last shared TriMet’s plans a few weeks ago. Since then, the agency has held two open houses and firmed up the design.

TriMet is grappling with how to maintain a protected bike lane while achieving all the other design and budget goals for the project (primary among them is to increase bus speeds and reliability). When we took our first close look just over one year ago, TriMet planned on a design where the bike lane would go behind the bus island (something similar to this scenario in London). Now the design routes the bike lane between passengers and the bus.

Here’s what they presented in June 2017:

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In September 2017:

In October 2017:

And here’s the latest design again:

This view gives you a different sense of how it will all come together (the teal/purple sections are protected bike lanes, the blue is the bus station):

According to their latest maps, TriMet plans to build eight of these “Integrated–Shared Bicycle and Pedestrian” stations — all east of 82nd. The locations include: 84th Place westbound, 87th eastbound, both sides of the street west of the I-205 path, and in Gresham on both sides of the street at 174th and 182nd.

One of the key aspects of the design you can help TriMet finalize is how wide the bike lane and the boarding strip (aka “alighting area”) should be. This is the “to be determined” part of the cross-section in the drawings above. According to discussions I’ve overheard, the concerns is that a wider alighting area will encourage people to stand on it and result in more blockage of the bike lane (TriMet wants people to wait further back on the sidewalk). But a narrower alighting area might not do enough to slow down bicycle users and create a safe space for passengers.

Please share your feedback with TriMet at the online open house before July 12th. Construction on this project is due to start fall 2019 and be ready for service mid-2022.

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

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Adventures in Activism: In search of bike-friendly bus stops

Posted on June 21st, 2018 at 1:56 pm.

Rides are always better when they come with commemorative spoke cards.
(Photo by Dan Gebhart. All other photos by Catie Gould)

With the Enhanced Transit Corridors (ETC) plan freshly adopted by City Council, the second (of three) Central City in Motion online open houses in the books, and TriMet seeking input on their Division Transit Project — now is a good time to talk about what makes good bus station design.

Earlier this month as part of Pedalpalooza, the Portland Bus Lane Project and BikeLoudPDX hosted a very wonky bus and bike lane ride with help from Portland Bureau of Transportation Planner Nick Falbo.

PBOT includes a variety of new tools in their ETC plan; but not all of them play equally well with bicycle users. We wanted to get our hands dirty and learn more about what types of stations we currently have — and how future designs could be better. About 30 people showed up for the ride to learn and share what they know about bus stop designs. Here are some takeaways:
[Read more…]

Activists hope to give Enhanced Transit Corridors Plan more teeth at first Council hearing today

Posted on June 20th, 2018 at 9:06 am.

This PBOT graphic shows where they want to make transit better.

UPDATE: The plan was adopted 3-0.

At 2:00 pm today (6/20) Portland City Council is set to hear public testimony on the Enhanced Transit Corridors plan. The move will allow the Portland Bureau of Transportation to move forward with design and development of projects aimed at making transit faster, more reliable, and ultimately more competitive than driving.
[Read more…]

TriMet seeks bike user feedback for new Division Transit Project station design

Posted on June 12th, 2018 at 2:54 pm.

TriMet’s latest design for stations in the Division Transit Project.

As TriMet inches ever closer to the final design of their $175 million Division Transit Project, the agency once again needs feedback on how best to handle bicycle users at new bus stations. And with protected bike lanes becoming a more common feature citywide, whatever TriMet decides to use could become the new standard.[Read more…]

New website is latest piece in the carfree Columbia Gorge puzzle

Posted on April 9th, 2018 at 11:37 am.

As the Portland region grows, so too has the popularity of the Columbia River Gorge. That’s a good thing; but not if too many people visit it by car.

Thankfully, Oregon’s tourism and transportation agencies understand this. Two summers ago, faced with congestion and overflowing parking lots, the Department of Transportation launched the Columbia Gorge Express bus service to encourage people to experience the Gorge without a car. That’s been such a huge success they’ve upgraded service and features each year.

Now comes another piece of the puzzle: ColumbiaGorgeCarfree.com, a website funded in part by a grant from Travel Oregon.

The site (still partly under construction) features carfree itineraries for popular Gorge destinations. As of now, there’s a turn-by-turn guide to hiking the popular Dog Mountain trail without a car. The itinerary comes with a detailed map and is based on biking and walking the four miles from Cascade Locks to the West End Transit (WET) shuttle bus stop on the Washington side of the river. If you can wait until May 25th, the Columbia Gorge Express will carry you and your bike from the Gateway Transit Center in east Portland to Cascade Locks.

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There’s also a very helpful page that lists all the buses and transit options that serve the Gorge.

This new website is the work of Heidi Beirle and a, “geeky team of transportation professionals.” Beirle is a carfree tourism consultant who also works with the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce.

If you’re keen on going to the Gorge carfree this season, keep this website handy. And if you want to make bus service to the Gorge even better, please take the latest Columbia Gorge Express survey.

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

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More bike capacity among possible upgrades for ODOT’s Gorge Express bus service

Posted on October 16th, 2017 at 4:21 pm.

Riders board the Columbia Gorge Express.
(Photos: ODOT)

Despite an early end to the season due to the Eagle Creek Fire, the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Columbia Gorge Express bus service was a hit once again this past summer season.

Jake Warr from ODOT’s Rail & Public Transit Division manages the program. He got in touch with us to share an update on this year’s usage stats and a photo of the newly upgraded buses.

“The second season of ODOT’s Columbia Gorge Express pilot service further confirmed that public transit to the Gorge is in high demand,” Warr said. “In fact, before the Eagle Creek Fire forced an early end to the season, the service was on pace to beat last year’s ridership totals. A few tweaks from the 2016 season helped accommodate and support this ridership growth, including the use of larger buses and the option to pay fares with cash.”

Here are the stats based on ticket sales and rider survey:[Read more…]

TriMet is firming up its designs for outer Division bus stations

Posted on October 5th, 2017 at 7:39 am.

The latest rendering of future bikeway-bus interaction on outer Division Street.
(Images: TriMet)

Portland’s regional transit agency is hoping to raise $175 million for bigger, faster-moving buses on Southeast Division Street, and some major bikeway upgrades would be in store.

From SE 82nd Avenue to the Gresham city limits near 174th Avenue, the agency is planning to pay for a vertical barrier, mostly a series of concrete curbs, to protect the bike lanes that will have been recently widened and buffered by a separate City of Portland project. And when the Division bike lanes pass bus stops — as they would at 87th, I-205, 101st, 112th, 122nd, 130th, 135th, 143rd, 148th, 156th, 162nd, 168th and 174th — they’ll often be wrapping to the sidewalk side in order to reduce bike-bus conflicts.

[Read more…]

Portland’s ‘Growing Transit Communities’ worth supporting for bikeways, bus upgrades

Posted on August 30th, 2017 at 2:40 pm.

From PBOT’s Enhanced Transit Corridors plan.

If we don’t want these additional buses stuck in the same traffic, we need to provide dedicated space on our streets for them.

This post was written by Luke Norman, a BP subscriber and volunteer with Portland Bus Lane Project.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Growing Transit Communities Plan is slated for a hearing (and possible adoption) on September 6th. Now is the time to learn about it and consider sharing your feedback.

The plan is primarily focused on improving access to TriMet bus lines 20, 77, & 87, which include some great safety and connectivity projects for people walking and biking. However, hidden in the document are two corridor studies that have the potential to significantly increase transit connections for East Portland residents.
[Read more…]

Buses at forefront as PBOT unveils “Enhanced Transit Corridors” plan tonight

Posted on June 21st, 2017 at 12:59 pm.

PBOT staff have already identified several transit lines they’d like to enhance.

While Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and his four commissioner colleagues try to justify plans to spend half a billion to widen I-5 through the Rose Quarter in an attempt to “fix congestion”, staff at the Portland Bureau of Transportation are looking at a much more sensible approach. They want to make buses work better.
[Read more…]

New ‘Portland Bus’ group finds momentum in push for dedicated lanes

Posted on May 24th, 2017 at 11:56 am.

Kessler, shown here at Sunday Parkways over the weekend, said he was surprised how non-controversial the idea is.

More dedicated lanes for buses might be an idea whose time has come in Portland. At least that’s how it appears given the support that the Portland Bus Lane Project has received after it launched just two weeks ago.

The effort is being spearheaded by lawyer and activist Alan Kessler. Kessler turned his passion for more reliable and efficient public transit into an organized effort after a May 4th tweet of gridlock on the Hawthorne Bridge gained attention.

Since then, Kessler has built a website and social media presence, garnered headlines, built up an email list (he has about 140 people signed up already), and even tabled at the recent Sunday Parkways event.

“The vast majority of comments we received [at Sunday Parkways] were supportive,” he shared with us yesterday. “We heard over and over from folks how well bus priority works in other cities they’d lived in and visited.”

Much to Kessler’s surprise, he said many people who stopped by his booth had already heard about his efforts. One of those people was Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish. “We were excited when he pulled up and grabbed a card.” [Read more…]