“The power of transportation isn’t just in getting people from place-to-place. When we get transportation right, we can accomplish so much more.
— Chloe Eudaly, Commissioner
Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly officially became in charge of the transportation bureau less than one week ago. But that didn’t stop her from showing up at a ribbon-cutting event this morning in east Portland. In a brief speech to mark the completion of the first phase of the 122nd Avenue Plan, Eudaly made it clear this oft-neglected part of our city would be a priority for her office. She also coined the phrase, “Transportation done right,” while listing several ways great streets can make a positive impact on Portland.
Eudaly was joined this morning by PBOT Interim Director Chris Warner, TriMet Chief Operating Officer Maurice Henderson, Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, and former City Commissioner Steve Novick. [Read more…]
On streets where buses and bikes are common, the “leapfrog” phenomenon has been a thorn in the side of the City of Portland for many years. It happens when a bus operator pulls all the way to the curb to service a stop — and temporarily blocks a travel lane used by bicycle riders. This behavior causes people to either stop and breathe toxic bus exhaust, or swerve around the bus into a more dangerous shared-lane environment. The issue has become more acute in recent years as the Bureau of Transportation has built more curbside lanes protected from drivers.
When a bus operator can still swing into a lane, it no longer qualifies as protected.
Physical separation is to bicycling what reliability is to transit. If we don’t have it, the masses will never switch from driving and our transportation system will never reach its potential.
That’s why an idea for a “pop-up” bus-only lane is worthy of your attention.
Our friends at the all-volunteer Portland Bus Lane Project have pitched an idea to Better Block PDX that would reconfigure SW Madison Street between 5th and the Hawthorne Bridge. Their idea comes in response a request for proposals that Better Block launched back in July.
PBLP was hatched in May by a group of transit advocates that are frustrated with how auto-congestion during peak hours is killing bus reliability. Their solution is to create dedicated bus-only lanes which they see as an inexpensive way to prioritize mass transit and improve bus reliability while getting more people to their destinations on time.
Their proposal is currently being vetted and considered by Better Block and they’ve given me permission to share it with you.[Read more…]
In yet another example of the wondrous potential of bus transit, the State of Oregon is starting up their Columbia Gorge Express service starting today.
Like flowing water that takes the path of least resistance, so too will people when deciding how to get from point-A to point-B. Unfortunately in Portland today, driving a private car is still way too cheap and easy so it’s not surprising that the majority of people still prefer to drive.
To get the transportation results we need in order to save lives, save time, save money, and save our health; we must make options to driving more attractive. In Portland that means we must get more out of our significant investment in transit.
While they’re good at chasing mega-projects (including ones that have nothing to do with transit), TriMet is not doing enough to make bus service great. The result is fewer people taking transit — and more importantly, more people opting to drive.
Turns out there are other ways to solve auto overcrowding and congestion than spending billions on freeway expansions.
The first season of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Columbia Gorge Express bus service has “far surpassed” expectations, the agency announced this morning. “The public response highlighted a significant demand for transit service in the Gorge.”
Launched in May as a way to relieve serious overcrowding of private cars in the Gorge, the service carried more than 30,000 people between the Gateway Transit Center, Rooster Rock State Park, and Multnomah Falls. The service was offered for 18 weekends and it was the first year of a two-year pilot project. There were initially three, 20-seat buses, with a third, 53-seat bus added in July. All four buses had bicycle racks that ODOT says were “used every day.”
As Oregon legislators start talking about the statewide transportation bill many hope to pass in 2017 (look for some reporting on that soon), others are starting to think locally, too.
We’ve heard from various sources recently that some people in the Portland area are looking toward November 2018 as the right moment for a region-wide bond measure for transportation. The idea is to create a burst of new money for public transit, roadways, biking and walking.
How much of each, you ask? Those negotiations would probably get underway over the next year.
2016 is a huge year for the Columbia River Gorge. 100 years ago Oregon celebrated the opening of Route 30 — the Columbia River Highway — and this year we’ll celebrate its grand re-opening as a State Trail with miles of new biking and walking-only paths that open up exciting carfree exploration opportunities.
But even as new pieces of the State Trail are completed, our overuse of cars is killing the Gorge vibe. In an effort to reduce automobiling’s impacts to this historic natural resource we all share, the Oregon Department of Transportation has launched a new public transit line.
The Columbia Gorge Express opens next Friday. The new line will have 12 departures a day Friday through Sunday from the Gateway Transit Center with stops in Rooster Rock State Park (25 miles east of Portland) and Multnomah Falls (30 miles east of Portland). It’s just $5 for a round-trip ticket and bicycle riders are welcome aboard: Each transit vehicle has capacity for three bikes on the rack.
The viaduct on the left is Interstate 5.
(Renderings via NextPortland)
The city’s economic development agency agreed this month to have city taxpayers make an eight-figure bet that driving to the Rose Quarter area is going to remain popular for decades.
The Portland Development Commission voted Feb. 10 to borrow $26 million from one of its property tax funds to build a new 425-stall parking garage on public land between NE Holladay Street, Multnomah Street, 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue, across the street from the Rose Quarter Transit Center.
Fifty of those stalls would then be resold to TriMet for an estimated $8 million, and the other 375 would be set aside for rental to the publicly subsidized 600-room Hyatt Regency Convention Center Hotel that’s supposed to go up across the street.