Archive | Open Threads

Women’s World Cup Open Thread

Team USA will be playing in the women’s World Cup final this weekend, including a few members of the Portland Thorns.  A few local notes:

  • TriMet is banning vaping and therapy dogs, with a few exceptions.  Vaping and e-cigs are to be treated like tobacco, and only licensed and trained assistance dogs (seeing-eye dogs and such) will be allowed on TriMet vehicles, unless in a pet carrier.  Animals whose only purpose is companionship will be no longer allowed without being secured.
  • More photo-radar may be coming to Portland, as an Oregon House bill authorizing an expansion of the program (and allowing unmanned vehicles–under current law, photo radar vans must have an officer present) has made it out of committee.
  • Jarrett Walker notes that many transit agencies have greatly reduced bus service in the past decade or so, not all of it attributable to the Great Recession, despite an increase in demand.  On the other hand, TriMet is considering an increase in the payroll tax (which the Legislature has authorized) to help pay for new bus service, as outlined in the various service enhancement plans.
  • TriMet explains how the Orange Line will operate, and why it’s not being called the Yellow Line even though most Orange and Yellow trains convert to the other color upon reaching the Transit Mall, and provide through north-south service.
  • Oregon today launched a pilot project for a pay-per-mileage vehicle tax as an alternate to the gas tax.

Rose Festival Open Thread

Starlight parade is tomorrow night, and TriMet wants you to know they’ll be there.

Post Tax Open Thread

OK, it’s a full week since the Ides of April, but another open thread for everyone.

  •  Portland has legalized (for now) uber and Lyft.  One condition placed on uber and Lyft drivers is a city business license.  Taxi drivers and cab companies are, naturally, unhappy.
  • TriMet toots its horn about service increases leading to ridership increases.  (And conversely, service decreases lead to ridership decreases).  This pattern is well-known within transit circles, but tends to be lost on some decision makers (and transit critics) who view transit demand as inelastic.  (Though if you scale back service to the point that you’re only getting those who are poor and desparate, it does become inelastic).
  • The SW Corridor team with some detailed analysis of the PCC-Sylvania area.  And TriMet has extended its feedback deadline for the Southwest Service Enhancement Plan Refined Draft Vision to the 27th.
  • In further evidence that the Lake Oswego Streetcar is dead–funding allocated to it (nearly $6M) is being re-allocated to other transit projects:  namely Powell/Division, the SW Corridor, and upgrades to keep the excursion trolley on the right-of-way in operation.
  • Joseph Rose of The Oregonian is now taking votes for the Portland area’s worst bus stop.
  • Funding issues puts Amtrak Cascades service south of Portland in jeopardy.

Great Eight Open Thread

The Great Eight in the NCAA tourney are now set, the Final Four will be decided by Sunday. Time for another Open Thread.

  • Oregon Business encourages greater private-sector (and public/private) participation in transit.
  • The population of the Portland/Vancouver MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) is now estimated to be 2.35M.  (Note:  The “MSA” is defined to include all of Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Columbia, Yamhill, Clark, and Skamania counties, so it’s considerably bigger than the contiguous urbanized area on both sides of the river).
  • TriMet is starting to add new 30′ buses for its routes in the West Hills.   The agency is also extending Line 8 to MLK Jr. where it can connect with the 6.
  • Washington County and Hillsboro considering some welcome road improvements.
  • The C-TRAN BRT line for Fourth Plain Boulevard has a new nameThe Vine.

Daylight Savings Open Thread

Some of the latest happening in Portland-area transportation and land use.

  • As mentioned last time, the Powell/Division Steering Committee further narrows down the project alignment next Wednesday.  The preferred alignment seems to be Tilikum to 12th to Powell to 82nd to Division to Hogan to Stark to Kane to MHCC.  Along this stretch, most of the route could support an exclusive ROW–the most important exception between Powell between 26th and Cesar Chavez.  (See here and especially here and here).
  • Speaking of Powell, ODOT is launching a safety project on the portion of Powell Boulevard east of I-205.
  • Some new information on the Southwest Corridor, including a few refined cost estimates for various options.   See here, here, and here.
  • Several bits of news from TriMet:  A proposed 2016 budget.  Bluetooth low-energy beacons at MAX stations to provide real-time arrival data.  Start of work on the new e-fare system, scheduled to come online in 2017.  And, as of the start of March, your transfer is now good for 2 1/2 hours.
  • The Oregon Legislature is considering expanding photo-radar to include fixed installations not overseen by an officer.  Currently, Oregon law permitting photo radar requires a sworn police officer be present, even though the system is entirely automatic and the cop just sits there and reads the newspaper.  :)
  • The Clackamas County Commission has approved over $9M in tax breaks for a developer looking to build near the New Hope church across the freeway from Clackamas Town Center.