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TriMet North Central Draft Service Plan

Guest author Cameron Johnson is a regular Portland Transport reader.

This week, in a much smaller time gap than there was between the SW and Eastside plans, TriMet released the North Central Draft Proposal for improved bus service. (North Central means all of NE above Burnside and west of the 205, North Portland, and inner NW). Unlike past plans, there’s no new plan weaving into the proposal as far as rapid transit goes, and the present inner parts of the grid itself is some of the more solid bus service in the city, as is to be expected. Like the other ones, it’s nothing major or capital- reroutings, new routes, schedule improvements, and other basic improvements.

Here’s the short version with the map and cliffnotes. As usual, we’ll go into more detail, and I’ll give my thoughts.

Two new lines have been proposed:

  • Line Y, which starts at some undetermined point in the Southeast side, uses the 20th/21st corridor north to Broadway, takes over line 17’s corridor on 24th/27th to Concordia, and jogs over to Columbia Blvd, looping around 15th, Argyle, and 21st.
  • Line Z, which starts downtown and travels through Rose Quarter TC, MLK, Alberta (taking over the 72), 33rd, and Prescott to Parkrose TC.

These edits have also been proposed:

  • Small edits to lines 4 and 44, where they will no longer serve Lombard in St. Johns between Richmond and St. Louis, and use Ivanhoe instead.
  • Line 6 will wind through Delta Park via Union and Hayden Meadows drive to the MAX station and take I-5 to Jantzen Beach.
  • The line 15 will no longer serve the Industrial Zone, instead reverting to Montgomery Park. It will also take Morrison straight through from 18th to Burnside.
  • Line 16 will not serve Front Avenue, instead winding through Northwest Portland via Station Way, Marshall/Northrup, 14th/16th, Raleigh, Vaughn, through Montgomery Park and through to the Industrial Northwest route before continuing to St. Johns.
  • Line 17 will merge with the 70’s portion of 33rd Avenue, running straight through to Sunderland (eliminating the detour to Riverside Drive.
  • Line 20 is confirmed to be frequent only between 23rd Avenue and Gresham TC.
  • Line 24 will not end at the awkward Emanuel Hospital loop, instead taking the 405 from Williams/Vancouver to the US30 offshoot, NW Wilson/Vaughn, 19th/18th to Providence Park.
  • Line 58 Canyon Road will take Columbia/Jefferson to Naito Parkway, taking it all the way North to Kittridge to end at Yeon/44th.
  • Line 70, having relinquished its 33rd avenue route to line 17, will return to Rose Quarter and merge with both the 85 and the Dry Dock portion of the 72, ending at Basin and Fathom.
  • Line 71 will split from the 122nd Avenue segment and end at Parkrose TC, extending from Cully/Prescott via Cully, Killingsworth, 82nd, Alderwood, Cascade Parkway, St. Helens, Alderwood, 105th, and Sandy to Parkrose TC.
  • Line 72 will no longer detour to Alberta, instead remaining on Killingsworth since the Line Z takes over Alberta. The Dry Dock segment is taken over by the 70, meaning it will always end at Anchor Street.
  • Line 77 will no longer detour to Broadway between 42nd and 47th.
  • They’re also proposing additional service hours on the 4, 15, 20, 72, and 75. Commuter shuttles are being vaguely proposed for Rivergate, Cedar Mill/Northwest Heights, and the East Columbia/Bridgeton neighborhoods. Finally, the Washington Park area will have year round service in an undetermined hybrid of the 63/83.

 

Now, here are my suggestions:

  • Minor but important one: the 77 change eliminating the detour from Halsey to Broadway between 42nd and 47th makes the route a little more efficient, but this detour is only made to serve an apartment complex on Broadway and 45th that houses many senior citizens, making it a very busy stop. Quite like the 4 continuing to serve 7th so it can get a close stop to Goodwill rather than use the new crossing, the 77 has this meander for a reason.
  • I’m not sure I’d have the Prescott route run on MLK, on almost half of an already frequent service line. I guess if you want to connect it to the transit mall, you could, but it seems repetitive. The best move would be to take a left turn onto Albina/Mississippi, adding service to the area and continuing on Mississippi down to the MAX Station and Interstate, providing connectivity to the industrial area, shopping neighborhoods (both Mississippi and Alberta), and the residential Cully neighborhood on Prescott. This also puts it within a stone’s throw of PCC Cascade and Jefferson High School.
  • I don’t think I’d have the 70 take over for the Swan Island route because the nature of the current 85 is that there’s no place for a layover that doesn’t complicate the route immensely due to the looping nature. You’d either have to establish a layover at Basin/Fathom (running the Cutter loop and Dry Dock section both ways) or not lay over at all, and given both the length of the 70 and the areas it serves (narrow, traffic-plagued, railroad-intersecting inner city) that seems implausible. They should run the 85 to the city center (perhaps connecting it with a short line if one can be found). The 70 itself could also link up to the Front Avenue portion of the 16/58, although the connectivity wouldn’t be as valuable as it would be for the 58.
  • I’ve long been a proponent that there shouldn’t be bus service on 27th because of how narrow and dangerous the street is, but the corridor itself is opportune. As far as where it should end south-side, I’d run it down 21st, Gladstone, 28th, Bybee, and into Sellwood. From there, it can meander to Johns Landing/Burlingame via Tacoma/Taylors Ferry, or Milwaukie via 17th/Ochoco. As for the North Side, I’d not end it in the middle of nowhere, rather extend it down Columbia to the Kenton area via Interstate Place, Kilpatrick, Denver, I-5 Looparound, and end it at Delta Park.
  • As for the 24, I’d at least extend it down to Goose Hollow, and potentially combine it with one of the Jefferson routes/downtown only routes, such as the updated 1 Vermont, which could combine by rerouting to Jefferson. It could also be more productive to run the route to Emanuel Hospital still via Vancouver, Graham, and Kerby, before entering the I-405, as well as taking the US30 to Nicolai and looping around Montgomery Park.
  • Ending the 58 at Yeon seems pretty arbitrary- it’s not really anywhere, and it only serves the mostly empty Naito Parkway beforehand. Extending it to St. Johns would fit better- a little redundant, but of an emptier area, and takes riders to a pretty big area of the city while connecting it to the Westside on a relatively quick corridor. Since the 16 would now be winding through slower inner city areas due to the new Northwest Portland routing, it’d also again be the swiftest way to get to St. Johns. I’d also make sure that the 16 goes on the transit mall again, which has hindered the route currently.
  • I’d not reroute the 6 in a complicated roundabout to get to Delta Park. It’s out of the way and serves frontage roads to get to a small portion. I’d use the 8, routing it via Portland Blvd, Vancouver, Schmeer, Denver, Victory/Whitaker, Hayden Meadows, Union, and the I-5 to the Delta Park/Vanport Transit Center stop with the C-Tran layovers. This connects the residential areas of NE Portland to the large shopping centers and connects a third route to C-Tran in the west side. (On the South side, I’d also extend the 8 to Burlingame so it can layover there).
  • In conjunction with the MAX replacing the 33 down McLoughlin, there’s room freed up for the 14 to return to the transit mall instead of the awkward routing it has around Broadway.
  • I much prefer the 71 serving the Cascade area than trying to maneuver the 21 or 87 to it. Even if the Prescott line doesn’t immediately come to fruition I’d extend the 71 from its terminus at Parkrose (since the uncoupling from the 122nd avenue portion is imminent), run it up 105th, Alderwood, St. Helens, Cascade, and up to PDX itself as sort of a supplementary extension along the Red line to the Cascade area.
  • As far as transit facilities, I think a case for a terminus transit center at Pier Park for the 44, 58, 75, 11, and potentially 4 could be a good idea, if there’s an efficient way to serve both Safeway and Pier Park for the 4. Already there’s stops set up and plenty of extra room.
  • Let me know in the comments what you think! It’s interesting that we’ve gotten such an intense look in the last few months at the ideal bus system TriMet has proposed. It still feels like a snowball’s chance in hell sometimes that it’d come to fruition, but the fact that TriMet has a vision seems like a big step up.

Rethinking bus service in Gresham and East County

This past week, TriMet released its first draft proposal for improved bus service in East County (essentially, anything east of Interstate 205 and north of Mt. Scott).  Like the recently similar proposal for the SW Metro area, the new Eastside Plan is an effort being done in parallel with a rapid transit project (the Powell/Division BRT), but does not include that project itself; instead it focuses on (mostly) non-capital improvements to bus service:  new routes, re-routings, and improvements to frequency and/or span of service.  (A few proposed changes require new streets be completed).

A map and brief description is here:

And as Bike Portland reports, one of the proposed changes will soon come to fruition:  The 71 between Lents and Parkrose via 122nd, will become a frequent service route once Portland completes some improvements.    (It appears that this line will be disconnected from the western leg of the 71 at Parkrose; whether that will be joined with another line or not, I do not know).

Anyway, on to the details, and my comments, after the jump:

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New Trimet Rail Map

Trimet Rail Map 8-24-2014

Trimet Rail Map 8-24-2014

I was out walking downtown this weekend when I noticed that Trimet has updated the rail system map to include the pending Orange Line route. I snapped a photo with my camera and while the news is nothing worth getting excited over, it does provide some changes to the existing map that make different regions a bit more clear.

Included on the map is also the closed loop of the Portland Streetcar Central Loop. Both routes are shown as “future service” and while the CL line future service is not in doubt, the new map answers no questions about future Orange & Yellow line service. Where will the Orange Line end on the north end of the route? Will the Yellow Line extend further south as some of the new platforms indicate?

The new maps provide no answers to these questions. I’m left wondering why Trimet went to the trouble of producing new maps that will be obsolete a year from now.

Orange Line Testing (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Orange Line Testing (image credit: Curt Ailes)

The appearance of the new map coincides with this morning’s first test of the Orange Line though which, when taken together, represent some visible forward momentum in the downtown area where the Orange Line is concerned.