Further Musings on the Transit Mall

So I’ve been musing about the Transit Mall over the weekend, reading all the comments on the prior posts, and have a few questions turning over in my mind, which I’d like to throw out to readers.

But first, I want to thank Jim Karlock. While I generally don’t agree with Jim’s take on transportation, I admire his dedication, including all the meetings he tapes. He has just posted his video of the Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting last week. Here they are, he tells me you need Real Player:

Part 1 – Presentations (43 min)
Part 2 – Q&A (58 min)

Question #1 – Interpreting the APTA Report

In my last post, I suggested that the APTA report was simply a constructive criticism of the design, not a condemnation. A reader has pointed out to me that the scope of the report was limited (i.e., they weren’t asked to review design alternatives):

We are requesting a report that documents your opinions of our planned
operating procedures and any recommendations for improving the movement
between buses and LRVs. We are also interested in any “best practices” that
you can share with us.

The reader has opined that in light of this, the following paragraph from the report is sort of screaming “don’t do this”:

While other city experiences in downtown street operation would suggest that normal
rubber-tired traffic not be mingled with rail vehicles any more than necessary, and
constantly changing lanes by transit vehicles (particularly LRVs) is not
recommended, the following comments are provided in an attempt to maintain as safe
and smooth a mall operation as possible with the policies already adopted for the
Portland Transit Mall.

So is this a red flag, or friendly recommendations to make it work better?

Question #2 – Bottlenecks

I’m trying to understand if the potential system bottlenecks are a function of the Green Line or the Mall alignment.

Currently the Steel Bridge itself is a bottleneck, and the Y junction on the east side of the bridge is a potential bottleneck. Does the addition of another Y junction on the west side further limit capacity, or is capacity already constrained by the bridge or the existing eastern Y?

This matters because if the new Y is the issue, that might argue toward continuing to use Yamhill/Morrison rather than the mall. If the new Y is not the issue, then the question is whether we can get the Green Line across the bridge to any west side destination.

Who’s got answers or opinions?

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