Ice Closes MAX in August

OK, I just couldn’t resist the headline.

TriMet will actually be doing some maintenance Saturday morning to add ice caps to the Blue Line in Gresham.

Let’s look forward to better service in inclement weather.

7 responses to “Ice Closes MAX in August”

  1. So, there is a possibility then that after this 160,000 dollar investment (not sure why it costs so much) what should be the most reliable form of transit in the area should truly be the most reliable form eh. :)

    I’m looking forward to it. The day it was shut down last year I was trying to get to the airport with my brother. Fortunately the airlines where kind enough to cut us some slack and put him on the next flight out.

    The other strange thing was when we where standing on Gateway Transit Center waiting for the red line Tri-Met’s attempt at getting the stuck train off the line came rolling up. A MAX “train” of 5 vehicles attached together. Now THAT was a site to see!

  2. Tri met max MUST be reliable 24/7, so if they choose to invest 285,000 or 160,000 or their money, GOFORIT!!!!!

  3. I don’t know how much of the entire east-side line will be covered with ice caps, but here is an estimate:

    If they cover the entire line (both tracks) for $285,000, that works out to $1.80 per linear foot. If they do just a third of the line, it runs about $5.40 per linear foot.

    I just bought foam to fill a camera case and paid more than $5 per linear foot. I imagine than an all-weather semi-custom moulded plastic wire cap costs a few pennies as well.

    The real question is preventative: If this cap works (big _if_), then the cost will be well recouped in terms of greater system reliability, less overtime and bus wear-and-tear, and overall improved ridership as the public gains more confidence in the system.

    Frankly I wonder if the caps will really help. In the big storm a couple years ago, we had about two inches of solid ice at our house built up on the sidewalk overnight. A shovel wouldn’t cut it. I wound up having to remove it with a pry bar and sledgehammer, while crawling around because it was too slippery to stand up anywhere on our property.

    I’m surprised so many people expect everything else to work flawlessly during those unusual intense weather events.

    As for my hours of labor clearing the sidewalk, it was largely pointless because none of the neighbors cleaned their walks, so pedestrians remained in the street dodging traffic. But I’m pretty sure the mailman appreciated my efforts.

    – Bob R.

  4. You know – sometimes the weather really does just shut everything down. I mean, look at Katrina – even if the city wouldn’t have flooded like that, hurricanes certainly halt business for a day or two. A major ice storm in PDX every 5 or 10 years can also do that – its not like anyone starved to death because they couldn’t get to the store.

    Besides, it gives everyone an excuse to enjoy the snow for a little bit – and considering how dreary our winters are, its a godsend!

  5. I think there are a variety of things going on:

    1) You can run rail transit in cold climates, lots of Canadian cities do it and we should be able to.

    2) It’s harder for us because it’s so infrequent. We have fewer and less regular learning experiences (for example, it was only after the first snow storm after Streetcar opened that we realized the Streetcar streets had not been added to PDOTs priority plowing list).

    3) Snow is easier than ice. Ice storms happen when temperatures hover right below freezing. We may be more likely to have this condition than cities further north because of our moderate weather.

    Factors 2 & 3 often conspire to make our transit operators look like idiots. I’m sympathetic, but we have to keep trying to do better.

  6. According to the news release, the caps are being installed in Gresham and from the Steel Bridge to 82nd; a fair chunk along the line. These may not be the only places that the $285,000 is being spent on.

    Snow is easier than ice

    There was an article during one of the recent ice storms which noted how another airport (Salt Lake?) was able to keep open thru multiple feet of snow. However, the operations person there said that he wouldn’t want to deal with what we get. Moreover, sometimes those temps will rise causing the ice to melt & refreeze. The bottom line is that you can plow snow but not ice.

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