Washington County Commuter Rail Groundbreaking celebration!

Update: 10/22/06

Jim Mayer has a piece in the Oregonian this morning that explores in detail the issues of operating on the freight line.

Original Post: 10/20/06

MEDIA ADVISORY

Washington County Commuter Rail Groundbreaking celebration!
Oct. 25th event at Tigard Transit Center

After 10 years of planning, the 14.7-mile Washington County Commuter Rail Project will celebrate its groundbreaking on Wednesday, Oct. 25th at the Tigard Transit Center. The line will connect the cities of Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville and become Oregon’s first commuter rail project when it opens in September 2008.

Who:

US Senator Ron Wyden
US Senator Gordon Smith
US Rep. David Wu
US Rep. Darlene Hooley
Federal Transit Administration Deputy Administrator Sandra Bushue
Washington County Chair Tom Brian
TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen
Oregon Transportation Commissioner Janice Wilson
Portland & Western President and General Manager Bruce Carswell

What:

Groundbreaking celebration for Washington County Commuter Rail
Speakers will arrive at the event on a vintage Portland & Western train

Where:

Tigard Transit Center
8900 SW Commercial

When:

Wednesday, Oct. 25th – 10:30 AM

About the project:

Washington County Commuter Rail will offer a new transportation option in the heavily traveled I-5/Hwy 217 corridor. Using existing Portland & Western freight tracks, the new line will provide commuters with morning and evening rush hour service on weekdays, and connect with Blue and Red MAX trains and bus service in Beaverton, and local bus service in Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville. Up to 800 park & ride spaces will be available at four of the five stations. Travel time between Beaverton and Wilsonville is 27 minutes; by the year 2020 a car trip between those cities is expected to be 40 minutes. Top speed of the train is 60 mph and will average 37 mph. Cost of the project is $117.3 million, with the federal government providing 50 percent of the funds. Weekday ridership is expected to be 3,000-4,000 trips estimated by 2020, with half of the riders new to transit.

38 Comments

38 Responses to Washington County Commuter Rail Groundbreaking celebration!

  1. Bill R.
    October 20, 2006 at 8:29 am Link

    I understand this project is on hold pending the outcome of the election. If Measure 48 passes, this project will not go forward.

  2. Chris Smith
    October 20, 2006 at 8:34 am Link

    I’d be surprised if that were true. While the legislature did put some money into the pot, I think it’s from previous cycles, I don’t know that we’re waiting on future state money.

    Most of the money is Federal, Regional or Washington County.

    Maybe Mary can provide clarification.

  3. dick BARNARD
    October 20, 2006 at 10:23 am Link

    lots of construction already underway including fill material to construct an elevated crossing over Hall Blvd. Go take a look..

  4. Jason McHuff
    October 20, 2006 at 12:36 pm Link

    I didn’t know that they’re going to cross over Hall. Also, there is Construction info on TriMet’s site.

  5. george
    October 20, 2006 at 1:19 pm Link

    is there a lot of opposition to this project from the usual anti-rail crowd?

    seems like not much opposition here…

  6. Manzell
    October 20, 2006 at 2:11 pm Link

    Does this fully connect with the MAX lines? Is it perposterous to extend the Red Line to Tigard TC on this rail?

  7. Ron Swaren
    October 20, 2006 at 2:13 pm Link

    “is there a lot of opposition to this project from the usual anti-rail crowd?”

    There isn’t so much opposition, IMHO, because this is perceived as a more cost effective solution. Whether it will be in the long run remains to be seen, but by using exisiting rails a lot of startup costs have been eliminated.

    I think nearly anyone likes the rail concept–unless it is going right in front of your house or within earshot–but what we have been debating about is whether it provides the necessary economic conditions to keep Portland as a city in which modest income people and families can live. That is why some people oppose expensive rail projects in favor of expanded streets and highways. Another sticking point is the magnitude of federal (US taxpayer) subsidy needed to solve a local problem. Will our congressmen have to capitulate on other jurisdiction’s pork barrel projects, in exchange for approval of our rail systems?

    Why the fuss? Many people cannot find an “alternative” (to auto) means of getting to work. My jobs last for a few weeks in some more remote corner of the Metropolitan area, so I can’t devote an additional 3 or 4 hours to getting there by mass transit. Other people would have reasons why a car is necessary. Nonetheless, I like other car commuters will also get frustrated if too many cars are on the road, so will look favorably to any transit system that is able to coax people not to drive–at least not one at a time.

    The MAX systems seem to have gotten very expensive, rising 10x in cost since 1979. Will this spur inquiry into cost-effective alternatives–or in hindsight be seen as a relative bargain?

  8. Chris Smith
    October 20, 2006 at 2:23 pm Link

    Does this fully connect with the MAX lines? Is it perposterous to extend the Red Line to Tigard TC on this rail?

    It connects at the Beaverton Transit Center.

    This is “commuter rail” which includes a couple of features very distinct from MAX:

    – Runs only in morning and evening, not all day
    – Shares tracks with freight
    – Uses heavy-rail type vehicle

    To run MAX in this corridor would require removing the (active) frieght line.

  9. Justin
    October 20, 2006 at 3:20 pm Link

    I would argue MAX in this corridor would function much better along a road, such as Hall Blvd, where there is a lot more density and mix of uses: retail, res, bus lines, and employment.

    In fact, such a line might well compliment the commuter rail line & allow even more mobility for people in the area.

  10. Grant
    October 21, 2006 at 8:49 am Link

    To elaborate on Chris’s point: one main issue with track sharing would be clearance issues. The overhead MAX wires would severely restrict the height of freight cars.

  11. Jason
    October 21, 2006 at 7:59 pm Link

    This project is long overdue, and very much welcome in my book.

    I used to live in Tigard, and worked in an office on 185th., right on the Hillsboro/Beaverton city line. Quickly grew tired of riding 76/78 between Greenburg Rd. and Beaverton TC, especially in 90-degree summer heat on TriMet’s non air-conditioned 1700-series buses, while stuck in traffic on the same Hall Blvd. everyone tries to use to drive home.

    So, I’d ride 95X from SW 74th and Pacific Hwy. to Downtown Portland, then take MAX from downtown to Willow Creek TC. Who cares it had the 500 and 600-series buses at the time (I actually sorta miss those, I hear the operators don’t, though) – when it hit freeway speeds with the window open, it didn’t need air conditioning!

    Sorry for the digression, back to the topic – from about 2001 on, I dreamed of being able to ride the commuter rail line from Tigard to Beaverton, then continue my trip on MAX as I’d been doing. Fast forward 5 years later – I’d still love to ride the commuter rail, even if I don’t live in Washington Co. any longer, and I now work in Downtown Portland.

    Now, TriMet is cancelling 95 and replacing it with more 94 runs along (slow and boring, IMO) Barbur Blvd., and on a trip to a Tigard restaurant one September evening, it took 20 minutes just to get through the I-5 to Pacific Hwy. southbound ramp (Exit 294, I believe). I should mention this same ramp is also used by both 64 (Marquam Hill/Tigard TC) and 94 – both get on the freeway at the Barbur/Capitol Hwy. onramp, then get back onto 99W at the previously described interchange.

    As for the commuter rail stations – anyone know where in Wilsonville that stop will be? I doubt it would be anywhere other than either Boeckman Rd. or Wilsonville Rd., but I’ve never known exactly which one.

  12. Chris Smith
    October 21, 2006 at 8:16 pm Link

    The Wilsonville transit master plan [map on p. 12] (ftp://ftp.altaplanning.com/) shows the park and ride for the Commuter Rail near the intersection of Barber and Kinsman, a little bit south of Boeckman on the west side of the freeway.

  13. Adron
    October 21, 2006 at 10:47 pm Link

    “To run MAX in this corridor would require removing the (active) frieght line.”

    Everyone needs to keep in mind also that the freight is not only active, but a profitable and sustainable system that doesn’t require tax infusions (subsidies) unlike the transit system that will run on it. Thus an actual wealther creator vs. the transit. Even though a mere 5-6 bucks should turn a profit on the DMU line, I’m sure that the price will be a mere 3-zone subsidized ticket fare.

  14. Jason McHuff
    October 22, 2006 at 8:02 pm Link

    Using the line for light rail wouldn’t really require that freight trains leave (see San Diego, for instance). It would just mean installation of overhead catenary (or dual-mode vehicles) and probably double-tracking, possibly with higher-quality trackage (so the trains don’t sway). That being said, its not like they’re just going to use the track in the present condition.

    Lastly, the 76 is to get upgraded to Frequent Service when the rail line opens.

  15. Jason
    October 22, 2006 at 8:35 pm Link

    The Wilsonville transit master plan… shows the park and ride for the Commuter Rail near the intersection of Barber and Kinsman, a little bit south of Boeckman on the west side of the freeway.
    Allright, so right between the two (looking at my Thomas Bros. Map now). Thanks!
    Currently, the only SMART service in that area is 203 and 1X, but I’m sure that would drastically change when it opens.

    I’m sure that the price will be a mere 3-zone subsidized ticket fare.
    The closest example I can think of for commuter rail is Puget Sound – there, the fare on the Sounder is a dollar more than Sound Transit’s express bus service (similar in comparison to C-TRAN’s commuter routes, not TriMet’s 92, 94 & 99, which run on surface streets). So maybe a higher fare would be worth looking into.

  16. Adron
    October 22, 2006 at 10:49 pm Link

    I’d pay the higher fare… “if” I lived in the area and actually would take the service. As it stands I ‘ll definately go ride a few times. I’m really stoked to see some American DMU/Rail Vehicles being built again.

  17. Adron
    October 22, 2006 at 10:58 pm Link

    There went that post button getting hit too early again.

    …I was going to say, regardless, I’d have no problem paying a real operations fare, or even a market based profit oriented fare. Whether I ride it once… or end up using it in the future to commute.

    …as for Jim’s article, that was really good. Dibs to ya.

  18. Erik Halstead
    October 23, 2006 at 8:59 pm Link

    A bit off the topic, but since someone brought up MAX on this corridor…

    IMHO, TriMet really shot itself in the foot for Commuter Rail when it comes to developing MAX in the Tigard area.

    The right-of-way from Tigard south to Tualatin would make a perfect route for MAX, and with zero freight train interference. How? Until last year, there was actually open space in western Tualatin, that would allow for the existing Oregon Electric Railroad to have been “detoured” to the north, connecting with the existing “Westside District” route which parallels Herman and Tualatin Roads. Freight trains would then travel east towards Cook (located off of Lower Boones Ferry Road near the Tualatin/Lake Oswego city line) and return north on the “Tillamook District” line towards Tigard.

    Meanwhile, a MAX terminus could be constructed in Tualatin where the commuter rail stop is planned. The railroad crossing over Tualatin-Sherwood Road would be eliminated, and the short stretch of track from T-S Road to approximately Teton Avenue could become a trail.

    From Tigard, the MAX route would extend to “Greton”, where the former OE and Tillamook District lines converge…however MAX would continue up and over to Washington Square (likely in an underground tunnel, with a station direction underneath the mall and/or the transit center), then along Olsen Road to Multnomah Blvd. (serving Garden Home and Multnomah Village), then turn onto Barbur Blvd. for the trip into Portland. In other words, follow the historical route of the Oregon Electric Railroad between the 1910s and early 1930s.

    Instead, the “vision” is to put MAX down Barbur Blvd. all the way into Tigard, which is a horrendous proposition as it would cram 55,000 cars onto a two-lane road with no alternative (and surely, MAX isn’t going to reduce traffic; historical figures clearly show that auto traffic actually increases on highways paralleling MAX routes), and we have Commuter Rail that’ll only work six hours a day, business days only. Never mind the poor bus connections in Tigard and Tualatin that won’t be improved because TriMet has no bus budget…so once you’re in Tualatin, “now what?!!” – unless your final destination is Haagen’s. TriMet has no plans to installing west-east bus service in Tualatin that would link the business centers with Commuter Rail.

  19. Adron
    October 24, 2006 at 1:18 am Link

    Erik Halstead -> All VERY valid points.

    I’m being VERY entertained by watching all of this unfold. Wondering how it will all really fit together.

  20. Nick
    October 24, 2006 at 9:47 am Link

    Erik:

    Like I’ve been saying, there is a lot of bad
    planning and design around Metro.

    My preference is for BRT; then Jason could have
    had a no transfer ride from 185th to Tigard,
    made possible by ‘tailored service.’

  21. Lenny Anderson
    October 24, 2006 at 11:14 am Link

    I’m not sure planning has had much to do with recent rail transit expansions…Airport MAX was not planned to be built until 2009, but an opportunity came up. The initiative for Streetcar came from NW and Downtown neighborhoods and its now being pushed along by an alliance of PDOT, neighborhoods and developers. Commuter rail is a Washington county project. Even MAX to Clackamas Town Center was driven by Clackamas county commissioners. If the planners were running things, the extensions to Milwaukie and Vancouver is what we would be seeing. Likewise, I’ll bet there are a lot of folks thinking that a Red Line MAX to Tigard and Kruse Woods would have made more sense than commuter rail.
    But you do what you can, and TriMet gets to partner with all of these projects to a greater or lesser degree for obvious reasons.

  22. Jason McHuff
    October 24, 2006 at 4:35 pm Link

    I sent to Oregonian columnist Jerry Boone regarding his rather unenthusiastic opinion of the project. I posted a copy of it here.

    Also, I agree that Erik has some interesting points on solving a problem that is not currently on the “front burner”. A couple points:

    -I was just wondering why there are two distinct rail lines for such a ways and north of Cook.

    -Could it work without the “detour” to the north? The Tualatin-Sherwood Road wouldn’t get moved.

    -It is interesting comparing Goolgle’s map of the area to its satelite view

    -According to the OregonSteetRailways Yahoo! group, Greton = GREenburg + beaverTON. There’s also a Beburg.

    -Is the routing via Washington Square really optimal? It doesn’t go direct to Portland or serve Beaverton. Also, I know that the folks on Oleson faught against the road widening they’re doing.

    -I know that they’re going to put in a park & ride lot at Tualatin. I don’t think the site is served by TriMet now, but would prefer feeder buses to P&R.

  23. Justin
    October 24, 2006 at 6:12 pm Link

    I think a MAX connection from Beaverton down this corridor (except down a street such as Hall Blvd, like I mentioned above) would do better by connecting to all of the office space down on Kruse Way and ultimately to Lake Oswego. Don’t forget, the suburbs need transit, too. And if LO gets streetcar, that’ll give it a great connection downtown. And Milwaukie, right across the river, will also get a MAX ride into downtown.

    Additionally, all over the Metro area, there are tens, if not hundreds, of little-used and/or abandoned heavy railroad lines – from the Springwater Trail line, to ones that zigzag throughout Gresham, Beaverton, Tigard, Hillsboro, Oregon City, etc. These could probably form a good portion of a rail system such as the S-Bahn system seen in German cities, such as Munich and Berlin, which compliment the U-Bahn (metro) by providing links to and between the burbs.

    Extending these to cities like Sale, Wilsonville, etc should also be a top priority.

  24. Justin
    October 24, 2006 at 6:17 pm Link

    Additionally, I think BRT down the Barbur Blvd route is the best plan for the short & long run. That highway is extremely steep in many sections for rail, but also needs high-enough capacity transit to get people moving… there will soon be a need for bus-only lanes, although the road is very dangerous to pedestrians, as there are few/no crossings or sidewalks in many sections of the corridor.

  25. Erik Halstead
    October 24, 2006 at 10:11 pm Link

    From Jason McHuff’s post:

    -I was just wondering why there are two distinct rail lines for such a ways and north of Cook.

    -Could it work without the “detour” to the north? The Tualatin-Sherwood Road wouldn’t get moved.

    Assuming that light rail will displace heavy rail, the easiest would be to consolidate the “heavy rail” (a.k.a. freight) onto a single route through Tualatin, which would be the route from Cook to Sherwood; with a junction further west to move the freight train congestion out of the congested central Tualatin area. The existing route would then be freed for use by MAX, and the short, then unused stretch from Tualatin-Sherwood to Avery would be used as a trail. Freight trains can still move from north-south, just on a slightly different route through Tigard and Tualatin.

    The benefit is that the railroad crossing would be moved further west where there is less traffic – and potentially could be grade-separated at Tualatin-Sherwood Road (which would be the only street crossing). So it’s a major traffic reliever for Tualatin, plus MAX would offer improved transit connections to the north that Commuter Rail wouldn’t really achieve.

    Why MAX to Washington Square? Because Washington Square is a “Metro Town Center” or whatever it’s call; a regional destination; an existing transit center; a major employment center; and a hub for other transit. The commuter rail station will be on the opposite side of Washington Square and served by only two busses (76 and 78); and will do little if anything to promote transit by Washington Square employees. It might encourage transit to and from the business parks on the west side of the tracks, and of course there will be a Park & Ride Lot. The big question is, will that lot replace the existing Progress P&R (which is served only by bus line 92X – which is a heavily used parking lot for just one bus line!!)

    As for MAX down Kruse Way…why not just take the incremental step of improving bus service? Tigard TC, to Hunziker, onto 217/Kruse Way, then down Upper Boones Ferry, to Tualatin P&R, to Tualatin Commuter Rail Station? 15 minute headways during rush hour; 30 minutes at other times? Much cheaper than MAX, and no construction. TriMet is going to face an uphill battle with commuter rail, simply because they haven’t got a bus plan – especially in Tualatin – to match.

  26. Justin
    October 26, 2006 at 7:02 pm Link

    Because any vehicle that has to travel on any of the streets/highways around the I-5/217 interchange (including I-5 and 217) get massively delayed. I have been stuck in a car in that area for over an hour trying to go 1/4 mile onto Kruse Way. Dedicated rail right of way is probably the only way to keep things on schedule. Putting buses there is only asking for them to get bottled up like everything else.

  27. Erik Halstead
    October 27, 2006 at 8:46 am Link

    What’s cheaper:

    Digging a big huge swath, laying rail, building a new bridge over I-5, etc. etc. etc…

    OR…

    Take that nice big grassy space inbetween the curb of Kruse Way and the bike lane or sidewalk…put in a HOV/bus lane there?

    Employ “queue-jumper” signals at every signalled intersection to keep the busses moving.

    This sounds exactly like what ODOT and Clackamas County did with S.E. 82nd Avenue. And TriMet line 72 (Killingsworth/82nd Avenue) is TriMet’s busiest route. Nobody’s talking about building MAX down 82nd Avenue, are they? (And 82nd avenue is not a jump and a hop from I-205/MAX Green Line on foot.)

  28. Ross Williams
    October 27, 2006 at 9:48 am Link

    What’s cheaper:

    I am not sure we know the answer to that. As I understand it, the cost of maintaining a paved roadway is much higher than rail. You have to figure out where the runoff from the paved surface will go (you just got rid of that “nice grassy spot”) and you have to pay a driver for each bus, which is over double the cost per passenger at maximum capacity.

    I am not sure how this is “like” 82nd, but Kruse Way and 82nd are very different environments with different traffic problems. I don’t know that I think light rail works to Kruse Way (where are the pedestrian connections) but it doesn’t really work to Clackamas Town Center right now either. Hopefully it will spur Clackamas County will start investing in some other mode than automobiles. But I think that is going to take a change in political leadership as well.

  29. Nick
    October 27, 2006 at 10:04 am Link

    Justin says:

    “Additionally, all over the Metro area, there are tens, if not hundreds, of little-used and/or abandoned heavy railroad lines – from the Springwater Trail line, to ones that zigzag throughout Gresham, Beaverton, Tigard, Hillsboro, Oregon City, etc. These could probably form a good portion of a rail system such as the S-Bahn system seen in German cities, such as Munich and Berlin, which compliment the U-Bahn (metro) by providing links to and between the burbs.”

    >>>>> For Portland metro, these rights-of-way would be better utilized as busways, reducing
    the number of transfers.

    It seems no one is willing to debate me about the
    flexibilty offered by a well-designed BRT system.
    utilized for busways

  30. Justin
    October 27, 2006 at 11:36 am Link

    ^

    I disagree.

    These older (abandoned) lines already tie into the in-use railroad system in the metro area, and many run right through the downtowns of various towns/cities, including Portland. If you want to rip these up and run buses along them, you will NOT be able to run the lines to destinations such as downtown Portland, unless you can convince Union Pacific and other freight operators to cease operations in the Portland area when you rip out their rails.

    While a comprehensive bus network IS necessary, the very attributes of a bus would seem to indicate it is best serving a very different type of service than longer-distance commuting. Buses are much better serving local lines along existing streets, as they are flexible and can run on the existing street network.

    Trains for longer-distance commuting is superior than bus travel – particularly when the rail infrastructure is ALREADY THERE. Not to mention they can carry far more passengers than a bus. For instance, the colorado railcar DMU’s trimet is purchasing have about 90 seats. Their double-decker ones have 188. A trimet bus has what, around 30?

    As far as the attractiveness of bus travel – go ride Greyhound a few times from Eugene to Seattle as an example of how bad things can be.

  31. Lenny Anderson
    October 27, 2006 at 1:41 pm Link

    Nick,
    For BRT to work…i.e to be rapid…it has to have exclusive right of way, at least in the peak hours. Can you squeeze that onto Barbur…maybe, but if you can, why not lightrail?
    Lightrail cars carry more riders, offer a smoother ride, spurs development and is connected to a larger system with existing maintenance facilities and expertise.
    I think you like BRT ’cause you don’t like transfers, but running a bus with a driver the entire distance from some outer point A to point B costs the transit agency a lot more money than combining those riders onto a larger capacity vehicle. Frequent service is the way to reduce the pain of transfers.
    BRT is still a bus and carries for many folks a sigma, earned or not. But I’ve yet to ride a new BRT bus so, maybe they can get over that barrier. Rail just has that Je ne se qua…pardon my misspelled French…
    Had Portland begun with some version of BRT in the 70’s, then growing that system would be obvious, but we took the plunge to go with rail, and its running pretty good numbers…1/3 of all TriMet riders are on three MAX lines, really 2.5.
    Expensive yes, but part of that, at least on Interstate was the complete rebuilding of a 100′ street; these costs would be folded into the BRT option as well.
    BRT was looked at for the Milwaukie line; in fact the first go around did NOT even include lightrail, due to the ’98 election. Community demand put it back into the mix, and it rose to the top.
    Has BRT attracted development like lightrail and Streetcar in Ottowa, Pittsburgh, LA? Haven’t heard, but I would doubt it.
    Where BRT makes sense is where ridership potential is just not that high, like Eugene-Springfield, or where you have a 6 or 8 lane arterial that can give up a lane for exclusive bus operations. Neither would seem to apply around here.

  32. Justin
    October 27, 2006 at 3:05 pm Link

    Lenny-

    In this particular case I brought up the reuse of the existing rail network (which the under construction Wash Co commuter rail system is a small piece of) to expand commuter rail service to most, if not all, of the metro area to enhance & compliment existing transit service.

    Tearing out all the old rail and replacing it with a concrete BRT route is simply not the best utilization of the existing infrastructure.

  33. Erik Halstead
    October 27, 2006 at 8:50 pm Link

    With regards to Tigard and Lake Oswego, there are major obstacles to developing LRV transit:

    On Kruse Way, it just isn’t THAT big of an employment center. Yes, a lot of people work there, but comparatively speaking, not as large as some of the other areas. And today, it has few transit options. Why expand a major LRV line, with no idea of the benefit or usage profile? At least the Airport MAX line had a bus line, and of course all the airport shuttles and taxis. It would make an excellent terminus for a BRT route that were to follow Barbur Blvd., then branch out.

    However, Barbur Blvd. is another problem – it’s congested, and has no room to grow. Bus/BRT/LRV is simply NOT the solution; in fact it would actually contribute to the problem. Highway 99W at the Tigard/Portland city line (a.k.a. the Multnomah/Washington county line, just south of the I-5 interchange) carries over 55,000 vehicles daily. LRV would require eliminating two lanes – where would those cars go? Surely, 20,000 vehicles wouldn’t convert to MAX, and prior history shows – vehicles on parallelling routes to MAX increases, not decreases, after MAX operations begins. Again – what are you going to do with the cars? Does one really suggest that everyone in Tualatin, Sherwood, and Yamhill County will seriously, and voluntarily agree not to drive into Portland – considering that few people in Yamhill County know how to ride TriMet (busses or MAX)?

    Again – I relate to my previous comment – TriMet had a golden opportunity of routing a LRV line along the old Oregon Electric alignment from downtown Portland to Tualatin, via Multnomah Village, Garden Home and downtown Tigard. And that opportunity is lost – Olesen Road is being rebuilt by the county; the OE right-of-way in Tigard is going to be lost, and the OE line from south Tigard to Tualatin will be part of Commuter Rail. No LRV can work without a real alternative to the I-5/99W interchange, and any such connection south of the Highway 217 interchange will result in the need for a massive overhaul of I-5 because the peak traffic count for I-5 anywhere in Oregon is south of Highway 217 (yes, it’s higher than even on the Interstate Bridge.)

    Meanwhile, land is getting expensive and so is asphalt and steel. If we wait too much longer, nothing is going to move, and no form of transit – aside from artifical requirements on motorists (i.e. 2+ or 3+ HOV requirements, or peak-hour tolls on arterial streets and freeways) to force non-complying travelers to use public transit – will solve the problem.

  34. Nick
    October 29, 2006 at 9:04 am Link

    Justin says:

    “These older (abandoned) lines already tie into the in-use railroad system in the metro area, and many run right through the downtowns of various towns/cities, including Portland. If you want to rip these up and run buses along them, you will NOT be able to run the lines to destinations such as downtown Portland, unless you can convince Union Pacific and other freight operators to cease operations in the Portland area when you rip out their rails.”

    If you want to build more MAX lines, you still will have the same ROW problems. Also, a busway
    could be built over tracks where necessary.
    What happens with freight train conflicts when
    you are running commuter trains on RR right-of
    way?

    In addtion, the West Hills tunnel could be paved
    for dual-use operation with hybrid buses.

  35. Nick
    October 29, 2006 at 7:01 pm Link

    Lenny said:

    “I think you like BRT ’cause you don’t like transfers, but running a bus with a driver the entire distance from some outer point A to point B costs the transit agency a lot more money than combining those riders onto a larger capacity vehicle. Frequent service is the way to reduce the pain of transfers.”

    It’s not only me–I have read repeatedly over
    the years that many riders hate transferring;
    in fact, that’s the thing they dislike most.
    And with Trimet, some trips involve double transfers. BRT can reduce this and potentially
    attract more riders.

    BTW, I was having dinner last Tuesday with some
    people, and the issue of travelling to Portland
    from Wash. County was discussed. One person told
    us, completely unsolicited, that his friend used
    to take the bus to work in downtown Portland, but
    that when MAX opened, the bus lines were
    eliminated, so his friend returned to driving to
    work (presumably to avoid transferring). And I
    wonder: how many others, too?

  36. Erik Halstead
    October 29, 2006 at 9:19 pm Link

    From Nick’s post:

    One person told
    us, completely unsolicited, that his friend used
    to take the bus to work in downtown Portland, but
    that when MAX opened, the bus lines were
    eliminated, so his friend returned to driving to
    work (presumably to avoid transferring). And I
    wonder: how many others, too?

    I believe that the routes in question would be 58 (Sunset Highway) and 88 (S.W. 198th Avenue), both routes which commonly rated the 700s (Crown-Ikarus articulated busses). 58 was discontinued, with a part of its route in Hillsboro replaced by the 48 (Cornell Road). 88 became Hart/198th, and became a feeder route to MAX from Beaverton’s southwest neighborhoods and Intel, rather than a commuter route.

    Line 57 passengers along T.V. Highway must now transfer at Beaverton TC to MAX or lines 54 (Beaverton-Hillsboro) or the new 58 (Canyon Road).

    And I believe that route 60 (Leahy Road) once travelled into downtown; it was reduced to a shuttle route after MAX – and one currently earmarked for possible elimination.

    Those who have to transfer will do so (i.e. kids who are going to school, people who have no job, people who are able to schedule their work schedules around the bus) – but for the 8-5ers, a transfer means standing around instead of doing something productive. And transit centers are generally not “friendly” places; I cringe every time I am forced to transfer at Beaverton TC or Tigard TC between busses (or at Beaverton, between bus and MAX). And the “No Smoking” rule is NOT enforced; in fact I have seen TriMet employees (read: bus drivers) violating the rules.

    In all “fair and balanced” need, Sunset TC is probably an exception, as I rarely find the less-desirable types hanging out there; but for the automobile-impaired, there isn’t much to be offered at Sunset TC, it’s more convenient to transfer to the 62 at Millikan Way, and you can pick up your drugs while waiting for the 20 downtown.

  37. Lenny Anderson
    October 30, 2006 at 9:05 am Link

    Would non 8-5ers be excluded from BRT vehicles? I think not. With public transit, its the same as public parks, libraries, etc…social control is largely the result of peer pressure where the “socialized” outnumber the not so “socialized.”
    Comments regarding transfers aside, there is no question that Westside MAX carries more riders at lower cost per ride than was the case before or than would be the case with one MAX train’s riders being divied up among 3 or 4 separate vehicles.
    Where you might better focus your BRT desires is on TriMet’s Frequent Service bus lines…how to get them to be faster, more efficient, more comfortable, etc. What are the barriers to making the Barbur 12 or the McLoughlin 33 closer to the BRT model?

  38. Erik Halstead
    October 31, 2006 at 11:26 pm Link

    From Lenny’s post:

    Would non 8-5ers be excluded from BRT vehicles? I think not. With public transit, its the same as public parks, libraries, etc…social control is largely the result of peer pressure where the “socialized” outnumber the not so “socialized.”

    I would disagree.

    Normally, my daily bus ride into work begins south of Tigard (on 12-Barbur Blvd) around 10:25 AM. I get off the bus at PSU around 11:10 AM. Consistently, half the bus if not more is headed downtown. Consistently, the bus is standing-room only at Bertha Blvd.

    Today, I took an earlier bus, leaving just after 8:30 AM. The bus was much more crowded much sooner, at Barbur TC. However most of the ridership was bound for downtown.

    So there is obiviously demand for bus service downtown, and certainly many of the riders would probably appreciate an express route. However, no express busses run after 8:00 AM.

    TriMet isn’t out to play a “popularity contest”, it’s to provide basic transportation to those who need it. If TriMet is going to provide a higher level of service – whether it be an express bus, BRT, LRV, etc. – it needs to share the service with all users. True, MAX does operate the entire length of the service day, and everyone gets the same level of service along the MAX route – there are no express trains, for example. But for riders who live along express routes and regular service routes – only those riders who conform to a M-F, 8-5 (or 7-4) work schedule, benefit from the express schedules. Those who don’t, are forced to endure slower schedules, and often more crowded busses.

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