Putting the Ferry Back in Taylors Ferry

e-w bus route 1

Jim Howell of AORTA passed on this proposal they have forwarded to the Sellwood Bridge task force.

April 16, 2007

To: Sellwood Bridge Citizen Task Force and Policy Advisory Group
From: Jim Howell
Re: Bridge Concepts

It might be seven to ten years before the Sellwood Bridge is repaired or rebuilt. In the meantime traffic congestion will continue to grow in this east-west travel corridor between Clackamas and Washington Counties on Johnson Creek Blvd., Tacoma Street and Taylor’s Ferry Road, crossing the Willamette River at the Sellwood Bridge. Good transit service, if available, would help to relieve this congestion.

A bus route running along this corridor, with frequent daily operation, could provide this service (see attached map).

Unfortunately, weight restrictions on the Sellwood Bridge now preclude buses from operating on the bridge. In the interim, a ferry for buses could be established long before the bridge is repaired or rebuilt.

A small ferry, similar to the Canby Ferry (see attached photos) could carry a bus, plus pedestrians and bicycles, across the river using the old Spokane Street Ferry ramps at the end of Spokane Street and the public boat launch at Staff Jennings.

The ferry could easily make the round trip in 15 minutes, providing crossing service for buses running every 15 minutes in each direction.

The route we are proposing here would be 15 miles long, extending from the Clackamas Town Center to Washington Square and its nearby Commuter Rail Station. It would provide transfer connections to 28 other bus routes. Within two years it would also connect to light rail and commuter rail lines.

Long cross-town bus routes that do not go downtown but cross many other routes are very popular and are some of the most efficient TriMet routes. For example, the #72 Killingworth/82nd Ave. bus, an 18-mile long route stretching between Swan Island and the Clackamas Town Center provides transfer connections to 28 other bus routes and two light rail lines. It carries over 17,000 passengers a day and is the most productive bus route in the TriMet system.

The timely establishment of a strong transit ridership in this crowded commuter corridor would greatly relieve traffic congestion when the Sellwood Bridge is under construction. It would encourage motorists to become better acquainted with, and conditioned to use, public transportation. It would also add some “character” and “entertainment value” to Portland’s transportation system, somewhat like the tram does but at MUCH lower cost.

I request that the above description of a ferry and cross-town bus service be included as a component to be combined with other width, interchange, and alignment concepts currently under development. This is not intended to be a complete bridge concept, but rather to provide the best means for implementing the following specific “needs” listed in the project’s “Purpose and Need Statement”:
1.Accommodate… transit vehicles;
3.Provide for existing and future travel demands between origins and destinations served by the Sellwood Bridge; and
4. Provide for connectivity, reliability, and operations of existing and future public transit.

This proposal can serve to mitigate impacts during construction, and can provide a “relief valve” during the pre-construction phase in which funds for construction are being assembled. It will enhance the value of the entire Sellwood Bridge project by building service and ridership that will effectively utilize whatever option is finally chosen. With the above understanding, please include this proposal in the upcoming analysis of alternatives.

•Route Map
•Ferry Photos

Jim Howell

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