Archive | May, 2007

Join Metro, See the World

Last year I had the chance to join a group of regional leaders on a Metro-organized tour of the suburban communities of Vancouver, BC.

It was a great experience, and now a follow-up is being organized. So if you’d like to see what’s working (and what’s not) in BC, here’s the scoop. I highly recommend it.

Metro invites you to experience Vancouver, BC: a recognized world leader in successful mixed-use development and planning. Building on the well-regarded 2006 Get Centered! study tour, Metro is planning another trip to Vancouver BC June 7-9, 2007.

Last September over 30 elected officials, business professionals and other decision-makers from the Portland metropolitan area traveled to Vancouver on the first Get Centered! Vancouver study tour. The group met with and learned from their counterparts in Vancouver who have shaped the dynamic metropolitan region. The tour included mixed-use development in downtown Vancouver and also focused on centers development in surrounding suburbs like Port Moody and Coquitlam.

To find out more about the 2007 study tour, visit the Metro website at:

Mel Gets His Numbers

As reported yesterday in the O. Here’s the official statement from Mary Fetsch of TriMet:

TriMet has provided ridership data for years. Post 9/11, the issue of what is sensitive security information (SSI) has changed, and continues to evolve. We were directed to withhold information that was considered SSI. Now that the TSA office in DC has clarified that specific time-of-day ridership information is not considered SSI, we can more easily fulfill data requests.

Mary Fetsch
TriMet Communications Director

CRC Update – May

The Columbia River Crossing task force will not meet in May, in fact their June meeting is the only one currently scheduled (what will they be doing all fall?). Here’s the update from the project staff:

The Columbia River Crossing Task Force will hold its next meeting on June 26 in Portland to receive a report on the details of alternatives that will be analyzed in 2007. THERE WILL BE NO TASK FORCE MEETING IN MAY.

The CRC project team is working to refine the details of the river crossing and transit alternatives that will be analyzed as part of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Results of the analyses will be available for public comment. A formal public comment period is expected in the spring of 2008 to help identify the alternative that best addresses the defined problems in the project area.

Meeting Details

The Task Force will meet at the Oregon Department of Transportation, 123 NW Flanders Street, Portland, 4:00–6:30 p.m. The public is welcome to attend and will have an opportunity to provide testimony. All CRC meeting locations are accessible to people with disabilities. Accommodations for people with disabilities can be arranged with advance notice by calling the project office at 360-737-2726 or 503-256-2726.

What Makes Good Transit?

An interesting new paper from VTPI: “Valuing Transit Service Quality Improvements: Considering Comfort and Convenience In Transport Project Evaluation” (that’s a mouthfull).

Basically the idea is to look at what the amenities (or lack thereof) are that make a transit trip seem longer or shorter (as a proxy for more or less attractive compared to another mode choice).

It turns out good arrival time info is high on the list, one of the reasons I’m so fanatical about NextBus.

A pilot of countdown information displays at public transportation stations indicates that:
o Waiting is more acceptable (89%).
o Time seemed to pass more quickly when passengers knew their wait duration
o Passengers perceive a shorter waiting time (65% felt this was so).
o The service is perceived as more reliable.
o Of those passengers travelling, waiting at night is perceived as safer.
o General feelings improve towards bus travel (68%).
o About 70% of passengers refer to the display when they arrive at a stop, about
at the sign while they wait, and about 60% look at the sign at least once a minute.
o Passengers approve of the 3 essential pieces of information provided (route number, destination and wait time).
o There is strong overall customer support for the system.
o Countdown has been found to generate a minimum of 1.5% new revenue.