Two High Capacity Transit Workshops Left

Don’t miss your opportunity…

The High Capacity Transit System Plan will provide the region with a prioritized set of corridors or improvements to the existing system based on planned land uses, community values and potential ridership. The plan will be adopted by the Metro Council in spring 2009 after review by community members, elected officials and technical staff from around the region.

Get involved!

Attend a workshop to learn more about the project and provide input about what areas should be served with high capacity transit in the future. An online questionnaire will also be available beginning on August 12 at

5-8 p.m. Thursday, August 14
East Portland Community Center
740 SE 106th Ave., Portland

5-8 p.m. Wednesday, August 20
Tigard City Library
13500 SW Hall Blvd., Tigard

0 responses to “Two High Capacity Transit Workshops Left”

  1. It is rather interesting that Portland-Tigard-Sherwood has been omitted from the new map.

    Apparently Metro wants me to use “high capacity transit” to use a local bus (that of course Metro wants nothing to do with) to Tigard TC, then to ride a weekday-rush hour only train to Beaverton TC, then into downtown.

    I don’t know about you, but I can tell you that Tigard is not a “weekday rush hour only” city, as anyone can attest to driving down 99W at Greenburg on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. I’ll certainly be present at the Tigard meeting to point out their flaw in omitting a major travel corridor which has 50,000 vehicles a day on 99W at the Washington/Multnomah (Portland/Tigard) boundary, plus an additional 105,000 to 156,000 vehicles on I-5 along the eastern boundary of Tigard.

    In comparison, only 127,300 vehicles use the Interstate Bridge daily (some 30,000 fewer than I-5 south of 217), Oregon Highway 43 between Portland and Lake Oswego tops out at 33,500 vehicles (in downtown Lake Oswego, further north near the Portland city limits the traffic drops to below 20,000 vehicles daily) and with practically no parallelling streets as alternate routes, and Oregon Highway 99E/McLoughlin Boulevard sees between 38,000 and 57,500 vehicles daily between Portland and Milwaukie.

    If travel patterns are any indication of where to plan for high capacity transit, Lake Oswego streetcar ought to be dropped and Tigard needs to be back on the map for something better than “weekday rush hour only” service. Even a small $20 million investment would drastically improve existing bus service to give it BRT attributes such as new busses, improved bus stops and “bus stations” at major stops, queue-jumper lanes and signal prioritzation, wi-fi access on busses, and even considering off-board ticket vending at major stops and stations. Just $5M more would allow bus service to increase to 10 minute (or less) headways.

    For a 16 mile route, too. Compared to the $1.4B investment for a seven mile light rail line.

  2. Erik

    On the plus side the meeting is located in Tigard, close to outer SW Portland, and also after typically working hours. See you there mate?

  3. Erik Halstead wrote:

    “Oregon Highway 43 between Portland and Lake Oswego tops out at 33,500 vehicles (in downtown Lake Oswego, further north near the Portland city limits the traffic drops to below 20,000 vehicles daily)”

    The justification for the Lake Oswego streetcar extension gets even more interesting once people realize that about 70% of that section of Highway 43 traffic is Sellwood Bridge traffic and only about 12,500 vehicles a day actually use 43 to go between Portland and Lake Oswego.

  4. I attended the High Capacity Transit Workshop at the Eastside Community Center last night. The workshop got off to a late start with only about eight people in attendance. After the initial presentation, the participants were divided into two discussion groups. A few more people trickled in, possibly doubling public representation by the end of the session. I do not know if it was a communication/notification problem, the heat wave, or just public apathy the politicians will do what they want to do anyway no matter what the public thinks as to why more people did not attend.

    The primary and one major theme that came out of both roundtable discussion groups was to focus on serving the regional centers, town centers and the Eastside populated areas with HCT and connectivity instead of just focusing on downtown and getting there. Within that framework, some of the recommendations and discussion included:

    An Eastside bi-directional circular that includes and an Eastside Bypass Corridor from the Rose Quarter to the Area of OMSI, then to Milwaukie, then using the old Portland Traction right-of-way on the West side of McLoughlin, crossing Mcloughlin at Jennings Lodge, through the old downtown of Gladstone (that has development potential) to Oregon City, looping around back along I-205 to Clackamas Town Center and Gateway, and then back along I-84 on the existing Max line to the Rose Quarter.

    A HCT line between Gresham and Clackamas Town Center also serving Pleasant Valley.

    HCT across the Columbia at the BNSF railroad bridge and connecting St Johns with the Northwest Portland on a new bridge over the Willamette. This could also be a shared expense roadway and roadway bridge project that would help relieve I-5 congestion

    A Columbia South Shore HCT line (name for descriptive purposes only) generally following the Union Pacific Railroad Line and serving St Johns.

    City streets are not the right places for HCT in that HCT requires exclusive right-of-ways. Most are not wide enough to fit exclusive HCT right-of-ways along with the existing modes and right-of-way acquisition is most likely unacceptable in established neighborhoods. .

    The impacts on other modes must be taken into account and respected when transit is added to a street with no take-a-away of the existing capacity for other modes. This is absolutely necessary if Barbur Boulevard is to become a HCT corridor since Barbur also acts as a back up route to I-5.

    Specific connectivity issues were also a large part of the discussions. They included but were not limited to the following:

    Better/more frequent transit service on Airport Way and outer Sandy Boulevard.

    The use of electric trolley busses on 82nd Avenue, Killingsworth, Sandy Bv, Foster, Powell, and other streets etc. instead of streetcars which cost more, move too slow and can congest traffic.

    Better transit service along 122nd and for outer Powell Boulevard neighborhoods

    Connecting all PCC and Mt. Hood Community College Campuses to HCT.

    Connecting the Bethany area.

    Neighborhood circulars and transit routes extending out from the regional and town centers.

    Connecting employment centers that are not a part of a regional or town center.

    More ways to bypass the slow movement of transit through downtown Portland for cross town transit users.

    There were also some other Washington County connectivity suggestions, but I do not remember the specifics, and this list is by no means a complete list, but does reflect on many of the ideas and suggestions that came out of the public discussions.

  5. Here are a couple more suggestions from last night’s meeting:

    A new bridge across the Willamette River near Milwaukie to with possible connections to Damascus thereby relieving some travel via the Sellwood Bridge including some discussion about the lake Oswego Trolley line right-of-way.

    There was some consensus at the roundtable the most important goals on the list of Goals for Regional Transportation System Investments was to “Sustain economic competitiveness” and “Ensure equity”, specifically financial equity including my comment that people who use the systems need to (financially) contribute to constructing them (possibly through the fares) There was little if any discussion specifically on the other goals on the list provided.

  6. Thanks for the synopsis, Terry. I can’t speak for anyone else, but the heat and transit travel time kept this would-be meeting-goer at home last night.
    Interesting comparing attendance at this meeting to the TriMet TIP meeting I attended in May, where a good 8 people (myself included) were waiting for the doors to open at 11 AM. Perhaps if Metro and TriMet struck a deal so future non-TriMet meetings were promoted on TriMet’s homepage, it would attract higher attendance. Hopefully, Metro will publish a summary of comments received at each of the meetings.

  7. I would rather see discussion centered around either existing rail lines—or alternatively right of way which is already acquired. We know where many of the former are. One of the latter type is out along the Springwater trail going east, where an existing line once ran. Another runs south through Oak Grove. Why reinvent the wheel? Instead just get some simple vehicle and attach a diesel motor to it! Kenosha, Wi put in a trolley trak in similar circumstances for only a few million per mile.

    On the existing rail lines perhaps the double decker, diesel powered vehicles are more common than we thought. Not only the shienenbus–but Colorado rail car has one, and there are some operating in Taiwan, too.

  8. It is interesting to note that TriMet didn’t buy the double decker from the WES line. I don’t know why, (clearances maybe?) but they only bought the single level one…

  9. Ron Swaren wrote: I would rather see discussion centered around either existing rail lines

    My problem is that we need to get away from think about “mode” and think about “purpose”. The purpose is to move a lot of people from point “A” to point “B” – and rail is not the only way to do it (but certainly is worth considering).

    That said, Ron has some good points about the Kenosha trolley. I have maintained that an extension of the Portland Streetcar as far south as Taylors Ferry Road/Willamette Park actually makes sense, but south of there to L.O. doesn’t. Turning the four miles of track from there to L.O. into a “heritage” route with restored trolley vehicles with overhead wire and limited stops, with regular (30 minute headways) coupled with weekday rush hour express bus service, is in my opinion a good idea.

  10. Unlike Terry’s assessment of participation, the Tigard meeting appeared to be well attended; I’d say a good 30-40 participants were there but I didn’t take count. At least one other forum participant was in my workgroup so we had a good introduction.

    While I can’t speak for the other groups, I can say that the participants in my group was very concerned about the lack of any plan for the Highway 99W corridor. There was certainly interest in expanding light rail, as well as concern about the perception of bus service and the qualtiy of it (and not by myself, although I certainly raised points, and gave our Metro facilitator pause about a comment she made about bus service, having to quickly retract her statement.)

    While our facilitators often attempted to steer our group towards thinking outside of the SE Washington County area, I could only think that maybe Metro’s philosophy is starting to backfire upon itself; the ability to live in work in a dense, compact area. People in Tigard don’t think about Clackamas, Happy Valley or Damascus because there is little if any need to do so. There is little reason for Tigard residents to worry about Gresham. My group felt that the MAX line provided a valuable link in its corridor, but there was little to reach Tigard, and at least one participant said she had to drive because she had no other option.

    The phrase “equality” came up, in that providing transportation equality to all people. Ironically, what Tigard gets is hardly “equal” with other regions, yet Metro seemed to gloss over that. Does WES meet the region’s goals? It is questionable at best, yet the region spent a lot of money there.

    The biggest question is what will Metro do with this feedback. Will it simply say “we had public meetings, and since some people liked light rail that’s what we’re going to do?” Or will it actually listen to the needs of Tigard area residents and make a comprehensive regional plan for Highway 99W that includes both transit and roadway projects to improve it?

    Ironically…upon leaving the meeting I dialed up Transit Tracker and found I had a 21 minute wait for my 76 bus. I called my wife and she suggested I walk to the Tigard TC. So I walked the 10 minutes there (of course part of the way without sidewalks on Hall Boulevard). As I boarded my 12 bus, the 76 bus pulled into the TC. Had I waited, I would have missed a connection and had a 17 minute wait (again, thanks to Transit Tracker).

    If our goal is to provide a seamless, comprehensive transit plan, why is it difficult for two bus lines to effectively connect with each other at a transit center?

  11. That was a crazy meeting, I don’t know of any other event I’ve attended that I directly or indirectly met so many others who post on the same website, without specifically setting it up ahead of time.

    During the welcome speeches and such where staff explained the meeting format, several others in the general audience were a bit miffed that the meeting consisted of presentations and small group work, they wanted everyone to be able to hear what everyone else had to say. Others didn’t understand what “High Capacity Transit” was and didn’t understand even after some of the definitions given by staff.

    If our goal is to provide a seamless, comprehensive transit plan, why is it difficult for two bus lines to effectively connect with each other at a transit center?
    This is the shift I was trying to describe at the meeting… up until recently, the focus was on transit availability. If a bus runs every 45 minutes M-F rush-hour only in the opposite direction of where one needs to go on a weekend, transit service is still considered “available” to that location. Ditto for a trip that takes 3 hours across 4 vehicles and service starts at 6 AM (so passengers would reach their destination at 9 AM), but someone needs to be at the destination at 8 AM… again, transit service is still considered “available.”

    Now, they’re looking at usability and connectivity. Does it run at times its needed most? Can riders connect to other routes/services? Can someone mentally take a step back and say “if I had no choice but to use this service, would it work for me?” Or at least this is what should be looked at.

    Ironically […] I walked the 10 minutes [to Tigard TC] (of course part of the way without sidewalks on Hall Boulevard). As I boarded my 12 bus, the 76 bus pulled into the TC. Had I waited, I would have missed a connection […] .
    Getting to the meeting for me involved a 20 minute wait in Downtown Portland for a 94 that was supposed to show up 13 minutes prior to when it did. I then walked from Greenburg and Pacific Hwy. to the Tigard Library.

    On the return trip, I was on that 76; when I saw the 12 to Portland pull out I decided to stay on to Beaverton TC and take MAX into downtown. Upon leaving, I asked the operator: “Dumb question–you’re Al?!”

    Sure enough!

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