Transit Mall to Reopen Without Shelters? (Bus or Train)

A few days ago, in a less-than-lofty debate amongst commenters on the KATU web site, a pseudononymous individual mentioned that the Transit Mall’s shelters would be completed in December.

(I have noticed, through regular observations, that one new transit shelter has had a roof, perhaps as a demonstration, for several months, but no others have roofs or wind screens. The mall reopens to buses in less than two weeks.)

Given the fact that some have suggested that it is rumored that rain may be detected in Oregon in the months May-December, I asked Mary Fetsch, TriMet spokesperson, for clarification.

I am told that shelter installation will continue starting right after the Rose Festival and be completed in August.

(Back during the debate over Transit Mall shelter design, of which I was an advocate for maintaining the original shelters, it was repeatedly pledged that the new shelters would provide a similar level of protection for riders (despite the fact that there would be a 50% reduction in shelters per transit rider in the central mall).)

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that transit riders will not experience unscheduled rain, or will find convenient shelter under nearby private awnings.

18 Comments

18 Responses to Transit Mall to Reopen Without Shelters? (Bus or Train)

  1. Jason McHuff
    May 14, 2009 at 11:38 pm Link

    it was repeatedly pledged that the new shelters would provide a similar level of protection for riders

    Well, leave it to the Portland Mall planners to break a promise or consider the desires of the property owners/users before those of the passengers who will actually use the mall. I’ve heard that there will be no seating in the new shelters and I’m not sure how many windscreens there will be (remember all the old ones had two opposite-facing windscreens per shelter and I believe seating in each of those).

    50% reduction in shelters per transit rider in the central mall

    If you’re talking total shelters, I’m not sure that’s the right number, since some of the old mid-block stops didn’t have shelters and I’m not sure how many shelters MAX platforms will have. But if you’re talking about shelters per bus line, its worse because stop (and usually shelter) spacing is going from 2 blocks to 5. Though some local riders will probably switch to taking MAX down the mall.

  2. Jeff F
    May 15, 2009 at 7:14 am Link

    Jason McHuff Says: I’ve heard that there will be no seating in the new shelters and I’m not sure how many windscreens there will be (remember all the old ones had two opposite-facing windscreens per shelter and I believe seating in each of those).

    There will be seating in most of the shelters, along with windscreens. There will also be shelters at every bus stop on 5th & 6th avenues, from PSU to Union Station, which was certainly not true on the original Mall.

    The old shelters provided an incredible level of weather protection, but they were also extremely expensive to build and to maintain. South of Burnside, each shelter was unique to accommodate the slope of the sidewalk, which meant each required unique panels in the lower third.

  3. al m
    May 15, 2009 at 8:47 am Link

    I thought I heard during the training that the shelters were NOT going to have seating!

    They didn’t want homeless camping out.

  4. Nat D
    May 15, 2009 at 9:09 am Link

    My office is located on the mall on 5th between Alder & Morrison. Two or three months ago, I observed a crew installing, uninstalling and reinstalling the glass roofs on several shelters over several days. Eventually, they removed all the glass and haven’t been seen since. Perhaps a design/manufacture issue? And clearly, the one “demonstration” shelter closer to Burnside, in its current state, would hardly provide protection from the weather.

  5. Other J
    May 15, 2009 at 9:27 am Link

    Eventually, they removed all the glass and haven’t been seen since. Perhaps a design/manufacture issue?

    Yeah, my understanding is that there were flaws in the glass and it couldn’t be used.

    I took a look at the shelter on Burnside & wondered if that’s how the final version is going to look or if that one was still a work in progress – the gaps between the glass panes are big enough that you really wouldn’t stay dry standing under it.

  6. devlyn
    May 15, 2009 at 9:42 am Link

    I normally don’t say nay too often, but I rarely get to sit/stand underneath the shelter roofs anyhow – there’s only enough room for maybe 3 people, and usually one of them are smoking, so I get to stand upwind in the rain. I mean, shelters are nice and all, but let’s have them do it right the first time and hopefully they won’t need to be replaced for a good long time.

  7. Jeff F
    May 15, 2009 at 10:14 am Link

    Other J Says: Yeah, my understanding is that there were flaws in the glass and it couldn’t be used.

    The issue has to do with the material used in the rafters, which were intended to be laminated glass.

    I took a look at the shelter on Burnside & wondered if that’s how the final version is going to look or if that one was still a work in progress – the gaps between the glass panes are big enough that you really wouldn’t stay dry standing under it.

    There will be silicone between the glass “shingles”. If you look at the existing shelters at PSU, you’d get a better idea of the finished product — although the overall design is quite a bit different.

  8. Jeff F
    May 15, 2009 at 10:16 am Link

    al m Says: I thought I heard during the training that the shelters were NOT going to have seating!

    Seats, not benches, and only a few per shelter.

  9. Other J
    May 15, 2009 at 10:49 am Link

    There will be silicone between the glass “shingles”.

    Ah okay, I was wondering if they were going to do something like that, or if that Burnside one was considered done. Thanks for clearing that up :)

  10. Jeff F
    May 15, 2009 at 10:57 am Link

    Other J Says: Ah okay, I was wondering if they were going to do something like that, or if that Burnside one was considered done. Thanks for clearing that up :)

    I admit it, I had the same response when looking at the shelter on 5th at Oak. There is actually a slope from the outside of the roof toward the ridge, where there is a gutter that will direct water to a downspout in the center of the column.

  11. Jason Barbour
    May 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm Link

    They’re also taking out shelters of closing bus stops early… this afternoon the bus shelter formerly in front of the PSU Smith Building was gone!

  12. Dave H
    May 15, 2009 at 8:32 pm Link

    I asked a guy working on a stop near 5th and Washington on Monday and a contractor told me the glass was defective.

    I got some pictures of a MAX train in training on it as well as some cars interacting, I’ll get those posted soon.

  13. Jason McHuff
    May 15, 2009 at 8:46 pm Link

    There will be seating in most of the shelters, along with windscreens

    Well, I’m hoping you’re right and not Al’s trainer. Though the trainer did say that there was a “contractor issue” with the shelters.

    which was certainly not true on the original Mall

    On the actual mall (Madison-Irving), I’m pretty sure every stop at the end of a block had a shelter. But I know some of the mid-block stops did not shelters (do you or somebody know why?). And people on what’s now the south mall will definitely see an improvement over the shelter that was in that section.

    but they were also extremely expensive to build and to maintain

    I know Bob has thought up some ideas to at least partially address that issue. But these are supposed to be the grandest transit shelters in the region.

  14. Erik Halstead
    May 17, 2009 at 6:15 am Link

    Jason Barbour wrote: They’re also taking out shelters of closing bus stops early… this afternoon the bus shelter formerly in front of the PSU Smith Building was gone!

    And not only that, it POURED that afternoon leaving dozens of riders soaking wet.

    Thanks, TriMet.

    There was ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY **NO** reason to pull those shelters out of service early. They could have slapped “BUS STOP CLOSED” signs on them the night they closed (with all those Supervisors driving brand new Supervisor vehicles like the brand new Chevrolet Equinox SUV I saw driving the Mall on Thursday) and had a crew ready to remove them the morning of Tuesday, May 26th.

    (And I want to know where those shelters are…I presume that TriMet didn’t install them in some badly needed shelter area, since I haven’t seen any new shelters pop up in any of the areas I use TriMet.)

  15. Jason McHuff
    May 17, 2009 at 12:14 pm Link

    There was ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY **NO** reason to pull those shelters out of service early

    What if something happened to them and they got damaged? It doesn’t seem like its worth the labor to send people out to bus shelters that are only going to be used for a week or so.

  16. Bob R.
    May 21, 2009 at 4:44 pm Link

    Update:

    The Oregonian blog has coverage of this story, here:

    http://blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2009/05/portland_transit_mall_will_ope.html

    It mentions that as a goodwill gesture, TriMet personnel will hand out hundreds of free umbrellas on the first day of rain.

  17. Bob R.
    May 22, 2009 at 11:38 am Link

    I note that TriMet’s agenda for the May 27th Board of Directors meeting includes the following item:

    Resolution 09-05-36 Authorizing a Modification to the Contract with LNI Custom Manufacturing, Inc., for Design-Build Assistance, Fabrication and Installation of Transit Shelters

    I wonder what that modification might be?

  18. Jeff F
    May 22, 2009 at 12:48 pm Link

    Bob R. Says: I wonder what that modification might be?

    A mod like that can simply involve extending the date or adding some funds. The Board is involved because the total contract exceeds a specific level of funding.

    There is also a significant change in the material used for the “rafters” of the shelters, and the dates for installation work have shifted a lot.

Leave a Reply

By posting a comment, you are granting a license to Portland Transport for your comment. Please refer to The Rules.