Video: Green Line First Ride Event, Part 1 of 2

The Green Line expansion of the MAX Light Rail system from Downtown Portland to Clackamas Town Center will open later this summer. On June 30th, a “First Ride” preview event occurred where a couple of hundred individuals including a number of public officials rode the route.

Part 1 features interviews with TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen, Councilor Greg Chaimov (City of Milwaukie), Representative David Wu (D-OR), and TriMet Director for Capital Projects Neil McFarlane.

22 responses to “Video: Green Line First Ride Event, Part 1 of 2”

  1. Great job! And I’m impressed on how you snagged the interviews with some of the heavy hitters, both at this event and the streetcar, not to mention that you asked some great questions. But…at 8:43 you didn’t capitalize “trimet”.

    I think the parlor section (which is the term the manufacturer uses) is going to be weird.

    BTW, you’re streetcar video is now famous–it’s on Secretary LaHood’s blog.

  2. Thanks, Jason…

    …at 8:43 you didn’t capitalize “trimet”.

    This has been corrected. Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t allow for video files to be replaced, so I’ve uploaded it as a new clip. This means that anyone who embedded or bookmarked the previous clip will need to switch to the new one.

  3. So what’s you guess as to the percentage of people on the “first ride” train who will also have that be their last ride?

    As I said in the street car comment; I think it’s a shame that your average joe who will benefit from the line is not invited to speak or even be present at these events.

    Everyone is patting each other on the back, but they seem to have forgotten what this is all about.

  4. This has been corrected

    I really shouldn’t be that picky–it’s not that big of an issue, not one which I would redo and re-upload a movie over.

    your average joe who will benefit from the line is not invited

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think they’d mind if people showed up to watch the speeches. But I’d worry about the cars getting filled up, and the officials not being able to enjoy the ride, have conversations/interviews, etc. I’m sure that come September the public will indeed get to be invited to a party and have a ride.

  5. After all, TriMet just had a big parade with multiple scheduled public events to celebrate the reopening of the transit mall last May.

    As for the “percentage”, well, the vast majority of people I recognized were people I’ve seen on transit before, including those who might be termed “transit-dependant”. I doubt you’ll regularly run into congressional representatives or US senators on the Green Line, but fewer than a dozen of the hundreds of people there were of that high of a “rank”.

  6. Al, you are the first to ever compare any of my work to Fellini, and I must say it warms my heart.

    I gotta admit Bob, you put out some great quality videos!

    Of course the Fellini remark is more in how I am viewing this whole crazy world right now, your movies aren’t quite as uh,
    as an actual Felini is.

  7. All I can say Bob, is that now that your rubbing elbows with all the MUCHO GRANDE HONCHOS, when is your appointment to some prestigious high paying position?

  8. Depends on how many people use the service, of course, but the Green Line will probably be cheaper. The Green Line will probably be more useful to more people than WES is in its current state, and needn’t worry about FRA regs.

  9. JK – if this helps: TriMet’s Spring 2009 Ridership Report shows the Yellow Line as the worst performing MAX line with and average cost per boarding ride (CBR) at $1.95 and an average trip length of three miles. Therefore the cost per passenger mile would be 65 cents. Averaging the numbers for all three lines, the cost per MAX passenger mile comes to a shade over 25.5 cents per mile.

    It has the CBR for WES at $18.57, but doesn’t give average trip length. Since the route is 14.7 miles long, the cost per passenger mile must be at least $1.26 but is probably closer to double that because many, if not most, passengers don’t normally ride the entire length of the line. So WES could well cost somewhere in the neighborhood of ten times what MAX does per passenger mile.

  10. The key point being–ridership is important. Trains and busses are very efficient, from a financial point of view, when they are full most of the time. When they are empty, they are not. The incremental cost associated with an additional passenger is minimal; the net weight of a transit vehicle well exceeds the weight of a full load of passengers–but the additional fare makes all the difference to the top line.

    Of course–financial efficiency isn’t the whole story with public services, and shouldn’t be.

  11. I do have to wonder what the performance will be for it. It won’t have the issues of being somewhat slow like the Yellow line, but the Yellow line seems to act more like a circulator than an express transit corridor (at least, while it’s in the median of Interstate or in Downtown, which is most of the route.)

    The Green line will be in a less intense area (out of the way, along the freeway), but higher speed. Hopefully further development could happen in the CTC and Mall 205 areas, but there are a number of still unused or under-used lots along Interstate five years after the Yellow line opened.

    Also, I’m wondering if it’s designed so that a train could (in theory) switch easily to go from CTC to PDX or Gresham? I could see how as the system/region grows it might be a nice feature to have, especially if a line was built along I-205 into Vancouver.

  12. Dave –

    As far as I can tell from the current track configuration, going from CTC to PDX airport or Gresham would require reversing the train direction at Gateway… the train would have to sit at a platform (theoretically possible as there are 3 tracks at Gateway) and the operator would have to shut down one cab, walk to the other end, and start up again. This would of course add time to the schedule, but given that Gateway is busy transit center, that might not be too bad. The question is whether it would interfere with other traffic.

  13. Of course, in regard to the scenario above, once you’re sitting around at Gateway for any length of time, the perceived value of a one-seat-ride vs. a same-platform transfer to the existing Blue Line or Red Line, is diminished.

  14. The current configuration of the trackway around Gateway, with trains coming too/from the airport doing a 180, is to allow red line trains to stop there and proceed to the airport without a reversal. I imagine it would’t be difficult to add a structure to allow N/S trains to proceed along I-205, which would also permit Gresham/Airport trips.

    If I-205 MAX were ever to become part of a wider loop (or semi-loop), allowing riders in Tualatin to follow the freeway around, this would be a necessary modification. I doubt there would be much demand for trains between CTC and Gresham, though (at least not enough to justify a direct route as opposed to a tranfer).

    CTC/Gresham trips woul

  15. Other than Hansen and a Milwaukie (!) councillor, I see mention of Federal politicians (Merkeley, DeFazio, Blumenauer, Wu), but no local, county, or state leaders. Were they there?

    I was at SoWa when the last streetcar segment opened. There was great ceremony, lots of food, and a big tent (literally) with a stage and lots of politicians. IIRC, Sam Adams spoke, Ted Kulongoski spoke, and others too, whose names escape me.

    So where were the state/local leaders this time for the streetcar unveiling and the first Green Line ride?


  16. So where were the state/local leaders this time for the streetcar unveiling and the first Green Line ride?

    I think pretty much every elected official in Clackamas County was there. County Chair Peterson spoke at the event.

  17. Yes, lots of state/local leaders attended one or both events, but there wasn’t room for everyone in the videos, so I mainly concentrated on the few I was able to interview, and a sample of excerpts from the speeches.

    I can post the videos of the prepared remarks from other speakers, just like I did for Secretary LaHood, if there’s a strong demand to see them.

  18. Bob said

    I can post the videos of the prepared remarks from other speakers, just like I did for Secretary LaHood, if there’s a strong demand to see them.

    Well, I’m glad they were there. (The press has discussed how the Federal congresspeople have been avoiding Adams — that’s one thing that made me wonder.)

    Maybe you can just tell us who those speakers were first, or selectively put up some of the more interesting material.

    These are really nice videos, by the way! Good job, Bob!


  19. … or selectively put up some of the more interesting material.

    Ahhh, but that’s what I think I’ve already done. :-)

    These are really nice videos, by the way!


  20. Congress is in session right now, so I imagine the congressional delegation is a bit busy… not that they wouldn’t leave DC for a photo-op if they thought it beneficial.

    That said, I suspect that not wanting to be seen with Adams has a lot to do with it–other pols are avoiding the mayor like the plague.

  21. Yes, lots of state/local leaders attended one or both events,

    Hey Bob, don’t you find it a little ironic, they were all there but you’ll NEVER see any of those people actually riding that thing to get to Clackamas Town Center will you!!

    Politicians are politicians, never let yourself miss out on a good photo op!

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