Almost Official: Barbur’s Next


From Metro:

On Wednesday, Dec. 17, the High Capacity Transit Subcommittee agreed to recommend the Barbur Boulevard corridor as the next regional priority to advance to high capacity transit project development. Project development will determine the HCT option, light rail, bus rapid transit or rapid streetcar, in the vicinity of Barbur Boulevard that will offer the best transit solution. Transit in the corridor needs to meet future travel demand while promoting, encouraging and leveraging other transportation and land use investments. The subcommittee’s recommendation will be taken up by the Transportation Policy Alternatives Committee on Jan. 8.

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95 responses to “Almost Official: Barbur’s Next”

  1. Project development will determine the HCT option, light rail, bus rapid transit or rapid streetcar, in the vicinity of Barbur Boulevard that will offer the best transit solution.

    Is there really any doubt as to which HCT “option” they’re going to settle on? I guess they’ve gotta go through the motions, though.

  2. Given the length of the eventual corridor (out to Sherwood), I would think that rapid streetcar would be an unlikely choice. (The differences between a “rapid streetcar” line and an in-median LRT line such as the Yellow, don’t strike me as very much…)

    I think that construction of BUSWAY (not a BRT line, but a dedicated transit facility which SW-heading busses can uses to bypass the usual mess on I-5/Barbur) down to, say, Capitol Highway or Tigard, wouldn’t be a bad idea. If this could somehow be done with together with a LRT project, you’d have the best of both worlds, though it would be expensive. Given that the Barbur line is a natural extension of the transit mall, that might make some sense.

    A lot depends, I suppose, on how much Tigard is willing to re-invent itself along the chosen route.

  3. while they are redoing the street maybe they can add in some sidewalks. Along Barbur, sidewalks would act as dutch-style Cycle Tracks too, making cycling much safer feeling.

    Also, some of those bridges along Barbur offer great views of Mt. Hood…I hope they can do something cool with those.

  4. Tigard residents were actually polled in saying they would enjoy lane expansion to 7 lanes over a light rail option on Barbur/99.

    I honestly think doing nothing is the best option. Barbur is too messed up w/ its land uses, multiple curb cuts, etc.

    Anyways, all this far-flung transit options to sticks-ville just exacerbates sprawl. LR all the way down to Sherwood? NYC barely has subway lines going put more than 15 miles from its core. And we’re not NYC by any measure.

  5. Where’s it going to sprawl to? We have an Urban Growth Boundary for a reason, and it’s not like it’s moving any time soon, thanks to widespread opposition to the idea.

  6. Paul Johnson:

    The UGB is already filled with some of the most ugly sprawl around. The UGB has done nothing to contain sprawl inside its boundaries, though, it has limited some very outward, ex-urban developments compared to some US cities.

    Remember, Wash. Co alone was at one time looking at 34,000 acres of urban reserves land – or about 50+ square miles.

    It is becoming politically difficult to enforce the line, as well as possibly having negative impacts such as higher price of land to accommodate 2 million people by 2060, and 1 million more people by 2030. The line has and will move in the near future. It’s a matter of time.

    I think metro and Portland needs to do a better job of making Portland the absolute most attractive place to live and to do business — removing any need for people to look outward in la la land like Bull Mountain.

    Major job concentration of Portland’s core will do wonders in reducing sprawl and enhancing/expanding transit lines. I think that should be done first rather than expecting it to occur by building far-flung transportation projects.

  7. I was really hoping for Powell. Barbur to Sherwood just seems like more encouragement to concentrate the job sites in Washington County – we need to reverse that trend, otherwise, we’re never going to get a handle on VMT.

    Powell, OTOH, seems like a logical high density residential catalyst that will reinforce the use of industrial zones along the Orange line, as well as the South corridor of the Green line.

  8. Honestly , i see this as being a 2 phase lightrail project. A minimum operating segment with a park-and-ride garage and transit center near or at the Regal Cinema and terminating a little further to ‘downtown’ Tigard and the WES stop (the tracks would run separate from Barbur from I-5 to Tigard). This would connect PSU to PCC Sylvania, provide a good location for a park-and-ride, and leave the worst of the gridlocked intersections intact for those Tigard residents who do not want a reduction of auto-capacity on 99W. In the future a second segment to Sherwood could be created if it is desired amongst the area residents and politicos.

  9. I’ll mimic what I posted on a previous thread on the topic; If they intend to not sacrifice traffic lanes on Barbur some sort of R.O.W. exists in the former vicinity of SW Slavin, in-between Barbur and I-5. If this was chosen routing it would be logical to include it in the Iowa street viaduct replacement.

  10. I am one of the staunchest defenders of LRT, TOD and MAX out there, however… i can not imagine how long it would take from Sherwood to DT. This is insanity. It will cost millions of dollar a mile. Imagine if all that money was poured into street cars and better bus service. For what it costs, there is a lot of bang for the buck there. Light rail way out there would be dreadful and take forever.

  11. What mode it will be, and how far it will go, has not been decided–I can’t imagine they would build out to Sherwood in one phase. (If they go beyond downtown Tigard, heading south to Tualatin makes more sense, then trying to put LRT down 99W–if you need to reach Sherwood, go west from Tualatin).

    Probably, Phase 1 of whatever mode would be Portland to Tigard, which makes a lot more sense. Especially if you want to see a certain misplaced commuter line replaced with a useful (and cheaper-to-run) form of transit; sorely needed given the nasty mess that is the 217 corridor.

    Whether a Sherwood route to Portland would be a bearable commute depends on the stop frequency more than anything else–if you space the stops out well enough, LRT to downtown would be almost as quick as driving (even outside of rush hour), given that there’s no freeway going to Sherwood.

  12. Yes! We need to bring more jobs into the city. For sure. Transit will help get people there, but what good does it do if everyone is trying to commute across town instead of into it?

  13. “Rapid streetcar?” How many times have pro-LRT people said on this blog that such a thing doesn’t exist? So you are saying there are realistic options?
    Probably not….as long as the pipeline to Washington DC is still functioning.

    kitty….LRT wouldn’t cost “millions of dollars a mile” around here. Most of their projects seem to be at least $100m/mile, now. But then an express bus on I-5 and Tualatin-Sherwood road would just be too simple.

  14. Ron asks: “How many times have pro-LRT people said on this blog that such a thing doesn’t exist?”

    Never, as far as I can recall.

    In fact, I first proposed adopting the term here (which was already popping up elsewhere) back in February of 2007.

  15. Whoa! Bicycles do NOT belong on the sidewalks, theoretical or real! I mean, let’s move cars and trucks to the sidewalks while we’re at it!

  16. ws: That assumes that we want, need or are willing to facilitate 2 million people by 2060, a fact not in evidence, especially now that Hillsboro and Bend are now the fastest two shrinking cities in the US. While there has been political incentive to do away with it, all these land developers have more or less realized that they’re both unwelcome and unwanted here at this point and have moved on to browner pastures ready to be paved over elsewhere. Good riddance to them!

  17. Sherwood to downtown only takes about 40-110 minutes to drive from Sherwood to Portland city center on 99W right now. I imagine, making local stops, it’d take somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour for light rail to make the trip.

  18. It’s not a matter of wanting or needing 2 million people. We can’t just say “no” to new people. The point is, if they come, and we are not supplied with houses — prices will increase.

    Transit along this corridor is going to be difficult.

    Barbur blvd in Tigard, imo, is just a bad place to use surface street LR. The West Side LR is great because it has its own ROW in most places and when it does operate on the surface streets, it does so in a downtown, connected street system where if someone needs to turn around for a stop, they just go around the block.

    Regarding Tigard, its downtown is in a very odd location. Again, Barbur Blvd. in the Tigard area at leas has about a gazillion-million curb cuts and auto-only land-uses and would create havok and probably angry protest from some vociferous people.

  19. edit:if someone needs to turn around for a stop, they just go around the block.**

    **I meant if someone is driving, walking or biking, they can usually turn around the next block and bypass the LR street if their destination is on the other side of the LR line (as many areas of the LR is going to block a left-hand turn and eliminate the suicide lane). That’s not going to be feasible (being able to turn around) in all areas of Barbur Blvd. due to its very disconnected, often dendritic street system.

    Interstate Ave. While a surface LR system, operates on a nice, gridded street system. Barbur Blvd? Not so much.

    I’m shooting from the hip on some of my assertions, but hopefully people know what I’m talking about.

  20. I’d be okay with a rapid streetcar line that ran from Harrison out First Avenue to merge with Barbur and continue down the Barbur corridor to Tigard TC. It probably would cost a LOT less than an LRT line, and could provide service nearly as fast. The capacity would be dramatically less than LRT — but what’s the chance of getting any significantly greater density along that corridor than what exists now?

    The other thing I like about a streetcar line is the possibility of two lines sharing the tracks: one to Tigard TC and one to PCC Sylvania.

    A limited stop busway would work too: imagine a couple of frequent-service lines (say one from Sherwood and one from Tualatin) that are local service as far in as Tigard TC and then provide limited stops at LRT-like platforms all the way into downtown. Say, eight to ten stops from Tigard TC to PSU.

    It could be joined by another frequent-service line from PCC that provides limited service on Barbur; and some of the buses that run out Capital Highway could serve limited stops on Barbur as well. Put an OHSU station at Gibbs with a funicular or similar people-mover to get up to the campus and the tram served b y ALL local and limited buses on the corridor, and you’d get a very effective bus-based high capacity corridor that (mostly) relies on bus service already there, while serving more single-seat rides than a light rail line.

    For local service, add a frequent bus that runs from Tigard TC to downtown, and have some of the Capitol Highway buses do local service on Barbur as well.

    But somehow, I think the decision is going to be “light rail to TIgard TC.”

  21. One thought on rapid streetcar–right now, Portland streetcars are limited to single car consists by the topology of the existing network (stations are only long enough for one car). If a line is configured as rapid streetcar (streetcar running in its own ROW), I imagine that this restriction could go away-such a thing could run from Union Station, down the mall on the existing LRT tracks (with platform extenders), where the stations are long enough for two-car trains, and up Barbur. One advantage of rapid streetcar in a Barbur alignments is it probably can share a ROW with busses safely at higher speeds (though the streetcars top at around 40-50 MPH, at least the current models do).

    One issue is that rapid streetcar wouldn’t be good for getting to Sherwood, as the trip would take too long, unless they ran the route with LRT-style stop spacing.

    Will be interesting to see what they come up with–not just technology choice, but route. How close do you come to Hillsdale? To OHSU? To PCC Sylvania? To Washington Square? The latter three are probably the most significant destinations in the Barbur corridor (i.e. a mile or so on either side of the highway).

    Here’s a question for Al–how often does the #12 get stuck in traffic on Barbur? Right now it takes about an hour to get from Sherwood to downtown according to the schedule–how much would a busway (assume signal priority) from, say, Capitol to downtown speed up the route?

  22. You’re right, we can’t just say “no” to people. But we don’t have to build more homes. People are disinclined to move someplace where they can’t find shelter. This is a Good Thing™.

  23. [Moderator: F-word insult at all of Tigard deleted. OK paul, you go on “comment vacation” for the rest of December. Come back when you can be civil.]

  24. The existing Streetcar runs as one-car trains primarily due to agreements extracted by the neighborhoods during the design of the initial alignment to restrict the impact of platforms (e.g., parking removal).

    There is nothing inherent in the technology itself.

  25. If you give streetcar its own ROW, allow higher speeds, have fewer stops and run double cars what you have is lightrail.

  26. What about the tunnel proposal to swing under OHSU and Hillsdale? That should speed things up, avoid some of the surface running and pick up many more riders. Its certainly better than staying on Barbur between Lair Hill and Burlingame where its all forest. I’d even like to see the tunnel stay underground and hit Multnomah Village then emerge from the tunnel around Barbur TC, at least then you’ve avoided most of the autopia parts of Barbur (at least within Portland). LRT can then run on the surface where Barbur has a wider RoW which is west of Barbur TC and in Tigard.

    Surface LRT down Barbur, Powell and McLoughlin all seem to face the same situations.

  27. Hank Sheppard Says:
    “If you give streetcar its own ROW, allow higher speeds, have fewer stops and run double cars what you have is lightrail.”

    No you wouldn’t. Light rail needs to cost four times as much, that’s why.

  28. OK, I’ve got a lot issues with this.

    1. I have no clue who this High Capacity Transit Subcommittee is? I haven’t seen or heard of any input from Tigard residents. If there has been, someone please point it out. Shouldn’t the local residents have some say?

    2. The route is much different than any of the other LRT routes in that it reduces capacity rather than increase it. Most of the other LRT routes (Blue, Red, Green) have been built mostly in their own right of way, thus adding travel capacity. The Yellow line was added to an under used street. Unless a MAJOR widening is done on 99W/Barbur, this appears to reduce vehicle capacity.

    3. If the goal is to add travel capacity from, then turn WES into MAX. It would be far cheaper and it take an under utilized rail coordinator and adds significant capacity. It also opens up a vast amount of land for redvelopment. As for Barbur, you could add a streetcar that doesn’t remove a lane of traffic.

  29. While ‘rapid streetcar’ is likely a valid mode in some circumstances (the propose Lake Oswego corridor being an example for part of its trip) there are definite differences between streetcar and LRT.

    Streetcar vehicles are smaller, have a small passenger capacity (and much less seating – although seating could be increased if there were only doors on one side of the car). Because of their smaller size they are more appropriate for neighborhood settings. An LRT vehicle on NW Lovejoy would be very much out of scale as an example.

    LRT vehicles have a much higher capacity so would presumably be more suited to heavily used transit corridors (Gresham to Hillsboro for example).

  30. Streetcar vehicles, at least the ones use in Portland, have a top speed of 40-50MPH IIRC. Is there any streetcar-class vehicles–i.e. one which is comparable in weight to a typical road vehicle and can run on tracks embedded in pavement without replacing the roadbed (LRT requires a heavier-duty roadbed), but which is capable of freeway speeds when run in a separate right-of-way with appropriate signalling? Or do the higher speeds require a larger vehicle (for horsepower or safety reasons), such that the primary advantage of rapid streetcar (not replacing the roadbed) no longer applies?

  31. I don’t know about “streetcar class vehicles” but there are a heck of a lot of subways around the world with smaller size rail vehicles (smaller than MAX) that move pretty fast. I would think it would be possible.

  32. As a regular user of Barbur TC, I’m very jazzed about this developement :) A lot of good points have been raised, and it’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out.

    What about the tunnel proposal to swing under OHSU and Hillsdale? That should speed things up, avoid some of the surface running and pick up many more riders. Its certainly better than staying on Barbur between Lair Hill and Burlingame where its all forest.

    Interesting idea, but it’d probably be deemed way too spendy in this age of limited funds. Regardless of which HCT option they end up going with, I do think the ROW should deviate from Barbur at some point around Burlingame, perhaps crossing I-5 to serve South Waterfront and the tram.

    Barbur blvd in Tigard, imo, is just a bad place to use surface street LR.

    Agreed. It would need to split from Barbur at some point and maybe even need an elevated ROW in key spots (it’d certainly need to be raised over the WES tracks if it continues beyond Tigard TC).

  33. Subways are different from “light streetcar” in that they have protected rights-of-way. I have no doubt that smaller trains can go fast; I am wondering whether smaller trains can be engineered to go faster, especially when part of a multi-car consist; and still meet safety regulations.

    It may well be that the 40-50 MPH limit is simply a particular spec to the streetcars used; given the purpose to which they have been deployed so far (in street running), that speed is entirely irrelevant. (Except when the Streetcar needs to go to the Ruby yards–even though it can otherwise run on MAX lines; they still only do that at night, or else put the streetcar on a truck; as its low speed limit would otherwise disrupt eastside MAX operation).

    Jarrett Walker, an ex-Portlandite who now works as a transportation planner in the Land Down Under, and who runs the excellent transit blog Human Transit, posted an article on the so-called “Tram-trains” in the German city of Karlsruhe, which is slightly smaller than Portland. A “Tram-train” is a transit vehicle which spend part of its time on the mainline freight lines providing commuter service to the suburbs, and then which switches to on-street running to serve downtown. This poses quite a few engineering challenges (and probably isn’t possible under FRA safety regulations, which focus more on crashworthiness of traincars and less on train control than do European regulations), as well as a few challenges to the transit designer. Jarrett and others (including myself) noted that MAX functions in similar fashion, albeit without running on the mainline freight network–and it weakens the system when you want to get crosstown.

  34. Is there any chance that if LRT is put into the Barbur corridor that the set-up would have 3 or 4 tracks to allow for an express train?

    I used to go Sherwood a lot in the 1980s to visit friends (I lived in Portland then) and it was a long way away. I shudder at the thought of the drive there now.

    I’ve always been a little peeved that MAX doesn’t allow for an express train because there is no separate track for a non-stop express line. Something like “Gateway to Pioneer Square in 10 minutes or your money back”.

    If I knew that I could ride a LRT from Vancouver to Portland and it would always take 15 minutes I would almost NEVER drive to Portland (if my destination was downtown Portland, which is usually is).

    It seems like there is an opportunity to do some sort of an express line with Barbur because it is a totally new location for rapid transit. If TriMet could guarantee a 10 minute trip from Tigard downtown Portland, I guarantee that a lot of commuters will get out of their cars and ride that train.

    So Chris – since I think you know more than any of us about this stuff – are there any plans for express trains? Is it even possible?

  35. Scotty,

    “and it weakens the system when you want to get crosstown”. Word.

    IMO Tri-Met needs to prioritize a tunnel from the Rose Quarter to Goose Hollow. There was a post about a year ago a the detailed a proposal for an underpass/overpass U-turn at the east end of the Steel Bridge that was supposed to reduce crossing movements.

    The reason I mention it is that it showed how a tunnel could begin in the empty lot just east of the freeway between Multnomah and Halliday with a station under the plaza in front of the Rose Garden. If the track were continued northwestward under Interstate Avenue it could probably dive deep enough by the time it got to the Broadway Bridge to turn under the river parallel to the bridge.

    The tunnel could pass north of the post office to a station under Ninth and Irving to serve the Pearl District then diagonal down to one stretching under Broadway and Burnside for the new mid-rises along Couch in the “south” Pearl and the US Bank tower. From there it would continue down Broadway to a station under Pioneer Place and diagonal to a station under Fourth and Jefferson to serve the government center and the towers around it and, with perhaps an underground passageway under Third, the Keller. To return to the existing surface route it would swing west south-west to a station under Mill and Park for PSU and the far southwest corner of downtown then due west under Mill to I-405 then curve back a little northwest to a portal just east of the existing Robertson Portal where the tracks would join the existing route.

    Blue and Red line trains extended west to Orenco or thereabouts would use the tunnel, and the Green Line would run to Beaverton Transit Center over the existing tracks, perhaps mixed with frequent streetcars between Goose Hollow and Lloyd Center.

    There would be six stations between the new Rose Quarter station and Washington Park station, but the current service has ten and has to run on the surface. The trains could travel much more rapidly between stations and never wait for the streetcar or Mall trains at the level crossings. The coverage of the CBD would be far better than now for the east-west trunk so having the Green line cover the traditional route would not be a loss of eastside to PSU service.

    Once the Orange Line (I thought the Yellow was going to run through to Milwaukee, but apparently not) is running there could be five minute headways on the Mall with two shuttle cars running as they do now in the afternoons.

    To the issue of Barbur, Dan W’s suggestion that a Barbur line swing east to serve the new waterfront development is impossible because of the gradient difference. Barbur is over 100 feet higher than Macadam at Bancroft which would provide access between Barbur and the freeway right of way of only two blocks’ length, and the least disruption to the neighborhood. But at the end of that two blocks is a very high and steep bluff.

    I know that the cost of poking two more tunnels under the West Hills makes it prohibitive, but is there any reason at all to build HCT in the Barbur corridor if it bypasses the hospital complex? There is really no other employment center in the corridor short of Wilsonville.

    So I would say just establish an express bus for now and wait to see if the predicted growth occurs. If it does, there will be lots of development along I-5/Barbur in the southwest quadrant and it will be worthwhile to dig that tunnel.

    In the meantime, just establish a reliable BRT-lite in the corridor (frequent service express buses throughout the day) and be happy with the improvements. If the development doesn’t come, it will be sufficient for the future. If oil goes out of sight, hang wires.

    In answer to Chris Smith about higher speed streetcars, the PCC’s that ran in San Francisco, Cleveland, Boston, and Pittsburgh until the 1970’s and early 1980’s (and still do as a tourist attraction in San Francisco) could run at 55 and were scheduled to do so through the Twin Peaks and Buena Vista tunnels. That’s all the faster Max can run.

    The PCC’s had extremely stable running gear; on what was then old under-maintained track the car bodies would be dancing on the springs, but the trucks stayed firmly on the tracks. Muni and Cleveland at least never had derailment problems with them. They’re the only system I know much about operationally.

  36. Vancouver Res,

    If you go during the middle of the day take the 105. It costs $3.00 each way which is admittedly not cheap, but the buses that run on the 105 are the new hybrids and very nice. You can also get a $6.00 “go anywhere” all day pass that you can use to get all the way to Wilsonville if you go at the right time).

    If you’re 62 or over you can get a C-Tran id and the 105 is only $1.50 between 9 and 3. That’s a good deal.

  37. “There was a post about a year ago a the detailed a proposal for an underpass/overpass U-turn at the east end of the Steel Bridge that was supposed to reduce crossing movements.”

    You may be referring to this post (actually from 2006):

    How I would untangle the Rose Quarter

    There are a number of useful comments about alternatives to what is proposed in the main post, including more tracks on the Steel Bridge and a limited downtown subway.

  38. Anandakos – When I go Portland it’s almost always leaving Clark County in the morning and then coming back sometimes mid-day, sometimes later.

    I’ll ride the C-Tran 199 if I know that I’ll have a full day in Portland. It isn’t faster than driving on the way in, but on the way home it can be because of the use of the carpool lane. However, I’ve had some horrible wait times because of bad afternoon traffic on I-5 south, which makes the buses coming to Portland get off schedule. In fact, I’ll usually take either the 105 or 199 home because even though a 199 is a direct shot to the transit center where my parked car is waiting, the 105 might be faster because the 199 is so far behind schedule.

    If there was either BRT or LRT on a separate grade, like a train that runs non-stop to downtown Portland I’d ride it instead. The 105 runs so infrequently during the day that I can’t use it. I don’t want to wait 30 minutes after my day is done to then get on a bus that can get caught up in traffic. But if a train was leaving every 15 minutes with only a 15 minute trip, I would use it all the time.

    I appreciate you looking out for me, though!

  39. Is there any streetcar-class vehicles–i.e. one which is comparable in weight to a typical road vehicle and can run on tracks embedded in pavement without replacing the roadbed (LRT requires a heavier-duty roadbed), but which is capable of freeway speeds when run in a separate right-of-way with appropriate signalling?

    PCCs also came to my mind.

    re: Tunnel
    Didnt the West Hills’ Robertson Tunnel cost about $100 million (granted 15 years ago)? Its 3 miles long and has a deep station. So thats what $33 million/mile? Might actually be cheaper to go in a bored hill tunnel than on the surface. (I know subway tunnels in downtowns are a whole other story when it comes to cost.)

  40. Bob,

    That’s it. Thanks for the link.

    So far as “more tracks on the Steel Bridge”—impossible!!!!!. Just walk on the new pedestrian way on the railroad level and look up. One will see that the outside traffic lanes are cantilevered from the main body of the span.

    Heavy, heavy hangs over thy head, yes. But not heavy enough to support light rail trains and their infrastructure.

    Looks like Mike Feldman proposed almost exactly what I did above, with perhaps a little difference in the west portal. IMO, serving south downtown is more important than PGE Park, but that’s certainly a topic for discussion.

    Your alternative of a “limited downtown tunnel” combined with the RQ subway station is pretty darn good, but it doesn’t really relieve the chokepoint at the west end of the Steel Bridge. While it would definitely improve the overall running time through downtown by consolidating three stations and grade separating all the crossings of other rail lines, it doesn’t solve the fundamental limitation of the current system that it really doesn’t go very close to any of the major office towers, except the fancy building on Broadway and the Public Service building that Standard Insurance is in. But worst of all, the whole idea of pushing the Yellow Line to Clark County fails because of the extremely limited additional capacity available over the bridge, because there’s still a level junction.

    There’s no doubt that it would be less expensive and maybe it’s all the region can afford. That’s a huge argument in its favor.

    I certainly agree that consolidating Kings Hill and PGE Park by moving KH to the north a half block is obvious and would improve performance of the system. It should be done this year. Hardly anyone gets on or off at PGE Park; many more use Kings Hill.

  41. “Hardly anyone gets on or off at PGE Park; many more use Kings Hill.”

    >>>> Sorry, but this is one of the worst pieces of misinformation I have ever seen on this blog. I live about 6-7 blocks from PGE Park station and use it quite often. You should see all of the people getting off the train around 4 -5 PM.

  42. Yes, if I had to consolidate/eliminate near PGE Park, the Kings Hill station would be the one to lose.

    The latest stop-by-stop numbers that I have on file are from Fall, 2006, but the difference is clear: On the Blue Line to Hillsboro, average weekday boardings at PGE Park were 529, and at Kings Hill/Salmon were 196. The walking distance between the endpoints of the two stations is less than about 400ft, less so for the inbound platforms.

  43. The Kings Hill/PGE Park debate is interesting–how do the stations compare when there is no event at PGE Park?

    One other options would be to skip PGE Park during non-event times.

    I don’t care either way–not living in the neighborhood–but its a suggestion. :)

  44. I support 100% for LRT, 100% for electric trolleybuses, and 75% for Bus Rapid Transit and 55% for Streetcars in Portland area. In addition, I support for Downtown Portland Subway with long way bike lane and separated MAX track way for fast travel. I like Light Rail Transit along Barbur Blvd for yellow line, so green line for going under the OSHU at Marquam Hill and southward goes somewhere. I think that there is very good connecting PSU and PCC for yellow line or other color line whatever. I disappointed with electric trolleybuses that really pains my feelings in leading my sadness as probably leaving Portland probably that I got lot of loss support from citizens who turned down electric trolleybuses. Please write and call TRIMET and call your politicians encouragement about this information. Thank you much!

  45. For my money, the barbur line should never be on barbur at all. It should be a subway, with stops at ohsu, hillsdale, multnomah village, barbur transit center, pcc. (as others have already said.)

    As for tigard and sherwood, if you’re going there you want genuine commuter rail. That could be faster than driving.
    It costs a lot to do things right, but running a max out barbur to sherwood just sounds like an awful waste.

  46. Gateway to Pioneer Square in 10 minutes

    You prompted me to do some calculations, and it seems like trains would have to average exactly 40 MPH to do that, assuming about a 1/10th mile shorter distance by having a more direct route in the central city because of not being tied to the streets and bridge. But I think Tigard is a lot farther and 10 minutes might not be realistic to there.

    prioritize a tunnel from the Rose Quarter to Goose Hollow

    Sadly, it’s probably not going to happen because we just wasted millions of dollars on a second surface alignment. (That being said, a tunnel even just under the river between ~NE 7th Ave and Union Station would be a big help)

    Also, I never thought of having a tunnel serve the Pearl District by having to go due north from Pioneer Square. But it would require going under private property for the shortest route.

    Regarding turning around on Barbur, I’d assume that they would allow direct U-turns like on Interstate and other places.

    Lastly, regarding the Kings Hill station, it’s there because of the Goose Hollow neighborhood and (I believe) their political clout. The PGE Park station makes more sense since it’s closer to Line 15 outbound and is closer to people living north or west of there.

    The Fall 2008 TriMet Passenger Census says that 262 got on and 376 got off at Kings Hill on the eastbound Blue Line, and 885 and 542 at PGE Park. Eastbound Red Line was 224/152 and 777/196, westbound Blue Line was 719/1248 and 285/272, westbound Red Line was 202/713 and 101/134.

  47. One other options would be to skip PGE Park during non-event times.

    It’s also a transfer point to the 15 bus, which serves the very dense NW 23rd area, and Montgomery Park. Even flying back on a Sunday evening I’ve found it to be a fairly busy stop.

    Didnt the West Hills’ Robertson Tunnel cost about $100 million (granted 15 years ago)?

    Tunneling has gotten cheaper (relative to other costs) over the years, so it may be possible to tunnel a MAX line through hilly terrain cheaper than building or improving bridges, for example.

    If we’re going to do a subway, I’d prefer to see the Red Line stay on the surface, and the Blue get moved underground. The blue could have stops at Pioneer Square, PGE, near Union Station, and near the Conv Ctr/Rose Qtr. If the Red Line is extended past Beaverton (along the WES path, for example) we could just have a dedicated downtown-airport route above ground, plus through routes on the subway. Maybe we could add another circulator line to serve passengers only in the free zone, looping between the Rose Quarter and the PGE area.

    As far as Barbur, it would be nice to have MAX access to it, but it’s not totally necessary. I’d love to see Portland try a streetcar-light (think BRT-meets Streetcar) project, similar to San Diego’s Super Loop, to see how it works here. With a few jump lanes at intersections, cutouts for the buses to get out of traffic, pedestrian improvements, etc, we could probably achieve much of what LRT would at a much lower cost.

    If the corridor starts growing, awesome. We can then move the buses to another route for an evaluation, and improve Barbur to LRT then. If it’s a failure, we can try a streetcar-light in another corridor to evaluate. It seems like a cheaper way to test things out at least.

  48. “One other options would be to skip PGE Park during non-event times.”

    >>>> Almost all of the time a boatload of people get off MAX at PGE Park during late afternoon, there is NO event at PGE Park.

  49. Dave H,

    It’s important to have the Red line be fast, because of the airport access. That’s why I believe it should be in the subway as well. Also, unless the huge majority of the east-west trunk trains use the tunnel, it can’t be justified.

    A lesser reason for separating the Willamette crossing is to free the Steel Bridge for the Yellow Line, assuming that the CRC LRT happens. That too is reason to put the Red line through the tunnel. And doesn’t it make sense to have south downtown, the government center, and the Pearl all directly connected to the airport?

    I agree that some sort of Gateway to Beaverton TC service should be continued to serve the traditional routing for people along the trunk who want to go to the stops along First and those near the ballpark. I nominated the Green Line since east side to PSU will be served (faster and more frequently) by the tunnel. But maybe the Clackamas folks would prefer to stay on the mall. In that case, a “purple” line could just run Gateway to BTC.

    And as you mentioned it would be a good idea for streetcars to run between Old Town/Chinatown or even the Rose Quarter and Goose Hollow to provide frequent service for those neighborhoods in addition to the Gateway/Beaverton local. The Rose Quarter only if the streetcars can be on their own rails east of the junction with the tunnel line.

    Jason,

    There’s no way to have a station at the Rose Quarter and tunnel under the river unless it loops to the west of the post office. The geometry simply doesn’t work any other way. I was wrong to suppose that the crossing could be made south of the Broadway Bridge. It’s probably not possible to turn under the river until north of the red Bridge.

    The channel of the Willamette is around twenty feet deep (otherwise the Navy couldn’t call during the Rose Festival) and there has to be at least fifteen feet of overburden above the tunnel to protect it.

    The streets at the Rose Quarter TC are about 75 feet above the normal river surface. Assume that one uses Bob’s tunnel portal just east of I-5 and that the Rose Quarter station is level or nearly so. It’s pretty unlikely that the track surface can be deep enough to have much of a mezzanine in the station. Say the railhead is 50 feet above the river at the west end of the station.

    If the tunnel is 20 feet in diameter, the railhead would be about sixteen feet from the upper surface, just large enough to accommodate the train and catenary.

    Therefore the elevation of the railhead must drop from about plus 50 to minus 20 minus 15 minus 15 or one hundred feet at a minimum between the station exit and the east side of the channel. It’s about three tenths of a mile or 1500 feet from Interstate and Steel Bridge to Interstate and the Broadway Bridge.

    So figure 1400 feet from the end of the station. That is a drop (and more importantly a climb) of one in fourteen feet which even for LRT is outside of possible for steel wheeled vehicles. So a tunnel will have to loop farther north than I thought, probably not turning under the river until about the grain elevator across from the Water Department.

    Assuming a radius sufficient to maintain 40 miles per hour, if it reached perpendicularity to the river channel by the west bank, it could come ashore under the decrepit metal shed directly opposite the Ninth Avenue crossing of the station throat trackage and reach a south heading under Ninth Avenue. This would allow a station under Ninth between Kearny and Irving, very well situated to serve both the cluster of towers at the north end of 10th Avenue and the new development along Glisan.

    Leaving the south end of the station the tunnel would curve under the Post Office annex and reach the South Park blocks under the parking lot across from the PO. It would continue south under the Park Avenue side of the Park blocks in order not to disturb the old trees. The Burnside station would straddle the street from Park and Couch almost to Broadway between Ankeney and Oak. The mezzanine would have entrances on Broadway and Oak. From there it would continue south under Broadway to Pioneer Square as mentioned previously.

    The development in the block and a half surrounded by Burnside, Broadway, Oak and Park would certainly be replaced with a major development, and a one block pedestrian tunnel would connect the station mezzanine to the US Bank Tower.

    This alignment requires non-public right of way only under the Post Office Annex and the Eighth and Burnside redevelopment. I expect that the Post Office wouldn’t object to a bored tunnel there.

    If the PO was willing, it would be best if the station were slightly askew from Ninth Avenue to minimize the curvature to Park. But that’s a matter for negotiation.

    Finally, I didn’t explain the connection to the Robertson very well in the original post. So here’s the actual layout, which so far as I can tell underlies public rights of way nearly all the way from the PSU station.

    From a station under Mill centered on Park the tunnel would continue under Mill to SW 11th then change to Market under the park between 11th and 12th. It would pass under I-405 and continue under Market Street to the west of the freeway where it would then pass under Market Street Drive to just short of its junction with Vista Drive where it would continue on a curve to join the existing track just east of the Robertson portal.

    Market Street Drive is up on the hill so there should be no rumbling for the houses above the tunnel. Again, this would be nearly all public right of way.

    Obviously, the stretch from Pioneer Square to Fourth and Jefferson and then to Mill and Park would all be underlying existing structures. It would have to be pretty deep to avoid disturbing them.

    To Nick,

    I certainly can’t argue with all these statistics about PGE Park versus King’s Hill, so I’ll agree that you are right. You’re kind of bouncing off the wall, though, to say that my observation is “one of the worst pieces of misinformation ever on this blog”.

    I ride Max to and from Nike every day, and it appears to me that more people get on and off and King’s Hill. That’s my observation, but the statistics say otherwise.

    It’s entirely possible that because of the all day traffic transferring to and from the 15 PGE gets much more non-commute hour business.

  50. Well, we are pondering time-scales of decades.

    And you’ll notice that I suggested bus enhancements above, so it ain’t all about choo choos. :)

  51. As chair of NWDA Transportation committee I served on the station location “task force” for westside MAX in Goose Hollow. Adding a station at Salmon (I called it the MAC station) was the unfortunate outcome as it is 2 blocks from PGE station. The original mistake was not going below grade and continuing up Morrison and Burnside to a subway station at 23rd, thence under the West Hills.
    re Barbur, any HCT in this alignment will have to serve OHSU (City’s largest employer) and should serve Hillsdale, a designated Town Center. Hence a tunnel again comes into play. It may not be that much more expensive than trying to squeeze tracks onto Barbur between south Portland and Burlingame. Lane reductions there are probably off the table. Returning to a Barbur alignment could occur at Burlingame and proceed to Tigard. There I think the line should turn south and parallel WES to Kruse Woods, a major employment center.

  52. Last week, I drove the PSU to Tualatin route, via I-5. It took about twelve minutes. Then the Tualatin to Sherwood leg took several more.

    Tigard isn’t that far from the Barbur Bv. Transit Center.

    Express buses could serve all three communities for about one percent of a MAX line’s capital cost.

  53. Capital cost is not the issue, its operations cost, and MAX is much, much better. Operators are the cost center in transit; if one can haul 300 people while the other takes 30 at the same cost, just do the math.
    To provide true HCT, regardless of vehicle type, you must have exclusive ROW, and that is where the capital costs come into play. Express buses on existing roadways is not HCT, its not BRT, it will not attract new riders, and its cost per ride is unsustainable.

  54. Why stop at Sherwood? They should think bigger and make it a commuter like train going all the way to Lincoln City. Then casino goers and whinos could take the train!

  55. Capital cost is not the issue,
    Well, I guess that question is settled.
    If one can haul 300 people while the other takes 30 at the same cost, just do the math.
    And how often does a MAX train haul 300 people? I have repeatedly seen the Interstate MAX carrying approx. 20 people. You are just talking about commuting hours and Friday and Saturday nights. For the latter, I could care less if the MAX is full of drunks, baseball fans, opera goers…whatever. First we were asked to subsidize people getting to jobs…and I think the overall cost should be reasonable. Now I guess that includes anything that could be construed as a “civic activity.”
    To provide true HCT, regardless of vehicle type, you must have exclusive ROW,
    So, time efficiency isn’t the central criteria? I guess a Boeing 747 would never qualify as high capacity, since it doesn’t have an exclusive ROW.
    Express buses on existing roadways is not HCT, its not BRT, it will not attract new riders, and its cost per ride is unsustainable.
    Express routes, if they did not produce expected results, could easily be discontinued. When the MAX doesn’t produce expected results the solution appears to be to attract more impoverished people to settle along the route. Rockwood district as a case in point. The congested freeways are still there(after a brief hiatus) but certainly you can get more riders, especially with discounted transit passes.

  56. Why stop at Sherwood? They should think bigger and make it a commuter like train going all the way to Lincoln City. Then casino goers and whinos could take the train!

    Ummm, thanks for generalizing about everyone who enjoys going to the coast.

  57. Ron, you either a) have to plan for peak capacity, or b) induce people to time-shift their commute to make the peak demand lower. While b) is desirable, the capacity of MAX (~7000 pphpd across the Steel Bridge, the busiest point in the system) is medium compared to other transit systems; you probably won’t save much by switching to smaller vehicles.

    With regard to subsidy–all types of public transit are subsidized. So are private ones. The operational subsidy is less for MAX than for busses; and the subsidies for autos are large and hidden–given the ginormous sums spent building and maintaining roads, one might ask why a transit project is held to higher scrutiny? There seems to be an implication that inner-city residents close to bus lines are more worthy of “subsidy” than suburban commuters, Blazer game attendees, or Friday night bar-crawlers. (Given that TriMet stops running several hours before last call, I’m not sure how much transit currently helps the party crowd).

    WRT your 747 remark–commercial air flights generally get reserved airspace for their flightplan; most of their flights are conducted at altitudes not reachable by general aviation, and only at landing and takeoff might they have to wait for smaller craft–so yes, 747s have an “exclusive ROW” for the most part.

    WRT to TriMet encouraging more poor folk to move to Rockwood (after MAX was already in operation) in order to bolster sagging transit numbers, where did you come up with that one? TOD is generally planned and accounted for before the line goes into operation. At any rate, MAX has produced–nay, exceeded–its expected results, expressed in terms of passengers moved; “little or no congestion on I-84 for the foreseeable future” was and is not an “expected result”.

  58. In regards to the Portland to Tigard/Sherwood/ Tualatin TC’s, I can see three optional high capacity routes, as opposed to, apparently, the one MAX route. So, being able to move 7000 Pphpd across the Steel Bridge, is like comparing apples and oranges. And I have never said that the Gresham MAX line wasn’t doing a respectable job.
    There seems to be an implication that inner-city residents close to bus lines are more worthy of “subsidy” than suburban commuters,
    Whaa….? My point is that there is sort of a self fulfilling prophecy around light rail projects.

    Maybe I should have used AMTRAK instead of the 747. Calling a scheduled use of airspace the equivalent of ROW, is a bit of a stretch, I think. At bottom, I don’t agree that a bus using an Interstate Highway should not be considered high capacity transit.

    As to the Rockwood area I would like to know what cheap apartments and rowhouses would be considered, then. It looks more like a poverty zone every time I go through there.

    My thanks to you, Lenny and all the other MAX buffs. You certainly have provided some good points to expose at public meetings.

  59. “Last week, I drove the PSU to Tualatin route, via I-5. It took about twelve minutes. Then the Tualatin to Sherwood leg took several more. Tigard isn’t that far from the Barbur Bv. Transit Center. Express buses could serve all three communities for about one percent of a MAX line’s capital cost.”

    >>>> Express buses would not be good in rush hour. However, buses on their own ROW (busways) would be a far better solution than a MAX line, despite what a lot of the rainfans say.

    The biggest issue though, at this late date, is where one would put HCT of any kind in this corridor.

  60. Of course, a more innovative solution to the 99W problem might be an official policy to discourage people from moving to this area in the first place by doing absolutely nothing.

  61. Rockwood (or parts thereof) has been a slum long before MAX was built; MAX may have made it a slightly more desirable slum, but MAX isn’t the reason for its slumminess. Nor have you demonstrated that TriMet has somehow been encouraging TOB (transit oriented blight) to pad its ridership numbers–if TriMet had anything to do with growth in Rockwood, it’s only because MAX made the parts along the line more desirable.

    The issue isn’t really “exclusive right of way”, the issue is really avoiding interference that results in degradation of service. In the context of airspace, interference can be avoided by allotting specific routes at specific times, though some airports routinely experience delays due to weather, diversions from elsewhere, or excessive general aviation traffic. In the context of surface transit in urban areas, avoiding interference generally requires a separate right of way, with several varying degrees of separate–there are too many potential sources of interference otherwise.

    If anything, the term “capacity” is a bit of a misnomer; what we’re really discussing is high-reliability transit. (And yes, MAX is subject to delays, largely due to the downtown segments, where it is exposed to traffic to a greater extent, even if it needs not share lanes with the general motoring public).

    A bus using rural Interstates for intercity service may qualify, as the availability of rural Interstates is high. A bus using an urban interstate to get commuters from the suburbs to downtown, not so much–such busses can routinely expect delay due to traffic.

  62. As to the Rockwood area I would like to know what cheap apartments and rowhouses would be considered, then. It looks more like a poverty zone every time I go through there.

    Wow. Thanks for judging some of my friends who don’t have the money to pay for a condo in the Pearl. They know they’re not CEO’s, why is it a bad thing they can at least have easy access to transit, and due to it their jobs?

    Next time you order dinner at a restaurant in Portland, please remember your attitude towards the person who may have cooked your dinner.

  63. The capital cost of HCT is the ROW; once you have that why would you operate vehicles (buses) with much higher operation costs? Makes no sense.
    Reliable, or perhaps the better word is predictable service in the peak hours is what counts. That is when the regional transportation system is challenged, not at 2 in the afternoon.
    Hence the need for exclusive ROW which is not cheap, and the logic of service at the lowest cost per ride, hence light rail.
    As far as this region goes, I think this conversation is over and has been for many years.

  64. “The capital cost of HCT is the ROW”…

    Really, Lenny? So the main cost of the Green Line was ROW, despite it having already been set aside decades ago? Not the cost of the rails, stations and construction on (already) owned public streets, or on ODOT ROW?

    Or maybe you were referring to the PMLR…

    So, ROW for that project costs more then the new bridge, or all that track and construction. Not much was paid for to use the UP corridor…

    Or maybe all that ROW that needed to be paid for to build underneath the west hills for the blue line? Who exactly owned all that dirt anyway? And if I remember, boring that tunnel was cheap cheap cheap.

    Or that very expensive ROW in the Banfield corridor and that super expensive land out towards Gresham back in the early 80s? No way that was the major cost when compared to building all that track?

    And, shoot, if the federal government is paying, and the state of Oregon is paying, well, we don’t have to count those capital costs in the final equation, now do we?

    Bus operation costs are not that much higher than rail, anyway. $For FY 09 cost per boarding ride for all bus was $2.75, for MAX, $1.69.

    But hey, why argue about facts when you can believe what you want?

  65. “As far as this region goes, I think this conversation is over and has been for many years.”

    >>>> Lenny, this conversation will NEVER be over. By going for an inflexible, extra transfer-inducing mode of transit that is not well suited for the region, we have squandered untold potential transit ridership.

    “Bus operation costs are not that much higher than rail, anyway. $For FY 09 cost per boarding ride for all bus was $2.75, for MAX, $1.69.”

    >>>> Yeah, and what about all the fare inspectors, security guards and police officers assigned to MAX. I have a feeling that the costs of rail are not anywhere near as low as Trimet says.

  66. Nick: I think it’s a fair assumption that those costs are already included in the per boarding ride for MAX. In the off-chance they aren’t, I can’t imagine they would add very much more than a penny or two. But if you were to, say, include the capital costs of construction, then the cost per boarding ride would be very high indeed. Much much higher than the bus. But Trimet doesn’t include those costs in its calculations….

  67. Well, the South Precinct station in Clackamas TC has FIVE officers assigned just to MAX. And they are adding a whole bunch of additional fare inspectors to MAX, from what I read.

    So, it should be A LOT more than a few cents. Anyway, I don’t trust Trimet to tell the truth when it comes to MAX.

  68. “Bus operation costs are not that much higher than rail, anyway. $For FY 09 cost per boarding ride for all bus was $2.75, for MAX, $1.69.”

    not much higher? just a 63% increase? what I’m seeing right there is that the max is turning a profit and paying back its capital costs, while the bus is losing 75 cents on every rider.

  69. Actually, MAX is not profitable–the average actual (discounted) fare is considerably less than the full-price single-ride fare–many riders use passes, transfer to another vehicle, are children or seniors, or simply evade the fare. If a rider takes the Yellow line downtown, then hops on the Blue out to Beaverton TC, and then the #57 to Aloha, that’s three boarding rides but only one fare. The average number of hops per trip is less than 2, but its greater than 1.

    But it loses far less money than do the busses, on aggregate. (Individual bus lines are profitable, but many are not).

  70. why is there not more emphasis nationwide on speeding up transit service, be it bus or rail? it costs a certain amount of money to operate a vehicle per hour regardless of how many passengers are onboard. the faster the trip is, the more riders that can board per hour. you drastically cut the travel times and you might be able to have say 2 vehicles/operators run a route that otherwise might have needed 6 vehicles/operators while maintaining the exact same headways. and of course the faster it is, the more riders you attract. so by speeding up service, not only do you reduce costs but you also bring in more riders and money that I dont see how many of these routes wouldnt be profitable or at least have very high farebox recovery.

    the seattle center monorail is profitable and when you observe their operation it is very clear why.

  71. Den:

    “not much higher” is said in the context of the overall cost relationship between bus and MAX. That is, while buses do have a higher cost on a per boarding ride basis than MAX, the cost to provide train infrastructure is magnitudes higher, and far, far exceeds the smaller marginal differences in per boarding ride cost. Furthermore, MAX system cannibalizes bus ridership, which in some ways artificially inflates MAX ridership at the expense of bus ridership; this has caused a widening gap in the operating cost difference between the 2 modes. Both system subsidize each and every rider. But when capital costs are taken into account, MAX has a much higher subsidy than the bus system. Fare box revenue has never and will never pay for the capital costs of building the LRT system.

    Engineer Scotty: There are no Trimet bus lines that make money. Zero.

  72. “MAX cannibalizes bus ridership”.

    Here this one all the time–and it contains a rather pernicious assumption: That MAX is purloining riders which “rightfully” belong to the bus system, and that its higher farebox recovery isn’t as much due to greater operating efficiencies, but to higher occupancy–i.e. the “good” bus corridors are replaced with MAX, depressing bus statistics.

    While the bus system’s metrics would look better if the 7000 pphpd crossing the Steel Bridge on MAX each morning and afternoon were doing so on busses instead–TriMet’s financial performance would suffer. You’d need four times the busses (80 per hour across the bridge, rather than 20 trains) to handle the same passenger load; even given that busses are half as expensive to operate per hour, that’s about twice the overall operating expense, give or take. If you have a very dense bus corridor–those are the ones which it is often advantageous to replace or augment with rail. Of course, this does make the “bus system look bad” in that it lowers the aggregate bus metrics; but TriMet’s management understands this, and is more interested in overall performance than in per-mode performance.

    And yes, the capital-vs-operating dichotomy is important. In personal finance, not so much, but it is FAR easier for a public entity to get money to build stuff than to operate it once built.

    Interestingly enough, the reverse is true among publicly-traded corporations, where many popular metrics used by financial analysts to evaluate management effectiveness penalize capital spending. This creates a perverse incentive to perform outsourcing, as services which are outsourced become entirely expense items (the contractor’s fee) on the hiring company’s books, as the necessary capital assets are owned and managed by the contractor. This is true for services which could be more efficiently performed in-house.

  73. Don’t make your assumptions mine.

    What percentage of Green Line riders are new transit riders? Not many. If they were riding transit before the green line, they were on the bus.

    It is a fact that after MAX was put it (basically anywhere) the buses (and it is BUSES) that followed those routes (mainly express) stopped running, and became feeders to the MAX lines.

    I know that it is easier to get money for construction v. operation. The question is: should it be? And it still doesn’t change the overall equation that MAX (and rail) are far more expensive than improving bus service. But the point is that Trimet is bound by rules politics and funding realities that lie outside of its ability to change. But this doesn’t mean it’s smart transportation planning, or the best use of public resources, just the most opportunistic one. Think about that for a moment. This little fact drives much.

  74. Here’s an interesting anti-transit lawsuit: A neighborhood in St. Paul, MN, which is slated for a new LRT line, is suing to stop the line–on the grounds that the line will increase property values, leading to gentrification (and forcing some lower-income residents to move due to higher rents and/or taxes). The suit specifically claims that the EIS didn’t mention this possible impact and thus must be redone. What the plaintiffs seem to want is rent controls and/or property tax freezes on the neighborhood–which the transit authority doesn’t have the authority to give.

    Hat tip to the Overhead Wire, story at the Star-Tribune here.

  75. I don’t see the point in throwing Sherwood into a MAX route. Once you get past King City there is little along the highway until you do get to Sherwood proper.

    I observed that via the Tualatin Sherwood Rd. the travel time between those two points was under ten minutes; there are at least a few sizable buisness parks on that stretch, too. An express bus with park and rides in Sherwood and Tualatin, and then using I-5 for the rest of the route could handle it, I think.

    Apart from the monetary cost factor, express bus routes require much less planning input, although the park and rides and transit centers are certainly not void of needing input from the public, either.

  76. I have a hard time imagining that a Barbur MAX would go all the way to Sherwood, at least for phase 1. (And if MAX is to go to Sherwood, I would route it through Tualatin instead). I’m also surprised that the entire 99W corridor was “green” (high-priority) on the map… an interesting question I have for transit planners, is if some MOUS (minimum operationally-usable segment) were built, say downtown to Tigard–does the rest of the line still enjoy “green” status? Or does it become yellow, like a Milwaukie extension to Oregon City is presently (despite the fact that OC/Portland is a well-used and popular transit corridor?)

    At any rate, the problem with express bus to Sherwood is not the Sherwood-Tualatin stretch; it’s the I-5 stretch. That, and express bus doesn’t help anybody along the line. Again, express bus and mass transit (BRT or LRT) are not interchangeable things–either in cost, or in functionality. They’re only interchangeable if you happen to be someone who intends to continue driving regardless, and simply want the cheapest thing built but don’t care if it works well (or at all) because you’ll never use it.

  77. Again, express bus and mass transit (BRT or LRT) are not interchangeable things–either in cost, or in functionality. They’re only interchangeable if you happen to be someone who intends to continue driving regardless, and simply want the cheapest thing built but don’t care if it works well (or at all) because you’ll never use it.

    Snohomish county express bus article on “Human Transit”
    http://www.humantransit.org/2009/11/north-of-seattle-snohomish-countys-swift-bus-rapid-transit.html

    It’s funny why big, international cities (London, Berlin, Hong Kong, Dublin, Mumbai)keep using them.

  78. I’m glad they’re moving forward with Barbur, I just hope they plan for a longer term extension/branch to get to Tualatin, Bridgeport Village and the Kruse Way area.

    As far as building all the way to Sherwood, there’s only about 2-3 miles of “nothing” left out there, and by the time this is done, more of that will likely have been developed. We don’t need to put stops in any of it, but if this route’s going to Tigard anyway we might as well cover the whole tax paying service area with it.

    That segment should be fairly cheap and easy to build anyway, it’s flat and there’s already a wide median with few crossings. If there’s nothing around, we don’t need to build stations until development happens. It’s probably cheaper and easier to get things in place before it’s all built up.

  79. You misunderstand my position, Ron. I’m not saying don’t use express busses–they serve a useful purpose in a transit system.

    The Snohomish County bus you mention is not an express bus; it’s a limited stop service with signal priority (a lower-end BRT) that runs through a bunch of surburban areas north of Seattle; an equivalent service would be an limited-stop bus running up 99E between Salem and Oregon City; with connections to TriMet at the Oregon City transit center. The distances aren’t the same, and Portland doesn’t have a continuous thirty-mile stretch of sprawl like you can easily find in Seattle, but you get the idea.

    I’m saying–express busses (by which I mean point-to-point busses, usually running in mixed traffic, with stops only at or near the ends of the routes) provides a different type of service than does a mass-transit line (including a BRT). An express bus between Sherwood and downtown is only useful for those trying to get between Sherwood and downtown–if you need to get to or from Burlingame, or Capitol Heights, or Tigard, or Tualatin or King City, it does you no good. A bus which runs on the freeway but gets off to stop in all of these places, probably wouldn’t be much faster than the 12/Barbur, and far less useful. But the 12/Barbur takes an hour or so between Sherwood and downtown; a well-designed rapid transit line (including a segregated BRT) could probably do the trip in under 40 minutes.

  80. There is a bus going through Tualatin via lower Boones Fy Rd. I am not saying they should take this off. But couldn’t a bus that originated in Sherwood, made a few stops at park and rides and then one more in Tualatin before traveling on I-5 to Portland, cover a rather large number of passengers? It takes very little organizing to institute something like this.

    And if a route that picks up only a few passengers in several miles could be substituted with one that picks up a high number in a few spots why not make the change? You will never please everyone. I think Tri Met should evaluate its routes and schedules to make its service more cost effective.

    As far as not caring “whether it works well or not at all” I think you should take a look at the Van Hool double deckers that London and some other cities are placing in service. They are (for a bus) gorgeous and much more comfortable than Tri Met’s. NY and SF did give them trial runs. I have read that Snohomish Co, is using them: In Snohomish County, Washington, Community Transit operates one Alexander Dennis Enviro500 double-decker bus as a demonstrator, which rotates among commuter routes between Snohomish County and Seattle. A fleet of 23 such buses have been purchased for service beginning 2010.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-decker_bus

    Sorry, the articulated bus in the story was not a good example and you are right it goes on the blighted 99. Victoria BC is supposed to have some DD’s on express routes.

    What are the cost estimates for MAX to Sherwood vs MAX just to Tigard? The figures I have from last summer say $2.155 billion for a 14.4 mile line to Sherwood. How lengthy will be the process of planning the route? And, really, there is practically nothing but farmland once you get past King City, so would this change if a MAX line goes in? What about the notion of preserving farmland? On the Tualatin-Sherwood road there is already business park development.

    Well, at least it doesn’t appear likely that they will want a MAX line along Powell to Gresham.

  81. An express bus that routinely stops to pick up passengers, swiftly becomes a non-express bus. If you want to go the bus route, why not simply add more runs of #12? It will make Al happy. :)

    Double-decker busses might be nice (I’ve ridden on quite a few of them in Hong Kong), but the issue of what sort of busses TriMet uses is probably orthogonal. CTran runs some pretty nice hybrids on its Vancouver-Portland run as well. OTOH, how much money should TriMet spend upgrading its bus fleet, rather than adding service?

    I don’t know how much a MAX line to Tigard (or Sherwood) will cost–a lot depends on the route taken. (Do you tunnel under the West Hills? A surface route between I-5 and Barbur?) The stretch between King City and Sherwood actually passes outside the UGB for a little bit; how that affects planning I don’t know.

    Regarding Powell–Metro, I suspect, lacks sufficient bandwidth to do detailed planning on both corridor’s simultaneously. I wouldn’t rule a future Powell transit corridor out, though.

  82. Some interesting (though probably too expensive) ideas for a Barbur LRT line, drawn by transit geeks with photoshop, can be found here.

  83. At any rate, the problem with express bus to Sherwood is not the Sherwood-Tualatin stretch; it’s the I-5 stretch.

    That was route 95, which was canceled after January 12, 2007, for the closure of SW 5th and 6th Ave MAX Green Line construction. My “thanks” to TriMet for this is, as of this writing, available at KAQJ.com.

    The current “express” route, 94, stays on Barbur Blvd. and started in 2001 as a replacement for the 12E runs, as well as added stops at Barbur and Bertha (12E used to run express from downtown Portland to Barbur TC).

    IMO, all that would need to be done to reinstate it would be comfortable buses and more flexible run times, as most of the riders either lived near the route or used Park & Ride lots.

    An express bus between Sherwood and downtown is only useful for those trying to get between Sherwood and downtown…

    I disagree. Express buses enhance local bus service by providing more seats to local passengers needing local service. Not only does the express bus user get a faster (and usually more enjoyable) trip, but users of the local service route also benefit to added capacity and what practically amounts to an increase in service.

  84. I’m glad they’re moving forward with Barbur, I just hope they plan for a longer term extension/branch to get to Tualatin, Bridgeport Village and the Kruse Way area.

    Good call… and I’d add PCC Sylvania to that list as well. Service to/from Tualatin could be possible via a connection at Tigard TC with WES (maybe this could be what it finally takes to boost ridership on this thing).

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