I recently wrote an article for Portland Afoot in which I attempt to tease out some good news from the otherwise depressing TriMet service cuts. Much of it will be familiar to readers of my recent posts here on Portland Transport, but in any case, check out the article here. (Also think about subscribing to Portland Afoot if you haven’t already!)
4 responses to “Portland Afoot: Three Silver Linings in TriMet Cuts”
I especially like the proposed changes for Beaverton; hopefully this will be the tipping point for more comprehensive service for the fast-growning Bethany area.
One of the comments in the article highlighted an inner SE traffic issue that’s gnawed at me for many a year: the frequently blocked railroad crossing at SE 11/12th between Division and Powell. Increased freight/Amtrak traffic plus addition of MLR will only increase stoppages at this bottleneck, and I’m disappointed that a grade-seperated vehicle/bike/ped crossing somewhere between 7th and 11/12th apparently wasn’t considered as a component of the MLR project (yep, it would involve the #70 going a couple blocks out of its way but it’d still be an improvement).
Jim Howell once suggested here A Hosford-Abernathy-Brooklyn (HAB) Railroad Cut, putting it below Powell, Milwaukie and MLK/Grand.
As for an overcrossing, it seems one would be challenging (what about driveways/intersections that are near the tracks and now have a level surface connection?) and expensive. The project budget is very tight.
An overcrossing would be spendy, but so would the railroad cut. Still, I think the idea of putting the rail line below grade has a great deal of merit; unfortunately, with MLR construction set to start in that vicinity in the near future with no apparent allowance for a railroad cut, it seems that ship has sailed.
The more I think about it, a SE 7th overcrossing of Division and the rail corridor would probably be least disruptive option.
Please refer to Portland Afoot’s bus rankings page: http://portlandafoot.org/w/2011_TriMet_bus_rankings#Complete_data_on_every_route
You’ll see that the 70 is pretty much in the middle of the pack in regards to reliability, with 90% headway adherence and 83% on-time performance. It beats a lot of other routes that do not cross railroad tracks or bridges. That tells me the railroad crossing is simply not a big deal. Plenty of buses cross the Hawthorne Bridge and other bridges that have to open, but in the end it’s not a huge deal because these are occasional occurrences and layover time can be built in to make up for lost time.
I would argue that traffic congestion is a much bigger issue for bus service reliability, so I would rather see effort put into getting more buses to use the new transit bridge to avoid arterial congestion. The 4, for example, could cross the tracks to use the new bridge. The savings from avoiding congestion would most likely make up for the occasional delay from freight rail operations.
That said, I think it would be great to do a rail undercrossing, but that would have to be a major partnership between the city and Union Pacific, not a TriMet project.