Open Thread for the Week of 10/20/13

What’s on your mind?

21 responses to “Open Thread for the Week of 10/20/13”

    • I concur! I have made many similar observations (though my perspective comes from Minneapolis). I was alway amazed at the slow zones, the tiny distance between stations in the central areas, the lack of signal priority in Downtown Portland, the very slow conditions on the Steel bridge, and the odd track geometry around Sunset and Gateway stations. It makes travel so slow, and I know it could be faster. As much as I have come to like Portland, I think its reputation for transit and urbanism is grossly overrated. My spouse, on the other paw, who is from this region, says it’s excellent for the West Coast. I hope things continue to improve, but they are going to have to iron out these major wrinkles first. As fun as it is to watch new MAX lines being built, I think I would rather see the next chunk of cash go towards rectifying MAX’s deficiencies. It should not take almost half an hour to go from the Lloyd Center to Goose Hallow. I eventually learned to take the 8 bus instead of MAX because of its speed. “Metro Area Express” indeed! Introducing some express trains for destinations like Gresham or Hillsboro would not be a bad idea either, at least at peak periods.

        • Sean,

          Do a search on the site for a post I made about a year or so ago describing a tunnel alignment which is “doable” geometrically — that’s a real consideration when you realize that the Rose Quarter TC is nearly 100 feet above water level and the river is over twenty-five feet deep in the channel.

          Because it’s necessary to make a looping “belly” to get down deep enough, the alignment takes the opportunity for a station between Union Station and the Pearl District, has a station a short block from the US Bank Tower in an area ripe for redevelopment, one under Pioneer Place, one by the government center, one on the PCC campus and a final one about a block under the hill between Jefferson and 26 West to replace Goose Hollow.

          It would portal on the west end JUST east of the supports for the Vista Avenue Bridge and join the existing trackage just east of the Robertson portal.

          Cheap? Hell, no. But a tunnel that Portland could live and grow with for a hundred years.

          • Oh, I forgot. The curve between the Government Center station and the PCC station would be stacked so that the Orange Line (and dare we hope, the Purple line to Tualatin) could use the tunnel as well.

            That would probably mean that one or the other of the stations bounding the plant would have to be stacked too.

          • An underground tunnel that makes a wide arc from Rose Quarter to the Pearl District would be an excellent catalyst for redeveloping the US Post Office parcel, one of the last great opportunities for dense infill on the Westside after the Conway property is developed. Such a scheme would also serve one of the more transit-starved neighborhoods in this city.

            Don’t laugh. Unless you consider our present streetcar operations to resemble efficient “transit” (and many don’t, including myself), all we have is the 77 bus, along with several lines at the extreme edges of the neighborhood (20, 17, 16). Sure, you can walk to Downtown, but service to the Eastside is marginal beyond the 20.

      • Andrew,

        There’s no opportunity for trains to overtake on the MAX lines. That requires “express tracks” for a significant portion of the route or at a minimum powered CTC-style cross-overs frequently.

    • The article makes a few good points, but he seems to confuse streetcars (a development tool) with LRT with subways and other basic points. When he started talking about not using LRT to build new neighborhoods he should have looked at Orenco, not areas served by a different type of transit.

      He also compares connecting downtown Los Angeles to Long Beach. Long Beach has a population of about 460,000 and density twice as high as Portland. Downtown LA has a workforce population of something like 200,000 people alone, and that doesn’t count the people that use transit to go to Lakers games, Clippers games, Kings games or other events at the LA Live site or elsewhere in the second largest city in the US.

      He did make some good points, but in other ways it was painfully obvious that he’d never used the MAX. I’ve used the LA Metro a bit when I lived in San Diego. I could take a train from SD to downtown LA and transfer, which was better than sitting in traffic for up to four hours to cover 120 miles then try to find parking in Long Beach or Hollywood. It had some upsides, but it also serves an entirely different type of city that doesn’t typically exist.

      How many cities of the size and density of LA have such limited transit options? It would seem that Dallas-Ft Worth or Houston would have been a better comparison than Portland to LA.

    • If we want to stop circling, pricing the street parking higher than garage parking is a simple and highly effective solution. All it takes is political will – and it will make money.

      • An EXCELLENT idea. But businesses will scream “Customers have to be able to stop RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY STORE for next to nothing or they won’t buy!”

    • Finally, something else positive about TriMet service! (The other being the addition of the new Gilligs over the last couple years and hopefully the next few years.) If service is running as it once did, three hour transfers won’t be necessary as there will be less waiting around for service.

      It’s unfortunate the short-lining of the 12-Barbur/Sandy will mean those who use the newer outlying routes (21 and 93) appear to receive no benefit from the service restoration, even though service beyond Parkrose TC and Tigard TC was also cut.

      • Jason,

        Does anybody actually ride east of Parkrose? One side of Sandy is a Union Pacific rail line and the other is pretty much strip development to 122nd. It’s true that it’s fairly low-income, but there are almost no apartments.

        Once one gets past there it’s basically exurbia. It’s not good transit territory.

        • Service between Tigard and Sherwood should not be affected by the extensive delays on 99W during rush hours, which really mess up the 12.

  1. Reza, don’t forget the 15 all the way down 23rd! We need to direct NW parking meter $ to Streetcar to get service down to 12 or even 10 minute frequency.

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