Getting Ready for the Orange Line

TriMet is beginning to look at how it will adjust bus service in the Milwaukie/Oregon City corridor in conjunction with the opening of the Orange Line in 2015.

You can see the proposal and weigh in here.

I’m not intimately familiar with the corridor, but the major impact seems to be the truncation of the 33 at Milwaukie with some offsetting increases in frequency on connecting lines. Hopefully some readers who know the corridor better than I do can opine on the impacts.

Several lines that currently use the Ross Island Bridge would switch to the new Tilikum Crossing.


30 Responses to Getting Ready for the Orange Line

  1. John Sporseen
    June 29, 2014 at 6:48 pm Link

    I was under the impression that Line 19, which also uses the Ross Island Bridge, was also a candidate for the Tilikum Bridge.

    • Juke
      June 29, 2014 at 11:56 pm Link

      It was originally. They appear to have changed their minds.

    • Reza
      June 30, 2014 at 1:44 pm Link

      I’m guessing it’s so that NCNM and that immediate neighborhood retains some access to the Eastside via Ross Island Bridge.

  2. R A Fontes
    June 30, 2014 at 7:11 am Link

    The continuation of the 99 between OC and Portland was a welcome surprise and change from the original plans in project documents. The idea of having it use the new Sellwood Bridge and Corbett instead of Macadam/Mooney is real outside-the-box thinking. Even if the new routing takes longer than the old, ridership just might grow enough to justify all day service.

    • Chris I
      June 30, 2014 at 2:07 pm Link

      Particularly with the service reductions on the 43 bus. Although, it would be nice to get some weekend service on Corbett. Neither route would run on weekends.

      • Jason McHuff
        July 1, 2014 at 9:56 pm Link

        Can you walk to Macadam (south of where Corbett crosses I-5) of Barbur (north of there?

        To me, the only reason there is service on Corbett is because it’s the former streetcar route.

  3. Vinny
    June 30, 2014 at 9:32 am Link

    Most of these changes look pretty good and nothing really unexpected outside keeping the 99 through to downtown. The bus-MAX transfers at the Milwaukie Station are silly, does TriMet really expect riders to hike 1/4 mile for the transfer? While a lot of money rebuilding the Jackson stop a couple years ago but that’s not a good reason to not continue bus service to the MAX station.

    • SEAN
      June 30, 2014 at 4:55 pm Link

      Are there obsticles that prevent busses from getting closer to the Main Street Station such as street layout or scheduling? Curious.

      • Vinny
        July 1, 2014 at 9:03 am Link

        The SE 21st & Jackson stop is the end of the line for the 75 and layover for the driver. The street routing around the Milwaukie MAX station might be the problem. Are they closing Adams Street? Even if they aren’t I’m not sure a bus could make the right turn. So a bus going all the way to the MAX station would have to circle around the high school to get back to the layover stop. That’s a lot of extra time on the route. Alternately, they could put in a drop-off stop at the corner of SE 21st & Washington which is only a 400 foot trek to the MAX. That’s also an easy return for the 75 to the layover, just four blocks and four right hand turns through the grid streets.

        • Jason McHuff
          July 1, 2014 at 10:00 pm Link

          Really, there should be a MAX station at Harrison, so one doesn’t need to travel to the south end of downtown and back north.

      • Cameron Johnson
        July 1, 2014 at 8:18 pm Link

        The big thing definitely is transfers. For those who want to transfer from MAX to buses like the 29 or 31, relatively busy lines that run infrequently (every 70 and 35 minutes respectively) the extra 5-10 minutes the walk adds to a commute could lead to a lot of missed transfers with catastrophic waits.

        • Bob Richardson
          July 1, 2014 at 10:01 pm Link

          The 29 has a stop at SE Washington & 21st, about 200ft or so from the new MAX platform. Not terrific, but no worse than some other popular transfers (MAX at 10th to Streetcar on 11th is 1.5X to 2X as far, due to platform locations), MAX Blue/Red/Green to Yellow at Rose Quarter is further.

          Line 31 currently uses that same stop as well, but will not be going that far under the proposed changes, which is really discouraging. Imagine a transfer in downtown Portland where you had to walk from Naito to 5th, not exactly predictable or pleasurable.

          While I’m happy to see the long-neglected 34 get a service boost (I’m old enough to remember when it ran all the way to the transit mall but was truncated to be a “feeder” bus to the 33, years before MAX), it has the same poor transfers proposed as the 31. The new 28/34 could theoretically skip the River Rd. / 22nd Ave. couplet portion and instead divert on Park Ave. to the new MAX/33/Park & Ride, but I’d be curious to know how many riders would be impacted by losing direct River Rd. service vs. gaining better transfers.

          Why can’t the 28/34 and even the 33 enter downtown Milwuakie on Washington instead of Monroe? This would put a stop within a block of the Main St. MAX station. Do local businesses object to more buses running on Main and/or 21st?

  4. 3E
    July 1, 2014 at 2:08 pm Link

    The map is a nice touch. Is the protected bus corridor going to continue past SE 8th? The map makes it look like the 9 will turn to/from Milwaukie/11th/12th.

    Always surprised how little is being said about this bus corridor, as it arguably is as huge as the new MAX line.

    (Also surprised at how few buses will use said corridor.)

  5. Bob Richardson
    July 1, 2014 at 2:25 pm Link

    It’s disappointing that the #4 can’t take advantage of the new bus corridor.

    For those unfamiliar with the specifics, a very active 2-track freight line splits the area between Powell and Division, which can lead to significant delays for vehicles trying to cross the tracks. Division is on the “wrong side” of this to reach the new bridge without affecting already-shaky schedule reliability.

    However, looking at the topology of the area, there may be a straightforward (but not cheap) solution: Turning north on SE 9th from Division goes up a slope. From there, turning west on SE Caruthers goes back down the slope to a dead-end. A structure could be built starting at about 9th/Caruthers with moderate grades to go across both Division and the railroad tracks. It might be able to be built as a single-lane structure with signals, allowing only one bus at a time and in one direction, to minimize cost and disruption, with priority to the peak direction. It would also make a useful access for emergency vehicles.

    Currently, there are primarily commercial buildings in that area, so the increase in bus traffic on what once were side streets should be minimally disruptive. There are however, two residential rental houses right along Caruthers which would be in the shadow of a new elevated busway.

    Google map of area:

    • dan w
      July 1, 2014 at 4:43 pm Link

      Well said, Bob. I’ve long thought the lack of a grade-separated crossing in that vicinity is a major headache for commuters (to say nothing about emergency vehicles). Another possiblity is a north-south overpass that extends SE 7th over Division and the tracks, with SE Grant or another east-west street offering easy connections between 7th and Division. The #70 bus could even transfer its route to SE 7th for this short stretch in order to avoid the at-grade rail crossing at 11/12th (turning 11/12th into a grade-separated crossing wouldn’t be worth the astronomical disruption and expense).

      And yes, a gold star goes to whoever proposed the #99 extension over Sellwood Bridge into downtown. Love this.

  6. Reza
    July 1, 2014 at 5:16 pm Link

    I’ve always found it odd how there is no direct-to-downtown service from Sellwood at Tacoma. Line 19 got closest but turns east on Bybee towards Reed College. Sure, PMLR will help but you still need to walk the ~1/2 mile to the station from the center of Sellwood, and it won’t be the most pleasant experience at the OR 99E interchange.

    Line 99’s new route has merit even as a non-express and should be considered for 7-day regular service in the future.

    • Jason McHuff
      July 1, 2014 at 10:06 pm Link

      There used to be before the Sellwood Bridge was closed to buses. Then they tried a shuttle, but I don’t think it had enough ridership to continue.

  7. Cameron Johnson
    July 1, 2014 at 8:16 pm Link

    I remember for the past 10 years or so TriMet has promised two things to happen ASAP. The 31 would run frequent service and when the bridge was fixed the 40 Tacoma would be restored in full service. Therefore I’m a little less than impressed that the 31 won’t even connect to the MAX without a ten minute walk and will not be remotely upgraded, and Tacoma is only getting rush hour express service instead of the full line back.

    But I do like the 28 finally providing service to Johnson Creek.

  8. R Whitaker
    July 1, 2014 at 9:48 pm Link

    I guess they better change the name on the 99 then cause it won’t be the Mcloughlin Express anymore. It’s going from and express but to a local bus. Hard to believe any current 99 riders are going to like that.

    And what’s with the walk? Is that actually true? People will have to walk a fair distance to get to the light rail? How stupid is that?

    • dan w
      July 3, 2014 at 12:14 pm Link

      I’m assuming the 99 will remain an express route. According to the verbiage from the TriMet link in the thread header: “New route into Downtown Portland via Sellwood Bridge with limited [emphasis mine] stops on Tacoma Street, Macadam Boulevard and Corbett Street.” I imagine the portion that remains on McLoughlin will keep limited stops as well.

      Don’t know what to say about having to walk a decent distance between buses and MAX in downtown Milwaukie, however. For some reason I was under the impression Milwaukie was getting a bona fide transit center. Guess I was wrong.

  9. Anandakos
    July 5, 2014 at 2:42 pm Link

    The 32 should deviate from Oatfield over to the Park Street Station then return for the rest of the run to downtown Milwaukie, Riders on the 28 and 34 can change at Tacoma Street and avoid the long walk to the MAX station. True, folks have to stay on the bus longer and might miss a given train, but the same concern is true for the walk.

    The 31 should continue to the MAX station for its layover. No, it’s not as nice a place as the park, but nobody should be forced to make that five block walk.

    • Anandakos
      July 5, 2014 at 2:51 pm Link

      I’m wrong about the 32; it will pass the Milwaukie MAX station on its way to the Milwaukie TC, so that’s perfectly adequate.

  10. maccoinnich
    July 6, 2014 at 2:15 pm Link

    The proposed service map shows the 9 and 17 taking the same route as the streetcar between the Tillikum Crossing and the Transit Mall. Surely that can’t be right? I would assume they’ll be using the Harbor Structure.

    It’s great that they’ll be reintroducing service over the Sellwood Bridge once it opens, but it really needs to be all day, 7 day a week service.

  11. Lenny Anderson
    July 7, 2014 at 2:44 pm Link

    Is there a more detailed map of Downtown Milwaukie somewhere in the report? Can’t tell much from the map provided. Also, it does look like the 9 & 17 are not on the Harbor Structure. A typo? or?

    • Dave Hogan
      July 9, 2014 at 12:35 am Link

      I could be totally wrong, but I think the plan is for buses to merge with the streetcar through Riverplace to the Transit Mall.

      • maccoinnich
        July 9, 2014 at 1:06 am Link

        Is that a change in plan? I could have sworn I read that buses were going to use the Harbor Structure? They’ve clearly designed it to allow this. Even if the Orange line has 8 trains per hour, that’s still only 1 every 7.5 minutes. I would assume the structure is capable of handling more than that.

    • Jeff F
      July 10, 2014 at 1:51 pm Link

      The proposal is to run the 9 and the 17 up the Harbor Structure to 4th Avenue. Thanks to the sharp eyes here (Lenny!) for catching that.

  12. Lenny Anderson
    July 11, 2014 at 7:58 am Link

    Jeff, glad it was a typo! Any help for my understanding how things will work in downtown Milwaukie? A blow up of that portion of the map will do!

    • Jeff F
      July 14, 2014 at 9:39 am Link

      Lenny, I’ll see what I can find out. This is usually a question of tracking down the right person to ask, which can take awhile.

  13. EngineerScotty
    July 15, 2014 at 11:32 am Link

    TriMet to host open houses on the topic of this thread.

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