Almost October Open Thread

A long nasty project at work has finally wrapped up; apologies for the extended absense.

  • Tualatin voters passed a public-vote-on-light-rail measure earlier this month.  Unlike a similar recent measure in Tigard, this one only affects LRT and not BRT, and does not require the city to issue pointless statements that it is “opposed” to light rail.  Tualatin’s mayor has indicated that any major capital improvements involving city funds would likely be referred to the voters regardless.
  • A major steering committee meeting tomorrow (9/29) for the Powell/Divison Project, one that is likely to narrow the scope of the project somewhat.  A separate post will cover this.
  • Last week there was a Portland Streetcar derailment, when a switch leading to the garage under I-405 was not properly closed, causing a N/S car to jump the tracks when reaching said switch.   A technical question:  MAX signals are designed to inform operators of the position of upcoming switches, and most (if not all) of the primary operational switches are electronically controlled and integrated into the signalling/dispatch system; a MAX operator will (or should) know if he’s about to be routed onto a siding or into a yard.  Does the PSC signalling infrastructure have the same safeguards?
  • A new hassle for the poor and credit-challenged (or at least those who have cars):  electronic repossession (or remote disabling) of automobiles.

13 responses to “Almost October Open Thread”

  1. It really hit me, lately, just how odd the stop spacing is on the red/blue max lines. From Goose Hollow, through downtown and all the way until Lloyd Center, they stop about every two blocks, making for a very slow but very convenient ride. Then suddenly it goes into turbo mode and the stops are 20 blocks apart until gateway. I think from Hollywood to Lloyd Center might be further than all the stops from Lloyd Center to Goose Hollow put together.

    I know a lot of people have asked about removing stops downtown, but what about adding more stops on the east side? As it is, you really have to walk a long way or transfer to a bus to get anywhere. For example, a stop at Providence Medical Center would probably help a lot of people.

    Admittedly this would be annoying for anyone who just wants to get to Gateway in a hurry… like me for instance.

  2. Oregon GOP gubernatorial candidate Dennis Richardson wants to build an Interstate Highway from Ontario to Coos Bay.

    Without commenting on the Governor’s race (PT being a 501(c)-3 nonprofit and all that), I can think of numerous corridors in Oregon’s hinterlands where a freeway might conceivably make sense (I have far fewer objections to rural highways than I do to bulldozing urban neighborhoods).

    That ain’t one of them. :)

  3. Some grist for the bus/rail mill. TriMet just published its September performance dashboard, and for the month of September, the cost per boarding ride of frequent service bus was only 12 cents more than the cost/BR of MAX ($2.30 vs $2.18). This may be a one-month fluke, as the cost has spread has generally been bigger. Also, ridership may explain much of it–MAX ridership is basically flat, year-on-year, but bus ridership is up over 10% from last September.

    • I thought Chicago had their electronic fare system all done and in service, so I’m a little surprised that they’re just now handing out the contract. Also, I don’t really see the need for an app if a phone can emulate a contact-less credit card and those are accepted as payment/can be used as fare cards. Moreover, I don’t see how a display-only option would work with the turnstiles that they (and Los Angeles) have on their rail systems.

  4. TriMet now has an updated proposal for bus service changes in SE to accommodate PMLR; changes from the previous proposal:

    * Line 33 and 31 to become a single route, connecting Oregon City to Clackamas TC
    * Line 99 to use Macadam instead of Corbett
    * Increased service on Line 19.

    My main gripe is that 3 lines (70, 152, and 75) still will be ending at Milwaukie TC, and need a 5-block walk to connect to MAX in Milwaukie. Since 70 and 75 enter Milwaukie from the north, this is less of a problem for these two; it is an issue for the 152. However, the proposed interline of 31 and 33 eliminates this problem for the 31 (which ended at Milwaukie TC in the first proposal).

    • That said, it appears that 31 riders who want to get on MAX will need to do so at the Park Avenue station; the 31/33 won’t serve the Milwaukie station.

  5. Two news items from TriMet:
    * TriMet’s board has ratified the proposed labor contract negotiated with ATU 757. The union membership will vote on the contract by Friday; if approved by the union, it goes into effect immediately. Terms can be viewed at the preceding link.
    * The first “Type 5” MAX train has arrived at Ruby Junction. These new trains are based on the Siemens S70 platform (similar to the Type 4) and come in permanently-coupled pairs; but have redesigned interiors. The trains were purchased as part of the PMLR project and more units will arrive in the next six months; they require a burn-in period before being placed into service. It is unclear if any will go into service prior to the Orange Line opening.

    Of course, I still like this idea better. :P

    • I saw this first trainset sitting on a trailer in Madras, OR a few weeks ago. Any idea why it would be routed through Madras?

      • It’s coming up from CA, and if it’s being hauled by BNSF rather than UP, it would be routed along the Oregon Trunk line through Madras.

        Either that, or TriMet has plans to extend the Blue Line over Mt. Hood. (“This is Government camp. Doors to my left. Next stop, Timberline Lodge…”)

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