Rethinking transit on the west side

 

No, this is not a post about the Southwest Corridor project, though that is certainly a relevant topic here.  Instead, it’s an update on the Service Enhancement Plans covering the west side of town, both the Westside SEP (covering Beaverton, Aloha, Hillsboro, Cornelius, Forest Grove, Cedar Mill, Cedar Hills, and Bethany), and the Southwest SEP (covering SW Portland, Tigard, Durham, King City, Tualatin, Sherwood, Lake Oswego, and West Linn).  TriMet published the Westside plan last year, and Portland Transport examined it then.  Now, TriMet has published a draft vision for the Southwest region, and is seeking public comment.  While the Southwest SEP draft anticipates somewhat the Southwest Corridor project, it doesn’t include it.  Oh, and the SW map also drops a few more hints (and contains a few revisions) of plans for the Westside.

The obvious caveat:  This is a vision document, not something for which there (necessarily) exists funding to pay for.  Both plans include substantial increases in service hours–and there are many things in these documents that have long been on TriMet’s published wishlist, but never delivered by the agency.

This article will focus a bit more on the Southwest changes, but highlights of the Westside plan are also included–especially where it appears things have changed.

Summary of proposed changes

  • As noted, the SWC project is not included, but a few other HCT-related proposals are made.  WES is unchanged, but the Westside plan includes some sort of BRT to replace augment the 57/TV Highway, and the potential reversal of the Red and Blue lines on the westside (with the Red running from PDX to Hillsboro, and the Blue from Beaverton to Gresham).  Oh, and there’s an “Amberglen High Capacity Transit” mentioned–Hillsboro has been angling for a streetcar, it seems.
  • The following lines are proposed for frequent service upgrades:  48,47 (with extension to S Hillsboro rather than to downtown Hillsboro, via a proposed new bridge over Rock Creek Park linking 231st with Century Drive), 52, 54 (without 56 multiplex), 76 (without 78 multiplex), 35, and 44 from Portland to PCC Sylvania.  (No mention is made of the Mocks Crest leg of the 44).
  • A new Jenkins/Baseline route between Beaverton and Hillsboro.
  • The 46 would run between Intel’s Jones Farm campus and S. Hillsboro
  • Reconfiguration of the 59 to run between Beaverton TC and Amberglen/Tanasbourne, no longer serving Cedar Hills or Sunset TC.
  • Extension of the 88 to serve Amberglen and Shute Road; also it will be rerouted along SW Davies instead of SW Hart between Beaverton and Aloha.
  • Extension of the 67 to Tigard via Merlo, 170th, Hart, 155th, Weir, Murray, and Walnut.
  • Extension of the 56 to South Cooper Mountain along Scholls Ferry Road, and extending it north to Skyline and the Oregon Zoo instead of the current 54 multiplex.
  • A new routing of the 78 between Beaverton and Tigard, using Scholls Ferry, Allen, and Lombard.  The 78 will also serve the Mountain Park neighborhood on the west side of Mt. Sylvania.
  • The 38 will run straight down Boones Ferry and skip Mountain Park. After serving Kruse Way, it will then continue west through Tigard via Bonita, McDonald, and Gaarde, ending in the South Cooper Mountain/Progress Ridge area; it will remain a peak hour only route.
  • A new routing of the 1 from Vermont to Oleson Road and Washington Square.
  • The 92 will use Multnomah Boulevard rather than Scholls Ferry and Beaverton-Hillsdale.
  • A new routing of the 45 west of Garden Home, going to Beaverton via Garden Home/Denny/Gall rather than to Washington Square and Tigard TC
  • Combination of the 39 and 51, giving a continuous line from Lewis and Clark to Portland Heights and across the Vista Bridge, the combined line will have all-day service.   (The branch around Council Crest will still exist and only run peak-only).
  • Rerouting of the 55, also over Vista Bridge and downtown instead of to Hillsdale.  (This will still be a peak-hour bus).
  • The 43 is proposed to connect Washington Square to Tacoma Street Station and the Orange Line via the rebuilt Sellwood Bridge, rather than run downtown via Corbett.  (The draft map does not indicate any service on Corbett, but Orange Line/Southeast planning has indicated the 99 may be routed that way in the future).
  • The 37 will run from Lake Oswego to Tigard via Kruse Way and Bonita, rather than down Boones Ferry to Tualatin.
  • A new route running from Sherwood to Tualatin, then north to BridgePort Village, the Tigard Triangle, up to 99W, then southwest to Tigard TC.
  • A new route connecting King City to Meridian Park Hospital via Durham Road.
  • A new route connecting Tigard TC to Commerce Circle via 99W and SW 124th (including a planned segment of 124th south of Tualatin/Sherwood Road)
  • The 154 will connect the Willamette neighborhood to Lake Oswego rather than Oregon City.
  • “Community service connectors” (which appear to be small shuttles operated by entities other than TriMet, with more flexible routings) serving the industrial areas and low-density residential parts of Tualatin; another serving Bull Mountain, another serving the sparser, hillier parts of Bethany, and others serving the industrial parks in north Hillsboro.
  • A “community service connector” serving the I-205/Borland corridor between Tualatin and Oregon City.

Thoughts

A few thoughts on all of this.  Overall, these proposals represent significant improvement over current service.  Some things I would like to see TriMet provide:

  • Updated planning information for the Westside SEP.  The SW SEP document contains modifications to Westside planning; it would be nice to see these fleshed out a bit more fully.
  • A priority stacking of proposed changes, under different funding scenarios.  It’s unclear what is necessary to get to the levels of service TriMet is suggesting, or if this is even practical.  It also would be interesting to see what other routes/changes didn’t make the cut.
  • A few years ago, TriMet published an annual “Transit Improvement Plan” which contained much of this; they haven’t produced on for the past couple fiscal years.  Instead, TIP now seems to stand for “Transit Improvement Priorities“, a work product which while interesting, has far less meat and far less concrete detail.  It may be the case that the SEP planning takes over for the old TIP process.

And now, for some specific comments.  Most of these comments will cover the Southwest region, as we covered the Westside before; but some Westside-related comments will sneak through.

  • Many of the proposed changes do attempt to strengthen the grid–no mean feat in a region where the street grid is frequently disconnected, by highways, hills, and the Tualatin River.
  • Some of the proposed changes do depend on new street construction–the 124th Avenue line, and the 47 rerouting to South Hillsboro.
  • The city of Beaverton recently published a Draft Concept Plan for the South Cooper Mountain area which includes improvements to the street network over Cooper Mountain; such improvements are intended to make Cooper Mountain passable to transit vehicles (right now most of the streets leading over the hill are too steep or narrow for a bus to safely navigate).  A bus line between Sherwood and Beaverton/Hillsboro via Roy Rogers Road and either 175th/185th or Tile Flat and Grabhorn would be a welcome addition.
  • Extending the 48 into downtown Portland over Barnes Road, replacing the 20 in this stretch, seems like an obvious thing to do; some other bus line would then need to serve Cedar Hills Boulevard.
  • An increase in the number of crosstown bus lines between Tigard and Beaverton is welcome.  I’d consider the following instead.
    • Run the 62 down Murray, serve Progress Ridge, and then Walnut Street to Tigard TC; instead of up Scholls Ferry to Washington Square.  Or extend the 37 west on Walnut to Progress Ridge and South Cooper Mountain.
    • Instead, extend the 67 down 170th/Bany/Hart/155th to Beard/Brockman, east to 125th, south to Conestoga, and over to Washington Square.  Or, from Conestoga route it south on 121st to Gaarde to 99W to King City, and join it with the proposed “Route B” to Bridgeport and Tualatin.
    • Extend the 1 further down Scholls Ferry to South Cooper Mountain, and route the 92 there as well.  (In general, express lines should augment existing service; this change gives the Conestoga neighborhood, which currently only has the peak-hour 92, full-time bus service, and avoids duplication with the 62).
  • I really like the 43 crossing the Sellwood Bridge to the eastside.  I’d like it even better were it a line serving Beaverton TC rather than Washington Square, if for no other reason than the greater number of connections possible there.
  • “Community service connecters” are a good idea for serving low-density neighborhoods or business parks.  They are not a good idea in a linear corridor–the proposed route between Tualatin and Oregon City should be a regular bus line, not a shuttle or van.
  • I’ve beaten this drum many times before, but I’ll say it again:  At some point, the 76 needs to be BRT–both to backstop WES (so riders need not worry about missing the last train of the day), and because the Tualatin/Beaverton corridor is important in its own right.  If the SWC is built as BRT, this only intensifies the need.  And given that BRT is in the cards (some day) for TV Highway, joining the two services might even be possible.
  • And there would be many advantages to commuters in both places were TriMet to operate a bus to Wilsonville, in addition to (or instead of) the various services SMART run in TriMet territory.

Thoughts?  TriMet is accepting public feedback through the end of October 2014.

32 Comments

32 Responses to Rethinking transit on the west side

  1. EngineerScotty
    October 8, 2014 at 5:22 pm Link

    TriMet makes a presentation to the Beaverton City Council:

    * Oregonian story
    * Slide show

  2. Anandakos
    October 8, 2014 at 6:37 pm Link

    Scotty,

    How you gonna make 76 BRT? There are no arterials with adequate and reliable capacity. Put the 76 on a stop diet? Sure, why not. Probably 70% of its stops south of Tigard get used twice a day. Tigard alreadyy said “NO BRT!” (yes, I know; at a small turnout special election). But the “No’s” will claim a mandate if the City Council tries to ignore it.

    Yeah! It’s a good idea, but where?

    • EngineerScotty
      October 8, 2014 at 11:30 pm Link

      We did an article on a BRT line in that corridor about three years ago; that article predates much of the SWC planning.

      If the SWC is built (right now, two of the participating cities have had referenda that can be construed as objecting to the project, even if in a special election with low turnout; and funding for the project is a long ways out), and if it is BRT, then half the line is built for you; I would imagine that the 76 (or a BRT that replaces/augments it) would run on the BRT line between Tigard and Tualatin. There’s not much need for service on Hall Boulevard south of Tigard TC, after all–it passes mostly through low-density housing (Tigard HS is a potentially important destination).

      North of Washington Square, Hall Boulevard is wide enough over much of its length that adding bus lanes, or at least bus amenities like queue jump lanes, could be done reasonably easily.

      The remaining trouble spots would be Greenburg Road between Tigard TC and Washington Square, and the Hall Boulevard crossing of 217 (which is frequently packed with traffic, a factor that impacts reliability of the 76).

      Of course, if SWT is MAX, there would be pressure instead to build a Tigard-Beaverton MAX line. That I would see running alongside 217, not down Hall, and wouldn’t be a replacement for the 76.

      • Anandakos
        October 9, 2014 at 10:23 am Link

        Thanks for the link, Scotty. I remember that excellent post, now. But it doesn’t answer the question “where” meaning “this street from X to Y and that street from Y to Z”. Yes, it talks about the “Hall/Boones Ferry corridor” but doesn’t answer the question of how to make it BRT, except between Beaverton TC and Washington Square. There is adequate road space there for exclusive lanes, but you’re going to run into a buzz saw proposing reservations anywhere southeast of Washington Square.

        The truth is that there is simply not enough road capacity now for the current traffic between Washington Square and Tualatin and crossing the freeway at Greenburg will be uh, shall we say “tedious”, so to provide BRT will mean building new lanes and possibily some entirely new roadways for the buses. Given the politics of Tigard and Tualatin that seems unlikely.

        But I guess we can hope for a change of heart on that account.

  3. John Sporseen
    October 8, 2014 at 9:12 pm Link

    I use 48 to the Sunset Transit Center usually to connect with MAX. Occasionally I need to transfer to 20 but the scheduling usually causes a 20 to 30 minute wait. I realize TriMet is not going to change a schedule just for me but the idea of 48 going downtown really appeals to me. Not having 20 on CHB would be a problem that would have to be solved. Possibly a shuttle every 30 minutes between the STC and the BTC might solve the problem. I’ll bet it would result in better on time performances for all lines involved.

    • Jack G.
      October 8, 2014 at 9:45 pm Link

      I think that as more growth happens in the area North of 26 (Cedar Mill, Bethany area) a possible line could run from PCC Rock Creek to Beaverton TC via Bethany Village, Cedar Mill, and Cedar Hills Blvd. That would somewhat replace the 20’s route on the west side, as well as fill the suprising gap between PCC and Bethany, to Cedar Mill/Cedar Hills area.

      • EngineerScotty
        October 8, 2014 at 11:20 pm Link

        Bethany is an interesting area. There’s actually a lot of transit friendly development close to Cornell, and some good transit destinations at Bethany Town Center, the proposed North Bethany development (if it is built out as planned), and of course, PCC Rock Creek. And a few apartments here and there along West Union.

        But in between all that is a whole lot of sprawl, including a golfing community. Oh, and there are plenty of barriers to mobility: US26 itself, the West Hills, and (for motorized vehicles, including buses), the powerline park.

        I was a bit surprised by TriMet re-routing the 47 up to PCC via 174th and Laidlaw–much of that route is already served by the 67, and there’s not much on 174th.

        A connection between PCC and Beaverton TC does make some since, though–perhaps Cedar Hills to Cornell to Salzman to Thompson to West Union to 185th to PCC. The 67 used to connect BTC with PCC, before it was truncated to end at Merlo. There may also be opportunity to do something else with the northern end of the 62–such as routing it down Science Park, north up 143rd/Kaizer, possibly to PCC.

        (And I still wouldn’t mind seeing a line over Lovejoy/Cornell past the bird sanctuary, just to get another route between Portland and Washington County, even though it would pass through a whole lot of nothing…)

        • Jack G.
          October 9, 2014 at 8:12 am Link

          Based on the map in the Southwest SEP, it looks like the 62 does not connect to the Milikan MAX stop anymore. If that is the case, I wouldn’t want to cut the connection to MAX at Sunset TC.

          • EngineerScotty
            October 9, 2014 at 10:51 am Link

            Good catch. If and when a new Jenkins/Baseline route is in operation, the 62 jog over to Cedar Hills Crossing probably becomes unnecessary. But I would hope that the 62 would at least deviate off of Murray enough to serve Millikan Way (and possibly the Tek campus).

    • dan w
      October 9, 2014 at 12:07 pm Link

      Not having 20 on CHB would be a problem that would have to be solved. Possibly a shuttle every 30 minutes between the STC and the BTC might solve the problem.

      Extending the 76 and/or 78 northward from BTC would probably alleviate this problem.

      Anyway, as a westside resident, I’m jazzed about this proposal. I’ll be back to comment further when I’ve had a chance to read it in its entirety.

    • John Sporseen
      November 29, 2014 at 9:13 am Link

      Back to shortening 20 and lengthening 48 as well as my thought about a short route between BTC and STC.

      I am of the opinion that the longest routes have the poorest on time performance. A spreadsheet listing routes from longest to shortest along with their on time performance would be interesting.

      Shortening 20 to 23rd where it goes half the time anyway during the middle of the day might help its otp. I suppose this might be offset by bringing 48 down Burnside, south on 5th to Main or Jefferson and back on 6th to Burnside.

      I don’t know if this would have a detrimental effect on an already congested transit mall but I do know that there would be 24 stops on Burnside where transfers between 20 and 48 could take place.

      As far as Cedar Hills is concerned, the present schedule for 20 now allows from 11 to 16 minutes between the Sunset TC bad Beaverton TC. Two buses and drivers could handle this although I know very little about the union contract rules.

      The idea of extending 76 to the Sunset TC sounds okay except for the fact that it makes an already long line longer.

      Again, I would love to see a list of bus lines according to length along with their on tome performance.

  4. Jack G.
    October 8, 2014 at 9:27 pm Link

    Scotty,

    From the map, it looks like the new ‘C’ line will terminate at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility rather than Commerce Circle. It would not surprise me if it was changed to include Commerce Circle, as I think connecting that to King City and Tigard TC would be a good idea.

    Also, I completely agree that the I-205 corridor should be a regular bus line. Having that southern-most connection between Washington and Clackamas counties would be a really good idea. Even with limited stops like downtown Tualatin (with WES connection), Meridian Park, then follow Borland to Stafford Rd. then 205 to West Linn and across to the Oregon City TC.

    Finally, I find it strange that they don’t include the SWC information in this. Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I wonder if this is a sign that the planners are going with some sort of ‘enhanced bus’ — BRT(ish) design. Something where local service could benefit from the improvements, particularly from the Barbur TC into Downtown, but would not include a full set of BRT improvements (Level boarding, off board payment, special vehicles, etc.)

  5. Erik H.
    October 14, 2014 at 9:05 pm Link

    1. Why must any bus enhancement be “BRT”? The 76 doesn’t need to be BRT, it just needs incremental enhancements – articulated buses, 15 minute headways, and traffic signal priority. That is not BRT.

    2. Nearly all of the Tigard service enhancements come from lengthening bus routes. We all know that long bus routes (cough, 12 Barbur/Sandy, cough) are inherently unreliable. Many of these long routes also go over hills which mean poor service in inclement weather. What’s wrong with shorter local routes that connect to a hub (Tigard TC)?

    3. Tualatin-Oregon City just needs to be an express bus. Not “BRT” or anything else. Seriously, buy a MCI D4500 or other commuter style bus, not a transit bus designed for stop-and-go 20 MPH service – but one designed for the freeway. Start it at the Tualatin P&R, end it at the Oregon City TC, non-stop. That’s it. Nothing more. Why must something so incredibly simple, have to become so insanely complex? What is with TriMet’s avoidance of express routes?

    4. TriMet is once again completely avoiding the 12/93 debacle.

    • Adron @ Transit Sleuth
      October 15, 2014 at 12:01 am Link

      I’m going to bite, even though I think you’re asking rhetorical questions that you probably don’t actually expect answers to, or already have an assumed answer to.

      1. Because BRT would be a dramatic improvement that could be enhanced at a funded more easily with federal funds while maintaining a moderate increase in operational cost to Trimet.
      2. Transfers.
      3. Express buses are notoriously some of the most expensive buses to operate. The idea in the Portland metro isn’t to get people to travel farther and use more energy, but to enable and encourage walkable environments and shorter commutes.

      Now my turn to ask a question. What’s the 12/93 debacle? Is that the date or is that two bus lines that you’re referring to?

      • Ron Swaren
        October 19, 2014 at 6:43 pm Link

        Adron: “The idea in the Portland metro isn’t to get people to travel farther and use more energy, but to enable and encourage walkable environments and shorter commutes.”

        But what is happening is that people are being priced out of those “walkable” neighborhoods. However, our ‘urbanist’ wizards assure us that it’s all part of nature’s plan. So, son, if you can’t afford a home built by a large corporation ‘guess you’re not fit to work in an urban center?

        • EngineerScotty
          October 19, 2014 at 10:58 pm Link

          There’s two good solutions to that problem:

          1) Make it so more people can live in existing walkable neighborhoods
          2) Make more walkable neighborhoods.

          (And there’s a bad solution: Make the neighborhood no longer desirable; then it will be cheap to live in).

          Both of those involve increasing density and/or changing land use. Outside of the city center, attempts to do either often face fierce resistance from established residents, who for various reasons, like the neighborhood the way it is.

          This is a big reason that planners seem intent on building walkable neighborhoods out in the ‘burbs, on greenfields or brownfields where there are no NIMBYs to oppose the deveopment–even though many of these places have poor transportation infrastructure, and/or are not located close to established region-wide amenities (employment centers, cultural attractions, universities, etc). In some cases, such things develop into functioning communities–with a critical mass of residential and retail/service in an area that many trips that would require a car elsewhere can be done on foot. In other cases, you have dense developments with half the units (and all the retail storefronts) standing empty. Bootstrapping this sort of neighborhood is a hard problem to solve.

          So, son, if you can’t afford a home built by a large corporation ‘guess you’re not fit to work in an urban center?

          I still have no idea how you plan to solve this problem (assuming it is a problem): Ban developers from buying land–only owner-occupiers may build on vacant lots? Simply changing the zoning laws so that only single-family homes can be built won’t get the developers out of the business; as long as a place is desirable, homebuilders will be buying up land and throwing up housing, whether it’s McMansions or micro-apartments.

        • Anandakos
          November 28, 2014 at 9:32 pm Link

          Ron, your heart is certainly in the right place concerning affordability. Unfortunately, you’re ignoring the undeniable fact that what you call “corporate housing” is a LOT cheaper than stick built small contractor houses. A lot.

    • EngineerScotty
      October 15, 2014 at 8:34 am Link

      The 76 probably doesn’t need “full on BRT” everywhere. The (potential) bottlenecks that would need addressing are the Washington Square area, the Hall/Allen intersection, and perhaps through downtown Beaverton.

      Of course, BRT is not a binary thing. Some people do consider a combination of articulate buses, frequent service, and TSP to be BRT, or close to it. (Add sensible fare collection and reasonable stop spacing–800m or further on average–and that IS low-end BRT, according to most transit authorities).

  6. Adron @ Transit Sleuth
    October 15, 2014 at 12:24 am Link

    The things I’d like to see the most are…

    The #76/78 be bumped to BRT along with the #57 with solid high frequency tie ins to the MAX at Beaverton TC – which of course I’d assume would happen. Also, not halfway BRT but full on proper BRT that isn’t interrupted by auto disruptions or such. Put some bollards up and let’s get serious about having transit be reliable and uninterrupted by incessant and unreliable automobile related delays.

    The #43 change to go across and connect to the Orange Line I’m a huge fan of – it would connect a few points that I have business in.

    Other than that I’d balk at a streetcar in Hillsboro unless there is significant private funding for capital and appropriate urban design that would be put in place around it. Right now I’m just not super confident how that would play out. As for ridership, just connecting Tanasborne with a streetcar to the MAX would likely generate more ridership than the current bus service. I’ll admit I never go to Tanasborne solely because of it’s dependency on automotive travel currently. But if there was streetcar service (maybe reasonable bus service, which currently doesn’t exist IMHO) I would actually schedule meetings and do business in the area. Currently, there’s zero way that would happen – and I redirect all current business to locations near the MAX.

  7. EngineerScotty
    October 16, 2014 at 5:28 pm Link

    This map, published by Washington County as part of their transportation planning efforts, is also interesting.

    • Jack G.
      October 21, 2014 at 6:57 pm Link

      Scotty, what’s your read of the “HCT study corridor(s)” in Hillsboro and along 26? Part of it looks very much like the Amberglen Streetcar proposal, but I can’t see that running along 26. Is it two separate plans? BRT on 26 and Streetcar in Hillsboro?

  8. John D
    October 19, 2014 at 5:23 pm Link

    First of all for selfish reasons I wish these changes were taking place like…today. I ride the 44 every day and would love to see it have frequent service. While I normally take one of the first buses of day leaving PCC Sylvania, if I have to take a later bus when PCC and/or Wilson is in session I will take the 78/35 to avoid the crush loads.

    When it comes to the Mocks Crest part of the route, if the 44 does these changes do happen it would probably make since to return the 1 line running to Mocks Crest and have the 44 end at Union Station since the 1 will probably run a similar schedule to the Mocks Crest branch and wasn’t it interlined until it the 1 was cut to rush hours only? (before my time living in Portland).

    I know we have talked about this on this blog before but I would love to see the 43 continue all the way to Clackamas Town Center creating a southern cross town route. While it would be the best route considering the 43’s Taylor’s Ferry routing, it would give people an alternative to going into downtown and transferring and creating improve market matrix.

    I also agree with EngineerScotty that running the 62 to the Tigard Transit center makes more sense than duplicating the 56 along Scholls Ferry.

    I also agree with Adron that the idea of running express buses is the most expensive type of bus lines. In addition the buying a small fleet of dedicated buses is also very expensive because you have to maintain additional parts inventory which is really expensive on a small fleet (I am not saying special branding is bad…but a whole different brand of bus is which is why transit agencies buying these electric buses right now is extremely expensive both on initial cost and operation cost).

    Finally Adron, the 12/93 thing is routes 12 and 93.

  9. dan w
    October 21, 2014 at 4:49 pm Link

    A few random thoughts after looking at the proposal in detail:

    * Progress Ridge is growing like gangbusters, and Scotty’s suggestion for the 62 and 92 to serve this area is a worthy one.

    * Multnomah Blvd is severely underutilized as a transit corridor, and it makes perfect sense to relocate an express route like the 92 to this arterial.

    * A crosstown route using the new Sellwood Bridge is a no-brainer, but I’m not sure if regular riders of the 43 will appreciate losing their one-seat ride downtown. Might make more sense instead to extend the 78 across the Sellwood and/or a introduce a new cross-town route to the westside via Taylors Ferry to Terwilliger to Beaverton-Hillsdale.

    • John D
      October 23, 2014 at 4:35 am Link

      I don’t see a problem route the 43 over the Sellwood to create a new crosstown route. After all the 43 is probably the weakest all day route that goes downtown and once it turns onto Virginia from Taylor’s Ferry it is never more than 3 blocks from other bus routes that have much more frequent service. In addition as part of the this plan the 35 would go to frequent service meaning there is even less reason for the 43.

      The only downside (and its a major one) is that most of the route travels through largely pedestrian hostile single family low density neighborhoods. However, by connected the dots, creating new travel markets, and by connecting several major bus lines plus the Orange line you will have a bus route that will be substantially better than what currently exist.

      Also while Washington Square is a major destination with connections to multiple bus lines it would be nice to see if something can be done on the west side to make the route even stronger.

  10. Tad
    November 26, 2014 at 12:25 pm Link

    Has there been any discussion of using the Pacific & Western freight rail alignment from Newberg in through Sherwood & Durham to be a potential WES extension? It seems that using existing alignments, improving trackage like that, would give an attractive means of getting into the city for folks in Newberg / Sherwood – or even as far out as McMinnville.

    Most other commuter rail systems I know of (like MARC / VRE in DC) piggyback off of existing freight rail to provide service, and could be low-hanging fruit toward providing a reliable transit option.

    • Jack. G
      November 26, 2014 at 2:58 pm Link

      Its an interesting idea, however there are quite a few problems that make it less appealing then other projects in the area. A bigger priority (if not the only one) should be expanding down to Salem. If WES can’t get down there, then I don’t know what point it serves. Yes it’s a comfortable ride, but is it worth the money? With the new cars that TriMet is ordering, an extension to Salem should be possible. If they can combine that with more operating hours, it could actually be a strong part of the overall system.

      • Tad
        November 26, 2014 at 3:03 pm Link

        My understanding of the Salem problem is with the ingress point into the city that the Portland & Western tracks serve. They can’t use Salem’s Amtrak station, so a whole downtown rail right of way needs to be created, as well as a downtown station, to handle such. I thought that the rest of the project was relatively in the bag.

        But I’d think that both would be relatively doable. Even on unimproved tracks, the lightweight DMU cars that the WES runs should be able to at least make decent time on that trackage down to Newberg. It would seem, also, that with the frequent congestion on the 99W, added to the fact that you’ve got George Fox in Newberg (i.e. lots of kids who’d want easy access to downtown Portland without a car) that it’d at least be on the transit roadmap.

        • Jack. G
          November 26, 2014 at 5:41 pm Link

          There’s a 2nd rail line in Salem (P&W) that runs towards the river. When ODOT did a feasibility study of commuter rail to Salem, they had the station near the merry-go-round on the waterfront.

        • Anandakos
          November 28, 2014 at 9:27 pm Link

          Tad,

          The P&W and UP run quite closely parallel just southwest of the freeway over crossing of UP. So it’s not hard to build a sort of “cross-over” between them. There’s already a UP to P&W
          connection.

          The real problem is lack of capacity on the track hemmed in along 12th Street. There’s no opportunity for double tracking, and UP isn’t going to want to accommodate more Cascades trains and WES every half hour for six or eight hours a day.

          The only way it would work would be the riverfront station or building UP a freight bypass around Salem. That is doable without too much impact on neighborhoods if it’s aligned carefully. But it would be very expensive.

          • EngineerScotty
            November 28, 2014 at 11:53 pm Link

            A long time ago, there was a sort of freight bypass around Salem–trains could go from Woodburn to Mt. Angel to Stayton to Shelburn Junction to Albany. But the latter half of that alignment is long gone, and the existing Stayton-Woodburn tracks are far from Class 4 or 5 rail.

            https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?msa=0&mid=zVPZ6n6Tk7Ig.kbIYilOzoD24

            • Anandakos
              November 29, 2014 at 4:00 am Link

              Of course that’s true, Scotty. But enough of the ROW is there to get past a good part of the east side of Salem. The State would have to upgrade the tracks between the curve west of Silverton and re-engineer the curves just south of State Street along the Little Pudding.

              There would have to be new track from just south of Turner diagonally across to somewhere north of Aumsville, and that would probably raise some objections from those living along it. Ditto from the curve southwest of Silverton diagonally northwest to somewhere north of Brooks.

              None of which would be cheap, but probably less than tearing up downtown Salem.

              Of course, if the riverfront station is practical, that’s the best solution. The difficulty there is the street running.

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