BRT 101 by Metro

Metro is holding an “introduction to BRT” session next week as part of the Powell/Division Corridor process:

December 1: Catch a sneak preview of the future of transit

Metro invites you to a sneak preview of our region’s transit future. The popcorn’s on us.
Monday, Dec. 1, noon to 1 p.m.
Clinton Street Theater
2522 SE Clinton St., Portland

The Powell-Division Transit and Development Project is studying the region’s first bus rapid transit line, which will bring faster, more reliable transit service to a corridor that really needs it.

Bus rapid transit on Powell-Division will save riders time, make transit more comfortable, and connect places we all care about. It will go from downtown Portland and Gresham, linking businesses, educational institutions and thousands of residences in a diverse and growing area. Service could begin as soon as 2020.

But bus rapid transit doesn’t look the same everywhere. There are multiple choices to consider. How will it fit with existing transportation facilities? What could stations look like? What will the experience be like for riders? How might it serve surrounding neighborhoods and support other ways of getting around?

On Monday, Dec. 1 at the unique Clinton Street Theater, we’ll explore examples of bus rapid transit from around the country to see what it could look like here — in the street, at the stations and on board the vehicles. We’ll also highlight existing transit facilities in theregion that can help illustrate options for the new line.

Project staff from Metro and TriMet will be on hand to answer your questions and hear your ideas about bus rapid transit.

Learn more about this event (



12 responses to “BRT 101 by Metro”

  1. Since I am interested in all phases of mass transit and use line 9 occasionally, I may attend the meeting. It will be interesting to see which gets more attention, Powell or Division. Since I will be 76 in a couple of weeks and nothing will get done until 2020 I might just say “______ it” and not bother because I may not be able to remember where to get on and off anyway by that time.

    For now I’ll probably just stick with what I know best; MAX, WES, Streetcar and bus lines 48, 20 and 8 ( I enjoy the tram also).

    Also, I’ll just keep complaining about a couple of mistakes that transit planners have made whenever I’m in the mood.

  2. Exclusive transit right of way is key to good, reliable transit service, regardless of vehicle type. That must be foremost in any proposals for Powell/Division. It ain’t cheap!

    • Yes, yes, yes! American transit planners often get that concept wrong for one reason or another. Quite often it’s do to either a car first bias or do to some form of NIMBY or political pressure that end up hampering such projects. NYC’s Select Bus Service is plagued with these problems in spades.

  3. I just got back from the presentation at the Theater. TriMet was stressing the fact that it was too early to know how robust their BRT install may be, but it seemed like they really wanted to talk about everything *but* dedicated transit lanes.

    As a bicycle planner I find it interesting that we are often calling for lane-reductions for automobiles in order to prioritize safe bicycling, but I rarely see the same hard tradeoffs advocated for in the transit world.

  4. TriMet has never and will never lead the charge for major upgrades in transit service, ie transit only ROW. Nor Metro. That leadership has always come from citizen advocates, neighborhoods, and then local jurisdictions.
    Remember…after South/North was defeated in ’98, it was community activists and business leaders who put Interstate MAX back on track; Metro put all options, except light rail, on the table in the south corridor to Milwaukie. SE PDX and Milwaukie residents demanded that it be included.
    Creating transit only capacity is expensive and politically difficult, and regional agencies only rise to the occasion when a public groundswell provides plenty of cover and direction.

  5. “Remember…after South/North was defeated in ’98, it was community activists and business leaders who put Interstate MAX back on track;”

    So now we know who to blame for the morass that morphed into the $170 million net loss CRC project. Plus the $350 million glorified bus route (i.e. “Interstate” MAX).

  6. No, it was ODOT and WSDOT that misled us into the CRC morass. All they had to do was agree to an eight lane replacement bridge with light rail, and no one would have raised a fuss, and it would be opening next year. They are the ones who seriously overreached, not the opponents of their foolishness. We owe the latter gratitude!
    As to Interstate MAX, anyone who dismisses it clearly never rode the 5 bus! But it must be extended to its obvious end point to fulfill its potential. Its worth noting that the ’98 election was for $400 Million on property tax bonds and that every precinct in PDX along the entire alignment (OK, except Arbor Lodge and E. Kenton) voted YES. Indeed this transit tax measure passed in the City by a 2 to 1 margin! And soon it will reach Milwaukie, at least half way to its obvious terminus.

    • All they had to do was agree to an eight lane replacement bridge with light rail, and no one would have raised a fuss, and it would be opening next year.

      You sure about that? That would imply that much of the early opposition to the project was from Portland greens, and the anti-LRT crowd in Clark County was late to the game. My memory of events doesn’t go back that far, but given that Tea Party activism didn’t really take off in this country until 2009 (anyone care to guess why), that might be possible.

      Even if the “no loot rail” crowd north of the river hadn’t materialized, there were still many freight interests who would have objected to an eight-lane bridge.

    • “Anyone who dismisses it never rode the 5 bus”

      So…that’s the alternative? $350 million MAX or #5 bus? A lot of vision there.

      ” that every precinct in PDX along the entire alignment ”

      Note: alignment. Boy, is that ever a mandate?

      “And soon it will reach Milwaukie, at least half way to its obvious terminus.”

      With the political philosophy at METRO, you would think the southern end would be in Woodburn. But, even the cost to get it to Oregon City, as you’re saying, would be ridiculously expensive.

      Actually, I was in favor of the East and West MAX. But, since I don’t like to think about living in an overpriced, mini-version of Chicago, I’m glad that this little joyride of manipulated TOD seems to be wrapping up. And actually there could probably be a “transit that follows profit-oriented development” scheme—as I have mentioned a few years back in reference to arterials like NW Front Avenue.

      Hey, I don’t have all the answers, but as a native I do what they tend to do best—gripe.

      • Well, Woodburn is quite a ways outside of both Metro’s and TriMet’s jurisdiction. :)

        Though it could get a commuter rail stop one day.

  7. Its all speculation, but if Metro and City of Portland reps had done their job, I think we could have got it done. They just surrendered on the roadway capacity question. Nor did the DOTs honor their promise to look at accommodating local traffic on an arterial bridge or perhaps arterial lanes on a second deck with ligh trail and bike/ped. All those new interchanges were to get local traffic on and off a massive bridge; why not just provide an option that kept that traffic off the freeway?

  8. Again, the city wide vote for property tax bonds was YES by a 2 to 1 margin on South/North. The people wanted more than just a fancy bus. And because Interstate MAX was combined with Streetcar and Airport MAX, both of which were entirely locally financed, the feds picked most of the tab for Interstate. With only one structure it was not that expensive, especially when one considers that the entire Interstate Avenue from utilities up was rebuilt. PML has the new bridge but also three very substantial structures, hence its high cost, but we get a right of way dedicated to transit which is essential for good, reliable and competitive transit.

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