Map Your Way Down Powell/Division

In my Planning Commissioner role, I have a chance to see how an enormous number of people respond to the Comprehensive Plan “Map App” as a convenient and understandable way to give input on the plan.

Now Metro has followed Portland’s lead, and you can give your comments on the Powell-Division transit corridor (and the routing choices) on a map.

Check it out.

26 responses to “Map Your Way Down Powell/Division”

  1. The most important issue semes to be… do you want to serve MHCC or a denser neighborhood with lower income & a higher minority population. Is it possible to have a short split in the route that accomplishes both goals?

    • I’m a bit confused–all alignments terminate at MHCC. Not being too familiar with Gresham, which neighborhood were you referring to?

        • As opposed to Powell between 82nd and 92nd?

          Once this line opens, I would hope that the 9 continues as a 30 minute route from Gresham to downtown, to continue to provide higher-stop-density service along the corridor, and the 4 would be frequent service west of PCC, and 30 minute service east of there, for the same reason. Were that done, the other “branch” of the 4 (that doesn’t continue to Gresham) could wrap around the Jade District and/or Montavilla, to provide additional service to the area.

          Another idea if the 4 splits (or becomes two separate routes, which combine for FS west of PCC): Have a branch turn north at 92nd, then east along Market, Mill, Main, and Yamhill until Ruby Junction, then along Burnside to downtown Gresham. That would provide (additional) direct service to Adventist Hospital and David Douglas HS, and to the many businesses and apartments on Burnside in Gresham, east of where the Blue Line diverges from the street.

      • Sorry if I wasn’t clear – according to the map tool descriptions, the route on it’s way to downtown Gresham could EITHER serve MHCC OR serve a denser neighborhood who’s residence tend to be minority or of lower income. Therefore my question is could there be a split in the routing so that both areas can receive frequent service levels? Also how would this effect the 4, 9, 20, 80 & 81 lines since the latter three also serve MHCC as well.

        • There appear to be five alignment alternatives in Gresham, all of which serve MHCC. (You’re not confusing the college with Mt. Hood Medical Center, are you–one of the four alignments does NOT serve the hospital).

          The five choices are, all proceeding from Gresham TC to MHCC:

          * W on Division, N on Eastman Parkway, E on Stark, S on Kane to MHCC
          * E on Division, N Cleveland Avenue, E on Stark, S on Kane to MHCC
          * E on Division, N on Hogan, E on Stark, S on Kane to MHCC (the preferred option, it seems)
          * E Division, N on Kane to MHCC
          * W on Division, S on Eastman Parkway, W on Powell, N. on Hogan, E on Stark, S on Kane to MHCC.

          Which option did you have in mind?

          • EngineerScotty,

            I would put it this way – the routing that has the greatest utility to attract the greatest ridership levels.

            I’m actually not from Portland, But I am interested in transit systems & how they work on the ground. I’m visually challenged & as a result, I am transit dependent.

            I’ve followed Trimet & greater Portland for over a decade for research at my old job. Every issue from business improvement districts BID’s to transit oriented development took me to a handful of places. Most of the time I ended up in Arlington VA or right here in Portland. A great research tool I came across was & it was really informative with all the interrelated policy issues & nessessary considerations.

            If you & others could be helpful with answering questions – that would be great.

            Thanks EngineerScotty.

          • Oh as a footnote, I didn’t know there was a hospital complex along the potential routing. That may have an impact as you would want access for both visitors as well as both current & future employees.

            Also how would this new line impact lines 4, 9, 20, 80 & 81 as the latter three serve MHCC.

  2. In the 90’s Portland started striping lots of bike lanes, but as bikers quickly noticed these were mostly on wide or lightly used streets. That is…we got bike lanes where they were not really necessary, but when the pinch came and roads narrowed to busy intersections, the lanes went away and you were on your own.
    The same appears to be the case with this SE “BRT” endeavor…bus lanes appear possible, for the most part where there is not much delay already, outer Division and Powell beyond 50th. But in the difficult stretches…Powell west of 50th and 82nd, where the “R” really is needed, its business as usual, transit stuck in traffic. Not very exciting, not much vision.
    No ROW= no “R” as in “rapid” and/or “reliable.”

    • That’s true, and I would certainly prefer having dedicated RoW in the most congested spots, but I’m hopeful that these improvements will still be enough to provide good service on the route. If they can fulfill other goals of BRT besides RoW like off-board fares (and therefore all door boarding) signal priority, reasonable stop spacing then its possible the service will still be good. That said, it will be frustrating for riders during rush-hour going from a bus lane, to mixed traffic.

      • Signal priority, reasonable stop spacing? They can’t even do that in Downtown for MAX trains or for the streetcars. Why on earth would they bother for buses? They’ve had 29 years to rectify the problem and still haven’t done it! Never mind taking away a lane of traffic in the inner east side for buses. It’s nothing to give up space for the bus further out where it’s not really needed. I have no confidence that this new bus route will be much of an improvement, even with off-board fare collection and level boarding. Those two things don’t make our streetcars fast, so why should they make our buses fast? Signal priority is the most important feature, as most buses spend about a third of their time waiting for lights, and it’s frustratingly low-hanging fruit that TriMet seems indifferent to pick. I think this is why most people push for light rail instead, because at least it is ultimately given its own lane (even if it may get speed restrictions and a lack of signal priority). I’d be more than happy to get real BRT as several lines could be implemented quickly and cheaply and make a big difference, but this isn’t Latin America, Europe, Asia… Well, you get the picture. When it comes to public transit, the USA is not known for going full tilt.

  3. Can the transit designers take a cue from the bikeway designers and realize that re-purposing general purpose travel lanes into transit only lanes is a *good thing*?

    The questions and statements in that map survey seemed to imply that such reallocation was undesirable or impossible – but I think such conversions can be a double win. Not only does transit get a fast, dedicated lane, the capacity limiting effect on automobiles may result in competitive travel times between the two modes.

    What game do they think we’re playing here? At some point we have to start playing hardball.

    • Nick,

      I understand where you are coming from – however there is a right way & a wrong way to approach this issue. The instant you mention dedicated lanes on congested streets, you are going to get immediate push back from those who believe that either public transit spending is a total waist of limited funds or the plan cant work do to the mythical congestion that would result. With that said, I do believe separated transit lanes can work for all road users, but there’s so much misinformation out there clouding the real issue, that a lot of ground work is required to educate the public on the benefits of such road space realication.

      • What better way to educate the public than by extolling the benefits of general-travel-lane to transit-only-lane conversion in an upcoming project that would serve some low-income areas? The Interstate MAX could be used as an example of a conversion that resulted in a calmer street that moves lots of people where they want to go.

  4. I think the effort in SE would be more honestly called something like “EFSBT” or Enhanced Frequent Service Bus Transit, and should be matched on other lines as soon as possible. The best chance at real BRT in the region is in the SW Corridor where between Barbur, Naito and a possible transit tunnel, higher speed transit can get an exclusive ROW at least as far was Burlingame/Bertha, if not West Portland. Vehicle type is a good question to be settled later; just commit to ROW!

  5. Oh, if I were the Duke, I would run a MAX line out the middle of Powell on a viaduct to 52nd (works in Vancouver BC!), with stations at 26th, Chavez and 50th-52nd; then on out via Powell on the old Mt Hood Freeway parking lots (my wife’s dentist would have to move!) to the Green Line; then up that to Division and out Division on a dedicated ROW to wherever. MAX has to have a dedicated ROW, so it has helped lever the money for same from day one, but especially in the case of the Westside (tunnel) and Milwaukie, both of which cost some serious dough. Otherwise, as we bikers say “Take the Lane!”

    • I agree. A secondary benefit would be the ability to route the existing Green Line onto the new Powell line to provide faster access to downtown. I live along the I84 line, and it appears to be at capacity now, with Gateway backing up trains during rush hour. Moving the green line off would free up capacity for service increases on the red and blue lines.

      • As someone that lives along the south alignment of the Green Line – I don’t see that as a benefit at all. People that live our area need to go North to Gateway far more than they need yet another option to get downtown.

        • Cora,

          Perhaps you may have a point, but having duel options to get through downtown allows for flexibility if there are issues or construction someplace on the system. It’s never a bad thinng to have built in redundant features on a rapid transit line.

        • We don’t know that without looking at the data. But at any rate, my idea to route the green line down Powell would be paired with the creation of a new max line, running from Clackamas to the airport. This would increase service levels north of Gateway and South of Powell, and provide more options for those along the I205 corridor.

          • Chris I,

            I had more or less the same idea, but I would do a few different things.

            1. To eliminate confusion, I would add a new line color. This line would not enter the Banfield ROW.

            2. I would try to get the port of Portland involved since they are running out of room to add parking capacity & this could put parking clocer to residents without clogging up the airport road network.

            3. Along with #2, build a second track over I-84 from Gateway & if possible reconstruct the junctions in that area to increase line capacity. this could draw more riders to the airport.

            • MAX trains rarely leave the airport more than 1/4 full. There will be no need for more frequent service for years.

          • Clackamas to the Airport would require two operators per train, because the train would have to reverse at Gateway. Oh, I suppose you could put a wye track from the Green Line to the Red Line bypassing Gateway, but you’d get lots of howls from people who “just got on a train” intending to get off at Gateway and found themselves barreling down the middle of I-205.

            • Add a single -track bridge at the north end of the Gateway stop, spanning I84 and joining the red line as it splits from single to double track. The new line would use this bridge, and the red line would continue to use the existing single track section.

  6. For the benefit of all, MHCC is Mount Hood Community College.

    I agree with Lenny and Andrew. In the parts of the line where there is the most congestion (west of 52nd on Powell), there won’t be a dedicated lane. Perhaps they’ll propose a few signal queue-jumps.

    There’s an open house for the project Tuesday, March 10 5:30 to 8:30 at Cleveland High School cafeteria, 26th and Powell. For those interested, the Mixed Use Zones project will also have a table there, where you can learn about the new commercial zone language that is proposed.

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