TriMet Southeast Draft Service Plan

The last of TriMet’s Service Improvement Plans, this one focusing on the Southeast–pretty much everything south of Division and east of the Willamette River–is now up for public review and comment.  A brief description, and my thoughts.

Proposed changes

  • 7170: In addition to the changed routing in North/Central (serving Swan Island instead of NE 33rd), it will no longer detour via SE 13th into Sellwood, but stay on SE 17th through the Sellwood and Westmoreland neighborhoods.
  • 43: When new Sellwood Bridge is complete, will run from Washington Square to Clackamas Town Center via Taylors Ferry, Sellwood Bridge, Johnson Creek, 82nd, Otty, Stevens, and Sunnyside.
  • Line Y (new line):  The extension of the Line Y in the N/C plan, this will serve 28th to Reed College, take over service to Union Manor/SE Rex (currently done by 19), cross Bybee to Westmoreland, south on 13th to Sellwood, and end (apparently) south of Sellwood.
  • 152.  Service between Milwaukie and Oregon City via International to Clackamas, Webster Road to Gladstone, and then Washington Street to OCTC.  Six-day service.
  • 32:  Seven day service from Milwaukie to Clackamas Community College via Oatfield, 15th, Division, and Molalla.
  • 75:  All trips to serve Milwaukie.
  • 10: Add weekend service.
  • 19: Remove deviation to Union Manor (now taken up by line Y).
  • 29: Combined with 155, service between Milwaukie and Happy Valley via Lake Road, OR224, 82nd, and Sunnyside Road.
  • Line X:  New service between Happy Valley and Oregon City, via Sunnyside, 152nd, OR212/224, Webster, Jennings, and McLoughlin.
  • 30.  Increased service on weekends
  • 79: Increased service
  • “Community connectors” in Clackamas industrial area, and through much of Oregon City.

This list doesn’t include the list of bus changes which will happen when the Orange Line opens.



In no particular order:

  • A dumb question–but why does the 19 (and under the new proposal, the Line Y) deviate to Union Manor/SE Rex?  I’m not familiar with the neighborhood, but it appears to be a detour serving nothing but large-lot single-family homes.
  • I like the proposed 43 route very much.  I would like it better if it went to Beaverton TC instead of Washington Square on the west side.
  • I also like Route X, and the combination of 29 and 155.  E/W connectivity in Clackamas County has long been an issue, in large part because of geography.
  • While not on this list–one of the planned MAX-related changes is having the 154 run between Willamette and Clackamas Heights, and having OCTC being the southern terminus of the 34 (which will combine with the 28).  In the SW SEP, however, it is proposed to change the 154 to run between Willamette and Lake Oswego, discontinuing service along Borland Road to Oregon City.
  • Speaking of Borland Road, would like it very much were the 79 to continue to Tualatin.  (If this is done, then the 152 could be extended to Clackamas Heights instead).
  • Having the 32 continue southeast on Beavercreek Road and entering Clackamas CC from the east (and providing a short walk to Oregon City High School) would be highly beneficial.
  • Would do the following instead:  Run the 29 on Lake road to Harmony Road to CTC instead of using 224.  (The reason TriMet may not like this route is to avoid the UPRR grade crossing on Harmony Road).
  • Would like to see a bus line along Thiessen Avenue, perhaps also serving Oak Grove between McLoughlin and River, ending at the Park Avenue station.
  • Would consider swapping the 10 and the 19 east of 52nd, with the 10 providing a mostly-diagonal route to Lincoln Memorial Park, and the 19 running to Lents.  Have also previously endorsed combining the 19 with the 122nd leg of the 71 and ending it in Sellwood, or continuing it across the bridge to the west side somewhere.  Could then extend the 32 north along Milwaukie Avenue into downtown, though that might be too long of a route.

34 responses to “TriMet Southeast Draft Service Plan”

  1. First off, there’s hardly anything stupid about asking why the 19 bleeds inefficiency for a couple riders per day. I have never once taken the 19 for that reason.

    But to the crux of my post: TriMet seems to be, in my opinion, putting an over abundance of emphasis on community and job connectors for these service enhancement plans.

    I guess my question is this: do they work? Is it “worth it”? It seems like just having that much more regular service would benefit people in the area more. Is this just a typical coverage vs frequency debate?

    • Oh right – and love the 79 idea to Tualatin. A southern connection across the Willamette is sorely lacking.

    • And this is what I have said, also.( I only ride the bus when I have to, though).
      In the Olden Days, pre internet and wi fi, a bus ride was pretty much time out of your miserable existence. Now people do have other things they can do, if the bus ride is not so efficient. So for me this blows the whole equity equation out the window.

      Why shouldn’t TriMet simply operate in the way that generates profit—except for very exceptional circumstances like the specialized transport options they run, anyway?

      • Why shouldn’t ODOT simply operate in a way that generates a profit? How about our libraries? Our fire departments? What about public parks?

        All of these things provide a benefit to public, and the region benefits from it. TriMet, just like every other public transit agency, is subsidized because the region benefits from fewer cars on our roads and fewer parking lots downtown. The region benefits by providing transit to low income areas, as it can connect them to jobs, and education.

        So, if you feel strongly that the region would be better served by a transit agency that prioritizes making a profit over all other goals, that’s fine. Go ahead and run for mayor. Run for Metro. Hell, run for Governor. See what kind of reception your plan gets.

        • I would prefer to see an economic argument than your little, personal screed.

          ” The region benefits by providing transit to low income areas, as it can connect them to jobs, and education. ”

          Why should I subsidize someone else’s business interests? I don’t have a residence or business downtown so could care less how well it is served.

          • Your logic calls for the elimination of road subsidies. I don’t drive on Interstates, and they wouldn’t exist without my tax subsidies, so by your logic, they should all be removed.

      • Well… TriMet will never generate profit. You won’t find anyone pro-transit that will claim that here, unless they also propose some very different policies than what our society currently has. Some lines by themselves may generate profit (like the 72), but as a whole it is designed to lose money for its important coverage role. You can’t privatize individual bus routes, though – that wouldn’t save anyone any money. It would only push TriMet’s costs up more by taking away a profitable route – and private business would pocket the rest.

        So yeah, there is no way that public libraries will make money, that roads will make money, that parks are profitable, or that airports will even be revenue neutral. But my question still stands: Community shuttles – jitneys, whatever you call them – are expensive and inefficient (more so than regular service out in the suburbs?) I question whether not putting that money in to regular service, whether on a “profitable” line or not, would be better for riders. Paying a driver to drive a van around in circles, or paying a driver to operate a bus or train instead.

        Or perhaps in a skeptics mind, we could issue everyone in the region a check for $0.01, then print and mail them out for the price of postage.

    • Only justification I can think of for the Rex loop is it being historically a transit route. And the tip of it is a ways from the other service. As for Union Manor, there’s a lot of elderly people there, including some TriMet retirees, for who walking to Bybee can be a challenge,

      -Riders on Line 152 and in the Webster/Roots area will no longer have direct service to Clackamas Town Center.

      -It seems there would be limited return on increasing service on (today’s) Line 152 given that the corridor is pretty constrained between the railroad and Hwy 224, and there’s only industrial uses.

      -Hwy 224 near Milwaukie is mislabeled on the map

      -A bus line along Thiessen Avenue has shown up in past official documents, possibly ones regarding I-205/Milwaukie MAX.

  2. Typo: you mean “70”, not “71” that now goes up NE 33rd and is proposed to be rerouted to Swan Island. Right?
    43 from WS to CTC hits the nail on the head, but it will be better when some kind of HCT runs on Barbur.

  3. It seems to me that the transfer between the 33 and MAX at Park Avenue is pretty weak northbound. Park is so much inferior to McLaughlin Boulevard that the Walk cycle to get across McLaughlin is going to be punishingly slow. That’s the direction that when most people will really need to make their connection in order to be at work on time.

    Southbound the transfer will be great, but the time factor is less critical.

    I know they’re expensive and unaesthetic, but Tri-Met should build a pedestrian ramp from the northbound bus stop to the station. It would have to have spirals and not work for bikes, but it’s a transit facility, not a bikeway.

      • Not a staircase, a spiral ramp to keep the crossing right where the bus stop is instead of having it actually cross the roadway another half block down the road. The end of the station with the track crossings is right next to Park Avenue, which was well-designed for using Park to cross McLaughlin.

        If it weren’t such a minor arterial it probably wouldn’t be a problem to have an at-grade crossing for transfer riders. But it is, so people will often be standing there cursing at the light when the the door lights start flashing.

        Maybe the operators will be sensitive and wait a minute or so, if a bus pulls up just before their scheduled departure. But they won’t have a lot of flexibility because some opposing train will be approaching about the same time, needing a slot.

        I know it would be expensive, and I understand that some people wouldn’t use it — “I hate climbing that hill!” But there will be angry people when the train pulls away without them because they’ve been stuck waiting for a light.

        • I’ve been assuming northbound 33 riders would transfer at Lake Road instead of Park for this very reason, but now that I think about it, Lake Road Station is a several blocks long walk from the nearest 33 stop. It does seem warranted to make certain that pedestrian infrastructure is top notch at Park and Mcloughlin, which is already not the case with that high speed channelized right turn from Mcloughlin southbound to Park Avenue westbound. I don’t want to see a pedestrian bridge, but improvements are still needed to keep people safe crossing the boulevard.

  4. Union Manor is a retirement home. Since most of the seniors can’t drive (or walk very far), it’s important to have access to public transit.

  5. I live and work on the opposite side of town and don’t really have a dog in this hunt, but this looks like a great proposal overall.

    That said, the discussion on this post regarding the potentially wonky transfers between buses and the Orange Line begs the question: Why isn’t there a bona fide transit center in Milwaukie where MAX and various bus lines will be converging?

    • I’m not sure of the politics, but…

      a) PMLR runs adjacent to the Portland and Western tracks through downtown Milwaukie (and east of them).

      b) “Milwaukie TC” (which is now not a TC, but is still designated as a park and ride) is a few blocks west of the tracks at SE 21st and Jackson.

      c) Apparently, there was a desire for only one stop in Milwaukie’s core, and that’s the Milwaukie/Main stop along Lake Road.

      Personally, I would find some way, long term, to move the layover location for buses to/near the Lake Road stop, with lines serving 21st and Jackson still doing so, then traveling the 5 blocks south to do so.

      Do note, however, that the new route of the 33 will serve the Milwaukie/Main Street station, so the question being posed above–“will northbound 33 riders need to cross McLoughin to catch the Orange Line?”–has an answer of “no.”

      It appears that only 3 lines–70, 75, and 152, will have “difficult” transfers to the Orange Line in the Milwaukie area, with no service to any of the MAX stations in the area (Tacoma St. Milwaukie/Main, or Park Ave), and requiring a long walk to reach MAX. Since 70 and 75 run north out of Milwaukie and are parallel services to the Orange Line, this is probably less of an issue; riders can connect to any of the buses they need at 21st and Jackson. The 152, which runs east, probably would benefit the most from a connection to the MAX line at Milwaukie/Main.

      • Scotty,

        So the 33 will presumably leave McLaughlin at Washington. Is that right? The map is not large enough scale or detailed enough to be certain. It’ll then turn south on 21st to the bus pads?

        That’s a reasonable transfer, for sure,though it will be entangled with the train crossing, not a good feature. So far an convenience and safety, though it’ll essentially be out the door of the bus and step right up to the train. Very nice.

        However, it then begs the question, “Why did Tri-Met build to Park Avenue? There’s no ‘there’ there and never will be.” It can’t have been cheap to build that long causeway, cross McLaughlin and run up the hill. Did they do it just to crank up the crazies?

        • I imagine that Park Avenue is a place with cheap real estate to put a parking lot.

          But we at Portland Transport asked that question three-and-a-half years ago; a line ending at Milwaukie was studied in the DEIS.

          And I’m certain that TriMet would rather have avoided the crazies being cranked up, as it’s a lot easier to do business when there isn’t a large demographic who have decided that your organization is a threat to their livelihood and lifestyle.

          • Yeah, I rode the 32 Limited from Downtown in rush hour. It was jam packed right until Milport, by the Park and Ride, where like 75% of the ride got off. (Southgate Park And Ride?) I’d not doubt a huge percentage of riders of the Orange Line are riding to the Tacoma or Park St Park and Rides on this principle.

          • OK, there is a garage there. I haven’t been to the end of the line so I wasn’t aware of that. Thanks. 355 cars isn’t very big though. That’s just two trains.

          • You stated in that post that Neil didn’t answer the question. While he certainly didn’t do it directly, I think he did answer the question by saying no, we don’t see a need to because we think we can still get to Park Ave.

            Overall, I do question the additional cost given the budget and political issues, but I think there was a desire to have the park-and-ride before downtown, like in Gresham and Hillsboro. But I have actually heard some desire to redevelop the area. See e.g.

            Also, there should have been a station at Harrison Street, but the Waldorf School objected due to crime fears. Instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, TriMet’s response should have been a) that the line was planned before the school opened and b) to agree to fund the posting of a security officer or other presence at the station during school times.

            Even if buses go down towards Lake Road, those coming from Harrison are forced to make an unnecessary 3/4th mile loop down to the station and back north.

        • Besides having a place to build a large parking garage south of downtown Milwaukie, I theorized that they pushed the Orange further south so that the future extension to Oregon City would be an easier lift. That bridge over Kellogg Lake and McLoughlin would have been much more difficult (and expensive) to build 10 or 20 years from now. But running MAX straight down the McLoughlin ROW to OC from Park Ave will be a piece of cake. The only major structure would be a bridge over the Clackamas River, which is not a huge span.

          And despite the recent bloviating from anti-rail and anti-progress activists in exurban Clackamas County, cities like Oregon City, Gladstone and even West Linn are very much in favor of bringing MAX all the way to its natural terminus near the OC Amtrak Station or slightly beyond to the new Willamette Falls (old Blue Heron paper mill) project.

          • Not going to happen. Do you really think Clackamas County will let a pair of train tracks in the middle of 99 alter all of the existing turning lane plus probably a travel lane each way, which is vital to businesses? Especially now that MAX costs are around $200 million per mile?

            Well maybe they should build over passes? yeah, right, Exactly the things that pushed the MAX line 250 percent higher than what they originally announced. MAX is dead. A can of RAID got him.

            I sooo want to have a conversation on transit and transportation planning, because unneeded roads are expensive too. But the wannabe choo-choo train riders just can’t accept defeat.

            FYI, Porland is not a leader now, if it ever was in the past. Sorry, other cities, bigger than ours, too, have shown that transit can fit within normal budgets. No need for outlandish spending programs, that serve the social justice warrior clan with lucrative contracts with very easy, low risk projects.
            Left in the dirt, left behind, not relevant. I cannot report anything to fellow members of the World Urban Forum anything Portland is doing that is remarkable. Even Bremerton Washington put us to shame.

            • Depends on who in Clackamas County turns out to vote. That said, any extention of PMLR past Milwuakie likely won’t happen until I’m ready to retire. SW Corridor is probably a decade off into the future, and it’s getting close to the start of the DEIS phase.

              And yes, a big reason is that rail construction costs have outpaced inflation. “Why” is not an easy problem–construction wages have not risen at that rate, but a couple of possible factors:

              * Buy America and other protectionist legislation that applies specifically to transit projects.
              * Increasing costs of materials (this plagues other construction projects as well).
              * Rail design/construction is a bit of a speciality field within the contracting industry, as is “dealing with the FTA generally”, allowing contracting firms to charge more and get away with it.
              * Larding projects up with related stuff to try and get Federal matches.

              That said, I’m not sure how “social justice warrior”s (usually that term refers to feminists, gay rights activists, and others who actively take the culture war fights at the Religious Right, a subject which is off-topic in this blog) would benefit much from a PMLR extension to Oregon City. Not many live in OC, and I imagine fewer still live in Gladstone or Oak Grove. Unless you think such a project would be commenced simply to spite Clackamas County residents…

              Also, I’m curious what you think Kitsap Transit (the transit agency serving Bremerton and the surrounding communities) is doing that TriMet should be. It appears to be a well-run small-city transit agency providing lifeline service over a large area–doing what it can with a limited budget–but most if all of the buses run no more often than hourly, and there’s no Sunday service. It has about 1/10 the operating budget of TriMet, and 1/25 the ridership. Truly–it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison, just as it would be an apples-to-orange comparison to compare TriMet to New York’s MTA.

          • I’d very much like to see MAX extended to Oregon City, but I think there are some real problems in finding a route for it once there. McLoughlin is easy; the Clackamas River crossing is easy. But once south of the Amtrak station, I don’t see an obvious MAX route. Maybe it could go as far south as 13th, running south along the railroad track and north along Main. But it looks challenging to me.

      • Seems to me TriMet could have arranged a transit center on Adams between Main and 21st. It would have required some deals with private land owners over parking, but no buildings or businesses would be displaced.

        I have no idea why they didn’t do it that way. As is stands, they left several routes with difficult transfers to MAX.

    • I recently got into a bidding war for a pretty mediocre apartment there. When it hit $900 for a dump I left.

    • This is why I think the Hwy 99 and Tacoma St. area and south would be good for urban renewal. The hitch is that it is mostly in Milwaukie, not Portland. But Johnson Creek is a very scenic area, like a diamond in the rough. But maybe there is hope for Crawdad Alley after all?

  6. One thing I’ve noticed:

    The new route of the combined 34/28–and this is an Orange Line change, not a SEP change–no longer provides service to SE Harvey, SE Howe, and SE 49th streets in Milwaukie. I understand the desire to serve the industrial areas along Johnson Creek Boulevard better, but a compromise routing might be north on 32nd, east on Harvey, then north on 42nd to Johnson Creek. This would put the combined route within walking distance of all the apartments currently served (much of Howe and 49th are just SFHs), and still serve the industrial areas.

    • A part of the 28/34’s role is to cover the industrial McLoughlin blvd areas that the 33 will no longer serve, along Ochoco/Main between Tacoma and Lake.

        • Ah, I misread the map. For some reason I had it going up 32nd, not McLoughlin/Ochoco.

          Anyway, a few more items for the wishlist:

          * As probably mentioned many times, have the 19 run to Lents. The deviation to Duke between 52nd and 82nd is OK, but then it should turn back north to Woodstock to Lents.

          * A more radical solution to the 19, also mentioned before–have it turn south in Westmoreland, down 13th, and across the new Sellwood. Possibly south to LO, or connect this with the 43, and run the JCB line to Beaverton (as mentioned in the article).

          * A new line to augment/replace the 19: The Milwaukie/Flavel line: From downtown, across Tillikum, south on 12th/Milwaukie to Bybee, east on Bybee to 28th, south on 28th to Rex, E on Rex to Chavez, N on Chavez to Knapp, E. on Knapp to 45th, S on 45th to Flavel Dr, E on Flavel Dr to 52nd, N on 52nd to Flavel St, E on Flavel St to Lincoln Memorial park. Or just call this the 19 and give the Lents-Sellwood bus a new number.

          * Another thought concerning the 19 and 70–exchange them north of Sellwood: The 70 would run on Milwaukie between Sellwood and Powell; the 19 would run on 17th, but serve Union Manor directly via Tolman and 23rd; it would not hit Westmoreland.

          * The 71 changed as follows: It’s current (or future planned route) to SE 52nd–but continue south on 52nd, W on Harney to JCB, South on 42nd, West on Harvey, South on 32nd to Railroad, West on Monroe, to Milwaukie.

          * A new diagonal route, as follows. Takes the route of the 71 from CTC, follows the existing routing to 72nd. But rather than turning west on Flavel, keeps going north on 72nd to Powell, W to 71st, N to Division, W to 61st, N to Stark, W to 4th, N to Tillamook (possibly detouring through Prov Portland), W on Tillamook to Knott to Emanual, N on Vancouver/Williams (possibly detouring to hit PCC Cascade), W on Schmeer to Delta Park TC.

          * A new southern alignment for “Route Y”. Existing alignment south to Reed College, then E on Woodstock, S on Chavez, E on Crystal Springs, S on 45th, E on Harney to Clatsop, N on 75th, E on Harney again, South on Fuller to Fuller MAX station. Possibly continue south to CTC. Might make the route too long. Or, run this down Lynwood through Milwaukie to CTC, and have the new 34 serve Clatsop, etc, running north on 92nd to Lents instead of south to CTC.

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