Author Archive | Bob Richardson

Fireworks Extravaganza Open Thread

As part of a larger project I’m working on for Portland Streetcar, I had the opportunity to film the fireworks event last Saturday. Here’s the complete fireworks show:

“On Saturday evening, August 22nd, 2015, TriMet presented a fireworks display in celebration of the upcoming opening of the Tilikum Crossing – Bridge of the People in Portland, Oregon. The bridge will carry Light Rail, Streetcar, and Bus traffic, as well as providing complete pedestrian and bicycle facilities. Presented by Kiewit. Sponsors: Rich Bader, Elemental, Ferguson Wellman. This video by Portland Streetcar.”

How was your transportation weekend?

TriMet Orange Line “First Ride” – Interviews

Portland Transport was invited along with other local media to cover Friday Morning’s TriMet Orange Line “First Ride” press event.

During the ride, and just after, we were able to briefly interview TriMet management and public officials, including:

  • Neil McFarlane, General Manager, TriMet
  • Jeff Merkley, US Senator, Oregon (D)
  • Steve Novick, Commissioner, City of Portland
  • Kate Brown, Governor, State of Oregon
  • Chris Tucker, Director of Revenue Operations, TriMet

Topics addressed were the role of the city, state, and federal government in transit funding, the current political climate, what transit lines will use the bridge, what will be done with funds now that the project is under-budget, the transfer situation in Milwuakie, the new fare system, and others…

The video also includes footage out the window and from the cab during the round-trip, interspersed with the questions (although it does not necessarily match the timeline of the interviews).

TriMet Orange Line “First Ride” – A view from the cab

TriMet held a celebratory press event today, with the first-ever passenger service on the Orange Line and across the new Tilikum Crossing.

We were able to conduct interviews with Governor Brown, Senator Merkley, Commissioner Novick, TriMet’s Neil McFarlane and others. Those interviews will be posted tomorrow.

For now… A teaser with a bit of transit geekery: On the return journey from Oak Grove to Downtown Portland, I filmed a view from the operator’s cab of the complete journey. Unfortunately, we weren’t going at full speed much of the time, which would have been really nice to witness. The train slowed for workers along the tracks, and for yellow signals. (There were actually TWO “first ride” trains today. On our initial journey, we rode the first, and on the way back, we rode the second). Total trip time was 25 minutes, but when the line operates in regular service, that time will be approx. 17 minutes Update: 25 minutes, see below from SW 3rd and Lincoln downtown to Park Ave. in Oak Grove.

IMPORTANT UPDATE (August 11, 2015):
The video includes the statement that the trip time when the line opens will be 17 minutes. I have learned that this is incorrect. During the first preview ride, 17 minutes was announced as our trip time, but in fact we had skipped many platforms. It was not an official statement of the final schedule. I have confirmed with TriMet that when the line opens, Park Ave. to PSU will be approx. 25 minutes, including all station dwell times.

TriMet Unveils All-Electric Test Bus

TriMet held a press event today to unveil an all-electric bus.

The bus is on loan to the agency by the manufacturer, BYD Motors, for testing and demonstration purposes for the next two weeks.

I attended the event today, took a short demo ride, and interviewed TriMet and BYD representatives for this video.

The bus will be tested on a variety of routes with varying topography, and the public is invited to take free rides and give feedback. TriMet will be tweeting the routes served by the test bus.

You can also view TriMet’s press release here:

(It should be noted that the press release refers to 24hrs of operation. I asked for clarification on this and what they mean is that the bus can meet a standard daily duty cycle on most routes with a single charge – not 24hrs of continuous operation.)

Your Questions For Neil, “Round 5”, Part 4 – Potpourri

And now, the final segment of our video interview with TriMet’s Neil McFarlane. This episode, “Potpourri”, featuring a variety of your questions.

Topics include:

  • Bikes on MAX cars – are there ways to add capacity?
  • Bike parking and bikeshare at MAX stations
  • TriMet’s take on carbon emissions – what will it take to get to net zero emissions?
  • Hybrid buses, past present and future, and electric buses
  • Weight of buses, number of wheels, and damage to roads
  • The new e-fare system (announced officially just before we recorded the interview)
  • Equity in the fare payment system, especially for cash-only users

Thanks once again to the Portland Opera for tolerating the mayhem of our intrepid video crew in their conference room.

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