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New info on the Southwest Corridor options

Lately, the Powell/Division project has been getting much of the press, with significant public outreach in advance of next week’s Steering Committee meeting.  But the Southwest Corridor project–a project that is on a far longer timetable–has been making some advances as well.   This past week, three new documents were published by the project team:

While there are many details to be worked out, one of the key sets of decisions to be made–and this may not be made for a while, as the DEIS process may include multiple options for analysis–are the mode (BRT or light rail) and the various tunneling options.

More after the jump.

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Daylight Savings Open Thread

Some of the latest happening in Portland-area transportation and land use.

  • As mentioned last time, the Powell/Division Steering Committee further narrows down the project alignment next Wednesday.  The preferred alignment seems to be Tilikum to 12th to Powell to 82nd to Division to Hogan to Stark to Kane to MHCC.  Along this stretch, most of the route could support an exclusive ROW–the most important exception between Powell between 26th and Cesar Chavez.  (See here and especially here and here).
  • Speaking of Powell, ODOT is launching a safety project on the portion of Powell Boulevard east of I-205.
  • Some new information on the Southwest Corridor, including a few refined cost estimates for various options.   See here, here, and here.
  • Several bits of news from TriMet:  A proposed 2016 budget.  Bluetooth low-energy beacons at MAX stations to provide real-time arrival data.  Start of work on the new e-fare system, scheduled to come online in 2017.  And, as of the start of March, your transfer is now good for 2 1/2 hours.
  • The Oregon Legislature is considering expanding photo-radar to include fixed installations not overseen by an officer.  Currently, Oregon law permitting photo radar requires a sworn police officer be present, even though the system is entirely automatic and the cop just sits there and reads the newspaper.  :)
  • The Clackamas County Commission has approved over $9M in tax breaks for a developer looking to build near the New Hope church across the freeway from Clackamas Town Center.

Rose Bowl 2015 Open Thread

Happy New Year!  There’s a little football game happening next week.  Of course, yours truly is an Oregon State alum, so I’m not quite as excited about that as some of you…

  • More public outreach on the Powell/Division project, as Metro asks southeast residents about safety.
  • TriMet is touting a 3.2% increase in ridership last fall (compared to Fall 2013), with a 6.3% increase on the bus system.  (MAX saw a small decline; the system was down for several days due to the switch upgrade project–in addition to a few unplanned disruptions).
  • Vox takes a look at how several big-city downtowns in the US were transformed by freeway construction.
  • OregonLive.com maps pedestrian and bicyclist deaths in the Metro area from 2008-2012.

Could Bus Multiple Units (BMU)s bridge the bus-rail divide?

Here at Portland Transport, we (both editors and commenters) frequently like to engage in a bit of technical speculation, hoping for future improvements that will allow transit agencies to do more with less.  There’s lots of talk around here about electric buses, of driverless vehicles, of different vehicle configurations, and even more exotic concepts like Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) and bus/train hybrids.   And it’s a tradition ’round these parts to announce groundbreaking new transit technologies the day following March 31st.  :)

We also discuss the merits of bus vs rail a lot, and the various types thereof:  Local bus vs various grades of Bus Rapid Transit.  Streetcar vs light rail vs heavy rail (high-platform long-consist trains found in many large-city subway systems) vs commuter rail.  Some of these debates can get spirited.

Today, I’m going to discuss some utterly speculative technology that might help bridge the operational gap between large rubber-tired passenger-hauling vehicles running on paved roads (“bus”) and steel-wheeled vehicles running on steel rails.  Since I’m not aware of any existing, well-used name for the technology I’m about to discuss, I shall call it a Bus Multiple Unit (BMU).

More after the jump:

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