Archive | Bus

Completing my Personal “Tilikum Grand Slam”

I’ll admit I had a head start. I enjoyed preview rides on both MAX and Streetcar.

During yesterday’s opening festivities, I had the chance to cross both on MAX and on foot.

And today I cycled east across our wonderful new bridge, and then made the return journey with my bike on the front of a #9 TriMet bus, completing the cycle of all the modes allowed!

[For the record I plan to neither skateboard nor rollerblade across the bridge.]

Rethinking bus service in Gresham and East County

This past week, TriMet released its first draft proposal for improved bus service in East County (essentially, anything east of Interstate 205 and north of Mt. Scott).  Like the recently similar proposal for the SW Metro area, the new Eastside Plan is an effort being done in parallel with a rapid transit project (the Powell/Division BRT), but does not include that project itself; instead it focuses on (mostly) non-capital improvements to bus service:  new routes, re-routings, and improvements to frequency and/or span of service.  (A few proposed changes require new streets be completed).

A map and brief description is here:

And as Bike Portland reports, one of the proposed changes will soon come to fruition:  The 71 between Lents and Parkrose via 122nd, will become a frequent service route once Portland completes some improvements.    (It appears that this line will be disconnected from the western leg of the 71 at Parkrose; whether that will be joined with another line or not, I do not know).

Anyway, on to the details, and my comments, after the jump:

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More Canadian Double Talls!

Ron Swaren is a regular reader and frequent commenter on Portland Transport

Regional Edmonton, Alberta transit agency Strathcona County Transit purchased 14 double decker buses in 2013 for the Sherwood Park to downtown Edmonton route of approximately 8 miles.

These are the familiar design used in other Canadian cities, the Alexander Dennis Enviro 500, with base manufactured in Scotland, but which for the Snohomish County (WA) agency were completed in California. These are also in service in Ottawa, Victoria and Kelowna, BC.

The 14 double-decker buses were jointly funded through Strathcona County’s Transit reserve ($3.485 M) and the Alberta government’s Basic Municipal Transportation grant ($2.885 M). Edmonton Transit System (I think) was the other financial partner. These buses usually cost $800,000 each—so that would be about $11 million.

According to the county, the buses allow for 37 per cent more seating capacity, 21 per cent more total passenger capacity and are five to 17 per cent more cost effective over the lifetime of the bus.

The buses, which were tested and compared to several other options — including articulated buses, highway buses and conventional buses — will be fully accessible with seating for 80 passengers, according to Strathcona Transit.

Community Transit has claimed as many as 100-110 riders on their similar design ( in the caffeinated Seattle area, hence the nickname “Double Tall.”)

Al Moore, a Strathcona Transit trainer and operator, was interviewed by a local broadcasting company in the accompanying video.

Making BRT faster

No, I’m not talking about travel speeds.  As Portland currently has no BRT, there’s nothing to make faster (other than existing local bus service, over which any decent BRT would be an improvement).

Instead, I’m talking about rolling out BRT faster.

Right now, Portland has two BRT (or potential BRT) projects that have advanced passed the line-on-a-map-in-a-planning-document phase:  The Southwest Corridor, and the Powell/Division project.  (There’s also the Fourth Plain BRT in Vancouver, being planned and built by C-TRAN).

A few other ideas have been discussed in significant detail; probably the most prominent of these a proposed BRT line along TV Highway between Beaverton and Forest Grove (or at least Hillsboro).  TV Highway has been the subject of a corridor study  which included BRT as a recommendation (and it’s been on numerous planning maps since), but there is no project to actually build out BRT in the 57 corridor.

Powell/Division’s project timeline calls for it to begin service in 2020.  A firm timeline for the SWC doesn’t exist yet–the start of the DEIS phase has been delayed–but given the scope of the project, we’re looking probably at a decade or more before service opens.  Major capital projects, particularly those that seek Federal funding, simply have long lead times.

But Portland transit riders can benefit from improved bus service today.  (Improved rail service as well, but this article is focused on the bus system).

There’s probably not much to be done about big capital projects–the politics and red tape involved is not likely to go away.  But are there ways to bring BRT on board without large capital outlays?

Some thoughts, after the jump.

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