Archive | I-205/Mall Light Rail

Buses to return to transit mall; Public input on routes sought.

As mentioned in the open thread, TriMet has now released it’s preliminary plans for returning buses to the Transit Mall. A series of public meetings will be held to gather input from riders. For full details, visit:

http://www.trimet.org/meetings/portlandmall/index.htm

A compilation of the comments from the open thread follows the break:

September 20, 2008 12:36 PM
The Smooth Operator Says:

The most recent edition of Trimet’s employee newsletter had the following announcement. I thought that it would be of interest to everyone here.

Possible May 2009
bus service changes

You may see Customer Service staff
handing out notices on your bus
this month. They’re alerting riders
to meetings about possible changes
to downtown bus service after the
Portland Mall reopens in May 2009.
This is one step in TriMet’s multi-
phase process to discuss and receive
comments on this topic. Additional
meetings will be held after a draft
plan is developed.
The meetings will take place at these
Portland locations:

9/30, 6-8 p.m.: Multnomah County
Building, 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd.

10/8, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Portland
State, 1825 SW Broadway, Room 296

10/8, 6-8 p.m.: Grant Park Baptist
Church, 2728 NE 34th Ave.

10/9, 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Boys and Girls
Club, 5250 NE Martin Luther King Jr.

Highlights of the changes under
consideration include:

Line 6 would no longer run in
downtown Portland, but would
extend to downtown Milwaukie
along the existing Line 70 route.

Line 10-NE 33rd Ave. would run
between NE Portland and Lloyd
Center with increased frequency.

Line 10-NE Harold would become a
cross-Mall route.

Line 14 would either return to the
Mall or become a cross-Mall route.

Lines 17, 35, 36 and 54/56 would use
Harrison both ways instead of Clay
and Market.

Other ways to submit comments:
Email comments@trimet.org or
phone 503-962-5806.

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September 20, 2008 7:44 PM
Jason Barbour Says:

Big thank you, Smooth Operator!

The meeting times/locations are nowhere to be found on the TriMet website (at least as far as I know), even though I first heard of them at the Portland Mall Citizens Advisory Committee meeting earlier this month. The only other place I’ve seen any notice of these at all is a printed notice at some downtown bus stops, but they only list two of the meetings (and different ones on each notice/route).

I even asked at Pioneer Square customer service on Sept. 16th (the first day I saw one of the notices)… they hadn’t heard anything about it!

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September 20, 2008 11:14 PM
Bob R. Says:

There was a preliminary presentation on this given to the last Streetcar CAC meeting as well… I don’t know when they plan to roll out their main public outreach process on this.

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September 21, 2008 11:19 AM
The Smooth Operator Says:

When I posted this earlier I didn’t have time for any comments, so I will now

Line 6 would no longer run in
downtown Portland, but would
extend to downtown Milwaukie
along the existing Line 70 route.

This makes me wonder if they plan on combining the two routes…

Line 10-NE 33rd Ave. would run
between NE Portland and Lloyd
Center with increased frequency.

Line 10-NE Harold would become a
cross-Mall route.

Line 14 would either return to the
Mall or become a cross-Mall route.

About time!! The second ave turn-a-round and using two bridges(Hawthorne in/Morrisson out) has been confusing for customers.

Lines 17, 35, 36 and 54/56 would use
Harrison both ways instead of Clay
and Market.

This seems to be adding to the downtown “transit grid” system. Trimet has shifted away from concentrating all of their onto the transit mall.

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September 21, 2008 12:16 PM
Jeff F Says:

The Smooth Operator Says:

This seems to be adding to the downtown “transit grid” system. Trimet has shifted away from concentrating all of their onto the transit mall.

This may be a result of a need to reduce the number of buses on 5th & 6th running in conjunction with MAX trains (and autos).

Passengers on Line 14 would certainly be happier with a change in the route; transfers from the few stops on 2nd Avenue to any other route are pretty bad, not to mention that the bus doesn’t get near the busier portions of the CBD.

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September 21, 2008 12:51 PM
Bob R. Says:

The unfortunate routing of the #14 on 2nd was always temporary during construction. The question now, as the #14 returns to normal crossings of the Hawthorne Bridge in both directions, is whether the downtown portion will be cross-mall, or will return to running up and down the mall.

Personally I’m leaning in favor of running on the mall… it seems like there’s little point in taking such a popular route all the way downtown and then having a huge portion of those users transfer to access the mall. The riders should definitely be surveyed, but I’m betting a majority of downtown arrivals would prefer a one-seat-ride along the mall.

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September 21, 2008 2:24 PM
Jeff F Says:

Bob R. Says:

The unfortunate routing of the #14 on 2nd was always temporary during construction. The question now, as the #14 returns to normal crossings of the Hawthorne Bridge in both directions, is whether the downtown portion will be cross-mall, or will return to running up and down the mall.

Define “always”. From an operational standpoint, there have been some planners who like it just the way it is.

The problem with running the 14 down the Mall is this: http://trimet.org/schedules/w/t1014_1.htm

That’s a LOT of trips every day, which means a lot of buses adding to the mix on the Transit Mall. Running it across the Mall allows better transfers without all the extra traffic.

I’m not saying that’s the way it will happen, or that it’s the best solution for passengers, but it can’t be ignored, either.

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September 21, 2008 2:52 PM
Bob R. Says:

Define “always”.

Well, I’m going from what TriMet staffers have said at various meetings, from the Mall CAC prior to relocation, to the last presentation at the streetcar CAC.

There may indeed be planners within TriMet who like the #14 as it is today, but the official line has always been that this is a temporary relocation, and that TriMet doesn’t like running it on the Morrison any more than the passengers do, and that it will definitely return to a Hawthorne-bridge-only route and the only question remaining is whether to have a mall alignment or a cross-mall alignment downtown.

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September 21, 2008 6:54 PM
al m Says:

This makes me wonder if they plan on combining the two routes…

I’m sure the 70 riders would love that!

I used to love that route and drove it many sign ups when I used to work at Center street.

Trimet should publish a book:

“How to ruin a good route in one easy step”

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September 25, 2008 12:18 AM
Jason Barbour Says:

TriMet just posted notices of the meetings on the main .org website and the Portland Mall website as well. Finally there’s official online notification of the meetings!

And, there’s information on the changes they’re considering making.

TSO: This makes me wonder if they plan on combining the two routes…
Al: I’m sure the 70 riders would love that!
That’s exactly what they’re considering! And what’s now line 70 would go Frequent Service no less! (IMO: that’s nice, but what about 76? 70 is nowhere on the list of routes for frequent service, at least as of the FY 08 TIP. I never heard whether or not the FY 09 TIP has been finalized or published.)

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September 25, 2008 12:49 AM
Matthew Says:

The #70 is pretty close to a frequent service route already, it just needs a few more buses in the evenings/weekends, (it already runs 4 times an hour in the midday.) And while yes, they should do the #76 first, if it isn’t going to cost very much to make the #70 into part of 6 and therefore a frequent service route, then I really don’t see a reason not to… But even if it wasn’t frequent service, it is a great idea, people have been complaining about lack of North/South lines that don’t go into downtown, and here is one…

My feeling about the #14, is that it should take over the downtown portion of the #6, i.e. run up to Goose Hollow and back. With the frequency of that bus, single seat rides into the mall isn’t all that important because the transfer times in both directions would be very short, and running to Goose Hollow would make crosstown, (i.e. West to East) travel realistic… (Neither of the options presented are that.)

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September 25, 2008 9:13 AM
al m Says:

Why don’t they just put a streetcar on the entire six line and leave the 70 alone.

FFGA Party

It was party time on Tuesday at FTA Administrator James Simpson was in town to sign the Full Funding Grant Agreement for the Green Line Light Rail (I-205 and Transit Mall). A party tent was erected at the end of the construction zone.

DSCN0727

More after the break…

DSCN0729

Heavy duty transportation funding clout: Congressman Peter DeFazio, chair of the surface transportation committee; FTA Administrator Simpson and Congressman Earl Blumenaur, now of the ways and means committee (and that’s Senator Gordon Smith behind the pole to the left).

Brick Update

Update: 1/25/07

The bricks rated coverage in Today’s O.

Original Post: 1/15/07

A few months back, at the intersection of 6th & Taylor, TriMet installed some new sand-set pavers as a test for potentially using them in the Transit Mall reconstruction. A reader recently queried me on whether I knew how the test was going, and I forwarded the question on to TriMet. Here’s the response:

The installation at 6th & Taylor, as expected, has been doing very well. This ‘mock-up’ of the brick paver system was installed this past July so that bus and other traffic could interact with the system over time and through a variety of weather conditions.

Over this period we’ve had the opportunity to test how the design held up to heavy axle loading by buses, impacts to the system’s stability by underground utility work, and ability to affect repairs and maintenance within a functioning transit street. Additionally, the design has been evaluated by a host of public entities during this testing period.

While the brick paver system has performed admirably, we’ve already determined several modest adjustments that respond to recommendations for improving pedestrian movements, and to facilitate the actual construction of the Mall’s brick intersections. Working with the manufacturer the brick paver will reduce ‘bumpiness’ by using a tighter paver joint and reducing the paver’s edge chamfer.

Additionally, the slip-resistance of the pavers has been verified by an independent testing agency and exceeds the City’s and Federal recommendations. Another mock-up of the intersection’s pixilated circle led to using a third colored paver for improved visual clarity.

The mocked-up intersection will continued to be monitored until the actual Mall construction, but its clear that the new system will be much safer for all users of the Mall, more durable, easier to maintain, and aesthetically pleasing urban design treatment. The project intends to install this new system in the Central Mall, on 6th & 5th Avenues, south of Burnside to Market Street.

Transit Mall Plans: A new pain in the S?

Frequently in comments on this blog, I’ve stressed the importance of actually going to meetings. It appears I should have heeded my own advice: Although I’ve attended the vast majority of meetings regarding the Transit Mall light rail project, my work and travel schedules have largely required me to take a break since September.

I was just going over the minutes of the September CAC (Citizens Advisory Committee) meeting, and discovered something interesting: The MAX Green Line alignment into Old Town is being rerouted.

[Updated: Added map images for clarity]

(More after the flip)

Due to concerns about traffic flow, property condemnation, and the preservation of a historic structure, the alignment of MAX as it would enter the Union Station area from the Steel Bridge has been changed. Instead of a direct ramp, it is now planned that MAX will go down from the Steel Bridge on Glisan, and make a tight right turn onto 3rd, and then a tight left turn back on to its original planned alignment.

This new “S” curve (subsequently approved by the CAC) would mitigate a number of issues, but for transit riders it will add two very tight turns in a row and an estimated 16 seconds of travel time each way.

Sixteen seconds may not sound like a lot, but this is in an area where MAX is already encumbered my multiple interlocks (the Rose Quarter area) and very low operating speeds. If you’ve ever been frustrated riding MAX as it proceeds slowly from Rose Quarter to Old Town, close your eyes and count to 16. That’s how much MORE delay you will experience on the new Green Line.

Although I support the Mall project, I have always expressed concerns about the bottleneck of the Steel Bridge and related interlocks. It now appears that we could spend millions and wind up with something which further degrades performance in that critical area.

Map of Original Route (approx.):

Map of New Route (approx.):

(The curve indicated by a question mark may not exist, it was difficult to tell from reading the minutes.)

I do not know if this new route is set in stone, and unfortunately much of this ignorance is my own fault for not keeping on top of issues raised at the public meetings. I strongly encourage anyone here with an opinion on the matter, especially regular riders who cross the Steel Bridge, to contact TriMet with your thoughts.

Here’s a link to the CAC meeting minutes page:
http://www.portlandmall.org/meetings/cac/index.htm

Here’s a link to the Transit Mall project feedback/comment form:
http://www.portlandmall.org/contact/feedback.htm