Tag: TriMet

Better Red work is Reshaping Upper Gateway Green

Update – Starting this week, pedestrians and bicyclists have a new detour when traveling on the I205 Multi-use Path. Construction crews erected a chainlink fence and laid new asphalt, creating a short loop around the active construction zone. Development plans for the path include a slight pavement diversion around support structures holding up the new overhead TriMet Red Line track. This temporary “C” shaped I205 Multi-use Path turnout should remain in place while the Redline Bridge construction is underway. Use caution in the Gateway Green area as this pathway shares space with construction vehicles and workers.


Original article published February 22nd, 2022

In September 2021, TriMet contractors closed the south end of the Gateway Green bike park as part of a light-rail expansion project. The work connects a second track leading from the airport to the Gateway Transit Center for MAX Red Line service. This project will also add a new entry point for the park with several updated amenities. The closure will continue through construction, ending in late 2024.

Rendering curtesy of TriMet and subject to change

Dubbed A Better Red, the project extends the MAX Red Line west to serve ten more stations and adds an extra track to single-track portions of the rail network, allowing for simultaneous bidirectional travel. The rail line expansion at the Portland International Airport can occur directly adjacent to the existing track. However, the land near the Gateway Transit Center is more constrained.

Due to the current track’s proximity to I205, TriMet needed a new path for the second track. The solution chosen by planners sends southbound light-rail cars over the northbound tracks and through the Gateway Green Park. Consequentially, TriMet needs to construct two overpasses. One will take the Red Line above the northbound tracks and the I205 Multi-use bike and pedestrian path. Then another overpass bridge will cross I84, leading into the Transit Center.

Rendering curtesy of TriMet and subject to change

The current I205 Multi-use trail will need to reroute slightly between bridge supports as it travels underneath the new Red Line tracks. That bridge work is underway with an expected path closure during overhead bridge installation work.

Rendering curtesy of TriMet and subject to change

Although the work inside the park is extensive, only two trails and the south entrance to the park are off-limits to visitors. Currently, construction material and equipment block the upper sections of Linda’s Line trail and Rebar Ridge trail. However, crews will extend both courses into a new high-point trailhead when the project completes. Parkgoers will access that amenity from a paved south entry plaza. Thanks to a pathway created alongside the Red Line’s I84 crossing, the south entry to Gateway Green will become the predominant entry point to the park.

When complete, Gateway Green will be more accessible to all types of users while enhancing the MAX service to the airport. The majority of the park will remain open during construction. Visitors should anticipate seeing construction-related activities around the property with the occasional detour along the I205 Multi-use Path.

SE 82nd and Division Bus Stop Rebuild

Update – Crews have partially completed the bus stop reconstruction on SE Division Street at SE 82nd Avenue. Their progress reveals a design change for this station that will route bike riders behind the bus shelter instead of keeping bikes on the roadway. In this design, pedestrians will need to cross the raised bike lane to enter the bus platform.

Project documents from 2019 indicated that this location would implement a Pedestrian Bypass Station design, but work completed to date suggests workers are creating an Island Station. Consequently, crews are relocating the crosswalk signal currently in the middle of the future bicycle path. Despite this station’s changes, designers have maintained the sidewalk cutout to support replacement street trees near the bank building.

The final design will become apparent within the next few weeks as concrete work completes. As one of the last stations constructed in the Division Transit Project, it signals the imminent arrival of faster bus service. Look for TriMet FX™ (Frequent Express) service to begin in September 2022.


Original article published March 5th, 2022

This week, crews working on the Division Transit Project closed off traffic lanes on 82nd Avenue and SE Division Street as they demolished the intersection’s northwest corner. Workers removed two trees, a Trimet number 2 bus stop, and the drive-through exit driveway at Bank of the West. Soon TriMet will construct a new rapid bus station at this site and plant two new trees behind the bus shelter.

Bank of the West has two entry points to the financial institution’s parking lot, one on SE 82nd Avenue and another on SE Division Street. When the bank reworks their parking lot, drive-through ATM users will turn left, head back into the parking lot, and use either of the two remaining exits. Previously, users of the drive-through ATM could turn right and drive out onto Division through a third exit-only driveway. The longer articulated busses used in the Division Transit Project require more curbside space. Consequently, TriMet shifted the bus platform further west, blocking the drive-through exit path.

TriMet design plan for Division Transit Project. X marks removed trees and O indicates added trees.

This corner has ample sidewalk area, allowing TriMet to use its Pedestrian Bypass Station design. In that platform configuration, people walking past the stop have clear space to travel behind the waiting bus riders at the shelter. Additionally, this design allows bicyclists to ride past a parked bus in a separate lane to the left of the stop.

TriMet Pedestrian Bypass Station design

This latest TriMet work is one of the few reaming reconfigurations needed before the Division Transit Project begins service. Some limited use of the new bus stops will start in April, with full rapid bus service commencing later this year. A temporary number 2 bus stop is located less than 300 feet to the west form the construction site. Use cautions near this intersection and expect some delays over the next month.

Driver Shortage Forces Reduced Bus Service

Starting January 9th, TriMet will reduce service on 20 bus lines due to a historic operator shortage. Two of the affected lines will have an impact on Montavilla riders. Bus line 77 (Broadway/Halsey) and bus line 15 (Belmont/NW 23rd) will see a 9% reduction in service, similar to the April 2020 temporary reductions in response to the pandemic.

Last week, TriMet announced the need for a temporary reduction in service, citing staffing shortages and a lack of applicants as the cause. In the announcement, TriMet staff expressed the organization’s regret in taking these measures. “We apologize to our riders as we would much rather be expanding service, but by taking this step, we increase the schedule reliability, so riders experience less canceled or late buses.” They explain that employee attrition exceeded the number of qualified applicants for open positions over the last year. They do not expect that to change before it impacts system reliability.

By making strategic reductions to service, TriMet hopes to maintain a reliable transit system focused on sustaining service in areas with high concentrations of people with low incomes and communities of color. They will maintain service levels for all routes providing connections to schools, health care providers, and service centers.

Changes are restricted to weekday bus service, with most lines following pre-pandemic service levels on Saturdays. Other reductions to weekend bus, MAX, and WES service made in April 2020 remain in effect. Buses will arrive at 15 minutes intervals during the busiest travel times on designated Frequent Service Lines.

TriMet cannot say when service levels will return to normal as it is dependent on filling open positions. However, they increased bus operator starting pay to $21.36 per hour and provided a $2,500 hiring bonus to incentivize new applicants. Riders are encouraged to visit trimet.org after January 8th to see how the service reductions will affect their trip.

Temporary Bus Platform Survey

In August 2020, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) began installing temporary bus platforms in Montavilla. In partnership with TriMet, they deployed two types of temporary platforms across Portland. Crews installed five asphalt-style platforms on Stark and Washington Streets east of 80th Ave. PBOT used rubber-style platforms in the central city area. The bureau is currently evaluating the trial program and is seeking user feedback through an online survey.

Temporary platforms enable PBOT to make affordable changes on city streets faster than traditional methods. The early implementations focused on transit stops, making areas less congested to walk, bike, and use TriMet. The platform designs vary to meet different needs, depending upon the location. The rubber modular temporary bus stop platform allows bikes to ride up and over the platform, permitting cyclists to continue past the stop even when in use. The curb height platform extends across the parking lane, allowing buses to stop in the traffic lane. The asphalt temporary platform does not include a space for bikes to ride through the stop but enables the bus to pick up passengers without completely pulling over to the curb. Both designs provide riders with more room away from the sidewalk while waiting for the bus.

PBOT temporary bus platforms map

A technical evaluation is also underway to examine how staff interact with these new types of infrastructure. PBOT is studying installation and maintenance needs to capture lessons learned from those who install, maintain, and interact with the platforms. Additionally, bus operators have an opportunity to provide their perspective on the efficacy of the platform design and use.

Users interested in sharing opinions about these temporary installations are encouraged to take the PBOT survey before January 3, 2022. Researchers plan to engage with technical staff over the next few months. Anticipate the release of evaluation results and recommendations in mid-2022.

SE Division Turn-Lane Reconfigured

This month, construction crews began lane reconfiguration work on SE Division Street near SE 92nd Ave. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) will replace a continuous painted center turn-lane with physical separation and left turn controls. Portions of the center divider will transform into a raised median with street trees and pedestrian islands. This work is part of the Outer Division Safety Project and the Division Transit Project.

Out past 82nd Ave, SE Division Street features five lanes dedicated to automobiles traffic. Two lanes accommodate vehicles traveling westbound, and two are for eastbound traffic. The fifth lane is a multi-directional turn-lane used for short distances while executing a turn. PBOT determined that a significant number of crashes occurred to vehicles using the turn-lane. By adding a raised center median to SE Division, PBOT expects to reduce collisions between cars and produce safer pedestrian crosswalks.

Example of marked left turn space. Image courtesy of PBOT

Creating a raised median will change how drivers access businesses and side streets. The continuous divider will restrict left turns along the road except for designated areas. Drivers needing to access a location on the left side of the road may need to drive past their destination and execute a U-Turn at a marked left turn space. This configuration confines cross-traffic to specific locations and eliminates head-on collisions by cars using the turn-lane simultaneously.

Image courtesy of TriMet

Non-motorists will also benefit from the raised median. A lane-width divider will provide a mid-crossing island for pedestrians to safely wait for cars to stop. This protective space allows two shorter crossings and reduces the length of time both directions of traffic need to stop when yielding to foot traffic. Additionally, bicycle commuters will be less vulnerable to unexpected cross-traffic with the new configuration. The raised median does not resolve all bicycle collision issues. However, it will reduce those interactions to marked intersections where there should be better visibility.

Work on SE Division will continue until the Summer of 2022. Look for disruptions to normal traffic flow over the coming months as crews install the permeant median. Drivers and pedestrians should use extra caution in this area as people adjust to the new configuration.

TriMet Opens New SE Division Platform

Friday morning TriMet announced the opening of their new platform serving the Division Transit Project. This event celebrated the fifty-percent completion point for the Rapid Bus initiative. When finished, it promises to deliver fast transportation from Gresham to Downtown Portland along 15 miles of the number 2 bus line.

TriMet’s Interim General Manager, Sam Desue Jr., emphasized the project’s economic and equitable merits. “This project here is going to spur economic recovery from the Pandemic. It created over 1,400 jobs and added more than $138,000,000 in economic value in this corridor.” Desue continued to explain that seventy percent of the companies involved in construction were majority staffed by people of color and women.

Raimore Construction President Jeff Moreland speaking, TriMet Interim General Manager Sam Desue, Jr and Division Transit Project Director Michael Kiser left

Raimore Construction serves as the lead contractor on the Division Transit Project. Rainmore President Jeff Moreland Sr. spoke about the challenges of keeping the project moving during the Pandemic. He stressed the value of his company’s 20 year-long relationships with TriMet and the transportation agency’s support for disadvantaged businesses.

The Division Transit Project is on budget and achieving timely milestones on its way to the completion date in the Fall of 2022. Starting this Sunday, line 2 buses will begin using two of the completed stations for regular service. Both stations work differently than most in the transit system. They implement a shared bicycle and pedestrian design, diverting bike lanes over the raised platform.

Much of the Southern edge of Montavilla is actively under construction in support of this project. Beyond better service to TriMet riders, it has reconstructed large portions of the sidewalk and upgraded many adjacent street corners. The community will not feel the full benefit from TriMet’s investment for another year. However, the improvements on this often neglected road are already becoming noticeable.

New Division Bus Station at 85th

Concrete work is complete on the new bus platform along SE Division Street, east of 85th Ave. It is one of several enhanced bus stations designed for faster public transportation between the outer Southeast and Downtown. TriMet’s Division Transit Project is underway at many points along the busy street, creating new infrastructure improvements. 

Image courtesy TriMet

Over the next year, upgrades to bus stops along this route will facilitate faster passenger loading and reduced bus merging times. This station’s platform design features a raised curb for better floor alignment with new longer buses. The platform’s curb extends out from the sidewalk through the bike lane to meet the travel lane. This design allows the bus to stop in traffic, eliminating the need to merge when the vehicle begins moving again. Integrated ramps on both edges of the platform allow bikes to pass through the bus stop. Bicyclists will briefly ride at sidewalk level to pass over the platform. However, to avoid collisions with TriMet riders, bikes will yield to pedestrians while buses load passengers.

Image courtesy TriMet

Some property owners at this location had expressed concern over the new platform design. Construction at this location removed a driveway that once provided off-street parking from the property at 8525 SE Division Street. Despite the removal of the curb-cut, the property still maintains two access points on SE Division Street. TriMet representative Roberta Altstadt explained that this “project will not completely eliminate any property’s access to a public right of way.” General community benefits brought by this work outweigh sidewalk reconfiguration concerns. This project not only improves transit but also rebuilds large sections of sidewalk and street corners.

One of two remaining driveways for 8525 SE Division Street

The Division Transit Project will complete in 2022. Although a year away from full use, SE Division Street improvements are already apparent, providing this worn roadway a needed refresh. Transit projects at this scale can attract further development to the area and draw in more commerce. Look for continued construction along SE Division Street over the next eighteen months.

View from the bike lane

New Max Platform at Gateway Station

Last week, planners submitted Design Review request 21-022957 for upgrades at Gateway Transit Center. TriMet will construct a new station platform for the Max Red Line as part of the A Better Red project. The new platform will serve trains traveling from the Portland International Airport towards Portland’s City Center.

Aside from faster travel times for Red Line passengers, this project will bring improvements to the area. The new Max track over the Freeway will include a pedestrian and bicycle bridge to the Gateway Green park. The new platform will be two blocks away from the other stops at the station, requiring a connecting sidewalk along the back edge to the Park and Ride property. With improved lighting, increased activity, and fencing, the security at that parking lot could improve.

Pedestrian and bicycle bridge to the Gateway Green

Construction will begin this year and run through 2023. This transit project should be an exciting upgrade to local infrastructure with improved access to an isolated bike park. A more detailed timeline will take shape later this year as construction permits are submitted.

Looking from current Max platforms towards new Red Line stop

Renderings courtesy of TriMet

Bus Shelter’s Quick Glass Repair

Over the weekend, TriMet crews replaced a broken glass panel at the NE 82nd Ave and E Burnside bus stop shelter. The central panel was damaged, causing the bus shelter to closed temporarily. The replacement glass came from a surplus supply and was not cleaned before installation, making the replacement almost undetectable.

Located near the Walgreens store, this bus shelter recently received a digital sign upgrade. Fortunately, the new sign was not damaged by this recent incident, despite being near the broken panel. TriMet’s quick work completed in enough time that Monday morning commuters were unaware of the weekend’s damage.

Image by Weston Ruter

Cover image by Weston Ruter

Clearing Frozen Roads

Freezing rain, snow, and ice have shut down most of Portland this holiday weekend. Saturday saw near-empty streets and completely halted TriMet routes. However, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) crew are out today clearing roads, and TriMet is back to limited service.

To inform travelers about street clearing and de-icing efforts, PBOT created a live map of their activities. It displays the location of plows, salt trucks, and deicer vehicles on a map of Portland. The map also indicates what roads are a priority to treat or clear. This information will help drivers plan a trip that uses those priority roads. Knowing the last time a plow truck came through will help people select the safest travel window to venture out. Regardless of PBOT efforts, only drive if you have to, as the treated roads are not entirely safe.

Trimet Buses are moving along their snow routes, although a bit slower than usual. The winter weather enabled TriMet to use one of its newest addition to some Montavilla bus stops. The 13-inch ePaper display installed at select bus shelters informed riders of Saturday’s suspension of service. Now they are displaying updated schedules. If you plan to use TriMet to get where you are going, it is best to visit their website for the most accurate information about schedules and routes. Not too many bus shelters have ePaper digital displays yet.

The weather will warm by mid-week, melting the snow before too long. Many residents ventured out and enjoyed the winter weather, but not everyone appreciated the disruption. If possible, show some extra support to local businesses that had to close for the storm. They will need to make up for lost days of revenue during an already lean time.