Saturday, February 20, 2016

Progress, Part 2

How should the TriMet system look? Here's my take.

Why does the 62-Murray Blvd turn from southbound Murray onto Scholls Ferry? Well, because less than ten years ago Murray ended just south of the intersection. But they built a bridge and connected Murray into Walnut and made them one road. Now it is a thoroughfare between Cedar Mill and Tigard.

Part of improving service is recognizing what has changed in the context of our preexisting bus lines and adapting them to actually serve the people in those areas. The reason TriMet is focusing their attention on the Westside (Hillsboro, Aloha, Beaverton) and the Southwest (Tigard, Sherwood, Tualatin, Lake Oswego, SW Portland) is because these areas are so inadequately served or their lines are so outdated that they don't follow the flow of passenger demand anymore. Some areas, like Bull Mountain, have thousands of people living in them (paying taxes to TriMet just like the rest of the city) and have not one bus line within walking distance. This, to me, is quite sad.

I am stoked that TriMet is starting to look at improving these areas. It's only fair to the people who are forced to give them their money. But as a person who sees mass transit as the backbone of a society with the potential to bring so many benefits to all residents, any improvements are welcomed, and if we can do anything to encourage more people to ride, then we should make that a reality.

TriMet's Plans

At, the people who are employed to make those planning decisions have begun laying out their vision of what the system of the future will look like. It's a work in progress, but I'm impressed by how aggressive they have been in retrofitting the outdated design. Their Westside plan is well-meaning but somewhat haphazard. As a resident of the area I know that it doesn't sufficiently answer all of the problems that we are facing around here, but it's a start. The Southwest plan, however, is very intriguing and is quite logically thought-out. You can read the Final Report here and review the map on Page 9 of that document. They have basically turned the current line layout on its head and replaced existing under-performing sections of lines with needed coverage of major roads and new areas.

Also, there are draft maps for the North/Central, Eastside, and Southeast sections. These are very insightful and reasonable, answering a lot of the issues that are glaring in those areas. (Most of what I cover relates to the Westside and Southwest, as I live in these areas and see firsthand how problematic the current designs are here. But I think their ideas about the other side of the river are, for the most part, entirely sufficient.)

I have been working on a system redesign for a year or so, particularly identifying areas of major need. I have analyzed their draft line-by-line, and am impressed to see that they have covered many of these same areas. It proves to me that they are on the same page as the rest of us as far as recognizing needs.

If you have comments, suggestions or ideas about their plans, you can weigh-in at by emailing at or taking the variety of surveys at the respective pages of the different parts of town.

My Plans

I had created an entirely new system plan on a website called Transitmix, which allowed users to use real maps to design their own transit system. Unfortunately, I lost access to that map because they went public and now require that you request that access. (I did request that access and haven't heard back from them.) However, I was so intrigued with the ideas TriMet made on their draft that I basically created a new system design integrating their plans with my additions or improvements to their plan.

Below is a line-by-line analysis of my proposed improvements to their plans. These descriptions will first explain TriMet's new vision for the line, then will explain my improvements to that plan. This is not an exhaustive list of their new ideas, because there are so many proposed changes that it would take weeks of writing to explain them all to you. So therefore, this list features highlights of my ideas and how they affect TriMet's. If there's a map, then that's a cue that I feel my suggestions here are of the utmost importance to the system.

(Please note: Obviously, the following maps are not real TriMet maps.)

4-Division/Fessenden Taking future BRT into account, buses can run between St Johns and SE 92nd & Division, connecting to the local 82-Powell Blvd which would run on Powell between 92nd and Gresham TC. I have heard talks of TriMet splitting the 4 into two separate lines, which would be useful especially if BRT is not in service down Powell & Division.

9-Powell Blvd Line 9 would be discontinued if BRT service goes into effect. Service west of 92nd would be served by BRT; service east of 92nd would be served by Line 82.

12-Barbur/Sandy Blvd When MAX Red Line breaks, there is no fixed transit service to Portland International Airport. Before the Red Line went to PDX, Line 12 turned north on I-205 and then onto Airport Way to serve it. As the 12 no longer goes to Gresham, 12 buses should continue through Parkrose/Sumner TC to PDX via I-205 and Airport Way. Buses could layover at Parkrose each way so that no layover would be required at PDX.

14-Hawthorne/122nd Line 71 is finally scheduled to be split into two routes. Line 14 is very short, so it makes sense to combine the 122nd section with Line 14 and make it one line, with 15 minute service every day of the week. Line 14 would run between Portland City Center and Parkrose/Sumner TC via Hawthorne, 50th, Foster, Lents MAX Station, 122nd, and Prescott.

16-Front Ave/St Helens Rd Buses would continue through Portland City Center via 5th and 6th Avenues and across the Harbor Structure and the Tillikum Crossing, Bridge of the People to OMSI or even Center Garage.

19-Woodstock Service can be enhanced on the Woodstock/Glisan line if the line if split into two lines. Line 19 would run between Portland City Center and Happy Valley via the Ross Island Bridge, Powell, Milwaukie Ave, Bybee, 28th/32nd, Woodstock, 52nd, Duke, 82nd, Flavel, Mt Scott, 152nd, and 157th. Rush hour service would provide extra trips between City Center and 112th & Mt Scott. The old Line 157 used to serve the heart of Happy Valley, but nobody rode it. Imagine having a 20-minute bus running service direct to Downtown Portland via the Flavel St MAX Station. Do you think people would ride it then?

23-San Rafael/148th Line 23 would run between Gateway TC and SE Powell & 148th via 102nd, Halsey/Weidler, 111th, Stanton, 122nd, San Rafael, 132nd, Sacramento, and 148th. The line would turn around traveling southbound on 148th to Powell, left Powell, right 145th, right Division, and left to northbound 148th. It would only layover at Gateway. 148th between Sacramento and Sandy would no longer be served. The bus could run every 35-40 minutes weekdays, but the bus could also run Saturday. (Note that TriMet is proposing making Lines 22 and 23 into a loop, with a new line on 148th. This assumes an extension of Fremont St to 148th. I think my plan is more reasonable because it allows the flexibility to manage each line separately and not have to wait for the City of Portland to do their part.)

25-Glisan Service can be enhanced on the Woodstock/Glisan line if the line is split into two lines. Line 25 would run between Portland City Center and Troutdale via Burnside/Couch, Sandy, Glisan, 99th, Gateway TC, Pacific, 102nd, Glisan, Cherry Park, and 257th/Graham, terminating at 1100 Block NW Frontage Rd with the 77. Rush hour service would provide extra trips between City Center and Gateway TC. Line 25 service on 181st and the Rockwood turnaround would be discontinued. This would eliminate the headache of there being two lines serving Glisan and would also provide much needed extra service to Troutdale. TriMet has proposed having Line 25 turn right off Cherry Park onto 257th to end at the MHCC BRT terminus. There is logic to that, but not a ton of benefits. The west terminus could be across the Harbor Structure and Tillikum Crossing, Bridge of the People at OMSI or even Center Garage.

36-South Shore Line 36 would run between Lake Oswego and King City via State, McVey, South Shore, Lakeview, Bryant, Jean, Boones Ferry, Tualatin P&R, 72nd, and Durham (TriMet's plan). Rush hour service would serve Portland City Center as Line 35 for the purpose of clarity, simplicity, and flexibility so that line 37 could also have City Center trips (My plan). Service on Pilkington, Childs, 65th, and McVey will be discontinued within the next year.

37-Lake Grove Line 37 would run between Lake Oswego, and Tualatin via Country Club, Boones Ferry, Tualatin P&R, Bridgeport, Boones Ferry, Tualatin WES station and Mohawk P&R. TriMet wants to have it turn down Kruse Way and follow mostly the same route as their proposed Line 38 changes to Tigard TC. To me this is redundant and the straight shot from Lake Oswego to Boones Ferry and Tualatin should be maintained. It would also allow extra connections between all the main Tualatin destination. I do not believe that the extension to Progress Ridge should be provided by Line 37; it should be covered by Line 62. Service to Portland City Center could be provided by continuing the bus as Line 35.

40-Bull Mountain Line 40 would run between Tigard TC and Progress Ridge via Hwy 99W, Bull Mountain Rd, Roy Rogers, and Scholls Ferry. Service would run all week, providing that service to those tens of thousands of people who live up on Bull Mountain.

41-Beef Bend Line 41 would run between King City and Sherwood via Beef Bend, Elsner, Roy Rogers, Langer Dr, and Sherwood Blvd. Layovers would be at the southbound stop on Pacific Hwy at Durham. Service would be 30 minutes during peak hours and 60-70 during non-peak hours, weekday only.


42-Brookwood/229th Line 42 would run between Hillsboro Central TC and Hillsboro Stadium/Ron Tonkin Field via Baseline/Oak, 7th, Maple, 13th, River Rd, Davis, Brookwood, Baseline, 231st, Orenco Station, 229th, Bennett, 235th, and Evergreen. Layovers would be at Hillsboro TC only. This would create one of two major north/south connections while serving the South Hillsboro area, maintaining service to 231st and providing better access to the sports complex.

46-Evergreen Line 46 would run between Hillsboro Central TC and PCC-Rock Creek via 1st, Glencoe, Evergreen, 15th, Griffin Oaks. 25th, Cornell, FairPlex P&R, Veterans, Brookwood, Hillsboro Library, Evergreen, 185th, Bronson, 174th, Laidlaw, Kaiser, and Springville. Service would be weekdays and Saturdays with extra peak hour service between FairPlex and PCC.

47-Baseline/Main Line 47 would run between Hillsboro Central TC and Willow Creek/SW 185th Ave TC via 10th, Main, and Baseline. TriMet proposes that the line run all the way to Beaverton TC via Jenkins, Cedar Hills Blvd and Center. However, Line 62 and my proposed Line 49 cover all the area on this section that is necessary to be served by a bus.

49-Cornelius Pass Rd This is my system's crowning jewel. TriMet seems to always shy away from putting a bus line down Cornelius Pass, which is ridiculous since of all the roads in the city it is one that needs it the most (I know because I live rather close to it). Line 49 would run from PCC-Rock Creek to Willow Creek/SW 185th Ave TC via 185th, West Union, Cornelius Pass, Amberwood, 206th, Quatama MAX Station, Quatama Rd, Cornelius Pass, TV Hwy, 209th, Kinnaman, Farmington, 170th, and Baseline. Rush hour service would be provided to the AmberGlen area where the old 49s-Quatama used to run. The line is adaptable to serve the future extension of Cornelius Pass south of TV Hwy. Due to TriMet's plan to run Line 67 down 170th, it could run instead to Millikan Way MAX Station via Farmington, 160th, and Millikan.

56-Scholls Ferry Rd TriMet has called for Line 56 to go to the Oregon Zoo instead of Portland City Center, serving Scholls Ferry all the way to Sylvan. I like this. They also call for extending it past Washington Square to the new South Cooper Mountain community past Roy Rogers Rd. I agree about extending it past the mall, and I think that South Cooper Mountain is a logical eventual terminus, but I think that Progress Ridge is where it should aim until the community actually exists. Therefore, Line 56 would run from the Oregon Zoo to Progress Ridge via Canyon Ln, Westgate, Sylvan, Scholls Ferry, Hall, Eliander, Washington Square, Scholls Ferry, Murray, Barrows, and Horizon.

59-Walker Rd Line 59 would run from Beaverton TC to Willow Creek/SW 185th Ave TC via Center, Hall, Cedar Hills Blvd, Walker Rd, and 185th. TriMet has it going past 185th to AmberGlen, but I think the current western routing is sufficient enough. No service to Park Way, because frankly, those people had their chance for a ridiculously convenient bus line but never used it.

60-West Union Line 60 would run between Sunset TC and PCC-Rock Creek via Barnes, Saltzman, Thompson, West Union, and 185th. This would provide a very helpful weekday thoroughfare for the Northwest neighborhoods to channel straight to Sunset TC. TriMet seems to think that everybody living in Bethany works in Hillsboro. Right. We need a straight shot from Bethany to Sunset TC. It only makes sense for the tens of thousands of people living in those communities.

62-Murray Blvd Line 62 would run between Sunset TC and Tigard TC via Barnes, Cornell, Murray, Jenkins, Hocken, Millikan Way, Murray, Walnut, Hwy 99W, and Main. With the 56 going through to Progress Ridge, and the fact that Murray and Walnut now serve as a straight shot between Tigard and Cedar Mill, the same bus should serve both. Also, the 62 still serving Jenkins makes any need for the Baseline bus running all the way down Jenkins unnecessary.

67-Bethany/155th No, the second '5' isn't a typo. TriMet is making the most drastic extension to this line, and their idea is probably the most logical option. Line 67 would run between PCC Rock Creek and Tigard TC via Springville, Kaiser, Bethany, Cornell, 158th, Merlo Rd, 170th, Hart, 155th, Beard, Brockman, 125th, Scholls Ferry, 121st, Gaarde, McDonald, and Hall. Most of this is TriMet's plan, but I think that it makes so much more sense for the Gaarde line to serve McDonald as well. This would put a lot of service on Hall Blvd, but it would free up Hwy. 99 from having these lines so both the Line 40-Bull Mountain and TriMet's future line to SW 124th and the new Basalt Creek community could travel with Line 94 without too much redundancy.

68-Marquam Hill/Collins Cir Line 68 should run all day weekdays. As a PSU alumnus, I should know. The bus should run every half hour up the hill and back down again, stopping at PSU on 6th Ave at Clay AND Mill. I still don't know why it only stops only at Clay; that's not even within the PSU boundary.

80-Kane/Troutdale & 81-Kane/257th These two lines run one bus each all day long. Each bus leaves Gresham, heads to Troutdale, and comes back to Gresham as the same line. If the bus came back to Gresham as the other line, then you would basically be doubling the service on the segments north of Stark. As an example, 80/34 leaves Gresham as "80 to Troutdale," reaches Glen Otto Park where it turns around, and heads back to Gresham as "81 to Gresham TC." 80/35 would do the opposite, one half hour later.

82-Powell Blvd Line 82 would run between SE 82nd & Division and Gresham Central TC via 82nd and Powell. It would be a Frequent Service line to match current frequency on the 9. This figures in the BRT running on Powell west of 82nd and on Division east of it. Certain rush-hour Line 4 buses could continue to Gresham as Line 82. (The line number should be changed to reflect the fact that the former main section, east of 82nd, isn't served by it anymore.)

91-TV Hwy Express There used to be an express bus that ran down TV Hwy, but TriMet decided that due to the proximity of the MAX Blue Line, it was no longer needed. This makes me laugh. So, I propose that this express bus be put back into service again. Line 91 would run between Portland City Center and Forest Grove, stopping at Sylvan, Canyon & 87th and Broadway, TV Hwy & 160th, 185th, 198th, Brookwood, and 13th/River Rd, Hillsboro Central TC, Baseline & 17th, Adair/Baseline & 14th in Cornelius, and a few stops in Forest Grove.

92-South Beaverton Express Line 92 would run between Portland City Center and Progress Ridge via Barbur, Multnomah, Oleson, Hall, Scholls Ferry, Progress Park & Ride, Conestoga, 125th, Brockman, Murray, Teal, and Horizon. Buses would serve both directions on Teal Blvd. TriMet proposes to run Line 92 straight down Scholls Ferry, bypassing Brockman in favor of Line 67. This does all those express commuters no good, as most of the riders heading downtown currently board there anyway. So, I propose to take the 92 on its current alignment between Murray and Progress.

96-Tualatin/I-5 There would be no routing changes to Line 96, but buses should run seven days a week, as there is no direct connection between Portland and Tualatin.

154-Willamette/Clackamas Heights Line 154 would run between Tualatin P&R and Clackamas Heights via Lower Boones Ferry, Nyberg, 65th, Borland, Willamette Falls, I-205, Oregon City TC, Abernethy, and Holcomb. This would provide an hourly weekday connection between the deep southeast and the deep southwest. Remember, Borland Rd is within the TriMet boundary.

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