PBOT reveals ‘Transit Plan’ progress

See how this planning may speed up and smooth out rides on public transit throughout outer East Portland …

In Montavilla, open house attendees get a look at the draft “Enhanced Transit Corridors Plan” prepared by the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

To unveil their draft “Enhanced Transit Corridors Plan”, the Portland Bureau of Transportation held an open house on February 19 at Montavilla United Methodist Church.

A dozen or more illustration boards were set up around the perimeter of the meeting hall summarizing the work that’s been done on the Plan, and summarizing the draft recommendations.

“The ‘Enhanced Transit Corridors Plan’ is a project trying to address delayed access to transit, particularly buses and streetcar lines,” said PBOT Senior Transportation Planner April Bertelsen.

Speeding up public transit is the aim of this plan, says PBOT Senior Transportation Planner April Bertelsen.

“It is seeking to identify the areas where it would be most important to provide transit priority tools and streamlining ‘access’ improvements, to improve transit reliability, travel time, and capacity,” Bertelsen told East Portland News. “As we are unveiling the recommendations of how to improve the operations of transit with treatments on our streets, we’re also here to get feedback from people.”

TriMet doesn’t work on roads, and PBOT doesn’t run buses or light rail, Bertelsen acknowledged; but the two agencies are working together to make best use of the city’s streets and highways she said.

TriMet Capital Planning Manager Kelly Betteridge points out areas where small changes can improve transit flow.

What they’ve learned so far includes:

  • More fact-finding is needed;
  • Ways to use transit should be more reliable, faster, more timely; and,
  • More funding is needed for transit improvements.

In outer East Portland, the Plan focuses primarily on making improvements to: TriMet Line 72 – Killingsworth/82nd Avenue – with a focus on 82nd Avenue; and Line 12 – NE Sandy Blvd.

These illustrations created by PBOT show the proposed “tools” to speed up bus service.

Proposed “tools” to speed up transit include:

  • Bus and Turn Lanes
  • Curb Extensions
  • Far?side Bus Stops
  • Street/Traffic Modifications
  • Transit Signal Priority

Challenges found along 82nd Avenue of Roses include that the street is owned by the Oregon Department of Transportation – it is a state highway owned by ODOT, which presents unique jurisdictional challenges for implementing solutions.

Other challenges include:

  • Full-length dedicated transit lanes are not feasible for the length of 82nd Avenue due to the need for (and impacts of) making general purpose and turn/travel lanes or acquiring property;
  • Improvements that move curbs on 82nd will trigger bike, pedestrian, ADA, stormwater management improvements, and more, increasing project cost and complexity; and,
  • Strategic “queue jumps” (letting busses go ahead of other vehicles) may be feasible in some places; but further analysis is needed to determine optimal locations.

NE Sandy Boulevard improvements are made more complex because of the complex intersection geometry and street fragments that require special design consideration and treatments. And, there are similar challenges, the study group found, to those on 82nd Avenue.

PBOT Senior Transportation Planner April Bertelsen provides a brief update on the project.

“We don’t see this as a one-time, static plan,” Bertelsen said. “We want to develop an ongoing program that includes a monitoring system to track and evaluate where there are still issues, and how many passengers are being delayed on an ongoing basis.

After interpreting feedback received on their draft plan, PBOT will come out with a Recommended Plan in the spring that will be presented to the Portland City Council.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

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