As with all things, people will complain and a few will love it. There is always something to complain about. I admit, even I have complained about the Bus Mall design that is getting its final touches put on in downtown Portland. I have to however, withdraw my original skepticism. I think it is actually going to work much better than I originally anticipated. I also admit, yeah, I’m often a bit more skeptical than I ought to be.
There are problems that will occur and I know the number one complaint already. By my estimation and what I’ve heard so far is, “the bus doesn’t stop enough downtown”. I’ve looked, and yeah, the stops are farther and fewer, for MAX and bus, but there is a reason. TriMet is trying to fix the other huge and common complaint, “It takes 22 friggin’ minutes to get across downtown!”, and turn it into a more reasonable 15 minutes or so. With the stops as they are, the future Milwaukee line and all the mall buses will finally be able to get through town in a much more reasonable time than the common complaint of 20+ minutes.
The Good Stuff
I’ve noticed, with the buses back in the more centrally located mall most people will see a few minutes knocked off of their walk to the office. In addition to that many will see another few minutes knocked off of their actual bus commute, depending on how deep into downtown they have to come.
The MAX will also add a highly visible, more “out of town” friendly way to haul business cohorts and such around town. The question is, will it stay that way. The Yellow Line is commonly known as one of the less friendly MAX Trains. Hopefully TriMet & Portland PD can keep it cleaned up and attractive along the new mall. If so, the potential ridership of Green and Yellow is massive.
Problems & Good Green
I’ve recently rode out along the Green Line to Clackamas Town Center. It raised a few questions.
- Why is the transit center located so far from the Mall? Is it for the easy Interstate access? I thought the point was to connect “town centers” with high throughput lines like the MAX. This does the entirely opposite thing and encourages sprawl, so why?
- What is the intended TOD along the Green Line? So far it appears there is an extreme minimum space to use for TOD, especially with 82nd already lined with business and life, of course, auto based business and such.
- If the ridership is 20-30k per day, where is this expected to come from?