X-System 3 Transfer Transit Adventure

Today I headed out on the 9:33am arrival of the #9 north bound.  My destination being Little Italy Restaurant in Vancouver, Washington.  This means that I’ll have to travel on the #9 to downtown Portland, jump the MAX Yellow Line and then transfer the Vanport (Race Track – PIR) stop to the C-TRAN #4 bus.  This will be the second time ever that I’ve actually transferred from the TriMet System to the C-TRAN System.

#9 Ride

The trip to downtown was simple enough, the standard trip I make at least once, if not several time per day.  It consists of boarding the bus at 21st & Powell and then heading west on that street, through the major Powell & Milwaukee Intersection, and onto the Ross Island Bridge.  This segment takes about 2-3 minutes, unless traffic bad which sometimes makes it about 5-8 minutes.

The bus takes about a minute to get across the Ross Island Bridge and everyday I enjoy this part of the trip.  While driving one cannot look around and really enjoy the beauty of the river, the view of downtown north of the bridge, or the quaint areas south of the bridge.  Riding the bus one can really take in the view.  Sometimes we’ll catch the streetcar zipping along the only higher speed (30mph) section of the streetcar line.  Toward the end of the bridge the view of South Waterfront is nice, watching the vehicles plying the streets, but even better the pedestrians travelling to and from and around the buildings, boarding the tram, or the streetcar boarding or deboarding riders by the dozens.

The streets just west of the Ross Island Bridge and the downtown bus mall are kind of nice, and messed up all combined.  Immediately off the bridge we pull into a tree lined street, but also one of the most absurd interchanges of the Portland area (more on that below).  Once thru the tree lined section there is a ghastly open expanse while cutting into exiting Interstate Traffic and over the Interstate Bridge.  From there we pull immediately into the bus mall, which simply put, is much nicer than this small expanse just south of the city.

MAX Yellow Line Ride

I got downtown and took a walk for some cash from the ATM, a stroll through Saturday Market, and then boarded the MAX Yellow Line toward Expo Center.  The day has been overcast for my trip so far, but the sun is just hiding behind the clouds so it’s still almost not cold.

The Yellow Line is always a really nice ride.  Traveling through the neighborhoods along Interstate Avenue, with slower speeds, makes for a pleasant run of scenery.  In addition the area is steadily building up and orienting more and more toward transit oriented development.  Some of the density has increased slightly along the line, but nowhere near what it can or eventually will be.

While on the Yellow Line I also managed a short discussion about Nissan Z cars with a older guy.  He was heading to the race track to race, or at least today watch watch the Porsches race.  When we pulled up on the raised section heading to the race track (Vanport Stop) I could see the Porsches lined up and ready to hit the track.  It looked like a fun day of racing, but I wasn’t headed that way, so marked that up to another time or later in the evening (if they’re still running).

C-TRAN #4 Ride

The C-TRAN bus, first thing I noticed, was that it was much cleaner than the TriMet buses, and had slightly nicer seats.  C-TRAN’s ticket pricing appears much smarter than TriMet’s.  Buy a ticket for a one way trip.  Why won’t TriMet do that instead of all this stupid transfer mess that leads to endless  confusion?

The other nice thing was that the bus was sitting and waiting for Yellow Line transfers.  About 8 of the 9 people where transfers from the Yellow Line and the previous Yellow Line arrival.  All boarded we departed and something odd happened.  The bus driver asked all the riders, “Anyone going to Jantzen Beach?” to which the bus replied, “No”.  So she simply replied, “neither are we then”.  At first I couldn’t believe this, what about prospective riders there waiting?  I suppose, maybe since the mall  isn’t open yet they don’t stop there?  Not that I even know when the mall opens, but I was attempting to find a reason to justify this.

I arrived and attended the meeting, introductions ensued and I met a number of interesting people.  Food was good, conversation was good, and a general good time was had.  Interesting discussion on the stimulus funds and other zillion funding methods to get things moving along the northwest rail corridors.  Two bits I found interesting where the wish list items for 3 additional Talgo sets that we need desperately.  The other interesting topic brought up was the need to increase Internet presence, social interaction at that level, and other means to really get people interested and vested in passenger rail travel.  This has been one of my ongoing discussion points on this blog and it continues to be a pain point in this country, everything not involving cars and planes has an extremely difficult time garnering any attention.  Anyway, more on that later.

Upcoming CAC Meeting I am Planning to Attend

Upcoming CAC Meeting

Thursday, June 18
6–7:30 p.m.
Agenda for June 18 (15 KB PDF)

St Phillip Neri Parish, Carvlin Hall
2408 SE 16th Avenue

Served by bus line 4-Division/Fessenden
Plan your trip on TriMet.

Any other Portlander’s pondering checking this out?

TriMet’s Portland Bus Mall

I finally had a good photo outing on the downtown bus mall here in Portland.

Started out with the semi-reliable, and very useful Transit Tracker.

At two minutes I walked over to the stop and sure enough, here comes the #9 headed for downtown.

Since a lot of people seem to be complete illiterate fools that like to delay buses, slow down progress, and generally get in the way I follow the "Go with the flow.  Exit rear door."

Took a shot of my downtown stop, the #9 zipped away and a #17 pulled in as I got the photo.

Smooth flow during rush hour went well, as it has been going.

Even though in the above shot I said rush hour, but really, it was about 3pm "ish".  But as always with TriMet downtown is generally always busy during the day.

I got a few more bus mall shots when the sun ran away from the sky and I escaped from a productive day of work.

This is about 8:45pm and there is still steady ridership flowing on and off the buses.  Here two are stacked up at a stop on the north stretch of the mall.

A little bit of an artsy shot of the mall looking toward Union Station.

A clear shot looking the other way.

#4 Division bus using one of the new TriMet Buses, a rarity since it is an east side only line.

Yup, another artsy shot.  Anyone guess what street this is?

Another display of people’s illiteracy, more of non-Portlanders than Portlanders.  I also must say it is evidence people do not know nor follow most of the rules of driving.  Double whites YOU DO NOT CROSS IN ANY FREAKING STATE PEOPLE!!  If something says Bus Only it means Buses Only!  How is that complicated Mr. & Mrs. California, Mr. & Mrs. Suburbanite, Mr. and Mrs. Washingtonian!  Seriously, out of the almost 2000+ tickets TriMet has handed out almost ALL of them are for people not from Portland.  I don’t know about you, but that is fairly solid evidence that at least Portland drivers pay attention.

Last but not least, one of my top 3 stops.  Why you might ask, it’s near Stumptown on 3rd.  :)   I practically live at that place (and Stumptown).  With the bus mall rearrangement it might actually decrease my usage of both places by about 5-10% because they’re 2-3 blocks further than the 1 block they where previously.  Eventually I’ll get it figured out.

New Urbanism, Old Urbanism, Traditional Neighborhoods

…and economic reality.


I just was watching this winning video, and the video properly states what New Urbanism is; AKA Old Urbanism, Traditional Neighborhood design.  Of course, as with all Government agendas they don’t mention we should actually return to the effective monetary policies and zoning practices that allowed the creation of these old urban and traditional neighborhood designs, they instead want to dictate and control the build out of these “new urban” designs.  This does cause concern from me, as it is against any notable choice, individual liberty, or freedom of the individual.  Often times the planners and Government leaders push forward with these efforts as if people choose not to live in cities and choose to live in the suburbs.  The politicians and planners often forget, the main enabler of suburbs, sprawl, and the whole damnable aspect of the wasteful, weakness inducing American stereotype is them and they’re debt increasing subsidization of sprawl type development.  Now they try to hold us all accountable to this and people don’t even realize they’re living a heavily subsidized lifestyle.

Anyway, some of the comments on Youtube I just had to answer, because I’m always amazed at the lack of insight, context, or knowledge they often proffer.

From electer1776 these questions for the utopians:
1. How will you get people to leave their nice suburban homes? Force?
2. How will you stop people from fleeing your overcrowded utopia? Force?
3. How will you stop an explosion of crime in your overcrowded hell?
4. What will you do to control concentrated pollution in your overcrowded areas?
5. What size army will you need to oppress the people into your utopia?

This is simple.  There are many cities that prove these answer I’ll provide, including but not limited to;  Portland, OR, New York, NY, San Francisco, CA, San Diego, CA, even gasp Los Angeles, CA.  Add to that density increasing cities of Seattle, WA, Tuscon, AZ, Miami, FL, and hundreds more around the world.  When given options, people do NOT always choose a sprawling suburb.  Just as often, and usually more often, when provided a choice (which we haven’t had for years in the US) of a good city urban life versus the burbs, people will choose the urban lifestyle.  So, to the answers.

1. Offer then a choice.  Over the years people that want culture, night life, development & education, will often leave the burbs for the higher intensity of brain trust & creativity that is alive within cities.

2. People fled American cities for a number of reasons; white flight, mass subsidization of Interstates that encouraged sprawl, a drastic change in zoning which disabled people from living in cities or allowing cities to grow intelligently.  There where a number of reasons, and the flock often goes the way the herder encourages, so thus the people fled cities per what the Government thought was a grand idea – suburbs!  Now we’re slowly finding out, as the market told us before, that suburbs aren’t exactly feasible.  So after 50+ years of debt induced sprawl, we’re being forced to cut back.  No longer is China and others so willing to keep buying our debt.  We’re going to have to start buying our own lives back now, and we’re deeply owned by others already – it’s a tough road ahead.

3. Crime?  Crime is a unique trait of lower income areas generally, NOT of a particular land development.  New Orleans is a prime example of a million plus people, with very high crime for the US.  Portland, Oregon is a prime example of a million plus people, with very low crime in the US.  You are simply correlating incorrect data points.  Correlation is not causation, simple fact.

4. Populated areas often have less pollution than less populated areas.  Take Portland & Seattle for example.  Compare that with Jacksonville, Florida or Atlanta, Georgia.  Both of those cities have tons more pollution, dirtier air, entire ghettos that are polluted in ways many don’t even know anymore.  These ghettos, are primarily suburban sprawl.

5. What size army?  Hell, Portland & Seattle don’t even need police in large number compared to sprawling areas like Atlanta or Jacksonville.  Jacksonville is close in population to Portland, it had more than 2x the murder rate for the last 30 years.  Atlanta, a little closer to Seattle, still vastly higher.  Don’t even get me started on other places like that.  As urban centers have lost the chaotic destruction caused by mass Interstate Subsidy and white flight, they’ve started to become lively again.  As suburbs mature they become more despotic and crime ridden.

I could go on for days.  The defense of suburbia is ridiculous.  The defense is infeasible.  Already, we can’t afford our military or the economic impact of this lifestyle.  So what do we do?

No matter what, we change.

Adventures in Transit, Errands

NOTE: This was written on Wednesday, but I didn’t get it finished up until now.

I was planning to take a trip up to Tacoma today, but I managed to not make the train.  I did however decide I was going to take care of some business today, get things in order, and make sure when I was done with my stay-cation (in lieu of vacation) I’d have things all caught up.  So far I’m off to a good start.

I went downtown, grabbed a Subway Sandwich, then headed to the UPS Store to check the mail.  At some point shortly after that I saw an older lady back into a car trying to parallel park.  She didn’t hit it hard, but I stopped to help if she persisted in parking.

While she was making her second endeavor these three young guys walked up, trendy looking brats really.  At first they seemed friendly when one of them spoke up and said to the lady trying to park, “woh woh don’t hit that car”.  I sounded off simple, “she did once already”.  To which the guy replied, “and you’re just standing there?”  At this point she pulled off and gave up on parking.  I started to tell the guy, “I was going to offer…” but before I could get the whole statement out he blurted out as if offended, “don’t turn around and act like you where…” to which I immediately got riled up at and told him to just “f@#! him, I was trying to help and you assume the worse.”  He then replied with a tepid and faltering response of “Just forget it, it’s…” to which I cut him off with a strongly worded, “you don’t walk up and disrespect someone like that as if you know what is going on!”  To which his friends and he moved further away on the sidewalk even though I had made no movements toward them, as if to show cowardice.  Even though I was only into my downtown errands and random adventures of the day by about 30 minutes these guys had to step up and get me perturbed.  What a way to start the day’s outings.

Either way it wasn’t such a big deal.  I had saw my friend Susan downtown and walked with her from about 5th toward the #14 before this incident, so I was actually pretty chilled already.  It’s always good to see friends downtown.  With that I took a deep breath, boarded the MAX, then decided not to ride it since it was packed.  I decided at this time it was going to be a ride a random bus day.

The north bound #35 came pulling up and it seemed a perfect candidate, so aboard I jumped and off we went.  The #35 is actually one of my favorite buses, one that makes good time and has a beautiful route.  That includes both segments, down to Lake Oswego and Oregon City and north toward Oregon State University.

For a short part of the trip the bus follows the Yellow Line MAX up Interstate Avenue, which is scenic unto itself.  When then turn left off of Interstate and basically clock a solid 45 mph out of inner north east Portland.  The route then rises along the precipice overlooking the UP & Industrial areas while running up Greeley Ave.  This route also takes us by the rather awesome Adidas Portland (North west/US?) Headquarters near the top of the road incline.  From there on it is a mix of residential and small commercial retail interspersed in the area.  Awesome neighborhood, great stores etc.

Just past the Adidas Office is a transfer point to the #72, which heads down Alberta and such, which is another awesome and lively area of Portland.  Just past that the bus route turns onto Lombard where one can transfer to the #75.  That pretty much covers transfers to both of the major north south buses for the inner Portland area.  I made a mental note of this, just for future reference.

Further down the way the #35 also crosses paths with the #4.  I decided this was a good opportunity to jump the #4 over to the Mississippi District.  While en route I learned what “Po’Shined” was, interesting Soul Food place on Denver.

At North Lombard and Denver the #4 bus stop had 8 people waiting.  Pretty impressive for a suburban stop.  Really good to see though.  This is one thing I regularly notice is a massive difference between inner east side and any other area in the TriMet District.  The inner east side is about 4-8x as busy with patrons as anywhere else in the area.  The #4 brought me to the transfer point with the Yellow Line MAX and I decided I’d go do something I’d wanted to for a long long time.

Checking Out North Star Coffee

I wrote up a whole review on my other blog on North Star Coffee, so go check it out if you’d like.  After several years, I finally made it into North Star Coffee.  Their location always seemed pretty awesome, right beside the MAX but not at the stop, as can be very annoying sometimes.  It’s only a mere 50 or so feet from the stop though.

After an hour long stop in the coffee shop to write up more of this blog entry, the Albina Press and North Star Coffee blog entries (the one’s on my other blog) I finally hit the road again and got back to coding.  I was thinking I’d jump aboard the MAX, but then decided to stick with the random bus theme.  So off looking for the #75 or #4 I went.

I went to the stop, but the next bus that arrived was a #6, seemed as good as any bus, so I boarded.  I have to say, one of the best bus rides I’ve had in years.  Most polite riders and jovial nature among everyone.  I got off at Killingsworth and walked toward where I could catch the #72 to head down Alberta but got side tracked when I saw the new Old Town Pizza on MLK.  I decided to stop in and check it out, grab a slice of Pizza for a measly $1.50.  I enjoyed my slice, fiddled with my IPhone and whipped the laptop back out for a bit of coding.

After this I headed over to Random Order Coffee House to wait for a friend.  That included a ride on the #72 down Alberta (yup, that street).  I completed a write up of that coffee shop also.