Transit Chairs, Stops, Green Line, and Wanderlust

The Green Line MAX opens tomorrow in Portland in the celebration will be had all along the line.  My estimate might just be off, but I’m not ruling my estimate out just yet!  The excitement is definitely brimming downtown, with coworkers, businesses, and others talking about it regularly.  I hear strangers talking at the sidewalk tables as they sit and enjoy lunch along the new transit mall, I hear them out at the Dinerante (spelling?), people in passing, or people outright asking me, “when is it starting to run?”  People see the trains out and the fervor just keeps growing.

I walked to my normal station stop where I depart work, 5th & Taylor to wait for the arrival of the #9 south bound.  I took a load off in one of the new seats at the stop.  I must say, if one sits properly the seats are comfortable.  If someone is fat, wants to slouch, is excessively tall (+6.4), then the seats might be rather uncomfortable, but for the healthy average builds of Portland they’ll be spot on.  The see through windows are, I must say, very nice.  I no longer feel the necessity to extend my neck out around the corners of the shelters as I did at the old stops.  The old stops having huge blind spots, makes any person that has some street smarts wary of those that sit in or around the corners.  Especially later in the evening when the rat punks, transients, bum kids, and other miscellaneous miscreants start loitering about.

After a 2 minute wait the #9 pulled up on time and I boarded, grabbed a seat and off we went.  Traffic wasn’t too bad on the road going onto the Ross Island Bridge today, but let me tell you about those really smart Interstates!  The Interstates where packed like a parking lot.  Traffic I suspect moved at a creeping 15-20mph, far past the capacity constraints of the lanes available.

Even though the Interstates where packed the Light Rail Vehicles of the Yellow, Blue, and Red Line rolled along on flange wheels uninterrupted.  One could see that each train was packed, as where all the buses.  These 3 lines, were easily moving people in and out of downtown, contrary to the Interstate Counterparts.  The dedicated right of way was paying dividends for the LRVs.  The buses pushed in and out of downtown too, smoothly through the mall without hindrance.  Some buses ran into a little congestion once leaving the transit mall, but not too often.  Today, traffic was moving smoothly except for the standard Interstate catastrophe.

As we rode onto the Ross Island, one could even see the streetcar departing from south waterfront with a respectable number of passengers.  It zipped under the bridge as we rolled above.  As we rolled onto Powell the traffic flowed smoothly still.  I was relieved to have had a short 10 minute commute.  Often the afternoon commute the #9 runs into stiff congestion through the curves leading up to the Ross Island Bridge, but today was a nice exception.

I felt the urge to wander aimlessly and watch this flow of traffic unfold, but conserving my time got the best of me.  I got off the bus at 21st & Powell and noticed something strange.  No less than 15 people between the downtown stop and here were going barefoot.  I still have no idea, finishing this entry, why in the world on a hot and toasty day like this there were a dozen plus people barefoot.  No correlation between them, one girl looked like she was just out of school for the day, one guy looked the part of a punker, one guy looked the part of the “bro”, another girl looked like she was a metal head.

Another commute, another oddity noticed in Portland, no shortage of strangely interesting bits.  Tomorrow, the Green Line.

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