Transit Meetup in Portland (Oregon)

Alright, here’s the guidelines. Help me out figuring out a place to meet up that anyone can get to easily – via transit, bike or something other than a car. I’d love to go somewhere along the new streetcar line just to kick off some conversation around that.

So here’s the voting options, which day works best for everyone?

…and what’s the best times available for people Monday-Thursday?

Oakland, Go Vote…

…and Portland, we should be standing up for better BRT around the area that connects the high ridership lines. #72, #4, #9 and many others. Have interweave and connect with the town centers and fold into the light rail, as well as provide rapid acces to the city center.

Drop the lethargic idea that we only need 40 foot busses and let’s move more people in an easier way.

Phoenix, Huge Light Rail Ridership Increases!

Impressive, Phoenix isn’t my favorite city, primarily for idealogical reasons and the mere physics of a city smack in the middle of a desert. But some people there are trying to improve things and make it… Ā sustainable? Not sure that’s possible, but this news is a good thing for sure.

The light rail that Phoenix had built a number of years ago has seen a surge in ridership.

Total Boardings for August: 1,166,156 vs 982,776 in July.

Avg. Weekday Boardings: 42,054 vs 34,168 in July.

Avg Saturday Boardings: 28,592 vs 27,935 in July.

Avg Sunday / Holiday Boardings: 21,138 vs 25,585 in July.

My suggestion, if you’re going to go live in the desert (at your own risk) then be sure to live along the light rail line. Better value for your money and less reliance on a single mode of transport (your car) is a good thing.

Learning From Each Other

Trimet, which considering comparative performance, does a great job comparative to King County Metro on a cost basis. Crazy you say, crazy not I say. They carry less per capita in their city core (i.e. the city itself, not the metropolitan area) than Trimet does, yet Metro does so at almost 2x the price per passenger as Trimet. Even though I think there isn’t much Trimet should imitate from Metro, there are two things I absolutely think they should invest in. These two things, would be easy investments since our neighbor Seattle has so much experience with them and has done most of the research and data gathering around it already.

  1. The first one is easy. Let’s get trolley buses back. Trimet’sĀ dieselĀ buses are nasty, especially those older buses. The older buses, based on what information I’ve been able to gather are dirtier than people riding in a bunch of huge SUVs. They’re barely worth running from an environmental pollution perspective. We need to toss those puppies in the recycling bin and get on board with the some trolley buses. If we’re really serious we’ll get trolley buses that can serve in my second suggestions…
  2. 60 ft BRT buses and some BRT routes to go with those buses! I love the light rail and over time the light rail will save the city a huge sum of money over BRT. But right now we need increased capabilities on the #72, the #9, and many other routes. Matter of fact, let’s toss WES and replace it with a nice clean BRT that can be bumped up to serious rail service – ya know – when Portland is like 4 million people. (whenever that happens)

These two things I know have been on the table and off the table, and overall Trimet has done alright. But they really need to start looking at some of these options. Once the city has a complete north, south, east, and western build out of light rail it is time to build up those rail lines even more by interconnecting them with BRT routes. Then the BRT routes can be shifted over the years as the BRT routes are bumped up to LRT or such. But for now, let’s get some serious frequency and capacity along the core routes of the city and build out those areas even more.

Anyway, that’s my 2 cents. I’m not going to complain like some of the light rail haters do and bus lovers gushing over buses do, but overall, Trimet should put a little emphasis on the services around the light rail.