Updates: PMLR Bus Changes in 2015, Clinton Street Chaos, and Division/Powell BRT

PMLR Bus Changes

The final proposal for bus changes when the PMLR (Portland Milwaukie Light Rail) line starts running and the respective changes are in place have been posted. I’m stoked about a few of the changes that I’d already assumed would take place.

My favorites of the list include:

  • The #9 and #17 are both going to start running over the Tilikum Crossing Bridge. This is going to make the rush hour service for these buses dramatically better. I used to live at 20th and Powell, and during normal times of the day it was about a 10 minute bus ride on the #9 or #17 to downtown, but during rush hour it could be anywhere from 20 minutes to 60 minutes, depending on the Ross Island Bridge. With this change, that cluster of car catastrophe will finally be over for those bus routes!
  • Even though it is rare that I’m in the area on these routes, the #31 and #33 will actually become more relevant and usable for me to do business south of Milwaukie. Today I sometimes will go down to Milwaukie to meet with or work with clients, but I’d never go west of or south of Milwaukie from Milwaukie itself. Usually I would just refuse customers or other work from those areas (not that there is much to start with), and those prospective customers would unfortunately lose out. Now myself and others have an increased service area based on these new routes.

Clinton Street Chaos

Some odd things have happened as of late in the drama of Clinton Street. One of the most awesome things of the last few days was the release of a diverter, done in a beautiful Portland style using tactical urbanist maneuvers to get drums put into the street to divert cars off of the bike boulevard! Personally I find it bullshit that the city went out to remove them so quickly, since they can’t replace potholes or do other things that they are actually supposed to do within a reasonable time frame. They should have left them there for at least the early morning, and let the early morning children bike trains enjoy the added comfort of getting to school that way, or simply the safer conditions that other cyclists (thousands mind you) would have on the route.

The other thing that has changed in the area, is a few strong riders that I talk to regularly have all started – or plan to start – just riding in traffic on Division. The reason being is Division traffic moves at a more reasonable average speed (lower top speed, faster from point to point) than over on Clinton now. The idiots using Clinton as a short cut spurt down the road at 30 mph sometimes, endangering anybody on or around the road and oncoming traffic as they recklessly pass. So since this isn’t even possible on Division anymore, it makes it a somewhat faster and safer street for anybody traveling on it. Albeit the “street skippers” barreling down Clinton are to damned stupid to realize this, because they’re in “must hurry and win the rat race” mode that they don’t stop to realize that a higher top speed doesn’t get them there faster.

Either way… the whole of Clinton, Division and especially the growing auto-train-pacolypse that is going on at the nexus of 11th/12th and Clinton and Division is a growing catastrophe. I’m hoping to write more about this in the future, with some thoughts are real solutions now versus the solutions that we’ll need but will take 10+ years to get them into place!

Division / Powell BRT

So there’s this myth (and yes I know they’re actually workign toward getting it actually built, whatever it is, has been discussed here, here, and here among other places, but I won’t believe it until they break ground with a real plan) that Portland will be getting BRT along Powell and Division. The idea is that BRT would probably run over the Tilikum Bridge (since it already is technically real BRT) and then go onto Powell until 82nd or other section, cutting over to Division on to Gresham. I’ve got a lot of thoughts and ideas about how to really connect the Division corridor to BRT, and cutting across on 82nd I’m not sure is the best spot. BUT, this is huge for many obvious reasons. The most obvious one is that both Division and Powell are in desperate need of better transit service. I however have a massive fear about this project…

The Fear

Will it be real BRT, and if so, where in the hell will it go on Powell? Further out past 39th (and even a little before) heading east there is plenty of room to move sidewalks and roadways around to make space for BRT. The only way, and this is only if Portland is serious about helping people become the focus of this city instead of automobiles, is if the city is willing to get brave and take away some actual auto-capacity. This would be a real removal of auto-capacity on a major street, not some pretend removal like the theoretical removal of auto-capacity on streets like Burnside or Foster, because the capacity at current is barely affected by road diets because the capacity throughput requirements are manageable in every other hours of the day except rush hour. On Powell, getting BRT wedged in there will for sure cut back on actual SOV auto capacity. Either way, one day, Portland WILL BE FORCED to make changes to this area that will result in auto-capacity decreases, so the sooner the better.

Does anybody have any other details on this yet? Will it be real BRT? Are there already plans to cave before the selfish-misguided pressure of auto-lobbyists to maintain current auto-capacity over the needs of all citizens? How is that going? What’s up in the region? I mean, I kind of live here, but it’s still hard to keep up with all the exciting, wild, sometimes crazy things going on!  😮


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