Ten bus lines that will change when the MAX Orange Line opens

A lot will change when the MAX Orange Line opens in September. Light rail reaching north Clackamas County means new ways of getting to work, family, friends and opportunity — even if you’re not taking a train.

Pedestrians and cyclists are eager to upgrade their commute and take Tilikum Crossing. Streetcar riders will finally be able to loop around the City Center. Even the raindrops will have new places to go, with all the bioswales, stormwater planters and rain gardens along the corridor.

Line 17-Holgate will shift its route to Tilikum Crossing on Sept. 13.
Line 17-Holgate will shift its route to Tilikum Crossing on Sept. 13.

But some of the biggest changes coming with the Orange Line are for bus riders. Some lines will be combined to reduce redundancy and take advantage of the light rail line. Some will get more frequent service, or additional service hours. A couple routes will shift to Tilikum Crossing.

The changes to bus service you’ll see on September 13:

Line 9-Powell and Line 17-Holgate will shift from the Ross Island Bridge to Tilikum Crossing. Line 9 will also see its Frequent Service restored to 15 minutes or better on Sundays. Both routes will connect to the MAX Orange Line at stations between Southeast and Downtown Portland.

Line 19-Woodstock will start service earlier on weekend mornings, with trips beginning around 8 a.m. Buses will connect to the Orange Line at the SE Bybee Blvd Station.

Line 28-Linwood and Line 34-River Rd will combine to become Line 34-Linwood/River Rd. This new route will run twice as frequently as the 28 and 34 do now, and it will connect with the Orange Line at the Milwaukie/Main St Station and at the SE Tacoma St/Johnson Creek Station.

Line 31-King Rd and Line 33-McLoughlin will combine to become Line 33-McLoughlin/King Rd. This new route will head up to Milwaukie (as the 33 does now) then turn east on its way out to Clackamas Town Center. This line will increase frequency and hours of service along King Road, and Frequent Service will be restored on Sundays.

Line 32-Oatfield will connect with the Orange Line at the Milwaukie/Main St Station before reaching Jackson Street, where it will turn around and head back south.

Line 99-Macadam/McLoughlin will add new service to Oregon City in the mornings and to Downtown Portland in the evenings. There will be new stops and service on Tacoma Street, and the route will move to serve Macadam Avenue and cross the new Sellwood Bridge once it opens. It will connect with the Orange Line at SE Park Ave and SE Tacoma St/Johnson Creek stations.

Line 154-Willamette/Clackamas Heights will extend from Oregon City out to Clackamas Heights, which will see more service than Line 34 currently provides.

Four other lines (29, 70, 75 and 152) will connect with the Orange Line on the Eastside, though their routes won’t change.

See the complete list of bus changes associated with the MAX Orange Line »
Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Specialist. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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New rules for vaping and service animals

As you know, we have a set of “Rules for Riding” in place to help our riders and employees feel safe and comfortable while on the transit system. Effective today, we’ve revised our rules on two issues that we know are really important to riders—smoking and service animals. Here’s what’s changing:

“No smoking” now includes vaporizers

Smoking (anything!) is already prohibited on all TriMet property for the health and comfort of our riders. But we’re updating our rules to specifically call out vaporizers/vape cigarettes in addition to e-cigarettes. Many of you have called or written us about riders vaping at stops and stations, and this change will allow us to enforce the smoking ban more effectively. So, when you see a “No Smoking” sign, that means no smoking—of any kind.

As to where you can and can’t smoke, there is an exception to the rule: Smoking is allowed outside of bus shelters and MAX stations along public sidewalks, such as in Downtown Portland.

By the way, if you see someone smoking regularly at a stop or station at around the same time of day on the same days of the week, let us know. Enforcement actions include a $250 fine or even an exclusion from the system.

If you smoke, please be courteous to your fellow riders and smoke away from the shelter, and definitely not on buses or trains!

Companion animals must be in a carrier

For the safety of our riders, we’ve revised our definition of a service animal. Effective today, pets that provide emotional support or companionship (“companion” or “comfort” animals) are no longer considered service animals and will have to ride in a closed carrier. Only guide dogs, signal dogs or other animals trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability will be allowed on board outside of a carrier.

So how can operators tell if an animal is really a service animal? Operators can ask, “Is that a service animal?” and “What service is your animal trained to perform?” But that’s about it. By law, if a rider claims their animal is a service animal, we have to take their word for it. We know some people abuse this policy, but there’s really not much we can do about it.

Keep in mind, many riders legitimately need and use service animals to help them get around—and it may not always be obvious that an animal is a service animal.

Jessica Ridgway

Jessica Ridgway

I'm TriMet's Web and Social Media Coordinator. I develop content for our website and social media channels. I'm a daily MAX rider and an adopted Oregonian.

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2015 Summer Events Guide: 4th of July

Summer might be the Northwest’s best-kept secret. In this series, we’ll share our top recommendations for events and activities that you won’t need a car to enjoy.

Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival

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It’s fitting to spend the 4th of July listening to blues by the river, and even more so to end the day witnessing the biggest fireworks display in the state.

The Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, now in its 28th year, is a marquee event for the Portland region, featuring 100 artists over four days. Looking at this year’s lineup, you’ll see that the festival also spans generations: among the acts are flat-out legends like Buddy Guy and Gregg Allman, along with rising stars like YouTube sensation Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and Oregon native Ty Curtis.

To get your fill of blues (and Zydeco, and R&B, and jazz…) and to secure the best seats around for the fireworks show, the Oregon Food Bank suggests a minimum donation of $10 for entry. Or, get a pass to cover the entire festival, including re-entry, for $40.

Get there easily on bus or MAX »

Portland Craft Beer Festival

PCB

At last count, there were 58 breweries in Portland. If you think that’s something to celebrate, you’re not alone. Nearly every one of those brewers will be on hand at PCBF to showcase a beer, with styles ranging from lagers to sours to stouts and, of course, IPAs.

More of a cider fan? Or maybe you’re the wine & cheese type? There will be something for you, too, along with food carts, coffee and ice cream vendors.

This three-day festival (open only to the over-21 crowd) goes down in The Fields Neighborhood Park; get there by bus or streetcar.

Plan your trip »

Beaverton Freedomthon

Watercolorheader

Starting your day with a little exercise isn’t a bad idea (especially if you’re thinking of drinking all the beers at PCBF). It’s worth getting up early to beat the heat at Freedomthon, a 5K run/walk starting outside Beaverton City Library — every participant gets a medal, a flag to wave as they cross the finish line and a spot at the Pancake Bar. It’s a fast and flat course, and it runs along closed streets. Is a personal record within reach?

Take the bus or MAX to the starting line (or to the Pancake Bar) »

Hillsboro 4th of July Parade

The Oregonian Photo: Benjamin Brink
The Oregonian Photo: Benjamin Brink

The Grand Marshal at this year’s event is retired Hillsboro Police officer Steve Vuylsteke, who’s been attending since long before he earned his stripes. It’s clear that the parade is a product of a close-knit community, but this is much more than a small-town affair.

According to the presenters at the Hillsboro Rotary Club, the parade is one of the largest this side of the Mississippi. It’s accompanied by a pancake breakfast and a fun run. If that sounds like a great way to start your Independence Day, just hop on MAX »

Oaks Park 4th of July Spectacular

The Oregonian Photo
The Oregonian Photo

Rides are open until midnight at Oaks Amusement Park’s annual 4th of July event; time it right, and you might catch the fireworks from the ferris wheel. (Or the Scream’n Eagle — but that’s a very different experience). Picnic spaces are first come, first served, so be sure to snag a spot to relax in after a round of mini golf and a spin through the roller rink. Entry to the “Coney Island of the Northwest” ranges from $2–$5 per person at the gates.

A note on getting there by transit: Oaks Amusement Park is on the Willamette, nestled within acres of parkland. If you’re going car-free, it’s best to get there on the Springwater Trail, a major pedestrian and bike path that happens to offer some incredible views. Service to this section of the Springwater will improve drastically when the MAX Orange Line opens later this year. Then, stations at OMSI/SE Water Ave and SE Tacoma St/Johnson Creek will put riders right on the path to the park!

Our 2015 Summer Events Guide continues soon with Waterfront Activities, Street Fairs and more!
Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Specialist. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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Why our trains slow down when it heats up

Many of you have asked why our trains slow down when it’s hot outside. We know extra delays can be frustrating, but there are two important reasons why our speeds go down when temperatures go up—science and safety.

Like in other cities, the MAX light rail system is designed for the average temperature ranges of our local climate. When temperatures are at the extremes of that range, the materials in the system have a hard time adapting.

Steel and copper expand in the heat

In the case of extreme heat, the rails (made of steel) and the overhead power wires (made of copper) expand.

A one-mile stretch of rail in the MAX system may expand up to a few inches. This rail has to go somewhere, and when it gets too hot it can actually bend or lay over on its side! Our operators and controllers call this a “sun kink.”

Additionally, the overhead power wires may also expand. Because copper expands more than steel, and because we can’t allow the overhead wires to sag, we have a system of pulleys with counterweights that tug on the wires to keep them tight. (But sometimes, it gets so hot that the counterweights touch the ground and the wire starts to sag anyway!)

hotwx

At 90+ degrees, operators slow down for your safety

Our operators have to watch for both sagging power wires and “sun kinked” rails when it’s really hot out. To be safe, they slow down to make sure nothing goes wrong. As it gets hotter, they have to slow down even more.

When temperatures hit the 90s, trains traveling in speed zones above 35 mph will need to run 10 mph slower. This will affect segments of all MAX lines and may cause minor service delays.

At 95 degrees, WES Commuter Rail trains must also run slower—no more than 30 mph—to ensure safety. This can cause up to 30-minute delays.

If temperatures climb above 100 degrees, MAX trains cannot go faster than 35 mph. Delays of up to 15 minutes should be expected.

It’s hot out there—so prepare for the heat and stay hydrated!

Jessica Ridgway

Jessica Ridgway

I'm TriMet's Web and Social Media Coordinator. I develop content for our website and social media channels. I'm a daily MAX rider and an adopted Oregonian.

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You asked: How will the MAX Orange Line work in Downtown Portland?

The new MAX Orange Line will run 7.3 miles from Oak Grove into Downtown Portland, passing through towns and fields before reaching Tilikum Crossing, the newest span over the Willamette.

 

We’re often asked what happens after Orange Line trains go over Tilikum Crossing and enter Downtown Portland: Do they turn around at PSU? Do they become Yellow or Green line trains? Will I have to transfer to get to the Transit Mall?

The Orange Line will share Green/Yellow line tracks once it reaches the PSU South/SW 6th & College Station in Downtown Portland. What’s more, the Orange and Yellow lines will share vehicles — this is called interlining. Throughout most of the day, Orange Line trains heading north will continue as Yellow Line trains along their normal route.

This means a one-seat ride from Milwaukie and Oak Grove into Downtown Portland and beyond, all the way up to Expo Center.

Similarly, most Yellow Line trains headed south will continue as Orange Line trains down to the end of the line at the SE Park Ave Station. Interlining is more efficient than turning Orange and Yellow trains around Downtown; it requires fewer trains and eliminates transfers for north-south riders.

Most MAX Orange Line trains will continue as Yellow Line trains in Downtown Portland. Most southbound Yellow Line trains will continue as Orange Line trains before reaching Union Station.
So why isn’t this a Yellow Line extension?

Separating the two lines gives us flexibility, allowing us to increase frequency on one line without affecting the other. (For example, projections of high ridership on the Orange Line mean that some of its trains will turn around at Union Station during rush hour to meet that demand.)

Looking down the road, any addition of light rail or high-capacity transit in the future — like the options Metro is studying for the Southwest Corridor — would have an effect on ridership patterns on the system.  It’s possible that the difference between service frequency on the Orange and Yellow lines might become even more pronounced. As it is, we expect relatively few riders to travel between Milwaukie and North Portland; most are likely to head Downtown or transfer to east-west service.

Additionally, we think the Orange Line deserves its own recognition as a pioneering endeavor. Besides showcasing the first bridge of its kind in the U.S., the Orange Line features a host of sustainable elements like eco-roofs, eco-tracks and bioswales to capture stormwater runoff. And it serves a distinct corridor stretching from the region’s urban core to growing communities, setting it apart as our region’s newest light rail line.

Get more MAX Orange Line details at catchtheorange.com »
Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Specialist. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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Our oldest MAX trains are getting makeovers

We launched our first MAX trains—what we call the Type 1—nearly 30 years ago in 1986. That same year, “Top Gun” graced the silver screen, Ronald Reagan lived in the White House and big hair was all the rage.

Since then, our Type 1 trains have logged 1.6 million miles in the metro area and over time, they’ve begun to show their age. With time, the trains’ body filler (like industrial-strength putty) has broken down, allowing moisture to get through. Also, the stairwells in these high-floor trains have signs of rust and corrosion.

Massive makeover

A bare Type 1 MAX train
A bare Type 1 MAX train

To extend their operating lifetime (for up to 20 years), we started refurbishing these trains in 2002. To date, 21 trains are fully restored and two are in process. The last three Type 1 trains are expected to be revived by the end of 2016.

From start to finish, it takes three people about six months—or about 3,500 labor hours—to refurbish a Type 1 train. Here are the key steps to refinish this train:

  • Remove equipment on the roof, exterior end and sidewalls.
  • Cover door and window openings.
  • Chip off old body filler and paint and grind the entire exterior to the metal.
  • Apply epoxy primer and three coats of body filler.
  • Use industrial-scale white body paint, then TriMet blue and yellow color coats.
  • Refinish and reattach doors.

“It takes a lot of effort to get all of the body filler down to the metal,” says Mark Grove, who is the Manager of Rail Equipment Maintenance at our Gresham facility. “We have talented light-rail mechanics like Bob Culpepper who help make this project happen.”

Grove also says it’s an “art form” to get the body filler flat and smooth. And unlike the original primer and filler, modern filler flexes with the metal of the train’s movement, which makes it last longer.

New signs, windows, HVAC

Mark Grove with a refurbished Type 1 MAX train.
Mark Grove with a refurbished Type 1 MAX train.

Type 1 trains are the only ones in the MAX fleet where its destination signs are hand-cranked by the operator. As part of the rehab, all Type 1 trains will feature new digital signage.

We’re also upgrading the HVAC systems, along with the old vented windows, and replacing them with single-piece fixed windows. This will increase energy efficiency and give you a quieter ride and more open space.

Finally, we’re replacing the old propulsion/braking resistors that are mounted on the roof. The old ones are at the end of their useful life.

“The new resistors have a 20% higher capacity, so they’re stressed less, will be more reliable and last longer,” Grove says.

Why not buy new?

Renovating a Type 1 train is far less costly than buying new. A new light-rail train costs up to $4 million. A Type 1 train rehab runs about $200,000. Cha-ching!

Next in line

Once all the Type 1 renovations are done, we’ll start makeovers on the Type 2 trains.

In the meantime, check out our brand new MAX trains! We’ll be welcoming 18 new-and-improved MAX vehicles to our fleet this year.

Andrew Longeteig

Andrew Longeteig

I’m TriMet’s Communications Coordinator. I share what’s happening at the agency with the media and general public. When I’m not working, I’ll either be watching the Blazers or at a rock concert.

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Let’s Dump the Pump on June 18

What would you do with an extra $999 this month? How about an extra $11,985 this year?

Those are the latest numbers from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), a non-profit organization that calculates average savings for a two-person household that takes transit instead of owning a car. According to the June 2015 study, Portlanders save the 10th-most among U.S. cities.

DTP email

If you’re wondering where these figures came from (and how they could possibly be so high), consider that they’re based on Portland’s average gas price. APTA also assumes that you (and the other person in your household) are driving 15,000 miles per year, and that your car gets just over 23 miles per gallon. These numbers obviously vary for every driver, but they work as reasonable estimates.

Once costs such as parking, maintenance, registration, insurance and other basic charges are factored in, it’s easier to see how simply paying $100 each month for a transit pass could lead to big savings.

That’s just what leaving your car behind does for you. But everyone in our community stands to benefit from your decision to hop on transit (or your bike, or your own two feet). One fewer car in transit means less traffic and shorter commute times. It also keeps pollution out of the air—for each mile taken on TriMet, 59% less carbon is emitted compared to driving alone. And, according to APTA, every $1 invested in public transportation, $4 is returned to our economy. Not bad!

2015_DTP_PrintReadyArtwork_Button

So let’s celebrate the difference we can make. June 18 is National Dump the Pump Day—our chance to show ourselves, our neighbors, family and friends that taking transit is the smart thing to do. Plan to commute by bus with a coworker who’s new to TriMet. Go on a picnic in Washington Park and take the train. Calculate your gas savings and share your results on Facebook using #DumpThePump.

Now back to the twelve-thousand-dollar question. With all that extra cash, here are some things you might consider:

  • Season tickets to the Blazers
  • Reservations to a new restaurant each month
  • The latest Apple gadget
  • Dream big and save up—this could take a dent out of a future housing payment or college tuition!

You probably don’t need to be told what to do with $11,985. But you can make a commitment to dump the pump and spread the word, and start on the path toward saving.

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Specialist. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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