Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so why not surprise your sweetheart with a date you can get to by bus or train? Here are some fun (and frugal!) date nights — and you don’t have to drive!
The good ol’ go-to
Who doesn’t love dinner and a movie? MAX Blue and Red lines will take you right to the Regal Lloyd Center Cinema, or hop on the Green Line to check out Clackamas Town Center’s XD Theater. Want to have dinner delivered to your seat during the film? Check out the Living Room Theater in Downtown Portland. The Portland Streetcar and Line 20-Burnside/Stark will take you there.
Forget the fancy dinner and take your Valentine out to brunch. Portland — known for its brunch scene — is chock full of great spots. Here are a few you can get to by public transportation: Old Salt Marketplace (Line 75-Cesar Chavez/Lombard), Kerns Kitchen (Line 19-Woodstock/Glisan), An Xuyen (Line 14-Hawthorne), and Roman Candle (Line 4-Division/Fessenden).
Washington Park, that is! Take MAX Blue or Red lines to the Washington Park MAX Station and explore! There’s not much in bloom at the International Rose Garden, and the Portland Japanese Garden is closed through March, but you can still enjoy a stroll with your sweetie through the Oregon Zoo, Hoyt Arboretum or the World Forestry Center.
The Portland area thrives on sustainability. From its city-wide recycling programs to a nationally recognized bike-friendly ranking, it’s clear to see our region cares about the environment — and we do too.
From the early stages of the MAX Orange Line project, we’ve been committed to sustainability. Of course, the new Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People, set new standards by being the first (and only) vehicle-free bridge in the United States dedicated exclusively to transit, bicycles and pedestrians, but sustainable practices can be found all along the Orange Line — from the vegetation planted along the rails to the energy initiatives set in place, sustainability has been a focus the entire time.
You’ll find 4,204 square feet of flowering, low-growing evergreen plants between the tracks at the Lincoln St/SW 3rd Ave MAX Station. Although green trackways exist in Europe, this is a first for Portland and the only known eco-track treatment in the U.S. These plants help enrich the urban experience along the MAX line and reduce train noise and vibration.
Additionally, eight buildings on the alignment—six on the east side of the Willamette River and two on the west side—have eco-roofs. This top layer of vegetation and soil improves a building’s insulation, absorbs carbon dioxide, helps filter dust and pollutants out of the air (A 1,000-square-foot green roof removes about 40 pounds of airborne particulates per year!) and diverts stormwater by absorbing rainwater.
Speaking of stormwater…
Bio-swales, stormwater planters and rain gardens are found all along the Orange Line so that stormwater runoff can be collected and safely filtered back into the groundwater. Rain that falls on Tilikum Crossing is directed to treatment facilities on both sides of the river — another first for Portland as runoff from the other bridges flows directly into the city’s combined sewer overflow facilities.
At most of the Orange Line stations you’ll see solar panels on the shelter roofs. These panels generate electricity from both sides and help offset the power usage needed at each station.
Additionally, all lighting along the Orange Line is LED instead of conventional halide bulbs. LEDs use one-sixth of the electricity as halide bulbs and will only need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years.
The SE Park Ave Park & Ride is a prime example of many sustainable practices coming together as a whole. Metro, the Oregon Department of Transportation, Urban Green and members of the community all joined together to create this innovative parking structure.
Some key practices in place:
All of the building’s stormwater runoff is captured and treated onsite.
Invasive plants were removed and native species were planted to restore former habitats.
Over 100 bike parking spaces are provided, as well as an area for future car-sharing programs.
Solar panel energy operates all of the Park & Ride’s functions — including its elevators and lighting — allowing the building to achieve net zero energy usage!
The MAX Orange Line project’s deep commitment to sustainability and social benefit will help shape how we plan projects in the future, and hopefully, encourage other agencies and industries around the world to keep sustainability in mind.
During the People’s Preview, many of you asked why Tilikum Crossing won’t be open for another month. Truth is, we’re almost done—We’ve just got a few things to finish in the next 30 days to ensure the bridge is safe and ready for use!
We have safety improvements to complete along the bicycle and pedestrian pathways on the bridge, like striping—our word for painting—a line to clearly define where the bike lane is.
There are also some areas on the pathways that need additional concrete work.
We still have interpretive signs to install at the belvederes (the extra space on the bridge that juts out).
Lastly, we’re continuing to train our operators on the new MAX Orange Line for the next month. On August 30 we’ll begin “simulated service”—which means trains will be running on their actual schedules, but without riders.
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.
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!)
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!
Our operators are always scanning their routes for pedestrians and cyclists, but an extra set of eyes always helps! Please be on the lookout for buses and trains in both directions, especially along the MAX Orange Line and near Tilikum Crossing. If we all stay alert, everyone will stay safe.
Be safe around trains
Stay off the tracks. At 30 miles per hour, it takes MAX trains two blocks to come to a complete stop, and they can’t swerve around you!
Bike across tracks straight on. Crossing tracks at an angle or turning across tracks is risky. Your wheel could slip into the track bed and cause you to crash! When in doubt, please walk your bike across the tracks.
Please wait if you see a train coming. Flashing lights or a lowering gate means a train is approaching the station. It is illegal to bike, walk, skate or drive around lowered gates.
Cross legally. The only legal and safe place to cross train tracks is at designated crosswalks.
Stay alert around tracks. Headphones, music and texting can be distracting and keep you from noticing an approaching train.
Do not trespass on tracks. It’s illegal and can result in a fine or jail time.
Be safe around buses
Please stop, look and listen for buses before crossing the street.
While biking, please pass on the left if you see riders are boarding or deboarding.
Make sure the operator can see you. If you can’t see the operator—either in the mirror or directly—he or she can’t see you.
Don’t cross in front of a stopped bus. Traffic going around the vehicle may not see you!
If driving around a bus, please give the operators extra space as you change lanes. Buses cannot stop as quickly as cars.
We want you to stay safe while you’re out and about, so please stay alert while walking or biking around buses and trains—and share these tips with your family, friends and neighbors. Let’s all work together to keep everyone safe!
This September, we’re welcoming our fifth MAX line—the Orange Line—to our transportation system, along with a chunk of additional bus service, and we couldn’t be more excited! In the meantime, we’re hosting a series of fun events all around town.
Only 100 days until Grand Opening—Will you be catching an Orange Line event?
Buses, and trains, and brews! Oh my!
For those who love transit and beer, combine your passions at our Transit on Tap talks. The talks occur monthly and, through August, have an Orange Line-centric topic of discussion. (Our upcoming event is all about what crews unearthed during the construction of the Orange Line—intrigued?)
Bike over the bridge
Be one of the first to bike or walk across Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People, before it opens! On August 9, the 20th Annual Providence Bridge Pedal will send bicyclists across the bridge starting at 6:30 a.m., followed by an afternoon preview for all bicyclists and pedestrians from 1:30 p.m. through 4:30 p.m.
Each year, three operators are chosen as the TriMet Operators of the Year. The winners are selected by their colleagues and qualify for the annual award based on their driving, attendance and customer service records.
Here are 2015’s Operators of the Year:
Catherine McLendon, “Mini-Run” Operator of the Year
Catherine lives in Beaverton and has been a TriMet bus driver for 21 years. She has a stellar record for safety, customer service and attendance. Catherine’s also received 16 National Safe Driving awards—which means she’s consecutively driven 16 years without a preventable accident. She’s also received nine Superior Performance Awards (awarded each time an operator drives for 1,960 hours without any preventable accidents, warnings, reprimands or suspensions) and four Ace awards for helping her Honored Citizen riders—not to mention five years of perfect attendance. Way to go, Catherine!
James Hilliard, MAX Operator of the Year
James started as a bus operator in 2006 and switched to operating MAX trains in 2008. This Southeast Portland resident consistently qualifies for operator recognition with a perfect attendance record, nine Service Performance Awards and seven National Safe Driving awards. His rail supervisor described him as “one of the kindest, most professional employees we could hope to have” and bus dispatchers recognize James as someone who always helps out. Thank you, James!
Lyn Simons, Bus Operator of the Year
Lyn, a Milwaukie resident, has been a TriMet bus operator for 14 years. During her time on the road she’s earned 12 National Safe Driving awards (She’s currently working on #13!) and seven Service Performance Awards. She’s also a Senior Operator with a perfect record of zero preventable accidents. Lyn’s colleagues describe her as “a hard worker and respectful, with a big heart.” You rock, Lyn!
We couldn’t be more proud of Catherine, James and Lyn—Thanks for keeping us all moving!
Ten bus stops were recently nominated by riders as the worst of the worst in The Oregonian’s#MyTerribleBusStop poll. So… Out of the 6,660 bus stops in the TriMet service area, why are these such stinkers? Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at why some stops get shelters and benches, while others are just a lonely pole in a ditch.
Sidewalks and crosswalks
Judging by what you’ve told us, riders’ biggest concern is access—specifically, how easy it is to get to and from the stop. It’s no fun crossing a busy street to wait for the bus in a drainage ditch… and it’s not safe, either.
It’s important to note that the majority of our stops are located on land that belongs to someone else, whether it’s a city sidewalk, a county right-of-way, a state-owned highway or private property.
Of course, it’s ideal to put a stop in where there’s already an existing sidewalk and crosswalk—but that’s not always possible. Not all of the neighborhoods we serve have them, and often there is limited space to work with in the location where a stop is needed. In some cases, it comes down to either having a bare-bones stop with no amenities, or not having a stop at all.
That’s why we need a lot of help from our city, county and state partners and private property owners to make these kinds of improvements.
A few years ago, we launched the Pedestrian Network Analysis Project, which helps us focus on and locate the areas where access improvements have the greatest need and provide the biggest opportunities. The analysis was an effort to help our city, county, state and property owner partners identify where to invest in sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting, seating and other upgrades that can make a big difference for transit riders.
We also work to actively build relationships with private property owners and developers to make sure that transit access is not an afterthought when planning new developments.
When we’re deciding which bus stops get shelters and other amenities, we have to take ridership into account—Shelters are considered only at stops with at an average of at least 50 weekday boarding rides. With limited resources available for bus stop improvements, this helps make sure we’re investing in the places that will benefit the most riders.
In some cases, though, even highly used stops don’t get a shelter. For example, on land connected to private property or parking lots (as shown in the example at right), sometimes a shelter just won’t fit.
What’s with all the trash?
Sometimes trash can accumulate at bus stops, and we appreciate riders letting us know when a special clean-up is needed. Plus, some litterbugs like to use our garbage cans as their household dumpster, so it can be tough to keep these stops clean 100% of the time.
Thankfully, the individuals, businesses and community organizations that volunteer through our Adopt-a-Stop program help us keep things tidy. (Thank you!) Together, we can make bus stops better, so if you ever spot an issue at your stop—let us know.
Making bus stops better
In the last two years, we’ve upgraded more than 370 stops, with an additional 100 projects being planned or under way right now. In recent months we’ve partnered with New Seasons Market to provide a stop next to their newest store, equipped with awnings and seating. We worked with Go Lloyd to install new digital screens in the Lloyd District, and with the help of KNOVA Learning Center, we were able to install two new shelters at Stark & 182nd Avenue.
Our bus stops team is always working to improve the safety, comfort and accessibility of our stops—we just need a lot of help from our city, county and state partners, private property owners and you.