Category Archives: Access to Transit

BIKETOWN is coming

We know from our work creating the TriMet Bike Plan that our riders care about and rely on bike access. When BIKETOWN, Portland’s public bike share system, makes its debut tomorrow, many riders will have a new option for connecting to transit. That it’s healthy, fun and convenient is icing on the cake.

How does BIKETOWN work?

Ride for a single trip ($2.50), an entire day ($12) or for a whole year with an annual membership ($12/month).

Unlock a ride at the station using the computer and keypad on the back of the bike, and you’re on your way.

When you’re done, lock up at the station — the smart bike will know that you’ve finished your ride.

We like bike share because it extends the reach of transit, making trips by bus or train more accessible to more people. It also helps to make one-way bike trips possible and reduces barriers to biking like ownership, storage, maintenance and concerns about theft.

BIKETOWN

I’m looking forward to hearing and seeing how riders combine trips between BIKETOWN and TriMet. Personally, I’m excited to use bike share for short trips, connections to daytime meetings, getting out of the office for lunch and running errands after work.

BIKETOWN

A few things about BIKETOWN I’d like to point out:

  • If you ride on the Transit Mall (5th and 6th avenues) in Downtown Portland, be sure to stay on the left side of the roadway in the shared lanes and bike lane on portions of SW 5th. Please stay out of the transit lane(s) on the right side of the roadway, as these spaces are only for buses and trains.
  • Don’t bring the bikes on board. One of the best things about bike share is that you only use it when you need it — just park or pick up a bike wherever you’re connecting to the bus or train. (Plus, it doesn’t make sense to pay for bike share time on top of your transit fare.)
  • When you end your ride, if the BIKETOWN station closest to your destination is full, you can lock your bike at a public bike rack close to the station marked with an orange sticker for no additional charge. If you lock your bike at a public bike rack further from a station, a $2 fee applies.
  • The bikes don’t come with helmets, so bring your own if you want one and you plan on riding that day. Keeping a helmet at the office might be a good idea if you plan on riding during the day.
  • Cross tracks straight on. Crossing tracks at an angle or turning across tracks is risky — your wheel can slip into the trackbed and result in a crash. When in doubt, walk your bike across the tracks and check out these safety tips for riding a bike around transit vehicles.
  • You can make money using BIKETOWN. A little bit, anyway: Members who spot bike share bikes locked at public racks will be rewarded with a $1 account credit for returning them to a station.
  • Sneaker Bikes!

BIKETOWN

There are 100 BIKETOWN stations, which means lots of overlap with transit in Portland — take a look at the service area and station map to see what your next trip might look like.

As BIKETOWN establishes itself, we’ll continue working with our partners to encourage smooth connections for transit and bike riders. We hope to see you on a bright orange bike soon!

Learn more about BIKETOWN

Jeff Owen

Jeff Owen

I’m TriMet’s active transportation planner. I work with our regional partners to improve conditions for combining transit trips with walking and biking, including sidewalks, crossings, trails, bikeways, and bike parking. Away from work, I can be found walking, riding my bike, hiking or cheering in the Timbers Army.

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What do you think of our Draft Bike Plan?

We’re currently creating the TriMet Bike Plan, a roadmap that will help guide future investments in biking infrastructure and amenities. This includes improving bike access to transit stops, expanding parking options, and accommodating bikes onboard buses and trains. The goal of the plan is to make bike+transit trips easier, safer and more convenient for more people.

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Biking helps to extend the reach of transit, making transit trips more accessible to more people. As the region grows and changes, we know our riders’ interest in connecting to transit by bike will grow.

This plan serves as a companion to our pedestrian access analysis from 2011. Though we don’t have direct control over sidewalks and bikeways, we recognize that if you can’t get to our bus stops and rail stations, you can’t benefit from our service, so good walking and biking connections are essential for our riders.

Weigh in: Whether you connect to bus, MAX or WES, or if you bike all the way to your destination, we want your feedback

With help from outside experts, we’ve drafted a plan that includes guidance from partners, including city and county leaders. This includes feedback from open houses, online outreach and rider comments. Of course, we also got input from our drivers. All of this was taken into account as we studied existing conditions, analyzed access to transit stations and stops, and studied best practices from other agencies around the country.

Feedback on a map at a Bike Plan open house

The plan includes recommendations for how to improve access to stations and stops, invest in bike parking improvements, and connect people with their community — all while easing traffic congestion and reducing air pollution. In the end, the goal is to make the Portland area a better place to live.

We’ll be taking your feedback through the end of the month and then finalizing the plan in June. So take a look at the plan, available for the next two weeks, and let us know what you think!

Jeff Owen

Jeff Owen

I’m TriMet’s active transportation planner. I work with our regional partners to improve conditions for combining transit trips with walking and biking, including sidewalks, crossings, trails, bikeways, and bike parking. Away from work, I can be found walking, riding my bike, hiking or cheering in the Timbers Army.

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Shuttle connects you in Hillsboro—and it’s free!

There’s a new bus shuttle that now serves North Hillsboro, connecting people to jobs, education, community services and events. Best of all, it’s free!

Ride Connection, Washington County, the City of Hillsboro and the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to offer this service, officially called North Hillsboro Link.

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This shuttle is perfect for commuters going to and from Orenco Station where you can connect with the MAX Blue Line or with bus Line 47-Baseline/Evergreen.

In addition to the Hillsboro Chamber partnership, the service was made possible by Federal Transit Administration funds along with the guidance of the Governor’s Regional Solutions Team and ODOT. The Hillsboro shuttle offers service to major employers such as Intel, Radisys, FEI and Reser’s Fine Foods, among many others. Service begins at 5:29 a.m. and lasts until almost 7 p.m. All shuttles also have bike racks and wheelchair-accessible lifts.

See the full schedule and route map

This is all part of our grand plan, especially on the Westside, to offer shuttles in areas where our ridership can’t support regular bus service. Did you know there are already two other free shuttles in Tualatin and Forest Grove?

Flexible routes

Don’t worry, shuttle drivers won’t pass you by. If you’re along the route and not near a designated stop, simply signal to the driver to stop. You also can request stops along the route when boarding, along with being picked up or dropped off outside the route for one leg of the trip. It’s best to schedule these off-route stops in advance. Just call our friends at Ride Connection at 503-226-0700.

Weather and holiday schedules

On days with severe weather such as ice or snow, shuttle schedules may follow snow routes and all service may be suspended until the weather improves.

The shuttles don’t run on New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

In the future, we hope to add more shuttles like this in the metro area. Stay tuned!

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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Zipcar moves into two more transit centers

Gateway_Zipcar2

We have more ways for you to move around town as Zipcar has expanded to the Willow Creek/SW 185th Transit Center in Hillsboro and Parkrose/Sumner Transit Center in Northeast Portland. Our car-sharing friends have just added two dedicated parking spots to these transit centers as well as a third one at Gateway/NE 99th Transit Center.

“The relatively quick uptake in these areas demonstrates very strong demand for more sustainable alternatives to car ownership in areas further away from the urban core,” says Jeremy Nelson, General Manager for Zipcar in the Portland metro area.

Zipcar also has vehicles available at the following locations:

There are 18 Zipcars available at TriMet transit centers and more than 200 within a five-minute walk of transit stops in the metro area. Look for the large green signs: “Zipcars live here.”

Gateway_Zipcar

“I’ve been really amazed by the demand we’ve received for Zipcars at transit centers surrounding Portland in all directions,” Nelson says. “What started as a modest launch at two transit centers has grown to eight in a little over a year. We’re going to continue to push these boundaries as demand dictates.”

Zipcar can be used by the hour or daily. Gas and insurance are included. Check out all the Zipcar locations at TriMet transit centers.

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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Combining biking and transit: One rider’s story

As Bike Month continues, we’d like to introduce Brian, a daily TriMet rider who combines biking with transit trips:

Brian combines biking with transit on his commute.
Brian combines biking with transit on his commute.

Brian recently told us about his commute options from southwest Beaverton to Downtown Portland, where he works as an architect. All of them combine biking with some form of transit, whether bus, MAX or WES.

At the start of his daily commute, Brian chooses between walking to a stop along Line 92 or Line 62, biking to WES or driving to Sunset Transit Center to park and hop on MAX to get into Downtown Portland.

Bike & Ride facility at Sunset Transit Center
Bike & Ride facility at Beaverton Transit Center

Brian says he benefits in many ways from his typical commute:

“Here’s the obvious great thing about my bike-WES-MAX commute: exercise, riding through Fanno Creek Greenway and not having to bring a bike on MAX,” he says. “Instead, I lock it up dry and safe for the day.”

He takes advantage of secure enclosed bike parking at Sunset TC, accessible with a BikeLink card.

Bike & Ride facilities can be accessed with a BikeLink card.
Bike & Ride facilities can be accessed with a BikeLink card.

Although many riders choose to bring their bike on transit so they can ride to their destination, Brian points out that it can be nice to leave your bike behind, knowing it’s safe and secure.

Safe, secure and dry!
Safe, secure and dry!

We want riding to transit to be an option for anyone who’s interested. We’ll continue to add bike parking when we can, and we always appreciate riders like Brian who share their stories encouraging others to saddle up.

It’s great to hear from riders who combine biking and transit trips, whether for commuting or for recreation. If you’d like to share your ride with us, email bikes@trimet.org.

Jeff Owen

Jeff Owen

I’m TriMet’s active transportation planner. I work with our regional partners to improve conditions for combining transit trips with walking and biking, including sidewalks, crossings, trails, bikeways, and bike parking. Away from work, I can be found walking, riding my bike, hiking or cheering in the Timbers Army.

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Why all bus stops are not created equal (and how we make improvements)

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.

TriMet worked closely with the City of Portland on the Division Streetscape project.
We worked closely with the City of Portland on the Division Streetscape project. We depend on our city, county, state and property owner partners when it comes to infrastructure such as sidewalks and crosswalks.

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.

Before
After
HillsboroWinCo
In front of the Hillsboro WinCo Foods on Hwy 8, in place of a drainage ditch along the roadway, now a wide sidewalk with a bus shelter greets riders because of a partnership between Oregon Department Of Transportation, Washington County and TriMet.
Before
After
TriMet worked with developers when the Fred Meyer block on West Burnside was transformed. Where riders previously experienced a tight sidewalk and tight shelter, now they have a wide sidewalk with a covered bus stop bench designed into the side of the building.

Gimme shelter
Many neighborhood stops like this one at SE 28th and Bybee Blvd do not have space for amenities.
Many neighborhood stops like this one at SE 28th and Bybee Blvd do not have space for stop amenities like shelters and benches.

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.

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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Will you stand up for transportation?

APTA_SUFT Logo_FINAL-01On April 9, communities across the country are coming together to send a powerful message to Congress: We need long-term federal funding in America’s transportation network.

The nation’s transportation infrastructure is rapidly falling into disrepair and, in the long run, short-term and inconsistent funding will slow progress and cost taxpayers more.

Want to show your support for public transportation?

Public transit is an important part of America’s transportation system and it benefits everyone—even those who don’t ride! When you take public transportation you help boost local and national economic growth, ease traffic congestion and reduce air pollution. Plus, it helps get us to all the places we need to go! Want to voice your support for expanding and improving public transit across the nation? Here’s how you can participate:

  • Join us on Thursday, April 9, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pioneer Courthouse Square and show your support for public transportation. We’re parking a 40’ bus decked out in stickers right in the middle of the square—come on by and take your photo with the bus or in the operator’s seat! There will be crew on site to help take your photos. (Don’t forget to share your photo with the hashtag #SU4T!) We’ll also be handing out some TriMet swag and you can enter our raffle to win a book of 2½-Hour Tickets (a $25 value).
  • Share your support online by using the hashtags #SU4T and #StandUp4Transportation

Congress must take action by May 31. Join us as we stand up for transportation and help bring all of America’s public transportation, roads, bridges, ports and rail systems up to speed!

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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