Category Archives: Access to Transit

December 3rd is International Day of Persons With Disabilities

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You probably didn’t know it, but today is International Day of Persons With Disabilities. The day was established in 1992 by the United Nations to highlight the importance of inclusiveness and accessibility in our society and development.

This year’s theme focuses on the opportunities for technology to improve the lives of the more than 1 billion people who live with some form of a disability. (That’s about 15% of the world’s population!)

When we design products, buildings, cities and vehicles in a way that is accessible and inclusive, it can make a huge difference to someone with a physical or mental disability. But it’s really much bigger than that: Accessibility makes the world a better place for everyone.

Anything you can do to improve accessibility is a benefit to all users.

According to the UN, “Evidence shows that when barriers to their inclusion are removed and persons with disabilities are empowered to participate fully in societal life, their entire community benefits.”

That’s certainly true for transportation. If you can get around, you have an opportunity to fully participate in your community.

And when it comes to building an accessible transit system, TriMet is fortunate to have the guidance of the Committee on Accessible Transportation (or “CAT,” for short). The CAT is a 15-member citizen committee that advises the TriMet board and staff on plans, policies and programs with the goal of improving access to transit services.

“Anything you can do to improve accessibility is a benefit to all users,” says Jan Campbell, the committee’s chairperson.

“When you hear the next stop being announced on the bus, or you see a family use the boarding ramp—these are features that were designed to help people with disabilities get around,” Jan adds. “But in the end, they make transit easier for all riders.”

TriMet service is a lifeline for many of us who can’t drive due to our age or a disability. Each year, 12 million rides are taken by seniors and people with disabilities who would otherwise have few options for transportation.

“That’s what’s good about TriMet,” says Jan. “We really do have one of the best transit systems here, and we have put a lot of effort into making it totally accessible for everybody.”

In partnership with the World Affairs Council, TriMet has recently hosted visitors from Canada, Turkmenistan, Egypt and Korea who wanted to learn about the accessibility of the Portland area’s transit system.

Here are a few of the accessibility features on TriMet that you might use every day:

  • Buses, MAX trains and streetcars have ramps that extend for easier boarding if you need it, and most buses can “kneel,” lowering the first step closer to the curb. Just ask the operator.
  • All vehicles have priority seating areas inside by the door for seniors and riders with limited mobility, plus space for mobility devices.
  • At MAX, WES and Streetcar stations, there are textured tiles along the length of the boarding platform to warn you when you’re near the platform edge. You can feel these tiles with your feet or a cane.
  • Many bus stops and MAX stations have digital displays that show you when the next bus or train is expected to arrive. At some stations, including those on the Portland Transit Mall, you can also hear an audio announcement of the next arrivals by pushing a button.
  • MAX trains and buses announce their line name and destination over an external speaker system as they pull up to a stop. Inside, major stops and transfer points are announced over the speaker system and displayed on a reader board.
  • For riders who have a physical or mental impairment that prevents them from riding regular buses or trains independently, TriMet’s LIFT paratransit service can help keep them moving.

Learn more about accessibility features on TriMet

Learn more about the International Day of Persons With Disabilities

It’s easy to combine bike and transit trips

In honor of Bike Month, we’d like to highlight a commute that combines biking with TriMet.

Matthew Hampton starts his commute in the Boring area, southeast of Gresham, and after a short stretch riding on Highway 212’s wide shoulder, he joins the trailhead for the Springwater Corridor in Downtown Boring.

After the “best 8-mile ride you can imagine,” which is slightly downhill, he rolls into the recently renovated Gresham Main City Park and grabs coffee and a freshly made bagel from Jazzy Bagels.

Typical shot from the Springwater Trail, linking Boring to Gresham.
Typical shot from the Springwater Trail, linking Boring to Gresham.

Then it’s a little hop over to the Gresham Central MAX Station where he checks his bike into the secure BikeLink parking room, then boards MAX to enjoy a nice ride to Portland without the hassle of dealing with hanging and un-hanging his bike. Matthew works in the Lloyd District so he walks only a couple of blocks from the MAX station.

His favorite part of the commute is seeing the variety of folks on the trail in the morning: “Everyone has a smile and it’s like we have this little secret. I feel incredibly grateful this path is still providing mobility for the region’s population and it fits in my commute.”

“Everyone has a smile and it’s like we have this little secret. I feel incredibly grateful this path is still providing mobility for the region’s population and it fits in my commute.”

Matthew’s favorite spot along his commute. He calls it “Clackanoma Park.”
Matthew’s favorite spot along his commute. He calls it “Clackanoma Park.”

Other things Matthew likes about his commute? The physically separated biking paths and the locked bicycle storage. He can even get supplies or repairs from the Gresham Bicycle Center which is conveniently located in the same structure as the TriMet BikeLink parking room.

Keep enjoying the ride, Matthew. We’ll keep an eye out for you both on the trail and on MAX. Happy Bike Month to you!

TriMet resources for cyclists:

Bikes and TriMet: How to get there by bike, bus and train

Plan a bike/transit trip at trimet.org

Park & Ride Locations: Free 24-hour parking for riders

Get your own “I ride” TriMet bicycle messenger bag

 

TriMet does not endorse and is not responsible for any business, product or services mentioned in this blog article.

 

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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Forest Grove makes investments to improve bike access to transit

Forest Grove bike shelters at 19th and Pacific U
Covered bike parking keeps your bike dry during the rainy season while you hop on the bus or train to finish your trip. Pictured here is the sheltered bike parking near Pacific University on Line 57.

If you live, work, or study just a little too far away from the bus stop or train station to walk, biking to transit is a great option to consider. If there’s room, you can bring your bike with you on board, but often demand is high and bike parking comes to the rescue. Parking your bike at the stop or station allows you to complete the rest of your trip on transit hassle-free without always watching after or worrying about your bike.

Forest Grove bike shelters 19th and B
Covered bike parking at 19th Avenue and B Street

We are very happy to highlight the city of Forest Grove’s efforts in providing high quality covered bike parking at three locations along Line 57-TV Hwy/Forest Grove in Forest Grove.

Forest Grove applied for grant funding for these three bike parking installations through Metro’s Regional Travel Options (RTO) grant program. This program aims to increase the awareness of non-single occupancy vehicle travel options such as biking, walking, transit, ridesharing, telecommuting or working compressed work weeks.

To accomplish these goals, the RTO program provides strategic investments that contribute to economic, environmental and socio-economic health and prosperity for the region. Through this successful grant award, costs for the project were shared between Metro and the city of Forest Grove.

Covered bike parking at 19th Avenue and 19th Street
Covered bike parking at 19th Avenue and 19th Street

We love to see our regional partners making investments in improving access to transit, which helps us to build a better system and allows safe and convenient connections for riders.

 
   
 
 

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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