Category Archives: In the Community

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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TriMetiquette: You told us what makes you cringe on board

Back in February, we asked for feedback about which transit etiquette, or “TriMetiquette,” rules riders should follow. Well, the results are in!

After sorting through 1,071 responses of what bugs you while you ride, we’ve narrowed it down to three TriMetiquette sub-categories: Noise, Gross and Space.

noise_header

About 45% of the responses mentioned annoyances involving noise. Two hundred and seventy-seven responses were about people talking too loud while on board (“Speakerphone is not for the bus!”), and about 207 replies referenced riders playing music or games too loudly on their personal devices.

“Turn your music down, we can all hear it coming from the headphones and it sounds awful. Keep your voice down during both face-to-face and phone conversations—if the phone connection is poor, call them later—we don’t want to listen to you yell into thin air.”

gross_header

This sub-category covers a range of pet peeves including feet on seats and smoking (“People always ignore the non-smoking signs and smoke right next to passengers”) to odd smells (“Bathe, for the love of all that’s holy, and not in Axe.”) and offensive personal grooming habits (“No cleaning your ears or clipping your fingernails on the bus”).  Overall, 51% of the received feedback fell into this category—164 replies were specifically about feet and dirty shoes on seats.

“No feet on the seats! I think that feet on the seats is unclean, gross and it makes it difficult for other people who really need a seat (when the bus or train is full).”

space_header

Leading the way with a whopping 639 replies and 60% of the responses were frustrations about space. Riders really can’t stand seeing other riders take up more than one seat (“One butt, one seat”), stand too close for comfort (“Please do your best not to lean on your fellow passengers”), exit the bus from the front (“Remember, exiting by the front door keeps everyone waiting“), or hop on the train before letting others off.

“Stop blocking the door when people are trying to get off the MAX.  Stand back and let people exit before getting on.”

But the pet peeves don’t stop there—we also received plenty of feedback about practicing common courtesy, like giving up your seat to seniors, people with disabilities or others who could really use is, and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze

We want you to have an enjoyable ride, but that can’t happen without your help. So, let’s be considerate to one another, use headphones while we ride, keep our belongings  on the floor and our feet off the seats!

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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10 must-do events for the Ho-Ho-holidays!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so get into the holiday spirit without the hassle of traffic, parking and gas! Gather up your friends and family, purchase some 1-Day Passes and let us take you to these holiday events in the Portland-Metro area.


Santaland at Macy’s

November 28 – December 24
Stop by Macy’s in Downtown Portland and meet Santa! You’ll find him on Level A. Don’t forget to have your photo taken with Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, and check out the restored original monorail next to the train garden.

Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo.ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo

November 28 – January 4, 2015
You don’t want to miss the zoo’s annual winter festival. This year, experience a new train route through a never-before-seen light experience!

Holiday Ale Festival at Pioneer Courthouse Square

December 3 – 7, opens at 11 a.m.
Toast to the spirits of the season! The Holiday Ale Fest features more than 50 winter ales you won’t find in the supermarket. (Sorry! No one under the age of 21 is allowed to attend.)

America’s Largest Christmas Bazaar at the Expo Center

December 5 – 7, opens at 10 a.m.
Since 1982, the Christmas Bazaar has been considered both a holiday tradition and great place to shop for holiday gifts.

Christmas Ships Parade

December 5 – 20
This year marks the 60th anniversary of Portland’s Christmas Ships Parade on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. The first run will begin at 7 p.m. on December 5th down North Portland Harbor on the inside of Hayden Island.

TGrottoFOLchapel1he Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights

November 28 – December 30
With over 500,000 lights, 150 choral performances, a petting zoo, carolers, puppet shows and hot chocolate, this special event is sure to be a holiday treat for the entire family.

Super Colossal Holiday Sale at the Oregon Convention Center

December 13 – 14, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
More than 250 artists and crafters will be selling their handmade goods during this holiday shopping event. The first 150 shoppers will receive goodie bags on both days—don’t miss out!

Portland Menorah Lighting at Director Park

December 16 – December 23, 5:30 p.m.
Join Chabad of Oregon at Director Park for the annual Portland Menorah Lighting ceremonies. Take part in post-lighting dancing, latkes and apple sauce on December 16th.

The Lights on Peacock Lane

December 15 – December 31, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. (except 12/24 and 12/31, runs to midnight)
Houses in this Southeast Portland neighborhood have been decorating for Christmas since the 1920s. Don’t miss this Rose City tradition—you’ll find Peacock Lane between SE Stark Street and SE Belmont Street, one block east of SE 39th Street.

Celebrate Kwanzaa at the North Portland Library

December 27, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Each day of Kwanzaa recognizes a different value or principle. On December 27, Ujima, the third day, highlights the value of collective work and responsibility.


Don’t miss these opportunities to get into the spirit of the season—we’ll take you there!

Plan your trip at trimet.org

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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3 ways to kick off the perfect Oregon summer

This is our city’s time to shine. Summer is Oregon’s reward to its citizens for all those gray months. And it’s catnip to tourists who you’ll no doubt be entertaining.

Here’s a breakdown of just a few of the must-dos in Downtown Portland as well as a long list of the lesser known goings-on inside and outside of Portland that shouldn’t be overlooked.

1. PIONEER COURTHOUSE SQUARE EVENTS

It’s called “Portland’s Living Room” for a reason. During the summer it’s rare to find the Square not teeming with music, flowers or food.

flicks on the bricksSome of our favorite events include:

Noon Tunes. Otherwise known as the perfect lunch hour. Enjoy free concerts every Tuesday and Thursday from July 15 to August 14.

Flicks on the Bricks is great way to spend an evening downtown. Come see the Square magically transformed into Portland’s largest outdoor movie theater! Live pre-movie entertainment begins at 7 p.m. every Friday from July 26 to August 16.

Yoshida’s Sand in the City. No time to go to the Coast? Then come to Portland’s biggest beach party. Sand in the City takes over the Square on July 18-20.

Finally, Festa Italiana brings Italy to Downtown Portland with lots of spirited entertainment and food from August 21 to 23.

2. OPEN MARKETS

Our area is known for its outdoor markets and every year they just keep getting bigger and better.

Farmers Market Here are three that can’t be beat:

Portland Saturday Market: A lot more than tie-dye and patchouli can be found at this downtown market which has become the largest outdoor arts and crafts market in operation with well over 200 booths. The food stalls and live music alone make the Saturday Market worth the visit. (Open Saturday and Sunday through December 24)

Portland Farmers Market: With eight locations all over Portland there are more than enough opportunities to see what foods you might fall in love with this summer. The most popular location is on the PSU campus at SW Park Avenue and SW Montgomery Street. There any Saturday you can visit over 130 booths of deliciousness. (Saturdays through December 20)

Beaverton Farmers Market: Open since 1998, Beaverton Farmers Market has been around even longer than Portland’s Farmers Market and it has just as many booths! (8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., May to November)

3. TRANSIT TO TRAILS

Enjoy the mild temperatures and rainless days while you can!Transit to TrailsThe Portland metropolitan area has more than 10,000 acres of parks and natural areas. Here are some of our favorite trails from North Portland to Tualatin to Buxton and a lot of points in between that you can visit by taking TriMet.

Of course this is just a very short list of some of the top must-dos. Even though the Rose Festival is over there are more than enough events to keep you busy until September! So enjoy the summer and let TriMet help make your trips easier.

Your comprehensive list of summer events

 

Since her office moved, Sarah has a new perspective on her work commute

Sarah McCloskey
Sarah McCloskey

Until six months ago, my work commute between Beaverton and my office in Lake Oswego had consisted of driving a stretch of Hwy 217 during peak rush hour traffic each day. I tolerated the slow, bumper-to-bumper traffic in exchange for the convenience of driving my own car.

Since I started riding public transit, I’m more relaxed.

When I first learned that my firm would be relocating to Downtown Portland, I knew that I would need to make some major changes to my commute. If I were to continue driving to work, it would mean spending twice the time in rush hour traffic on two notoriously congested highways each day. I estimated that my monthly costs for driving and parking would amount to more than double the cost of a 1-Month Pass. Since I did not need the extra stress or expense of driving, the decision was simple: I would take public transit.

My new commute begins with a short ride on WES—now in its 5th year of service—to the Beaverton Transit Center. I enjoy comfortable seats, wide aisles, free Wifi and the friendly WES conductors. I also enjoy getting to know other regular riders that I see each day. After transferring to MAX, I have 25 minutes to get a jump on my morning email or catch up on news, books and crossword puzzles.

Since I started riding public transit, I’m more relaxed. I save money and I’m happy that I am doing my part to reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion. When I began riding, I assumed I’d miss the convenience of driving, but, with frequent arrival times, a MAX stop right outside my office and no traffic jams, I’ve found it to be much more convenient than driving!

Sarah McCloskey is a marketing coordinator at Otak, Inc. She is a new TriMet rider and commutes from her home in Beaverton to her office in Downtown Portland.

Marisa Scheidegger

I'm TriMet's marketing communications coordinator. I write content for TriMet's web and social media, and customer-facing print materials. When I'm not working, I'm spending time with my husband and two incredibly bright and funny kids.

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For Katrina, her phone is her fare, and she couldn’t be happier

Why I Ride - Katrina
Whenever I tell people that I don’t have a driver’s license they’re always shocked. And when I tell them that prior to moving to Portland from Arizona, I didn’t have a car, they ask in horror, “How did you get around?” My answer: I took the bus, of course! I tell them my infamous work commute consisted of four miles of cycling, plus an hour-long bus ride.

Living in Portland is a transit-taker’s dream, and it’s a huge part of why I moved here…

Thankfully, I now live in a dense urban environment where I have a myriad of transit options. As someone who doesn’t drive, it’s not just a luxury to have access to frequent bus or train service, it’s a necessity. Living in Portland is a transit-taker’s dream, and it’s a huge part of why I moved here for graduate school three years ago.

Needless to say, when the TriMet Mobile Ticketing app was released, I literally jumped from my seat to start the download. I admit that I was a late adopter from my “dumb phone” to an iPhone, but I quickly made the transition into total digital reliance.

Since that day, the ticketing app has been the perfect addition to my transit repertoire, alongside PDX Bus and Transitive. I said goodbye to having to keep track of paper stubs and of how many tickets I had left before having to buy the next pack. Not at a grocery store or near a transit stop? Not a problem!

For me, the best thing about the app is that it’s basically foolproof. Buying tickets is easy because it remembers my card information, so even if I realize at the last moment that my pass is up, I can buy another in minutes. Whenever I see the bus on the horizon, I simply load up my app and prepare to board.

With over 60,000 downloads, the app has proven to be intuitive and easy to understand. And, when using the app for the first time, a simple explanation guides you from the get-go.

My phone literally is my fare, and I couldn’t be a happier transit rider.

Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman is a recent master of Urban Studies graduate from Portland State University and prides herself on being a pedestrian in Portland. She is currently the project Intern at DHM Research and has a blog called Think Urban. 

Marisa Scheidegger

I'm TriMet's marketing communications coordinator. I write content for TriMet's web and social media, and customer-facing print materials. When I'm not working, I'm spending time with my husband and two incredibly bright and funny kids.

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History in the making: Four finalists are announced in naming the new transit bridge

Transit Bridge

There were nearly 9,500 bridge name submissions to the bridge naming committee. We are very pleased so many people participated. Thank you!

Chet Orloff
Chet Orloff

I’d like to walk through how we came to select the four finalists’ names. During my 40+ year career, in Oregon history I have been involved with many similar ventures and I have to say, this was the most thorough and publicly inclusive and, therefore, the best.

First, the committee considers itself the “general public”—we live all over the region and together bring strong cultural, historical, academic, professional, and geographical experience and wisdom to the naming process. The ten of us represent the diversity of gender, age, geographic and cultural differences that characterize the tri-county region.

We met for the first time last September. We learned more about the bridge from TriMet staff and toured onsite to get a feeling for what the it will look like, its functions and what it may represent. We discussed our hopes and aspirations for the name. We live here like everyone else and like you, want a great name for a great bridge!

The committee reviewed other organizations’ naming criteria, debated what was most important to our region and finalized the selection considerations. Believe me, my 22 years on the Oregon Geographic Names Board came in handy!

  • Origin of name
  • Meaning of proposed name
  • Is it inspirational? If so, why?
  • Regional perspective
  • Does it reflect how bridge connects people? If so, how?
  • Historical significance (if any)
  • Biographical info (if commemorative)
  • Any special cultural meaning?
  • What will it mean 100 years from now?
  • Spelling
  • Pronunciation
  • Sound/ring/flow—does it “roll off your tongue?”

Other members of the public—everyone living here—were asked to help us, to use your imagination, historical research, creativity, cultural awareness, sensitivity, and to send us ideas that “might reflect local geography, Native American and more-recent history, area plants or animals, or other themes relating the symbolic nature of connecting the region.” In addition, we began with the directive that the name of the bridge “can evoke historical moments, remind us of names of noted community leaders, or suggest the beauty, wilderness and or wonder of the entire region.”

Committee members agreed that each of us must be fine with any name going forward being THE final name of the bridge. We also worked to unanimously agree on all names going forward. Unanimity for all final names was essential, we believed.

At the end of the day, committee members feel confident that this has been a thoughtful process, accomplished by thoughtful citizens—members of the tri-county community and of the committee. Our process was not a popularity contest. It was not about lobbying and who has the most clout. It was about selecting a bridge name that best reflects the region’s history, culture, and geography, and that holds the promise to connect and hopefully inspire us—not just now, but hundreds of years from now.

But it is not over, yet. Keep participating and tell us what you think of the four final proposed names. Thank you!

Learn about the final names and send us your comments!

Chet Orloff

Chet Orloff

Historian Chet Orloff has a tremendous knowledge of the history and culture of our region and state. He has served on the Oregon Geographic Names Board for 22 years. He is the Director Emeritus of the Oregon Historical Society. Chet also is an adjunct professor of urban studies and planning at Portland State University and the University of Oregon, president and director, Museum of the City, and principal of consulting firm, Oregon History Works. He manages the Pamplin International Collection of Art and History. He serves as the chairperson of TriMet’s Bridge Naming Advisory Committee.

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