Thanks for Your Patience During the First Avenue MAX Improvements

Asking you to avoid MAX for two weeks wasn’t easy. More than 100,000 rides are taken on a typical day — that’s a lot of people we hoped would consider taking the bus, biking, carpooling or working from home instead.

It’s the kind of thing we’d only do if we really had to — and for First Avenue, this was the case. We needed to replace critical sections of track and switches that had been in service since MAX opened in 1986, and the best way to do it was all at once. Unfortunately, that meant trains would have to be detoured around the project, adding pressure on everyone. Beyond the construction itself, we needed to communicate some complicated service messages to riders; in turn, many of you had to alter your commute and plan extra time.

We asked a lot but what you showed us was even more. The patience and cooperation you displayed was truly remarkable and deeply appreciated, and helped make a daunting project go even smoother than we hoped. Now we’re back and we’re better, and on track toward providing more reliable service.


 

Related:

MAX Reliability Improvements
Charting MAX On-Time Performance
• 1st Ave MAX Improvements Progress Reports: 1, 2, 3

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Coordinator. 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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Do your part & take care of your heart

When I’m not in the office, you’ll often find me outside taking a walk with my dog, Milo. We try to walk about three miles a day, and if we have the time and the weather’s nice, we’ll head out of town for a hike. (McNeil Point is one of my favorite hikes, and not because of its name!)

Here's Milo!
Me and Milo!

Over the years, it’s become more and more important for me to be active. At work, we’re often sitting at our computers, sitting in meetings, sitting during conference calls — so I do stress to everyone who works at TriMet to incorporate a little bit of activity in their day — even if it is just taking a quick walk during your lunch break.

That’s why I’m happy to announce that TriMet will be participating in the Heart & Stroke Walk on May 21 at the Portland International Raceway. Myself and over 125 TriMet employees are taking part in this year’s walk to help promote the prevention, treatment and care for cardiovascular disease — the leading killer in the United States. We have over 18 TriMet teams walking this year (with some great names, like “E=MC Awesome” and “Groove is in the Heart”).

Hope to see you out at the Heart Walk! Don’t forget that you can take transit (MAX Yellow Line) there!

Learn more about the 2016 Oregon & SW Washington Heart & Stroke Walk

Neil McFarlane, TriMet General Manager

As the General Manager of TriMet, I'm responsible for running the agency. I've been here at TriMet since 1991, when I started as project control director for the Westside light rail project. When I'm not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and riding the bus and MAX. Maybe I'll see you during my commute.

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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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TriMetiquette: Let’s ride together!

The 1st Avenue MAX Improvements project has begun and for the next two weeks, May 8-21, it’s going to be a bit chaotic on our trains.

During this time, we’ll be sending out fewer trains, and all MAX lines will be running on adjusted schedules and reduced frequencies. Depending on your commute, you may have to transfer to a shuttle bus or walk a few extra blocks to your destination.

It’s going to be different — possibly a little hectic and crazy — but if we practice good TriMetiquette while we ride, it will help us navigate this disruption a little smoother.

  • With fewer trains running, space is going to be tight on board. Help out your fellow riders by moving towards the back of the bus and up the stairs on Type 4 and 5 MAX trains. (Take advantage of these cramped quarters and chat with your neighbor about the latest Game of Thrones episode.)
  • When boarding buses and trains, please let exiting riders off first. Even if you’re eager to get on board (especially if you’ve been waiting for a while), it’s easier for everyone if you let folks off the bus or train first.
  • Seats are for butts — not bags, newspapers, laptops, or feet. (Yuck!)
  • With so many riders on board it’s bound to be noisy. Please use headphones and keep your voice down during phone call conversations.
  • Offer up priority seats. In the priority seating areas, you are required to move for seniors and people with disabilities. (They need that seat more than you do!)

We sincerely appreciate your patience as we work to complete this  important project. Have an etiquette reminder you’d like to share with others? Tag your tweets with #TriMetiquette.

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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The TriMet Tickets app now connects you with more transportation options

A new feature is now included in your TriMet Tickets mobile app that allows you to easily connect with other transportation options nearby, including Lyft and car2go.

The idea is to keep you moving and help you connect to transit — sometimes you just need a ride that first mile to the station, or the last mile home from the bus stop. And in the future, we plan to add more services, such as BIKETOWN bike sharing.

How to use it

First, download the latest version of our TriMet Tickets app.

Then, tap the navigation drawer in the top-left corner of the screen and select “More Rides Nearby.” The transportation options closest to you will appear. Swipe left or right to toggle back and forth between the options.

More Rides Nearby

Finally, select your ride and you’re done! Easy, right?

Discounts during MAX disruptions May 8-21

With our 1st Avenue MAX Improvements project beginning this Sunday, May 8, the timing of this update couldn’t be better. For two weeks, MAX Blue, Green and Red lines will be disrupted and all MAX lines will run on reduced frequency. Fortunately, our friends at Lyft and car2go are providing discounts to riders through the TriMet Tickets app.

New Lyft users can enter code “FIRSTAVE” for $5 off their first 10 rides through the app. Existing users can enter code “LTMP16” for 20 percent off a Lyft ride. (The offer for current Lyft members is valid for the first 1,000 people who claim it — hurry up!)

Meanwhile, car2go is offering new members free registration and 15 minutes of drive time with promotion code “C2G15” (allow five to seven days for car2go membership activation). For existing car2go members, spend $100 in drive time in May 2016 and receive 20 minutes drive time for free. To redeem, email your membership information to portland@car2go.com.

More Lyft drivers and car2go vehicles will be positioned near high-traffic transit stations throughout the metro area to help you get where you need to go during this huge construction project.

We hope you can take advantage of these discounts during the service disruption. And we’d love to hear what you think about the new app feature! Drop us a line at trimet.org/feedback.

Download the latest version of the TriMet Tickets app here.

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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The Plan for First Avenue

We’ve made a big fuss about how the upcoming First Avenue improvements could make for a difficult commute over the next couple weeks, and you’re probably wondering what on earth could possibly create such chaos.

When we say improving, we’re talking about demolishing, replacing, flushing, installing, repairing and upgrading — below, you’ll find insight into what exactly we’ll be doing over the next couple weeks.

Early in the morning on Sunday, May 8, crews will begin saw-cutting around the portions of track that are being removed on First Avenue. Work has already started at Elmonica, our rail maintenance facility in Beaverton, to prepare the rails that will replace these sections.

Rails are being prepared for installation along First Avenue.
Rails are being prepared for installation along First Avenue.

Once the cutting is done, we’ll begin demolition of the trackway under the Morrison Bridge. This involves removal of rails, switch machines, wooden ties and salvageable cobblestone from around the switches. (Why that last one? The City of Portland has required us to replace the cobblestone when we’re done.) A few days in, the same demo work happens at NW 1st & Couch. Once the prep work is done at both locations, we’ll install new materials like track, switch machines, conduit, rebar and a new isolation membrane that guards against stray currents.

We'll be replacing track and switches like this — which are part of the original, 30-year-old MAX alignment — along First Avenue.
We’ll be replacing track and switches like this — part of the original, 30-year-old MAX alignment — along First Avenue.

Once everything is in place, we’ll align the rails to assure they are the right distance apart and check their vertical and horizontal placement. Then the concrete will be poured, first under the Morrison Bridge and later at Couch.

During the second week, we’ll begin the third major project near Skidmore Fountain. The curved section of rail here wears quicker than straight track and will be replaced. This part of the project should take about five days.

The curved section of track near the Skidmore Fountain will be replaced.
The curved section of track near the Skidmore Fountain will be replaced.

Final cleanup of the trackway should be complete by Saturday, May 21, but surfacing on First Avenue — including putting those cobblestones back in — could continue through May 27.

While all this track work is going on, some of our other crews will have a good opportunity to make some other improvements along First Avenue — a sort of silver lining to an otherwise very disruptive project. Maintenance crews will be able to flush and improved drainage under the Morrison Bridge (we don’t need to tell you why this is important), track drains will be cleaned, hardware on the overhead wire will be replaced and the feeder breaker at the Morrison Bridge substation will be retrofitted.

While track work is being done, other crews will have a chance to make repairs.
While track work is being done, other crews will have a chance to make repairs.

We’ll also be repairing and improving the surface alongside the rails that will benefit all street users. (Cyclists who make the bumpy crossing at Couch will be especially happy.) These projects may be supplementary to the track work but they’re critical to the bigger picture along First Avenue: We’re going all-in on these improvements, because that’s the smartest way to give our riders more reliable service into the future.

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Coordinator. 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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Instagram Roundup: April

This month, we’re kicking things off with a photo that set the tone for April — it shows the Unipiper revealing himself to be…Jar Jar Binks (gasp).

It was posted on April Fools’, a celebration of the goofy and the absurd (and sometimes the downright mean). Either way, it always seems to introduce a welcome levity, which is apparent in the photos you shared. There are more colors, smiles and sunshine; everything is a little brighter.

Follow @ridetrimet on Instagram »

Days like this fill me with praise ☀️🙏🏼

A photo posted by Kaitlin Purple (@kaitlinpurple) on

#trimet #transportation #bus #dope #photo #photography #pic #picture #awesome #blackandwhite #bandw #original #amateur

A photo posted by Maxwell Dylan (@maxwelldylan91) on

Waiting on the 75. #pdx #trimet

A photo posted by SAINTS NEED SINNERS (@normanrockwellhardness) on

A photo posted by Ariel Loveall (@loveallmoss) on

As always, tag @ridetrimet and #GoByTransit to share your ride!

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Coordinator. 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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