Monday, October 2, 2023
HomeCyclingBike Loud PDX coverage experience braves climate to discover Division Transit Undertaking

Bike Loud PDX coverage experience braves climate to discover Division Transit Undertaking

Bicycle rider in a green-painted bike lane next to a sidewalk with a bus stop under construction

Driving previous one of many new FX bus stops on Southeast Division.
(Photograph: Taylor Griggs/BikePortland)

After per week of temperamental climate, issues have been set to be delicate this previous Saturday for Bike Loud PDX’s experience to take a look at the progress on TriMet’s Division Transit Undertaking (DTP).

“I in all probability don’t want gloves, an sufficient jacket or a hat,” I assumed as I ran out of the home (making excuses, as a result of I couldn’t discover any of these items and I used to be going to be late). Consequently, I used to be woefully unprepared for the hodgepodge of parts awaiting us on this journey. However, as anybody who’s been on a Bike Loud experience is aware of, this crew is among the many most expert relating to making the very best of lower than supreme circumstances.

The group, which consisted of a couple of dozen folks, met close to the Tilikum Crossing round midday earlier than heading east on the Clinton Avenue greenway. It was nonetheless sunny, however once I noticed folks rolling up sporting their rain capes, I knew I used to be in bother. I joked that I saved avoiding shopping for good rain gear as a result of I used to be superstitious about jinxing the climate – if I shelled out for a pleasant jacket, it appears inevitable that we’d have a month of sunshine and I’d by no means get round to sporting it.

(The crew. Photographs by Taylor Griggs/BikePortland)

Nonetheless, I used to be excited to get going. I’ve been wanting to take a look at the DTP for a while. This undertaking, which broke floor in early 2020, has been fairly a big endeavor. The central part of this undertaking is the improved bus service changing what is named TriMet Line 2 with Frequent Categorical (FX) which is able to embody longer buses with room for extra riders (and bikes!), multiple-door boarding to cut back cease time, climate protected bus stations positioned strategically for rider demand and bus transit sign precedence.

Mariah Lynch, a transportation research graduate scholar at Portland State College and a undertaking supervisor for Citadel Rock Clever Transportation Techniques, led the group on this experience.

“That is one thing to be enthusiastic about!” Lynch informed me, explaining why she wished to take bike advocates alongside this route.

Lynch wished to point out the bike tasks taking place on Division together with the bus enhancements. Whereas she mentioned issues are getting higher in east Portland, it nonetheless might be tough to bike on the market.

“I believe it’s essential to point out you guys what it’s wish to experience in east Portland,” Lynch informed the group. “It’s not the biking Mecca it’s within the Central Metropolis.”

This undertaking coincides with the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Outer Division Security Undertaking, which is concentrated on bettering infrastructure for folks strolling and biking with sign upgrades and guarded bike lanes. While you mix these tasks, you could have an outer Division Avenue that’s loads safer and extra environment friendly for folks strolling, biking and taking the bus – which is essential due to how essential this avenue is for getting round east Portland.

The DTP is typically known as a bus fast transit (BRT) undertaking, however the FX route received’t meet all of the true BRT necessities: as an example, there isn’t going to be a devoted bus lane on Division – automobiles and buses will share the identical lane. Nevertheless, the route upgrades are nonetheless substantial. One thrilling ingredient we’ve coated previously is the brand new “shared bike and pedestrian” station design that emulates a mannequin seen in locations like Copenhagen.

Moreover, there are three “island” station designs for buses going east and westbound at 82nd Ave and 122nd Ave eastbound. TriMet’s Division Transit Undertaking Engineering & Development Supervisor Jesse Stemmler met up with our group on the eastbound 82nd Ave cease to present us a rundown.

Man in neon vest speaking while standing on sidewalk.

TriMet’s Jesse Stemmler explains parts of the Division Transit Undertaking.
(Photograph: Taylor Griggs)

“We have been actually how can we combine bikes, pedestrians and transit riders in a approach that that facilitates all these safely in such a good house,” Stemmler mentioned. “Over a course of some months, we introduced stakeholders out to actually take a look at every kind of configurations and attempt to discover the design that labored finest.”

Stemmler mentioned that for folks driving bikes, these new stations will combine nicely with PBOT’s Outer Division Security Undertaking.

“There’s a protected bike lane that’s moving into as a part of the security undertaking. So usually, as you enter these platforms, you’ll be coming from a protected bike setting,” he mentioned.

Woman straddling a bike on the sidewalk with light snow falling

Mariah Lynch was a fearless chief even in a shock snowstorm.

Stemmler mentioned TriMet can’t full all of the station therapies till there’s per week or two of steady good climate, which felt fairly not possible as all of us stood within the freezing rain. However ultimately, it can heat up, and the ultimate touches might be made. Proper now, the plan is for the FX line to begin operating this September.

By the point we have been saying goodbye to Stemmler and driving away from the cease at 82nd, it was lightning, thundering and…snowing? All of us laughed, due to course this is able to be our luck, however I used to be shivering and kicking myself for being so underdressed. Fortunately, Bike Loud member and pal of BikePortland Cathy Tuttle had some further (handmade!) gloves for me, saving my arms from frostbite. (Okay, that may be an exaggeration. The purpose is: I’m very grateful for Cathy’s kindness.)

The unique plan was to finish the experience with some $1 tacos at a meals truck. However being close to 82nd Ave, which is heaven for Portland Vietnamese meals lovers, we determined to heat up inside on the Bun and Pho Home on 82nd with some scorching pho as an alternative. I purchased a hat on the Fubonn Procuring Heart subsequent door so I might make the journey residence with my ears intact. However by the point we have been executed with our soup, the solar was out once more, and our experience again west was leisurely and low-stress.

This experience was an effective way to take a look at a undertaking that lots of people are enthusiastic about and that has very excessive expectations. However greater than that, it jogged my memory how a lot enjoyable it’s to hang around in actual life with folks driving bikes. This might be my first summer time in Portland, and because it’s additionally the primary yr because the pandemic that numerous thrilling occasions are again on, I’m wanting ahead to driving extra!

(Keep tuned to our occasion calendar for particulars on upcoming Bike Loud coverage rides.)