The transit edition

Have you Heard?

Have you heard about the move to retire the Type 1 MAX trains? You could be riding on a brand new train in 2021 with softer seats, more room and extremely cool digital stop screen. This means the Type 6 will finally lead to the removal of high-floor trains that bar many people with mobility issues and large items in hand like bikes. This means a more accessible ride for everyone, which leads me to…

Folks, please make way in the priority seating area. It’s absolutely rude to stare at someone with a mobility device or service animal or an elder asking for a seat. At times it can be cruel, even. In case you aren’t sure what the seating is for, TriMet has a guide for you on its website. In short, if you can, please let those who are elders or disabled sit in this area. And if you are either of these (or both) remember that for your safety and security, these areas are open to you. Bring on the Type 6!

If you’ve heard about TriMet at all, then I’m certain you’ve heard about the PSU Viking Pass, an all-term transit pass available just before classes start each term. Naturally, this means you’ve missed out for this term, but don’t worry: it’ll be back open in a few weeks in advance of Spring Term. But wait, there’s more! TriMet now offers reduced fare options for those with low or no income, something a lot of students can relate to. Portland State’s Student Transit Program website has details for you.

And another thing: Can Trimet make Blue Line MAX trips to and from Gresham terminate and originate on campus more often? Having a direct line east that continues on beyond Gateway would be helpful to a lot of students, increasing access to more affordable areas of town that many students inhabit. Service realignments are hard to justify, especially those that split a line in two, but different models of expanded service exist, such as extension of the Yellow Line Metrorail service in Washington, D.C. to serve portions of Maryland. This service has proven so successful at both reducing crowding and expanding ridership that it’s been made permanent.

Finally, have you heard about the Rose Quarter I-5 expansion? In case you haven’t, the Oregon Department of Transportation is essentially mandating a widening and reconfiguration of I-5 north of I-84. At nearly a billion dollars, the project is a pricey piece of roadway. Funding and operations costs are so contested at this point, however, that the final environmental impact statement has been delayed to study congestion pricing at the behest of Governor Kate Brown. Here’s an idea, though: how about paying for more MAX service and environmental friendly buses? Expanding roads, laying more and more concrete, funneling more cars through the city? That’s just not sustainable!