TriMet details $558 million in bus rapid transit projects included in Measure 26-218

TriMet details $558 million in bus rapid transit projects included in Measure 26-218

(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Less than two weeks before voters get final say on Metro’s transportation funding measure 26-218, TriMet has released a statement outlining the four major bus rapid transit projects it would fund.

TriMet defines bus rapid transit as, “A different type of bus service that uses treatments such as specially timed signals and dedicated transit travel lanes to move buses around traffic and get riders to their destination efficiently.”

“If the measure does not pass… the bus rapid transit projects, as proposed, would not be completed.”
— TriMet

The measure, which would raise just over $5 billion via a 0.75% payroll tax on businesses with over 25 employees starting in 2022 would fund four corridors that are pegged to include significant bus-related investments: 82nd Avenue, Tualatin Valley Highway, Burnside, and McLoughlin (99E). The combined funding for bus rapid transit projects on those four corridors is $557.5 million.

When added to other projects in the measure the total bus-related investment swells to $712.7 million.

Here are the four bus rapid transit project summaries provided by TriMet (with bus-specific investment added by me in parentheses):

82nd Avenue bus rapid transit line ($205 million):

Line 72-82nd/Killingsworth serves the 82nd Avenue corridor, a major north-south arterial that spans the city of Portland and crosses into Clackamas County. It is TriMet’s highest ridership line and provided nearly 84,500 rides a week prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Line 72 connects Northeast Portland, Southeast Portland and Clackamas Town Center and offers Frequent Service, with buses arriving every 15 minutes or better, most of the day, every day. The proposed 10-mile bus rapid transit line on 82nd Avenue would run between Northeast Killingsworth Street in Portland and Southeast Monterrey Avenue in Happy Valley. If the measure passes, the proposed 82nd Avenue bus rapid transit line would include:

— Transit priority signals
— Business access and transit (BAT) lanes
— Stations with shelters and real-time arrival information
— Bus fleet upgrades (TriMet proposes using 60-foot articulated electric buses)
— Queue jump signals and queue bypasses at high-traffic intersections
— Companion projects including adding or upgrading sidewalks, bike facilities and pedestrian crossings

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Tualatin Valley Highway bus rapid transit line ($105 million)
TriMet’s Line 57-TV Hwy/Forest Grove is a 17-mile bus line that connects the communities of Beaverton, Aloha, Hillsboro, Cornelius and Forest Grove in Washington County. It also has Frequent Service, and prior to the pandemic, saw nearly 45,500 trips each week. If the measure passes, the proposed Tualatin Valley Highway bus rapid transit and companion projects would include:

— Transit signal priority
— Queue jump signals and bypass lanes
— Business and Transit (BAT) lanes
— Bus fleet upgrades (TriMet proposes using 60-foot articulated electric buses)
— Stations with shelters and real-time arrival information and bus pullouts
— Companion projects including adding or upgrading sidewalks, bike facilities and pedestrian crossings

McLoughlin Boulevard bus rapid transit line ($92.5 million):
Line 33-McLoughlin/King Rd connects Clackamas Town Center, Downtown Milwaukie, Gladstone, Oregon City and Clackamas Community College. It is another one of TriMet’s Frequent Service lines and prior to the pandemic, provided about 31,060 trips each week. Line 33 travels primarily along King Road and McLoughlin Boulevard (OR-99E). If the measure passes, the proposed McLoughlin Boulevard bus rapid transit and companion transportation projects would include:

— Transit priority signals
— Business Access and Transit (BAT) lane
— Bus fleet upgrades (TriMet proposes using 40-foot electric buses)
— Stations with shelters and real-time arrival information
— Companion projects including adding or upgrading sidewalks, bike facilities and pedestrian crossings

Burnside Road bus rapid transit line ($155 million)
TriMet’s Line 20-Burnside/Stark is the longest regular bus route in TriMet’s system, serving a corridor that spans from Beaverton to Gresham. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Line 20 was one of two bus lines offering 24-hour service, with nearly 70,800 trips per week. The proposed bus rapid transit project along Burnside would include the following, if the measure passes:

— Transit priority signals
— Queue bypasses
— Bus fleet upgrades (TriMet proposes using 60-foot articulated electric buses)
— Stations with shelters and real-time arrival information
— Companion projects including upgrading crossings to access transit stops



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TriMet doesn’t mention it, but 26-218 would include another $2 million in a program called “Better Bus” that would fund, “nimble, low-cost improvements to make buses more reliable and convenient for more people.”

TriMet also doesn’t include other Better Bus projects that would invest an additional $153.2 million on corridors including 181st (from Clackamas to the Columbia River), SW 185th (from Rock Creek Blvd to Farmington), 122nd (from Skidmore to Foster), 162nd (from Sandy to Powell), and on SE Powell (from the Willamette River to Mt. Hood Hwy).

By my calculations, Measure 26-218 includes $712.7 million in bus-specific funding.

Learn more about the measure on Metro’s website.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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