WES at 5: Still a Financial Train Wreck

By John A. Charles, Jr. February 2 marked the five-year anniversary of the Westside Express Service (WES), the 15-mile commuter rail line that runs from Wilsonville to Beaverton. While the train’s owner, TriMet, has emphasized the steady growth in ridership, … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Transportation, TriMet, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

As TriMet Sinks, Should Portland Suburbs Go Down With the Ship?

By John A. Charles, Jr. Cascade recently released a report encouraging cities and counties to consider leaving TriMet due to its financial mismanagement. TriMet has long admitted that its labor costs are unsustainable. In addition, the agency’s addiction to costly rail … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Transportation, TriMet | Tagged , , , , | 246 Comments

Report Shows $52 Million Street Project Makes Traffic Worse

By John A. Charles, Jr. A case study released last week by Cascade Policy Institute shows that the $52 million retrofit to Portland’s Southwest Moody Avenue is already increasing local traffic congestion and will be unable to accommodate future road capacity needs … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Transportation, TriMet | Tagged , , , , | 23 Comments

TriMet Violates Clean Air Act While “Regulators” Stay Silent

By John A. Charles, Jr. In previous decades the Portland region failed to meet national air quality standards for carbon monoxide pollution and was designated a “non-attainment” area under the federal Clean Air Act. As a result, the region was … Continue reading

Posted by at 03:51 | Posted in Columbia River Crossing, Environment, Federal Government, Metro, Portland, Portland Politics, Public Transportation, Transportation, TriMet | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 259 Comments

TriMet Finally Admits Rail Problems

By John A. Charles, Jr. Earlier this week, I wrote on Oregon Catalyst about the problems TriMet is having with its constantly failing rail system. On Wednesday, TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane announced that the agency is hiring an outside … Continue reading

Posted by at 04:35 | Posted in Leadership, Portland, Portland Politics, Public Transportation, Transportation, TriMet | Tagged , , , , | 418 Comments

The Chronic Failure of Rail Transit

By John A. Charles, Jr. The local transit agency, TriMet, likes to claim that continued expansion of the regional rail system is critical because rail has operational cost savings over buses. Unfortunately, this assertion overlooks a glaring problem: The rail … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Portland, Portland Politics, Public Transportation, TriMet | Tagged , , , , | 235 Comments

The Portland Streetcar: Time to Reset the Vision

By John A. Charles, Jr. If some Portlanders are confused about why we have a 19th century trolley operating in a 21st century city, they are not alone. City leaders are confused as well. According to the Streetcar Concept Plan … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Economy, Energy, Environment, Government Spending, Government Waste, Green Energy, Leadership, Local Taxes, Metro, Oregon Government, Portland, Portland Politics, Public Transportation, State Budget, State Government, Taxes, Transportation, TriMet | Tagged , , , , , | 35 Comments

Why Was Moody Avenue Shut Down―Again?

Last week, TriMet proudly announced that the tracks for Milwaukie light rail had successfully been laid in the South Waterfront district to allow light rail to cross SW Moody Avenue next to the new OHSU construction project. When finished, there … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in TriMet | Tagged , , , | 479 Comments

“Field of Dreams” Is No Strategy for TriMet

September 12 will be the 15th anniversary of the opening of Westside MAX. Unlike most transit projects, Westside light rail was deliberately routed through vacant land with the expectation that it would be a catalyst for “Transit-Oriented Development” (TOD). Planners … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Transportation, TriMet | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Saving Transit by Shrinking TriMet

In the past eight years, the all-funds budget for TriMet has gone up by 125%, but transit service has dropped by 14%. This trend will only get worse. In what future historians likely will refer to as a suicide note, … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Transportation, TriMet | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

“Streetcar Drives Development”―Portland’s Urban Legend

By Dr. Eric Fruits, Ph.D. For much of human history, mass transit has had the utilitarian goal of quickly moving people from place to place. Even Portland’s early streetcars were designed with speed in mind. Advertisements touted how quickly people … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in TriMet | Tagged , , , | 43 Comments

Portland’s Moody Avenue Project: Subtraction by Addition

Portland Mayor Sam Adams announced Monday that the reconstruction of Moody Avenue in the South Waterfront neighborhood was finally complete after 19 months of work. This $51 million project rebuilt 3,200 linear feet of the street by raising it 14 … Continue reading

Posted by at 09:28 | Posted in Transportation, TriMet | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Hospital Apologizes, PDC Repeats the Tragedy

Last Friday, Legacy Emanuel Hospital held a breakfast to apologize to the North Portland community for bulldozing nearly 300 homes and businesses 40 years ago. Hospital administrators conspired with Portland urban renewal officials to secretly plan a 55-acre expansion in … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Land Use Laws, Transportation, TriMet, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

The end of TriMet’s failed Fareless Square experiment

by Eric Shierman As this month comes to an end so too will end Portland’s 37-year experiment in fare-free public transportation. The last vestige of Fareless Square, known today as the Free Rail Zone, will come to an end. Perhaps … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Public Transportation, TriMet | Tagged , | 444 Comments

Don’t bring a train to a plane flight

by Eric Shierman Is high speed rail fast enough? Given that transportation is about mobility, it is helpful to ask which is faster – planes, trains, or automobiles? Since the act of moving is almost purely a cost towards the … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Transportation, TriMet | 6 Comments

Who are Trimet’s customers?

by Eric Shierman Mid last week, very early in the morning, in a former credit union building that ironically is about to be demolished to make way for the Milwaukie light rail line, Trimet’s board, over the shouts of protestors, … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in TriMet | 1,921 Comments

Transit Hypocrisy

Two years ago, the head of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Peter Rogoff, gave a speech to a room full of transit executives. His remarks were unusually blunt. Mr. Rogoff admitted that the transit planning process for new projects was … Continue reading

Posted by at 11:24 | Posted in Metro, Public Transportation, TriMet | Tagged , , , , | 3,144 Comments

With Low WES Ridership, the “Next Big Thing” May Be Raising Fares

Three years ago, TriMet began operating its first heavy rail line, the Westside Express Service (WES). This line runs from Beaverton to Wilsonville during commuting hours on weekdays. WES was trumpeted as the “next big thing,” but opening year ridership … Continue reading

Posted by at 04:30 | Posted in Metro, Transportation, TriMet | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

TriMet is costing more and giving less

Oregon Transformation The Biscuit Wheels are Falling off the Gravy Train TriMet proposed big changes at the agency last week to fill a $12 to $17 million budget hole, which will mean more pain for its customers. Longer waits, higher … Continue reading

Posted by at 06:28 | Posted in TriMet | 22 Comments

Clackamas County’s grass-roots rebellion

by Dave Lister Clackamas County is in rebellion. From overturning a vehicle registration fee to help fund a replacement for the Sellwood Bridge to an overwhelming victory in requiring a countywide vote on any new or expanded urban renewal districts, a … Continue reading

Posted by at 06:35 | Posted in Metro, Public Transportation, TriMet | 10 Comments

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