By Midge Pierce

 

You may feel like your car, bike or sandals are barely squeezing through Portland’s tightly-packed commercial corridors and detours this summer.

Inner SE is bursting with transit projects from road diets on SE Division to the  Tilikum Bridge Crossing, to the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail.

Repaving, sewer repairs and bioswale development are also factors, and everywhere, ubiquitous construction trucks haul materials to and from high density construction sites.

a1mapBe patient. The 7-mile light rail line, slated for completion in 2015, is projected to smooth travel for more than 100,000  new workers expected along the corridor over the next 15 years.

To help ease congestion – and frustration – Trimet has a survey you can take to rate its bus service in the area and weigh in on proposed changes. Go to: trimet.org/alerts/pmlrbuschanges/index.htm. Hurry as feedback is being accepted through August 8.

Metro too – the government body in charge of everything from the zoo to recycling to regional  transit planning – wants to hear from you about the Powell-Division Transit and Development Project. It is intended to provide more robust connectivity and economic development along a 15-mile stretch between Portland and Gresham.

Among the options considered are larger, faster and more reliable buses, as well as streetcar and light-rail development. The latter is getting pushback, according to Metro public involvement specialist Dana Lucero who is visiting dozens of neighborhoods to get feedback.

“So far, we’re not hearing much support for light rail because bus #4  (Division St.) and #9 (Powell Blvd.) work well. Its wide footprint is too disruptive and the cost is too high.”

Citizens have voiced concerns about running rapid transit along the narrow streetscapes of Division St. Lucero says the transit corridor  could run along Powell Blvd. up to 52nd or 82nd, then head  north to  Division St.  Rapid service for Portland Community College is a major goal.

Decades after the community stopped the ill-fated Mount Hood Freeway in this corridor, Metro officials are listening carefully. “We’ve come full circle. We want to know what citizens want and where they want it.”

Lucero says Metro would like to narrow down options this fall and reach agreement on route and transit type by next spring. A projected timeline for new lines and stations would be 2020.

Neighborhood meetings continue through August and September with a presentation of findings on Sept. 29. To fill out the online survey go to: www.oregonmetro.gov/powelldivision.