A Jade District meeting last month to describe the Bus Rapid Transit proposal was a show of commitment to running elongated buses down Division St. It also signaled optimism that federal funding will come through despite proposed budget slashing in DC and project pushback from inner Division.
Costs are estimated at $175 million with about $100 million in federal funding. The rest would be made up with state, regional and local contributions.
Officials cite the advantages of longer buses with room for 60 percent more riders, multiple-door boarding for briefer stops, weather protected bus stations and transit signal priorities. The innovations are intended to minimize travel times from Gresham to downtown. If all goes according to plan, construction will begin in 2018 and service will be launch in 2021.
Unknowns persist at this writing, such as where and how buses will cross the Willamette. The decision on whether buses will be electric, diesel or hybrid propulsion will be made in 2018.
Based on feedback, officials say they are open to eliminating long gaps in certain spots along the route. Some 40 stations featuring 80 platforms are currently planned, spaced about every 1/3 mile vs. current 1/6 mile currently.
At some stations, buses will remain in the traffic lane during boarding. To facilitate boarding and quick-deploy wheelchair ramps, roughly foot-high platforms will provide near level boarding.
Residents along Division have not warmed up to the plan which may impact the area significantly. Mt. Tabor Landuse volunteer Stephanie Stewart urged residents to learn more and make up their own minds. “Traffic on Division moves so slowly, it is highly unlikely that the buses could be rapid enough to make up for all the lost bus stops.”
Transportation-related projects locals would gladly support include filling pot-holes and adding left turn lanes on Division, especially at sites of massive new housing construction like Division and 50th. MP