The Portland City Council last week unanimously greenlighted a new initiative from Commissioner Chloe Eudaly—a $10 million program to unclog key TriMet bus routes that carry 100,000 passengers a day.
At Eudaly's direction, the Portland Bureau of Transportation identified 29 choke points it will address with a combination of fixes that include bus-only lanes, traffic signal upgrades and redesigned bus stops, as well as safer bike lanes.
Eudaly hopes the Rose Lane Project will relieve congestion—and move toward doubling the percentage of commuters who use transit, a key part of the city's carbon reduction plans. Eudaly stressed the equity benefits of her initiative: TriMet riders are disproportionately low income and people of color.
"The Rose Lane Project is a major step toward meeting our equity, climate and transportation goals by making transit a more viable option for more Portlanders," Eudaly said in a statement.
The City Council is betting punctual buses will be more appealing to commuters. Success hinges on unsnarling those 29 specific stretches of road—most of the selected locations are near downtown—so that dozens of TriMet bus lines can skip traffic jams and arrive more reliably at their destinations across Portland.
Here are five of the choke points PBOT will tackle first:
1. Northwest Broadway
PBOT will upgrade traffic signals and install a northbound protected bike lane.
2. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Grand Avenue
This project will insert bus and turn lanes on MLK and Grand, benefiting streetcar and TriMet Line 6 riders.
3. East Burnside Street
PBOT says a bus lane and turn lane and protected bike lane will increase capacity on the Burnside Bridge crossing by 145 percent.
4. Southeast Madison Street
PBOT will unclog westbound traffic crossing the Hawthorne Bridge with signal and turn-lane upgrades, improving service for TriMet Lines 2, 10 and 14.
5. Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard
PBOT will install a protected bike lane on Hawthorne and re-engineer traffic signals to give transit priority.