By Steve Elder | CNA Media Team
In the near future you’ll be seeing more TriMet buses in the neighborhood, but they won’t be just picking up and delivering passengers.
TriMet is in the process of having a new bus operations facility in the neighborhood for bus storage and maintenance. It will be on the five acres on the north side of Columbia Boulevard, just east of 42nd Avenue, in the Cully neighborhood. Since 1960, the property has been the home of Peterson Cat, the Caterpillar equipment dealer.
“TriMet’s 10-year expansion of transit is accelerating and we are adding more than 11,000 weekly service hours coming in the next five years,” said Roberta Altstadt, TriMet media relations & communications manager.
“To make this happen TriMet will be adding buses, hiring more operators and increasing necessary support staff and equipment. This will require space TriMet does not presently have.”
TriMet currently has about 690 buses and, by 2020, expects the need to grow to more than 900 buses. Its three bus operations facilities are already at capacity, so the service expansion will require a fourth bus headquarters.
TriMet looked at several locations for a fourth garage and the Caterpillar property was felt to have the best potential. Among the criteria is the proximity to the service area and access to major arterials to minimize bus travel to and from the route to the garage.
“Locating a garage in northeast Portland, where TriMet has some of its most robust bus service, allows buses to begin and end their routes closer to their home bases,” Altstadt explained. “This minimizes the time buses spend in traffic between the garage and the starts or ends of their service routes.”
TriMet’s outreach team has been working to notify residents and business owners in the area. It has sent postcards to addresses within a one-half-mile of the Caterpillar site.
What about an environmental impact from leaky buses or bulldozers? “Any potential cleanup is to be determined as we learn about the site condition,” Altstadt said. “TriMet values sustainability and we will meet or exceed environmental standards.”
What about buses going through Concordia, particularly 33rd Avenue? “Traffic studies are underway to determine what improvements TriMet might make to adjacent streets and sidewalks,” she explained.
“It is likely that a traffic signal and pedestrian crossings will be added at northeast Columbia and northeast 42nd.”
Steve Elder, East2@ ConcordiaPDX.org, is an inactive lawyer, a developer, activist and old grouch.