162nd Avenue bus line connects north-south hubs
Imagine spending five hours on your weekly grocery-shopping trip, or turning down a family-wage job because of transportation barriers, or going to jail because you missed a court-ordered appointment.
These are real issues East Multnomah County residents face every day, said Jenny Glass, executive director of the Rosewood Initiative Community Center.
"You may think I'm being dramatic, but this is what we hear," she said. "Our community needs to be served as well as, if not better than, any other neighborhood when it comes to transportation."
That's why Glass and other community members celebrated the launch of a new bus line with a ribbon cutting early Monday morning, March 5, at the Rosewood Initiative, 16126 S.E. Stark St.
Line 74 runs primarily along Southeast 162nd Avenue between Southeast Powell Boulevard and Northeast Airport Way.
The 6.5-mile line transfers to nine other bus routes and the MAX Blue Line. In total, the new route adds 80 hours of weekly public transportation service in East Multnomah County.
The line, representing the tip of TriMet's spring service improvements, is expected to offer better connections to areas with good, family-wage jobs.
Those areas include the Columbia Corridor (the large industrial area south of the Columbia River in Northeast Portland) and the Troutdale Airport Business Park, which includes the FedEx Ground distribution hub and Amazon's future distribution center.
"I've been a transit rider since I was a little kid, riding the bus with my mom," Rep. Chris Gorsek, D-Troutdale, said. "The Columbia Corridor is an area that is growing and needs this new line."
The new line also should improve connections for parents who are dropping off children at daycare, or for grocery shoppers or people as they strive to access social services.
For Sen. Rod Monroe, D-Portland, transportation upgrades are an important undertaking. Three years ago, he joined a tour of the state to hear what people needed. In every place he visited, people said they needed better transportation services.
"We heard 'It's easy to jump on something and get to downtown PDX, but the jobs are over here,'" Monroe said. "I'm happy to see what our friends at TriMet have accomplished."
Line 74 began operation Monday morning following the ribbon cutting.