by: JEFF MCDONALD  -  Lance Chart, general manager of Keizer-based Conveyered Aggregate Delivery Northwest, drops sod around the facility. The Transit Facility opened to the public Friday.  Friday’s opening of the new transit facility at the Woodburn Interchange Project occurred right on time with no glitches, except for one detail.

Despite solid demand, no fixed route buses are scheduled to utilize the facility – at least for now.

Transportation planners stressed patience because the buses will eventually come.

The facility is like a “Field of Dreams” for alternative transportation options – if you build it, they will come, said Lou Torres, spokesman for Oregon Department of Transportation, which is building the interchange.

“This is a great tool for the future of Woodburn,” Torres said. “That interchange project is going to be done in three years and it’s going to be a great asset for the city of Woodburn.”

Just not yet.

Electric charging stations, which will eventually make Woodburn a key stop on the state’s electric superhighway, have not been installed.

“We are working toward getting them installed as soon as we can,” he said.

by: JEFF MCDONALD  - A worker  sets up an irrigation system at the Woodburn Transit Facility last week. Neither have bus shelters, which will eventually accommodate passengers waiting for buses heading all points north and south.

Woodburn’s fixed-route bus service will eventually use the transit facility, but started a detour route in July away from Highway 214 and onto Parr, Butteville and Crosby roads, said Jim Row, community services director for the city of Woodburn.

The Woodburn bus is on a strict 1-hour loop schedule, which requires predictable traffic patterns. Construction traffic around Highway 214/ 219 has been normal during the early stages of the project, but the real delays could start next year when ODOT is planning to rebuild the north side of the highway.

“A regular fixed route bus service has to be predictable and timely,” Row said. “We will utilize the transit facility when we resume our normal route.”

ODOT is not anticipating any significant delays, Torres said.

“We’re going to always have lanes open in the main congestion area during daytime hours,” he said. “Also Evergreen Road is going to be open. Access to the transit facility is going to be available.”

The city will revisit the route next spring and summer when the second phase of the interchange project is under way, Row said.

Now that the facility is open, car and vanpool drivers can utilize its ample parking and easy access to Interstate 5, Row said. He called Valley Vanpool and Drive Less Connect as two good resources for vanpooling and carpooling, respectively.

The city also is reaching out to private shuttle companies, which would provide service to the Portland International Airport and casinos in the regions, Row said.

Additionally, Amtrak’s NorthWest POINT service, which connects communities by bus from Astoria and Portland, is planning to implement a Portland to Eugene line and would likely have a stop in Woodburn, Row said.

Another option that would connect local commuters with the Portland metro area appears to be further off in the distance.

It will likely be a few years before SMART, a partnership between the city of Wilsonville and Salem-Keizer Transit, adds Woodburn as a bus stop between the two cities, Row said.

Funding, timing and capacity issues still need to be addressed, he said.

“As you can tell, there is a lot of work to be done over the next few years to establish comprehensive service to the facility,” Row wrote in an email.

“While we are planning for some services to be available very soon, usage of the facility won’t reach its full potential until the interchange construction project is complete and fully functional.”

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