TriMet: First bus rapid transit project moving forward
Work is well under way on TriMet's first bus rapid transit project, the regional transit agency announced Monday, Jan. 4.
The Division Transit Project will create the first line with 60-foot articulated buses, upgraded stations and signal access between Portland and Gresham. It is being constructed along Division Street, which already carries one of TriMet's busiest bus lines.
TriMet said the improvements will speed up bus travel on what is currently TriMet's Line 2-Division route by as much as 20%.
"We're pleased to report the project is nearing 40 percent completion and is on track to open in fall 2022, bringing faster and more reliable bus service between Downtown Portland and Gresham," TriMet said on Jan. 4.
According to the agency, since project construction began last year, crews have: poured 28 station platforms; created seven bioswales; built five new pedestrian safety islands; and installed the first new transit priority signal to help speed up buses.
"After nearly a year of construction, TriMet's Division Transit Project is coming into view. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, crews with project contractor Raimore Construction made significant progress across the 15-mile stretch between Gresham and downtown Portland. Their work helps pave the way for a new kind of transit service that will make bus trips faster and more reliable. While this new service is on track to begin in fall 2022, the Division Transit Project is already beginning to create a safer environment for all who travel on Division, whether they ride, walk, roll or drive," TriMet said.
In January 2020, the Federal Transportation Agency (FTA) awarded TriMet an $87.4 million grant for the project. The federal funds cover approximately half of the $175 million project, which will include: longer buses with room for more riders; multiple-door boarding for shorter stops; expanded bus stations with amenities including weather protection, seating, lighting and TransitTracker real-time arrival displays; transit signal priority to help bus riders get to their destinations faster.
TriMet also said the project won't just make transit better — it includes much-needed pedestrian and biking improvements for what is considered a high-crash corridor. The project will bring some 4.5 miles of protected bike lanes; nearly 81,000 square feet of new sidewalks; new and improved crosswalks with stop lights, median islands or flashing lights. Among the work already completed are five new pedestrian safety islands and seven bioswales to filter storm water.
According to TriMet, project is already putting people to work and will provide more economic opportunities as the region recovers from the impacts of the global pandemic. TriMet said the project is expected to create more than 1,400 jobs, including 650 construction jobs and more than 780 indirect and induced jobs. It is also is projected to bring more than $137.7 million in economic value to the corridor, including employee compensation and business income.
More information and a video of construction on the project can be found here.
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