The Powell-Division Transit and Development Project steering committee – whose 22 members include community advocates, elected officials and residents of Portland and Gresham – meets Monday, March 28 in East Portland. Here are the key details about the meeting.
Update: Meeting recap
Read a recap of the March 28 steering committee meeting from the Portland Tribune's Peter Wong.
The project partner agencies include Metro, TriMet, the cities of Portland and Gresham, Multnomah County and the Oregon Department of Transportation. Since the project's inception in 2014, planning and recommendations have been driven by a community-led steering committee.
One of the committee's foremost goals for the project has been getting riders where they are going more quickly and reliably than current bus lines in the Powell-Division corridor between Portland and Gresham. The area is one of the region's busiest transit corridors with more than 18,000 people getting on and off buses each day.
The steering committee also wants the project to improve quality of life, safety for people walking and biking, and economic development in Gresham, East Portland and Southeast Portland, while creating strategies to preserve housing affordability in the corridor.
To date, the committee has identified bus rapid transit on the Tilikum Crossing and an inner-Powell, outer-Division route as its preferred option, with 82nd, 50th or 52nd Avenue connecting the two in Portland.
Over the last few months, staff from TriMet, Metro and other project partners have been conducting more detailed analysis of anticipated travel times on the preferred route. The analysis has shown that travel time would improve in some sections of the corridor, like outer Division. But overall bus rapid transit travel times between downtown Gresham and Portland would likely not improve over current times on the 4-Division bus between the two cities.
This is due largely to roadway constraints and congestion on certain segments of the route, like inner Powell Boulevard and 82nd Avenue, where the transit vehicles would mostly share lanes with auto traffic. Resolving the constraints could result in major community impacts and costs, and still not improve times enough to make the project competitive for federal funds needed to build it in the next four to seven years.
The community and steering committee have prioritized a faster, more reliable transit ride for the whole corridor. To achieve that goal – and be competitive for federal funding to build the project – project partners want to explore additional project concepts that could work better than the current preferred route.
What's on the agenda on March 28 – and what's not
The committee won't make any route decisions on March 28. Members will discuss a range of additional concepts for the corridor that could be studied. These include near-term and phased approaches to improving transit on Powell and Division. The meeting is an opportunity to explore what questions might need to be answered to make an informed recommendation, likely this fall.
What would happen next
Based on the steering committee's feedback, project staff would conduct more detailed public outreach, design and analysis of the other project concepts this spring. In the summer, the committee will meet again to discuss and seek consensus on the most promising concepts to move forward. Public engagement and study of the most promising options would continue after that meeting. The committee could make a final recommendation in the fall.
What's not changing
Metro, TriMet and the other project partners remain committed to creating a transit investment on the region's eastside that improves transit service, community safety and quality of life for tens of thousands of people who live, work and travel in Gresham, East Portland and Southeast Portland.
Learn more about the status of the project and some additional project concepts in the meeting packet below.
Visit the project website