Students should be prepared for heavy traffic and delays next week when the bus mall closes to make way for the new MAX line, said PSU transportation experts. On Jan. 14, TriMet will reroute the 29 bus lines that operate in the downtown bus mall. Most of the bus lines will move to Third and Fourth avenues.
Students should be prepared for heavy traffic and delays next week when the bus mall closes to make way for the new MAX line, said PSU transportation experts.
On Jan. 14, TriMet will reroute the 29 bus lines that operate in the downtown bus mall. Most of the bus lines will move to Third and Fourth avenues.
Construction crews will continue work near PSU until early February in order to relocate underground public utilities away from the coming light rail tracks. Crews will be digging, jack hammering, paving and installing pipes from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. during this time.
Students should expect traffic complications in their commute, according to Dan Zalkow, manager of Transportation and Parking Services at PSU. “Students will need to give themselves more time to get to classes. Traffic will definitely move more slowly.”
About 20 parking spaces, at most, during each phase of the project, will be lost to PSU. The major parking structures will not be affected, but access to them may be more difficult due to traffic congestion. PSU Transportation and Parking Services recommends using parking structure three, located on 12th Avenue, to avoid congestion.
TriMet expects buses to run on time, but with modified routes and schedules.
Moving the bus routes to Third and Fourth avenues will eliminate some street-side parking on those streets, but, according to TriMet, additional parking will be provided on Fifth and Sixth avenues to compensate.
During fall term, heavy construction on Broadway and Sixth Avenue created lane closures and the loss of some parking. With the ongoing construction near campus, some students are frustrated with the difficulty in commuting to class.
“Instructors assume that the circumstances downtown are my responsibility, and I should arrive on class on time as scheduled,” said student commuter Dave O’Connor. “Even in the classes where I don’t get graded down for attendance, I still lose lecture and class time because trying to travel three blocks takes 15 minutes. I hope the workers do their best to stay out of our way.”
And some students are willing to bear the inconvenience, considering the project worthwhile. “Ultimately, improving public transportation will be worth it,” said Zack Omar, another PSU commuter student. “I think we will be able to travel downtown easier.”
Construction will resume on Sixth Avenue between Southwest Market and Harrison streets in June 2007 when TriMet begins track and streetscape construction. This construction, like the utility relocation, will take place in phases, in which crews will work three- to four-block segments at a time. By September, TriMet plans to move construction to the blocks between Harrison and Jackson streets.
TriMet anticipates its Green Line to start service in September 2009. It will run from Clackamas to downtown Portland, where trains will service an extended version of the current downtown bus mall on Fifth and Sixth avenues between Union Station and PSU. The project will cost $557.4 million, 50 percent of which will be subsidized by the federal government, according to TriMet officials.
“It should create fewer transfers, which are things that prevent people from taking transit,” said Zalkow.
“People downtown will have a Green Line train within sight every five minutes,” said TriMet Communications Director Mary Fetsch. “It will revitalize the area and serve as a heart for downtown,” she said. “Also, it will provide a link for possible extensions to Milwaukie or Vancouver.”
The Portland Mall Light Rail project (the portion of the Green Line that will service the downtown area) includes the removal of 190 trees from downtown and 145 new trees planted.
Other construction affecting traffic in the PSU area includes the Portland Water Bureau’s Supply Main project, which limited traffic on Broadway between Southwest College Street and Jackson Street during winter term and is currently closing off sections of Columbia St. The Benson condominium tower construction site blocks one lane of traffic on Clay Street at 11th Avenue.