Minutes from February 4, 2015

Hillsdale Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 7:00 p.m.

The Watershed

7:03 p.m. Mikal Apenes opened the meeting. He thanked Baker and Spice for providing refreshments for tonight’s meeting. There is only one item on the agenda: Representatives from Metro, TriMet, and the City of Portland are here to talk about the SW Corridor plan. SW Portland neighborhoods want transportation solutions that improve safety, provide connectivity, and reduce congestion.

Metro Councilor Bob Stacey, Co-chair of the SW Corridor Plan Steering Committee, presented. He thanked SWNI for holding government accountable to provide citizens with information about this project. Three big decision points are in the works. 1. In the next six months Metro will decide which areas will receive direct service. 2. All municipalities and governments (Tigard, King City, etc.) will further narrow options and determine the end point of the Southwest Corridor, and decide whether it will be bus or rail. 3. The final decision on the draft environmental impact statement will be made in Spring 2016. All these decisions will be made in a public format.

Noelle Dobson, Metro Senior Public Affairs Specialist, presented. Southwest Corridor planners welcome public opinion. By May 2016 they will decide which high capacity transit alternatives are preferred – bus, light rail, end points, alignments, bike, pedestrian, road impacts, corridor connections, land use and development strategies, and more. Via a follow-up email, Noelle provided contact information: 503-813-7535, http://www.swcorridorplan.org, swcorridorplan@oregonmetro.gov, Noelle.Dobson@oregonmetro.gov, swcorridorplan.blog.com, Twitter@SWCorridor.

Brian Harper, Metro Associate Regional Planner, presented. The SW Corridor Plan started out as a land use vision with Hillsdale as a key place for projected growth. He presented maps showing different possibilities for land use allowed by current zoning if high capacity transit goes through Hillsdale.

Matt Bihn, Metro Planner, presented. He works with modeling transit analyses. The corridor goes from downtown Portland to Tualatin, via Tigard, with the main portion on or near Barbur Boulevard. It will serve Sylvania and Marquam hill as well. The two transportation modes being considered are light rail transit (LRT) and bus rapid transit (BRT). BRT uses large capacity buses, off-board payment methods, boarding in both doors, ideally has its own right of way separate from cars, and additional amenities to make it run faster. One advantage BRT has over light rail is that it can run in mixed traffic if needed. Options being looked at include the Barbur alignment, a cut-and-cover tunnel starting just south of downtown and going under Hillsdale and emerging near the Burlingame Fred Meyer on Bertha, and BRT or LRT that follows Capitol Highway through Hillsdale to Bertha. All these options include bike lanes and sidewalks. Metro is looking at transit performance, including line ridership, system ridership, travel times, and transfer transit. A neighbor suggested that planners consider how Lewis & Clark College might be served in this project. The model shows that 60% of transit users will be new riders in 2035. LRT is more expensive to build, but less expensive to operate. The tunnel option would save three minutes travel time compared to the surface route option. Hillsdale LRT takes three minutes longer than LRT that follows Barbur because of sharp curves and steep grades. Currently there are about 2000 transfers daily in Hillsdale, so Hillsdale may need a transit center to accommodate this. Marquam Hill mode of access is being considered, including direct bus, tram, bus to pedestrian/bike connections, and light rail. The estimated cost of the project using BRT is $1.8 billion, and the tunnel would add another $1.3 billion.

Dave Aulwes, TriMet Senior Transit Corridor Designer, presented. Because Hillsdale is situated at the top of a hill, the tunnel can be just 30-35 feet deep, making it easier to deal with in terms of construction. One LRT tunnel option would run between the school and avoid some of the disruption to the commercial center. Under the residential neighborhood south of the schools, the tunnel would be about 160 feet deep. In the Fred Meyer area, the train would be elevated until it meets with Barbur.

Theresa Boyle, City of Portland Bureau of Transportation, presented. During the construction phase of the project, noise and vibration will be more noticeable to neighbors than after the project is completed. Utilities will be given the opportunity to choose whether to upgrade their services, keep them as is, underground lines, etc. These are business decisions made by the utility.

Tom Mills, TriMet Planner, presented. He provided a handout about the Southwest Service Enhancement Plan, a long-range plan based on community input and data gathered over the last year and a half. It responds to the demand for transit to Beaverton, Kruse Way, and industrial areas, and the need for better midday and weekend service. A revised version will be completed this spring. It does not take high capacity transit into consideration because it is not known yet what that will look like. Recommendations include:

  • Line 1 – There is insufficient demand to sustain all-day service. Routing the line down Vermont to Olson Road and Washington Square.
  • Line 92 – Re-routing to connect people at each end of Line 1, allowing line 1 to run mid-day and weekends.
  • Line 54 – Adding service.
  • Line 39 – Re-routing to connect to line 51 to serve Lewis & Clark.
  • Line 55 – Schedule changes.
  • Line 44 – Extend route to Bridgeport Village.
  • Line 65 – Service from Hillsdale to OHSU.
  • Line 65 – All-day service up Terwilliger to OHSU.

Don Baack commented on the advantages for Hillsdale residents, with seven lines going through Hillsdale, two of which run every 15 minutes.

Bob Stacey and Erika Nebel, Policy and Outreach Advisor from Portland Commissioner Steve Novick’s office, welcome people’s ideas on this project.

Mikal asked Hillsdale residents to think about which alignment they prefer so that HNA can come to a consensus at the March 4 meeting. At the project’s March 9 Steering Committee meeting, more ideas from citizens will be gathered. HNA hopes to get more people informed about this project. Attending HNA meetings and reading Hillsdale News online are good resources for information. Chris Reed spoke on behalf of Paloma Clothing owner Mike Roach in support of enhanced bus service that will keep Hillsdale on a corridor, not a bypass.

8:47 p.m. Adjourn. The next HNA meeting will be March 4, 2015, 7:00 p.m. at St. Barnabas Church.


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