PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On Monday night, Portlanders had one last chance to ask Transportation Bureau employees questions about the Rose Lane Project. It’s part of the city’s effort to make public transportation more efficient and used by more people.
Questions were fielded at the final of 3 open houses for the pending project. The proposal, overseen by commissioner Chloe Eudaly and PBOT, could see miles of city streets targets for transit improvement as early as next year.
“Transportation has to be reliable for you really to want to ride it, right,” said Taryn Ralph who lives in the Reed neighborhood. “I really think that buses deserve to have their own lanes so that transportation can actually move effectively.”
That was the thought behind the city’s Rose Lane Project. An effort to get public transportation out of traffic, mainly by designating bus-only lanes along many of Portland’s major and congested routes.
“I just recently started riding my bicycle,” said Ryan Conifer who lives in Goose Hollow but commutes to Clackamas for work. “I finally got so tired of sitting in traffic and driving to work that I was going to start being creative and start learning the system.”
A system that PBOT hopes to improve with more than 35 miles of proposed pilot project corridors. Ideas include a whole host of different signage and lanes to help cyclists, street cars, and buses navigate efficiently. One design is already being tested in downtown Portland on Southwest Main: the red-painted “bus only” lanes.
City officials acknowledge that the changes come at a cost for drivers. It could mean fewer parking spots and driving lanes. For cyclists and pedestrians, it could mean different infrastructure or route changes. But supporters said getting transit out of traffic eventually helps everyone.
“There are going to be less lanes for cars, but if that means a lot of your fellow drivers get inside the bus, there’s going to be less traffic in those lanes,” said Portland resident Brighton West who typically bikes around the city.
“Making public transit better will reduce congestion, pollution, carbon emissions and help maintain our quality of life as our population grows,” PBOT Spokesperson Dylan Rivera explained in an email to KOIN 6 News.
“I think it’ll make it less of a hassle and people who are maybe on the fence will give it a try,” said Conifer. “Giving people more of a reason to do that would be really good.”
None of the corridors have been finalized yet. The proposal could be adopted by city council in February, with more projects rolling out later next year. If you missed the open houses, but want to learn more and weigh in on the topic, PBOT is still accepting submissions to their online survey through Monday, Dec. 16.