TriMet gets $87M grant for Portland-to-Gresham upgrade

Civic Affairs

Division Street Corridor stretches from downtown Portland to Gresham

GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) — Officials with TriMet and the Federal Transit Administration announced a new plan that will move more people more efficiently through the Gresham area.

The Division Transit Project received an $87 million grant from the FTA to bring bigger buses and more service to the Division Street Corridor, as it is known, which stretches between downtown Portland and Gresham.

It’s a 15-mile project between downtown Portland and Gresham along SE Division that will reduce transit travel times by nearly 20%. New 60-foot long articulated buses running every 12 minutes — and more often during peak times. There will be 4.5 miles of protected bike lanes and 28 blocks of the new route dedicated to bus and business access lanes.

“These buses will keep moving around congestion rather than being stuck in it. Having a bus that sits next to traffic is a loser,” said TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey. “The best advantage that we can have is busses passing single occupant vehicles. And this gets to that issue.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer at the announcement of the Division Street Project with an $87M federal grant, January 23, 2020 (KOIN)

The total cost of the project is $175 million. Half of that is the federal grant, the other half from Portland, Gresham, Multnomah County and Metro.

The project also includes additional upgraded pedestrian crosswalks and 42 upgraded stations for people who use Division to get between downtown Portland and Gresham.
and new signals that’ll prioritize buses moving through traffic not being stuck in it.

“When you’re sitting on a bus and you’re not moving along with the rest of the cars it doesn’t go very well. But when that bus can keep moving it really helps get people out of their cars,” said K. Jane Williams, the Acting Administrator of the FTA.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, famously known as a transit and bike advocate, was there. He said this project is “going to send a message to transit users in this corridor that they’re first class customers. It’s going to be a different experience.”

It’s a transformative project connecting people in east Portland and Gresham with educational and job opportunities along all parts of the Division Street corridor.

Construction starts in the coming weeks and is expected to be up and running along the entire 15-mile route by the fall of 2022.

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