PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — New bus-only lanes will make transit commutes faster for people who cross the Steel Bridge.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation said TriMet data shows buses get stuck in congestion getting onto the bridge. They said the average speed of line 4 has decreased by 14% in the past 10 years.
Trimet says rush hour downtown affects the entire bus system across the region.
Dylan Rivera with PBOT said the Steel Bridge is a critical route and pinchpoint in the system.
To combat that, bus-only lanes will replace the lanes currently used by all vehicles.
The bus lanes will be along Northwest Everett Street for 6 blocks from Northwest Broadway to the bridge. The project also closes the ramp from Southbound Naito Parkway to the Steel Bridge.
TriMet bus lines 4, 8, 16, 35, 44 and 77 go over the Steel Bridge.
“Transit is one of the most efficient, equitable, and sustainable ways to move people in cities. Improvements like these on NW Everett Street reduce congestion and make riding the bus more convenient and reliable, encouraging more Portlanders to leave their cars at home when traveling into the Central City,” PBOT said.
Portlander blake Johnson said he avoids this part of Naito in the afternoons due to heavy traffic.
“The buses do kind of jam things up, having a bus lane here is always a good idea, obviously a lot of buses do come through here,” Johnson said. “But still it doesn’t seem like the trade-off is worth it to me — a bus lane for a Naito lane?”
But Rivera said it’s all part of a larger push to encourage people to take public transit instead of driving.
“We want to get buses out of traffic and encourage thousands of people to use bus service in Portland and leave their cars at home, take public transit on a daily basis so we can reduce traffic, reduce carbon emissions and meet our goals for livability, ” Rivera said.
PBOT is prioritizing bus service and reallocating space on our streets to get buses out of rush hour traffic
City crews started work early on August 10 to install the new lane.