Portland City Council voted to return green bike boxes back to SE 26th and Powell, 15 days after cyclist Sarah Pliner was killed at the intersection.
On October 4, a semi truck hit and killed cyclist Sarah Pliner at the intersection of SE Powell Blvd. and SE 26th Ave. For many cyclists, Pliner’s death was an avoidable tragedy—in 2018, the state transportation department removed green bike boxes painted onto the street that give bicyclists priority over vehicles from the intersection. On October 19, 15 days after Pliner’s death, Portland City Council voted to repaint the bike boxes at the intersection to better protect bicyclists.
TriMet added 31 bright green, bendy buses to their transportation fleet… and pulled them off the roads after 45 days due to mechanical concerns.
TriMet debuted its first frequent service line, the FX-2 on SE Division St., on September 18. In addition to running buses every 12 minutes, the project included using 60-foot-long “articulated” buses—buses capable of bending in the middle to turn corners—instead of the agency’s standard 40-foot buses. However, the new bendy buses were only on the roads for 45 days before TriMet pulled them from service on November 2 after finding loose or missing bolts on several buses. The bus manufacturer eventually recalled the buses in mid-November due to a steering gear box defect.
TriMet is currently testing a solution for the defect and—if the tests pass inspection—anticipates returning the bright green buses to the FX-2 line in early 2023.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation added a 20 cent “Climate and Equitable Mobility Fee” to street parking.
While Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has historically received a large part of its discretionary funding from the state fuel tax, that funding stream no longer meets the bureau’s needs and goals. As cars become more fuel efficient, the tax has become a dwindling resource. Additionally, relying on fossil fuels and car trips to fund bureau projects is in conflict with Portland’s goals to reduce carbon emissions.
To address the discrepancy, PBOT created a Climate and Equitable Mobility Fee—a $0.20 parking fee that aims to send a message to drivers about the poor environmental impacts of driving while also raising $2 million annually for PBOT. The bureau plans to raise metered parking prices further in 2023 based on a parking demand pricing model.
TriMet cut or reduced service on 29 bus lines amid its historic driver shortage.
TriMet struggled with an unprecedented driver shortage in 2022, which the agency attributed to the national labor shortage, retirements, and attrition. The public transit provider kicked off the year by reducing service on 20 bus lines in January in an attempt to make service more reliable amid limited staffing. However, service challenges persisted, leading TriMet to make a public apology to riders on Twitter in May, noting that the driver shortage had led to canceled bus and MAX trips despite the January mitigation attempts.
In mid-September, the agency reduced service on seven additional bus lines, further reduced service on a line that was reduced in January, and eliminated two low-ridership bus lines. TriMet is continuing to try to attract new drivers with a $7,500 hiring bonus.