I just learned from the minutes of a recent SMILE meeting published in THE BEE that Tri-Met does NOT plan to resume the bus route which previously served the Tacoma Street centric part of Sellwood and Westmoreland when the new Sellwood Bridge is completed.
This decision is shortsighted and damaging to our neighborhood. A major part of the debate over the bridge design had to do with ensuring wide enough lanes for bus access —not to mention the issue of a possible streetcar! I strongly supported the new bridge planning because I have greatly missed the trans-Sellwood-Bridge route, which was discontinued when the old bridge was declared unsafe for buses, firetrucks, and semi's.
The discontinued route, I believe the old number 12, was THE most direct route, with the least amount of walking and NO transfers, for south Sellwood/Moreland residents wanting to reach the following destinations: The OHSU wellness center and clinics, John’s Landing businesses, PSU classes and special events, the Portland Saturday Market in the South Park Blocks, and downtown shopping and cultural attractions.
The existing Route 70 requires transfers (and far more walking for some, due to its alternating 13th and 17th street routes), and its frequency is far less than that of Route 19, which is an 8-block-walk from the Tacoma Street area.
Tri-Met’s decision to drop this route needs to be challenged in the strongest possible terms. It is a slap in the face to many residents who devoted hours at bridge design input meetings to ensure that mass transit would have a CENTRAL role in the rebuilt bridge. Tri-Met needs to understand that the loss of this route is especially damaging to PSU students carrying a backpack full of books, seniors (as well as employees) who wish to get to the OHSU wellness center/clinics quickly, and shoppers visiting Portland’s largest farmers' market or downtown stores, who often come home laden with packages.
Nancy Beamer, via e-mail