Saturday, November 3, 2012


There is this popular misconception that Trimet provides transit. The reality is the main purpose of Trimet is to facilitate land development. The true focus is on capital projects which Mcfarlane talked about when he gave his 'tale of 2 trimet's, one that is the top innovator in its field (capital projects) the other is the example of inefficiency and waste (transit services). Neil Mcfarlane himself demeaned the whole transit delivery part of Trimet. He should have been fired after making that statement but of course he has full support of that bum in Salem Kitzhaber and his board of sock puppets. Just read this glowing description of their land use project. Never seen anything like that about transit services have you?

About the Project

Project Overview
The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project will create a light rail alignment that travels 7.3 miles, connecting Portland State University in downtown Portland, inner Southeast Portland, Milwaukie and north Clackamas County.
MAX service on the alignment is scheduled to begin in 2015. By 2030, this light rail line will carry up to an average of 22,765 to 25,500 weekday rides, and there will be approximately 22,000 households and 85,000 employees within walking distance of Portland-Milwaukie light rail stations.
Learn more about the project route and stations.

Growing Places

Growing Places logoExpanding transit options is essential to the livability and economic vitality of our growing region, which is expected to add one million new residents, and nearly 100,000 new jobs within the project corridor, by 2030. The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project is a vital element in the region’s strategy to manage growth and build livable communities. This project is about more than bringing high-capacity transit to under-served communities—it is also about helping communities envision and achieve their aspirations. Combining infrastructure improvements, quality design features and new transit-oriented development along the alignment will connect neighborhoods, encourage walking and cycling, and create engaging public spaces where people want to be.


TriMet continually works to improve the security of the transit system by utilizing the latest advances in station design, technology and fare enforcement. This effort continues with the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project.
Each of the project's 10 MAX stations will have delineated fare zones requiring all persons within this zone to have a valid fare. This approach makes fare enforcement easier by extending fare requirements from the light rail trains to the station platforms. Signage and inlays in the platform pavement will indicate fare zone boundaries.
The design of the stations has also been reviewed with local law enforcement agencies and includes:
  • Each station is being designed to maximize sightlines and visibility
  • Closed circuit TV cameras (CCTV) will be installed at each of the MAX stations and the two Park & Ride facilities, and in the elevators located at the SE Bybee Blvd Station.
  • TriMet is also launching a pilot project with a closed station at SE Bybee Boulevard. Access to the station platform will require a paid fare.
Beginning in 2014, the project Safety and Security Committee will recommend how the Transit Police Division will incorporate the new light rail extension in its daily patrols of the system. The Transit Police Division will patrol the new light rail extension when it opens in 2015.
Learn more about security on TriMet

Promoting Sustainability

The project not only provides environmental mitigation along the alignment, but also is actively working with partners to include sustainable elements and improve habitat.

Recycling and reusing building materials

Recycling and reusing building materials
Konell Construction and Demolition sorts brick, concrete, asphalt, wood, metal and more for recycling and reuse.
Read more

Installing a fish-friendly culvert on Crystal Springs Creek

Crystal Springs Creek Culvert Replacement
The project is helping replace this old culvert at Crystal Springs Creek with one more conducive to natural water flows and healthy habitat.
Read more

Removing derelict piling from the Willamette River

Derelict Piling Removal from the Willamette River
In conjunction with Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge construction, TriMet is conducting environmental mitigation projects to improve Willamette River habitat.
Read more

Enhancing riparian habitat on Kellogg Creek

Riparian habitat enhancement on Kellogg Creek
The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project is helping to restore native habitat to a stretch of the Kellogg Creek shoreline.
Read more

Protecting birds

Protecting Birds
U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Specialist Matt Alex works to protect birds from construction activity.
Read more

Open for Business

If a business needs to relocate due to the project, TriMet and its partners can provide relocation assistance.

Project Milestones

May 22, 2012: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) authorized the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) for the project. The agreement commits the federal government to provide 50 percent of the project's established budget of $1.495 billion in exchange for the commitment by TriMet (as the project sponsor) to complete the project on time, within budget and in compliance with all applicable federal requirements.
August 19, 2011: TriMet submitted the application for the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for consideration.Upon FFGA approval.
July 1, 2011: Construction began on the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge over the Willamette River, the first bridge built over the river in Portland in over 40 years and a critical component of the project. Learn more about the light rail bridge.
March 29, 2011: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approved the project's entry into Final Design. This approval allows the project to be developed from its current 30 percent design to 100 percent design, with milestones at 60 and 90 percent design. The design reached 90 percent design in December 2011. The project reached 100 percent design and completed the Final Design phase in May 2012.
November 29, 2010: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued a Record of Decision finding that the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) have been satisfied for the construction and operation of the project. Read the Record of Decision. (5.9 MB PDF)
October 22, 2010: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) published the project Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). View the FEIS at Metro's Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail page.
March 2010: The project completed its Preliminary Engineering phase, during which design of the total project was brought to 30 percent.
November 2008: The project Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) was completed.
Summer 2008: A Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) alignment and station plan was chosen.

Planning and Design

Final Design

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approved the project's entry into Final Design on March 29, 2011. This approval allows the project to be developed from 30 percent design achieved during the Preliminary Engineering phase to 100 percent design, with milestones at 60 and 90 percent design.
The design reached 60 percent design in June 2011, and 90 percent design in December 2011. The project is scheduled to reach 100 percent design, and complete the Final Design phase, in March 2012.

Final Environmental Impact Statement

The project's Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS):
  • Identifies the light rail project’s preferred alternative and Final Section 4(f) Evaluation (which addresses a federal regulation protecting parks, historic resources and nature refuges)
  • Describes the project’s commitments to mitigate adverse impacts
  • Responds to all comments received on the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (May 2008)

South Corridor Project

The South Corridor Project—led by Metro in partnership with TriMet, the City of Portland, the City of Milwaukie and Clackamas County—has worked to identify transportation options for the fast-growing I-205 and Milwaukie/Oregon City corridors. When the study began in 1999, light rail was not an option under consideration. But neighborhoods along the alignment—from Southeast Portland to Milwaukie—requested that light rail be part of the study, and it was ultimately adopted as the preferred option..
Subsequently, the South Corridor Project has followed a two-phased approach. In September 2009, Phase 1 brought MAX Green Line service to the I-205 corridor between Clackamas Town Center and Gateway, where it then uses the existing MAX Blue and Red line tracks to travel to downtown Portland. Once the Green Line crosses the Steel Bridge, it follows new tracks along the Portland Mall to Portland State University. Portland-Milwaukie light rail constitutes Phase 2 of the South Corridor Project.

1 comment:

Erik H. said...

I believe that Neil, and others, really value what Metro is - a big planning and building organization, but in reality Metro doesn't do a whole lot. Neil probably also looks at transit agencies like Sound Transit, Phoenix Metro, and Denver's RTD, who outsource much of their day-to-day functions to private companies.

The end result is TriMet builds a lot, but then when all is done and finished the project is turned over to someone who just sends TriMet the bill at the end of the month to pay, and TriMet agrees to pay a certain amount, leaving the private operator to figure out how to run it and make a profit.

Having worked in an outsourcer environment in the past (in the technical support field) such an arrangement is not inherently bad - let's face it, governments aren't I.T. firms and they shouldn't be. I.T. is a perfect place to outsource. (Look at TriMet's own bloated I.T. department with over 100 software engineers and programmers, all of whom make very high five figure, if not six figure, salaries.) A company that makes tractor parts, for example, should focus on making tractor parts.

TriMet, however, is in the transit business. It operates transit. That's what its job has been since 1969 or 1970 or whenever. Outsourcing your basic function is not a good basically proves you are inept at doing what you do. Now, outsourcing certain parts of it isn't bad; if you have a need for 2,000 drivers but you don't have the ability to deliver, and another company has drivers waiting for work, an limited outsource contract is very valuable. It also helps an organization measure its own performance against another team doing essentially the same thing.

But most importantly what I've learned is that, in the words of those annoying "Ronco Showtime Rotissere" cookers - you can't "set it and forget it". If you outsource your function and just expect it to chug along, you're setting yourself up for failure. An outsourcer requires constant monitoring and feedback - EVEN if they're doing everything so incredibly above expectation. You can't forget them, and you can't ignore them.

I've seen good contracts, and fortunately I had the benefit of working with a good client who gave us good expectations, we consistently delivered on their expectation, and there was a good relationship. I've seen other contracts that were less than successful - clients that expected us to do everything on auto-pilot, clients who even expected us to run their business (and some of those companies are now in the hall of failed internet businesses). Clients who didn't know what they wanted us to do. Clients who didn't know what they wanted to do.

Sadly - with TriMet's leadership I see an outsourcing model as a failure. I see TriMet handing off the bus system with little care or concern about the day to day operation, simply opting to just pay the bill and keeping everyone quiet. TriMet is largely hands-off with LIFT causing a lot of concern with everyone involved, except the companies that collect the gold at the end of the month. TriMet's light rail contractors, and especially Siemens, are laughing to the bank. And WES - TriMet pledged that WES would only have ONE TriMet employee, a manager...well, TriMet didn't know what it wanted, and as a result only the operations, but not the maintenance, are outsourced. I know the P&W employees take great pride in what they do, but it isn't because of TriMet, it's because P&W cares.