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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

First ever TriMet bus line planned between Sherwood and Tualatin

New line will open in 2016 during weekday commuting hours.
TriMet announced on Tuesday that it plans to roll out a new bus line between Tualatin and Sherwood next year, marking the first time in its history that the two cities will be connected by bus.
The new bus line would start at the Tualatin WES commuter rail station and take riders through town into Sherwood, ending at Sherwood Town Center, TriMet said in a statement, Tuesday.
It's an area that has clamored for more bus service for years. Residents in both cities have complained about a lack of transit options in the area and complained about the relatively few TriMet buses that serve Tualatin and Sherwood.
The new line is part of a series of new service improvements planned throughout the region. Known as the Southwest Service Enhancement Plan, TriMet spokeswoman Roberta Altstadt said that planners met with residents and city officials to bring the best possible project to the table.
“I don’t know that when we first went out there, we were thinking of a direct line, but that’s what we heard over and over that folks need in those communities,” Altstadt told The Times on Tuesday. “Having this link will be vital.”
Altstadt agreed that Tualatin and Sherwood need more transit options, but said TriMet hasn’t had the money to make that happen.
“A lot of our service issues are related to funding, that’s key part of it,” Altstadt said. “Our Southwest Enhancement Plans are about us going out to folks and saying, ‘Once the funds become available and once we establish the necessary partnerships, what should the future of transit look like in your community?’”
Next stop, Sherwood
Altstadt said that the as-yet unnamed transit line will travel through Tualatin’s downtown and industrial areas, Sherwood Old Town business district and the new Sherwood Center for the Arts before stopping at Sherwood Town Center.
Altstadt said that the new line is meant to help working people in the two cities get to work.
“TriMet has listened to the citizens of Sherwood,” said Sherwood Mayor Krisanna Clark. “I am extremely excited about the new line as it will provide better and important connectivity for our citizens to get to and from the business sectors and employment opportunities in Washington County.”
The line won’t launch until June 2016, Altstadt said. When it does, the new line is expected to run every 30 minutes during the weekday morning and evening commutes.
Altstadt said that plans are in the works to extend the service to more than just peak commuting times.
“We need the funding for that, and we need to look at ridership,” she said. “We want to see how many people will be using it.”
TriMet said more service improvements in the area can be expected, including extending a bus line from Bridgeport Village to Southwest 72nd Avenue in Tigard.
“This is the first step down this road,” Altstadt said. “The Southwest Enhancement Plan has some great ideas in it and it’s about taking that vision and making it a reality. That all goes back to funding and forming partnerships.”
Tualatin Shuttle, revisited
The new line will have an impact on the long-running Tualatin Shuttle. The shuttle started more than 17 years ago by the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce and offers free bus service around Tualatin during the morning and evening commutes.
Ride Connection, a Portland non-profit group that works with transportation issues in the tri-county area, took over operation of the Tualatin Shuttle in October.
Altstadt said that TriMet and Ride Connection will work together to improve the new line.
“We’ll look at maybe changing the routing (of the Tualatin Shuttle) so that, combined, we can serve more people in more of these areas,” Altstadt said.
Alex Page, a service specialist with Ride Connection, said the new TriMet line doesn’t mean the Tualatin Shuttle is going anywhere.
“Our partnership with TriMet is to be a complimentary in service,” he said. “Where they haven’t been providing service that’s where the Shuttle has been focused. Whatever the new line looks like in the future, we’ll adjust our routes to continue serving as many workers in the Tualatin area as possible.”

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