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Old 03-15-2012, 10:54 AM
 
892 posts, read 2,394,062 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xz2y View Post
From the standpoint of those of you who live in Portland, how good is the mass transit in the city? Do any of you live without a car? Is the transit system a good value and are there enough routes?
It's amazing, especially for a city of Portland's population and land size located in the United States (the quality of transit here is abnormally excellent on a comparative basis).

There is currently a budget crisis and union debacle underway here revolving around transit, and the degree to which many locals are incensed about it speaks a great deal about how important people here consider transit to their overall quality of life.

It's probably worth noting that whenever someone here expresses critical views of regional transit options, they nearly always cite comparative examples from Portland's own past among their concerns. There really aren't many other places in the country where a city this size has ever had it this good.

I'm not excusing incompetence, mistakes, planning failures or patently foolish waste (mention the acronym WES sometime and quietly back away) on the part of transit executives or union leaders here...FAR from it. I'm just saying the level of dialogue here and the expectations set from experience are themselves interesting cultural indicators.
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:06 PM
 
Location: Rockaway Beach, Oregon
381 posts, read 1,017,046 times
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For what it's worth, Tillamook county also has a public transit system that's pretty decent, including local routes through a good chunk of the county (up 101 all the way to Cannon Beach, and down 101 all the way to Otis), all through town, and multiple daily runs to/from Portland and Lincoln City.

But, to chime in, nothing is truly impossible if you don't have a car. You just need a lot of spare time.

Extreme transit scenario (just for fun)? No problem: When I travel on business, I can time it so that I get on in Rockaway Beach on the coast (the nearest WAVE bus stop is about 1-1.5 miles from my place), transfer to the Tillamook->PDX route, get off at 185th in Hillsboro, then take the Max to the airport. Total cost each way? less than $20 ($1.50 to get from RB to Tillamook, $15 to get to PDX, then $2.40 for the MAX ride to the airport). Don't ask how many hours that would eat, though...
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:20 PM
 
2,300 posts, read 6,188,917 times
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Portland Struggles to Remain a Leader in Public Transit
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:22 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,695 posts, read 28,472,976 times
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Yes, I am one of those people who compares the Portland public transit system between now and the past. There is a reason for this. I believe, and it's just my opinion, that once something begins to deteriorate, it usually continues to go down hill rather than improve.

My response is also directly aimed towards those who want to live here car-free as opposed to those who are just wanting to commute.

I always qualify my statements about any difficultly living in Portland without a car by saying it can be done. But the caveat is, as I have mentioned before, in order to live completely car-free one must live in an area where the few really good bus service routes remain. Those areas tend to be more expensive and crowded.

After looking at the proposed bus routes that Trimet is cutting back, I am surprised to see a couple of major ones. So what I am saying, is that in comparison with past service, present service is eroding. And the cost is increasing. This will probably continue to happen as it has to date.

Often the people who give advice on public transportation in Portland do not depend solely on it as the OP's will often ask. They may use it just for commuting and their cars for everything else. So again the advice I would give to anyone who chooses to live car-less in Portland; choose your bus route and neighborhood carefully, make certain the bus goes where you want it to go and be prepared for future cutbacks.
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:13 PM
 
Location: Nutmeg State
1,176 posts, read 2,564,748 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minervah View Post
Often the people who give advice on public transportation in Portland do not depend solely on it as the OP's will often ask. They may use it just for commuting and their cars for everything else. So again the advice I would give to anyone who chooses to live car-less in Portland; choose your bus route and neighborhood carefully, make certain the bus goes where you want it to go and be prepared for future cutbacks.

Or they also have a bike, which can greatly help one to live car-free.
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Old 03-15-2012, 11:11 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,695 posts, read 28,472,976 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davemess10 View Post
Or they also have a bike, which can greatly help one to live car-free.
Good point. If they do, they can certainly have a easier time getting around.
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Old 03-16-2012, 01:45 PM
 
343 posts, read 693,295 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khyron View Post
It's amazing, especially for a city of Portland's population and land size located in the United States (the quality of transit here is abnormally excellent on a comparative basis).

There really aren't many other places in the country where a city this size has ever had it this good.
110% agree.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Nutmeg State
1,176 posts, read 2,564,748 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramedud View Post
110% agree.
Rame, you don't actually live here though. I kind of feel like people who don't live in Portland think more highly of its transit system than people IN portland. You hear so much hype about it, and then get here, and realize that for many people it's just not very practical or convenient (and let's face it: that's the only way we're going to get people out of their cars and on mass transit, is if it is convenient).

It's nice to have it there, but for so many people it's just not practical. Many times it's significantly slower than driving, and usually more expensive, as parking is really easy in this city.

I got a TRIMET pass through my school for $25 a month, and I still wasn't using it enough to make it worth it, so I sold back the last 6 months. Granted I bike a lot more than most people, but I kept thinking that my wife and I would use the bus or MAX to go downtown to a concert of a restaurant (We lived in the Raleigh hills area, which has already been discussed on here recently). And we realized it would take a total of 1.5 hours and almost $10 to just go 4 miles into downtown. It was just never worth it.
Yes I feel guilty almost every time we drive. Yes I nag my wife incessantly to ride her bike more. But when it comes down to it, TRIMET is great if you lots of time or work downtown and live directly on a busline or MAX stop.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:50 PM
 
343 posts, read 693,295 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davemess10 View Post
Rame, you don't actually live here though. I kind of feel like people who don't live in Portland think more highly of its transit system than people IN portland. You hear so much hype about it, and then get here, and realize that for many people it's just not very practical or convenient (and let's face it: that's the only way we're going to get people out of their cars and on mass transit, is if it is convenient).

It's nice to have it there, but for so many people it's just not practical. Many times it's significantly slower than driving, and usually more expensive, as parking is really easy in this city.
The same argument can be made for any transit system in the country.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:56 PM
 
Location: Nutmeg State
1,176 posts, read 2,564,748 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramedud View Post
The same argument can be made for any transit system in the country.
True, but almost no other city gets the kind of press and hype about it's transit system as Portland does (and cities like Boston, NYC, DC should, as their systems are a good bit better in my estimation).

I'm not attacking you, I was in the same boat, and though Portland was going to be this amazing transit system, but I've been a bit disappointed with the reality.
I think the city has done a great job in marketing it's transit to outsiders, I just think that some who moves here hoping to only survive on transit is going to have a tougher time than they anticipate. I think TRIMET would have to almost double in size (Both max lines, and increased bus and MAX frequency) to live up to the expectations many have of "Portland Transit".

(I'm not trying to bash the city, I really do like it here, but I guess I'm a little sensitive with my disappointment in TRIMET)
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