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Transportation forum to focus on Gresham-Portland bus routes

Community members invited to Feb. 12 meeting

City of Gresham transportation staff members are asking for input this week on the new Powell-Division Transit and Development project designed to bring better bus service between Portland and Gresham.

The city will hold a community workshop at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, in the Gresham City Hall Conference Center, 1333 N.W. Eastman Parkway, for residents to provide input on how the new bus service should operate.

The city is calling for anyone who travels that distance — walkers, cyclists, drivers, or on public transport — to come share their ideas on how the bus system can be safer, faster and easier to use.

The workshop will consist of an open house where people can look at the plans and ask questions of Gresham, Metro and TriMet staff, followed by a workshop where attendees will hear a presentation on the transit choices and options and provide feedback on the plans.

“We’re hoping the folks who actually ride it show up,” said Brian Martin, Gresham’s senior comprehensive planner. “It really affects everyone.”

This will be the only workshop in Gresham, others will be held in Portland.

The project is particularly important for residents, as the line is their connection to a number of schools including Mt. Hood Community College, Portland State University, Oregon Health & Science University and Portland Community College. Riders going between those destinations now have to make at least one bus transfer.

Bus lines No. 4 and No. 9 carry about 18,000 riders per day between Portland and Gresham.

This project first took shape in 2013 with an evaluation of the existing conditions of the bus routes to better understand what improvements are needed. The project is being led in part by a steering committee that includes a number of Gresham stakeholders including John Bildsoe from the Gresham Coalition of Neighborhood Associations, and City Councilor Lori Stegmann.

On the development end of the spectrum, city officials hope the bus routes will improve the area around the transit stations.

“We’re going to be asking people what their priorities are and what’s important to see,” said Martin. “Is it new sidewalks so people can get to the bus? Is it new, safe, well-marked cross walks? Is it new development? Is it a new gathering place?”

Martin said some of the things that may be examined are whether there would be a dedicated bus lane for the route, or if traffic signals could be manipulated to ensure the bus gets through faster.

The city soon will launch an online survey to gather input on the project.

Construction on the new transit line and station stops is expected to take place between 2018 and 2020.

For more information about the Feb. 12 workshop and for an overview of the project, visit greshamoregon.gov/powelldivision.

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