want efficient, fast, safe, clean and "eco-friendly"
public transportation that serves all neighborhoods
In 2030 Portlanders want efficient, fast, safe, clean
public transportation that serves all neighborhoods
equitably within the greater metropolitan area. They
imagine a city where people can get around easily without
a car and where the majority uses public transportation,
combined with alternate modes such as walking and bicycling.
They want to see public transportation expanded, although
there is considerable debate about whether the city
should focus on MAX expansion or expand buses, trollies
and streetcars, which are generally perceived as serving
a greater number of people.
There is concern that Portlanders will not abandon
their cars in favor of public transportation as long
as travel times are so much shorter in cars. There is
also concern that public transportation is not available
in all parts of the city and that it can be unpleasant
and/or unsafe for riders. There is also a concern with
cost; most people want to see the cost of public transit
Within this section, a smaller number of Portlanders
believe that “the car is here to stay” and that public
transportation should not be expanded any further. These
individuals feel that spending money on public transportation
only distracts from the larger problem of making sure
Portland’s roads and freeways are ready to handle a
Portlanders highly value the city’s public transportation
the future, public transit will offer well-integrated,
comprehensive services throughout the metro region.
- More people will use public
transit if it is faster, safer, and more affordable.
- Public transportation
investments should serve the greatest number of people
- Public transportation
can and should be cleaner and “greener.”
- Is Portland’s public transportation
system excellent, decent, or in need of major improvement?
- Should public transit
- Should more MAX lines
- Should Fareless Square
be expanded, eliminated or left as is?
Portlanders highly value the city’s public
- Many people believe that Portland already
has one of the best public transportation
systems in the country.
- People who are not car owners or do not
want to own cars value Portland because they
feel they can easily get around the city on
- Portlanders value public transportation
because it is convenient, but also because
it builds community and protects the environment.
- Most people express strong appreciation
for Fareless Square, although a minority vehemently
believes it encourages abuse of the MAX by
"tough" characters who get on downtown and
then ride for free to other parts of town.
- Portlanders who identify themselves as disabled,
elderly, homeless or low-income tend to express
particularly strong support for Portland’s
public transportation system.
am totally hooked on public transportation...
I am continually impressed with how quickly
I can get somewhere using the bus and
Max, especially during rush hour. This
goes back to people, but I am very proud
to live in a city that has created such
an efficient and effective public transportation
system which helps traffic and air pollution.”
value our commitment to public transportation.
I value designing cities for residents
instead of automobiles.”
the future, public transit will offer well-integrated,
comprehensive services throughout the metro
light-rail and mass transit connecting
all major parts of the city, more people
would walk, bike, or take mass transit
than drive. Full connective bike lanes,
public spaces, and community meeting spots
would turn Portland into the most pedestrian
and bike friendly city in the nation.”
2030] public transportation (and bike
support) is good enough that single-driver
cars are the least popular way to get
- Charge higher fares for late-night
travel to off-set the costs of running busses
later. Even with the higher fares, taking
the bus will be much cheaper than taking a
- Create express train lines from Portland
to the coast and a “ski train” up to Mt. Hood.
- Support the development of water taxis/water
ferries to Vancouver.
Better-integrated public transit
to connect Portland’s neighborhoods:
- In general, people question the concept
of having all transit routed through downtown
and would prefer to see better linkages between
Portland’s neighborhood districts.
- Specifically, people call for improved
North/South transit on the Eastside. Many
people mentioned wanting to travel by public
transit between Northeast and Southeast without
having to go downtown or spend so much time
on the bus.
- Many people complained of living near MAX
lines they cannot use because there is no
bus to take them to the MAX and no place to
safely park their car near the MAX. This is
a particular problem for the MAX line to the
would like to see a reduction in car dependence.
I currently drive to work everyday because
public transportation is awkward between
my home and my workplace (OHSU).”
- Bring back the streetcar on the
Eastside, both to increase public transit
use and to better connect underserved neighborhoods
to existing MAX and Bus lines.
- “Try some small, effective busses on spur
routes that feed either MAX or larger bus
lines. Shuttles for areas with high pedestrian,
bus, and auto traffic, specifically NW 23rd.”
- Smaller, more frequent busses for non-peak
- Increase the size and number of parking
lots near MAX stations, so more people can
use MAX lines near their neighborhoods.
people will use public transit if it is faster,
safer, and more affordable.
don’t meet in a timely manner, too much
waiting and walking to be effective. When
one can drive to work in ½ or less the
time it takes on mass transit, what is
admit that Portland has great public transit
(MAX, streetcars, Bus), but I think it
still could be improved. For example,
I have taken transit to a location in
Beaverton and it takes one hour by bus
and 15 minutes by car. I think if the
transit was better and faster in the suburbs,
than more people would want to take it.”
- Smaller, more frequent busses for
non-peak hours to help people get places faster.
- Split busses on major avenues such as SE
Powell or NE Killingsworth into A and B busses
and have them stop at every other stop. This
would speed up travel times without reducing
- Eliminate half the MAX stops downtown.
- Create express MAX lines and/or bus lines
for long commutes, such as between Northeast
and Southeast Portland or East Portland and
the West Suburbs.
pleasant public transportation:
- Many people mention the unpleasantness of
riding on the MAX because of people who are
rude, smelly, or seem dangerous. They cite
this as a strong deterrent to commuting on
- Another current deterrent to using public
transportation is the lack of safe, free/affordable
parking near MAX stations and other major
transit centers (see above as well).
- Many people also state feeling unsafe riding
busses or MAX trains late at night and comment
on the gang activity, drug dealing, fights
and other unpleasant and unsafe behaviors
witnessed on public transit.
behavior of riders on the MAX. Drug use
[and] obscene language make for an uncomfortable,
sometimes threatening, ride.”
you know that the Sunset Transit Center
Parking lot is completely filled by 7:20
am? Do you realize what a deterrent that
is to use public transportation?”
would like to see a more effective mass
transit system. The train is most often
very crowded in the morning and evening
when people are going to and coming from
work. If Tri Met wants more riders, why
is it not possible to provide enough cars
for a comfortable ride?”
- Monitor and enforce rules on the
- “Eliminate Fareless Square or put patrols
on the MAX trains.”
- “More parking to make it easier to use
- Increase safety on the MAX (especially
at night) by making trains less crowded. This
will increase ridership.
- Create underground parking lots near MAX
- Improve safety at bus stops.
- Address drug dealing on the busses, MAX,
and at bus stops.
- Educate public transit users in riding etiquette
- There is overwhelming consensus that public
transportation should be made more affordable.
- Many people advocate reducing fares or providing
“frequent user” discounts or annual pass discounts.
- Other people suggest making public transit
more affordable by providing tax write-offs
for tri-met passes, rebates or discounts on
other city amenities for users of public transportation.
- Extend the Fareless Square East
- Assess a toll on vehicles that enter downtown
to pay for extended mass transit that is free
- “We should allow tax deductions for transportation
costs associated with TriMet, i.e. write off
a yearly TriMet pass on your Multnomah County
- “I also think there should be incentives
for people who commute using the MAX, Bus,
Carpool, or bike/walk/run. Either in the form
of a city tax break of a certain percentage,
or coupons that could be used around the city
for museums, theater, zoo or other tours that
people can use in return for helping with
our traffic problem.”
- “Take away the parking costs for outside
transit centers. This discourages use of mass
transit into the city because if people have
to pay, then they will drive and pay to park.”
transportation investments should serve the
greatest number of people possible.
- Many people speak of using public transportation
dollars to fund projects that serve the majority
of commuters as opposed to small interest
- Examples mention included covering all bus
stops before creating a new MAX line, or extending
streetcar services before creating aerial
spend too much $$$ on trolleys and light
rail, while the 98% of the traveling population
is stuck in traffic.”
transportation can and should be cleaner and
- People value public transportation because
it reduces reliance on cars and contributes
to a cleaner environment.
- People want to see public transportation
running on cleaner fuel; higher grade diesel,
bio-fuel or electricity.
- People believe that public transportation
in The Pearl contributes to polluted air and
feel that inner city busses should be particularly
clean and green.
Portland’s public transportation system excellent,
decent, or in need of major improvement?
Portlanders disagree over the quality of the City’s
current transportation system. Many survey respondents
cited public transportation as one of the things they
value most about Portland, expressing the belief that
Portland’s transit system is one of the best in the
country. These respondents believe that Portland is
on the cutting edge of urban transit, and congratulate
the City for the system that has already been created.
Many others, however, feel the system needs a major
overhaul as can be seen in some of the “main ideas”
and strategies listed above. These respondents make
unfavorable comparisons between Portland’s system
and systems in other cities (such as Boston or NY)
as well as other countries. Primary system-level
complaints are that Portland’s public transportation
services are poorly integrated, not sufficiently
comprehensive and too slow.
In between these two groups of people are respondents
who generally appreciate the current system but
want minor changes and adjustments to be made. These
changes include reducing fares, covering more bus
stops, requiring busses to run on cleaner fuel,
adding new bus routes and other suggestions of this
public transit be expanded?
While most respondents in this section favor expanding
at least some forms of public transit (e.g. bus,
MAX, streetcar, trolley), a vocal minority of respondents
do not want to see public transit expanded any further.
These respondents value being able to travel quickly
and easily around the city in private automobiles
and feel antagonized by what they perceive as Portland’s
“anti-car” attitude. Specifically, they are frustrated
by worsening road conditions and increased congestion,
which they feel is part of a conscious City strategy
to “push them out of their cars” by making driving
Many respondents make a point of mentioning that
cars are not going to become obsolete anytime soon.
They therefore want the City to focus on maintaining,
improving and widening roads in anticipation of
increased automobile traffic as Portland’s population
grows. They would like to see public funds spent
on projects that facilitate car travel, noting that
less congested roads will benefit transit riders
more MAX lines be created?
Among the majority that wants to see public transit
expanded, many people specifically ask for additional
MAX lines to be built. Specifically, a number of
respondents suggest new lines North to Vancouver,
South to Wilsonville or even Salem and into SE along
McLoughlin or other routes. A number of people also
request express MAX lines connecting the outer East
and West sides of town (bypassing downtown).
Other respondents, however, do not want to see
any more public money spent on the MAX. They would
prefer to see public transit dollars go towards
creating a seamless and efficient bus/streetcar/trolley
system that serves all neighborhoods equally well.
These respondents feel that the MAX serves a very
limited number of commuters, while the bus system
has the potential to serve the entire city. In the
spirit of wanting public transit dollars to benefit
the many, not the few, they therefore advocate for
halting MAX expansion.
Fareless Square be expanded, eliminated or left as
Within this section, a debate emerges about Fareless
Square and whether it should be expanded, eliminated
or maintained as is. Many respondents highly value
Fareless Square, expressing the belief that it invigorates
downtown and contributes to a walkable and people-friendly
inner city. There were many calls to “keep Fareless
Square” with others making suggestions for how Fareless
Square could be expanded (e.g. a bigger section of
downtown, more Eastside neighborhoods).
However, some people want to see Fareless Square
eliminated because they believe it contributes to
creating an uncomfortable and/or unsafe environment
on the MAX. These people typically identify themselves
as “regular commuters” who are frustrated by the
smelly, rude, gang-involved, aggressive, etc… people
riding the MAX. The belief expressed is that these
people would not be on the MAX if they could not
board it free in Fareless Square. By eliminating
Fareless Square, they hope to create a more pleasant
commuting environment and encourage more cross-town
commuters to use the MAX.