Apr 9, 2008

The Tri-Met Bus Stop No One Wants

Who wants a bus layover site in front of their property in downtown Troutdale? The answer: No one wants it.

Due to construction and other concerns, the Troutdale layover site for the Tri-Met 77 (Broadway-Halsey) needs to be moved. This bus stop is currently on the north side of SE 2nd Street between Dora Avenue and Harlow Avenue.

Tri-Met and city staff looked at several possible locations for a new stop. See a list of potential new locations and a map here.

At last night's city council work session, we came to a consensus, but not unanimously, to attempt to make the Yoshida/City parking lot at the east edge of downtown work for the new location. This was the bus terminus/turnaround point several years ago. However, Junki Yoshida, who owns a portion of the property, has indicated to the city that if Tri-Met uses part of his property for the bus stop, he wants a monthly fee. Fair enough, right?

But there's another problem with this site. When Troutdale's urban renewal project is built, a new road, called Drovers Trail Road will be built from the urban renewal site to Columbia River Highway, a county road. Multnomah County has stated they would require the western entrance to the Yoshida/city parking lot closed as a requirement to allow connection of Drovers Trail road onto Columbia River Highway. I'm not sure the city can pull this off. We'll see.

For a plan B, we will have to select one of the other downtown sites on the list.
Every site has its own little negative aspects. But they all share a common one: Adjacent property owners will complain loud and long if the bus stop goes in front of their property.

This is where being on the city council gets really interesting. No matter where we decide to place the new bus stop, someone will complain. For a long time. It's a no-win situation. As a matter of fact, one of the adjacent property owners of the existing bus stop has complained regularly about the bus stop in front of his residence. He's written that he has breathing difficulties that have been compounded by the stinky diesel fumes of the bus idling in front of his house.

So which site do you choose? With 10 different locations to consider, how do you measure one person's complaints above the other 9 folks who will argue against their location? Wouldn't the stinky bus fumes negatively affect anyone living right in front of the bus stop?

There is also the consideration of street maintenance. If we select a bus stop to be located on a county road, the city won't have to spend the $50-60k for a concrete bus pad (buses leak!).

For now, our plan A for the new bus terminus is the Yoshida/city parking lot. If I counted the "consensus" correctly, our plan B would be the south side of Columbia River Highway, in front of Mayor's Square.

No matter what we decide, we're going to make some folks unhappy. And that's why, as volunteer politicians, we get paid the big bucks

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