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Portland's TriMet Might Close Stations to Increase Train Speed

Beyond station closures, the Regional Transportation Agency of Oregon is looking to create new bus-only lanes, and possibly a new stretch of subway under Portland’s downtown to increase transit speed.
July 15, 2019, 9am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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The Portland area may lose three train stations, but the regional transit agency hopes that will increase the speed of trips downtown. Stations being considered for closure are: Kings Hill/Southwest Salmon Street Station, Mall/SW Fourth Avenue and Mall/SW Fifth Avenue stations. Initially, TriMet also considered a fourth station at Skidmore but, after public pushback, the agency decided not to pursue that option.

Agency officials argue that TriMet train stations are too close together and that closing the stations would speed up travel for most riders. Critics argued that the closures might put some commuters in danger by making them walk farther, impacting riders less able to walk long distances. Doug Kelsey, General Manager of TriMet, argued that those most disadvantaged by long transit times are disproportionately people of color, who are more likely to live further from the city’s center. In Kelsey’s view, speeding up the train has positive impacts from an equity standpoint as those who live beyond the closed stations stand to benefit from reduced travel times.

TriMet is also looking to speed up travel for bus riders, with more bus-only lanes in the city. There is also discussion of an expansion of train service downtown with new subway service, but that proposal is still in the planning stages, and if the expansion were to happen, it would not take place in the near future.

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Published on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 in Portland Tribune
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