News Release: Rose Lane Project roll out continues this month with new projects on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Grand Avenue and NW Broadway

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The improvements PBOT will roll out this year and next will have an immediate impact on Portlanders who continue riding transit during the Covid-19 pandemic, including frontline workers, by making bus service more convenient and reliable.

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A previously installed Rose Lane on NE Grand Avenue between East Burnside and NE Couch Street. Photo by Pierre Haou, Portland Bureau of Transportation.
A previously installed Rose Lane on NE Grand Avenue between East Burnside and NE Couch Street. Photo by Pierre Haou, Portland Bureau of Transportation.

(Oct. 1, 2020) Since City Council unanimously adopted the Rose Lane Project in February 2020, Covid-19 has profoundly impacted the way we get around our city, including Portland’s transit system. But while the world looks different than it did six months ago, the Rose Lane Project remains a priority for the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). 

This month PBOT will begin construction on two new Rose Lane projects, including the MLK and Grand Transit Lane Improvements project. These improvements will benefit riders on the Portland Streetcar A/B loops as well as TriMet Line 6. The new red transit lanes on NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and NE Grand Avenue between NE Lloyd Boulevard and NE Broadway will relieve a major pinch point in the transit system. In addition, a transit, commercial truck, and turn lane pilot from SE Mill to E Burnside streets will improve transit and freight reliability through the Central Eastside.

A illustrated cross section of the improvements coming to NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and NE Grand Avenue.
An illustrated cross section of the improvements coming to NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and NE Grand Avenue.

Construction on NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and NE Grand Avenue is anticipated to start on Oct. 7 and will last approximately four weeks. Work will take place between the hours of 11:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. to avoid conflicts with the Portland Streetcar. Funding for the MLK and Grand Transit Lane Improvement project came from Metro’s Regional Flexible Fund.

Additionally, the north transit mall (NW 5th and 6th avenues) will soon receive signal upgrades as part of the NW Broadway Bus and Bike Lane Improvement project. These upgrades will allow the traffic signals to detect and prioritize TriMet buses on the north transit mall, in addition to MAX.

PBOT has also completed design of an extension of the eastbound bus lane on the Burnside Bridge. The E Burnside Bus/Bike Lane Improvements Project will extend the bus lane to 12th Avenue and provide a better connection for eastbound cyclists to the Ankeny Neighborhood Greenway. The project will be out to bid this fall with construction expected to begin this winter, weather permitting.

The Rose Lane Project is helping create a city-wide network of transit routes where buses and streetcars get priority in congested areas. The improvements we plan to roll out this year and next will have an immediate impact on Portlanders who continue riding transit during the pandemic, including frontline workers. Improving transit is also a down payment on the future we want, helping our most important transit lines to keep running smoothly as traffic returns and demand grows. To tackle the climate crisis, we need to reduce greenhouse emissions from transportation, which starts with providing great alternatives to driving alone. Transit is one of most efficient and sustainable ways to move people around our growing city. The Rose Lane Project will make riding the bus more convenient and reliable, encouraging more Portlanders to get on board when they feel ready.

This work is the latest in series of Central City in Motion projects PBOT has expedited since the adoption of the Rose Lane Project Report. Previously implemented Central City in Motion / Rose Lane projects include:

  • Currently in progress: NE Sandy Boulevard at NE Prescott Street bus-and-turn (BAT) lane – Benefitting Line 12
  • Currently in progress: NE 57th Avenue at NE Sandy Boulevard design improvements – Benefitting Line 71
  • Traffic signal upgrades at:
    • N Williams Avenue and NE Wheeler Avenue
    • N Broadway and N Larrabee Avenue

These projects are among the dozens of Rose Lane projects ready for a quick rollout in 2020 and 2021. Once the rainy season is in full swing, we’ll take a brief pause until the spring, when drier weather will allow us to resume construction of Rose Lane projects.

🌹 Rose Lanes: A down payment on our future mobility system

“Rose Lane” is a transit route where buses and streetcars have priority on the road in congested areas. There are over 20 tools we can use to make transit faster and more reliable—including changes to the road itself, signal upgrades and innovative designs. As we develop projects, we will determine which tools from the city’s Enhanced Transit Toolbox best meet the need and context in specific locations. ​Not all Rose Lane corridors will include bus-only lanes.​

Rose Lane Vision Map

The Rose Lane vision is a network of transit lines where short-term and long-term fixes improve transit service where it's most delayed. Over time, as transit moves faster and more reliably on these lines, TriMet plans to increase service. (View the full Rose Lane Vision Map).

Regular transit service is back!

A TriMet staff person cleans a MAX train during Covid-19. Photo by TriMet.
A TriMet staff person cleans a MAX train during Covid-19. Photo by TriMet.

The Covid-19 pandemic revealed how much our transit network is the vital backbone of our mobility system. When the pandemic hit, our partners at TriMet temporarily reduced service in response to a sharp drop in ridership, while preserving safety and service coverage. 

On Aug. 31, 2020, TriMet restored weekday service on 20 of its most popular bus lines and is back to 90% of its pre-Covid-19 levels throughout its system. TriMet has put numerous efforts in place to keep riders and operators healthy and safe, including extensive cleaning and sanitation measures, a face covering requirement (with on board dispensers!), hand sanitizer available on most vehicles and limited the number of riders on board for physical distancing. TriMet asks people to follow the Oregon Health Authority’s guidance and, when directed, only use transit for necessary trips.

Planning future Rose Lane projects

While our crews are in the field building early Rose Lane projects, we’ve also been busy exploring other places where Rose Lane improvements can help keep transit from getting stuck in traffic.

As we search for areas ripe for improvements along the Rose Lane network, we’re guided by the project better-off measures. These measures, co-created with community during the Rose Lane planning process, center the values of racial equity and transportation justice and speak to what the Rose Lane vision will help achieve:

  • People of color will experience average commute times comparable to white people. 
  • People will consider public transit to be a rapid and reliable choice for daily transportation.
  • People who use public transit will have more choices for where they want to live and work. 
  • People who use public transit will have lower transportation costs (time and money).
  • People will be healthier from improved air quality. 

We anticipate sharing the results of this planning and project development work and gathering community input later this year. Make sure you’re signed up to receive Rose Lane Project updates to get the latest information about upcoming public involvement opportunities.  

Stay involved!

Keep an eye on our new and improved Rose Lane website for the latest updates on projects on our streets, planning and upcoming public involvement opportunities.