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News Blog: Floating bus islands? Yes, they're real and Portland now has some!

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Cyclist rides over new floating bus island at NW 18th and 19th Avenues at NW Flanders Street
A cyclist rides over new floating bus island at NW 18th and 19th avenues at NW Flanders Street. Photo by PBOT.

(Sept. 3, 2020) Be on the lookout for a new and improved bus stop design at NW 18th and 19th Avenues at NW Flanders Street. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) began installing this experimental floating bus island—also known as a modular transit platform—on Monday (8/24)! PBOT is excited to implement this innovative tool to support the Rose Lane Project, our effort to make transit faster and more reliable. To learn more about the Rose Lane Project click here. To keep up with our growing city, PBOT will continue to try out new tools to better serve the City of Portland.  

These platforms are created by ZICLA, a company based out of Barcelona, Spain that creates modular bus platforms entirely from recycled plastic. When the platforms arrive, they come out of the box as prefabricated components—like individual building blocks—making installation just a matter of linking them together and bolting them to the ground. This process delivers a great benefit to Portlanders by allowing PBOT to be responsive to community needs and implement changes to our transportation infrastructure quickly.  

The benefits don’t stop there. The floating bus island removes the conflict between buses and cyclists by eliminating the need for buses to cross over bike lanes when they stop and, it allows buses to stop without leaving their lanes. Further, it enhances crosswalks by shortening the distance people must cross the street and making people more visible when standing at the corner. And finally, this technology could allow for more creativity and experimentation with various design choices. Since, like building blocks, these platforms can be quickly disassembled and reassembled as something else entirely. 

TriMet bus drives past floating bus island at NW 18th and 19th Avenues at NW Flanders Street
A TriMet bus drives past a floating bus island at NW 18th and 19th avenues at NW Flanders Street. Photo by PBOT.

PBOT’s Maintenance Operations began the installation process on Monday, August 24th, and work has since been completed. Over the next several years, this tool will be implemented in a variety of contexts and locations throughout the city. Throughout this implementation process PBOT will be continually evaluating the effectiveness of this tool.

Special note regarding COVID-19 and construction work

PBOT has been in modified operations since March 17 and has implemented specific measures to ensure the safety of our crews and contractors. We're focused on delivering critical repairs and maintenance while taking specific steps to keep our workforce safe. These include modified shifts, social distancing, and other precautions based on current guidelines from local, state, and federal health officials. Thank you for giving our crews the space and time they need to keep our city moving.