Line 6 – MLK Jr Blvd

Graphic summarizing key benefits for the Line 6
Through the Rose Lane Project, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) will help improve speed and reliability for the bus Line 6.
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Why is transit priority needed on the Line 6? 

  • Approximately 6,380 people rode the Line 6 daily in fall 2019. 

  • During the most congested times, each rider’s one-way trip on the Line 6 could take up to 23 minutes longer than normal.  

  • Combined, Line 6 buses are delayed for 58 hours each day due to traffic.* If you add that up for all Line 6 riders, that’s 2,821 hours of people’s time lost! 

  • This delay wastes people’s time, costs our system money and keeps TriMet from being able to run more buses in this corridor.  

*Based on 2018 observed run time data 

What the Rose Lane Project will do for riders of the Line 6 

Line 6 is already seeing the benefit of early Rose Lane projects implemented in the last two years (see completed projects below). While these improvements are located in the Central City, they benefit riders along the line and beyond. In addition, we’re advancing three more minor improvements that will further help the bus (see funded and in progress projects below), and plan to do even more to speed up bus travel through downtown along SW Jefferson and SW Columbia when funding is available.  

In the north part of the MLK Jr. Boulevard corridor, we will work with community to explore opportunities for more Rose Lane-style projects through the MLK Jr. Boulevard Safety and Access to Transit Project (learn more below). That project also includes funding to optimize and improve bus stops, pedestrian crossings and street lighting. 

Combined, the completed, funded and proposed Rose Lane projects along the Line 6 could lead to faster trips and help people reach more places: 

A faster trip 

The projects identified along the Line 6 to date could save riders between 6 and 14 minutes if they traveled from end to end during the PM peak. If you ride the Line 6 round trip, five days a week, you could get up to 64 hours of your time back each year! 

What could this look like for someone who lives near NE MLK and NE Alberta and travels to the PCC CLIMB Center at SE Clay St and SE Water Ave for a class at 5 p.m.?  This person could save around 4 minutes just from the Rose Lane improvements along that portion of the Line 6 route:

  • Travel time today: 34 minutes 

  • Estimated travel time with Rose Lanes: 30 minutes (12% faster) 

Ability to reach more places 

Faster trips mean you can reach more places within a reasonable transit ride. The map below shows the change in number of jobs and places people can access due the Rose Lane projects identified to date along the Line 6. The darker the shading, the more jobs and destinations you can now reach from that starting place in 45 minutes by transit. 

Map showing increase in access to jobs due to Rose Lane projects benefitting the Line 6
Demographic groupAll ResidentsBlack ResidentsPeople of ColorHouseholds in Poverty
Average estimated change in jobs/places reachable in 45 minutes by transit due to Line 6 improvements+1,860+3,110+1,760+1,750

Rose Lane projects along the Line 6 

Completed projects 

CCIM SW Madison after photo of bus lane
Bus-and-bike lane on SW Madison at SW 4th Ave 

Project location SW Madison Street between SW 5th and SW 1st avenues 
Project type: Bus-and-bike lane  
Transit lines benefitting: 2, 6, 10, 14 and 30 

Learn more about this project   🡢

Street showing bus driving in a transit-only lane with cars driving in adjacent lanes
TriMet Line 6 riders and the Portland Streetcar riders benefit from new transit lanes on MLK Jr. Blvd

Project location: NE/SE MLK Jr. Boulevard and Grand Avenue between SE Mill Street and NE Broadway 
Project type: Transit-and-turn and Transit, Truck and Turn lanes* 
Transit lines benefitting: 6, Streetcar A/B Loop 

Learn more about this project  🡢

Project location: N Whitaker Rd & N Hayden Meadows Dr
Project type: Add signal radar detection
Transit lines benefitting: 6

Funded and in progress projects 

Project location: N Vancouver Way at Marine Way 
Project type: Extend left turn pocket approaching Marine Way and provide mid-block crossing to serve new bus stops 
Transit lines benefitting: 6 

Project location: N Whitaker Rd (Schmeer Rd - I-5) 
Project type: Bus/bike lane northbound from Hayden Meadows Drive to Delta Park/I-5; bike lane from Schmeer Rd to Delta Park 
Transit lines benefitting: 6 

Project location: SW Jefferson Street from 14th to 18th avenues (Collins Circle) 
Project type: Improve reliability for buses turning left around Collins Circle
Transit lines benefitting: 6, 45, 55, 68 

Proposed projects 

Project location: SW Columbia/Jefferson from (19th – 4th) 
Project type: Bus-and-turn* lanes 
Transit lines benefitting: 6, 45, 55, 68 

*Business Access and Transit (BAT) lanes, also called bus/transit-and-turn lanes, are primarily for transit use. Only transit may continue through the intersection every block. Other drivers can enter the lane mid-block to access a business driveway, on-street parking or to turn right at the next intersection.

NE MLK Jr. Boulevard Safety and Access to Transit Project 

PBOT received a $5 million grant through the Regional Flexible Fund Allocation (RFFA) process to fund safety, access and transit improvements on the northern stretch of NE MLK Jr. Boulevard. The grant application was developed in partnership with area stakeholders and the Soul District Businesses Association. The funding will be used to optimize and improve bus stops, pedestrian crossings and lighting. Through future engagement around this project, we will also explore opportunities for more Rose Lane-style projects in this stretch of the corridor to improve bus speed and reliability. 

Potential impacts and considerations for other modes 

There are potential trade-offs to consider when implementing transit priority improvements. The impact of proposed Rose Lane improvements on other modes will be considered along with the potential transit benefit of each improvement. 

Emergency vehicles - Emergency response vehicles can use transit priority lanes to bypass motor vehicle congestion. 

Bike facilities – The completed project on SW Madison and the in progress and proposed projects on SW Jefferson and SW Columbia seek to reduce conflicts and provide protection for people biking from general traffic.  

Pedestrian facilities – The Rose Lane projects implemented through Central City in Motion, including on MLK, Grand, Jefferson and Columbia will also involve improvements to pedestrian crossings. Further pedestrian improvements in the north MLK corridor will be delivered through the NE MLK Jr. Boulevard Safety and Access to Transit Project. 

Traffic travel time and diversion – The proposed improvements along this corridor will likely cause some additional delay for drivers at peak times. These impacts are not expected to cause operational or safety impacts in the corridor. Commercial trucks are expected to benefit from the transit, truck and turn lanes added in along MLK Jr Boulevard and Grand Ave in the Central East Side.  

Parking removal – Some of the proposed projects along the Line 6 would require parking space to be repurposed. More information will be shared in future outreach as designs are refined. 

Next steps 

We anticipate conducting further outreach in 2021 to inform design of the proposed projects benefitting the Line 6, as well as to explore further opportunities to address bus delay at key intersections (e.g. NE Killingsworth, NE Prescott/Skidmore and NE Fremont). We also plan to hold transit-focused workshops with community members in the Albina area in 2021 to better understand priorities and trade-offs around transit priority projects. In addition to transit priority projects, these conversations will also explore non-infrastructure related concerns related to fare-enforcement, personal safety and discrimination in the right-of-way, adequate street lighting, and other considerations that  Portlanders of Color (and especially Black Portlanders) have elevated during prior public engagement.  

Albina area residents have historically been asked to make trade-offs to benefit the ‘greater good’ of the region, while often not realizing those benefits for themselves. Over the past generation, this neighborhood has experienced rapid demographic change, displacement, and gentrification. PBOT is committed to consulting the community, elevating Black voices and delivering a project that addresses community priorities.