Trimet proposes service updates, 35 expansion

Illustration of Trimet bus navigating grid of streets
Alex Nash / The Mossy Log

After facing discontinuation last fall, TriMet’s Line 39, which connects the Lewis & Clark campus to Southwest Portland, is no longer being considered for a service cut. But, in TriMet’s newest proposed service changes, Line 39, named after Lewis & Clark, would no longer serve LC.

In the “Forward Together” proposal announced in October, TriMet “developed a draft concept that would change more than 80% of our bus service” according to their website. Among those changes was the elimination of Line 39 due to low ridership. This news brought many residents in the Hillsdale, Capitol Hill and Collins View communities to the defense of Line 39, urging TriMet to retain the bus line.

The Associated Student Body invited members of the LC community to provide their feedback on the proposed service changes.

After receiving feedback on the initial proposal, TriMet updated the “Forward Together” plan in December so that, “adjusted routes, combined lines and expanded times of day or days of the week when buses run to update the Draft Service Concept.” This updated proposal reflects the consideration of over 4,500 responses to feedback gathered from both online and in- person surveys.

TriMet will no longer provide Line 39 bus service to the undergraduate campus.

“We’d extend Line 39 to serve the Arnold Creek neighborhood and Barbur Transit Center,” said TriMet via Instagram.

TriMet chose to prioritize the high number of students commuting to Ida B. Wells High School, meaning Line 39 would only run during the morning and afternoon commuter rush.

TriMet aims to compensate for the loss of bus service to the LC undergraduate campus, from cutting bus 39, by updating the route Line 35.

“We’d expand Line 39 to serve SW Portland and Lewis & Clark College. Between Lake Oswego and Johns Landing, service would split with every other bus traveling via either Terwilliger and Taylors Ferry or Riverside Dr.” according to the updated “Forward Together” plan.

Service along each branch of Line 35 would be hourly, slightly less frequent than the current Line 39.

The first branch, shown in the Draft Proposal Map, would take buses down their current route along Macadam Ave., which runs through Lake Oswego, terminating further south at Oregon City Transit Center. The new route would send buses down Macadam until reaching Taylors’ Ferry Road. Buses would then follow a similar route as the Pioneer Express, turning down Terwilliger and passing by the law school. However, buses would not continue to the undergraduate campus and would instead follow Terwilliger until it joins Macadam on the outskirts of Lake Oswego.

One significant drawback to this new routing is the loss of bus service to the undergraduate  campus. 

Students trying to catch the 35 would need to walk half a mile down Palatine Hill Rd. to the traffic circle in front of the Law School.

This could pose significant accessiblity issues for students at LC. This change would also make some transfers to other bus lines more difficult, but there is some upside to the proposed changes.

There are several benefits of Line 35 coming to LC. This new service pattern would provide late-night and weekend bus service, expanding transit options for those commuting to campus without a car. Additionally, Line 35 would provide a one-seat ride into Downtown Portland, facilitating transfers to over 10 TriMet bus lines, every MAX light rail line, Vancouver’s C-TRAN, and the Portland Aerial Tram.

While not ideally located, the proposed changes to Line 35 bring another bus to Downtown Portland, later weekday services and weekend service to the LC community, increasing transit options and facilitating connections to the rest of the TriMet network.

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