“We’re ready for winter. Are you ready?”
TriMet, the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Portland Bureau of Transportation have been coordinating their efforts and planning for winter conditions since October. Maintenance managers have met with meteorologists to discuss the weather outlook for the season. The three agencies also monitor weather conditions around the clock, check trouble spots and adjust operations as conditions warrant.
TriMet’s Field Operations Manager Jay Jackson said that when winter weather is in the forecast, “We never close. We work around the clock to keep our buses and trains moving. Our partners at ODOT and the City are critical to keeping the roads passable for our vehicles.”
Suzanne Kahn, maintenance group manager for the city’s transportation bureau, said the city applies a liquid deicer, prioritizing known hazard areas, such as bridges and overpasses and the city’s busiest streets and transit routes. People who live or work in hilly areas need to buy snow chains, practice using them and be ready to use them at any time this winter. Property owners are responsible for clearing sidewalks along their homes or businesses to ensure safe passage for the public.
“We encourage people to use public transit during storm events, so people should study the bus and light rail routes where you live and know ahead of time if there’s a snow route that may be in effect,” Kahn said. “When walking and biking, it’s especially important to wear high-visibility clothing. Pedestrians should always cross at an intersection or a marked crosswalk. Bicyclists should be sure to brake early and avoid painted and steel road surfaces.”
Ted Miller, ODOT’s Portland area maintenance and operations manager, said motorists need to be extra careful when weather deteriorates. Plows and de-icing trucks, he said, need plenty of room to get the job done. So give them a wide berth when you see them on the road. Also, he said, motorists should keep their cars in top condition and remember that patches of ice may remain on the roads even after deicer is applied.
“We’re ready to do our job and we’re confident that the public is ready to do their job as well,” Miller said. “That means driving carefully, allowing plenty of room to stop and watching out for the other guy. No one wants to be the driver who causes the fender bender that traps everyone in a traffic jam.”
TriMet riders should be prepared for delays and dress warmly, as buses travel at slower speeds during a winter storm. TriMet now has more than 200 buses with automatic drop down chains to provide traction when needed at the press of a button, similar to school buses. This is in addition to regular chains that can be added to buses for traction.
Online tips for winter weather
One-stop clearinghouse for alerts and weather information: PublicAlerts.org
Oregon Department of Transportation