TriMet unveils new look coming with better bus service in the Division Street corridor

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Set to open in fall 2022, new high capacity bus service will move more people faster between Downtown Portland, Southeast Portland, East Portland and Gresham

Big changes for transit are coming to SE Division Street. Today, 40-foot TriMet buses, mostly blue with a few orange stripes, make their way through the Division Street corridor, often in stop and go traffic as they get riders here and there. Once completed, the Division Transit Project—currently at about 70% construction—will have people seeing TriMet in whole new way, and it’ll have our buses moving around traffic rather than being stuck in it.

Since this will be a new type of high capacity bus service unique to TriMet and the region, we’re giving it a new name and new look. TriMet FX™—or Frequent Express. FX will be a higher tier of bus service. Longer, green buses and other improvements will make riding transit your best option to travel through the corridor between Downtown Portland, Southeast Portland, East Portland and Gresham.

TriMet unveils the 60-foot articulated buses that will serve the Division Transit Project

FX—frequent, efficient and convenient

TriMet FX™—Frequent Express—will be most noticeable by the green, 60-foot articulated buses, with a few stripes of blue, that can carry more people. Riders will board at a new type of bus station at many stops, marked with blue and green bus poles. But, there is much coming with FX that you need to experience to understand the difference between other bus service.

  • Dedicated transit signal priority and bus lanes at key location will keep buses moving around congestion rather than being stuck in it.
  • Bus stations located where rider demand is greatest will minimize travel times while providing important transit connections.
  • Platforms with higher curbs so less kneeling for buses, all-door boarding and space for bikes on board will reduce stop times, especially where buses stop in the traffic lane.
  • Longer, articulated buses with room for 60% more riders on board running every 12 minutes, and more often during peak hours, will be a more convenient option to move people more efficiently.
From left to right: Sam Desue, Jr., TriMet General Manager; Jo Ann Hardesty; Portland City Commissioner; Duncan Hwang, APANO interim Co-Executive Director; Shirley Craddick, Metro Councilor; Travis Stovall, Gresham Mayor

FX will mean quicker, more efficient trips—cutting travel times up to 20% between Downtown Portland and Gresham. FX will bring new investments to East Portland.

“We’re excited for the day that FX will speed up transit service and provide` better access to jobs, education, community services and all of the possibilities that come with fast, efficient public transit,” said TriMet General Manager Sam Desue, Jr.. “FX also reflects new investments for East Portland, with more frequent transit service and stations with shelters, digital displays and other amenities to enhance the experience for our riders.”

Bringing better transit and increased safety

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded TriMet $87.4 million in federal funding for the Division Transit Project, with local funding making up the rest of the $175 million price tag. The money isn’t just laying the foundation for better bus service, it is increasing safety across all modes of travel along Division Street, which is a high-crash corridor.

Pedestrian island being installed at SE 74th & Division

“The City of Portland heard from the community that people wanted this to be more than just a transit project,” Portland Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said. “They wanted better bus service, but also safety, housing and jobs. The Division Transit Project will make our streets safer for everyone traveling in East Portland. I’m thrilled that TriMet has set a record for minority contracting with this project, and I look forward to more TriMet and PBOT projects generating living wage jobs that are so needed in our community.”

The Division Transit Project is adding:

  • Nearly 81,000 square feet of new sidewalks along the corridor (59,000 square feet in Portland and 22,000 square feet in Gresham)
  • Some 4.5 miles of protected bike lanes, with physical separation when possible
  • Twenty new marked crosswalks with stoplights, median islands or flashing lights
  • Upgrades and lighting improvements to existing pedestrian crossing signals
  • Storm water treatments

The Division Transit Project, along with coordinated infrastructure improvements planned by the cities of Portland and Gresham, including the City of Portland’s Outer Division Safety Project, will make Division Street safer, whether traveling by bus, car, foot and bike.

“From early conversations to this very day and beyond, the Division Transit project is a crucial piece of our regional plan to bring transit close to home, reduce traffic, and cut greenhouse gas emissions.,” said Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick. “I am so proud of this regional effort.” 

Putting people and the regional economy to work

The Division Transit Project is creating jobs and will get people to jobs once FX is up and running.

“We are excited to see this significant investment coming to Gresham,” said Gresham Mayor Travis Stovall. “The Division Transit Project will connect our community to educational and work opportunities throughout the region. This rapid, reliable bus service will also improve the region’s link to our vibrant downtown. Furthermore, the use of Raimore Construction, a minority firm, to build the infrastructure for this line continues TriMet’s work towards economic equity.”

TriMet awarded the project’s general contractor contract to Raimore Construction, a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), with a 20-year work history with us. The contract is the largest DBE contract in Oregon history.

The project is expected to create more than 1,400 jobs, including 650 construction jobs, and more than 780 indirect and induced jobs. To date, 57 local firms have worked on the project, with women and people of color owning 34 of them. It is also estimated to create more than $137.7 million in added economic value.

Helping the environment

“From early conversations to this very day and beyond, the Division Transit project is a crucial piece of our regional plan to bring transit close to home, reduce traffic, and cut greenhouse gas emissions.,” said Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick. “I am so proud of this regional effort.” 

Every time a person chooses a shared ride on transit, our environment benefits. FX™ service will be efficient and convenient, making it a more attractive option than driving alone, which will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Adding to that, TriMet will run the FX buses—as well as all our buses and LIFT paratransit vehicles—on R99 or renewable diesel.

Switching to the so-called “green diesel” in the weeks ahead, combined with our move to all renewable electricity this month, TriMet will cut our overall carbon dioxide emissions in half.  That will mean avoiding more than 120 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions a year. That’s like taking nearly 12,000 cars off the street.

TriMet is part of the solution to combat climate change. We have committed to a zero-emissions bus fleet—including our FX articulated buses—by 2040. Learn more here.

A Division of Possibilities

Division Street offers a diverse mix of shops, restaurants and other retail possibilities. The Division Transit Project team has worked closely with partners and the community to minimize impacts as much as possible to businesses and residents both during construction and after the transit line opens.

TriMet and the local neighborhoods invite those living nearby as well as those throughout the region to come and experience the corridor during construction and beyond. Learn more at trimet.org/division/possibilities.

“It feels like a sea of change is coming,” said Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon’s interim Co-Executive Director Duncan Hwang. “As advocates for the communities we serve, Division Transit Project was never just a transit project, but a holistic community development project.”

Division Transit Project partners

TriMet thanks our Division Transit Project partners: City of Portland, City of Gresham, Metro, Oregon Department of Transportation and Multnomah County.