On Sunday buses will return to the Portland Mall after being on 3rd and 4th avenues for almost 2 1/2 years. Many people thought that the move away from the Mall in January 2007 was going to be difficult, but once things were transitioned it turned out to be a decent operating environment. I have a feeling that the return to the Mall will be an even smoother experience, given the care and attention put into its design, and the hard work from those involved to make this a safe and successful opening.
As of this week, more than 1700 individuals have been through training on how the Mall will operate. Operators have been making announcements, and Ride Guides have been on the street informing riders of the service change. Television spots have aired to inform customers of the changes and provided them with safety tips. TriMet and partner-agency staff have been working for months to ensure that the system elements are ready for Sunday.
Here are a few things that are important to know:
* Safety is our highest priority. Be patient and watch for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists who have not gotten used to the new rules of the Mall.
* Operators should contact station management to report issues they experience on the Mall.
* Watch for bulletins next week with updates on issues that arise and adjustments made in the first few days of operating on the Mall.
* Dispatch is ready to respond to incidents through the new "Mall Call" procedure.
* The final elements of Mall construction will continue, even after buses return on Sunday:
o All Mall bus shelters should be installed by the end of August, with high-ridership stops being installed first, beginning in mid-June.
* MAX training on the Mall will resume on Monday, June 1.
Clowns riding in Friday's bus parade
celebrating buses back on the Mall.
For the 60,000 bus riders who pass through downtown each day, this milestone is significant. After 2 1/2 years of relocation, our bus service will once again operate on streets designed for transit. It is important that we celebrate the achievements of our bus system and the hard work that has gone into making this transition successful.