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Friday, November 30, 2007

Gresham mayor: MAX stations are "toilets"

There's talk in the paper today of ending Fareless Square in downtown Portland. It's part of a larger discussion of security on Tri-Met, including the troubled MAX light rail line.

It seems as though there are several different issues being jumbled together here. The punks who are terrorizing people on the far ends of MAX need to be shut down. The news that the situation in Hillsboro is as bad as the one in Gresham is particularly troubling:

Rouches said reasons for increased MAX patrols exist at all nine stations in Hillsboro. So far this year, Hillsboro police have responded to an average of 240 to 250 incidents a month at each station.
That's 72 incidents a day, in Hillsboro alone.

But it's not clear how eliminating Fareless Square is going to make a dent in that problem. And there's no way to put turnstiles in at the MAX stops along the streets in downtown Portland, anyway.

Comments (24)

Could it be that Gresham and Hillsboro suffer an over abundance of Meth Marketers?

There is a commonality there but I just can't put a finger on it.

It’s probably just a coincidence that Gresham and Hillsboro are developing "urban problems" while Portland undergoes gentrification.

Is it not worth the few problems that the police are experiencing, when one considers that MAX has solved all of our traffic problems, east-west, north-south?

Funny - Remember the claim that MAX would spur development starting right at the rails?

It's slowly killing Downtown and working its way out. Now Clackamas wants this mess?

What other commonalities do Gresham and Hillsboro share.Cheap apartments. Lars Larson says they also have a high percentage of illegals and Latino gangs. Is he wrong, please tell me so. Or is the crime, including the gang initiation beating of an old man just a coincidence. And of course the ever present white trash meth-heads. We could rename it TRI-METH

This is a situation where a "surge" would work. There might not be enough police to adequately patrol all the MAX lines all the time, but I'm sure they could come up with funding and people to patrol almost all the lines almost all the time for a brief period--say two months. It won't take that long for the thugs to get weeded out. Then it's possible to step back the police presence, though it still should remain substantially higher than it is now.

During the surge and afterward, riders should get busted for all the small stuff--littering, drunkeness, spitting on the floor, all sorts of public disturbances. Yes, some of the people who do this are mentally ill and should be cared for, but a lot of others are just uncouth.

Portland used to be known as a very civil city and a lot of that has eroded. So if people can't learn to behave out of a sense of common decency, they should do it out of fear of a hefty fine.

The first criminal act foisted upon us all is the highly subsidized light rail system in the first place. An expensive boondoggle from its beginning. But the inane silliness and irresponsibility of fareless square and a complete lack of charging EVERYONE to ride....and enforcing the fare system, is clearly at the root of the growing problem. Fareless trains attract the vermin and thugs who ride from end to end, terrorizing innocent, fare-paying riders.

Fred Hansen and Trimet should be held immediately accountable to clean up the mess now, by charging everyone to ride. The next step is some sort of cooperative of Trimet and municipal jurisdiction police enforcement....a 24/7 visible presence, with sharp enough teeth to cite and arrest any offenders.

No town hall meetings....expensive consultants....lengthy studies. The problem is obvious....the answers are clear. G E T I T D O N E !!!

why punish the majority by taking away the Free Zone? I think Gil Johnson has a good idea. Honestly, I am tired of punks ,pukes and perverts in my space.

Part of the problem is that we have Trimet and regional police declaring in the Oregonian that "there aren't that many serious crimes on Trimet-getting slapped, punched, kicked, hit is ok." Those are all criminal assaults in my book. When it comes my turn to be thug kicked, or bitch slapped and any form of police action is not taken, I will know that a good attorney will be filling my pockets with cash. Trimet and police agencies are opening themselves to major legal action after being forewarned for years.

Let's stop quibbling.
It doesn't matter what problem, circumstance or information surfaces there's not a thing that will alter TriMet's use of public funds to protect themselves, their policies and to advance the push form more of the same.
And they have their "citizens" helping all along the way.
Same goes for the PDC and Metro.

Fareless square works: it is effective (by at least one car) in reducing intra-Portland traffic. I frequently use the light-rail to move through downtown when I've got a car parked in the SmartPark.

Due to the downtown setup, its not feasible to install turnstiles downtown. I get that; but it's totally feasible at the outer stations.

Having recently been in Chicago for a wedding (boring!), and taking the CTA trains, there were a key differences: police presence. I noticed CPD officers all the time. Some were not on duty -- just using the trains as a form of transportation. Some appeared to be assigned to the trains. I don't know how to do it, but encouraging police to use Tri-Met in uniform couldn't hurt. Maybe let them ride free in uniform? In any case, it doesn't appear that Tri-Met is on anyone's beat -- why not? Pdx police and Tri-Met should be on the same page here.

I agree that Tri-Met needs a major overhaul: they've obviously been thinking their just a cutesy little attraction rather than serious mass transit. With the increase in gas prices, increased social pressures to "go green," and increased population, demand on Tri-Met is probably as high as its ever been. Tri-Met hasn't made the mental shift to considering itself "Mass Transit" -- until it does, everything will just be a band-aid to its image of itself as an attraction rather than a transit system. The bus system doesn't suffer from this problem: the folks in charge of that service started with the idea that they're a bus service. And while there have been problems with the bus line, there hasn't been the major problems like on the MAX. (The biggest issue I remember is the bus driver letting a passenger off to beat up a cyclist, and then letting him reboard).

The MAX needs to rethink its place and act like real mass transit.

The MAX needs to rethink its place and act like real mass transit.

I agree. Portland is becoming a big-boy city, and they need to realize that mass transit attracts crime. Putting a greater police presence on the train, will help reduce the crime. It's really that simple.

Simple, total solution to MAX's problems:

Charge users what it really costs.

$10-$15 fare.

End of problem.
End of expensive boondoggle.


It's interesting that at the end of the Trib story it indicates they already found a solution, and it wasn't ending fairless square or putting turnstiles at every station. All that is needed was at least some policing of the system.

Chris Coyle-

I beleive Portland Police can ride Tri-Met for free right now for commuting by just showing their badge and PPB ID card. But I bet most Officers wouldn't want to ride Tri-Met unless they work in Central Preceint downtown. Also, I know most officers wouldn't want to ride in uniform to or from work either.

I say a huge increase in Police and Security on both the Max and buses and install turnstiles on non fairless square max stations.

On MAX the past week I've been asked to show my ticket twice -- after having gone six months without ever being asked! That's a step in the right direction. Although, oddly, the place they were checking was at the Airport as passengers got off. That crowd, I'd guess, does not comprise the most likely fare evaders. Maybe check the under-25ers going from Portland out Gresham way...

Can't you d-bags come up with another word to supplement your use of the word "boondoggle?" Maybe "huskawitz" or "jamjarbadig."

"I'm an old crank who hates that jamjarbadig known as Tri-Met. Those public transportation advocates are a bunch of fat cats."

See, mix it up a bit.

"D-bags"? Oops. You're gone.

Tri-Met bus is great. I even like MAX, if they'd just get off their '70s acid trip about fare evasion and thuggery.

Pete: Certainly PPD (and many an unfortunate traveler) and, one expects, even Tri-Met knows just how easy it is for a tweaker to take MAX out to the airport, walk in to baggage claim, grab some luggage off of a conveyor belt and stroll back out to the courteously waiting train. Any increase in security on the airport spur is years overdue.
In fact, an arrest in town for burglary or breaking in to a car is pretty likely to also yield a pile of suitcases from PDX. Lesson to the poor souls who fly: Deboard post haste and get thee to the baggage claim!

Sorry for the confusion. The Hillsboro figure was a monthly average for all nine stations. I caught the mistake and changed it for the print version, but forget to check the online version. The Hillsboro police said they believe even those numbers are too high at the Friday MAX safety summit in their city. - Jim Redden, Portland Tribune

TriMet has neglected bus service and system wide safety while channeling excessive and a disproportiante amounts of attention and resources into expanding light rail.

Light rail which has also now killed 20 people.

Same goes for the City of Portland, Metro and the State with light rail funding always moved to the front of the line ahead of all other infrastructure and need.

There seems to be no detriments severe enough to alter the holy cross of "Rail Transit", subsidized "TODs" (Transit Oriented Development) and "Smart Growth".
However riddled they become with untintended consequences, dysfunction and absent the promised benefits the agenda moves forward unabated.

Giuliani showed years ago that enforcement directed at small violations would also deter larger crimes. Max needs to become zero tolerance for fare jumpers.

It is a fairly simple problem to solve. The real question is why can't TriMet solve such a simple problem? They say they don't have enough money to pay for police but that can't really be true. After all, nobody with any brains would sink hundreds of millions into a light rail system and forget about a few hundred grand a year for some full time police would they???

Re: "Light rail which has now killed 20 people"

MAX trains occasionally hit people, who unwisely linger near the tracks, at a rate of roughly one per year. Driving a car is much more unsafe, and I suspect that MAX has on the whole reduced overall transportation fatalities (how much depends on how much you buy the people ride MAX instead of driving cars argument).

Anyway, for the faults of MAX / Trimet, I don't think the trains occasionally hitting an errant pedestrian is a major one.


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