The prediction that the bus lanes will cause business closures “in a matter of months” apparently has not yet come to pass.

I just got back from Paris late Tuesday evening, and yesterday I headed over to the Hillsdale mall to restock our empty shelves with enough provisions to last a long, cold weekend.

Luckily I was able to find a parking spot, the place was hopping!

Readers might remember the petition campaign against the new Capitol Highway rose lanes launched by the Hillsdale Business and Professional Association, the Hillsdale Neighborhood Association and other civic groups. One of the concerns was that the new Bus and Turn (BAT) lane would hurt small businesses in the strip malls. (To be clear and fair, not all of the mall businesses participated in the petition campaign.)

The rose lanes went in last September and the petition’s prediction that the “negative impact” will cause business closures “in a matter of months” apparently has not yet come to pass.

Nevertheless, last month the Portland Tribune published a piece, Transit project hurting businesses, which amplified the complaints of a few owners.

Bus heading east in the newly installed rose lane on Capitol Highway in Southwest Portland.

Well, it’s been three months since the rose lanes went in, and the parking lot is full. That doesn’t mean that balance sheets are where an owner wants them to be, but it does mean that the rose lanes are not preventing customers from reaching the mall.

I’m a frequent customer of several mall businesses. I bank at OnPoint, I’m a regular at Gigi’s, I buy enough at Paloma’s that I get the handwritten thank you letter. I ship my packages at the UPS store, buy groceries at Basics, I own eight succulents from Gurton’s and I like to top off my shopping sprees with an ice cream cone at Dairy Hill. (I even bought one of their cute ice cream cone t-shirts for my niece.)

Hey big spender!

I drive to the mall from the west and my experience is that the BAT lanes make it less stressful to enter and exit the parking lot. Drivers seem to be respecting the new rose lane—it was empty yesterday except for cars making the turn into parking lots—and a line of cars in the leftmost lane was moving calmly. In other words, things seemed to me to be working as intended.

I wish everyone well, and I hope all those shoppers I saw yesterday spent a lot of money. And if you need a thoughtful, last minute gift, the succulents at Gurton’s Plant Shop might do the trick.



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