Westside MAX train service disrupted for 6 days
Westside transit riders are advised to add 30 minutes to their commute as crews begin a six-day-long MAX light-rail improvement project on Sunday, May 6.
Passengers on Blue and Red Line trains should expect disrupted service as workers tear up tracks and replace mechanical switches, which has required TriMet to close the Providence Park and Kings Hill/SW Salmon Street MAX stations.
Until construction work wraps on Friday evening, May 11, commuters will need to hop on a shuttle bus at the Library/SW 9th Avenue or Galleria/SW 10th Avenue stations in order to reach the Goose Hollow stop on Southwest Jefferson Street.
"We really appreciate riders' patience and understanding as we tackle these big projects on the MAX systems," noted Roberta Altstadt, a spokeswoman for the regional transit agency.
"This work will help increase MAX reliability and resiliency while creating a smoother ride for our customers and smoother surface for pedestrians, cyclists and auto drivers," she added.
Long-time riders already know that MAX trains tend to sway side to side while running along the curves of Southwest 18th Avenue in Portland. That's because the rails built in the 1990s are embedded in concrete blocks that, just like regular asphalt, tend to crack and fall apart over time.
These new tracks will be sheathed in a "rubber boot" before the concrete is laid. Workers are also replacing switches that allow MAX trains to move from one set of rails to another.
For the time being, Red Line trains will turn around rather than traveling out to Beaverton. Blue Line trains will continue to serve Hillsboro and Beaverton. During prime commuting hours, there will be fewer trains available to serve the Orange Line to Milwaukie and the Blue Line between downtown Portland and Gresham.
For Beaverton resident Jon Hernandez, the disruption of his trip from Sunset Transit Center to the waterfront was "kind of inconvenient" but "overall not that bad."
"I've got kids so they're going to enjoy riding the bus as well," the father of three said. "It kind of sucks to have it during Cinco de Mayo."
TriMet says the disruption began on May 6 because there's usually less riders on Sundays. The agency promises this project won't be as bad as last year's lengthy work on Morrison and Yamhill streets.
"We hope this is going to be easier on folks and easier on us as well," Altstadt said. "We know any sort of disruption is disconcerting."
TriMet says the project is completely unrelated to the privately-funded $55 million expansion of Providence Park soccer stadium that will add 4,000 new seats by spring 2019.