Southwest Corridor light-rail plans between Portland and Southeastern Washington County get a look
A transit center in Tualatin with room for up to 960 vehicles. A short underpass that dips under Highway 99W as it enters Tigard. An elevated light-rail station overlooking Southwest Bonita Road.
All of these features and more are on the list of light-rail stations and park-and-rides planned for TriMet's newest MAX line, which could start running as soon as 2026. A draft conceptual design plan for the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project was released last week.
Watch a video fly-through of the route of the proposed light rail line.
Preliminary design plans for the $2.5 billion project call for a total of five park-and-ride locations along the 12-mile light-rail line. Two would be located in Portland, two in Tigard and one at the northern edge of Tualatin, in the Bridgeport Village area. In addition, five more rail stations are planned for Tigard.
A major transit center — which would include both a station and a park and ride — is planned at the Bridgeport Village location.
On Thursday, Feb. 6, the community advisory committee for the project met to discuss the new plan. The conceptual design includes details of the stations and park-and-rides in Portland.
The next public hearing is set for 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, at the Tigard Public Library, 13500 S.W. Hall Blvd.
As the rail tracks enters Tigard, heading west along Highway 99W — signed as Southwest Barbur Boulevard in Portland and Southwest Pacific Highway in Washington County — they would dip underneath the highway near Southwest 64th Avenue, reemerging above ground a short distance later, just west of Southwest Coronado Street.
That would mean a reconfigured intersection at 64th Avenue where pedestrian crossings would be improved, according to the plan.
Some highlights of the Tigard and Tualatin stations:
• The 68th Parkway Station would include a park-and-ride with 350 parking spaces at the corner of Southwest Pacific Highway and 68th Parkway in the Tigard Triangle — a stretch of land bounded by Highway 99W to the north, Highway 217 to the west and south and Interstate 5 to the east.
Tigard has set up a so-called "lean code" in the Triangle to encourage development. The structure would provide a natural amphitheater overlooking Red Rock Creek, according to TriMet engineers.
• The Elmhurst Street Station, in the heart of the Tigard Triangle at Southwest 70th Avenue and Elmhurst Street, would include a light-rail bridge that would cross Southwest Dartmouth Street at 70th Avenue.
From the Elmhurst station, the rail line would head west toward Highway 217, traveling past the south side of the Walmart Supercenter before an elevated bridge takes it across Highway 217 just north of the current 72nd Avenue overpass.
• The Hall Boulevard Station, on the other side of Highway 217 from the Elmhurst station, would include a park-and-ride with up to 100 vehicle spaces. It would have close access to the Tigard Transit Center and the WES commuter rail, with TriMet officials touting it as a "critical node" for the Southwest Corridor project.
Also planned is a TriMet light-rail maintenance center just east of Tigard City Hall.
• An elevated station at the intersection of Bonita Road and Southwest 74th Avenue would provide an entry point for the Fanno Creek Trail, making the trail system more accessible to walkers, joggers and bicyclists who don't live nearby. It would be the only elevated station along the route.
• For the Upper Boones Ferry Road station, crossings with gates are planned for both Southwest Upper Boones Ferry Road between Southwest 72nd Avenue and Sequoia Parkway, as well as along 72nd Avenue, just north of Upper Boones Ferry Road.
• The Bridgeport Transit Center would be the end of the route, at least for now, for the proposed project.
Plans call for the construction of an elevated pedestrian bridge that would cross Southwest Lower Boones Ferry Road from the transit center — which would include parking on the south side of the roadway — to a planned station on the north side of that road.
"The Bridgeport Transit Center will be more than just a light-rail station," states a description of the proposed structure. "It will be an iconic mobility node and visible gateway to those traveling across the region."
Tualatin Mayor Frank Bubenik said he is pleased not only with the fact that current plans refer to the Tualatin stop as a transit center rather than a park-and-ride, but also that there is mention of having up to 960 parking spaces, the maximum amount studied during the draft environmental statement.
Recently, Tualatin city leaders had told TriMet they wanted more than 700 slots in order to make it a regional transportation center.
In addition, Bubenik said he's happy to see TriMet is planning safety improvements to 72nd Avenue to allow pedestrians to safely walk between the station and the Bridgeport Village shopping complex, as well as plans to "address traffic congestion, mobility and connection to I-5."
Finally, Bubenik said he's pleased to see that a Village Inn restaurant near the proposed stop would be spared from demolition. Early plans had mentioned its possible removal.
Tigard Mayor Jason Snider said his city supports the corridor alignment and, most importantly, that the rail line reaches Bridgeport Village, which is expected to be the most heavily used site of the light-rail alignment.
"No one wants more traffic congestion and drive-through commuters in downtown Tigard, so we will limit park-and-ride there and continue to support TriMet's effort to raise the funding necessary to build the project all the way to Bridgeport," Snider said.
At the same time, the Tigard mayor said the city is planning for redevelopment around both stations in downtown Tigard and the Tigard Triangle.
"TriMet needs to think carefully about station layouts that will connect existing and new Tigard residents and workers to clean and healthy transportation options like walking, cycling and light rail," Snider said.
Much of the funding for the MAX line hinges on passage of a Metro transportation bond sent to voters in November. The bond includes $975 million earmarked for the Southwest Corridor Light Rail project.
Another open house was held Feb. 12 at the Multnomah Arts Center.
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