TriMet hears feedback on planned SW MAX line in Portland
More than a hundred people got a good look at some of the plans for the Portland area's potential sixth light rail line, the one that would run from downtown Portland to Bridgeport Village, mostly along Barbur Boulevard, through Southwest Portland.
Some who showed up at the Multnomah Arts Center on Feb. 12 liked what they saw. Some weren't so sure.
The proposed, 11-mile MAX line would be the linchpin of the Southwest Corridor Project, an expensive and ambitious civic plan to connect Tualatin, Tigard, Southwest Portland and downtown Portland by light rail. There also are plans to guide the residential and commercial development that would go along with light rail.
But the light rail extension to Southwest Portland and the suburbs beyond will get built according to the plans on display only if the estimated $2.8 billion it would cost to build it can be secured.
A large chunk of that funding — $975 million — would come from local taxpayers. Metro area voters will be asked to approve a transit project funding measure on the Nov. 3 ballot. If that passes, as much as a half of the project's cost would then be sought from the Federal Transit Administration. Millions more are expected by project backers to be pledged by local governments that are partners in the project.
If all the funding falls into place, construction on Barbur Boulevard could begin in 2022 and trains could be rolling by September 2027.
The long-range nature of the preliminary plans on display in the Multnomah Arts Center didn't deter attendance.
"Let's face it, the only people who come to something like this are ones who like the idea and want to see what TriMet has planned," said one observer, while looking at the information displayed for the train stop that would be built in front of the Chevron station in the middle of Southwest Barbur Boulevard at 30th Avenue.
"I'm inclined to support any project that brings sidewalks to Barbur," he said.
A retired nurse at Oregon Health & Science University and her husband, asked several questions of one of the many TriMet staff members present. They were not pleased with the plan to build the so-called "Marquam Connector" to transport light rail riders from the Gibbs Street stop on Barbur Boulevard up the steep hill to Terwilliger Parkway. "The environmental damage wouldn't be worth it," she said. "Why can't they just transfer from light rail to buses to get to the hill?"
TriMet still hasn't decided which of two modes to build. One option is a bridge and elevator configuration like the one on South Waterfront at the tram stop. The other option is an inclined elevator. Either way, the coast will exceed $20 million.
Neither option was acceptable to the couple, who live nearby. They said if a Marquam Connector is part of the project they'd be inclined to vote against the Metro transit funding measure in November.
To view the SW Corridor Project conceptual design report, check out the website https://trimet.org/swcorridor/
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