Light Rail steering committee agrees with suggested route through Tigard
The Southwest Corridor Light Rail Steering Committee unanimously approved a route known as the LPA at-grade refined crossing as the best way for the rapid transit system to make it from Bonita Road to its expected terminus at Bridgeport Village.
During a Monday meeting at Tigard City Hall, the committee, composed of elected city and county officials, along with TriMet, Metro and ODOT representatives, signed off on the route, clearing another hurdle in pushing the project forward.
The proposed 12-mile Southwest Corridor route would begin in Portland at the Portland Transit Mall near Portland State before heading along Barbur Boulevard and into Tigard. The ultimate goal is to reach the Bridgeport Village shopping complex area in Tualatin if all the necessary funding falls into place.
Scott Robinson, a TriMet design manager, told the committee that the LPA (or locally preferred option) would have fewer impacts on businesses, cost less, provide for an Upper Boones Ferry Road station that would serve the employment center in that area and result in a variety of potential designs for a Bridgeport Village station that would not displace businesses there.
The other option TriMet staff was looking at closely was what's known as the 74th Avenue refined route. Robertson told the steering committee that the comment cards from previous public meetings showed those in attendance favored the LPA at-grade refined route over the 74th Avenue option, the latter of which would have displaced 680 employees compared to only 130 if the former route was chosen.
Still, Robertson said the LPA at-grade refined route is not perfect with two traffic signals currently too close to each other (as well as a railroad crossing) along the proposed rail line. There are also safety concerns at the Boones Ferry Road crossing that need to be addressed, officials have said.
Roy Rogers, a Washington County Commissioner on the steering committee, said the county supports the staff recommendation of the LPA route but urged TriMet to keep an elevated track proposal, which would raise tracks over a portion of Upper Boones Ferry Road. That route, which would be much more expensive, would alleviate some traffic and safety concerns.
"Our No. 1 goal … is to get it to Bridgeport, period," said Rogers, a former Tualatin mayor.
Robert Kellogg, another steering committee member who also serves on the Tualatin City Council, expressed similar support for an elevated route but said the overwhelmingly goal was simply to make sure the train goes all the way to Tualatin.
Tigard Mayor Jason Snider said he would support the LPA at-grade refined route but wants the elevated option to be "kept on the table."
The next steering committee meeting is set for Monday, June 10 at 9 a.m., again at Tigard City Hall.
Meanwhile, the exact location of where the Southwest Corridor Light Rail will end isn't expected until the fall.