Southwest Corridor Plan:
Project Information Q&A
- What and where is the project?
- What issues would this project help address?
- Where would the MAX line run?
- How would the project impact the corridor area?
- Who is planning the project?
- How would the project be funded?
- What is the project timeline? When would it open?
- Where would stations be located in Tigard?
- Where would park and rides be located in and around Tigard?
- Would light rail go on Highway 99W in Tigard?
- More specifically, how would the light rail travel from the Tigard Triangle to downtown Tigard?
- Would light rail run in any streets in Tigard?
- How long would it take to get to downtown Portland from Tigard?
- How frequently would trains run in Tigard?
- Why don’t you just turn WES into light rail?
- Why won’t the train go to Washington Square?
The Southwest Corridor includes the area around and between Interstate 5 and Highway 99W. It stretches from Sherwood and Tualatin, through Tigard and to downtown Portland. A proposed new light rail line, also known as MAX, would run through the Southwest Corridor to connect downtown Portland, Southwest Portland, Tigard and Bridgeport Village in Tualatin.
2. What issues will this project help address?
The Southwest Corridor addresses a number of growth and transportation issues:
- High volume of travel within and through the corridor
- Increased traffic congestion and unreliable travel times
- Continued growth in residents and jobs
- Lack of safe options for people walking and biking
- Insufficient and unreliable transit
Looking north to south, as currently proposed:
- From Portland State University, at the southern end of the Transit Mall, the MAX would run in the center of either Barbur Boulevard or Naito Parkway. After Barbur and Naito converge, the line would continue on Barbur until SW 13th Avenue.
- Between 13th Avenue and the Portland-Tigard city limits near 60th Avenue, MAX could run on Barbur or adjacent to I-5. Just east of the Tigard city limits, the MAX would turn off Barbur into the Tigard Triangle.
- Through Tigard, there are two scenarios: a direct route via downtown Tigard continuing to Bridgeport Village or a branched route with a split in the Tigard Triangle, where trains would alternate between continuing south to Bridgeport Village or turning west to serve downtown Tigard.
- Direct route scenario: MAX could either travel west on Clinton Street then cross Highway 217 on a long bridge to Hall Boulevard, or run south on 70th Street and Beveland Street then cross Highway 217 on a bridge to Ash Avenue. Both options would include a station near the Tigard Transit Center and WES, then travel southeast beside the freight rail tracks. MAX could either continue beside the freight rail tracks beyond Carman Drive then run adjacent to I-5 to Bridgeport Village, or could run eastward between Tech Center Drive and Landmark Lane and then turn southward adjacent to I-5 to Bridgeport Village.
- Branched route scenario: MAX would split in the Tigard Triangle with one leg connecting to the Tigard Transit Center either using one of the direct routes explained above, or via a new bridge over Highway 217 from Beveland to Wall Street then running northwest beside the freight rail tracks. The other leg would connect to Bridgeport Village continuing south on 70th Avenue, using a separate bridge over Highway 217 and then running adjacent to I-5.
The project includes a new MAX line, and also sidewalk and biking connections to stations and roadway improvements. These investments would create more travel options, provide easier connections to jobs and education opportunities and offer an alternative to increasingly congested roadways. In addition, Southwest Corridor MAX would:
- Carry 40,000 to 43,000 daily rides by the year 2035, more than the Red, Green, Yellow or Orange lines today. That is more people than now live in Lake Oswego and equivalent to 25 percent of daily vehicles on I-5 in Tigard today
- Provide a more reliable travel time, approximately 30 minutes from Bridgeport Village to downtown Portland, allowing for easier trip planning
- Link into the regional MAX system, allowing for transit access to Portland International Airport, the Moda Center, OMSI, the Oregon Zoo and other destinations
- Include connections to OHSU’s campus on Marquam Hill and South Waterfront, as well as the Portland Community College Sylvania campus
- Provide a quick connection between the Tigard Triangle and downtown Tigard
- Build continuous protected bike lanes and sidewalks on Barbur Boulevard, allowing for safer trips
A steering committee was commissioned by Metro, the regional planning agency, to make recommendations on solutions to the needs listed above. The committee includes representatives from all the jurisdictions in the Southwest Corridor: Tigard, Tualatin, Portland, Durham, King City, Sherwood, Beaverton and Washington County, as well as TriMet, the Oregon Department of Transportation and Metro.
6. How would the project be funded?
Half of the construction cost would come from the federal government. The rest would come from local sources, such as contributions from the state of Oregon. A regional funding measure requiring a region-wide vote would also likely be necessary.
7. What is the project timeline? When would it open?
Between 2013 and June 2016, stakeholders and the Southwest Corridor Steering Committee analyzed the routes and narrowed the project choices. The major remaining steps include:
- August 2016 to December 2017: Initial federal environmental review, which would analyze the potential impacts of the project, identify options to avoid or lessen impacts, and evaluate alternative approaches
- Spring 2018: Selection of the Locally Preferred Alternative, which would result in a single alignment option
- November 2018 (tentative): Regional vote on a funding measures
- 2021—2025: Construction, opening in 2025
Most light rail design options include two stations in the Tigard Triangle, at Baylor Street and Beveland Street along 70th Avenue, along with one station in downtown Tigard at or near the existing transit center. There is an option that excludes the Beveland station, and another option that adds a station at Hunziker Street and Wall Street. South of downtown, stations are included at Bonita Road and at either Upper Boones Ferry Road or Carman Drive.
9. Where would park and rides be located in and around Tigard?
Current designs include expanded park and ride lots at the Barbur Transit Center and at Bridgeport Village, and a new lot at SW 53rd Avenue and Barbur in Portland. One option could include a small lot near the intersection of Hunziker and Wall streets. Staff is still looking at opportunities for additional park and ride lot locations, including in
downtown Tigard and the Tigard Triangle, but none have yet been identified.
10. Would light rail go on Highway 99W in Tigard?
No. Since very early on in the project, the transit alignment has been designed to turn away from Highway 99W in Portland in order to travel through the Tigard Triangle.
11. More specifically, how would the light rail travel from the Tigard Triangle to downtown Tigard?
There are three ways light rail might travel between the Triangle and downtown Tigard, across Highway 217:
- Via a long bridge extending from Clinton Street near 70th Avenue in the Triangle to roughly Hall Boulevard between Pacific Highway and Garden Place. Light rail would then travel on a new street in between and parallel to Main Street and Ash Avenue to a station near the Tigard Transit Center.
- Via a bridge starting at the west end of Beveland Street in the Triangle and ending near the intersection of Hall Boulevard and Knoll Drive, then travelling on a new extension of Ash Avenue to a station near Commercial Street.
- Via a bridge from the west of Beveland Street could also land near Hunziker and Wall Streets, with light rail continuing southwest along Wall and then turning northwest in the WES right of way to a station near the Tigard Transit Center.
In the Triangle, light rail would run in 70th Avenue, which is not a through street today but would be completed as part of the project. That means auto lanes would be completed and there would be more auto capacity in the Triangle than there is today.
In downtown, the answer depends on the route taken to cross over Highway 217:
- If via the long bridge on the Clinton right-of-way, light rail would operate in a new roadway in downtown between Main and Ash until crossing Commercial Street.
- If via a bridge that connects Beveland to Ash, light rail would operate in Ash until crossing Commercial.
- If via a bridge that connects Beveland to Wall, light rail would operate in Wall, which is a dead end street today.
The extent of road construction from building the MAX is not known at this time. The federal environmental review process would include an analysis of construction impacts, including effects on traffic, and is anticipated to be available for public review in early 2018.
A trip from downtown Tigard to Portland State University would take less than 25 minutes, and the travel time to Pioneer Square about 30 minutes.
14. How frequently would trains run in Tigard?
There are two operating options to be studied. “Direct service” would use a single line between downtown Portland and Bridgeport Village with a downtown Tigard station in between. “Branch service” would feature two lines that travel together from Portland to the Tigard Triangle, where they would split, with one line ending in downtown Tigard and the other line ending at Bridgeport Village. By year 2035, 10 years after opening, a downtown Tigard station would see a train every six and a half minutes in each direction in peak periods and every 15 minutes in the off-peak with direct service. With branch service, the station would see a train every 15 minutes in each direction all day. See project maps: Light Rail Transit Corridor, Route Options: Triangle and Downtown Tigard
15. Why don’t you just turn WES into light rail?
WES operates on right-of-way owned by Portland & Western Railroad (PWRR) and shares its tracks. By agreement, WES operates only in peak periods and PWRR uses the tracks to move freight at other times. By federal law, light rail could not operate at the same time as freight, even if PWRR was supportive. As a result, converting WES to all-day light rail would require construction of separate tracks, which would require a lot of new right-of-way acquisition.
16. Why won’t the train go to Washington Square?
Early on in the planning process, the steering committee identified the Southwest Corridor as the area between downtown Portland and Sherwood. The committee decided that the high capacity transit (HCT) line should connect downtown Portland, Tigard and Tualatin. Washington Square is too far away from that alignment. At one point, the project considered an additional branch option for HCT that served Washington Square, but the operating costs were very high compared to the preferred alignment options still under study.