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?
- 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
The route travels south from the Portland Transit Mall near Portland State University via Barbur Boulevard until the Barbur Transit Center. From there, it crosses Interstate 5 on a new bridge and then runs adjacent to I-5 to Tigard. The route serves the Tigard Triangle with two stations, crosses Highway 217, serves Downtown Tigard and then travels to a station and Park & Ride at the end of the line at Bridgeport Village in Tualatin.
See project map: Preferred Alignment, Stations and Routes
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
TriMet has taken the lead on planning the project. A steering committee was commissioned by TriMet and includes representatives from all the jurisdictions in the Southwest Corridor: Tigard, Tualatin, Portland, Durham 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:
- 2011-2016: Planning
- 2017-2020: Environmental Review
- 2017-2022: Design
- November 2020 (tentative): Regional vote on a funding measure
- September 2022: Federal Funding
- 2023—2027: Construction, service beginning as soon as 2027
The current route includes two stations in the Tigard Triangle at SW 69th Avenue and Elmhurst Street along 70th Avenue, and a downtown station located east of Hall Blvd. South of downtown, stations are included at Bonita Road and Upper Boones Ferry Road.
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. Staff is still looking at opportunities for additional park and ride lot locations, including a small structure in downtown Tigard and the lot at the SW 68th Station in the Tigard Triangle. None have been finalized at this time.
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. Would light rail run in any streets in Tigard?
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.
12. How long would it take to get to downtown Portland from Tigard?
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.
13. 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. 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. See project maps: Light Rail Transit Corridor, Route Options: Triangle and Downtown Tigard
14. 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.
15. 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.