The Southwest Corridor isn't marked on any map. But this area – home to more than 10 percent of the Portland region's population, stretching from downtown Portland out to Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood – has a huge impact on the rest of the region.
For years this area has seen getting around get less reliable while transit and safety for people walking and biking has lagged behind many other areas of the Portland region.
That's why seven cities, Washington County, Metro, TriMet and the Oregon Department of Transportation have come together to work on transportation and land use solutions to handle continuing growth, support new investment and get people where they're going more quickly, reliably and safely.
Why is it needed? Here are four quick facts about the Southwest Corridor.
1. 13 to 17 hours of congestion a day: That's how bad traffic will be on Interstate 5 between Portland and Tigard in 2035.
Long delays are a way of life for people in the Southwest Corridor. And as the area's jobs and population continue to grow quickly – well, it's going to get worse. Fortunately, by 2035 light rail in the corridor could carry almost a fifth of the southbound commuters on Barbur Boulevard and Interstate 5 from downtown Portland.
2. There could be 300,000 residents in the Southwest Corridor by 2040 – 75,000 more than today.
That's like adding one-and-a-half Tigards to the area. Communities in the corridor are making plans to handle this growth and keep up with the transportation demand it creates. More transportation investments will be crucial to their success.
3. 240,700 people: If all the people who work in the Southwest Corridor were their own city, they'd be bigger than Eugene.
The Southwest Corridor is a place of work. And the vast majority of people who work there commute from other cities. 93 percent of workers in Tualatin live outside of Tualatin; 92 percent of Tigard workers live outside of Tigard. The Southwest Corridor Plan would build light rail and other projects to help workers get to the job and home again on time. Projections show that by 2040 there could be more than 300,000 people working in the corridor.
4. 55 percent of Barbur Boulevard doesn't have a sidewalk on both sides. The Southwest Corridor Plan would fix that.
Scenes like this – on Barbur Boulevard in Southwest Portland's Burlingame district – are common along major streets in the Southwest Corridor. Sidewalks peter out with little warning. It's often a long way to the next crosswalk, too. The Southwest Corridor Plan could fix that along with light rail construction – just one of dozens of ways biking and walking could get safer in the area in the coming years.