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South Corridor Project history

Planning and conservation    Transportation and land use projects    Portland-Milwaukie light rail    South Corridor Project history

A summary of Metro Council decisions, alternatives studied and opportunities for public comment related to development of the locally preferred alternative for the South Corridor Project.

Downtown mall simulation Visual simulation of downtown Portland transit mall

The South/North Corridor study

The South Corridor project began as part of the South/North Corridor study. After voters did not reaffirm funding for the South/North light rail project in November 1998, elected officials conducted a series of “listening posts” throughout the region to find out how community members thought transportation needs in the South/North Corridor should be addressed. The feedback led policy makers to advance a light rail project in the northern portion of the corridor and to begin a study of non-light rail options in the southern portion of the corridor.

The South Corridor study

In 1999, the South Corridor study began to evaluate a wide range of transportation options including river transit, high occupancy vehicle lanes, high occupancy toll lanes, busway, bus rapid transit and commuter rail. After extensive public input and technical evaluation, busway and bus rapid transit options were selected to move forward for more detailed analysis. Southeast Portland and Milwaukie neighborhood leaders continued to ask that light rail be included in the study. In the spring 2001, the policy committee responded to community requests and added light rail between Milwaukie and Portland and between Gateway and Clackamas to the study.

South Corridor Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement

The South Corridor Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) compared five transit alternatives with a no-build alternative. The transit alternatives included bus rapid transit, busway and light rail routes. In April 2003, after a 61-day public comment period, the Metro Council recommended the two-phase locally preferred alternative with a preliminary recommendation to construct light rail on the Portland Mall during the first phase.

During the summer 2003, staff prepared an amendment to the SDEIS for the downtown portion of the project. The Downtown Portland Amendment to the SDEIS compared light rail on the Portland Mall to a no-build alternative. After a 45-day public comment period, the Metro Council confirmed the South Corridor Locally Preferred Alternative with the first project phase including new light rail from Gateway to the Clackamas Town Center and in downtown Portland. Download the executive summaries of 2003 South Corridor Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement and downtown amendment below.Go

Locally Preferred Alternative

The two-phase plan calls first for construction of light rail from the Gateway district to the Clackamas Town Center, as well as extensions along Southwest Fifth and Sixth avenues in downtown Portland. The second phase would connect Milwaukie and Southeast Portland to the system in downtown Portland.

Phase I: I-205 Light Rail Project

  • Clackamas Town Center transit center located east of the mall with a park-and-ride garage
  • alignment on the Portland Mall (Southwest Fifth and Sixth avenues) between the Steel Bridge and Portland State University in downtown Portland
  • during phase I, relocate the existing Milwaukie transit center once design and environmental issues are resolved

Download the South Corridor I-205/Portland Mall Light Rail Project Final Environmental Impact Statement below

Current information on the South Corridor I-205/Portland Mall Light Rail Project is available through TriMet...Visit the TriMet site

Proposed stations and service areas

Phase II: Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project

  • terminus at Lake Road in Milwaukie
  • station, but no bus transfer facility, at the Portland Waldorf School in Milwaukie
  • Southgate crossover design option in the North Milwaukie industrial area
  • 17th Avenue design option in the Brooklyn neighborhood
  • Caruthers Bridge over the Willamette River from just south of OMSI to Southwest River Parkway
  • connection from the Caruthers Bridge to the Portland transit mall on Southwest Lincoln Street

Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project refinement report

The purpose of the refinement report was to review, at a conceptual level, proposed design options against a wide range of criteria that represent considerations in the SDEIS.

The criteria include considerations like cost, travel time, ridership, land use connections and compatibility, engineering feasibility, potential for traffic and/or property impacts and connection to other transit, bike and walking facilities.

The refinement of design options focuses on two areas: southern terminus and Willamette River. Specifically, these are the issues that were studied in the refinement report:

  • southern terminus and park and ride location options
  • Willamette River bridge crossing location options

The findings discussed in the refinement report were based on the limited design and information that was then available on the design options. Ridership estimates presented, for example, were not based on full transit model forecasting runs. More detailed information will be developed on all options carried into the SDEIS during that study process.
Download the Milwaukie-Portland Light Rail Project refinement report below

In addition to the refinement report, alignment maps, some of which are also in the refinement report, are available for viewing and download.

Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project downtown Milwaukie alignments review

The downtown Milwaukie alignments review reports on potential light rail alignments for downtown Milwaukie along Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard and/or Southeast Main Street. The report is in response to Milwaukie Mayor Jim Bernard’s request to the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project steering committee for an opportunity to fully examine a light rail alignment in downtown Milwaukie on these thoroughfares.
Download the Milwaukie-Portland Light Rail Project downtown Milwaukie alignments review (in four parts) below

Related Documents

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Transportation planning

What is a Locally Preferred Alternative?
A Locally Preferred Alternative emerges from the evaluation of transportation alternatives (bus, bus rapid transit, streetcar, light rail, commuter rail) and alignment (route) options. The analysis evaluates costs and impacts including physical characteristics, operating plans, ridership, revenues, and social and environmental impacts. During the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, the central task in a corridor project is to identify one or more alternatives that provide the best solutions to transportation needs identified in the corridor.

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Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project newsletter
The project newsletter offers information on the SDEIS, a summary of the project goals, considerations and decision-making process.

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