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.
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
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