On Aug. 13, 2018, the steering committee recommended a preferred alternative for the proposed MAX light rail line that will serve Southwest Portland, Tigard and Tualatin. That route is shown on the map. The route travels south from the Portland Transit Mall on Barbur Boulevard until the Barbur Transit Center. From there, it crosses I-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 runs adjacent to the railroad tracks to the end of the line at Bridgeport Village.
The proposed route includes a few modifications to options that were studied in the DEIS. These modifications, which are labeled on the map, help minimize impacts identified in the DEIS, reduce cost and improve ridership and travel time. The effects of these modifications will be studied in the Final EIS. Project partners will hold public meetings and provide online updates to share design information and gather feedback from the community.
The project will include a connection to Marquam Hill, a shuttle to the Portland Community College Sylvania Campus, a new light rail maintenance facility, roadway improvements, and a selection of accompanying walking and biking improvements. Project partners also recognize the importance of a Ross Island Bridgehead improvement in Portland as part of a larger effort to improve mobility in the region.
The proposed route was developed by partner staff from Metro, TriMet, ODOT, Washington County, Portland, Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood with information from the DEIS process and previous public feedback. Several factors influenced staff discussion about the initial route proposal:
- minimizing impacts to housing and businesses, as much as possible
- improving transit travel time
- station proximity to destinations for future riders (employment, health facilities, homes)
- safety for all modes of travel
- efficient and cost-effective transit operation
With the preferred route identified, the project moves into the final environmental impact analysis and design phase. In the coming years, project partners will work with property owners, businesses, residents and community groups to refine the design of the route, stations, sidewalks, bike lanes, and roadway improvements. These efforts will focus on minimizing potential impacts while maximizing the benefits of this new transportation investment.
This fall, local agencies and jurisdictions will discuss their support for the route recommended by the Steering Committee and formalize support for next steps. In November, the Metro Council will vote to adopt the final route into the Regional Transportation Plan.
In late 2019, a Final EIS will evaluate updated designs, respond to comments and confirm strategies to minimize and mitigate impacts identified in the Draft EIS. Community involvement will be part of that process as well.
A region-wide transportation funding measure that could fund part of the proposed MAX line, along with other regional transportation projects, may be on ballots in November 2020.