Will the route on Barbur Boulevard remove any driving lanes for automobiles?
The proposed light rail line maintains two lanes for automobile traffic in each direction on Barbur Blvd. south of Naito Parkway.
Instead of building light rail, why not just increase existing WES service?
The tracks that WES trains run on are not owned by TriMet. TriMet has an agreement with the Union Pacific and Portland & Western Railroad companies, who own and operate the tracks. The agreement permits a set number of commuter trains to use the tracks at certain times of day. For this reason, it is not possible to increase the frequency of WES trains to meet future transit demands. A new light rail line will provide more frequent service and additional capacity to meet transit demand. In addition, light rail provides a faster connection between Tigard and downtown Portland, and serves communities in southwest Portland.
What is the estimated capacity of the Southwest Corridor light rail line, and how fast will it be?
With an anticipated travel time of just 30 minutes between Bridgeport Village in Tualatin and downtown Portland, the MAX line is projected to carry 43,000 riders on an average weekday by 2035. This means light rail could carry almost a fifth of the southbound rush hour commuters from downtown Portland. That 30 minute travel time will hold steady long into the future even as more people and cars increase congestion.
Won’t there be fewer impacts if the light rail line runs along I-5?
No, analysis for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) showed that north of the Barbur Transit Center, a light rail alignment along I-5 would, in fact, have more property impacts than an alignment on Barbur Boulevard. Additionally, running the light rail along I-5 would bring fewer improvements to Barbur Boulevard in terms of safety and accessibility for people biking and walking, stormwater treatment and more.
Why isn’t the Crossroads Intersection at Barbur Boulevard, Capitol Highway, I-5, and Taylor’s Ferry Road being rebuilt to allow light rail to stay on Barbur Boulevard longer?
If the light rail line continued on Barbur Boulevard beyond the Barbur Transit Center, it would necessitate rebuilding the overpass of Barbur and Capitol Highway over I-5. The existing structure cannot accommodate the infrastructure or width required for light rail. A new overpass would need to be rebuilt higher and wider, by several feet, to bring the structure up to current day standards and allow for future freeway widening (not currently funded or part of this project).
Additionally, this option would likely necessitate a larger highway interchange to rebuild existing on and off ramps to meet standards and potentially add new on and off ramps to the Crossroads. Existing driveways and local roadways connecting to new elevated roads and freeway ramps would need to be raised as well. This would have far reaching impacts to the area and displace numerous existing businesses and potentially homes. The added expense would be significant and construction of a new structure and interchange would impact the area businesses, residences, and traffic for years.
Lowering the existing freeway and rebuilding a new structure to match the existing elevations and grades in the area was also considered. However, that option would necessitate the immediate rebuilding of the freeway to current standards, which would require the project to widen the freeway and rebuild ramps. The ramifications of such a project would ultimately result in similar impacts and issues as raising the overpass.
Why isn’t bus rapid transit, or BRT, being pursued in Southwest Corridor?
Bus rapid transit (BRT) was considered as an option for transit service in the Southwest Corridor. However, research conducted on this option indicated that BRT vehicles would not have the capacity to meet rush hour demand as soon as 2035, ten years after opening. BRT, as compared to light rail, is slower, more expensive to operate per rider, has less potential capacity and can create more greenhouse gas emissions. Learn more about the decision
Will my property be impacted by construction of the light rail line?
Because the preferred alignment for the light rail won't be fully designed for several years, information about impacts to property is preliminary and subject to change. If you property is located near the route, and you would like more information about the possible impacts of light rail, contact Metro staff directly via phone at 503-797-1881 or email [email protected].