Portland to the MAX

Posted in Life, Public Works at 11 am

Over at Metroblogging Portland Banana Lee Fishbones posits that Tri-Met should run around underground the MAX and give up on adding the MAX into the Bus Mall mix.

I’m not a big fan of digging up Portland’s streets, but here’s my response:

BLF: […] I agree with you about the need for alternatives in the Tri-Met plan. This whole idea of taking what is normally a longer distance service (The only route that stretches from G’town to B’ton.) and making. it. stop. every. two. or. so. blocks. in. the. middle. of. down. town. makes no sense to me at all. MAX ought to be a backbone route, dropping people off at half a dozen strategic locations in the core and then getting back to a ‘stops every half mile’ sort of style.

Have they even thought about how many riders they’re going to pick up on the trains that are only as long as a euro-style shorten city block? Those trains are going to be OVERFILLED between downtown and Rose Quarter.

Here’s my thought: run two lines of rail branching off of the existing MAX line.

A) one that breaks off the Steel bridge on the west bank, runs up Everet/Glisan thru Old Town/Perl/Northwest and swings around to catch up with the main line at Civic Stadium. (Yes, you heard me _Civic Stadium_). This brings better service to all the Yuppies in the Pearl and NW and brings down the number of commuters clogging those streets. When the area becomes a shanty town in 30 years, the residents will really need the mass transit options even more.

My Proposed Plan for MAX for 2009 Legend

  • Blue: MAX (Existing & Planned)
  • Red: MAX (My Proposed route on 99e and LO Commuter Rail)
  • Green: Streetcar (Existing & My Proposed Mississippi/Hollywood/Woodstock extensions)

B) Then run a line from Lloyd Center, down 11th/12th to Powell, setting up for a Moreland/ Milwaukee shot south along 99E. Get down to at least SE Tacoma, then shoot a branch off towards the river. We can build a replacement for the Sellwood bridge that includes a MAX deck, and then run the MAX up the old Lake Oswego commuter rail line up into downtown, either staying on the street car line, or hopping onto the rest of the under-used 1st avenue that the exisiting MAX is already using downtown.

In fill some major arteries with street car and now we’ve got a multi-modal hub/spokes/ring around greater Portland, with MAX able to handle a large amount of the commuter traffic that’s pounding the roads in the area, freeing up bus service to support more regular runs in smaller neighborhood hubs.

This is a little Southeast-centric, but hey, we’ve got to make up for the Mt Hood Freeway somehow, right?

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