From the Seattle Times – TriMet opens MAX Green Line in Oregon

by

Green Line

Portland continues to expand its light rail network with the opening of the Green Line. The Green line is 13.35 km. long and cost CAD $619.45 million or CAD $46.4 million per km. The higher cost of Portland’s Green line can be attributed to the fact that the new light rail-line parallels Highway 205 and much heavy engineering had to be done including building earthworks viaducts, several bridges and short tunnels.

The Green line marks Portland’s fifth light rail line and already planning is under way for a sixth light rail line and new streetcar lines.

TriMet has opened its new MAX Green Line to the public. The line is TriMet’s fifth and extends from Portland to Clackamas County, running…

The line is TriMet’s fifth and extends from Portland to Clackamas County, running a total of 8.3 miles. The line runs through the Portland State University campus, already the top destination for TriMet riders.

TriMet began construction on the $575.7 million project in early 2007.

About 60 percent of the tab was paid for with federal funds. The rest was paid for by the city of Portland, Metro, TriMet, Clackamas County and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The Green Line will begin regular service today, with trains running every 15 minutes most hours and every 20 minutes in the early morning and late evenings.

Seattle Times news services

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009855351_trimet13.html

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5 Responses to “From the Seattle Times – TriMet opens MAX Green Line in Oregon”

  1. mezzanine Says:

    I’m glad that Portland is expanding their LRT network, but it sound like the lower cost of the line was a compromise.

    http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2009/09/11/portlands-new-light-rail-line-is-welcome-news-but-its-not-routed-as-it-should-be/

    “By taking advantage of the pre-built highway transitway, Portland saved a bundle of money on property acquisitions and right-of-way preparation. In addition, it was able to construct a line with fast running speeds because there are no road intersections along the line.
    ….
    The highway makes an ideal right-of-way for the purpose of increasing speeds and reducing interference with surrounding neighborhoods, but it is the worst when it comes to spurring transit-oriented development. TOD, after all, should be the primary land use goal of any new public transportation investment, and Portland is likely to get very little of it along the Green Line. That’s because the mere presence of I-205, with its traffic, noise, and pollution, will make development adjacent to it unappealing. Worse, because the transit corridor is located on one of the side of the freeway, people will have to cross the very wide road to get to the other side.

    For all the acclaim planners give the city for its light rail, Portland has yet to design a light rail project whose construction can truly beautify the surrounding areas, a la Tramway Line 3 in Paris. ”

    Zweisystem replies: To truly beautify a LRT line is to use lawned rights-of-ways, a transit technique yet adopted by North American transit planners. Of course the Arbutus Corridor would be a natural for lawned LRT, but that was never even considered by TransLink and the City of Vancouver.

    Land acquisition costs is one of the pitfalls of ‘greenfields construction and the rejection of using streets for light rail still reigns in North America. All new European tramways, unless using preexisting rail routes, do use on-street construction, operating on a ‘reserved’ rights-of-ways.

    The Green Line may not be perfect, but it is also just the beginning of the route and plans are now afoot to extend it South. I will wager we will see a major operating extension of the Green line before we even consider an extension of the Millennium Line.

    And by the way, like all blogs, the “Transit Politic” is just a blog which bends towards heavy-rail metro and not light rail and just an opinion of one man.

  2. Jim Says:

    I don’t think the side of a freeway is much of a deterrent for development is it? It doesn’t seem like it in Langley anyways.

  3. Justin Bernard Says:

    I don’t know about Tranport Politic’s biased towards heavy rail. His post seems very much in favour of Light Rail. You do have to agree putting a transit line down a highway median isn’t the best idea.

    Zweisystem replies: Two points: 1) In the USA, many transit planners confuse LRT with light metro, either elevated or in a subway, this greatly increases the costs of LRT and takes the ‘light’ out of light rail. 2) Portland’s ‘Green Line’ is located on the West side of Hwy. 205, which I agree isn’t the best location, but in correspondence with Tri-Met, the choice was made using the Hwy route because of extremely high land acquisition costs elsewhere. Again, Portland is thinking more of LRT in terms of a light metro, but the route is planned to be further extended South of Clakamas and a higher speed route along a highway may be desirable.

  4. mezzanine Says:

    @ Jim, the blog’s author is referring to TOD, transit-oriented development, where you have pedestrian-scaled, higher density development, with townhouses, condos and shops, with the idea that you can easily forgo a car – you walk to the store, your doctor’s office, etc, and you hop on transit to get you to other places.

    In Langley (by 200th St, 208th street), most of the development is car-oriented (eg. colossus theatre), with an avoidance of putting residential immediately besides the freeway.

  5. David Says:

    Putting transit down a highway median guarantees there will be no associated development and stations will be few and far between. I don’t believe that’s positive in an urban area or even a sparsely populated fringe community because it reinforces the importance of the freeway and its cars.

    Light rail should involve virtually no land acquisition because the preferred routing is via existing rights of way including rail lines, abandoned rail lines and public roads. What requires land acquisition is grade separation and the much larger stations that accompany metro development.

    We have a fundamental problem in North America: the public will not give up lanes of asphalt under any circumstances, even when the resulting roadway has significantly higher people moving capacity. Cars border on sacred objects, to be relinquished only as a last resort. That must change.

    The Burrard Bridge experiment has caused howls of anger from drivers even though the loss was only a single lane. Of course there was no obvious increase in bridge capacity because we all know Vancouver will never produce enough cyclists to fill the sacrificed lane, but surely the opposition would be twice as loud if the proposal was to close two lanes in favor of transit vehicles.

    As zweisystem has said before, this isn’t an anti-car blog. Some trips have no viable alternatives. However, peak hour road space and taxpayer dollars are at a premium so we need to develop efficient ways of moving people around. The status quo is getting us nowhere fast.

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