PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — Ironing out the likely route the Southwest Corridor Light Rail project will make as it travels through Tigard is reaching the home stretch as TriMet hones in on the pros and cons of two possible paths through the city.
On Monday, the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project Steering Committee heard an overview of what’s next for the proposed rail system that begins south of the Portland Transit Mall, travels through Tigard and likely will end in the Bridgeport Village area.
Scott Robertson, a TriMet design manager, said staff is now looking primarily at two options – 3 and 5 – before returning with recommendations to the steering committee in May.
Those options include what’s known as the LPA (or locally preferred option) At-Grade Refined Route and the 74th Avenue Refined Route.
Off the table are any proposed plans to elevate the tracks, something that was being considered as a possibility earlier this year. While elevated tracks would have addressed traffic concerns, they were considered cost prohibited for the most part if the Southwest Corridor is to make it all the out Bridgeport Village.
Throughout the discussion of what’s known as the Bonita to Bridgeport options has been a desire for TriMet officials, citizens, the business community and city officials to find a route through the city that has the fewest impacts on traffic, as well as fewer displacement of homes and businesses along the route.
While the announcement that TriMet planned study routes would allow Tigard’s Circuit Bouldering Gym from any displacement, staff and patrons of the businesses wanted to make sure that was the case with extensive testimony offered during Monday’s meeting about how important the facility is to individual customers, many who have used the facility for years.
Numerous staff and customers spoke in favor of keeping the gym at its current location at Durham and Upper Boones Ferry roads, saying they weren’t in favor of having TriMet stick with the original 74th Avenue alignment.
Meanwhile, Mayor Jason Snider said he wanted to make sure that the LPA At-Grade Refined Route proposal is studied extensively before its returned to the steering committee with the mayor urging TriMet staff not to spend time too much time studying the 74th Avenue Refined Route plan if it’s to the detriment of the LPA At-Grade Refined Route.
“I would ask robustly that you work on the LPA (At-Grade) Refined,” he said. He later added he’d like to see the “best at-grade crossing that’s ever existed.”
One of the issues involving the LPA At-Grade Route is that it would be 30 seconds slower because light rail would end up stopping for traffic, rather than vice versa. At the same time, the 74th Avenue Refined Route plan would allow for light rail to travel through the area 60 seconds faster.
Other comparisons between the two routes include:
LPA At-Grade Refined: Property acquisitions: 12 full tax lot parcels and 21 partial acquisitions. Eight businesses would need to be relocated along with 130 employees.
74th Avenue Refined: Property acquisitions: 4 full tax lot parcels and 30 partial acquisitions. Eight businesses would need to be relocated along with 160 employees.
Nailing down the best of those two Tigard routes will be made at a May steering committee meeting in Tigard.
Meanwhile, TriMet is also favoring a terminus of the route at Bridgeport Village that would spare not only the Village Inn restaurant on 72nd Avenue but the adjacent Bed Bath & Beyond store and the Men’s Warehouse. However, a decision on the location for the end of the Southwest Corridor and its final station/park and rides isn’t expected at the steering committee’s May meeting.