Tuesday, January 16, 2007

MAX "Springboard" to Barbur as a linear Pearl?

All that shifting of bus routes to make way for north/south MAX line construction through downtown can be seen as a potential opening for a MAX line down Barbur Boulevard.

In answer to a letter from Wilson High School Senior Daniel Ronan, Phil Selinger, TriMet's project planning director, wrote that the new line between Union Station and PSU will "provide a good 'springboard'" for a Barbur Corridor/South line.

The letter is also evidence that the public needs to have more say in TriMet's planning for such a line.

While the Regional Transportation Plan calls for "High Capacity Transit" near or on Barbur, no formal study has been made for it as part of an anticipated south line, writes Selinger.

He agrees with Daniel that the Barbur corridor is "a good candidate for MAX." The planner even makes passing reference to the old Red Electric rail right-of-way. But he also lists problems such as accommodating two tracks "without taking away existing roadway."

But isn't the idea behind MAX to get people out of their cars so that there is less demand for "existing roadway?"

Selinger also writes that steep embankments are another problem. Strange, they sure weren't an insurmountable problem for the hearty souls who built the Red Electric, or I-5 for that matter.

Selinger says a south line could "reach as far as the Tualatin River, south of King City." That's fine, except it wouldn't provide service to PCC's flagship Sylvania campus. A real oversight.

The south line also would connect to the Washington County Commuter Rail line presently under construction, he says. That would make the Barbur corridor a major feeder for commuters from places like Wilsonville. Sounds like commercial boon for the boulevard.

Another issue cited by Selinger is "sufficient housing and employment density." In other words, more projects like the new "Headwaters" development.

Put all this together and it's not hard to envision Barbur as a kind of Linear Pearl.

Now there's a sobering thought.

The photo shows the next iteration of MAX, the Siemens S70, set to go into service in 2009 on the new Southeast line along the I-205 corridor.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

In addition to improving public transit along Barbur Blvd., I think it is also imperative that we look at improving bicycle safety along the state highway.

If we can pour a bunch of our tax dollars into the Tram, we can at least start considering a MAX line down Barbur as a viable transportation option of the future.


10:58 PM  

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