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  #1  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2013, 5:53 PM
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Downtown Subway

One possibility of joining MAX lines downtown in an effort to avoid the Steel Br. bottleneck, redundant stations, and extremely slow surface alignment. Current MAX lines could be used by streetcars.

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  #2  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2013, 11:58 PM
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This is exactly the arrangement I've always thought would be best. Except maybe with another 2-3 stations downtown (Burnside, City Hall, Portland Art Museum, and probably move that Old Town station over to Union Station).

Last edited by bvpcvm; Oct 13, 2013 at 12:47 AM.
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  #3  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2013, 2:48 AM
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I would agree with moving the Old Town Station to Union Station, as it would provide a better connection to other forms of transit, and have a better walkshed.

I would argue against adding too many stations though. Any underground station costs a fortune, and would only increase the time it takes for trains to get through downtown. As is, the spacing shown already puts you within 6 blocks of any point on the transit mall. That said, I could see one additional station between Pioneer Courthouse Sq and Goose Hollow on the red/blue branch.
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  #4  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2013, 7:05 PM
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I love subways as much as the next subway fan, but Portland is a city that subways won't really work in. Downtown is only about a 1 1/2mile, 2 1/2mile if you include the Lloyd District. Also, Portland is a destination location with the light rail, so it makes sense having multiple stops downtown. I don't imagine there are many crosstown trips are going on requiring people to pass through downtown to justify the cost.

I do think there needs to be something done to help the Steel Bridge, possibly another transit only bridge on the north end of downtown.

Now I do think the system should begin to think about upgrading itself with Local and Express stops along the lines to help shorten the time getting in and out of the city for people living further out. It would also help make it a fast commute in on light rail from the airport to downtown with an express line.
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2013, 7:22 PM
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Now I do think the system should begin to think about upgrading itself with Local and Express stops along the lines to help shorten the time getting in and out of the city for people living further out. It would also help make it a fast commute in on light rail from the airport to downtown with an express line.
The subway idea would allow you to accomplish these goals though. By being able to move MAX through downtown faster you can potentially shorten headways or add express service. Sacramento has the same set up in its LRT system where downtown it becomes more of a streetcar service with the proximity of stations. Difference is Portland already has streetcars to serve this need so it's almost overlapping service.

Get MAX in, through, and out of downtown as quick as possible and have commuters use the streetcar to get around downtown.
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  #6  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2013, 8:47 PM
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The subway idea would allow you to accomplish these goals though. By being able to move MAX through downtown faster you can potentially shorten headways or add express service. Sacramento has the same set up in its LRT system where downtown it becomes more of a streetcar service with the proximity of stations. Difference is Portland already has streetcars to serve this need so it's almost overlapping service.

Get MAX in, through, and out of downtown as quick as possible and have commuters use the streetcar to get around downtown.
There isn't any real demand to have only a stop or two downtown, to get from Goose Hollow to Lloyd Mall or from PSU to Lloyd Mall takes about 25 minutes. Which if there were limited stops, it would still take just as long walking to the stops to ride a subway line for a stop or two.
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  #7  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2013, 9:05 PM
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At present it takes more than 15 minutes to travel from the Rose Quarter to Goose Hollow. That's approximately 1.5 miles as the crow flies (6mph average).

With this configuration it would take about 5 minutes or less (same from RQ to PSU).

Would be interesting to find the data on how many cross-downtown trips there are.
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2013, 9:23 PM
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At present it takes more than 15 minutes to travel from the Rose Quarter to Goose Hollow. That's approximately 1.5 miles as the crow flies (6mph average).

With this configuration it would take about 5 minutes or less (same from RQ to PSU).

Would be interesting to find the data on how many cross-downtown trips there are.
That is actually pretty good. Drive time is about 10-12 minutes not including looking for parking. I would agree with you if it took 40 minutes or something, but it really doesn't take that long to make that trip. Plus the stops make it easier to have a stop close to people without having to hike further distances for stops.
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2013, 11:06 PM
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Still, aren't you building an artificial barrier to ridership if poor suburbanite riders have to walk more than 10 blocks from their station to work? I still think at minimum you've got to provide another couple stops. I mean, it rains here.
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  #10  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2013, 2:31 AM
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Lets compromise and remove half the stops in downtown. That would shave off ~8 minutes or so, if I remember my old estimates. Even if its 25 minutes, that would cut it down to 17 minutes, a huge improvement.
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  #11  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2013, 11:02 AM
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Lets compromise and remove half the stops in downtown. That would shave off ~8 minutes or so, if I remember my old estimates. Even if its 25 minutes, that would cut it down to 17 minutes, a huge improvement.
I still disagree the need for that, how many people commute from Beaverton to Gresham on the MAX that would need that? Most people catch the MAX somewhere along downtown, thus already cutting down the amount of time it takes to get out of downtown.
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  #12  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2013, 3:57 PM
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I still disagree the need for that, how many people commute from Beaverton to Gresham on the MAX that would need that? Most people catch the MAX somewhere along downtown, thus already cutting down the amount of time it takes to get out of downtown.
Would be interesting to find how many people commute from outside downtown to downtown, vs. how many people commute through downtown? If it did not require 20 minutes to get from LLoyd to Goose Hollow, how many people would consider commuting through downtown? Anyone know the actual numbers?

I am inclined to take the bus or bike whenever I am going through the CBD. I find the streetcar and MAX much less useful for just that reason. Maybe others consider the same.
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  #13  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2013, 6:20 PM
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Would be interesting to find how many people commute from outside downtown to downtown, vs. how many people commute through downtown? If it did not require 20 minutes to get from LLoyd to Goose Hollow, how many people would consider commuting through downtown? Anyone know the actual numbers?

I am inclined to take the bus or bike whenever I am going through the CBD. I find the streetcar and MAX much less useful for just that reason. Maybe others consider the same.
Not everyone is commuting to a job, either. Plenty of people are travelling to a non-downtown destination, but Trimet's downtown-centric hub system virtually requires you to go through downtown to transfer. For instance, I used to work in Tualatin and lived off Sandy, requiring a lengthy bus-ride down the 12 for about an hour. I could have also transferred to the MAX downtown and then hopped on the WES at the BTC, which was sometimes faster.

There are roughly <100,000 jobs downtown, and a working population of >1 million in the metro area. Do the math!


I think that anytime you can increase people's mobility without sacrificing accessibility, you should do it.
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Old Posted Oct 14, 2013, 7:11 PM
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I think the through-commute time savings argument is interesting, but not the biggest gain that would come from this idea. Being able to move more trains through downtown quicker than current rates would allow more trains per hour, express service, or both. Depending of course on the ultimate time savings of operation from one end to the other.
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  #15  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2013, 8:47 PM
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I dare anyone here to put a realistic dollar figure on this concept.
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  #16  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2013, 9:10 PM
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Here's my best attempt, for the red/blue line section only. From Holladay/13th to Collins Circle, via a likely underground route, is ~3 miles.

University Link in Seattle is $1.9 billion for 3.15 miles, or $0.63 billion a mile.
Central Subway in San Francisco is $1.6 billion for 1.7 miles, or $1 billion a mile.
Second Avenue Subway in NYC is $17 billion for 8.5 miles, or $2 billion a mile.

I doubt a project in Portland would reach the costs of tunneling in Manhattan, but the number of stations required would make it more costly than University Link. So I'm going to guess $1 billion a mile, for $3 billion total.

Much as I'd love to see this done, I think it's obvious why it hasn't happened already.
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  #17  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2013, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ltsmotorsport View Post
I think the through-commute time savings argument is interesting, but not the biggest gain that would come from this idea. Being able to move more trains through downtown quicker than current rates would allow more trains per hour, express service, or both. Depending of course on the ultimate time savings of operation from one end to the other.
To add to this, would people commuting through downtown (to non-downtown destinations) be the only beneficiaries of faster throughput? No. Anyone, whether just passing through or whose destination is DT would benefit.

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Here's my best attempt, for the red/blue line section only. From Holladay/13th to Collins Circle, via a likely underground route, is ~3 miles.

University Link in Seattle is $1.9 billion for 3.15 miles, or $0.63 billion a mile.
Central Subway in San Francisco is $1.6 billion for 1.7 miles, or $1 billion a mile.
Second Avenue Subway in NYC is $17 billion for 8.5 miles, or $2 billion a mile.

I doubt a project in Portland would reach the costs of tunneling in Manhattan, but the number of stations required would make it more costly than University Link. So I'm going to guess $1 billion a mile, for $3 billion total.

Much as I'd love to see this done, I think it's obvious why it hasn't happened already.
Seattle and I think NY are deep bore tunnels, SFO might be substantially cut and cover. I think PDX would also require a fair amount of deep bore tunneling; especially if the tunnel continued through the Lloyd District (which would mean it would have to go under the Willamette; the elevation change would be significant).
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  #18  
Old Posted Oct 15, 2013, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by maccoinnich View Post
Here's my best attempt, for the red/blue line section only. From Holladay/13th to Collins Circle, via a likely underground route, is ~3 miles.

University Link in Seattle is $1.9 billion for 3.15 miles, or $0.63 billion a mile.
Central Subway in San Francisco is $1.6 billion for 1.7 miles, or $1 billion a mile.
Second Avenue Subway in NYC is $17 billion for 8.5 miles, or $2 billion a mile.

I doubt a project in Portland would reach the costs of tunneling in Manhattan, but the number of stations required would make it more costly than University Link. So I'm going to guess $1 billion a mile, for $3 billion total.

Much as I'd love to see this done, I think it's obvious why it hasn't happened already.
That is a lot of money for a 3 mile subway line, I would rather see Portland build two new lines for $1.5 billion each, than to have a subway line through downtown. And of course the amount of streetcar lines $3 billion could buy would also be amazing.
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  #19  
Old Posted Oct 15, 2013, 1:29 AM
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Seattle and I think NY are deep bore tunnels, SFO might be substantially cut and cover. I think PDX would also require a fair amount of deep bore tunneling; especially if the tunnel continued through the Lloyd District (which would mean it would have to go under the Willamette; the elevation change would be significant).
SF's Central Subway is almost completely deep bore as well. In fact, they have two TBMs going simultaneously right now.

I don't think a tunnel needs to start at 13th and Holladay since there's no real impediments to surface MAX until you get to the Convention Center and Rose Quarter. That's where the grade separation becomes crucial and where the portal should be placed. The OCC/RQ station wouldn't even have to be completely underground, just below grade similar to the Sunset TC station but supersized for much larger crowds and many more trains.

Assuming a Pearl District/Union Station next to the Central PO site, a Pioneer Station, and something in the West End/Arts District/PSU vicinity, I don't see why our subway would be more expensive than Seattle's. And certainly not as much as SF's. If you assume 2.5 miles at 750 million/mile, you're looking at 1.875 billion, less than 2 billion.

I think the reason that TriMet and Metro haven't pushed for a Subway yet is they want to build out the network first, the SW Corridor being the last major line in the system (minus various extensions to Vancouver and OC, for example). Expect the Central Subway to be the next major infrastructure improvement/investment once the SW Corridor is complete.
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Old Posted Oct 15, 2013, 1:49 AM
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I don't think a tunnel needs to start at 13th and Holladay since there's no real impediments to surface MAX until you get to the Convention Center and Rose Quarter. That's where the grade separation becomes crucial and where the portal should be placed.
Right, but heading westward from 7th, you're already heading downhill - you'd have to go really steep to descend underground there. The only way I can see it working would be to turn N along Interstate west of RQ and descend there, where it's relatively flat (though still significantly higher than the river). Or by going underground at 13th and descending slowly through the Lloyd. But hey, pipe dreams, right?
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