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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 12:31 AM
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Portland Transit | TriMet/Mass Transit News

Sen. Smith gets commuter rail going again
August 2, 2005

US Senator Gordon Smith today met with Washington County officials announcing he has secured a commitment from US Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta to allow the Washington County Commuter Rail project to move forward. The event was held at TriMet's Beaverton Transit Center, the first station along the 14.7-mile Washington County Commuter Rail project.

In February the project was recommended in the President's budget, but has since been stalled due to an 11th hour rule change by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) adjusting their cost effectiveness calculation, bumping the project out of range to get a recommended rating and a Full Funding Grant Agreement.

Senator Smith led the Oregon Delegation in securing a legislative fix to the FTA's new rules and allow the project to move into construction. He also worked with the delegation in getting language in the Transportation Reauthorization bill that just passed Congress that would also remove the FTA roadblock.

Additionally, Senator Smith has secured $15 million for the project in the Senate Appropriations bill, and will work with the rest of the delegation to ensure the $15 million remains in the final appropriations bill expected to pass Congress in October.

"Senator Smith's leadership and commitment means that in this heavily-congested corridor we will soon have an alternative mode of transportation," said TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen. "He led the Oregon delegation in making sure this project will serve the cities of Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville."

Washington County Chair Tom Brian said that local officials "have been advocating for this project for nearly a decade because it will improve mobility and will help strengthen the economic vitality of the cities along the alignment."

Other local dignitaries attended today's event to thank Senator Smith for his efforts, including Metro President David Bragdon, Washington County Commissioner Roy Rogers, Beaverton Mayor Rob Drake, Wilsonville Mayor Charlotte Lehan, Sherwood Mayor Keith Mays, Tigard City Councilor Sydney Sherwood and Tualatin City Councilor Jay Harris.

Next steps
The project is now in final design, with 75 percent of the work complete. The design work will now begin again and should be completed by the end of year. The project is expected to sign a Full Funding Grant Agreement in mid-2006 and begin construction shortly thereafter. The commuter rail project could open in fall 2008.

Background
The 14.7-mile commuter rail line would use existing freight tracks to add transit service in the heavily traveled I-5 and Hwy 217 corridor. The line would connect with MAX light rail in Beaverton, then travel to Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville. Travel time between the five stations would take 37 minutes, with service every 30 minutes during rush hour.
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 2:14 AM
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37 minutes??? doesn't that seem like a long trip?
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 2:34 AM
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I think that's less than 30mph. That's not very fast.
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 3:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PDXPaul
I think that's less than 30mph. That's not very fast.
Guess you have never driven on 217 during rush.
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 4:22 AM
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yeah, 217's slow, but come on! that'll be easy to market: "come ride our train and whiz past traffic at 30mph!" i thought the point (or one of the points) of commuter rail is that it can faster, by virtue of fewer stops.
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 4:27 AM
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How long does the bus take on the same route?
Can you really driver between Beaverton Transit Center and Wilsonville in 27 minutes? On good traffic days? If you make it to 60 miles an hour it will take you 14 minutes. That of course doesn't count the stop lights getting from the Transit Center and the ones you will encounter in Wilsonville. Most traffic lights are about 2 minutes. So lets say you hit 3 which adds 6 minutes. So you will be taking at least 20 minutes. Oh....but there are speed limits......can you drive 60 miles an hour through Beaverton or Wilsonville? No. So let us add 5 more minutes....now you have 2 minutes to spare...but guess what....as normal the traffice is jammed up all the way down......get real.....

What will it be in the future with 500,000 more people moving into that area?

It isn't a bullet train...nor was it intended to be.
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Last edited by Chicago3rd; Aug 3, 2005 at 4:40 AM.
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 4:36 AM
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Washington County
Commuter Rail Project



About the Project

* Background
* Proposed route
* Service frequency & travel time
* Ridership projections
* Cost & funding
* Project timeline


Background

In 1996, a feasibility study for a commuter rail line was initiated by Washington County, the cities of Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin, Wilsonville and Sherwood, TriMet, Metro, and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The project, which would establish a new 14.7-mile passenger rail line between Beaverton and Wilsonville, has received strong support from the public and business community. It is one of the few suburb-to-suburb commuter rail projects in the country.

Because the line uses existing freight tracks in a dedicated corridor, there would be minimal construction impacts.

Passengers would ride in self-propelled diesel train cars. TriMet is working with Colorado Railcar to design and build the vehicle.

Back to topback to top
Proposed route

The proposed 14.7-mile line will share freight train tracks with the Portland & Western Railroad in eastern Washington County. The line will serve five stations in Beaverton, Washington Square, Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville.

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Service frequency & travel time

Commuter Rail will operate weekdays every 30 minutes during morning and afternoon rush hours. The trip from Beaverton Transit Center to Wilsonville would take 27 minutes. Train speeds will average 37 mph, with a top speed of over 60 mph.

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Ridership projections

Average daily ridership is estimated between 3,000 and 4,000 trips by 2020, with half of the riders new to transit.

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Cost & funding

The $103.5 million project will be funded by:

*
$51.75 million in federal funding
*
$35 million from state lottery bond proceeds
*
$10.25 million from the Metro Transportation Improvement Program
*
$6.5 million from local cities and Washington County

TriMet and Washington County will contribute a total of $4.1 million toward annual operating costs.

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Project timeline
Winter 2005 Full Funding Grant Agreement
2006 Construction begins
2008 Service begins
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 4:49 AM
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look, i'm just saying that it seems like, commuter trains not being stuck in traffic and there being only five stops, it ought to be able to be faster than 37 minutes. that last article you posted says 27 minutes; the article streetcar posted says 37. clearly there's a discrepancy. 27 minutes sounds more reasonable, but why the difference? a misprint? or has trimet changed their plans and decided to underengineer this project (which would be par for the course)?
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 4:51 AM
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don't get me wrong, i support rail, but, for instance, the banfield lrt, if i recall correctly, covers about the same distance in possibly just over 37 minutes (seems like when it opened that was the time to get to gresham) - but it makes, what? 30? stops along the way.
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 5:10 AM
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Mine is from Trimet.

5 stops.

And you didn't answer how you get from Beaverton Transit Center to Wilsonville in 27 minutes........lol.

And Trimet....par for the course is pretty damn excellent...hard to match what portland has......most cities are envious...
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 5:43 AM
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The 37 minutes doesnt make sense to me. As has been stated, theres only 5 stops and its almost entirely on a private right of way so I have no clue how it would be so slow especially if millions of dollars are being invested in improving the line. What I posted was a TriMet news release so I guess its probably pretty accurate. As much as I want to see this project happen, I have a few problems with this project besides its slow speed: rush hour only in the commute direction only is a major issue for me and only a few runs a day plus I think an LRT branch in this corridor probably would have made more sense.
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  #12  
Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 6:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago3rd
Mine is from Trimet.
And you didn't answer how you get from Beaverton Transit Center to Wilsonville in 27 minutes........lol.
The article you posted says 27 minutes. Whatever.

Streetcar, I agree totally. I'm not exactly a budget hawk, but 103.5 million for 10 trains/day? Seems like LRT would only cost 2x or 3x that and would run all day. It would be another thing if anyone were seriously talking about expanding this to Salem (or beyond).

IIRC, some government agency in Salem looked into doing a study of the possibility, but then changed their minds. There were a few articles about it in the Statesman-Journal.
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bvpcvm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago3rd
Mine is from Trimet.
And you didn't answer how you get from Beaverton Transit Center to Wilsonville in 27 minutes........lol.
The article you posted says 27 minutes. Whatever.
No.......not whatever. It is from Trimet...the agency building the project.

http://www.trimet.org/commuterrail/project.htm

**EDIT....just saw that TriMet's own news release says 37 minutes. So that is where the mistake lies. Their report says one thing their news release says another***

So please tell me how you are going to drive the distance in 27 minutes....under the normal conditions of I-5, 217 and city streets.



Quote:
Originally Posted by bvpcvm
Streetcar, I agree totally. I'm not exactly a budget hawk, but 103.5 million for 10 trains/day? Seems like LRT would only cost 2x or 3x that and would run all day. It would be another thing if anyone were seriously talking about expanding this to Salem (or beyond).

IIRC, some government agency in Salem looked into doing a study of the possibility, but then changed their minds. There were a few articles about it in the Statesman-Journal.
Trimet almost always takes baby steps at first....ala the Street Car. Proves a need and finds an audience then expands it once it is successful. Remember.....they can run more trains as that area grows more and usage goes up. Portland is fantastic about thinking 20-40 years into the future. And the Stateman-Journal.....we know how far advanced Salem is.......not. Salem is a lot like Vancouver...so behind. By now we should have Max all throughout Vancouver....but they just sit up there rejecting it...then complaining about traffic. No forsight.
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Last edited by Chicago3rd; Aug 3, 2005 at 12:23 PM.
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 3:59 PM
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Who commutes between Wilsonville and the hundreds of thousands of jobs at the Beaverton TC? Does anyone have a count of the amount of MIDDLE CLASS or higher jobs within 3 miles of the stop? I betcha it's under a thousand. Lets be honest, everyone that hops on the commuter train is going to catch the MAX into downtown adding another 20 to 25 minutes to their commute. Does it really take, even in heavy traffic, one hour to one and a quarter hours to get from Wilsonville to downtown? Even by bus?

I've heard from some circles that the commuter rails is intended to one day connect to Salem and then Eugene with much faster travels on the 5 corridor. The trip up 217 is going to be the sticky spot just like the MAX in downtown.
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 5:06 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkDaMan
I've heard from some circles that the commuter rails is intended to one day connect to Salem and then Eugene with much faster travels on the 5 corridor. The trip up 217 is going to be the sticky spot just like the MAX in downtown.
I really think this makes more sense:

And then have Wilsonville and Salem served by commuter rail via existing tracks running thru Lake Oswego and Milwaukie to Portland. Transfers could then be made at Tualatin between '217 Corridor MAX' (MAX Red Line extension) and commuter rail.
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 5:53 PM
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Makes sense to me too streetcar, I'm not sure what TriMet was thinking in building the commuter rail up 217. I'd hate to see an embarrasing flop when it opens because of overly optimistic people pushing this through instead of a more expensive, but better serving the public interest, system.
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 5:56 PM
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^^Perhaps it is response to the folks pushing for the outter western freeway? Would be between Hillsbourgh and Beaverton...?
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 6:04 PM
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^^Perhaps it is response to the folks pushing for the outter western freeway? Would be between Hillsbourgh and Beaverton...?
never heard of this??? They are widening the 26 all the way into Hillsburrito but from what I've heard there isn't any plans for a new freeway. The only new freeway talk I've heard about is the Sunrise Corridor and I'm not sure where that is even supposed to go except that it would be in East Portland, Gresham, Clackamas area.
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 6:11 PM
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Senator keeps commuter trains rolling
Federal funding for a proposed rail line between Beaverton and Wilsonville is secured, thanks to a phone call by Gordon Smith

Wednesday, August 03, 2005
RICHARD COLBY

BEAVERTON -- A friendly telephone call Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., made to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta a few weeks ago looks like it will pay off for Wilsonville-Beaverton commuters in three to four years.

At a hastily arranged celebration and press conference Tuesday, Smith said he implored Mineta to shunt Washington County's long-planned commuter rail project past a recent federal rule change that threatened to kill the $103.5 million project.

Mineta, who months earlier toured the proposed rail route with local officials, called Smith back last week and said: "I did it."

The senator said Mineta convinced the Office of Management and Budget that the proposed Washington County rail line deserved $37 million in previously budgeted federal dollars, even if it didn't meet a tighter cost-per-rider rule that the office imposed in March.

The Wilsonville-Beaverton line's per-rider cost through 2020 is calculated at just less than $25, assuming the expected 3,000 riders a day show up. The budget office had lowered the bar from $25 to $20.

Without the crucial $37 million from the Federal Transit Administration in Mineta's department, however, construction couldn't proceed, TriMet officials said earlier. The Portland-area transit agency is managing the commuter line's construction.

Smith said that because the project's planning and previous local spending -- including $3.9 million from TriMet and $2.5 million from the county -- were more than five years along, it would be unfair for the federal government to withhold money the Bush administration had proposed for the line this year.

"It's about getting aboard before they pull up the ladder," Smith said of the budget office's change of heart. He said another transit project in Utah received a similar reprieve.

A majority of the Oregon rail project's total cost is allocated to TriMet. The rest is set to come from the county, state lottery funds and cities of Wilsonville, Tualatin, Tigard and Beaverton, some using grants from other federal agencies.

Mostly using freight tracks of Portland & Western Railroad, self-propelled diesel commuter cars would run every 30 minutes during rush hours from near Wilsonville's 2,700-home Villebois real estate development, now under construction, to the Beaverton Transit Center off Southwest Lombard Street and Canyon Road.

A new rail approach from the Portland & Western tracks near Lombard's intersection with Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway will be joined with a widened and realigned Lombard crossing Beaverton-Hillsdale, Southwest Broadway and Canyon. The terminus at the Beaverton Transit Center will parallel TriMet's light-rail tracks on the south.

Trips the entire distance are expected to take 37 minutes. The 14.7-mile line also will have stops in Tualatin and Tigard, along with one directly across Oregon 217 from the Washington Square shopping center. The latter stop will be connected to the shopping mall by a pedestrian bridge over 217.

With the funding authorization secured by Smith, construction probably will begin in 2007 and could be finished by late 2008, TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen said.

Hansen said the line's six self-propelled passenger cars will be ordered from Colorado Railcar of Fort Lupton, Colo., as soon as TriMet receives a funding contract from the transit administration.

Richard Colby: 503-294-5961; dickcolby@news.oregonian.com
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2005, 6:14 PM
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I think the Western Bypass was killed in the mid-1990s but I suppose it could resurface again.

The Western Bypass would have run from I-5 in Wilsonville to Hillsboro and 26. It would have been outside the Urban Growth Boundary and run in the vicinity of Cornelius Pass Rd. in the Orenco area.
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