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  #1161  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2007, 2:03 AM
South-by-West South-by-West is offline
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pdxman, ever rode on the 76? It's one of the next lines to get frequent service. I think the demand for a high-capacity rail line along the 217 corridor is there. Especially with more and more people moving into the outer SW suburbs.
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  #1162  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2007, 3:56 AM
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pdxman, you want to see something that will...well, I should just say, that the first overpass north of Canyon Rd straddling 217 gives a remarkable show everday between about 3-5:30pm. Well, thats when I see it...there is probably other busy times too. From this overpass, you can see way down the road 2-3 miles, and it seems every day its the same...solid traffic that barely moves.

I got a feeling the commuter rail is going to be very successful. A lot of those people stuck behind a car on the freeway might prefer to be cruising along in a smooth running train. Wonder where the Beaverton station will be. Makes sense that western bound people would be happy to jump from the commuter rail to light rail west or east for that matter.
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  #1163  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2007, 4:32 AM
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Progress report
March 2, 2007: Light rail construction will begin in the North Mall on March 5 and preparations for light rail construction in the Central Mall are underway. Sewer and water relocation activities, tree pruning and the accommodation of metered parking spaces are taking place in the North, Central and South malls. Some new metered parking on 5th and 6th avenues is now available. Automobile access is available on 5th and 6th avenues outside construction zones. The majority of art sculptures have been removed from the Mall and will be returned prior to the opening of the light rail line in September 2009.
http://www.portlandmall.org/construction/index.htm
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  #1164  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2007, 5:04 AM
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PDXMan, you're mischaracterizing the service. The average speed is around 40 but the top speed (the speed between stations) is 60. What's more, that rail line continues south from Wilsonville straight to Salem. Someday, it will go there. And the line's being double-tracked for this project.

I do agree though that it would make sense to put LRT in that corridor, though not along that particular route.
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  #1165  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2007, 5:06 AM
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I understand that the 217 corridor is very busy and congested and i'm not advocating widening the freeway or anything like that. I am all in favor of expanding transit in that area but the current commuter rail plan just doesn't cut it IMO. The thing that gets me ( i stand corrected) is the average speed of 37 mph. 37! They're spending 117 million dollars on a rail line that goes only 14 miles and does 37 mph. It boggles the mind. I can understand why it will only run during peak travel times because in the off hours you can drive more than twice as fast on the freeway. The top speed on the train is 60 mph, so its still slower than a car. In order to get the general public to ride some thing like this, and ride it often, it HAS to go faster than freeway speeds. It just seems too slow to me. I'm not opposed to commuter rail, but i am questioning this project. It just seems like the beaverton-wilsonville corrider is too short for something like commuter rail. I believe all that money could be better spent on more buses or perhaps a BRT system for that corridor. That said theres no turning back now, so lets hope its extremely successful.
Here's the trimet fact sheet: http://www.trimet.org/pdfs/commuterr...t_02-23-07.pdf
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  #1166  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2007, 5:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Drmyeyes View Post
pdxman, you want to see something that will...well, I should just say, that the first overpass north of Canyon Rd straddling 217 gives a remarkable show everday between about 3-5:30pm. Well, thats when I see it...there is probably other busy times too. From this overpass, you can see way down the road 2-3 miles, and it seems every day its the same...solid traffic that barely moves.

I got a feeling the commuter rail is going to be very successful. A lot of those people stuck behind a car on the freeway might prefer to be cruising along in a smooth running train. Wonder where the Beaverton station will be. Makes sense that western bound people would be happy to jump from the commuter rail to light rail west or east for that matter.
Agreed Drmyeyes. 217 is a parking lot during rush hours. I also think this is going to be more popular than people imagined. And actually, there is a significant portion of this line that will be double tracked. This could easily be upgraded to full-time service with 30 minute frequencies once the demand materializes (and it will). Functionally, it could operate as an extension of the red line since the Beaverton TC terminus is right next to (and parallel to) the existing MAX station. I have a rendering of it somewhere, I'll see if I can dig it up.

Oh, and this project was completely driven by Washington County and the cities it serves, this wasn't an immediate priority for Metro or Trimet. So saying Trimet and Metro shouldn't have pushed this project doesn't really make much sense.
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  #1167  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2007, 5:13 AM
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I knew someone would post while i was typing! Are you sure about the double tracking bvpcvm? To my knowledge its single-tracked with added pullouts for passing. In the photo gallery section on trimets website it has a photo of the new tracks and its only single tracked. But anyways...
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  #1168  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2007, 5:56 AM
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Not the whole length will be double tracked, but a lot of it will be. You can already see some of the new double tracking along 217 north of Washington Square. Also, this line could easily be upgraded to Lightrail-like service with direct connections to MAX at Beaverton TC.
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  #1169  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2007, 6:38 AM
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Light rail makes much more sense...Infact, i'm surprised they didn't choose that. They had everything ready for it with the connection to the Beaverton TC and the tracks and the existing LRT cars, i'm sure they could have squeezed a few more dollars out of the feds to make it happen.
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  #1170  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2007, 6:57 AM
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I think I read somewhere that it would have cost hundreds of millions more. I don't know why for sure, but I presume LRT wouldn't have followed the railroad nearly as closely, so it would probably include a few flyovers (say, from 217 to the Wash Sq transit center) and some street running, which would all, of course, get people closer to where they're going, but also cost more.
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  #1171  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2007, 7:00 AM
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I agree, this corridor can EASILY support lightrail frequencies. That's why I think this line will be much more popular than most people think. If freight service is ever removed from this line, the upgrade to lightrail would be relatively simple. The ROW and most of the tracks will already be there, just add a few more stations and electricity.
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  #1172  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2007, 9:11 AM
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The reason they didn't run light rail vehicles down the tracks is because it is still used (and owned) by a freight rail company... and the FTA regulations require a massively heavy rail vehicle that won't crunch like a tin can if it gets at, say, 120 mph.

Of course, in Europe and Japan they mix lighter electric commuter rail vehicles with freight; they have implemented something long known to the auto industry as "crumple zones" in their rail vehicles. However, US regs require that any passenger train vehicle not deform at all in the case of a crash... which is why there is only ONE diesel multiple unit mfgr in the world that can meet US safety specs*: the hideously ugly "colorado railcar."

Disclaimer: visiting colorad railcar's website may cause, to the design oriented, nauseau, fainting, or temporary blackouts. We recommend you reduce your browser window size or set your screen resolution to a higher level to minimize the amount of exposure. Do not view for longer than 3 minutes a time, or else contact your optometrist.

This is the equivalent DMU/EMU commuter trainset as manufactured by Siemens:


*apparently it may actually meet FTA specs, but not sure on it

Last edited by zilfondel; Mar 3, 2007 at 9:21 AM.
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  #1173  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2007, 6:26 AM
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I've been thinking about this lately, and I think building the "Caruthers" bridge down by SOWA is the wrong approach. First of all, any further south and it's very difficult to connect back with the route along McLoughlin. Maybe someone has issues with the McLoughlin route itself, but it seems like the obvious place to go. Secondly, even though I rarely cross the river to the east side, I think the neighborhoods in SE deserve LRT, given that they've supported it for years. It's no more a political decision, in my opinion, to "reward" SE with LRT than it is to serve SOWA with LRT. Thirdly, crossing anywhere south of Caruthers means a route running south of Powell, which effectively cuts off any pedestrian access from the neighborhoods north of there.
I was envisioning a bridge landing right at the mid-point of the OHSU campus (any farther south and I agree). I assume there will be future streetcar stations in that vicinity, and it would be a somewhat better connection to S Waterfront, many years before a Barbur line. It looks like just as much of a straight shot accross the river to Caruthers as a bridge coming accross from under the Marquam. (Not sure how it would connect with the end of the transit mall at Jackson St, though, or how the streetcar/MAX connection would work.) I mis-spoke when I said "When they do build the Caruthers, it probably won't be at Caruthers", because I do think the bridge should land there on the eastside to meet up with the streetcar, give inner SE MAX access, and connect with McLoughlin. I know this map is old, but it gives a good idea of what I mean:



I hope the pedestrian and bike facilities are stellar, to make up for the botched job ODOT did on the Ross Island a few years back. This would be a great connection between all the new dvlpt and the Springwater Corridor and SE in general.
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  #1174  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2007, 4:24 PM
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Disclaimer: visiting colorad railcar's website may cause, to the design oriented, nauseau, fainting, or temporary blackouts. We recommend you reduce your browser window size or set your screen resolution to a higher level to minimize the amount of exposure. Do not view for longer than 3 minutes a time, or else contact your optometrist.
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  #1175  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2007, 6:07 PM
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Originally Posted by zilfondel View Post
Disclaimer: visiting colorad railcar's website may cause, to the design oriented, nauseau, fainting, or temporary blackouts. We recommend you reduce your browser window size or set your screen resolution to a higher level to minimize the amount of exposure. Do not view for longer than 3 minutes a time, or else contact your optometrist.
That thing looks like a tour bus for a 80's hair metal band. Is that what they're going to run on the Washington Co. line?
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  #1176  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2007, 7:05 PM
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Commuter rail project breaks ground in Wilsonville
Daily Journal of Commerce
by Libby Tucker
03/05/2007


State representatives and transportation officials on Friday broke ground on the first of five commuter rail stations to be built for the new Washington County Commuter Rail project.

The 14.7-mile line that will extend south from Beaverton to Wilsonville has been 10 years in the making, said Fred Hansen, TriMet director, but it’s only the beginning of a much larger effort to introduce passenger rail on freight lines throughout the state.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has set aside $2 million in its 2007-2009 budget for a comprehensive statewide study of commuter rail options, Hansen said.

And momentum is growing behind House Bill 2472, which would create a task force to study extending the Washington County line farther south along the Interstate 5 corridor to Salem.

“The idea has taken hold in Salem ... where there is now a bill to study the idea of taking the train all the way to Salem,” said Rep. Jerry Krummel (R-Wilsonville).

“I see this as just the beginning and I believe we can build on the success this line will have to support more lines like it in the valley in the future,” Krummel said.

Last fall 14 miles of freight rail line, owned by Portland & Western Railroad, were rebuilt in preparation for the passenger trains.

General contractor Stacy and Witbeck began construction on the Wilsonville station and 400-space park-and-ride area at the southern terminus of the new line Friday. The commuter rail platform will have a 40-foot-long shelter with wind screens, a scored concrete plaza with trees, furnishings and artwork.

Once the line is completed in September 2008, travel time between Beaverton and Wilsonville will be 27 minutes and connect with “Blue” and “Red” MAX light-rail lines to Hillsboro and Portland.

The Washington County Commuter Rail project is one of five commuter rail projects to receive federal funding this year. Upon completion, the line will be the first suburb-to-suburb commuter rail service in the nation.

“This region understands a good transit system is critical for freeing up highways for freight,” said Sen. Rod Monroe (D-Portland). “Wilsonville is jobs rich. ... The train will be full both ways ... morning and afternoon. That is absolutely unique.”
http://www.djc-or.com/viewStory.cfm?...29008&userID=1
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  #1177  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2007, 8:05 PM
zilfondel zilfondel is offline
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Originally Posted by edgepdx View Post
That thing looks like a tour bus for a 80's hair metal band. Is that what they're going to run on the Washington Co. line?
Yep, albeit with a different paint job.

BTW, here is kind of where the MAX will probably run to make the jump to Caruthers... you get a stop at Riverplace and one next to OMSI, which is the most direct - and fastest - route you can have. Note that it's only a five minute walk from SOWA; which will also be connected by the Streetcar. Nothing but a freeway and lots of concrete along the route:



And here is the official map:

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  #1178  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2007, 9:08 PM
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the official alignment:
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  #1179  
Old Posted Mar 6, 2007, 12:06 AM
zilfondel zilfondel is offline
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^^^ I stand corrected. That thing is naaaasty! WTF are they thinking, putting an elevated structure through the middle of the triple towers and over the Harrison connector?!

What is wrong with Trimet? Every single time they choose to run the MAX down the absolute slowest route possible! Whereas they could bypass ALL of the street traffic from PSU to Riverplace, they want to run it on a super-steep graded Lincoln street. And it's not like this area is lacking in rail transit... the streetcar runs 2-3 blocks to the north on Montgomery, with 3 stops within 3 blocks!!! I'm guessing this will add another 3-4 minutes on MAX journeys from PSU to OMSI.

I like my route better. =P

edit*

all is not lost:


Last edited by zilfondel; Mar 6, 2007 at 12:14 AM.
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  #1180  
Old Posted Mar 6, 2007, 12:28 AM
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why not bury it under that hill and have it rise back above ground at lincoln avenue?. It would cost more but it would greatly reduce the time and visual impact on its neighbors.
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