Metro again is looking toward the future and preparing for growth in the Southwest Corridor.  With escalating traffic and a need to better connect the Southwest Corridor to the rest of the Portland region, the proposed 12-mile light rail line could be the answer. This new MAX line would connect Portland, Tigard and Tualatin communities.

The project has reached a milestone in that the committee formed to oversee its planning has chosen a route for the MAX line, known as the Preferred Alternative. With this single line chosen, the committee will move forward with further study, including design and funding. This is a big step for the Southwest Corridor Plan as many different routes have been discussed and studied over the past several years.

The Preferred Alternative is a route connecting downtown Portland to Bridgeport via Barbur Blvd.  The committee believes this route has the most benefits, providing a fast and reliable travel option between the communities. It’s an important decision as the population is expected to grow by 70,000 in the corridor by 2035. This route will connect future jobs and homes with connections to Marquam Hill, OHSU and Portland State University.  The route will also serve downtown Tigard.

While this is an important milestone in the project, there are still many steps to be done, including approval of the Preferred Alternative by local jurisdictions, adoption by Metro Council and adding it to the Regional Transportation Plan. If all goes as well, construction of this new line could begin in 2022.

New MAX lines are always a polarizing topic in Portland. What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment below.