This guest post is by Portland Transport reader dan w. We are always happy to publish well-written, topical guest posts; contact myself, Chris, or Bob if you are interested.–ES
The idea of putting MAX underground through downtown Portland has been around for some time, and I’ve had a concept for a MAX subway that, with the help of an ancient version of CorelDraw, I finally sketched out recently. It’s inspired in part by a basic concept I vaguely remember from an long-ago Tribune or Oregonian article (it could have been something proposed by Jim Howell’s group but I’m not sure) that I’ve fleshed out in my head over the years.
In addition to hopefully alleviating the speed and capacity constraints of the current system, my concept has all lines serving the same small group of “core” stations (e.g., Union Station, PSU) and can allow for buses to share the tunnel with trains a la Seattle. Of course, the current fiscal climate will likely relegate underground MAX to “pipe dream” status for decades to come (maybe Subway Sandwiches can sponsor the stations? [dodges rotten tomatoes])
Click on the map for a higher-resolution version.