Southwest Corridor: Transportation “Bundles”

The latest report from the Southwest Corridor steering committee is now available, and it is interesting, to say the least: The committee is considering several project options:

  • Light rail to Tigard
  • Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to Tigard
  • BRT to Tualatin
  • BRT to Sherwood
  • Something called “hub and spoke”, which appears to involve no major investments in mass-transit, but may involve improvements to local service in the corridor.

In the case of the BRT and LRT options, no choices have been made regarding specific alignment, stops, quality (in terms of keeping transit vehicles away from traffic) of the alignment, or any other such particulars.

And here’s the interesting part. The committee has produced an extensive list of improvements to the local street, bikeway, and pedestrian networks which “correlate” with these five options; these are the “bundles”. The total price tag of all the projects is many hundreds of million dollars, and doesn’t include the cost of building or operating transit improvements; expect that only a subset of these things would be eventually built. Rather, this is a list of possibilities. Not all proposed projects correlate with each transit option. Many of the proposed ideas are things that have long been on planners’ wishlists, and would make sense independently of any major transportation improvements.

A note on a somewhat controversial bit of capital project financing: if you can convince the FTA that a project element is part of a transit project, you can get matching funds for it, even if the project element itself sn’t transit-related. There were complaints a while back about bikeway improvements along I-205 being included in the Green Line project, even though a parallel bikeway isn’t a necessary component of light-rail; specifically it was wondered why “transit” dollars were being spent on something that didn’t directly benefit TriMet patrons. Likewise for the CRC funding package–by bundling LRT with the CRC, the FTA’s matching contribution will likely be more than it would be if the project were simply expanding LRT across the Columbia on a dedicated transit bridge, with no improvements to the freeway. (This is one big reason that Clark County LRT opponents will not likely get their wish to have a new bridge sans light rail; taking out the MAX doesn’t really save any money).

This list is here.

42 Responses to Southwest Corridor: Transportation “Bundles”