Author Archives: John Fall

About John Fall

I help TriMet communicate about the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project by coordinating the project website and managing project social media (in addition to general writing and copyediting). I'm also a mean cook who likes to improvise recipes—ask me for one the next time you see me on the 8-Jackson Park/NE 15th.

Portland-Milwaukie MAX line is 50% complete, on time and on budget

Lincoln Street/3rd Ave Station Construction

Located between the pedestrian paths of 2nd and 3rd avenues at the southern end of Downtown Portland, the SW Lincoln Street/3rd Ave MAX Station (center) is adjacent to several residential towers and Portland State University facilities, with access to the fountains and paths that make up the Halprin District.

50 percent, and counting!

The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project has reached an exciting milestone: We’re 50 percent complete.

And, we have a grand opening date, too: The region’s sixth MAX line is scheduled to begin transporting riders between Downtown Portland, Milwaukie and north Clackamas County on Saturday, September 12, 2015. (Mark your calendar… There will be festivities!)

We started construction back in July 2011, and crews have been hard at work building 10 new MAX stations: one in Downtown Portland, one in the South Waterfront area, six in Southeast Portland, one in Milwaukie and one in north Clackamas County.

Thanks for your patience with the temporary road closures this summer related to project construction! It will be well worth it come 2015, when fewer cars are on the road thanks to the handy new MAX service nearby.

Have a look at two years of construction progress on the project Flickr page

A convenient new north-south transit option

2015 may be a ways off, but it’s exciting to think about the convenient new transportation option this project will bring for the many people who need to get around in the fast-growing areas of Southeast Portland, Milwaukie and north Clackamas County.

For one, commuters in the congested McLoughlin Boulevard/Highway 99E corridor will finally have an alternative to sitting in traffic. By the year 2030, the new line is expected to increase transit commutes from within this corridor to Downtown Portland by 20 percent, and reduce weekday car trips by more than 9,100. It will reduce travel time between Milwaukie and the South Waterfront by an estimated 58 percent, and between Milwaukie and Portland State University by 29 percent.

Commuters in the congested McLoughlin Boulevard/Highway 99E corridor will finally have an alternative to sitting in traffic.

Bridge over Kellogg Lake and McLoughlin Blvd/Hwy 99E

The Milwaukie/Main St MAX Station will be located in south downtown Milwaukie, on the empty lot at the top center of this photo. Crews are currently constructing the Kellogg Bridge from the station over Kellogg Lake and McLoughlin Blvd/Hwy 99E. The bridge will keep MAX separated from traffic as it crosses over several roads, and the portion over the lake includes a multi-use path for cyclists and pedestrians.

Creating good jobs

There’s another important story behind this project, and it’s about jobs. To date, the project has supported more than 6,800 direct, indirect and induced jobs. This includes contracting opportunities for 111 Disadvantaged Business Enterprises who have so far received $115 million in contracts. 

The product of partnerships

As you may know, light rail projects are regional collaborations that take 12-15 years to go from an idea to construction and opening. Initiated in 1999 as part of Metro‘s long-term regional transportation plan, the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project is the result of a partnership among the Federal Transit Administration, the State of Oregon, Clackamas County, Metro, the City of Milwaukie, Multnomah County, the City of Oregon City, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the City of Portland, the Portland Development Commission and TriMet. Our project partners are picking up 95 percent of the cost of the project, and we are covering the remaining 5 percent.

Stay in the loop

At this important milestone, we’re proud to report that the project is both on time and on budget. As construction continues, you can keep up on our progress when you “Like” the PMLR page on Facebook. And there is much more project history and details at our project website.

There’s a new crane in town

Rising almost 300 feet from the recently-constructed  West Tower pile cap of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge, the tower crane will work through the summer on bridge construction.

Rising almost 300 feet from the recently-constructed West Tower pile cap of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge, the tower crane will work through the summer on bridge construction.

Over the last two weeks, a tall, red tower crane joined the Portland skyline on the Willamette River. Rising almost 300 feet from the recently-constructed West Tower pile cap of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge, the tower crane will work through the summer on bridge construction. As of July 1, the bridge has been under construction for one year and is 41 percent complete.

Tower cranes can “build themselves” in a manner of speaking, by inserting sections near the top to grow their own height. That’s precisely what this one did—watch this timelapse video on the project Facebook page and at about 40 seconds in, you’ll see the section lifts that make the crane shoot up!

Check out the time-lapse video of the crane in action on Facebook

Federal government commits funds to Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project

May 22, 2012 – Federal Transit Administrator Peter M. Rogoff signs the ceremonial Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) at a community celebration in southeast Portland. The actual document was signed earlier in the day.

May 22, 2012 – Federal Transit Administrator Peter M. Rogoff signs the ceremonial Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) at a community celebration in southeast Portland. The actual document was signed earlier in the day.

Today, the Federal Transit Administration authorized the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project.

The FFGA commits the federal government to providing 50 percent of the cost of the project, which will expand the MAX rail system to 60 miles.

The new light rail line will connect downtown Portland and Portland State University with South Waterfront, inner southeast Portland, Milwaukie and north Clackamas County.

Construction is under way, and the FFGA means the project can move forward toward completion and service in 2015.

Updates on the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project

Learn more

See planned station designs for the future Portland-Milwaukie MAX line

Rendering of station design for OMSI/SE Water Ave MAX Station

This rendering shows the planned design for the future OMSI/SE Water Ave MAX Station.

The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project is hosting an online open house where you can take a look at conceptual images of future stations and structures, and download station fact sheets. The open house is available on the project’s website until Friday, March 9.

Visit the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project online open house

Solar energy project near PSU now online

 

Over the last few months, you may have seen crews putting the finishing touches on the large solar-panel structure at the MAX turnaround near Portland State University (also clearly visible from I-405). Last week, we flipped the switch, and we’re happy to report it is up and running!

The new clean-energy system has 253 solar panels that will generate more than 64,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and shave nearly $5,000 off of our power bill each year. Plus, it serves as an eye-catching landmark for the south end of Downtown. It’s the largest solar project in Downtown, and the first on a MAX line.

WATCH: Online dashboard shows how much solar energy is being generated

Our overall contribution to the project was just $4,702, so our investment will be recouped within the first year of the system’s operation.

We sought and received a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to build the $1.2 million steel structure surrounding the utility buildings at the MAX turnaround.

The design of the solar array, and other environmentally friendly features, helped the project win approval from the City of Portland’s planning and sustainability commission. In particular, the project was praised for obscuring views of the pre-fabricated utility buildings.

Incentives and tax credits will reduce the $366,000 cost of installing the panels by more than 70 percent. The installation will receive an $85,591 incentive from Energy Trust of Oregon and a $42,795 grant from PGE’s Clean Wind fund. The project is also pre-certified by the Oregon Department of Energy to receive a Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC). Over the next few months, we will identify a business “passthrough partner” willing to take the tax credit, spread over five years, in exchange for a $134,765 payment to us.

The solar panels were manufactured by SolarWorld in Hillsboro and installed by REC Solar.

WATCH: Online dashboard shows how much solar energy is being generated

TALK ABOUT IT: Discuss this post on Facebook

OMSI exhibit focuses on Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge and Willamette River

Did you know construction is under way on the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge across the Willamette River between South Waterfront and OMSI?

It’s the first bridge to be built in Portland in over 40 years, so we want to keep everyone up-to-speed on how it’s going and what the bridge means for Portland and the river.

That’s why we’ve partnered with OMSI (and several exhibit sponsors) to create interactive kiosks featuring fun videos about the river’s role as important habitat for many animals, and about the decisions made to ensure the right bridge design was picked for the location and the project.

Be sure to stop by the kiosks on your next OMSI visit! And to learn more about the bridge and the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project, visit trimet.org/pm.

4 reasons why transit is good for your health

Rider climbing stairs at MAX stationWith obesity rates and health care costs on the rise, experts are looking at how our transportation choices affect the health of our communities. The good news is that transit not only encourages people to walk or bike as a part of their daily routine, it also helps reduce car crashes and air pollution.

So why is transit so good for our public health?

  1. It encourages daily exercise: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults get at least 22 minutes of moderate physical activity per day to reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, stroke and diabetes. By walking or biking to the bus stop or rail station, it’s easier to meet or exceed this goal.
  2. It supports safer streets: In communities with good pedestrian infrastructure (things like wide sidewalks, safe crossings and bike connections), cars travel at slower speeds and there are fewer crashes. And residents of transit-oriented communities typically drive less, anyway.
  3. It helps make our air cleaner: Transit takes cars off the road, which means less pollution and fewer cases of asthma, lung disease and lung cancer. Here in the Portland area, TriMet service eliminates more than four tons of smog-forming pollutants every day.
  4. It reduces isolation: Particularly for seniors and people with disabilities, transit helps reduce isolation by providing access to grocery stores, medical services, jobs and schools.

 

“For the last 60-plus years, we’ve literally built our society around the automobile and getting from point A to point B as quickly as we can. Because we choose to drive rather than walk or cycle, the result is an inactive, sedentary lifestyle. Not coincidentally, obesity also became a public health issue during this period.”
— Sheldon H. Jacobson, University of Illinois researcher

“Study: Surge in obesity correlates with increased automobile usage”