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Orange Line

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Orange Line
image courtesy TriMet

TriMet's planned Orange Line, officially called the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project, would run from Portland State University through Portland's South Waterfront neighborhood and over a new car-free bridge over the Willamette River toward the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and Southeast Portland, Milwaukie and north Clackamas County.

TriMet currently began bridge construction in July 2011 and plans to start service in September 2015.

The line would be the second phase of the South Corridor project to bring MAX light rail to Clackamas County. The Green Line was the first phase of that project. With a budget of $1.5 billion, the 7.3 mile project will cost about 50% as much to build as everything else in TriMet's 67-mile rail system ($2.9 billion in 2010 dollars).


[edit] Full description of project

TriMet and Metro describe the project in great detail in a final environmental impact statement on the project, published in October 2010.

[edit] Branding as "Orange Line"

In April 2011, TriMet Rail Operations Planner John Griffiths wrote: "Milwaukie trains would be Orange Line trains and have an Orange Line designation in station signage."

He further specified that the new line is expected to be largely continuous with the Yellow Line, but the train colors are expected to change their labels at Union Station (for southbound trains, from Yellow to Orange) and PSU (for northbound trains, from Orange to Yellow).

TriMet spokeswoman Mary Fetsch said in May 2011 that TriMet plans to continue to refer to the project as the "Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project" until about six months before the line opens.

"I just say, 'Portland-Milwaukie,'" Fetsch said.

[edit] Travel time

TriMet figures it would take an average 20.12 minutes to ride the Orange Line from Park Avenue in Milwaukie to Jackson Street near PSU. This comes to about 22 mph.

The line's final environmental impact statement assumed the following average travel times, including stops, from south to north:

[edit] Compared to biking

Colin Maher wrote in an April 2011 comment to that the forecast light rail travel time from Lake Road to Pioneer Courthouse Square, almost 8 miles, was 25 minutes.

"By comparison, Google estimates that it takes 46 minutes to make the same trip by bike today (via Hawthorne Bridge)," Maher added.

[edit] Changes to bus routes

Once the Orange Line opens, TriMet says the bus service on SE McLoughlin Boulevard north of Milwaukie, provided as of 2009 by the 31-Estacada, 32-Oatfield, 33-McLoughlin, 41-Tacoma and 99X-McLoughlin Express, would be "restructured to provide better coverage in the area and would no longer provide service north of Milwaukie."

[edit] 31-Estacada

The 31 would continue to run from Milwaukie, alternating between Damascus and Estacada, and would extend south from Milwaukie to Clackamas Community College to provide service currently provided by line 33.

[edit] 32-Oatfield

The 32 would terminate in Milwaukie.

[edit] 99X-McLoughlin Express

The 99X would terminate at SE Milport Street.

[edit] 33-McLoughlin

Line #33 McLoughlin would be restructured to provide service between Milwaukie and Clackamas Community College.

[edit] 70-12th Avenue and 75-Lombard/39th

Lines 70 and 75 currently terminate at Milwaukie Transit Center. These lines would continue to terminate in downtown Milwaukie, and a layover location would be identified during final design.

[edit] Cuts to Harold Street station

See full article: Harold Street MAX station.

Though it's marked "future" on TriMet's maps of the Orange Line, the agency has no specific timeline to develop the planned Harold Street MAX station. As part of cuts to the project in fall 2010, TriMet saved $100,000 by scrapping plans that would prepare for the future station.

Page S-13 of the project's final environmental impact statement says the station will "be developed when land uses and ridership support its development."

[edit] Debate over funding and construction

See full article: Orange Line construction debate.

The Orange Line's extreme cost -- about $39,000 per foot, due to the construction of the new bridge and the need to acquire large amounts of urbanized land -- has been critcized by groups on the right, such as the Cascade Policy Institute, and those on the left, such as OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon. Both warned that the agency could not afford to build the new line and criticized its decision to borrow $60 million from future general revenue to help pay for its construction.

Defenders of the project argued that half the project's cost was being borne by the federal government; that the costs to the agency itself were relatively small compared to the project's benefits; and that it was important to build the project quickly, in part to stimulate the local economy.

[edit] External links

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