TriMet readies MAX Green Line for September 12 grand opening

Here’s a sneak preview of the newest addition to Portland’s light rail system! Come along with as we learn all about it while we take a preview ride on Portland’s newest rail line …

TriMet’s MAX Green Line light rail train leaves the Clackamas Town Center Station, heading north toward Gateway.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Whether you consider the region’s newest light rail extension a boon to public transportation, or a financial boondoggle for Portland’s citizens – TriMet’s newest light rail line, the MAX Green Line, begins regular scheduled service beginning on September 13.

“This line will carry riders from Clackamas Town Center to Portland City Center in 39 minutes,” TriMet’s community affairs representative for the project, Leslie Hildula, told us, as we took a preview ride on August 5.

“Between Clackamas Town Center and Gateway, the Green Line will use new tracks alongside I-205. Between Gateway and Portland City Center, it will share the existing Blue/Red line tracks.”

MAX Green Line operator Amy Taylor, visits with guests before the trip north begins.

As our train operator, Amy Taylor, released the brakes and applied power, the sleek new train glided out of the Clackamas Town Center Station.  We headed north, toward the Gateway Transit Center. “Because the trains are designed as two-car units, there are operation stations only at the ends of each train, providing more seats and a smoother ride,” Hildula pointed out, as the speed of the train soon matched vehicles traveling on I-205.

Through the tunnel
A part of the trip many riders found interesting was when the train traveled through a tunnel under the I-205 freeway, just north of the SE Division Street and SE Main Street stations. “I didn’t know this tunnel was here!” exclaimed surprised guest Sandra Boynton.

Along the way, Hildula pointed out the five new Park & Ride lots between Clackamas Town Center and Gateway, reporting that they will provide a total of 2,300 spaces for TriMet riders and carpoolers. Like the other MAX lines, the Green Line will run every 15 minutes or better during the day, every day.

TriMet’s community affairs representative, Leslie Hildula, talks with guests.

Green Line Station locations

SE Main Street Station

  • Located near Portland Adventist Medical Center
  • 420 Park & Ride spaces

SE Division Street Station

  • Located south of Division
  • Connections to the I-205 bike and pedestrian path

SE Powell Boulevard Station

  • Located south of Powell Boulevard, to serve surrounding commercial districts, residential neighborhoods, and Marshall High School
  • 400 Park & Ride spaces

SE Holgate Boulevard Station

  • Located on the north side of Holgate Boulevard
  • 120 Park & Ride spaces

Lents Town Center/SE Foster Road Station

  • Located between Foster Road and Ramona Street to serve the heart of downtown Lents’ revitalization efforts

SE Flavel Street Station

  • Located on the south side of Flavel Street; it’s the line’s only street-level crossing

SE Fuller Rd Station

  • Located between Johnson Creek Boulevard and Otty Road, to compliment the North Clackamas County Urban Renewal District
  • 630 Park & Ride spaces

Clackamas Town Center Station

  • Designed to serve as an anchor for transit service by connecting MAX with 10 bus lines
  • 750-space parking garage

Our train glides north, toward Gateway.

$69,000 per mile expansion
Information from TriMet indicates that they consider the 8.3-mile light rail extension to be a “critical element in the long-range transportation plan, positioning the region for future light rail” to Milwaukie and other areas.

The MAX Green Line project cost $575.7 million, $345.4 million of which was funded by the Federal Transit Administration. The project received $32 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, an amount already committed to by the federal government, but made available so that TriMet could retire debt earlier.

“What impressed me,” Hildula said, “is how well the city, counties, and state have worked together to bring this project in on time, and on budget. It’s been a delight to work with them.”

Opening day is September 12
The official MAX Green Line Grand Opening is scheduled for September 12, with free rides on the Green Line starting at 11:30 a.m.

“We believe as many as 25,000 people will ride the train that day,” Hildula projected, noting that a Clackamas doughnut store has been contracted to provide 20,000 doughnuts for guests riding the line.

Many of the stations will look like this one, at Clackamas Town Center, the MAX Green Line’s southern terminus.

Find out more
To find out the hours of service, see the route map, and learn more about the MAX Green Line, see TriMet’s website: CLICK HERE.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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