MAX Blue Line

MAX Blue Line

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The MAX Blue Line is a 33 mile (53 km) light rail
Light rail
Light rail or light rail transit is a form of urban rail public transportation that generally has a lower capacity and lower speed than heavy rail and metro systems, but higher capacity and higher speed than traditional street-running tram systems...

 line in the MAX Light Rail system in the Portland metropolitan area
Portland metropolitan area
The Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Metropolitan Statistical Area , also known as the Portland metropolitan area or Greater Portland, is an urban area in the U.S. states of Oregon and Washington centered around the city of Portland, Oregon. The U.S...

 in the U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 of Oregon
Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

. Operated by TriMet
TriMet
TriMet, more formally known as the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon, is a public agency that operates mass transit in a region that spans most of the Portland metropolitan area in the U.S. state of Oregon...

, the line runs between Hillsboro
Hillsboro, Oregon
Hillsboro is the fifth-largest city in the U.S. state of Oregon and is the county seat of Washington County. Lying in the Tualatin Valley on the west side of the Portland metropolitan area, the city is home to many high-technology companies, such as Intel, that compose what has become known as the...

 and Gresham
Gresham, Oregon
- Demographics :As of the census of 2000, there were 90,205 people, 33,327 households, and 22,695 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,071.6 people per square mile . There were 35,309 housing units at an average density of 1,593.8 per square mile...

, via downtown Portland
Portland, Oregon
Portland is a city located in the Pacific Northwest, near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 Census, it had a population of 583,776, making it the 29th most populous city in the United States...

. The line carried an average of 65,200 riders per day (boardings) on weekdays during TriMet's Fiscal Year 2011 (July 2010–June 2011).

Eastside MAX


This 15 miles (24.1 km) line, running from downtown Portland
Downtown Portland
Downtown Portland, the city center of Portland, Oregon, United States, is located on the west bank of the Willamette River. It is in the northeastern corner of the southwest section of the city and is where most of the city's high-rise buildings are found....

 east to Gresham
Gresham, Oregon
- Demographics :As of the census of 2000, there were 90,205 people, 33,327 households, and 22,695 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,071.6 people per square mile . There were 35,309 housing units at an average density of 1,593.8 per square mile...

, was the first line to be opened in the MAX system. Construction began in 1982, and service was inaugurated on September 5, 1986. For more on the early history of this line, see MAX light rail.

As of September 2006, TriMet said the Eastside MAX has spawned over $4.7 billion in development and redevelopment "within walking distance" of its route.

The Eastside line originally had 26 stations in each direction. However, two new stations—one eastbound and one westbound—were opened in March 1990 at the then-new Pioneer Place
Pioneer Place
Pioneer Place is an upscale, urban shopping mall in downtown Portland, Oregon. It consists of four blocks of retail, dining, parking, and an office tower named Pioneer Tower. The mall itself is spread out between four buildings, interconnected by skywalks or underground mall sections...

 mall, in downtown, three days before the retail complex opened to shoppers. Later the same year, in September 1990, a new bi-directional station was opened at the Oregon Convention Center
Oregon Convention Center
The Oregon Convention Center is a convention center in Portland, Oregon. Opened in 1990, it located on the east side of the Willamette River in the Lloyd District neighborhood. It is best known for the twin spire towers which provide light into the building's interior and for housing the world's...

, shortly before the center's opening.

As originally constructed, the 2-mile section of the MAX line between Ruby Junction/East 197th Avenue and Cleveland Avenue
Cleveland Avenue (MAX station)
The Cleveland Avenue station is a MAX light rail station in Gresham, Oregon. It is the eastern terminus of the Blue Line.This station is a large park and ride station located at Cleveland Avenue in Gresham, between Northeast Division Street and East Powell Boulevard...

 stations was mostly single-track. Trains operating in both directions had to share one track, with signaling keeping them separate. This reduced construction costs, but limited operational and scheduling flexibility and sometimes delayed trains. During a multimonth project in 1996, a second track was laid along that section, giving the Portland–Gresham line two tracks over its full length.

Eastside MAX became connected to the Westside Line from the opening of the latter in 1998, making one 33-mile line. Only a few rush-hour trips from Gresham continued to terminate in the city center and not serve the new Westside extension. However, not until 2000 did TriMet decide to use colors to distinguish its separate light rail lines for riders, and these came into use in 2001. The east-west, Gresham–Downtown–Hillsboro line then became designated as the Blue Line, or (in later marketing) MAX Blue Line.

In November 2007, a 71-year-old man was beaten with a baseball bat by a 15-year-old suspected gang member at a Gresham MAX station. This incident, and several others, prompted local officials to express concern about crime along the MAX, and to step up police patrols along the line.

Westside MAX


In 1990, Portland area voters approved funding for the Westside MAX line after the success of the Eastside MAX. It was originally conceived as a line between downtown Portland and 185th Avenue in Hillsboro
Hillsboro, Oregon
Hillsboro is the fifth-largest city in the U.S. state of Oregon and is the county seat of Washington County. Lying in the Tualatin Valley on the west side of the Portland metropolitan area, the city is home to many high-technology companies, such as Intel, that compose what has become known as the...

, but was later in the planning process extended to downtown Hillsboro. Much of the right-of-way used in Beaverton and Hillsboro reused a route first constructed for the Oregon Electric Railway
Oregon Electric Railway
The Oregon Electric Railway was an interurban railroad line in the U.S. state of Oregon that linked Portland to Eugene. Service from Portland to Salem, Oregon, began in 1907. The Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway purchased the system in 1910, and extended service to Eugene in 1912...

.

Construction started in 1993, at the site of the east end of the future West Hills tunnel
Robertson Tunnel
The Robertson Tunnel is a tunnel through the west hills of Portland, Oregon, U.S. for the TriMet public transit MAX Light Rail system. The tunnel is 3.1 miles long and consists of twin 21 foot diameter tunnels. There is one station within the tunnel at Washington Park, the third deepest such...

 (renamed the Robertson Tunnel in 1998). A half-mile extension between Southwest 10th Avenue and Kings Hill (Southwest 18th Avenue at Southwest Salmon Street) opened in August 1997. This extension was going to include the rest of the originally-planned segment, but was delayed by tunneling problems. Instead, it was opened along with the section from Beaverton to downtown Hillsboro in September 1998. The “golden spike
Golden spike
The "Golden Spike" is the ceremonial final spike driven by Leland Stanford to join the rails of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States connecting the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads on May 10, 1869, at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory...

” of the Westside line was driven with the final section of track of the project installed on the Main Street Bridge
Main Street Bridge (Hillsboro, Oregon)
Main Street Bridge is a tied concrete arch bridge located in Hillsboro, Oregon, United States. The bridge carries light rail traffic over Main Street and 18th Street on TriMet’s MAX Blue Line that runs from Gresham to Hillsboro. Completed in 1997, the long bridge was built with a tall arch in the...

 in October 1997. Passenger service on the $964 million project began on September 12, 1998.

The line drew strong ridership, and beat 2005 ridership projections nineteen months after the line opened. As of 2004, the Westside MAX has served as a magnet for $825 million worth of residential and commercial development, including 8,500 housing units launched within walking distance of the line.

External links

  • MAX Blue Line, from the TriMet
    TriMet
    TriMet, more formally known as the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon, is a public agency that operates mass transit in a region that spans most of the Portland metropolitan area in the U.S. state of Oregon...

     website
  • Westside MAX Blue Line Project History (brief summary) on TriMet website
  • Eastside MAX Blue Line Project History (brief summary) on TriMet website
  • Oregon Electric Railway Westside Corridor, part of the right-of-way for Westside MAX, from the Library of Congress
    Library of Congress
    The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...