Opinion: Too Much Parking Along Portland's Planned Light Rail Line

The Southwest Corridor could become the most parking-heavy rail line every created by TriMet. Even parking-lite planning scenarios would spend as much as $100 million on parking garages.

1 minute read

December 11, 2018, 11:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

TriMet Portland

TFoxFoto / Shutterstock

Michael Andersen sounds a warning about plans to build $168 million worth of parking garages along the Southwest Corridor light rail line in Greater Portland.

Greater Portland’s “Southwest Corridor” line, as the route mostly along Barbur Boulevard and Interstate 5 is known, could become the most parking-heavy rail line in the history of TriMet, Portland’s regional transit agency. Tucked into one of the scenarios for the $2.7 billion, 13-station project are five free-to-use parking garages with up to 3,350 structured parking spaces among them.

According to Andersen, the parking heavy plan is an example of what not to do. So much so, Andersen breaks down the math of how much not parking that $168 million could fund: "to build or acquire roughly 1,000 below-market-rate homes along the line; to install networks of protected bike lanes for miles in every direction around each proposed rail station; or to double the scale of TriMet’s big 2018 regionwide bus service improvement for the next 12 years."

A detailed and lengthy case against the parking rage proposals follows.

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