Portland Transit Vote Kills SW Transit Corridor Light Rail Project

In a pair of articles, Jonathan Maus reports on the final moments of the SW Corridor Light Rail Project, as project supporters deals with a loss at the ballot box.

2 minute read

November 18, 2020, 8:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

"The project was set to receive $975 million from the Metro funding measure that failed at the ballot box on November 3rd. Without the money, there’s no path forward for the project and officials say it will be put to bed until further notice," writes Maus in a recap of the final meeting of the SW Corridor Light Rail Project Steering Committee, comprising elected officials from around the region.

A separate article by Maus recaps the final meeting of the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Community Advisory Committee , comprising citizen volunteers.

According to information attributed to Tyler Frisbee, Metro’s policy and federal affairs policy manager, Measure 26-218 failed to receive voter support in all three of the counties where the ballot measure appeared. "We had stronger support along areas where some of the major corridors were. So, stronger support out along TV Highway. Frankly, not great support from Southwest Portland," says Frisbee in the article.

Maus offers insight into how voter support failed to materialize, even in the part of the region the project was supposed to benefit:

After contacting several SW Portland transportation activists, I got the sense that the light rail project never had a strong, homegrown constituency. SW Portland has been underinvested in for decades. It has the least sidewalk coverage of any Neighborhood Coalition in the city — over 65% of its arterials and collector streets lack sidewalks — and its stormwater infrastructure is inadequate to support improving that network. It doesn’t have a connected bike network, large swaths of southwest have no bicycling facilities at all. 

The Southwest Corridor Light Rail plan would have added 11 miles of light rail and 13 stations between Downtown Portland and Bridgeport Village, making the trip in 30 minutes.

Monday, November 16, 2020 in BikePortland

View of Interstate 205 bridge over Columbia River with Mt. Hood in background.

The Unceremonious Death of a Freeway Expansion Project

The end of an Oregon freeway project didn't get much fanfare, but the victory is worth celebrating.

September 19, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

A derelict sign on a barbed wire fence reads “Golf Course, Private, No Admittance.”

Converting Golf Courses to Housing Never as Easy as the Market Would Like

Thousands of golf courses have closed in recent years, but the obvious redevelopment opportunity represented by many defunct courses isn’t always easy to realize.

September 19, 2023 - The Business Journals

Aerial view of traffic in New York City entering Queens Midtown tunnel

Sadik-Khan: NYC Congestion Pricing Program Potentially ‘Transformative’—If Done Right

The former transportation commissioner says the city must ensure the program isn’t “all stick and no carrot to succeed.

September 18, 2023 - Curbed

Students walking on sunny walkway on college campus.

How College Campuses Fulfill an Urbanist Dream

Most college campuses in the United States are inherently walkable, mixing various uses with diverse housing options and transit networks.

43 minutes ago - The Daily

Aerial view of Interstate 35 with blurred traffic and Austin, Texas skyline in background with river in foreground at nighttime.

Austin in Race Against Time to Secure Freeway Cap Funding

With a major freeway expansion project looming, the Texas capital is seeking federal funding to build several freeway ‘decks’ downtown.

1 hour ago - Austin American-Statesman

Man riding bicycle wearing black helmet on New York City street.

Tracking the Rise of Biking in the U.S.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, most U.S. cities saw a sharp rise in the number of trips taken by bike, but a recent plateau indicates a need for better infrastructure to promote continued growth.

2 hours ago - Bloomberg CityLab

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.