All aboard? Open houses held for expanded MAX Service to Tigard and Tualatin
TriMet hosted the latest in a series of public open houses Wednesday night, aimed at informing the public and gathering feedback about some major transportation projects that are on the way.
"We've been sharing this information at events all summer, and we've been getting a lot of really positive feedback, people that are excited about how soon we can bring light rail to this part of the region," said Jennifer Koozer of TriMet.
The open house was held at the Tigard Ballroom and one of the major projects coming down the line is the Southwest Corridor Plan, which would bring MAX trains from downtown Portland to Tigard and Tualatin, something residents are guardedly optimistic about.
"Light rail has its place, but the route as it’s designed, I think, has some serious flaws. And if those flaws are not addressed now they’re going to cause problems, specifically with traffic congestion in the future," said Erik Halstead.
Halstead is one of several people at the open house who also wants to see expanded bus routes in the area to help people access the proposed new MAX lines.
"We really need to increase bus services, transit in general, but bus service because River Terrace is not going to get a light rail line, King City probably (is) not going to get a light rail line," Halstead said.
It's a concern shared by Joe Lipscomb, who's a member of an aging task force and wants to see improvements for that growing population.
"There isn’t a system right now that serves the aging population," Lipscomb said.
Lipscomb says it can be difficult for older people to get around with bus service in the area not readily available at all times, or with just limited routes.
"So it’s not all day. The light rail would be all day, and it’d be seven days a week so you can get to the VA Hospital, you can get to Good Sam medical complexes that you can’t get to now," Lipscomb said.
It's not a problem that's going away any time soon, as the area continues to expand in all directions.
"This whole area, most of the housing is within the last 30 years, so if you bought in when you were 45, you’re going to be 65 or 70, and people want to live and place, so you’re going to have an increase in demand that will far exceed the services available," Lipscomb said.
Another area dealing with limited transportation options is Garden Home.
"From where I live I can take the backstreets for a ways, but when I get to Taylor’s Ferry there really isn’t too much in terms of bicycle or pedestrian. If I’m not driving, it’s really not that safe," said Michael Kisor, who hopes to see increased bus routes in Garden Home between Scholls Ferry and Oleson roads.
"Right now it’s a chicken and the egg kind of problem. They say that we don’t have the ridership, but we don’t have the ridership because it either takes too long or there isn’t the frequency of service," Kisor said.