Wednesday, March 28, 2012

MAX: The First Ten Years

More than just a train -- it's about growing smart

Over $1.3 Billion in Development

MAX has demonstrated that light rail linked with land use planning can have a dramatic impact on shaping growth. Since the decision to build MAX, over $1.3 billion worth of development has occurred next to the line.

20 Years of No New Highway Capacity to Downtown Portland

For 20 years no new road capacity has been added to the downtown. The Portland region has been able to save money on major road improvements by investing in MAX and bus improvements. Tri-Met carries the equivalent of two lanes of traffic on every major road entering the downtown. Portland actually tore out a six lane expressway to create a downtown waterfront park, traded in money for two new freeways, and invested in transit instead.

Tri-Met's market share of riders has doubled.

Today 37% of the people in the region use Tri-Met for at least one round trip a month. That's up 100% from before MAX opened. MAX ridership has increased by 35% since the line opened.

MAX is the foundation to shape regional growth.

In ten years we have gone from a single corridor experiment with transit and development to a grand regional strategy. MAX is a centerpiece of the region's strategy to maintain the Urban Growth Boundary. According to Metro's Region 2040 Growth Concept, one-third of households and half of new jobs will be located along MAX stations and major bus corridors.

MAX has helped make Portland the "Urban Mecca" for the nation.

Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and The Atlantic are part of a growing list of national publications passing out accolades for what has been done with MAX and land use planning to revitalize downtown Portland and Gresham and create a livable community.

Downtown Gresham has been transformed.

Gresham's community plan envisions an urban neighborhood focused around MAX. The seeds of that plan are bearing fruit. A new City Hall and Civic Plaza, townhomes and apartments, and tight parking ratios are part of taking the "suburban" out of Gresham.

Downtown has followed MAX across the river to the Lloyd District.

MAX has changed the shape and configuration of the Downtown; now we talk about the Central City. The Lloyd district is one of the region's hottest markets:
  • $776 million in new development next to MAX
  • $ 85 million Oregon Convention Center and a new MAX station
  • $200 million Lloyd Center Mall renovation
  • 20% of Blazer fans travel by MAX and bus to the Rose Garden Arena
  • The Blazers built the $262 million Rose Garden in the Lloyd district because of MAX and future connections to South/North MAX.

The public's love affair with MAX has turned into a serious relationship.

The region's voters have approved increasing the size of the system nearly four fold from 15 to 58 miles. Community support has grown from 42% in 1986, six months before the line opened, to over 90% for the last five years.

Reconstructing the suburbs -- 1,450 new apartments

The Burnside Corridor is largely built up with single family homes and little vacant land. In that environment, it's encouraging to see 1,450 new apartments at a value exceeding $50 million within walking distance of MAX's suburban stations.

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