From TriMet’s web site:
April 28, 2009
20.5 million rides taken, more than 50 new businesses take root
The 5.8-mile Interstate MAX Yellow Line turns five years old this week. Since opening May 1, 2004, the line has seen 20.5 million rides taken and more than 50 new businesses sprout up around the alignment.
In its first year of service, weekday ridership on MAX had doubled that of the former bus line that served the same corridor. Last year, Interstate MAX weekday ridership was 13,600, a 16 percent increase since the line first opened in 2004.
The area has also seen significant growth since the MAX Yellow Line started operating on Interstate Avenue. New businesses and housing, coupled with the access provided by light rail, have opened up the corridor as an attractive area to live and work.
“There has been tremendous transformation along the Interstate MAX line since we built and opened five years ago,” said TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen. “We have seen first hand transit’s role in enhancing neighborhoods and connecting communities. It’s exciting to watch this area grow and see riders using our expanding system to connect to work, school and other activities.”
About Interstate MAX
- TriMet’s fourth MAX line, the Yellow Line, connects the Expo Center through North Portland to the Rose Quarter and through downtown Portland.
- Construction on the 5.8-mile Yellow Line began in November 2000 and was completed four months ahead of schedule and millions under budget.
- The Portland Development Commission developed the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area in 2000 to help fund the light rail line and small-scale improvement projects after the line was built. Nearly $8.8 million in loans and grants to businesses has been made available since 2000, attracting more than $27 million in private investment and creating or retaining an estimated 900 jobs as a result of the assistance.
- More than $249 million in transit-oriented development has been built around the Interstate MAX line since before construction began to date.
- TriMet helped build the Patton Place Apartments, a $12 million, five-story mixed-use housing development for lower-income families. The Patton Park Apartments opened in winter 2009 with every unit rented and a waiting list of 400 interested tenants.
TriMet created a national model in its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, which committed that the MAX Yellow Line would be built by people from the community and give more opportunities to minority and women-owned firms and workers.
- Local DBE firms secured 19 percent of the contract dollars for the project, valued at $35 million.
- 35 percent of workforce hours were completed by minorities and women.
- 25 percent of workforce hours were performed by apprentices, helping grow a robust pool of workers for future public works projects.
- TriMet continues to use the model on current projects including the I-205/Portland Mall Light Rail Project set to open in September.
“TriMet’s efforts to involve local businesses and workers in construction of the Yellow Line was instrumental in creating a sense of connection among the people who live and work in the neighborhoods along Interstate,” said Sheila Holden, regional community manager for Pacific Power and co-chair of the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Advisory Committee. “Because TriMet engaged minorities, women and the community, we see today firms and workers that are stronger and better equipped to be involved opportunities in other areas around the region.”
Attracting business and development
Since opening, Interstate has attracted 51 new businesses to the corridor, 33 percent of which are owned by minorities or women. Some key businesses that have come to the Interstate area include New Seasons Market, Krakow Koffeehouse, the Overlook Condominiums, a Providence clinic, Pause Restaurant and renovations or expansions at Kaiser Permanente Interstate medical offices, Widmer Brewing and Fred Meyer.
“We figured the proximity to the MAX would be a real asset to our business, and that has definitely turned out to be true,” said Brian Rohter, CEO of New Seasons Market. “Every day, dozens of people get off the train and walk right into our store. Having the stop renamed in honor of a true American hero like Rosa Parks has been an added benefit.”
Making tracks toward the future
Beginning August 30, 2009, the Yellow Line will have a new route through downtown Portland. The train will cross the Steel Bridge and travel between Union Station and Portland State University on the new Portland Mall alignment. It will no longer travel east and west between the Rose Quarter the Galleria/SW 10th Ave MAX stations.
TriMet’s fifth MAX line—the future Green Line—will begin service in September 2009. The line will add 8.3-miles of light rail between Gateway Transit Center and Clackamas Town Center, and to 5th and 6th avenues in downtown Portland between Union Station and Portland State University.