Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I-5: The thin red line of the SW Corridor

How do Tigard, Tualatin, and Metro land use planning affect Lake Oswego?

My prediction:  Traffic, congestion, and pressure to develop dense housing and commercial uses (mixed use development) along connecting roadways like Kruse Way and Boones Ferry Rd. By the Freeway.  Perhaps connections to the Tigard Triangle from Southwood and pressure to develop that area and any area that abuts the freeway.

The Metro machine is moving in this direction, but citizens in Tigard and Tualatin are fighting back with anti-light rail or HCT without a oublic vote measures.  What do residents want?  The big boxes are moving in: is the Corridor the next Beaverton?   Will Lake Oswego residents have the right to decide about light rail and HCT?

The Oregonian, September 18, 2014  By Joseph Rose
Tualatin Cabela's opening raises concerns about worsening big-box traffic jams in Washington County

Long before regular traffic jams, a sprawling Fred Meyer and the new Cabela'soutdoor-gear emporium dominated the landscape, Tualatin's Southwest Nyberg Street was part of a prehistoric ice age trail.

"I already have to sit in a holding pattern at green lights without moving on Nyberg," said [Helena] Dyer, who works as a manager for a health-care company based in downtown Portland. "Just imagine how bad it will be when that place opens."

In reality, it's just one piece of a bigger problem facing the region's rapidly growing Southwest Corridor: Traffic jams caused by shopping rather than workaday commuting.

As Metro planners and elected officials map out a 20-year transportation strategy that is expected to push for a controversial new light-rail line, a boom in big-box development along crowded highways has already caused traffic patterns in Washington County to collide.

As the plan takes shape, Metro is focusing on light rail or bus rapid transit with dedicated express lanes as its preferred ways of moving people in the future. Just as the Cascade Station shopping mall and Ikea sprouted next to the Red Line near Portland International Airport, a new age of commerce would likely bloom around high-capacity transit in the Southwest Corridor, planners say.  

"High-capacity transit could add a lot of cohesion to retail development in the corridor, as well as reduce traffic," said Noelle Dobson, a Metro community engagement specialist.

But that hasn't stopped TriMet from pitching a two-branch transit line that could end in both Tigard and Tualatin. Metro planners and elected officials are progressing as if the dichotomy doesn't exist, or like it will just work itself out once a certain number of people get sick of being stuck behind the wheel. 

Regardless of how the fight over Metro's big transit dreams plays out, Tigard planner Cheryl Caines said the city can't afford to continue 20th century "silo planning," where land is zoned exclusively for living, working and shopping.

The Tigard Triangle -- a 450-acre area bound by Interstate 5 to the east, Oregon 217 to the southwest, and Oregon 99W to the north -- has been identified for future redevelopment that would better mix housing, employment and shopping as the region's population grows. Currently, the triangle is dominated by office space and parking lots. 

"There's not a lot of transit serving the area, so we have to plan around that," Caines said. "We need to make it easier to walk rather than getting into your car for every trip to go buy something."


  1. These planners are just not aware of how consumers behave. Do they not understand that our cool, wet winters are not conducive to walking and biking. When you have the choice of walking four blocks in 42 degree weather with rain falling versus using the car probably 90% of people will use the car.
    Same for public transit. If I can drive in 25 minutes versus spend an hour on public transit and making two transfers what will I do? Guess what - I'll drive myself! And another thing - transit does not effectively link where people live and work. If it did more people would be riding it!

  2. I believe they do know how consumers behave - they just mean to change it.