Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pasadena Gold Line opening

Today is the 5th Anniversary of the July 25, 2003 public opening of the Pasadena Gold Line. This is the Construction Authority's poster.

Here are some photos from opening weekend and pre-opening testing. (Click photos to enlarge)

MTA Board members spoke before this huge banner in Union Station's ticketing hall for the Friday preview opening. (7/25/03)

At Union Station I helped direct some of the over 70,000 people who rode both Saturday and Sunday. (7/26/03)

It was remarkable, such a cross-section of Los Angeles: all races, and families with all ages, from babies in strollers to seniors with canes or in wheelchairs, all waiting patiently to ride the trains. (7/26/03)

After an aerial section the next station is Chinatown, shown here during pre-opening testing. (4/03)

A test train crosses the new Los Angeles River bridge. The maintenance yard is out-of-frame to the left. (4/03)

This is the half-mile section along Marmion Way in Highland Park where trains run at 20 mph with signal priority. The rest of the line is 55 mph with gated crossings or grade separations for a high 28 mph average speed for this 13.7-mile line. (4/03)

Families with kids at the Highland Park station on opening day. (7/26/03)

South Pasadena station with a train on display before opening. One of these women said, "It's like we're a real city!" (4/03)

Leaving the station the tracks cross Mission Street in historic South Pasadena. The celebrated New Urbanist transit-oriented development Mission Meridian Village is behind the brick building on the left. (4/03)

The Memorial Park station in Old Town Pasadena was built on the existing right-of-way in space set aside beneath the Holly Street Apartments. (7/25/03)

The last three stations are in the median of I-210 in Pasadena. (7/26/03)

Recent Gold Line ridership has been over 23,000 average weekday boardings.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Phoenix construction

These May 2008 guest photos show the northern end of Phoenix Valley Metro light rail construction.

The northern terminus station on 19th Street, looking south toward Camelback Road, is typical of a median station.

This 19.6 mile line is mostly at-grade in boulevard medians. It is scheduled to open in December 2008.

Here the median tracks on Camelback Road pass Osborn Middle School (far right) at 11th Avenue, looking east.

Another view of Osborn Middle School, looking west. Camelback Road with its median tracks is on far right.

(Click photos to enlarge)

This sculpture marks the turn (left) toward Central Avenue from Camelback Road (center-right), looking west.

The Central Avenue / Camelback Station is on this short diagonal between Camelback and Central (looking southeast).

A signal-controlled pedestrian crossing is in front of Central High School, on Central Avenue south of Camelback Road

These two test train photos farther south on the line are from Valley Metro. "Three-car train at the Priest and Washington Street Station."

"Vehicle being tested in Tempe near the Mill Avenue and 3rd St. station."

This and more detailed maps are at Valley Metro.

The project is expected to serve 49,900 daily riders in 2020.
Total cost is $1,412.12 million, including federal New Starts share of $587.20 million.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Portland MAX downtown

Downtown Portland is the hub of three MAX light rail lines (map below): the original Eastside to Gresham (1986) with Westside extension to Hillsboro (1998) Blue Line, Airport (2001) Red Line, and Interstate (2004) Yellow Line (click links for more). Here an Airport train passes Pioneer Place.

Nordstrom's success in downtown Portland contrasts with the trend to suburban malls in other cities.

During peak periods 16 trains per hour per direction pass through the one-way couplet on Morrison and Yamhill Streets.

This sidewalk cafe, very compatible with quiet light rail trains passing, complements downtown (7/00; other photos 7/03).

(click any photo to enlarge)

Trains passing through the Saturday Market area demonstrate the pedestrian-oriented ambiance Portland is known for.

Old Town / Chinatown is the last stop before the Gresham, Airport, and Interstate lines cross the Steel Bridge east over the Willamette River.

Riders head home after Fourth of July fireworks over the Willamette River in downtown Portland.

Portland's first line from downtown east to Gresham opened in 1986. It's since grown to 44 miles. Portland's total ridership is over 100,000 average weekday boardings. (map source)

Portland Eastside MAX

Portland's original 15-mile MAX ("Metropolitan Area Express") Light Rail line opened in 1984 from downtown, across the Steel Bridge over the Willamette River (left), to Gresham (10/93).

After passing Lloyd Center its right-of-way is on the north side of the Banfield Freeway (right of the barrier), here at the station at N.E. 60th Street (10/93).

(click any photo to enlarge)

Beyond the freeway right-of-way it runs in the median of E. Burnside Street. Here we're approaching a typical median split station at 122nd Avenue (7/00).

Here is the far side platform of of that station, also showing the signal-controlled intersection (7/00).

Here are typical median tracks with landscaped borders along E. Burnside Street. The railings in the distance are a pedestrian crossing (7/00).

"Train? What train?" (7/00)

This is the terminus in Gresham, at the end of the original short single-track section (since widened to two tracks), with Mt. Hood in the distance (10/93).

Portland Westside MAX

Looking west on S.W. Jefferson Street from S.W. 18th Avenue, leaving downtown Portland, while the line was still under construction. The eastern portal for the tunnel below Washington Park is just past the high bridge (7/96; other photos 7/00).

Tracks pass a pond as it curves away from the freeway toward downtown Beaverton. The first major expansion of Portland MAX, the Westside line to Hillsboro opened in 1998.

The station at Orenco Station, one of the new housing developments planned around this line.

(click any photo to enlarge)

Mixed-use and cottage houses are located close to the station in the New Urbanist development of Orenco Station, "Named by the National Association of Home Builders as 'America’s Community of the Year' in 1999."

This is a good example of landscaped parkways (the strip between the sidewalk and street) in limited space on S.E. Washington Street in Hillsboro, after the tracks transition from private right-of-way to street median.

Note the trees on this station platform in Hillsboro on S.E. Washington Street.

The terminus in Hillsboro shows an older high-floor car (center) and newer low-floor cars.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Portland Interstate MAX

Portland's Interstate Avenue was the main road north to the Columbia River and Washington before I-5 was built. In decline, it's been brought back with the 2004 opening of Interstate MAX, the Yellow Line.

This is a typical station at Overlook Blvd., looking south.

The original four-lane boulevard became median tracks and bicycle lanes (looking north from Overlook Blvd.)

These 7/03 late-construction photos were before parkway landscaping was complete.

This is a standard signal-controlled intersection by Ockley Green Middle School at Ainsworth Street, looking north. Chains discourage mid-block crossing.

The 4,000-foot Vanport Bridge crosses a southern slough of the Columbia River.

(click any photo to enlarge)

The current terminus is at Expo Center on the edge of the Columbia River. A new I-5 bridge over the Columbia River may take tracks north to Vancouver, Washington.

This zig-zag pedestrian crossing directs people to look first left, then right for safety with on-coming trains.

The 5.8-mile Interstate MAX line cost $350M, of which the federal New Starts share was $257.5M.

More in this Tri-Met PDF fact sheet.