Burnside: It’s a Couplet … to 19th … with a Streetcar

It seems to be the worst kept secret in Portland, since Sam has run this past every conceivable stakeholder, but here’s what he will announce at his press conference in a little over an hour (the Trib put it up on their web site last night):

  • He will recommend to his Council colleagues that the West Burnside couplet extend from 2nd to 19th, effectively overriding the resistance of the Archdiocese that had previously limited the couplet proposal to 15th.
  • Sam will propose that Burnside should have a Streetcar from 12th/Sandy on the east side to NW 24th on the west side, and possibly that Streetcar should extend to Hollywood (via Sandy) at some point in the future.
  • The new Streetcar line will have to come after the Streetcar Loop project and the LO Streetcar project (if it gets greenlighted). And ultimately the priority of this Streetcar segment will need to be determined by the city-wide rail plan process that PDOT is starting.
  • The couplet can be built without, or before, the Streetcar. They are essentially separate, divisible projects, but part of Sam’s overall vision for the corridor.

I heartily applaud the result of the long wait for this recommendation. The politics of this seem to be that if Sam had to tell the folks at the Henry they need to accept the traffic on Couch, it would go down a lot better if the Catholic Church wasn’t getting a pass on the same issue. I expect that the Archdiocese will continue to oppose the project. It’s less clear to me if Gerding/Edlen and/or the Henry will.

I’m heading out the door for the press conference where all this becomes official…

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