Summer Forecast: Streetcar Crush Loads

Streetcar ridership has followed a relatively consistent cycle of growth. Each summer we see new peaks (the hypothesis is that this is driven by occupancy of new residential units along the alignment), then it drops off a bit in the winter, only to rise again the following summer. New extensions, like the one opened to Gibbs last year, also drive increases in ridership.

Except this winter, for the first time, ridership did not decline significantly from the summer. We’re holding level at about 9000 weekday riders. This is creating crush loads in the afternoon from about 2pm-6pm.

We don’t know exactly why this departure from the annual pattern is occurring. One hypothesis is that transit mall construction has made Streetcar a more attractive option for N-S trips in the core.

But when the summer peak comes, it’s likely to get pretty bad. Streetcar leadership is looking for resources to put an additional car out on the route during the afternoon peak. Today we’re a six-car peak operation, we’d be looking for a seventh car in the afternoon.

When the Lowell St. extensions opens in August we’re budgeted to go to a seven-car operation, but that extension will also likely bring new riders.

It’s a nice problem to have :-)

33 responses to “Summer Forecast: Streetcar Crush Loads”

  1. Took the Streetcar last night about 5:15…”crush” is a good description.

    What’s the possibility of adding the “Vintage” streetcar during the crush/rush hour? Or is the “resource” issue paying for the additional labor costs?

  2. The issue is the operator, not the vehicle (at least once the 3 new Czech cars get their safety paperwork stamped – we’re still hung up on paperwork back in Prague).

  3. The southbound car was crammed at 7:50 or so at Glisan this morning. Nice to see it’s being used. Pretty good for a “toy train,” eh? ;-)

  4. So…as this is an operating expense, who makes the decision –or more important, who provides the funding– to increase the service level?

  5. They definitely need to add an extra car at rush hour (5ish). I live downtown and I actually ride the streetcar *more* in the winter because when it’s not pouring, I’d rather walk. For most of my trips, it’s not that much slower.

  6. i took the street car during the afternoon crush two weeks ago on a warm afternoon. it was fine… until this dude got on with a plastic bag full of wounded soldiers–it reeked. everyone obviously wanted to move, but there was nowhere to go.

    he was taking his empty beer bottles to safeway to turn them in for change, i wonder if this is a pretty common use of the streetcar? if it is perhaps the streetcar could charge just enough that a full bag of empty bottles would return less change than the round tripe fare?

  7. The can carrying guys are common on the Streetcar. They are actually NOT supposed to bring that crap on the car. But when the drivers where told they could tell people to NOT carry the bags on, they weren’t backed up by management.

    The cleaning crews hate the stuff too because it drips on the floor and often becomes very noxious. In a way, it becomes a work hazard in more ways than one.

    As for the increased crush load. The Streetcar is experiencing the EXACT SAME PROBLEM that interstates (or we could say mislabeled freeways) have. No price is associated with the mode, so it experiences exhaustive demand that isn’t correlative to its actual cost nor supply levels being even remotely connected in people’s thinking patterns in relation to demand.

    Just a buck would resolve a MASSIVE portion of this problem with two obvious actions taking place. A buck a pop would allow more than the proposed 7 cars to operate. Especially if the high subsidy level continues. At a measly buck fifty there should be no reason to even hit crush capacity. The slight limiting factor (more people would just walk instead of taking that 2-3 stop trip), elimination of the wounded soldier carrying stinkos, and the huge increase in revenue would resolve EVERY single problem mentioned so far in this entry’s comments.

    Why isn’t this considered a viable option? I’m pro-charging for interstates and such (just like the previous post), but why can’t something be done about the fare here in PDX? Is that also too bold of a proposal?

  8. Adron-

    What about Fareless Square? I like the idea that all transit in Fareless Square is free. Even Streetcar. I think it’s fabulous.

    Would you propose eliminating Fareless Square? Or just making Streetcar non-fareless (which, you must admit, would be confusing).

  9. So…as this is an operating expense, who makes the decision

    Well, we could reconfigure current service hours, which would mean subtracting service at some other time. That 20 services hours per week is a lot to take out (like one less car all day on one weekend day), so I think that’s unlikely.

    So that means one of our two funders, the City or TriMet would need to step up. Or we find some new revenue source…

    What about Fareless Square?

    It’s a VERY core value for Streetcar to work seamlessly with TriMet, so we’re unlikely to start charging inside Fareless Square. But I think we’re up for a reexamination of the assumptions that were used in the design of Fareless Square 20+ years ago.

  10. They are actually NOT supposed to bring that crap on the car.

    Why not? They have to get them back to the store somehow. Isn’t that what transit is for?

    The cleaning crews hate the stuff too because it drips on the floor and often becomes very noxious.

    Most of the folks I see with bottles have them in plastic bags and they don’t want stuff dripping either. I suspect there are a lot of other far more “noxious” stuff that gets spilled occasionally.

  11. This is a case where a private solution would perhaps be better – apparently even running a “crushed” streetcar is operating at a loss. Is this purely due to fareless square?

  12. So that means one of our two funders, the City or TriMet would need to step up. Or we find some new revenue source…

    Oh, great. Ask for more money from TriMet, and let us non-Portlanders get the royal shaft again by watching OUR transit and OUR dollars get taken somewhere else.

    I have a solution: if TriMet is going to fund more Streetcar operations, then it will be matched by an equal reduction in Airport MAX or Yellow Line MAX service. Ain’t gonna happen, so start looking for money elsewhere. A $1.50 fare for all rides on Streetcar (since it could be considered “premium service”, and surely people who live in/around/near 23rd, SoWa, and the Pearl can afford a measly $1.50 to ride the train), it should be exempt from “Fareless Square” rules) would be a good start. Seattle’s Waterfront Streetcar (when it was an actual Streetcar) was exempt from Seattle’s downtown ride free zone and required a fare at all times.

  13. A $1.50 fare for all rides on Streetcar (since it could be considered “premium service”…

    Standing in the “crush” Thursday, I was also standing next to the ticket machine. Not only did no one buy a ticket, but it would have been a challenge to even get to the machine, even if one wanted to. The whole design of the streetcar doesn’t lend itself to fare collections, so raising fares –or even just collecting them– doesn’t strike me as realistic.

    We need a different mechanism for funding transit that keeps it affordable, similar to the payroll tax used by Tri-Met, which spreads the burden. And yes, that suggests non-riders subsidizing riders, but I’ll still offer that’s no different than non-gas buyers subsidizing those who buy gas for their automobiles.

    Maybe to get a better nexus between beneficieries of the streetcar and revenues, a distinct district transit tax for those areas of town served by the Streetcar, similar to the Local Improvement District boundaries.

  14. Well they can always use Conductors that would do the same thing that bus drivers do, except drive the Streetcar.

    If Streetcar is going to be 100% free, then it needs to be 100% City of Portland, and return the millions of dollars annually it receives from TriMet so that TriMet can focus on its REGIONAL transportation program. TriMet is not the “City of Portland Transit”, it’s “TRI-COUNTY METROPOLITIAN TRANSPORTATION”… That way at least City Hall can explain to the areas of East Portland that it wanted to annex so badly in the ’80s and ’90s that it doesn’t want to spend transportation money on them, just take their money – and let the rest of us outside city limits have our transit system that we pay for too.

  15. Indeed, that’s TriMet’s argument for reducing their share of funding (2/3rds on the current alignment) for the Loop.

    The current share is based at least in part on the idea that if Streetcar did not exist in the Pearl or South Waterfront, TriMet would need to provide new bus service, so the funding is in lieu of service hours they would otherwise need to provide.

    That argument does not work as well on the eastside or for the crush loads in downtown.

  16. If Streetcar is going to be 100% free, then it needs to be 100% City of Portland

    Erik –

    The streetcar is not 100% free. This is a common misconception. 14 of the current stops are outside of fareless square, and 23 are inside fareless square. (There have been issues with enforcement, customer confusion, and ticket machines, however.)

    Later this summer, 4 more stops will open in the South Waterfront district. None of the South Waterfront stops are in fareless square.

    As Chris mentioned earlier, fare compatibility with the rest of Portland-area transit has been a goal. I fully support this goal. I have my own issues with Fareless Square as it exists today (and I’ve expressed them here repeatedly), but for the time being I think it is critically important to maintain as much operation and fare compatibility as possible.

    – Bob R.

  17. This may be considered blasphemy, but why shouldn’t we limit all “fareless” rides to those on MAX within the downtown/I-405 loop and the Lloyd District and remove fareless rides from all buses and streetcars. This change could start once MAX starts running north/south on the Transit Mall in 2009. People will still have a convenient option of jumping on and off MAX downtown or across the river to the Convention Center for free, but operators wont have the complexity of distinguishing between paying riders and fareless riders on buses and streetcars.

    I have no idea how much money this would save TriMet or how it would affect ridership, but it would certainly help the streetcar to better fund its own operations downtown.

    Is this a crazy idea? The fareless system we have now makes little sense to me now that transit options have expanded so much downtown and I am interested in hearing any suggestions to make it work better. Maybe fareless square deserves a separate posting Chris so we can generate conversation.

    ** This post is just me thinking out load and is NOT a proposal from Metro.

  18. Brian –

    You are not the first to think along those lines… in fact TriMet plans (or at least is seriously considering) a mall-only shuttle/loop train to improve headways and circulation along the transit mall when it reopens.

    This document (pdf format, see Section 3) from the TriMet Budget Citizens Advisory Committee from Spring ’06 recommends a re-evaluation of Fareless Square around the time the mall opens.

    – Bob R.

  19. Brian,

    I’m not sure I understand the policy distinction you’re trying to make. If you’re separating commute trips (paid) from central city circulation trips (free), then wouldn’t Streetcar stay free, since that’s its major role?

    If that’s not the policy distinction you’re drawing, can you articulate what the distinction is?

  20. Chris – Fareless Square was created in the 1970s as an air quality measure since the Portland region was violating federal clean air standards on a regular basis. The rationale was that downtown workers and shoppers would be less likely to move their cars once they park downtown if they could roam free by hopping on transit for short trips.

    While I doubt that the policy had more than a negligible impact on air quality, it was embraced by the public and has since remained as one of those local quirks that Portlanders are proud of. However, since the 1970s downtown transit options have exploded to include MAX and streetcar, not just on the transit mall but on the Morrison/Yamhill and the 10th/11th couplets. Once MAX begins service on the transit mall in 2009, several buses will be permanently shifted to parallel streets.

    Like a lot of other people, I think that the fareless policy needs to be evaluated and rationalized in light of new conditions. Any change must also be easily understood by the riding public so they are not confused by what options are or are not fareless.

    In the absence of much analysis, I think that making MAX fareless between the Lloyd District and downtown while making the streetcar and buses fully paid systems makes some sense. First, as of 2009 MAX will operate east/west and north/south through downtown and thus provide broader coverage than streetcar. Second, MAX operates through the heart of the office and retail core, streetcar does not. And third, MAX already operates across the river to the convention center and the Lloyd District.

    Also, from a fare collection and inspection perspective, I would think it would be simpler to keep a fareless policy on MAX in the existing zone while making all bus and streetcar rides paid. There will still be fare evasion on MAX but it will be limited to MAX and we can clamp down on fare evasion that takes place on streetcar and buses.

    Any additional revenue that is generated can be dedicated to operating streetcar operations downtown and across the river for the eastside loop. TriMet remains adamant, that they cant fund streetcar operations beyond their existing commitment.

    I still think that providing a fareless option for downtown workers and shoppers to make short trips makes sense, but downtown living has exploded since the 1970s. The streetcar serves the heart of these new residential districts. Should those living downtown be provided free transit while the residents of the rest of the region pay for their service? I can see good arguments for both sides, but it is a question worth debating.

    Anyway, my earlier post was just one idea. I am interested in hearing other ideas. Thanks.

  21. Brian, we’re in heated agreement that a thorough review of fareless square is in order, and I believe that’s going to happen.

    But I disagree on how you’re separating the trips on MAX and Streetcar (for example, MAX does little for trips that originate or terminate in the Pearl and I don’t understand why a downtown/Lloyd axis is more important than downtoan/Pearl).

    I also don’t think you’re accurately characterizing TriMet’s statement about the Loop. They have been clear that they can’t participate at the 2/3rds level they do for the current alignment, but they have not ruled out ANY participation.

  22. I think that a separate thread on the future of fareless square could be pretty interesting. The document that Bob R. pointed to at TriMet sums up some of the issues and options- I’d be interested to know what data is out there that might inform the discussion.

    I’ve always presumed that the Lloyd-Downtown connection via MAX had as much to do with tourists/convention goers and trying to connect shopping areas as much as anything else. My impression is that the streetcar serves people living downtown more than those two groups- is there ridership data for the streetcar that looks at who is taking it and why?

  23. The Lloyd/Downtown connection makes sense from a couple of perspectives. First, the employment capacity in the Lloyd District dwarfs the Pearl District. Second, the fareless extension to the Lloyd District is heavily subsidized by lodging and rental car taxes which are supported by the industry due to the connection to the convention center. I doubt that they would support rescinding the fareless zone in the Lloyd District and redirecting these dollars to pay for some other transit service.

  24. Streetcar pretty much just does ridership counts. TriMet did a more comprehensive survey a few years ago, but I don’t think there’s anything current.

  25. fare compatibility with the rest of Portland-area transit has been a goal. I fully support this goal.

    1. It’s already been thrown out by the Aerial Tram (only TriMet monthly/annual pass holders and those holding OHSU badges are given “free” passage; all others including those with valid TriMet transfers) must pay a new fare that is completely incompatible with any other mode of transport), so “compatibility” is not the big issue that it was before.

    2. Even if “fare compatibility” must be maintained, than the City of Portland can absorb whatever cost of the Streetcar. No reason for TriMet to subsidize it.

    If TriMet somehow has an obligation to provide additional bus service to SoWa, then TriMet also need serve:

    1. All residential areas of Forest Grove,

    2. Cedar Mill

    3. Murrayhill,

    4. All areas of Tigard between 99W and Scholls Ferry Road,

    5. All residential areas of Sherwood,

    6. The mixed-use areas between Tualatin and Sherwood.

    If TriMet sees no reason to provide even minimal transit service to those areas, then it has no obligation to support Streetcar for a perceived lack of bus service in SoWa. There is an ACTUAL lack of bus service in large parts of Tualatin and Sherwood; while busses serve Macadam along the west edge of SoWa; plus the 96 serves the stop at Harbor Drive and River Parkway.

    Maybe the Portland city commissioners can come up with a Tualatin bus shuttle; after all they seem to also have a budget surplus as well.

  26. Erik,

    Tualatin has a population of what, 22,000 or so? Yet you seem to be comparing transit service and expectations with the City of Portland. A better comparision would be other towns in Oregon with 22,000 people. On that scale, you are probably better served than most…and would suggest that perhaps people at the urban core are actually subsidizing service to places like Tualatin. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but you expectations need to be alligned with the reality.

  27. Erik wrote: [fare compatibility] It’s already been thrown out by the Aerial Tram

    Erik – I advocated against tram fare incompatibility and contacted Commissioner Sam’s staff directly about this as well as posting several comments on his blog. I think I’ve been pretty consistent about the fare compatibility issue.

    Even so, as you mention, there is compatibility for pass-holders, just not individual ticket holders.

    The tram is also not constructed inside fareless square, which was the focus of the original discussion about whether to charge separately for the streetcar.

    If fareless square is to be modified, that’s up to the public process to determine. The streetcar should not unilaterally withdraw from fareless square.

    – Bob R.

  28. Tualatin has a population of what, 22,000 or so? Yet you seem to be comparing transit service and expectations with the City of Portland

    I’m not asking for a Streetcar Line in Tualatin, I’m just asking for a freakin’ bus to serve the town with decent hours. Is that too much to ask for?

    Tualatin is part of TriMet’s service boundary. If TriMet has no interest in serving Tualatin, than the Board of Directors and Fred Hansen have a moral and legal obligation to remove Tualatin from the service boundary and to stop collecting our payroll and property taxes, and let Tualatin decide what it wants. If I recall, a LOT of businesses are located in Tualatin that pay payroll taxes to TriMet. TriMet therefore has an obligation to provide service.

    How much payroll taxes does OHSU pay for its SoWa complex? How much in payroll taxes does Homer Williams pay to TriMet? How much does UPS pay (in Tualatin)? Since OHSU is exempt and Homer Williams probably doesn’t have a lot of employees, my guess is that UPS pays the most.

    If fareless square is to be modified, that’s up to the public process to determine. The streetcar should not unilaterally withdraw from fareless square.

    Fareless Square is a TriMet declaration, not a Portland/Streetcar declaration. Therefore Streetcar can do what it wants; it is not part of TriMet.

    If the City of Portland wants to operate Streetcar, I see no reason why Tualatin and the other ‘burbs have to subsidize it; particularly when many of the ‘burbs receive substandard transit service.

    As for comparing Tualatin to other cities; those other cities (by the way Corvallis/Albany is not even a comparison; Corvallis is closer to size to Gresham/Beaverton/Hillsboro; Albany is similar in size to Lake Oswego or Tigard; Tualatin is similar in size to Newberg, Newport, Klamath Falls) – that’s besides the point. Tualatin is within TriMet’s service boundary. Portland obiviously needs Tualatin’s property and payroll tax dollars to support it’s transit system. Or, Fred Hansen/TriMet’s Board of Directors can cut off the funds and see how far its budget can go. TriMet is NOT the “Portland, Gresham, Beaverton and Hillsboro Transit System”, it is the “Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District”. What part of “Tri-County” and “Metropolitan” does everyone not understand? And what part of TriMet Code 3.05 and 3.10 does everyone not understand? Or ORS 267.207(3)(a)?

  29. Fareless Square is a TriMet declaration, not a Portland/Streetcar declaration. Therefore Streetcar can do what it wants; it is not part of TriMet.

    Yes, Erik, and I maintain that Portland Streetcar should maintain fare compatibility and consistency with the TriMet system, in fact to a greater degree than it does today.

    As for comparing Tualatin to other cities […] that’s besides the point.

    Then what should we compare it to? I’m trying to get a handle on what you would like done here… as a baseline it would seem reasonable to discover if the level of service provided to Tualatin is deficient compared to other areas within our region with similar populations, densities, and road network conditions.

    I know you’ve stated that your suggestions/complaints haven’t gotten anywhere with TriMet… have you taken any of this up with your local representatives? Tualatin City Hall does have some influence in TriMet’s and Metro’s decisions…

    Tualatin could do some things to help improve transit access as well, such as completing the sidewalks along Sagert and Boone’s Ferry. (Portland lags in sidewalk development as well in some key areas.)

    – Bob R.

  30. of service provided to Tualatin is deficient compared to other areas within our region with similar populations, densities, and road network conditions.

    Well, if we want to compare “densities” than there should be ZERO service to Swan Island, Rivergate or Portland International Airport, because density is a function of population per a fixed unit of area. Obiviously NOBODY lives at those locations yet TriMet provides transit service to those areas within Portland’s city boundaries.

    But we do, because those are employment centers – as is Tualatin. Tualatin also has significant residential areas that are underserved – the nearest transit route is over a mile away.

    Tualatin could do some things to help improve transit access as well, such as completing the sidewalks along Sagert and Boone’s Ferry.

    Why do we need that to have transit? Boones Ferry has sidewalks along much of it.

    If sidewalks are a requirement for transit service than TriMet needs to IMMEDIATELY STOP operating the 1, 4, 9, 12, 16, 17, 18, 20, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 43, 44, 45, 46, 51, 52, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 63, 67, 76, 78, 84, 94 and 96 bus lines due to deficient sidewalk conditions near bus stops (how many sidewalks exist along T.V. Highway between Hillsboro and Beaverton eastbound?!! How about Barbur Blvd. between I-5 and Capitol Highway or in King City? Or on Sandy anywhere east of I-205? Or on Powell? Or on CITY OF PORTLAND MAINTAINED Capitol Highway, Taylors Ferry or Garden Home? That argument is nothing more than an excuse as to why TriMet can’t add bus service.

    It’s easier to find a route that has sidewalk deficency problems, than a route that consistently has adequate pedestrian access to all bus stops.

    By the way, there are PLENTY of sidewalks along Tualatin-Sherwood Road and Tualatin Road, so where’s the busses? There are almost-contiguous sidewalks along Boones Ferry Road as well. Sagert, on the other hand, is missing only a few hundred feet of sidewalk (above I-5) but has sidewalks to the west of the Park & Ride. Since there are bus stops on either side of I-5 (and obiviously nobody lives on the freeway), there is no need for sidewalks; because there is sidewalk access.

    BTW, I know this for a fact. Thanks to a TriMet driver’s unauthorized re-route, I missed my connection between the 96 and the 76 at Mohawk and I had the fortune of WALKING to my doctor’s clinic near Meridian Park Hospital for a post-surgery appointment. What a way to treat someone who just came out of surgery. Meanwhile, I also know that my nearest 94 stop involves walking alongside HIGHWAY 99W with significant gaps in sidewalk (nothing like walking three feet away from passing trucks and cars with gravel kicked up in my eyes at 50 MPH); and thanks to TriMet’s inability to maintain bus spacing and continuous frequent service even on the 12 I must occassionally walk this distance. So the sidewalk argument falls flat on its face again; else TriMet would have never cancelled my bus stop’s express service.

    Wait. My bus stop is actually “deficient”, as it cannot be accessed by someone in a wheelchair/scooter. TriMet had posted the stop to be relocated last November; but as of today the stop is in the same, non-ADA compliant location. Good thing I can walk…

  31. Erik –

    Frankly I don’t understand the hostility in your posts. I know you are frustrated with the level of service currently delivered in your area. I think it is fair to say that most of the participants here want to see improved transit service throughout the region, but every time I and others have tried to engage you on this (even though we haven’t been in 100% agreement), it turns into a diatribe. First against MAX, then against the streetcar, then against commuter rail, and now against something like a couple dozen other bus lines.

    I never said that sidewalks were a necessary precursor to TriMet service. I suggested that you engage with your local city government to see how pressure could be applied to TriMet and how the pedestrian network could be improved, and yet somehow you’ve managed to twist this into thinking I’m against you. I’m not. My priorities are probably different than yours as to where I’d improve transit first, but I’m not your enemy.

    – Bob R.

  32. Bob,

    I have nothing against you personally.

    What I have a problem with is TriMet’s continual inability to perform it’s basic function, which is to provide mass transit services throughout its district.

    I have heard every excuse in the book as to why it can’t do it, but here are the facts:

    1. TriMet is pro-rail, which comes at the expense of bus services (this is clearly indiciated in the amount of capital funding afforded rail services, which does not correspond to TriMet’s own ridership data).

    2. TriMet has let bus service stagnate. This is clearly indicated by TriMet’s refusal to invest in its bus fleet, allowing the bus fleet to age, failing to follow the lead of other transit agencies in acquiring higher density and more efficient and reliable busses.

    3. TriMet has significant service gaps in its legal boundaries. Several cities have already opted out of TriMet’s boundaries, including Wilsonville, Canby, Molalla and Sandy.

    4. Metro and the City of Portland have allowed TriMet to subsidize pet projects for one city (namely, the Portland Streetcar), while the service gaps remain; despite that the pet projects are already well served by existing transit. Metro has also used TriMet to further development goals, instead of providing transit services to existing neighborhoods.

    Yes, I have a problem when TriMet is a form of government that has zero public involvement (ironic for a city that prides itself on public involvement). Yes, I have a problem with I pay TriMet taxes yet I get second-rate service, if I get it at all. Yes, I have a problem when I am subsidizing Portland’s Streetcar, for which I never had a vote on the matter. Yes, I have a problem when I hear TriMet’s excuses for why it can’t do something (as simple as rounding up a bus and a driver); yet TriMet has no problem spending hundreds of millions to do something else. Yes, I have a problem when the best TriMet can do for Tualatin is a commuter rail line that it didn’t even want to be a part of in the first place; a commuter rail line that will only operate for seven hours a day, weekday rush hours only; while Clackamas Town Center, which already has a plethora of bus routes, is getting MAX; while PSU which already has virtually every TriMet bus line at its disposal (and Streetcar) is getting MAX; while OHSU doesn’t pay TriMet taxes it gets a handful of busses dedicated to OHSU service – who pays for it?

    The solution is simple: TriMet’s massive capital planning department needs to schedule some routes; TriMet’s massive finance department needs to stop wasting money; TriMet’s massive procurement department needs to order busses; and Fred Hansen would do well to actually come to Tualatin and see that this city does exist beyond Bridgeport Village. Yes, people do live and work here; but it’s too bad that I live here and can’t shop here without detouring through King City, Tigard and Durham – and then on a 30 minute interval between here and Tigard and a 40 minute interval from Tigard back to Tualatin.

    What’s so hard about it? That’s why I’m angry, because a bunch of TriMet’s executives in the “Ivory Tower” on 17th Street don’t get it, and most importantly they don’t care – they just want the checks (the property and payroll tax revenues) to keep coming in.

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