Archive | October, 2008

Streetcar Line Colors Assigned, Amber Line Breaks Ridership Records

As the Streetcar Loop moves into final engineering TriMet has assigned colors for the system map for our soon-to-be-two-line system. The current alignment from South Waterfront to NW 23rd will be the Amber Line, while the new Loop route (which won’t really be a loop until 2015 or so) will be the Aqua Line. I am told the general ‘family’ for streetcar colors is from precious stone colors (then why don’t we have a Diamond line?).

If someone comments that bus riders are discriminated against and under-served because their lines don’t get colors, I’m going go throw myself under a rail car.

Meanwhile, weekday ridership on the existing line (everybody practice now: the Amber line) was 12,600 during the summer ridership counts. That’s up about 25% from the year before. Saturday ridership was 11,700, Sunday 7,300, both also records.

Updated: Sorting Out South Portland Transportation


Here’s a diagram of all the projects on the table for South Portland. Lot’s of moving pieces!


from PDOT:

Open House for South Portland Transportation Projects

The City of Portland Office of Transportation is hosting an open house focused on transportation projects (and potential funding for the projects) in the South Portland Neighborhood which includes the South Waterfront District, the historic Lair Hill neighborhood and the North Macadam Urban Renewal Area.

Join us for an Open House!

5-8 p.m. Tuesday, October 7, 2008
David Evans and Associates, Willamette River Room
2100 SW River Parkway, Portland (served by Portland Streetcar)

Information will be available for:

SW Gibbs Street. Pedestrian Bridge – See the proposed bridge including computer-generated pictures of what the constructed bridge might look like. The Pedestrian Bridge will create a link for cyclists and pedestrians across I-5 adjacent the Portland Aerial Tram. At the open house, the project team will have information to share about the selected bridge type, the plaza area on the east end of the bridge, and pedestrian improvements on the west end of the bridge

If you can’t attend the open house, you can review materials and complete an online survey at The online survey will be available through October 17, 2008. For more information, please contact Jody Yates at (503) 823-5835 or

North Macadam Transportation Strategy – Review the selected bicycle, pedestrian, transit, and motor vehicle projects. For more information, please contact Art Pearce at (503) 823-7791 or

North Macadam Transportation System Development Charge (SDC) – View the proposed list of eligible projects and potential rates. For more information, please contact Kathryn Levine at (503) 823-7085 or

North Macadam Transportation Management Association (TMA) – review a proposal to start a Transportation Management Association that will serve North Macadam residents and businesses. For more information, please contact Dan Bower at (503) 823-5667 or

Representatives from the City of Portland Office of Transportation (PDOT), Portland Development Commission (PDC), Parks? TriMet? as well as consultants will be present to provide information and answer questions.

Transportation Investment Choices

As part of the New Look/Regional Transportation Plan process, Metro is examining patterns of public infrastructure investments. A joint TPAC/MTAC (the technocratic advisory committees) workshop will be held on Monday, October 13th from 2-4pm in the Metro Council Chambers (600 NE Grand in Portland) to look at scenarios for transportation investment choices.

Opportunity to Hang with National Rail/Transit Geeks

From a press release I just sent out. I hope the Portland Transport crowd will be well represented!

National Transit Passenger Advocates
Hold Outreach Meeting in Portland

Board Members of Rail Users’ Network to meet with Portland transit users and advocates.

October 1, 2008 – RUN – the Rail User’s Network will hold an outreach meeting in Portland on Wednesday, October 15th at 7pm. The meeting will be held in Room C on the 2nd floor of the Portland Building, 1120 SW 5th Ave.

The meeting will present a rare opportunity for rail advocates in Portland and elsewhere in the Northwest Region to meet with the counterparts from elsewhere in the nation, to exchange ideas for improving both transit in the region and advocacy efforts toward better transit. “Cities like Portland and Seattle represent the future in American transit, where new lines get people out of their automobiles and into downtown” said David Peter Alan, a RUN Board member and a rail advocate in New Jersey. He also stated: “We also want to help the advocacy movement grow in places like Portland, so transit riders can have as much of a voice as possible in making decisions about their transit.”

The RUN meeting will feature representatives from the Citizens’ Advisory Committee for the Portland Streetcar, the Association of Oregon Rail and Transit Advocates (AORTA) and All Aboard Washington, a coalition of Washington State rail advocates. RUN members from other regions will attend the meeting, as well. The meeting is scheduled to coincide with the Fall meeting of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP), which begins the next day. NARP advocates at the national level for improvements in Amtrak intercity trains. A number of NARP Directors are also expected to attend the RUN meeting.

Chris Smith, chair of the Portland Streetcar Citizens Advisory Committee is acting as local host. If you are interested in attending the meeting, please RSVP to


RUN, the Rail Users’ Network, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the improvement of passenger rail service and rail transit. Our primary concern is expansion and improved management of local transit, including commuter rail, heavy rail, light rail and heritage streetcars. We are also concerned with the quality of travel on intercity trains operated by Amtrak and VIA Rail, and connectivity between intercity trains and local rail transit.

Our members are experienced rail advocates from around the nation. Many of us are active with state and local rail advocacy coalitions and transit-appointed advisory committees. We come from all walks of life, including law, engineering, business and rail management. We publish the RUN Newsletter quarterly, hold meetings in New York and around the country and sponsor conferences focusing on improved advocacy for better rail and transit service.

WES: Fall opening falls behind.

TriMet has delayed the opening of WES until February 2nd, primarily due to problems with the railcar vendor.

From the press release:

TriMet purchased three self-propelled Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) cars and one trailer from Colorado Railcar Manufacturing (CRM). TriMet contracted with CRM, the only U.S. firm that builds DMUs that meets federal safety standards and complies with the Buy America requirement.

CRM has been financially distressed and is six months behind schedule. In January 2008, TriMet stepped in to ensure the cars’ completion, including providing financial and rail engineering expertise and on-site technical assistance to CRM, as well as paying suppliers to get parts delivered and maintain CRM operations. When the third DMU arrived in September, TriMet engineers determined that it would not be ready for service this fall.

See the press release for more details about the opening, the delay, and train testing.