Streetcar System Plan Wins Award

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Oregon has awarded an excellence award to the Portland Streetcar System Concept Plan.

Congratulations to the staff, consultant team and to the System Advisory Committee!

7 responses to “Streetcar System Plan Wins Award”

  1. Being awarded for something that hasn’t been built yet? Yeah, whatever. Get your award now before the streetcar being built on Highway 99E screws up traffic and makes the streetcar ride miserable as it sits in traffic with everyone else!

    “Bu-bu-bu- they got an award!!1!” Yippee.

  2. 99E in Historic East Portland (aka the Grand/MLK couplet) has 4 travel lanes in each direction…more than enough to accommodate a streetcar for local trips. Even with losing lanes to construction, the sky has not fallen.
    Auto lovers just can’t get enough; how about learning to share the public space we call streets with transit, bikes and pedestrians.

  3. Lenny — I wouldn’t mind riding the streetcar down MLK and Grand if it HAD its own lane and not be subjected to automotive congestion.

    Because the streetcar WILL be subjected to automotive congestion while other clear and simple alternatives existed (such as routing the streetcar the next block over), the city and the neighborhood chose to route the streetcar down the often-congested Highway 99E and share just one lane with autos making right turns (who also have to yield to pedestrians), buses and trucks, etc.

    So, yes I’m going to raise a stink about it because no agency deserves to be rewarded for making such a pisspoor decision like that. Streetcars are supposed to help us move forward, not backward. Interstate 5 has its place because it has no traffic lights, so it’s use is put to the maximum. Building a multi-million dollar streetcar to putt-putt in traffic is NOT maximizing its potential!

    I can’t wait to see five streetcars backed up on MLK when I-84 comes to a grinding halt causing everybody trying to get on the eastbound on-ramp to hog the right lane of MLK, thus affecting streetcar service! It happens more often than not, luckily when I drive though there I see that long line of cars I know I need to take Burnside out of town and avoid I-84.

  4. Hi Chris –

    You raise some important points, but there are a couple of mitigating factors… from the engineering drawings I’ve seen, unless there have been very recent changes, the streetcar is not in the right lane at the I-84 on-ramp. It jogs to the left, presumably with an advanced signal, similar to the advanced signal that buses on Belmont get when crossing Grand westbound.

    Further, there will be a dedicated lane for the streetcar southbound starting at the Convention Center. I’m not sure how far it will extend, but conceivably it could go as far south as Davis or even Couch.

    Years ago I did suggest running the streetcar on 6th, combined with a new 7th Ave. viaduct over I-84. The viaduct could have had 2-lanes plus bikeways and wide sidewalks, facilitating local N-S auto/bike/ped traffic, improving the function of the existing grid. The streetcar could have run on 7th through the Lloyd District (basically like it is currently being constructed), but continue south across this 7th Ave. viaduct and then divert to 6th. 6th could then become a fully signalized bike/ped/transit-only street.

    But, that’s not what the stakeholders wanted, and I must say that the meetings I attended were very crowded with various stakeholders… often-times standing-room only. There are good arguments in favor of using MLK/Grand, including bringing a bit of calming and pedestrian-friendliness to this important main street corridor. It’s not just a thru-way, it is _currently_ zoned for all sorts of uses including residential. People do live/work/shop there.

  5. I have issues with the unpedestrian-friendly nature of MLK and Grand. Those streets are the biggest traffic sewer in all of Portland… 60,000 trips a day, 4 high speed one way travel lanes + 2 parking lanes – over 60 feet of pavement to cross (just for one street alone). These are the streets where motorists absolutely refuse to stop for pedestrians to cross. Broadway and Weidler arent much better in this regard and also have to deal with another traffic clogged on-off freeway ramp.

    Anyhow they are excavating the 8 or 9 ft trackway trench right in front of Metro HQ. I think this is the first piece of actual streetcar track construction to begin.

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