LO Streetcar project “suspended”

Allan got here first in the the open thread, but The Oregonian is reporting that the Lake Oswego/Portland transit project has been “suspended”. Last night, the Lake Oswego city council indicated that they would not support the project, and Portland mayor Sam Adams announced this morning that the project was being suspended. Adams indicated that going forward, the city of Portland would focus more on implementing the Streetcar System Plan, which the LO/Portland project predates.

113 Comments

113 Responses to LO Streetcar project “suspended”

  1. Chris Smith
    January 11, 2012 at 10:57 am Link

    I think what’s happening here is the portion of the LO Council that supports an urban development/redevelopment agenda has figured out that they need to get consensus around the Foothills development BEFORE Streetcar, not the other way around.

    In the current political environment, there is no consensus on either.

  2. AL M
    January 11, 2012 at 11:11 am Link

    Woo Hoo! Let’s have a party!

  3. Cora Potter
    January 11, 2012 at 11:14 am Link

    Foster Road loves this news.

  4. DE
    January 11, 2012 at 11:15 am Link

    There will be a party in Dunthorpe tonight. Sorry, Al, 1%-ers only.

  5. Douglas K.
    January 11, 2012 at 11:35 am Link

    Good. Now can Portland and L.O start talking about simply electrifying the line to run Vintage Trolleys on the existing track?

  6. EngineerScotty
    January 11, 2012 at 11:54 am Link

    While I’m certain that Dunthorpe residents along the line are pleased, its unclear that they were the cause of this–Lake Oswego offered tepid support for the project last year, and Dunthorpe residents aren’t part of Lake Oswego. Unless you think that Dunthorpers were covertly behind anti-project agitation in LO.

  7. Chris Smith
    January 11, 2012 at 11:59 am Link

    I think it was actually pretty overt :-)

  8. Chris I
    January 11, 2012 at 11:59 am Link

    Turn the ROW into a bike trail south of the Sellwood bridge and give the 35 BRT treatment. We aren’t going to have the money for this project, and it isn’t worth it given the tiny amount of riders it would serve.

  9. Douglas K.
    January 11, 2012 at 12:06 pm Link

    Chris I, we can’t turn the ROW into a bike trail. The easement can be used only for rail. Tear up the rail and the easement disappears. (Which, of course, the people in Dunthorpe would love.)

    That’s why I support electrifying it and running Vintage Trolleys as an excursion service. It keeps the right-of-way in public use at a relatively low cost, against the day that full Streetcar service eventually becomes viable.

  10. AL M
    January 11, 2012 at 12:07 pm Link

    Sorry, Al, 1%-ers only.

    ~~~>You’ve never seen me in a tuxedo!

  11. DE
    January 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm Link

    It was absolutely overt. Since Dunthorpe isn’t represented by either of the cities that will pay for this, the strategy was always to pressure LO into backing out of the deal.

  12. EngineerScotty
    January 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm Link

    What would be next? Would the City of Portland consider building a truncated line down to Nevada Street, with the intent of connecting to the Sellwood, or are streetcar dollars (and energy) now likely to go elsewhere?

    And what about the ROW–now that a project to use it “for real” has been advanced and abandoned, does this give property owners along the right of way a stronger hand to sue to force abandonment (even if token service is run to maintain the ROW for future transit use)?

  13. Lenny Anderson
    January 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm Link

    My guess is the token service will continue…too much is at stake. But the next streetcar line will be to and through neighborhoods/communities that want it and, more importantly, want it enough to put up real money. There will never be real BRT on the 35 as there is no dedicated ROW; the best you will ever get is Frequent Service, but its in line behind a dozen FS line that have seen cuts. Not really much cause for transit advocates to celebrate here.

  14. Sigma
    January 11, 2012 at 2:11 pm Link

    “Adams indicated that going forward, the city of Portland would focus more on implementing the Streetcar System Plan”

    Really? PDOT’s senior transit planner left the agency some time ago, and the position is being eliminated as part of the budget cuts. I bet there won’t be another streetcar built for a long, long time, if ever. And good, AFAIC. Don’t you think we should restore a proactive sidewalk repair program, to name one example, before we spend 10s of millions on redundant transit service?

  15. Lenny Anderson
    January 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm Link

    Streetcar to LO was a regional project with Metro in the lead, not PBOT. Let LIDs fund sidewalks. Regional transit system upgrades are for everyone, but it looks like the 1% tax dodgers of Dunthrope trumped on this one. No real surprise.

  16. Michael Feldman
    January 11, 2012 at 5:58 pm Link

    I’ve wondered all along whether we’ve completely lost our ability to do experiments and proof-of-concepts. The Willamette Shore Trolley’s north end is one block from the Streetcar’s south end. The south end of the Trolley is in the Lake O business district.

    Why not just ratchet up the service on the Trolley? Start small and simple. Spend relatively small chunks of money instead of proposing a $400 million mega-project?

    Use the existing cars with their generator trailers and run them at the maximum frequency the line capacity can handle, every day at commute times. WES runs every half hour; can the Trolley do so also?

    Next step: If that is successful, increase capacity by leasing a few modern low-floor DMU’s, such as run in Austin (TX), the River Line (NJ), and the WES-like line in the San Diego suburbs.

    Unlike WES, there’s no freight service to worry about. So assuming the project is done without Federal funds, standard off-the-shelf European DMU’s could do the job without meeting FRA crahs standards or Buy American regs.

    Next step: If capacity on the single-track line is a problem, build a couple of passing sidings and increase frequency.

    Next step: Upgrade the track to increase the speed limit and the smoothness of the ride.

    Next step: Run the service all day.

    Next step: Add the missing block of track, to provide a cross-platform transfer to the Streetcar.

    Etc., etc. — you get the idea. The point is to use some ingenuity to build support a little at a time.

    Maybe at some point, the limits of the mostly single-track diesel line will be obvious and demand will build for a full-scale electric line. This is what I think has happened in Ottawa.

    If we end up with nothing more than a line running current-technology clean-diesel cars, reliably on modern track, that wouldn’t be so bad — other cities do it and so does WES.

    Does this city still have the imagination to do something like this? Or must it be an all-or-nothing, over-engineered, spendy project?

  17. Douglas K.
    January 11, 2012 at 6:21 pm Link

    I’m with Michael on doing this incrementally, although I’d start with adding one block of track to connect the WST line to the Portland Streetcar and adding overhead wire. That way, we have four Vintage Streetcars that can be put into immediate use and rotated out of service as needed.

    Otherwise, I’m basically on board with his ideas. Leaving aside quibbling about details, it’s definitely conceivable to evolve a Streetcar line in small steps over years, instead of doing a single project costing hundreds of millions of dollars.

  18. Michael D. Setty
    January 11, 2012 at 7:36 pm Link

    Well, you can be sure Randal O’Toole will take credit for this, like he already did for the demise of the longer LRT line along Woodward Avenue in Detroit. See http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=6045.

  19. zefwagner
    January 11, 2012 at 9:19 pm Link

    This was never a very good use of transportation funding. Poor ridership, long segments through low-density nothing, service to an affluent suburb…not exactly the stuff of high-quality transit. The Metro High Capacity Transit Plan is full of much better corridors to put our money into.

    I don’t see why it can’t be converted into a trail through the Rails-to-Trails railbanking program. Can someone explain why not?

    I hope Mayor Adams is just paying lip service to the Streetcar Network Plan. The funding should go towards street improvements for better bus system speed and reliability. More queue jumps, signal priority, bus bulbs, bus lanes, etc. I predict little support for streetcars after the eastside line becomes the debacle it is destined to be.

  20. Chris Smith
    January 11, 2012 at 9:33 pm Link

    The challenge with a rails-to-trails conversion is that some portions of the right of way are not in complete public ownership. In these cases the consortium of governments that controls the right of way only possesses an easement. If the right of way is not used for rail purposes, the easement lapses and the use of the land reverts to the original owner.

    This is why we continue to run the tourist trolley, it ensures the continued control of the right of way.

  21. EngineerScotty
    January 11, 2012 at 9:50 pm Link

    There are examples of historic railroads being used for de facto transit service; here in Oregon we have the Astoria Riverfront Trolley (see here for more information). However, it is volunteer-staffed, runs infrequently, and is a low ridership service (30k riders per year). A similar service maybe COULD work on the Willamette Shoreline ROW, except:

    * If it were volunteer-based (or anything other than operated by union labor), it couldn’t integrate with TriMet (no integrated ticketing, etc) per the current (expired) collective bargaining agreement.
    * It couldn’t through-route with Streetcar, obviously. You’d have to board in Lake Oswego and get off in Macadam, or vice versa. If one assumes that a “historic” streetcar operates under a waiver of normal safety regulations, it could not connect to the rest of the TriMet or Streetcar system.
    * Even if no capital improvements to the line are made beyond electrification, that still would likely cost in the tens of millions of dollars.
    * The historic equipment would pose significant reliability problems (and be expensive to operate); use of modern equipment would bring the route under the auspicies of modern safety standards.

    I’d rather spend that money increasing the frequency of the 35.

    WRT the rails/trails issue, under which jurisdiction (Portland or Lake Oswego) is the easement(s) located in? Any legal obstacles to the use of eminent domain for this purpose, above and beyond rich guys raising a stink?

    A while back, I (jokingly) suggested building a new freight rail bridge in the vicinity of the Sellwood bridge, using it to connect the Willamette Branch line to the Samtrak line on the eastern shore, and then using that for Portland and Western trains–allowing the existing Milwaukie/LO Bridge to be then converted to transit use. There’s something poetic about having smoke-belching diesels hauling logs running through Dunthorpe several times a day, don’t you think? :)

  22. DE
    January 11, 2012 at 10:42 pm Link

    Yes, there is an obstacle to eminent domain. It would cost about $80 million dollars, presumably to buy. ED is not simply taking land, it is buying it. The reason the ROW is so valuable as match is that it would be ridiculously expensive to buy.

  23. Chris Smith
    January 11, 2012 at 10:47 pm Link

    That would depend on how much of the right-of-way is easement rather than ownership, and my impression is that the easements are relatively small stretches (but I don’t know definitively).

    But eminent domain is not very politically popular these days. That could be a greater obstacle.

  24. Michael Feldman
    January 11, 2012 at 11:06 pm Link

    Douglas said

    I’m with Michael on doing this incrementally, although I’d start with adding one block of track to connect the WST line to the Portland Streetcar and adding overhead wire. That way, we have four Vintage Streetcars that can be put into immediate use and rotated out of service as needed.

    Well, I was suggesting that we start with little or no capital investment, just to try the idea out.

    I visited the South Waterfront terminal today, just to refresh my memory. Putting in that block of track would be feasible but nontrivial, because of the street configuration there. And electrification is far from free.

    So IMO it’s better just to start with the cars pulling their own generator trailers, as the WST does now. If the Vintage Streetcars could be used in this mode, so much the better.

    The WST website shows a fare of $10 round trip. Maybe that’s OK for a tourist ride, but it would need to be subsidized down to TriMet or Streetcar size.

    Chris makes a lot of good points about the difficulty of integrating this with the Streetcar or TriMet. But solving those problems could come at a later stage, after the concept was proved.

    Maybe in the first phase, operation could be with volunteer staff — that is, just like the WST but running on weekdays with a bit higher frequency.

    No, the cars couldn’t be through-routed, but that should also come later. In the first instance, riders could walk the block between the WST and the Streetcar. The distance is about the same as connecting from Streetcar to/from MAX at the 10th/11th/Morrison/Yamhill interchange.

    To reiterate, I’m trying to promote experimentation and small steps, to try to build demand for each step when the previous step succeeds. We don’t need to have all the answers up front, especially if only minimal cash is being invested at the beginning.

    One last point: today’s Oregonian has a piece about recent increases in TriMet ridership; one explanation is that more people are seeing the benefit of letting someone else do the driving while they talk, text, or web-surf. With the steadily growing number of people with smart phones and pads, this is an attraction we should make more of. Riding the WST to the Streetcar to downtown Portland provides a nice opportunity to relax and use the technology.

  25. Michael Feldman
    January 11, 2012 at 11:16 pm Link

    Douglas K. Says:

    Good. Now can Portland and L.O start talking about simply electrifying the line to run Vintage Trolleys on the existing track?

    A quick web search suggests to me that electrifying the WST would itself cost millions. That’s too much for a quick and easy proof-of-concept project. That’s why I’m arguing for sticking with generator trailers in the first instance, with modern diesel LRV’s (a.k.a. DMU’s) in a later stage, and full-bore electrification only after the project thus far has succeeded and the benefits of investing in wires are more obvious.

  26. dwainedibbly
    January 12, 2012 at 4:14 am Link

    Let’s do the minimum necessary to keep the ROW and invest the rest of our money where it is wanted. If there is a silent majority in LO who really want this project , they can take it up with their elected officials, perhaps at election time.

  27. Aaron G
    January 12, 2012 at 5:36 am Link

    The track that’s down there right now, could one of our modern streetcars sit on those tracks and do fine other than having no juice overhead?

  28. Chris I
    January 12, 2012 at 6:48 am Link

    Scotty,

    I love your new rail bridge south of the Sellwood idea. This bridge could also carry Amtrak trains if Oregon develops the Oregon Electric route. They would have freight trains AND “high speed” passenger trains tearing through their neighborhood!

  29. Jason Barbour
    January 12, 2012 at 7:31 am Link

    Foster Road loves this news.
    Foster Rd. doesn’t need a streetcar. 14-Hawthorne bus service is good enough (and would be better if/when the old level of service is reinstated and/or if/when TriMet buys enough new buses to refresh the entire fleet).
    In fact, I’d go as far as to say a Foster Rd. Streetcar route would simply further “monomodal fixation disorder.”

  30. Cora Potter
    January 12, 2012 at 8:03 am Link

    Foster Road needs a street car to provide the amenities that bus service does not support. The 14 wouldn’t be going anywhere. I ride that stretch on the 14 and yes, the 14 is adequate for what’s there currently. It would not be adequate, even with frequent service, for local service transportation as the area develops.

    As a local service bus, it would suffer from the same problems that the current 72 has – it would turn from a bus that is supposed to be relatively frequent and quick to move people longer distances, to an annoying, crowded, smelly bus that stops every two blocks and loses all mobility.

    IMHO, Foster, 82nd and the future 122nd need street car coupled with faster, frequent bus service. They perform two very different functions.

  31. al m
    January 12, 2012 at 8:19 am Link

    Everybody needs a streetcar!
    I said it a long time ago, every bus line should be a STREET CAR!

  32. EngineerScotty
    January 12, 2012 at 8:26 am Link

    Functionally, streetcar does nothing that can’t be done with bus. Rails have an advantage in comfort and capacity, and if you assume rails=electric and busses=fuel-burning, then they don’t produce local air pollution, but beyond that the “differences” between the two modes are cultural.

    When you said that XXX street “needs Streetcar”, it’s helpful to be specific as to what you mean. Do you mean:

    * The additional capacity of Streetcar is needed to avoid people getting stranded? (Generally, if a capacity issue is your prime argument, you might go a step further and consider light rail).

    * Investors and developers will only improve lots along the line if there is a streetcar present, but won’t provide the same service for a bus line?

    * There are significant potential riders in the catchment area who will ride a train but refuse to ride a bus?

    Arguments about performance (frequency, reliability, speed) generally are mode-agnostic. What matters here is the nature of the right-of-way and stops. The reason local bus is slower than MAX is because it runs in mixed traffic (and has to wait for signals and cars in its lane), stops every 500 feet in some cases, and boarding passengers have to proceed single-file past the driver; not because one has tires and the other has steel wheels.

  33. al m
    January 12, 2012 at 8:32 am Link

    AS you can see from the above film,PORTLAND has been a leader in bringing back those good old days!

    And all the modes of transport shown in that old time film are now back in vogue in PORTLANDIA, except one big one….AND ITS THE MOST GREEN FORM OF TRANSPORTATION EVER….

    And we need to form a commission as soon as possible to get this really green form of transit back in vogue, Portland can be the leader in this mode too:

    THE HORSE AND BUGGY OF COURSE!

  34. al m
    January 12, 2012 at 8:43 am Link

    stops every 500 feet in some cases, and boarding passengers have to proceed single-file past the driver

    I guess light rail does have it’s ADVANTAGES!

  35. Chris I
    January 12, 2012 at 8:53 am Link

    Al,

    Yes, a much lower cost per rider with extremely rare incidents of violence. And since were using anecdotes now, when was the last time a MAX train plowed through a large group of pedestrians, killing several of them?

  36. EngineerScotty
    January 12, 2012 at 9:19 am Link

    One advantage that smaller vehicles like busses do have is the driver can more closely monitor passenger behavior, though I question how quickly a driver could respond to an incident like that in the back of a crushloaded bus.

    On the same topic, is anyone else annoyed by this report at KGW? Apparently some teenager got the cr*p kicked out of him by a passing motorist (who got out of his car and waylaid the teen, sending him to the hospital)… and at the top of the coverage is a video featuring a MAX train? Other than the fact that the attack happened near a MAX station, and that the victim was left lying on the tracks (he was NOT struck by any train), TriMet has nothing to do with this incident.

  37. Chris I
    January 12, 2012 at 9:25 am Link

    They need to keep perpetuating the “crime rail” angle to keep their suburban anti-transit viewer base interested. Fact is, this was a crime committed by a motorist, directed at a pedestrian.

  38. dave
    January 12, 2012 at 9:30 am Link

    Cora – why would Foster, 82nd, and 122nd all need a streetcar? Streetcars perform the best in dense urban areas. The Pearl and the West End downtown being the best examples. I think the Eastside streetcar line is a stretch but time will tell as to what happens there. Buses do a lot better on suburban streets. If you’re bus is “annoying, crowded, and smelly”, that’s due to Trimet’s service cuts, and the lack of new and more modern buses. A streetcar isn’t going to solve any of those issues.

  39. Sigma
    January 12, 2012 at 9:42 am Link

    “* Investors and developers will only improve lots along the line if there is a streetcar present, but won’t provide the same service for a bus line?”

    Actually Cora raises a good point. One only needs to look at the utter stagnation on Williams, Alberta, and Mississippi to see that more streetcars are needed, like yesterday. [facepalm]

  40. al m
    January 12, 2012 at 9:42 am Link

    when was the last time a MAX train plowed through a large group of pedestrians, killing several of them?

    ~~~SCORE 1 ‘CHRIS I”

    (actually I DO NOT HATE rail, just hate watching bus service get cut in favor of questionable rail projects)

  41. al m
    January 12, 2012 at 9:48 am Link

    Three cheer for the developers:

    Hip Hip Hooray!

  42. Douglas K.
    January 12, 2012 at 9:57 am Link

    Even if no capital improvements to the line are made beyond electrification, that still would likely cost in the tens of millions of dollars

    Well, what is the cost per mile to put in overhead wire on the current eastside streetcar project? I understand the total cost is about $10 million per mile, and that includes tearing up the street, putting down ties and track, repaving afterwards, stations, and so forth. How much of that is the overhead electrical system? I haven’t been able to figure that out.

  43. EngineerScotty
    January 12, 2012 at 10:03 am Link

    Typical costs in the US for electrification are about $2M-$3M per mile. Given the length of the route (about 7 miles) that comes to a ballpark figure of about $15M-$20M to electrify the line.

    Note that double-track electrification is not twice as expensive as single-track; a significant portion of the cost is getting electric infrastructure TO the tracks; and two parallel rails can often be served by a single physical structure located between.

  44. Cora Potter
    January 12, 2012 at 10:13 am Link

    Dave, Foster, 122nd and 82nd are not the suburbs and they are all main street corridors, and in the case of Foster a main street corridor attached to a Town Center, which are intended to support moderate to high density communities- much like they did in the past before I-205 wiped out thousands of households and created conditions that drained the business vitality.

    But maybe you’re right…maybe we should only invest in local business and development supportive transit in areas that are already thriving. No need to correct past inequities. No need to make sure that no area of town is maintained as the reserve ghetto. Let’s keep justifying current failures to invest by citing the conditions caused by past failures to invest and “investments” that destroyed less affluent communities for the benefit of wealthier communities.

  45. Cora Potter
    January 12, 2012 at 10:18 am Link

    Sigma – that wasn’t my point. But in the case of Foster, yes, streetcar is needed to stimulate investment and send a signal to developers that the city is committed to the health of the community.

    In the case of Alberta, Mississippi and Williams, the development conditions were different – particularly on Mississippi and Williams where the access to downtown easily supports high levels of bicycle commuting.

  46. dave
    January 12, 2012 at 10:42 am Link

    Cora – according to Metro, there are 38 designated Town Centers:
    http://library.oregonmetro.gov/files//11-01-11_soc-_final_-_web.pdf

    Are you saying all of them should get Streetcar service? Are buses inadequate to service most of the metro area? Rail has its place but so do buses. I real issue is the lack of investment by Trimet in bus service. Upgrade station area, modern buses and frequent service would do a long ways to addressing some of your issues.

    I agree that I-205 hurt part of east Portland but this is the first time I’ve heard that “thousands” of households were displaced by it? Where are you getting your numbers from? As a recall, a lot of the area where 205 runs was vacant. Perhaps the number is more like hundreds.

  47. al m
    January 12, 2012 at 11:19 am Link

    Since “Chris I” brought up the “mowed over by buses” point I thought it would be nice to point out that

    LIGHT RAIL ACTUALLY KILLS MORE PEOPLE than buses do!

    So take that “Chris I”

    Al M=2/Chris I=1

    Your serve….

  48. EngineerScotty
    January 12, 2012 at 11:22 am Link

    Issac Laquedem posts his thoughts.

  49. R A Fontes
    January 12, 2012 at 11:25 am Link

    The Damoclean sword is still hanging over decent corridor transit.

    Neither Councilor Tierney nor Councilor Moncrieff changed their support for the LOTP streetcar; they just said that the time wasn’t right. It could be that streetcar boosters just are regrouping, getting their ducks in line, and planning an unstoppable full-force offensive when opponents’ guard is down.

    There appears to be movement to have a slate of stealth streetcar supporting candidates for LO’s City Council in November. It’s hard to say if there will be enough viable anti-streetcar candidates to challenge more than one or two of the boosters. However, only one more Council vote for common sense would assure good transit and keep us in line for frequent service on the 35, now scheduled for somewhere between 2018 and 2025.

  50. Chris I
    January 12, 2012 at 11:26 am Link

    Al, once again, relying on fake websites created by anti-transit advocates to make a point…

    You know that a significant portion of those deaths are suicides, and should not be counted. Rail transportation is the safest mode of transit for its passengers, unless you count those committing suicide on the tracks as “passengers”.

  51. EngineerScotty
    January 12, 2012 at 11:36 am Link

    I’d second Chris’s comments. Many of the deaths on the tracks are suicides, JK knows it, and he deliberately omits that information, portraying such events as accidents. If you’re going to kill yourself, walking in front of a train is a great way to do it as the train will not be able to either swerve out of the way or stop in time.

    Many people also do themselves in by jumping off of bridges, yet I don’t hear anyone calling for a moratorium on bridge construction.

  52. AL M
    January 12, 2012 at 11:56 am Link

    NO NO AND NO!

    These were all deliberate killings by the DEATH TRAIN!

    That is not a good serve, try again:

    Adams keeps local streetcar plan on track after LO balks

  53. Sigma
    January 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm Link

    in the case of Foster, yes, streetcar is needed to stimulate investment and send a signal to developers that the city is committed to the health of the community.

    In the case of Alberta, Mississippi and Williams, the development conditions were different – particularly on Mississippi and Williams where the access to downtown easily supports high levels of bicycle commuting.

    So what did the City do to “send a signal” On Mississippi, Williams or Alberta? Tupelo Alley (the “Mississippi Monstrosity” as I like to call it) has underground parking. You think they built that because of bike access?

    The myth that streetcar is solely or even largely responsible for all the recent development along its alignment is going die once the eastside line opens. The Pearl exists because of the development agreement between the City and Hoyt St Properties, not because of streetcar. That agreement stipulated that if the City invested in infrastructure (new streets, sidewalks, water and sewer, parks, and yes, the streetcar), then Hoyt St was required to build to a minimum density. Once infrastructure milestones were reached, the minimum density requirement increased. The streetcar was one component among many, but that is conveniently left out of the narrative driven by streetcar advocates. I guarantee that if you remove the streetcar from the equation but left everything else the same, the result would be strikingly similar.

    None of those conditions exist on the eastside. No more urban renewal money for new infrastructure (except for the streetcar), no new parks, no large vacant land area under single ownership, no development deal requiring anyone to build anything, and no free streetcar rides. In a scientific experiment we could call the eastside extension the “control group.” Once it opens and people realize that OMSI and the County office building aren’t the major attractors they were proffered to be, and that a 5 minute bus ride from downtown beats a 45 minutes streetcar ride slogging through the Lloyd District for those who do want to go to the Central Eastside, the fantasy will end.

    Having said that, I like the westside streetcar. It’s a nice downtown circulator, people clearly are using it to get to major destinations like PSU, and it’s nice for tourists. But this notion that developers are going to pour hundreds of millions of dollars onto Foster and Sandy just because there is a trolley there is a pipe dream. I hope the failure of the eastside line to spur any development brings people back to reality and we stop mortgaging our future. The $5 million the City will spend to subsidize streetcar next year could build a lot of sidewalks in East Portland.

  54. AL M
    January 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm Link

    WELL LOOKIE HERE:

    According to KATU even being NEAR A MAX LINE is hazardous!

    Teen attacked by man in car near MAX line

    (obviously absurd)

  55. arctoeric
    January 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm Link

    Interesting discussion, as always. But these comments have become close to unreadable due to incessant hijacking by “AL M”. Is there a polite way to ask him to take his “tennis game” (and ego) elsewhere?

  56. EngineerScotty
    January 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm Link

    While Al is welcome to post here, he might notice that the instance of the teen getting beat up by a motorist NEAR a MAX line was already discussed above.

    Portland Transport’s moderators will ban people who engage in incessant trolling and/or threadjacking, but Al is nowhere near that line. (He, or any other user, will receive significant warning from the mods to change their ways before such a sanction is applied–we don’t ban people easily).

  57. Aaron Hall
    January 12, 2012 at 2:39 pm Link

    Glad to see the LO streetcar is “suspended”. It’s clearly not the right mode for that corridor, at least south of John’s Landing. I’d still like to see an extension to Nevada/Taylor’s Ferry (near term) and Sellwood (long term), but that’s solely Portland’s choice, not LO or Dunthorpe.

    Concentrating now on the Streetcar Plan… Broadway, MLK and Belmont/Hawthorne extensions are all very viable and should all be pursued once the Loop is finished. The hand-wringing about the eastside not living up to the Pearl’s success is useless because the eastside has it’s own strengths and characteristics, including being zoned for much higher mixed-use densities and already being a significant employment center. There are also large chunks of single-owner properties ripe for redevelopment, not just small, multiple-owner patchworks like some are claiming. And not to mention the still underdeveloped Lloyd District. No, it won’t be another Pearl, but it’s not supposed to be.

  58. Lenny Anderson
    January 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm Link

    If all the parking lots along the Eastside line begin to see development in the next few years, the folks in LO may want to take another look.
    Watch Mr Weston.
    Meanwhile keep the WST going, but I don’t see any champion emerging for a half-way project like Vintage Streetcar. And, since there is no funding for an upgrade to the 35 bus, why not an LID along Rt 43 from Portland City Limits to LO City Limits, say 1/4 mile on each side to fund that effort. That would be interesting to watch.

  59. Steve
    January 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm Link

    Can someone explain why you can’t replace a rail easement with a different type of transportation on the same easement? Is it that the easement is solely for rail transportation, or just transportation? Are rails-to-trails not considered transportation corridor improvements? Curious, thanks!

  60. Douglas K.
    January 12, 2012 at 4:31 pm Link

    It’s the nature of the specific easement. If the easement is written to be specifically for rail only, then that’s all you can use it for. Some easements to cross property are more broadly written than others. And when it comes to rails-to-trails, sometimes a railroad simply owns the land outright and the state (or other entity) can flat-out buy it.

  61. Chris I
    January 12, 2012 at 8:32 pm Link

    Was that stipulated when the government purchased the ROW? Wasn’t the rail line there before all of the houses?

  62. Nick
    January 13, 2012 at 9:12 am Link

    Should all metro town centers get streetcar?

    Why not? Most of them used to have streetcar, and the opportunity is still there. What’s will all the small thinking about how great our city and neighborhoods can be?

    Why Foster and not Mississippi or Alberta? Clearly, Mississippi and Alberta are doing well, without streetcar. They have inherent benefits due to proximity and historic development patterns of which Foster only partially shares. The streetcar system plan has comments from developers on this topic: “True urban villages that are already happening on their own do not need
    streetcar.”

    Can streetcar investment help overcome some of the hurdles to development in Lents/Foster?

    I’ve always been curious about the potential for an isolated streetcar line with the purpose as a neighborhood circulator, rather than a long haul connection to downtown. The streetcar system plan pretty much dropped this idea as being too difficult, with the exception of Gateway.

    As Cora mentioned above, the 82nd busline is absolutely packed with short trips, as people hop on and off to access the various commercial destinations along the corridor. This seems like the ideal use for streetcar, as it functions as a way to extend the range of pedestrians.

    Clearly, buses can serve a similar function, but I’m board with the idea that the image, certainty, and quality of ride of streetcar holds real value to neighborhoods and developers.

  63. Douglas K.
    January 13, 2012 at 9:22 am Link

    Wasn’t the rail line there before all of the houses?

    The rail line probably was there before the current houses were built, but it wasn’t there before that property fell into private hands. My guess is that the railroad either purchased or condemned an easement across the land, and in some cases was able to save money by limiting the easement to a single use.

    When the government purchased the right-of-way, they could buy no more than was already there. If the railroad had only acquired a right-of-way limited to rail, that’s all the government could get.

    Conceivably, various Dunthorpe residents could agree to grant trail use across their property in exchange for tearing up the tracks. But I’m pretty sure that a lot of the people who don’t want a streetcar running across their land won’t be particularly happy with the unwashed masses walking or biking across it either.

  64. Cora Potter
    January 13, 2012 at 9:31 am Link

    I’ve always been curious about the potential for an isolated streetcar line with the purpose as a neighborhood circulator, rather than a long haul connection to downtown. The streetcar system plan pretty much dropped this idea as being too difficult, with the exception of Gateway.

    I think it would work on Foster. A neighborhood serving segment could be built between 52nd and 122nd, with the Lents Town Center / Foster Rd MAX stop as the anchor.

  65. Douglas K.
    January 13, 2012 at 11:55 am Link

    A Foster Streetcar might work, but if you’re going from 122nd to 52nd, you might as well take it all the way to the central Streetcar loop via Hawthorne. Hawthorne itself could benefit from local Streetcar service from 12th to somewhere in the mid-40s. At that point, might as well hook both projects together and do them at once.

    Also, Dave asked:

    I agree that I-205 hurt part of east Portland but this is the first time I’ve heard that “thousands” of households were displaced by it? Where are you getting your numbers from? As a recall, a lot of the area where 205 runs was vacant. Perhaps the number is more like hundreds.

    No, it was thousands. I was here at the time, although just a kid. A lot of the southern portion of the freeway was built across vacant land, but the project ripped a five mile long scar 2-4 blocks wide through East Portland residential neighborhoods. (Okay, technically it wasn’t “Portland” at the time, since most of the affected land was just outside city limits back then.) My parents knew at least a couple of families who were forced to move.

  66. Cora Potter
    January 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm Link

    Douglas, I agree that Belmont/Hawthorne could definitely benefit from streetcar service, but I’d hate to see a project on Foster, where there’s much less problem with right of way allocation, held up by the need to work out the myriad issues of fitting a streetcar into the right of way on Belmont – or the issues around the business district on Hawthorne.

    Build the Foster segment and worry about connecting up Hawthorne/Belmont later.

  67. AL M
    January 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm Link

    Thanks moderators for sticking up for me, I have always been very skilled in inciting very passionate responses to my point of view.

    You guys are so “technical” about everything.

    I prefer a more “simplistic” approach to the issues at hand.

    So remember that simple people have the right to speak too!

  68. EngineerScotty
    January 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm Link

    Any East Portland streetcar line probably would need to have tracks connecting it directly with the rest of the streetcar network. While Streetcars can physically run on MAX tracks (having compatible power and gauge, and being physically smaller vehicles), the current models top out at 40MPH, and a deadheading Streetcar going down the I-205 or I-84 MAX segments would be an impediment to any MAX train on the route. Plus, there are signalling issues to be worked out.

  69. AL M
    January 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm Link

    Any East Portland streetcar line probably would need to have tracks connecting it directly with the rest of the streetcar network. While Streetcars can physically run on MAX tracks (having compatible power and gauge, and being physically smaller vehicles), the current models top out at 40MPH, and a deadheading Streetcar going down the I-205 or I-84 MAX segments would be an impediment to any MAX train on the route. Plus, there are signalling issues to be worked out.

    SEE WHAT I MEAN?!

  70. Chris Smith
    January 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm Link

    Scotty, that just means that we have to have some basic maintenance and storage capability other than the current maintenance facility. I would not assume that was a showstopper.

  71. Douglas K.
    January 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm Link

    That was my first thought too, Scotty, but there’s a way around it. If there was a stand-alone Foster line, why not put a Streetcar barn and a bare-bones shop under the freeway at the I-205 overpass? Keep a half dozen streetcars there, and put in a single connecting track to the MAX line. That way, basic cleaning and maintenance can be handled on-site. If streetcars need to be swapped between the Slabtown barn and the Lents barn, just do it in the middle of the night when MAX trains aren’t running.

    I think Cora has a good point about starting with Foster now if Foster’s actually ready and can get all their local ducks in a row. (Ready to vote on a LID, Foster residents and businesses?)

    Why not begin with a Foster Streetcar line from 122nd to 52nd, THEN build a line from downtown (or at least the central loop) out Hawthorne, and eventually connect the two with a line down 50th?

  72. Cora Potter
    January 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm Link

    There’s also a timeliness concern with Foster. There’s no guarantee that the Lents URA would be extended, and the Foster streetscape plan update and actual project implementation is about to begin. Streetcar should be at the table now with a project that get done within the next 5 years for maximum coordination and cost savings.

  73. Nick
    January 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm Link

    A benefit I see in an isolated Foster line would be the “forced” circulation within the neighborhood, rather than as another opportunity to leave the neighborhood.

    If the streetcar connected to Hawthorne, I might be temped to hop on and go there. If it just bounced back and forth from 50th to 122nd, I have to hit up the local destinations, and that’s the whole point.

  74. dan w
    January 13, 2012 at 1:43 pm Link

    Glad this project is apparently being put out to pasture…. while Portland Streetcar is working quite well as a neighborhood circulator/connector, I’m not sold on it as a solution to congestion between downtown and the ‘burbs. I’ve seen many good potential alternatives to the LO streetcar mentioned on this blog: enhanced bus service, double-decker buses, DPUs, river taxis, extension of the MAX Orange Line, etc.

    As for where future streetcar lines SHOULD go, I guess it depends on what the main goal should be. If it’s a higher-capacity transit alternative, Hawthorne might be a good choice (the #14 bus is always packed everytime I see it). If it’s to serve as a “redevelopment tool”, then maybe Foster should get higher priority.

  75. EngineerScotty
    January 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm Link

    I tend to be suspicious of any proposed transportation infrastructure designed to limit transportation; specifically of the notion that a piece of transit infrastructure that goes between A and B is more valuable than one that goes to A, B, and then C.

  76. Cora Potter
    January 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm Link

    Scotty – ending streetcar at Foster wouldn’t be a limit, it would just be a forced transfer.

  77. Cora Potter
    January 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm Link

    And I should add that the benefit that Nick is seeing is that someone that lived on say – SE 50th might choose to take the streetcar to Matona’s over taking the 14 to Por Que No?

  78. EngineerScotty
    January 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm Link

    Certainly, I’m aware that you could use a Foster Streetcar to transfer to the 9 or the 14. (I suspect that for those heading downtown instead of to destinations along Hawthorne, the 9 would become the route of choice if a one-seat ride downtown is no longer offered). On the other hand, while there is value in placemaking (and in adding infrastructure to make a place more desirable), the suggestion that a resident of Foster ought to prefer to patronize businesses along Foster, instead of along Hawthorne (or elsewhere) is troubling.

    In the Jarrett Walker vs Gordon Price debate, I rather openly side with Walker. Transit should compete with driving and not walking; and I tend to be of the opinion that capital dollars ought to be spent primarily making it faster and extending the reach of the traveller, not on encouraging circulation within a particular neighborhood. Encouraging fewer trips and local travel is a good thing, but the big environmental advantage is that these can then be done by human-powered means. One of the advantages of living in a city, vs a collection of adjacent small towns, is urban scale–which means being able to conveniently get from anywhere to anywhere.

  79. Nick
    January 13, 2012 at 2:16 pm Link

    Exactly Cora.

    On it’s face it makes sense that service from A to B to C is more valuable than service from A to B, but we’re not just talking pure mobility here. I would consider route selection a specific strategy to support placemaking in the corridor.

  80. Lenny Anderson
    January 13, 2012 at 2:39 pm Link

    Of course, I am partial to extending the Broadway/Weidler tracks out to Hollywood. It will take a local LID to make Streetcar fly anywhere. That means property owners need to see potential for redevelopment to make the $ to pay the bill. Broadway/Weidler has already several successful mix-use projects with still plenty of under used (ie. parking lots) land out to Hollywood. It would complement the 77 bus line as it goes on to Troutdale and out to Montgomery Park. That said, is the new Sellwood Bridge going to have tracks or just capacity for tracks? Regardless, I think the Johns Landing folks will be pulling for an extension there, and if Sellwood is game, crossing the River and going out Tacoma St. to the new light rail line.
    I never really wanted to go to LO anyway, though the WST is fun…especially with the great views into the backyards of the rich villas along the line, not to mention the trestle and tunnel.

  81. Cora Potter
    January 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm Link

    Scotty, I think you’re losing track of the scale of the Foster Corridor. We’re talking about a 4 mile long corridor. If anything, providing local service on the corridor (and the precipitating local amenities) encourages more walking from the perpendicular (or not quite perpendicular in the case of Foster which is angled on the grid) side streets.

    In addition, the forced transfer wouldn’t be the result of the loss of line 14 service on the corridor, it would actually just be a forced transfer for people who prefer streetcar to the point that they would take it for the first leg of their trip downtown to minimize the time they spent on the bus.

    I know I prefer streetcar, but I don’t prefer it that much. If my intended destination was downtown, I’d get on the 14. But, for local activities (restaurants, bars, shopping etc) I prefer to stay in and along Foster and Holgate whenever possible.

  82. Douglas K.
    January 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm Link

    I think the broader point here is that the “Foster only” version of the streetcar is just a “phase one” project. Eventually it WILL connect to the rest of the system. Question is, can the 4-mile local circulator version stand on its own as a meritorious project, just in case the future connection doesn’t happen?

  83. EngineerScotty
    January 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm Link

    Cora,

    If a Streetcar runs from 52nd to Lents (and beyond–keep in mind that much of the land along Foster east of I-205 is floodplain), my assumptions is that the 14 would then be truncated. TriMet’s usual MO is that when Streetcar goes in, bus service along the same corridor goes away or is redeployed–one objection to the LO Streetcar was that the 35 and 36 north of Lake Oswego would be eliminated.

    Long term, that may not be such a bad thing. While Hawthorne and Foster presently share a bus line, it’s not clear that the two streets represent a common community of interest; with Hawthorne residents seldom venturing east, and Foster residents using Hawthorne to get downtown–which is why I noted that if a transfer were forced, riders may well prefer the 9 to the 14. I may well be wrong, of course.

    A big issue to consider in any of this is what happens to the 9. Right now TriMet seems interested in a BRT line replacing the 9 from downtown to I-205, and the 4 out to Gresham. Such a line would probably attract riders from the 14, assuming it offers a faster and more reliable trip.

  84. Jeff F
    January 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm Link

    TriMet’s usual MO is that when Streetcar goes in, bus service along the same corridor goes away or is redeployed

    Really? Seems to me there was a lot of duplicative service in NW Portland with at least three major bus routes covering the same territory as the Streetcar. I think a very small amount of bus service up west of PSU eventually was discontinued. Where are you seeing something different?

  85. Chris Smith
    January 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm Link

    TriMet’s usual MO is that when Streetcar goes in, bus service along the same corridor goes away or is redeployed…

    While there is some heated discussion around the #6 on the eastside (more likely to get a new routing into downtown, but NOT being truncated), I can’ think of any examples where the westside service resulted in any service eliminations. The #15, #17 and #77 all continue to service Northwest, for example.

    Personally, I’d rather see a Foster Rd streetcar go OUT to 122nd than in to 52nd.

  86. EngineerScotty
    January 13, 2012 at 3:51 pm Link

    The existing Streetcar duplicates the 77 on Lovejoy/Northrup and the southbound 35/36 between PSU and SoWa; but the primary spine of the route between PSU and the Pearl isn’t served by any bus line–with the caveat that the Transit Mall is only a short walk away. The lines that do overlap only do so for short sections, and are parts of much longer routes that couldn’t easily be truncated. Of course, much of the original Streetcar route represented new service rather than replacement-for-bus service, so my original comment doesn’t exactly apply.

    What is the current plan for service on the overlapping portions of the 6, anyway?

  87. Cora Potter
    January 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm Link

    Chris – It would have to go at least as far west as 63rd. Otherwise, we poor Lentils will still only be able to get our drink on at Riley’s. Oh wait – I suppose there’s Golden China (but I wouldn’t recommend the food there) but brunch booze would still be hard to find…

    But really, I’m thinking more of the grocery store access and just generally breaking down the physical barrier of 82nd for economic and foot traffic. That said – I agree getting service out to 122nd is VERY important. It supports the industrial/jobs area and gives the rest of the city great access to beggars tick, the new east Lents natural area, Zenger Farm and Leach Botanical Garden. The stretch of Foster between 122nd and 106th is like the east side’s version of Washington Park. It’s an important area to provide access to.

  88. Jason McHuff
    January 13, 2012 at 4:08 pm Link

    Weekend service on Line 17 in NW did get curtailed, and Neil used it as the example of redundant service. Moreover a difference there is that no bus line totally duplicates the streetcar, unlike a lengthy duplication along Foster.

    And why not keep Line 6 on the eastside for those who are destined for the eastside, including wanting to transfer to another bus line? It could be combined with Line 70 as was previously considered.

  89. EngineerScotty
    January 13, 2012 at 4:11 pm Link

    Personally, I’d rather see a Foster Rd streetcar go OUT to 122nd than in to 52nd.

    What of the 71 and the weekday-only 10? Would you maintain the overlap of these with a Foster Road streetcar that got extended to 122nd? I’d find it highly beneficial if TriMet could figure out a way to run the 10 7 days a week. (And the current routing of the 71 has never struck me as particularly useful–do very many riders ride it through Parkrose?)

  90. Jason McHuff
    January 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm Link

    (And the current routing of the 71 has never struck me as particularly useful–do very many riders ride it through Parkrose?)

    One could look at the stats, but it does provide east-west service through there. Overall, it’s really a combination of two or three routes that do make sense and provide valuable cross-town service. That’s the beauty of local service–it doesn’t just serve points A and B.

  91. Chris Smith
    January 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm Link

    Scotty, you’re making my point. You’re suggesting a ‘standard MO’ for a circumstance that has yet to occur :-)

    I don’t know any more about the #6 than what I said, the TriMet folks who I’ve talked to are talking about continuing to provide a one-seat ride into downtown, but use a more direct route (Steel Bridge?) since MLK/Grand in the Central Eastside will now have another service for local trips.

  92. EngineerScotty
    January 13, 2012 at 4:33 pm Link

    I’m not objecting to the 71; U shaped lines are a well-known and well used tool in the toolbox. I just wonder if the two lines halves of the line (splitting at Parkrose) might be more meaningfully combined into something else–for example:

    * Combining the western half of the 71 with, say the 87 (and making the latter run more often) or one of the Parkrose routes–say, the 23.
    * Especially after MLR opens, combining the eastern half of the 71 with the 19 (and having the 10 and 19 cross each other at 52nd, with the 19 going into Lents and the 10 going down to Flavel and the cemeteries).

    In general, I shaped routes are better than L shaped routes, which are better than U shaped routes, which are better than loops and squiggles and such.

  93. Jason Barbour
    January 14, 2012 at 11:17 am Link

    I’d find it highly beneficial if TriMet could figure out a way to run the 10 7 days a week.
    The 10-Harold used to run on Saturday (hourly for around 10 hours) up until the Sept. 2009 service elimination. And the old bus stop signs that used to be on the route until a couple years ago (that said “Zone 2 effective Sept. 1992” IIRC) suggested the 10 used to run 7 days a week.

    Another thing we’re forgetting about SE Portland is the Eastport Plaza WalMart is adding a grocery section that’s supposed to open shortly. That’s not on Foster Rd. but will undoubtedly change transportation patterns in SE Portland.

  94. ws
    January 14, 2012 at 3:34 pm Link

    We need to get over this streetcar obsession in this town.

    Let the downfall of the project be the impetus for saying, “bye-bye” to these massive streetcar projects.

    Speaking of costs, imagine how many streetscapes in Portland could be redone instead of paying for a single streetcar line that won’t move any more people any faster or more frequently than is currently the case (bike boulevards, street trees, street art, enhanced pedestrian amenities)?

    People don’t go to the Pearl because of the streetcar, and if it went away tomorrow, the Pearl would do just fine.

    Seriously, get over the streetcar! It’s not what makes cities nice and it’s not what make urbanism function.

    Developers don’t need the streetcar to make their projects work — and if that were the case, then there’s larger problems at stake if that’s the case.

  95. arctoeric
    January 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm Link

    > ws Says:
    > People don’t go to the Pearl because of the streetcar …
    > It’s not what makes cities nice and it’s not what make urbanism function.

    Really?

    I live in the Pearl. The streetcar was a key reason for me moving here and selecting this particular building (adjacent to the streetcar line). The Portland Streetcar *absolutely* makes this neighborhood nice (for me) and *absolutely* helps urbanism function in the Pearl.

    Who are you speaking on behalf of?

  96. Nick theoldurbanist
    January 15, 2012 at 8:24 am Link

    “People don’t go to the Pearl because of the streetcar, and if it went away tomorrow, the Pearl would do just fine.”

    >>>> I certainly don’t go the Pearl because of the streetcar; it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference for me.

    “Seriously, get over the streetcar! It’s not what makes cities nice and it’s not what make urbanism function.”

    >>>> AMEN!

    “Who are you speaking on behalf of?”

    Probably the vast majority of the population here.

  97. Douglas K.
    January 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm Link

    Not me. I ride the Streetcar to the Pearl and Northwest Portland quite frequently, and visit both of those areas a lot more than I would without it.

    Ditto for South Waterfront, although the only reason I’ve found to go there thus far is the Old Spaghetti Factory. However, I HAVE been eating there more frequently since the Streetcar was extended that far south.

  98. Jeff F
    January 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm Link

    Well, we all have opinions. Does anyone have numbers relating to Portland residents and their opinion of the Streetcar?

  99. Douglas K.
    January 15, 2012 at 2:30 pm Link

    So here’s a concept: get to work on a bunch of segments of the Streetcar System Plan all at once. Based on my (very rudimentary) understanding of Small Starts funding, the federal government will allocate up to $75 million in federal funding to a streetcar project as long as the overall project budget is below a certain level and the project stands on its own.

    So what if the City, working with different neighborhoods, began a bunch of disconnected “Small Starts” projects at once? Each project would be competing with the others for funding, but there would be a decent chance that the most meritorious one or two would be selected for funding.

    Getting the project ready for submission would be based in large part upon community support: is the affected community willing to vote for a LID to provide a reasonable share of local funding? Those that do go first.

    Picture a series of separate projects of less than 4 miles each that can be served by just one to three streetcars. They would connect either to MAX or to the existing Streetcar lines. Those that connect only to MAX would each have its own barn to hold up to four streetcars so they don’t need to ride on the MAX tracks (except to be swapped out when needed).

    Based on the $10 million per track mile cost of the east-side streetcar, I think it’s reasonably easy to estimate costs.

    For example: Sellwood/Johns Landing Streetcar from Tacoma Street MAX Station to South Waterfront. 3.5 miles. Projected cost: $70 million, probably a bit more because of the need for a westside bridge approach.

    Foster Streetcar from 52nd to 122nd. 4 miles. Projected cost: $80 to $90 million (barn and interchange with MAX needed)

    Burnside/Couch circulator from NE 13th to NW 18th. 2 miles. Projected cost: $40 million … maybe a bit more since it needs to cross the Burnside Bridge.

    Lombard Streetcar from Lombard MAX Station to St. Johns: 4 miles. Projected cost $80 to $90 million (barn and interchange with MAX needed).

    Broadway Streetcar from MLK/Grand to Hollywood Transit Center: 2.5 miles. Projected cost: $50 million.

    Hawthorne Streetcar: from MLK/Grand to about 42nd: 2 miles. Projected cost: $40 million.

    Gateway Circulator: from Gateway TC to SE Main MAX Station via 102nd. 2 miles. Projected cost: $40 to $50 million (barn and MAX interchange needed.)

    Generally, the City wouldn’t prioritize the projects. Instead, the level of support in each community would set the priorities, by participating in planning and getting local funding for the project. PDOT would let each community planning group drive and simply provide expert planning, legal and logistical support to help them out. As each project proposal is finished AND local funding is line up, it’s submitted for federal Small Start funding.

    Any projects that don’t have neighborhood support simply won’t go anywhere. They’ll get bogged down in opposition to the planning process and won’t be able to raise local funding. Those that do move to the front.

    But over several years, the City could see bits of the Streetcar System Plan take shape as the popular lines with local support get built.

  100. Aaron Hall
    January 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm Link

    ^^^^

    You don’t have to guess what the costs of each of the individual lines would be. They’re listed in Table 4 on Page 77 of the “Streetcar System Plan” that Scotty linked to at the beginning of this post.

    I would link to it here, but I don’t know how to do hyperlinks :(

  101. EngineerScotty
    January 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm Link

    To do a hyperlink, type this:

    <a href=”http://www.url-to-link-to.com”>text to appear in the link</a>, i.e. the text

    <a href=”http://www.portlandtransport.com”>The World’s Coolest Transit Blog</a>

    produces The World’s Coolest Transit Blog.

  102. Lenny Anderson
    January 15, 2012 at 5:04 pm Link

    I pushed hard in the 90’s for the TriMet 85 Swan Island, started the old C-Tran 191 Swan Island Express in ’98, and manage the Swan Island Evening Shuttle, so I love buses as much an anyone, especially when driven by a good operator. But Streetcar just has a “je ne sais quoi” that appeals to me and to lots of others; I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone say to me they would never ride a bus (shame on them), but love Streetcar or MAX. Opponents should just get over their objections to a modern multi-modal transit system and join the party.

  103. Aaron Hall
    January 15, 2012 at 5:15 pm Link

    Thanks Scotty, much appreciated.

    Let me try this again….
    Table 4 on Page 77 of the Portland Streetcar Plan

  104. Douglas K.
    January 15, 2012 at 6:35 pm Link

    Thanks, Aaron. Okay, so correcting my guesses to the extent I can:

    Sellwood/Johns Landing Streetcar: $60 to $70 million for “Tacoma Street Extension.” If that’s just the Sellwood Bridge to Tacoma Street MAX station, my estimate was way too low.

    Foster Streetcar from 52nd to 122nd: No estimate in the plan.

    Burnside/Couch segment: $90 to $100 million (I was WAY off on that one)

    Lombard Streetcar from Lombard MAX Station to St. Johns: No estimate in the plan.

    Broadway Streetcar from MLK/Grand to Hollywood Transit Center: $60 to $70 million. ($10 to $20 million higher than I thought)

    Hawthorne Streetcar: the Portland Streetcar Plan projects $190 to $200 million for a much longer segment on a different route than I imagined, so I can’t get an estimate.

    Gateway Circulator: $60 to $70 million ($20 million more than I thought).

    My broader point remains: as a strategy, start developing a bunch of stand-alone Streetcar projects that come in between $60 and $90 million to chase Small Starts funding, and submit them whenever each set of neighborhoods along a given route are able to put together a finished plan and line up sufficient local support for the route and the funding. Those who won’t step up to fund the local share don’t get a line.

  105. AL M
    January 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm Link

    Portland city leaders have stated they won’t have money to pave the roads….how do they justify coming up with money for streetcars?

  106. EngineerScotty
    January 15, 2012 at 8:21 pm Link

    Maybe we should equip Al’s bus with caterpillar treads. :)

  107. AL M
    January 15, 2012 at 10:14 pm Link

    THEY DID!

  108. Lenny Anderson
    January 16, 2012 at 7:55 am Link

    We just need to be sure the City maintains bus routes and bike routes, and of course truck routes. I grew up on an unpaved street; potholes are God’s own speed bumps…low cost and random. My dog used to sleep in them as he waited for cars to chase. Got to get motor vehicle speeds down by any and all means.
    For Streetcar to have a future in Portland, we need to bite the bullet and put a bond measure on the ballot to insure local funding and popular support. Then corridor propert owners have to come up with their share thru LIDs.

  109. ws
    January 16, 2012 at 6:04 pm Link

    @arctoeric

    So if the Pearl *only* had an electric trolleybus, you wouldn’t have given a second thought of moving there, even though transportation wise they’re on par with each other?

    @Douglas K

    Same question to you too.

    You wouldn’t move about the Pearl and other areas of the city if the streetcar network was an electric trolleybus instead?

    So no Spaghetti Factory for you because all of a sudden steel on steel is a game changer for how you move about the city?

    I feel these justifications and reasons I hear for the streetcar have really deduced this mode of transportation into the yuppie urban transportation “tool” it truly is.

    Does Greenwhich Village NYC need a streetcar line to function well? Simple answer, no, especially at the ridiculously low frequencies as seen in the Pearl.

    Forget about the streetcar; it’s mostly Disneyland urbanism unless it’s run at faster/more frequent times than we have (or is going up big hills not easily traversed by buses like in San Fran).

    I’m sorry to be so frank, but hundreds of millions of dollars could go into burying the MAX lines in downtown.

    Or maybe just stop bus cuts we keep seeing.

  110. Aaron Hall
    January 16, 2012 at 9:01 pm Link

    “Does Greenwhich Village NYC need a streetcar line to function well?”

    Well, there’s a non-sequitor. Comparing vastly different cities is always tricky, which is why all these Top 10 rankings of “Best Cities for (fill-in-the-blank)” are laughable.

    Besides, I’m sure Greenwich Village had streetcars as did all of NYC prior to the dominance of their subway system. Also, NYC is actually bringing streetcars back to areas that the subway doesn’t serve well, like crosstown at 42nd Ave. They’re also building the new Second Ave subway at the same time. Two different rail projects simultaneously… it doesn’t have to be either/or. Pursuing streetcar investment doesn’t mean we give up on everything else.

    I do agree that the MAX lines downtown need to be underground though. A billion dollar project that I think is just as important, if not moreso, than the multi-billion dollar east and west Big Pipe projects.

  111. Douglas K.
    January 16, 2012 at 9:13 pm Link

    You wouldn’t move about the Pearl and other areas of the city if the streetcar network was an electric trolleybus instead?

    So no Spaghetti Factory for you because all of a sudden steel on steel is a game changer for how you move about the city?

    Of course I would. Just not as often. Because a streetcar is a much more comfortable ride than a bus, which makes me more inclined to go somewhere on a whim, “just because”. And its not just me. I meet tourists riding the Streetcar and they talk about how cool it is. Sometimes just riding to see where it goes.

    I’ve never met a tourist on the bus (regardless of power system) talking about how cool it is to ride a bus or how they’re just riding the bus to ride it and see where it goes.

    Ever see the cable car in San Francisco? They charge a bloody fortune to ride it and it winds up jammed with people going the same places they could ride on an electric trolley bus — and paying a premium for riding a rail vehicle pulled by a cable.

    But I won’t dispute that the Streetcar should be faster with greater frequency. Speed was the major reason I opposed the LO project. (Along with cost, because they were spending way too much for a slow line, when they could have spent less for a fast one.) But that’s an operation question rather than a problem with the mode.

    You may not share that feeling or agree people should feel that way, but they do. A significant number of people prefer rail. That’s reality.

  112. Jason McHuff
    January 16, 2012 at 9:34 pm Link

    The real problem is that we have a broken marketplace that doesn’t show the real costs of driving and development, such as the portion of the Big Pipe that cleans street runoff, most parking, oil defense and additional infrastructure capacity. Because of this, it can take a streetcar to attract riders and residents.

  113. Bob R.
    January 16, 2012 at 9:48 pm Link

    Regarding frequency, when the eastside opens, its operation will effectively double frequencies where the two lines overlap, from the Pearl district down to PSU. (However, if you need to go further and thus pick a particular line, that doesn’t help much, and peak frequencies at the outer sections of the existing streetcar line may be reduced slightly.)

    When the true full loop opens (with the completion of the Milwaukie transit/bike/ped bridge), the lines will overlap for a greater distance.

    As to whether Portland is “obsessed” with streetcars or that cronyism is pushing these projects through rapidly ahead of public input, it should be noted that the central city circulator streetcar that we have yet to complete started planning in the late 1980’s, the first leg opened early in the 2000’s, and we’re only now constructing the eastside portion, and we won’t get the full loop until 2015.

    25 to 30 years for a central loop doesn’t seem like a rush or an obsession.

    The streetcar system plan will likely take decades more to come to fruition.

    By the way, as a current member of the streetcar CAC, and a past member of the Streetcar System Plan SE working group, I (and others) have advocated for increased conventional bus service, the non-elmination or non-truncation of parallel bus lines, and for the exploration of trolleybuses in corridors where enhanced (clean, quiet) service would be a benefit and yet streetcars didn’t pencil out for one or more reasons.

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