Author Archive | Curtis Ailes

Jasmine Block Update

9-9-2014 Streetcar Construction

9-9-2014 Streetcar Construction

Work continues on the Jasmine Block double track work. This week, crews have completed the saw cut in 4th Avenue and yesterday, track was being positioned for tie down.

Streetcar service continues uninterrupted at this point however, there will be a shut down coming next week while track tie in and electrical work is brought up to par.

8-24-2014 Streetcar Construction

8-24-2014 Streetcar Construction

Crews have come a long way in a few weeks. Note the picture above from 9-9-2014 and the same view from 8-24-2014. Stay tuned, this will wrap up quickly.

New Trimet Rail Map

Trimet Rail Map 8-24-2014

Trimet Rail Map 8-24-2014

I was out walking downtown this weekend when I noticed that Trimet has updated the rail system map to include the pending Orange Line route. I snapped a photo with my camera and while the news is nothing worth getting excited over, it does provide some changes to the existing map that make different regions a bit more clear.

Included on the map is also the closed loop of the Portland Streetcar Central Loop. Both routes are shown as “future service” and while the CL line future service is not in doubt, the new map answers no questions about future Orange & Yellow line service. Where will the Orange Line end on the north end of the route? Will the Yellow Line extend further south as some of the new platforms indicate?

The new maps provide no answers to these questions. I’m left wondering why Trimet went to the trouble of producing new maps that will be obsolete a year from now.

Orange Line Testing (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Orange Line Testing (image credit: Curt Ailes)

The appearance of the new map coincides with this morning’s first test of the Orange Line though which, when taken together, represent some visible forward momentum in the downtown area where the Orange Line is concerned.

Jasmine Block Double Tracking Underway

Saw cutting and road closure is underway along SW Montgomery adjacent to the Jasmine Block in SW downtown as work has begun on the double track work associated with completing the loop. I was on my way home from grocery shopping with my family last night when I noticed the familiar orange barrels accompanied by saw cut pavement.

SW Montgomery Construction

SW Montgomery Construction

This morning, I checked in with streetcar construction updates to learn the timeline on this work. According to the update, work should be completed by September 28th, just in time for fall term to begin at PSU with the only major headache occurring from September 15th to 21st where service will be suspended from SW Clay to the South Waterfront. Shuttles will serve this stretch while new switches are installed.

Since I live in this area, I should be able to provide some updates with photos as work progresses. Chris posted some material on this section last November which provides some critical background on why this work is occurring and just how it will look once work is completed.

Policymaker’s Ride Recap

Policymaker Ride 2014 (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Policymaker Ride 2014 (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Last Friday, Chris Smith and myself joined approximately 150 fellow riders on Cycle Oregon’s 10th annual Policymaker’s Ride. Other participants of the ride ran the entire spectrum of invested parties from the Mayor & his wife to city council members to health professionals and more. Indianapolis’ mayor Greg Ballard participated at the invitation from Portland Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller. Previous Cycle Oregon rides have highlighted some of the area’s scenic cycling byways. This year’s ride was designed to highlight what is hoped to become the state’s first urban scenic bike-way covering notable public routes such as the Eastbank Esplanade and the Springwater Corridor.

N Williams - Policymaker Ride 2014 (image credit: Curt Ailes)

N Williams – Policymaker Ride 2014 (image credit: Curt Ailes)

The ride itself covered nearly 30 miles starting at the Moda Center, travelling south to Sellwood Park, north to Hollady Park and on to Portland University via N Williams. Along the way, several of the area’s best places to ride were on display for local policymakers to experience. Conversely, some of the problematic ones were as well such as N Williams. At one juncture, a produce delivery truck and traffic sandwiched riders into a narrow corridor highlighting what some have called needed areas of improvement. As noted, Indianapolis mayor Ballard was on the ride and was asked to speak about the impact of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. He described what it has meant to have a world class bike-way in the downtown Indianapolis area and how it has opened up more transportation choices for residents there while serving as a talent attraction tool. Could a project with such a scope have a place in Portland’s cycling future? Perhaps thinking may shift that direction after local policymakers were able to hear Ballard’s pitch about cities upping the ante against one another. Personally, I hope to secure an invite to next year’s ride as the conversation and the kool aid were both enjoyable!

Sustainable Transportation Planning: Tools for Creating Vibrant, Healthy, and Resilient Communities

STP_tumlinI am currently reading Sustainable Transportation Planning: Tools for Creating Vibrant, Healthy and Resilient Communities written by Jeffrey Tumlin. Tumlin, a planner at Nelson/Nygaard penned this wonderful book collecting nearly every useful tool for the layman, neighborhood activist or professional all in one book. Tumlin has penned what I believe to be not only a practical read, but one that also entertains; it doesn’t read like a boring old book of standards. Perhaps one of my favorite quotes comes when Tumlin lays out the logic in having redundant and adaptive systems in our transportation systems and likens them to the human body,

“Strategic redundancy is another key to survival in the natural world. If something is really important, nature produces more than one of it, because as nature knows, stuff happens. Humans only need one kidney, a small but critical organ, but we have an extra in case one gets gored by a wildebeest.”

While the sticker price might scare you away at first, Tumlin has assembled all the tools active transportation planners and activists need to equip themselves in the pursuit of transportation design that is both equitable and logical in it’s execution. Professionals can enjoy a fresh approach while novice or beginner activists can easily learn from one of the industry’s masters.

The seasoned active transportation activist likely won’t find provocative proclamations (except for Tumlin’s conclusions on parking reform which are fantastic) however, the fact that nearly every logical basis for active transportation design an activist needs is collected in one spot is in itself, nearly worth the purchase price of this book.

If you cannot purchase this book, get out to your local library and check it out. It will be worth your time.