Archive | OHSU Tram

Tram Facts

Sunday’s Oregonian has a two-part Q&A style piece by Ryan Frank discussing mostly operational issues with the OHSU tram.

The mid-air rescue scenario is pretty harrowing, if unlikely (there are two backup power sources to get the cars back to the terminals if the main electrical motor fails). The engineers claim that they have a better handle on dealing with ice than MAX appears to.

News of Other Trams…

Much has been debated about the Portland Aerial Tram project. Yesterday, the City Council, in a close vote, endorsed continuing construction of the tram and committed more city money from various sources to the project.

Interestingly, just hours earlier, passengers on a tram in New York were being evacuated from a stalled system via crane and maintenance carriage. The time from initial failure to rescue completion was about 12 hours, and an investigation into the causes and procedures followed is ongoing.

Regardless of one’s position on the Portland tram, I think the New York system may provide some insights on what to expect in terms of performance and in terms of the potential for failure. I think it is fair to ask PATI what safeguards are incorporated in the Portland design which would prevent, or at least lessen the severity of, a New York style failure.

Here’s a link to a New York Times article on the subject:

– Bob R.

Talking About the Tram

The Tram is being talked about everywhere today. There is a Steve Duin column as well as a long piece by Ryan Frank on the history of the project in the Oregonian.

And of course Jack Bog is blasting the project, while Portland Architecture is (at least partially) rising to its defense.

About the only place where you’re not hearing about the Tram is here at Portland Transport. I’ve written no specific pieces on our latest mode of transportation.

Why not? I’m deeply conflicted about this project. While I believe it’s going to become a signature transportation tool for our city, and part of an overall transportation system I’m very proud of, I have a lot of reservations about how it was done.

I was not impressed with the way neighborhood concerns were handled, and clearly the budget development process, and the way it was presented to the community, were – to be charitable – inadequate.

So I’m on the back benches on this one, gritting my teeth waiting for the pain to be over, but hoping for a good long-term outcome.