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Thursday, July 15, 2010

L.O. streetcar sticker shock

The liars' budget is up to $450 million. Why we're even talking about this, and a train to Milwaukie to boot, is anyone's guess.

Comments (23)

One big complaint about streetcars is that they can only go where there's track. You can't adjust course or go around trouble if the track is involved. I was reading the article describing this giant committee that's overseeing all this, and it hit me:

What we have here is a steering committee for something that doesn't steer.

Why spend "only" $50 million when $450+ million could be spent!?
The egos in this deal must be something else!
When I think about what $50 million let alone $450 million could do for this state!
Why don't the powers that be just hand us each a check! Now that would be economic stimulus! The entire state would then have the same economic demographics as LO and then some!

WES needs $50 million in repairs.

See how easy it is to play their game

A new Prius for every carless citizen would be cheaper.

I love it! The WES trains will be replaced during repairs by...wait for it...BUSSES!!! with additional 30 minute wait times!
go by donkey! because TriMet is run by asses!


I have had the opportunity to spend extended periods of time in the Caribbean, on the islands of Jamaica, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, and to a lesser extent the Virgin Islands.

One afternoon in Antigua, a small train that was used to haul sugarcane to the the local rum distillery, was involved in a fatal wreck with several cars. Arriving at the crash site only moments after it had happened, and finding bodies strew out in several directions,one of my friends asked one of the bystanders what had happened. The local Antiguan eyewitness replied in full on West Indian patois and a matter of fact tone, (I have never forgotten this) "Train Can't swerve"

Just seemed I had to share this with you,and take this opportunity to wish you all all of the health, wealth and happiness this world can offer, and an eternity to enjoy it. With Love and Thoughts, Michael.

If you think a half billion for a LO streetcar running parallel to the Willamette and OR 43 is expensive, and that whatever the latest liars budget for Milwaukie light rail is kis high, just you wait.

The "high capacity" transit corridor running basically parallel to Barbur / I-5 from PSU / Dunniway park through OHSU, PCC Sylvania to Tigard to Sherwood is going to make the Boston "Big Dig" look cheap by comparison.

Metro claims that there is as yet only a general decision obn the need for high capacity transit, and thatno decision has been made on a choice between bus or Max. Yesahh, right.

And then there's the little item of buyinng, by condemnation, right ofwaty, since neither I=5 nor Barbur actually have room for a transit line.

Figure $ 5 - 6 billion.

But think of the jobs.

Oh such fun.

Oh goody a billion + dollars for every citizen in Oregon!
I want mine up front, thank you very much! so I can spend if before everything implodes!

Live in LO (commence jokes) and drive hwy 43 to downtown every day. 30 minutes door to desk. Return trip is longer. Street car as an alternative? Are you kidding me? I live in LO! (conclude jokes)

One positive thing about the streetcar is that it will benefit Lake Oswegans by placing them 15 minutes farther away from Portland.


If you take the streetcar, it'd probably take you an additional 30 minutes to get to work. But that additional time is actually a gain because you can log in to your work computer remotely as soon as you get on the streetcar and get an "early start."

Sounds great, eh?

Because they are Good Citizens, Lake Oswegians will surely pack their $500 loafers in their pannier bags and _bike_ to the train, don't you know.

Seems to me there is already a set of tracks running along the Willamete from LO to Portland.

Seems to me there is already a set of tracks running along the Willamete from LO to Portland.

This has been brought up before. But I believe they are the wrong gauge for the streetcar or MAX.

Come on Dunthorp! If there are any folks out there with the connections and money to stop this boondoggle it is you! Do you really want the noise and crime associated with mass transit in your neighborhood? I think not!

I hurried right here after hearing LIARS "it's not MY budget" Larson broadcast that bojack's blog today explains that light-rail commuter trains contaminate crime into communities.

Oh, now I see: Criminals take the train home there because they live in Lake Oswego.


But I believe they are the wrong gauge for the streetcar or MAX.

No, they are standard gauge - 4 feet, 8.5 inches - just like Streetcar and MAX.

The track condition, on the other hand, leaves much to be desired - there's a reason that the trolleys only run at 10 MPH on that track.

Nonny Mouse, you posted:

The "high capacity" transit corridor running basically parallel to Barbur / I-5 from PSU / Dunniway park through OHSU, PCC Sylvania to Tigard to Sherwood is going to make the Boston "Big Dig" look cheap by comparison.

I actually suggested, and it was picked up by an Oregonian reporter, of a "subway" route (basically an underground MAX line) from Duniway Park to Tigard, using an undeveloped stretch of land extending from roughly the Tigard Costco northeasterly to the Tigard Cinemas and just below Interstate 5 - crossing underneath I-5 in a tunnel and proceeding east to P.S.U., then north to Barbur TC and Multnomah Village, etc.

Yes, it'd be expensive - VERY EXPENSIVE. But the alternative (for light rail, anyways) is a very hilly surface route in a congested, developed area - resulting in the destruction of who-knows-how-many homes and businesses; taking out half of Highway 99W (which is one of the Metro's busiest non-freeway highways) with no alternate route for traffic...a subway would minimize construction impacts on the surface, would not remove highway infrastructure - and would provide a much, much more reliable - and faster - transit route. In fact, it would potentially be able to beat current SOV travel times on Barbur (because trains would travel without interruption at 55 MPH, and would have no crossings to worry about), and serve all major S.W. Portland transit destinations on a linear route. It would also provide a connection into downtown Tigard that would not result in tearing up or decimating Main Street - in fact the biggest impact would be to the Post Office (and with the USPS's decades-long move to "distributed carrier units" - moving delivery employees away from the post offices, it's really a non-issue) losing its delivery vehicle parking.

That said, you're right - it's hugely expensive. Bus Rapid Transit could be implemented on Barbur from downtown to King City for less than $50,000,000 - all new, articulated, diesel-electric hybrid BRT buses, all new bus stops, new dedicated bus lanes and so on.

Surface MAX will cost well over a billion - just Portland to Tigard. King City and Sherwood? That's just outrageous to suggest we need light rail to Sherwood...

Just to clarify: governments don't make "contributions" to projects; they extract money from citizens and re-distribute it. "Contributions" are voluntary, and come from individuals.

Now to the financing details: the so-called BRT alternative has been deliberatley gold-plated to kill it. An express bus option on HW 43 could easily be implemented for less than $100,000 per mile. It's already been done elsewhere on a much larger scale (LA). Even the fancy BRT in Eugene was "only" $6 million per mile.

I've done counts on HW 43 at both morning and afternoon peak periods, at Military Lane and just north of the Sellwood Bridge. There are no fatal flaws with traffic. Between Avenue A in downtown LO and the John's Landing area, an express bus could easily travel at 40 MPH or more for the entire trip, even in portions of HW 43 where it drops to one lane. The key is getting some nicer buses and creating a "brand" for express service, and eliminating the annoying "local" stops, like the big time-waster of stopping at the LO Transit center.

A new express bus service would not need to replace the number 35, just be a nice add-on, which could also have a higher price as well. Premium fare for premium service -- it's a concept that's been known to succeed out in the real economy. NJ Transit runs both long-haul commuter buses to NYC and local buses in the Elizabeth-Newark area that recover greater than 100% of operations from the farebox (i.e., they are "profitable").

TriMet should venture out of its monopoly cocoon and experiment. But first, they should fire all the people who've wasted so much time and money on the LO streetcar boondoggle.

John Charles

Re: current tracks to LO. Yes, the foundation needs an upgrade but surely this will be cheaper than buying a new right of way directly through the most expensive real estate in Portland...

In a followup to John Charles comments on express bus service, it is feasible to add a third lane or even four lanes to 43 in the only segment remaining where the highway narrows down to two lanes for 1/4 of a mile. The basalt cliffs on a portion of it could be excavated for a third lane providing exclusive bus lanes. The state owns the right-of-way to do so. Generally 43 between LO and downtown Portland is already four lanes. But we can't get too creative to save dollars and not continue the Rail Mafia. Please excuse me to my dear Italian friends.

Using public funds to purchase the necessary right-of-way through some of the most expensive real estate in the Portland area is probably precisely because it passes through some of the most expensive real estate in the Portland area.


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