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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Nobody's riding the eastside streetcar, cont'd

The reader who sent us photos of nearly empty Portland eastside streetcars last evening sends along these photos of completely empty streetcars at 7:42 this morning:

Oh, that bustling morning commute.

Comments (28)

As soon as the Admiral gets around to it he will have the famous Portland Loos installed in the Toonerville Trolley in case there is a need, do to the slow means of transporting all the masses to shortly arrive in Panderland. When that is done the Boondoggle will be jam packed.

I sure hope Joseph Rose at the Big Zero
is lurking.

Not that I expect any honest reporting from him individually, or the Zero as an institution.

I had to send in the morning commute photos after last evenings photos due to the snarky "OMSI closes at 5:30" comment. I will take a couple of pictures this evening around 5 or so to see what the evening commute looks like.

Be careful, Portland might decide that they will need to reduce fares to $0 and start spending money on special events along the Eastside Streetcar line to drum up ridership. You know, to all those vacant industrial warehouses, parking lots, gas stations and the like that dot that line.

(And probably enact a "surcharge" on TriMet for its bus stops in city limits to pay for it.)

Why would anyone be on that streetcar? It doesn't go anywhere.

Please stop using the term, Street-CAR

We would prefer you never mention car in any reference to transportation, unless in a derogatory nature.

Instead use, Sheeple-Mover

Not nowhere. You can pick it up in the Pearl and ride it to Broadway Toyota to buy a car.

Hey Erik H.-

The planners beat you to it:


You know, to all those vacant industrial warehouses, parking lots, gas stations and the like that dot that line.

Well, that's kind of the point. Lots of space to convert old warehouses to condos, and to build more buildings. That's the whole point of the streetcar--it's a real estate development tool, not transit.

The planners beat you to it:


Oh my God - the Streetcars are so empty that they have to hold concerts in them? Are they charging admission? $25 if you get a seat, $15 if you stand?

Why aren't there any concerts on my bus? OH, that's right...NOBODY rides the bus...oh, and there's no room on those crowded, standing room buses. But there's nobody on the bus? But there's no room. But there's nobody...gotta love transit planning in Portland.

Just saw one working its way up 9th Ave around 2:30 with a grand total of one passenger. How awesome.

Be careful Jack-knowing how COP works, they'll start paying people to take rides on the thing at peak times just to avoid photos like that (and don't tell me someone hasn't already thought of it!).

If you click the hyperlink on that site and peruse through the "sponsors" of the event it is a veritable who's-who's of the true beneficiaries of the toy train and all the public-private economic development.

East side, West side, all around the town...
There's a song or a limerick in there somewhere....

Pamplin Concrete News Service loves the Streetcar.


"The $148 million Central Loop brought $75 million in federal dollars to Portland. That money created construction jobs, but it also will lead directly to intensified investment from private developers. Residents of the region should expect to see residential towers rising from the Lloyd District to the south, and they will witness a revival for businesses near the new line."

"Economic and other benefits will extend beyond Portland proper to the suburbs. Not everyone greets increased density with enthusiasm, but more efficient use of land in central Portland can relieve the pressure for high-density housing in the suburbs as the region tries to accommodate hundreds of thousands of new residents during the next two decades."


"Plus, with streetcars now being produced by United Streetcar in Clackamas, the region also can become a hub for this type of manufacturing."


Tri-Met bus drivers have this expression:

"A happy bus is an empty bus"

Applies to streetcars too, no doubt. I think use is low because it is so slow and goes no place in particular.

Also, since they are enforcing the fares. Halfway house on rails now costs a dollar.

My prediction: the eastside loop will be shut down except during peak hours at OMSI.

I was behind it last night at 6:00. Empty as can be, but I suppose it is doing it's indended job of making motor vehicle traffic more difficult on Grand and MLK.

Gustafson and his Portland Streetcar-employed daughter are laughing all the way to the bank.

So much for 'uniting the city'

Maybe they can film it instead of still pictures. We could call the movie "A Streetcar Named Undesireable"

Just drove along next to one on Weidler. Took up a perfectly good lane, and for what? Three riders. Who could easily have gotten wherever they are going by bus.

I saw the streetcar while coming home around 5:30 tonight. It was heading north coming out of OMSI and crossing MLK towards
Grand. I counted 3 people.

After the Hipsters have bankrupted the City of Portland, banned the automobile, and eliminated private enterprise, the Portland Streetcar will be a great way to find the most generous soup kitchen or a warm shelter.

For that, Sam Adams, I thank you.

Plus, with streetcars now being produced by United Streetcar in Clackamas, the region also can become a hub for this type of manufacturing.

Remember how there was a big Freightliner factory on Swan Island that ran three shifts a day, seven day a week, popping out trucks?

And remember how many towns in Oregon were home to RV factories - Pendleton, Coburg, McMinnville... All closed up, manufacturing moved out to Indiana?

And...how companies like New Flyer and Gillig that make those buses, have a two year wait from order until the bus is delivered?

Portland could have been a hub for the bus industry, with a wide range of manufacturing facilities and workers already trained and ready to work in these plants. The Streetcar industry is tiny - only a half dozen or so cities either operating or building a Streetcar. But buses are in nearly every city and town. Throw in school buses and there isn't a single town in America that doesn't have a bus.

We could have several THOUSAND Oregonians working to build buses. In factories that are paying good wages and benefits, that pay property taxes and beef up local school districts. That support suppliers and other businesses. Instead, we have one politically connected construction company that has accepted several million dollars in subsidies, to employ, what, 50 workers? To build ONE streetcar. In the dozen or so years, they've produced EXACTLY ONE vehicle.

Meanwhile thousands of other workers laid off from the RV and manufactured home industries, and even the timber industry, still await an economy that Oregon and Portland seem to deny. No, we're more interested in artists and musicians, and baristas and bartenders, and software engineers and apparel designers - so that we can send the designs to a factory in China to be made by 12 year old kids making a dime or so a day. Rather than building products here in Oregon that will support our economy.

The Streetcar fanatics seem to ignore that EVERY TriMet bus is "Made in the U.S.A." Yup, every last one. Most of them in Minnesota, the newest ones in Hayward, California. Not too far from Siemens' light rail factory in Sacramento - but at least Gillig doesn't ship the profits off to Berlin or Frankfurt or Munich or Hamburg or whatever German city Siemens is headquartered in.

We could have those jobs in Portland. Every city in North America could have a piece of Portland. Instead - Freightliner is scraping by with its Portland factory while its South Carolina and Mexican plants are running full bore. Gunderson barely has much going on in Portland but its Mexican and Nova Scotian factories are doing well. And we're proud to say that after millions and millions - we've built A streetcar.

And it broke down the first time we ran it.

Why would anyone be on that streetcar? It doesn't go anywhere.

Oddly, I agree with Allen.

Jan 19 How Portland is Taking America Back to the Future: the National Streetcar Movement and the Changing Urban Landscape Charlie Hales, HDR, Inc.

in this video from clicking the download


Streetcar is all good, it's a catalyst for development, it's benefits actually subsidize the city budget, it made SoWa a success

During Q&A at 1:10:20 John Charles sends in question for Hales.

Here, here Eric H. That is a well thought out post. Glad I came back to this thread.

Jack wrote: Who could easily have gotten wherever they are going by bus.

But, buses are icky-poo. People take that to *work*. This doesn't project the cool, upscale, image of urban swagger and arch modernism that we're trying to project.

We love how we see ourselves on a train, even when we have nowhere to go. Take that, Adelaide. In your face, Curitiba. We are clearly the World City that you envy.

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