This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 15, 2013 1:47 PM. The previous post in this blog was The starting line. The next post in this blog is Last dance with the 'dogs. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The sound of crickets

When, oh when, is someone in the mainstream media going to be brave enough to point out that no one is riding the outrageously wasteful eastside streetcar in Portland? Will the O ask the question? Of course not. How about Willy Week? Probably not, it would make their boy Char-Lie look bad. KGW? Maybe. But our bet would be that KATU will be the first to comment on the emperor's clothes. When they'll get around to it, though, is another question. Maybe after the current Arctic blast is concluded.

Comments (12)

I'd file this one under "be careful what you wish for." Major articles pointing out the lack of riders will no doubt be followed by lots of speeches and editorials about how ridership would increase IF ONLY [insert reason to spend more money here].

It's pretty clear that the goal of the streetcar is to promote development. (The folks in charge have admitted as much) Success isn't a bunch of riders, it's a bunch of new condos on the east side.

Oh this is just phase one of an all familiar pattern:

1. Build the rail line.

Wait, no one is riding it!

2. Increase densities around transit stops.

Wait, no one is building it!

3. Heavily subsidize developers with cheap land, favorable code enforcement, tax breaks, and straight up giveaways. Allow builders to externalize costs on surrounding neighborhoods such as parking and sewer lines.

Wait, there are way too many cars!

4. Implement high cost parking program. Proclaim streetcar success. Spend parking proceeds on next streetcar line.

nailed it Anthony.

Meanwhile, how many businesses lost revenue due to the construction?
. . . were there LIDS those businesses had to pay?
There was a great paper/envelope place that closed doors,
was sad to lose that special business.

I wish this were the only issue where the local media were sycophants for elected officials.

How long has the WES line been open? Still waiting for the media to do an expose on the pols who made money on that boondoggle. The Tram anyone? Has there been a follow up cost benefit analyses on that turkey? Let's face it - that's why the government has so many "media flaks" on payroll. To spoon feed the story they want told to the press.

Pom Mom of LO,

So true.
Seems like the more boondoggles the more number of people on government payroll they need to do the PR/marketing stories.

Just wait for ODOT to get its wish in building "high speed rail" to Eugene...

Of course NOBODY has questioned why ODOT spent $35 million on two new (and larger) trains, when the current trains - after ten years of operation - still run at an average 25-30% load factor south of Portland, attracting fewer than 100 riders per train with nearly 300 seats.

All day today there were problems with the CS (OMSI) streetcar line. This afternoon when I caught the streetcar downtown to head home, the banner at the stop kept repeating that 4 out of 5 of the eastside streetcar line cars were off line, out of order or something like that. The wait between CS cars was very long and cold. Fortunately the NS car had no such problems (funny, I thought they were the same streetcars running wherever TriMet wanted to put them). As usual we were packed like sardines on the NS line while the OMSIcar - even running infrequently - had very few people on it.

I thought the WW already did a big story some years back on those who profit from the Portland real estate-rail scam?

Interesting. I blow into Portland every now and then for little culture. Awhile back my wife and I were in town and stayed down at the Riverplace. We hopped a FREE streetcar from there to Powells and thought that was really cool. Free and easy to understand. Then, earlier this month we stayed at the same place to see Book Of Mormon (funny!) and again figured we would hit the town by streetcar. Huh? It cost money, and damn, even a smart guy like me needed help from locals in figuring out how to buy a friggin' ticket. I asked who was going to check the tickets and the grousing locals said no one. They said every now and then cops with guns and dogs hop onto the streetcar and check everyone, and give out $200 tickets for those trying to ride for free. Scares the heck out of people. Is that true? That doesn't sound like Portlandia. Meanwhile, that whole Eastside thing was really confusing. At one point, at night, I realized that we were on the wrong line and we had to jump off or the thing would take us across the river. Man, urban life is complicated!

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