No streetcar to Lake Oswego? How about a bikeway?

Avatar by on January 26th, 2012 at 10:39 am

Could the route for the streetcar
become a bicycle highway?
(Image: Metro)

After what the Oregonian called “persistent doubts from suburban taxpayers and a wealthy enclave of homeowners” the Lake Oswego streetcar project is on the rocks.

Concerns about construction and operating costs of the streetcar were the reasons for its demise, but over $2 million has already been spent on planning and impact studies.

Instead of throwing that money out the window, officials have an opportunity to build on the previous momentum for the streetcar and construct a world-class bike connection between Lake Oswego and downtown Portland.

[Read more…]

The Oregonian’s commute columnist weighs in on Broadway Bridge pole issue

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on January 23rd, 2012 at 4:44 pm

A new pole for the streetcar (marked
with orange/white stripes) has
narrowed the entry to
the Broadway Bridge path.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

As the story unfolds about how and why Portland Streetcar Inc. installed a utility pole on the Broadway Bridge bike/walk path, it is becoming more clear that they made a bad move.

We’ll have more to share on this story in the coming days; but for now, check out what The Oregonian’s “Hard Drive” columnist Joseph Rose thinks about it (taken from a news roundup he published today):
[Read more…]

City announces streetcar loop fare discussion open houses

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on November 21st, 2011 at 10:46 am

See below for statement from city regarding two open houses to hear public feedback on “the development and analysis of the fare policy and the related benefits and impacts of future service.” For background on what Portland Streetcar might have up their sleeve, see our story from April, How bike-sharing could spur revamp of transit fares in Portland

Portland Streetcar Loop & Fare Study Community Update Open Houses

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
The Cleaners at the Ace Hotel
403 SW 10th Avenue
Portland Streetcar or TriMet Bus #20

Thursday, December 1, 2011
Architectural Heritage Center
701 SE Grand Avenue
TriMet Bus #6

You are invited to attend either Open House. Drop by anytime between 5:00 and 7:30 PM.

The City of Portland is holding two public open houses to update the community on the Streetcar Loop. We would like to hear your thoughts on the development and analysis of the fare policy and the related benefits and impacts of future service. So please join us to discuss how the Streetcar will serve you best and to hear about plans for opening day in 2012.

If you have any questions, please contact Shoshanah Oppenheim at 503-823-7677 or send an email to

What keeps ‘Portlandia’ star from riding? Streetcar tracks

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on September 12th, 2011 at 12:40 pm

“I got caught in there [rail tracks]. And it put the fear of death in me. And that was the last time.”
— Portlandia star Fred Armisen on why he doesn’t plan to ride a bike when he moves to the Pearl District

Often when I’ve brought up issues related to sub-par bicycling conditions that I believe pose a safety hazard, I’ve been met with criticism.

Whether it was bone-jarring bumps on the Esplanade, the lack of shoulders on rural roads, or the dangers posed by streetcar tracks, some people react by saying, “Toughen up! Stop whining! Learn how to ride your bike and get over it!”

However, I remain convinced that high quality, smooth streets and paths are imperative if we expect more people to give bicycling a try (and an OHSU study agrees).[Read more…]

City working on educational video about bicycling near streetcar tracks

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on September 12th, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Streetcar caution sign MLK Jr Blvd and Davis-2

Existing streetcar track
education effort.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The City of Portland is working with Portland Streetcar and streetcar project contractor Shiels Obletz Johnsen on a new educational video about how to ride a bicycle around streetcar tracks.

City spokesperson Dan Anderson said the idea to do a video was spurred by a “desire to increase education awareness” about how to best ride a bike around the tracks. Anderson adds that the video, expected out in mid-October, will include detailed information on how to navigate around the new tracks and roadway configurations in the Pearl District.

“Safety is our number one priority,” wrote Anderson via email, “and we believe this kind of outreach will make all users safer and more predictable when it comes to navigating streetcar tracks.”[Read more…]

Newly striped bike lanes on NE 7th through Lloyd District raise eyebrows

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on September 8th, 2011 at 1:55 pm

PBOT has striped a new bike lane on NE 7th which puts bike traffic in between moving cars, trains and parked cars.
(Photos © J. Maus)

[Read more…]

A few ideas on how to improve streetcar track safety

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on September 1st, 2011 at 9:22 am

On the Cherry Ave Bridge in Chicago, the tracks
are filled with rubber so bicycle riders
can roll over them without worry.
(Photo: Steven Vance)

As we continue to discuss the ongoing problem of streetcar tracks causing people to crash while bicycling in Portland, I thought it might be helpful to share some potential solutions.

Many of the current issues (track-straddling on the Lovejoy ramp, tracks in the curbside shoulder (former bikeway) on the MLK/Grand couplet, the craziness in the Pearl District) have to do with a new streetcar line not that’s not even slated to open until fall of next year. However, much of the track is already in the street and has already claimed a lot of bike-riding victims.

The way I see it, PBOT and Portland Streetcar Inc., (the private non-profit that builds and operates the streetcar under City contract) must look to some interim fixes in the short-term and a more permanent solution in the long term.[Read more…]

Pearl District resident raises red flag on Lovejoy biking dangers

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on August 30th, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Despite presence of precarious
streetcar tracks, many people
still ride on Lovejoy.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Eastside Streetcar project has radically altered vehicle access to the Pearl District. If you ride a bicycle, the changes have been especially acute (as I shared back in July). NW Lovejoy has been decommissioned as a bike route and the Bureau of Transportation now urges people to use Marshall as the main east-west street.
[Read more…]

‘Track-straddling’ on Lovejoy, bike access issues persist

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on July 27th, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Due to the presence of new streetcar tracks, people on NW Lovejoy routinely drive in the bike lane.
(Photos © J. Maus)

[Read more…]

Activist group to track bike/streetcar track crashes

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on April 29th, 2011 at 10:33 am

According to a 2008 report by Alta Planning, bike crashes on streetcar tracks are a “major and underreported problem for Portland-area bicyclists.” Even so, the issue struggles to gain official attention because the vast majority of crashes do not get reported.

Portland-based, grassroots transportation advocacy group Active Right of Way (AROW) hopes to change that with their new, online Streetcar Crash Reporting form.[Read more…]