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  #2241  
Old Posted Aug 14, 2008, 8:43 PM
joeplayer1989 joeplayer1989 is offline
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which street do they want 2 name after douglas adams?
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  #2242  
Old Posted Aug 14, 2008, 11:49 PM
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^ 42nd of course
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  #2243  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2008, 6:48 AM
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Metro wants to hear from you right now on where mass future transit should go:
http://www.metro-goingplaces.org/
now they've posted a map showing hypothetical priority transit corridors - commuter rail, lrt and brt:



readable version:

http://www.oregonmetro.gov/files/pla...hct_poster.pdf
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  #2244  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2008, 7:52 AM
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^ 42nd of course
I'm a little slow..... I just figured that out. I was thinking maybe Douglas Adams lived on NE 42nd.
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  #2245  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2008, 2:52 PM
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L.A. could learn a thing or two from Portland (LA Times Article 08/18/08)

The city is a veritable transit utopia where light rail goes to the airport, parking restrictions increase public transit use and free streetcar service benefits downtown businesses. It also has a 20-year head start on planning.

By Steve Hymon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 18, 2008

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...,1196877.story

I recently spent a long weekend in Portland, Ore. It was hard not to marvel at all the things that city does well on the transportation front. I began to wonder what elements could be applied here.

Of course, comparing the Portland area to the Southland is a bit unfair. It has the advantage of being much smaller, and in the world of urban planning that usually translates into getting things done faster.

Light rail

Perhaps the biggest difference between Portland and L.A. is something you notice within minutes of walking off a plane: A light rail line stops at the airport terminal. For $2.05, you can board a train that takes about 40 minutes to reach the central business district.

The line was completed in 2001, making Portland the first city on the West Coast to have a train running to the airport. In the last fiscal year, 1.2 million people took it to and from the airport, according to TriMet, the local transportation agency.

By contrast, the current proposal here to extend the Green Line to LAX wouldn't actually take the Green Line to LAX. The train would stop near Parking Lot C, where passengers would transfer to a people mover.

Three light rail lines enter downtown Portland from the suburbs, and next year a fourth will arrive. All have opened in the last seven years after decades of planning. In many cases, the trains run right up the middle of the street -- stations are literally on the curb. They run slowly and stop often in downtown, and it doesn't appear to be a problem in terms of people-train-car conflicts.

Portland officials also drew a square around downtown and declared it a "fareless zone." If you ride the train or the bus only within that zone, it's free.

Downtown parking

One of the worst things about downtown L.A. is the number of parking lots. The lots have made it difficult to create the kind of critical mass of people that attracts businesses important to a thriving city center.

While downtown Portland certainly has parking lots and garages, it's nothing like the magnitude you see here.

This is the result of some smart things Portland officials did going back to the 1970s. Back then, state air quality officials began cracking down on car pollution. They imposed tight rules on emissions and told cities to find ways to get people to drive less. With that kick in the rear, Portland initially created a plan that capped the number of parking spaces downtown, thus encouraging more people to take mass transit.

Officials also zoned the city in such a way that the buildings closest to mass transit stops were given strict limits on how much parking they could construct.

Los Angeles has the exact opposite policy: New residential and commercial buildings have minimum amounts of parking they can build. There is no maximum.

Attempts to relax the minimums here have been controversial: When the city planning department tried to do it last year for buildings near transit lines, an upswell of protest put things on hold. No one believed people would buy new residential units without parking, and nearby residents feared newcomers would start parking in their neighborhoods.

The streetcar

Of all the transit-related things Portland has done, perhaps none has gotten more attention than the revival of the streetcar in 2001. The line has since been expanded and runs in an eight-mile loop through downtown. It also connects a new neighborhood along the Willamette River to the relatively new Pearl District and the older northwest side.

Stops are typically one to three blocks apart. And like buses, the streetcar has that magical gift of missing virtually every green light because it's always stopping. In exchange for lack of speed, however, the streetcar offers a hyper-local service that is convenient to reach for anyone living or working near the line.

Like light rail and buses, the streetcar is free within downtown. Because many people are riding for short distances, it has few seats but a lot of room for standing and it runs at curb level.

Proponents say it has attracted millions of dollars of development along the route. About a third of the cost was paid by nearby residents via an assessment. And businesses continue to subsidize it through sponsorships.

In Los Angeles, the Community Redevelopment Agency has looked into building a streetcar line downtown, but it likely would require a heavy investment from the private sector.

"The best part of it is that it's relatively cheap and it leads to a much more compelling pedestrian environment -- and real estate values go up because it's permanent," said Tom Cody, a principal with developer Gerding Edlen, which is building projects in Portland and L.A. "Critics say, 'Let's put in a DASH system,' but a DASH bus can always go away. A streetcar, if done correctly, comes with landscaping, shelters, trash cans, and because it's putting eyes on the street it makes neighborhoods safer."

What can L.A. learn?

After returning from Portland, I dialed up Gail Goldberg, chief of the Los Angeles planning department. Goldberg knows Portland well -- in planning circles it's often used as a model -- and one of her sons lives in the Pearl, the old manufacturing district now filled with high-rises and buildings converted into housing.

She focused on a few issues: Redevelopment laws in Portland are, as she understands them, more flexible in terms of providing incentives to get developers to build what the city wants. And she thought business improvement districts in Portland had shown more willingness to spend money on their communities.

On the transit front, Goldberg said, "I like that they understand the value and are willing to have free service in the downtown area. . . . They've somehow learned that it's not a subsidy, it's an investment."

Goldberg said the things people see in Portland in 2008 are the result of smart decisions made as far back as the 1970s -- when the region moved to adopt an urban growth boundary and invest in mass transit.

"They had a great plan adopted 20 years ago," Goldberg said, "and the City Council sticks to the plan."
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  #2246  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2008, 11:13 PM
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On the transit front, Goldberg said, "I like that they understand the value and are willing to have free service in the downtown area. . . . They've somehow learned that it's not a subsidy, it's an investment."

this should be said every time some idiot says we should get rid of fareless square. Everyone outside of the Portland metro is amazed by this because in most cities this doesnt exist.

It is always nice to have a big city like LA looking up at a smaller city like Portland. Now if only we can kick the streetcar lines into high gear, something I am hoping Sam takes a huge crack at.
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  #2247  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2008, 5:14 AM
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All the close-in neighborhoods should be served by a streetcar or at least be within a mile or 2 of a line.
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  #2248  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2008, 6:16 PM
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Originally Posted by alexjon View Post
All the close-in neighborhoods should be served by a streetcar or at least be within a mile or 2 of a line.
What we need is better connections to high-speed, high-capacity corridors.

I live on the south side of Mount Tabor, at about 64th. I'm almost exactly a mile and a half from the red/blue line to the north, and almost exactly a mile and a half from the soon-to-be-open green line to the east.

The biggest difference is that the green line will run 1/3 as frequently and will be the only line properly served by busses.

Right now there is no adequate transportation from SE Portland where there is no high-speed, high-capacity transportation to NE Portland where it's all built.

The streetcar isn't high-capacity or high-speed. The article above even points out that it's specifically designed for people to ride it for only a few blocks.

What the East side really needs is a MAX line close to Powell and some rezoning around the line to encourage proper development.

It's sort of sad... they have put all this money into the green line, which I really want to use to get to PSU... but it'll always be faster for me to take the 4 to downtown and walk 10 blocks. Always.

Streetcar from areas like SE Portland to MAX lines would be the only lines that make any sense to me, as streetcar is inherently and cost inefficient and transportation inefficient method of spending Trimet's money.

(And alex, for the record, I agree with what you were saying... close-in neighborhoods benefit from streetcar more than most... you just spurred a thought.)
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  #2249  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2008, 6:20 PM
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For its population, the SE is the least-served area of the entire city and that's a fact.

I think Powell will be tagged for a new MAX line eventually (when the Green Line, Yellow Line extension and Orange Line are completed, I'm sure we'll get a firm projection), but until then-- 60' Artics. I hate that there aren't any in Portland. I understand space constraints, but seriously.
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  #2250  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2008, 8:07 PM
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For its population, the SE is the least-served area of the entire city and that's a fact.

I think Powell will be tagged for a new MAX line eventually (when the Green Line, Yellow Line extension and Orange Line are completed, I'm sure we'll get a firm projection), but until then-- 60' Artics. I hate that there aren't any in Portland. I understand space constraints, but seriously.
Tri-Met had 60' Artics back in the 80's. If I remember correctly, they were introduced in '81. They were built somewhere in Eastern Europe, belched deisel smoke like there was no tomorrow, and broke down constantly. It was a real kick to sit in the very back and watch the front 2/3 of the bus disappear when it crested a hill. The back end osolated a lot at freeway speeds, and there were times I thought the bus was going to take out the car in the next lane on the Sunset.
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  #2251  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2008, 8:21 PM
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No, what the eastside really needs is a high-capacity transit system centered around 39th and Hawthorne, right smack in the middle of the highest-density mixed use area of southeast portland, with high-capacity connection to downtown (buses are always full) and a more direct connection to NE and further SE.

On the upside, bus service seems to be a lot more reliable now than it was 3 or 4 years ago. I seem to be missing fewer and fewer buses, when I used to notice a lot of no-shows (waiting ~1 hour for a bus on a frequent service line, etc...)
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  #2252  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2008, 8:35 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbear View Post
Tri-Met had 60' Artics back in the 80's. If I remember correctly, they were introduced in '81. They were built somewhere in Eastern Europe, belched deisel smoke like there was no tomorrow, and broke down constantly. It was a real kick to sit in the very back and watch the front 2/3 of the bus disappear when it crested a hill. The back end osolated a lot at freeway speeds, and there were times I thought the bus was going to take out the car in the next lane on the Sunset.
New Flyer has a pretty good model that can be done to Trimet's specs, but I imagine they would probably prefer to add a run or two instead. You know, the easy route.

Quote:
No, what the eastside really needs is a high-capacity transit system centered around 39th and Hawthorne, right smack in the middle of the highest-density mixed use area of southeast portland, with high-capacity connection to downtown (buses are always full) and a more direct connection to NE and further SE.
Well, 39th is considered too difficult to work with, but there is certainly a push to get streetcars down Hawthorne. For capacity's sake, they could order some 06 Ts from Skoda since those tick in at under 150' long, IIRC.

I thik if they do intend to do a lot of Streetcars in this city, it may be time to upgrade to something like the 06 T, Citadis or Flexity Outlook. I wonder if United Streetcar can create such models?

Oh man, I bet they COULD do an american 06 T!
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  #2253  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2008, 9:24 PM
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Having some sort of light rail or a streetcar on Hawthorne always seems like a great idea when I'm daydreaming about such things, but there always seem to be problems with it.

SE between Belmont and Powell could obviously use a system with the capacity and speed of the MAX, but I can't think of a route that would work that wouldn't be hugely disruptive to the neighborhoods. Maybe putting the MAX on Powell (as I'm sure we will sometime in the next 15 years) and a streetcar loop on 39th, Hawthorne, and 11th/12th would work?

I'd also love to see the MAX get an extension down Barbur Blvd.-- it doesn't seem out of the question given the tracks' proximity on the new line to PSU.
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  #2254  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2008, 2:09 AM
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Talks consider a Cornelius-Forest Grove commuter rail
by Jill Rehkopf Smith, The Oregonian
Tuesday August 19, 2008, 2:24 PM


Cornelius and Forest Grove officials are discussing the possibility of a commuter-rail service that could connect them to Hillsboro within five years.

A representative for Portland & Western Railroad approached local leaders about the idea this summer. Larry Harvey, a senior consultant with PacWest Communications, said the railroad's line just north of Oregon 8 (map) is deteriorating.

Without an upgrade, it will no longer be able serve the five or so companies now using it for freight, he said, forcing them to relocate or start contracting with truck companies.

"Portland and Western said, 'Gee, if we committed to only running freight on that line between midnight and 4 a.m., then passenger cars could run between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.," Harvey said.

The railroad has approached local governments about cooperating to find funding for what Portland & Western estimates would be a $30 million project, in 2008 dollars.

That's $170 million less than the cost to extend TriMet's light-rail line from Hillsboro, as estimated by a consultant in 2006.

The cost discrepancy is mostly due to the commuter rail sharing track with a freight service, Harvey said. That means it would be regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration and would be subject to fewer requirements because the line is already established.

The commuter-rail proposal also envisioned fewer stops than the earlier light-rail proposal.

A commuter-rail line is "an excellent way to get the track done in a timelier manner," said Forest Grove Mayor Richard Kidd, a longtime proponent of a light-rail extension, which would be at least a decade away.

Harvey said the diesel-powered Portland & Western project could be "up and running by 2013" -- with the possibility of eventual conversion to electric-powered light-rail.

Also in Washington County, a similar commuter rail line operated by TriMet is scheduled to start operating between Wilsonville and Beaverton in November. Westside Express Service will run on 14.7 miles of upgraded freight rail tracks.

But at the west end of the Portland area's urban growth boundary, many local officials think more transit options will be necessary to accommodate growth.

Kidd said several key issues must be addressed before the Forest Grove proposal becomes a serious possibility.

For one thing, he said, a commuter-rail line would have to include a stop and a park-and-ride facility in Forest Grove at Oregon 47, near McMenamins Grand Lodge, so that people from outlying areas could board the train there and take it into Portland after connecting with light rail in Hillsboro.

The proposal envisioned only three stops -- in Hillsboro, Cornelius and at Pacific University in Forest Grove.

Kidd also said riders connecting between the commuter-rail and light-rail lines shouldn't have to pay two fares, even with two different agencies running the lines.

In addition, fares would not fully cover operations and maintenance costs, which would need some other funding source, he said.

Kidd also said the project would have to include a bicycle and pedestrian pathway.

He said the next meeting on the topic will probably happen by early October. The Oregon Department of Transportation and TriMet will take part in that meeting.

-- Jill Rehkopf Smith; jillsmith@news.oregonian.com
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  #2255  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2008, 6:09 AM
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$30 million for a 5-6 mile-long commuter rail extension is absolutely ridiculous. The vast majority of riders would still need to transfer to light rail like Line 57 riders do today - so very little improvement for Forest Grove residents. Service would be limited to peak hours only like WES probably and infrequent at that.. likely to achieve few, if any, TODs. For $30 million, think of all the improvements that could be made to Line 57 bus service - either increased frequency of service, improved ped/bike access, and/or a park-and-ride. FG should focus on allowing greater development density along the rail line and wait for an extension of the Blue Line to eliminate the need to transfer.

Lastly, the $30 price tag is probably off a bit. This line doesn't have direct access to the WES rail yard, so a new maintenance facility would need to be constructed. I doubt this was included in the estimate.. So add another $10 million to the price tag..?
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  #2256  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2008, 6:13 AM
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Can they boss Trimet around like that, I wonder?
Metro can not and will not boss TriMet around. In fact, many of Metro's transit corridor planners used to work at TriMet and vice versa. These agencies work together.. no one bosses the other around.
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  #2257  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2008, 6:45 AM
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For its population, the SE is the least-served area of the entire city and that's a fact.
I would strongly disagree. Bus service in SE is better than anywhere else in the Portland region. Since when does bus service not count for anything? Line 14 has 4-5 minute headways during peak periods. Six blocks to the north, Line 15 has 5-6 minute headways during peak periods. Eight blocks to the north of that Lines 19 and 20 offer combined headways of approximately every 6 minutes on Burnside west of 28th. Line 4 offers 6 minute headways during the peak period. There could be better Line 70 and 75 service, but they're both at least every 15 minutes during the peak period.

In contrast, look at the Interstate corridor. A light rail line looks and feels nice there, but last time I checked, it runs every 10 minutes during peak periods (on good days) and it still doesn't fill up (so it's unlikely to increase any time soon). It's a bit faster, but the additional wait and walk times probably make it a wash in comparison to SE local bus service.

Streetcars won't help much - slower service, higher capital and operating costs. At-grade light rail is too intrusive in a neighborhood with such high street connectivity - too many street crossings/closures preclude safe pedestrian crossings. Grade-separated rail is too costly for the density it will serve (even in the most optimistic of forecasts). Exclusive bus lanes provide an option but require significant public acceptance.. don't know if we're there yet.

Articulated buses provide the only solution to preserve such high service levels with reduced crowding during peak hours without increasing operating costs significantly. TriMet had problems with artics in the past, but these seem to be unique compared to other major cities who have successfully maintained them for decades.

In conclusion, I understand the rail bias, but I don't think rail is appropriate in all corridors, especially SE Portland, for the reasons mentioned above. I say this especially because bus service in inner SE Portland is enviable to the rest of the Portland region.
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  #2258  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2008, 3:59 PM
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I would strongly disagree. Bus service in SE is better than anywhere else in the Portland region. Since when does bus service not count for anything? Line 14 has 4-5 minute headways during peak periods. Six blocks to the north, Line 15 has 5-6 minute headways during peak periods. Eight blocks to the north of that Lines 19 and 20 offer combined headways of approximately every 6 minutes on Burnside west of 28th. Line 4 offers 6 minute headways during the peak period. There could be better Line 70 and 75 service, but they're both at least every 15 minutes during the peak period.

In contrast, look at the Interstate corridor. A light rail line looks and feels nice there, but last time I checked, it runs every 10 minutes during peak periods (on good days) and it still doesn't fill up (so it's unlikely to increase any time soon). It's a bit faster, but the additional wait and walk times probably make it a wash in comparison to SE local bus service.

Streetcars won't help much - slower service, higher capital and operating costs. At-grade light rail is too intrusive in a neighborhood with such high street connectivity - too many street crossings/closures preclude safe pedestrian crossings. Grade-separated rail is too costly for the density it will serve (even in the most optimistic of forecasts). Exclusive bus lanes provide an option but require significant public acceptance.. don't know if we're there yet.

Articulated buses provide the only solution to preserve such high service levels with reduced crowding during peak hours without increasing operating costs significantly. TriMet had problems with artics in the past, but these seem to be unique compared to other major cities who have successfully maintained them for decades.

In conclusion, I understand the rail bias, but I don't think rail is appropriate in all corridors, especially SE Portland, for the reasons mentioned above. I say this especially because bus service in inner SE Portland is enviable to the rest of the Portland region.
I'm only thinking of capacity, since getting home from work on the 14 or even the 19 was hell-and-a-half. Streetcars give the railfans their biscuit while giving some pretty good capacity increases, but I agree that it'd be a hard sell.

Of course, I advocate closing part of Hawthorne (or cutting lanes), so I'm probably not the best person to ask about what to do with that particular corridor.

I would absolutely be quiet if there were artics in the SE, though.
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  #2259  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2008, 4:54 PM
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^ as a business owner on Hawthorne I know that there will be strong resistance to LRT/Streetcar/bike lanes/wider sidewalks/center medians or anything that could evoke a disruption to local commerce during construction even though there is a great desire to have these things. The other business owners struggle to survive with Hawthorne's high rents and poor infrastructure, but the biggest problem in their minds is that they have also had to endure the bridge closure and street repairs for the last decade. Unless someone can find funding without tapping Hawthorne businesses and create a construction plan with unimaginably low disruption or kickbacks for lost revenue during construction then Hawthorne is a no go in a vocally powerful minority here. I am one of many who see the benefits rather than the disruption, but our 'voices' are not heard over the NIMBY resistance.

Instead we will get BRT on Powell/Foster because of politics: US 26 is the highway department's and will be near impossible to lower auto capacity to make room for LRT tracks, and the Damascus area which could give reason and funding to the corridor is outside of Trimet's boundaries (remember Damascus just passed its own version of M 37 and has a very anti-Portland political background). Streetcars will not be seen for at least 20 years in inner Southeast with the line-up of the central loop, Burnside, Sandy, etc taking priority seating and the general well built up SE environment that hinders funding potential. Southeast has great bus service and an up-and-coming bicycle community. I, unfortunately, believe that SE will not see LRT or streetcar or any kind of rail transit (other than Milwaukie MAX and the Green line which run on our 'borders') for a long, long time. Other corridors (Barbur, Oregon City, Vancouver, etc...) are more important to the region as a whole anyway.
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  #2260  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2008, 5:54 PM
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^ as a business owner on Hawthorne I know that there will be strong resistance to LRT/Streetcar/bike lanes/wider sidewalks/center medians or anything that could evoke a disruption to local commerce during construction even though there is a great desire to have these things. The other business owners struggle to survive with Hawthorne's high rents and poor infrastructure, but the biggest problem in their minds is that they have also had to endure the bridge closure and street repairs for the last decade. Unless someone can find funding without tapping Hawthorne businesses and create a construction plan with unimaginably low disruption or kickbacks for lost revenue during construction then Hawthorne is a no go in a vocally powerful minority here. I am one of many who see the benefits rather than the disruption, but our 'voices' are not heard over the NIMBY resistance.

Instead we will get BRT on Powell/Foster because of politics: US 26 is the highway department's and will be near impossible to lower auto capacity to make room for LRT tracks, and the Damascus area which could give reason and funding to the corridor is outside of Trimet's boundaries (remember Damascus just passed its own version of M 37 and has a very anti-Portland political background). Streetcars will not be seen for at least 20 years in inner Southeast with the line-up of the central loop, Burnside, Sandy, etc taking priority seating and the general well built up SE environment that hinders funding potential. Southeast has great bus service and an up-and-coming bicycle community. I, unfortunately, believe that SE will not see LRT or streetcar or any kind of rail transit (other than Milwaukie MAX and the Green line which run on our 'borders') for a long, long time. Other corridors (Barbur, Oregon City, Vancouver, etc...) are more important to the region as a whole anyway.
Oh, I agree with you 100% on the business portion. The other half is kinda antsy over the idea of the First Avenue streetcar construction up here in Seattle disrupting business in his store at the Market and I absolutely understand it. I remember what happened when they took out a lane on East Houston back in San Antonio and replaced bus service with a local faux trolley-- revenue at my grandmother's store went from the 950k-1.1m range to something like 500-600k almost overnight (2 years, which is like "overnight" to a business). Since her store's primary business was a lot of consignment sales and we were already taking in a pittance for our large family, you can imagine how furious she became over the years toward the idea of narrowing streets for one reason or another.

Of course, I'm not retiring to Portland until my 50s or 60s, so I have at least 30 years to push for the convenience of rail in my preferred neighborhoods, which means the rest of your post, although logical and kinda gloomy, is not bothering me. Audacious hope!
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