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  #161  
Old Posted Feb 4, 2008, 7:03 PM
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Looks like the anti-public transport administration is at it again. This seems to be happening a lot lately with rail projects in the US. I was browsing over in the Transportation section and it seems like rail projects in Miami and the Virginia/DC area were getting significantly downsized or cut all together because of the Feds unwillingness to provide funding. Very sad.
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  #162  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2008, 12:22 AM
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according to portlandtransport.com the streetcar loop is included in the presidents budget, with $50 million for the first year... that's an interesting turn of events...
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  #163  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2008, 1:04 AM
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Any idea if this, with the promise of the other 25 million next year, is enough to start final engineering?
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  #164  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2008, 1:29 AM
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unfortunately, even with a change in the administration, thanks to all these wars, there might not be much money left over for things like this. thanks, w.
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  #165  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2008, 9:36 PM
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Can someone explain to me where the story is in this? I feel like the WW and Tribune have repeatedly run stories lately with these scandal-suggesting headlines that just sort of peter out at the end... because, well, really, there is no story. This sort of journalism seems like a perfect fit for the half-assed journalists working for Mr. Pamplin, but a Pulitzer-winning guy like Jacquiss? The idea that Adams might have to "deny" canceling the re-paving of 23rd so that he could fund analysis of a Bside streetcar is particularly odious when there have been previous news stories reporting on how 23rd businesses were practically begging them not to re-construct the street right now due to the amount of disruption (and, indeed, letters between the two parties are quoted). There may be good reasons why PDOT doesn't want to re-direct this money to a paving project, but no one from Adams' office is quoted -- just some hack from the OR Taxpayer's Association (wtf?).

I'm all for critical journalism, btw. It's not the information being shared in this case that bothers me (of course), but the tone and methodology of the journalism.

I guess it gets the Bojack Dipshit Gallery frothing at the mouth, which is always amusing.

Last edited by tworivers; Feb 22, 2008 at 9:53 PM. Reason: re-wording
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  #166  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2008, 11:41 PM
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The headline and story usually come from 2 separate people. The article gives the feeling that Adams is trying to hold onto fed dollars that would normally go away since the 23rd project is floundering due to the business community and the actual pavement problems. The headline makes the pass through reader assume Adams is canceling the 23rd project for a controversial streetcar.

"Meh" is what I have to say about reporting like this. It reminds me of that awful article about leasing air-rights over Burnside for B-side-6 even though it is status quo in Portland to do this on any of the widened streets.
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  #167  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2008, 1:12 AM
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the latest meeting minutes are posted at portlandstreetcar.org
http://portlandstreetcar.org/pdf/ESL...s_20080220.pdf

Here are some excepts...
Quote:
We have been included in the President’s budget. They are recommending that in the next fiscal year Portland Streetcar receives $50 million of the $200 million available. There is still a contingency of meeting the FTA’s T-Sub rating before we are allocated the money. Our plan B would be: if we can’t meet the T-Sub rating of “medium” before we would apply for an appropriation which happens in June or July. There is little chance that the President’s budget will be approved by September 30, 2008. The chance of any approved budget being vetoed by the President is high, so it may be pushed to February 2009 after the election of the new President and the swearing in of the President. We are still progressing on the T-Sub rating. The FTA is working positively with our representatives on a weekly basis. Last Friday we submitted a large pile of data and information. There are often daily conversations trying to establish that there are actually more riders on the streetcar system than what was projected. If they agree to this, there is a high probability of us meeting the T-Sub requirement. Daniel Deutsch asked about the probability of us getting to the required Medium rating. Gustafson responded that we have to get to that point, so we will do whatever is necessary. The Environmental Assessment has been issued. FTA has signed off on it being issued but we are in the public comment period. There is an Open House March 6, 2008 from 5pm to 7:30pm in the Multnomah County Boardroom, 501 SE Hawthorne. When this period is completed the FTA can sign off on the EA. We have two signals that the FTA is preparing to have us funded.



We are asking the City Council to approve the contract to continue working on the Loop Project. Dan Yates asked about how much we are expecting to touch the City’s line of credit while waiting for the federal funding. Gustafson responded that there are 2 pieces of funding that are uncertain. The first is PDC’s input and contributions and the second is the federal funds. The major funds we will have to borrow from the city are the LID ($10 million). We could borrow between $8-10 million over a period of 18 months. There are two options for proceeding: 1) an aggressive option where the city authorizes URS to start work on final design immediately; and 2) that the contracts be approved but the notice to proceed be withheld until federal funding is available. We are asking the city to approve the second option.


Chris Smith asked about Small Starts and how the delays are costing us money and if there was any chance to get additional appropriations to help cover the additional costs from the delays. Blumenauer responded that it would be very difficult.
There's also some discussion about the route it will take in the Pearl District
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  #168  
Old Posted Apr 28, 2008, 8:33 PM
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New meeting minutes from the Portland Streetcar Citizens Advisory Committee can be found here. This is an excerpt regarding the ES Loop project and the manufacturing of streetcars at Oregon Ironworks (there’s not too much new info of note in the rest of the minutes). I also posted some info from these minutes in the Milwaukie LRT thread.

Quote:
4. Project Updates:
Loop: Rick Gustafson reminded everyone that the Open House for the Environmental Assessment is tomorrow and that the public comment period ends March 10, 2008. We are expecting to be able to release a FONSI (Finding of No Significant Impact). The project is moving along nicely. The Federal Transit Authority’s assistance and acceptance of the EA is another piece of evidence that they want to fund the project. We are still at a rating of Low-Medium and need to continue to work on getting that rating to a Medium. We are working almost daily with the FTA in trying to improve this rating. The bottom line is there must be a cost-effectiveness of $23.99 price/benefit ratio. We are at $29.00 right now. The regional model which we used to conduct the analysis of the streetcar ridership was right on the mark for bus and light rail ridership, but only 52% of actual Streetcar ridership.



According to our benefits, we could find our cost/benefit ratio at closer to $14.00. The FTA insists that we do all our comparisons against a high-end bus system that is actually higher than we would actually make or get the support to make. If we can get the FTA to agree that the demand numbers are higher than the model predicts, we will make our rating of Medium.



We are highly confident that we will meet the cost estimates and budgets. The FTA normally has their own cost analysis done, though they did not have it done in our project (mainly due to the capped financial input from the FTA). The $50 million that has been earmarked for the Loop Project is a down-payment for the $75 that we will get from the FTA for the entire project. On March 20, 2008, PSI is in front of the City Council to get approval of the final design contracts. We are asking for approval so we are ready to go when we get our cost/benefit rating to Medium with the FTA. We are right in the middle of this project and are working diligently to see this through. Vern Rifer asked about the connection between the Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge and the affect on the Streetcar. Gustafson responded that to complete the Loop we will need 5 more cars and between $35 – 40 million to complete the Loop (installing track from the bridge to the current South Waterfront tracks). When all of this happens we will make a request to the FTA for an additional grant if they increase the maximum federal money available for Small Starts. Smith made a motion to allow Chris Smith to speak for the CAC at the March 20, 2008 City Council meeting. Bob Richardson seconded the motion. It was approved unanimously. Pearce asked if all of this does not work to get us funding before January 20, 2009, would we resubmit the project to the FTA or have to start the process all over again. Gustafson responded that the general feeling is that whomever the new administration centers around, it will be friendlier than the current administration. If in September progress has not been made, there is a chance we would have to consider the possibility of a Plan C. If the budget gets approved in January or February of 2009, we will still be in that budget’s mark ups in June/July. Pearce also commented that Portland is becoming more and more visible as the leader of Streetcars around the country and she was wondering if that makes it harder for the FTA to say no to our project. Gustafson responded that yes, that is true and that is why Simpson (FTA Administrator) stated in 2006 when he entered his office he declared that he wanted to get our project funded. Tucson will be applying for Small Starts in the coming months. Smith read a written comment submitted by Michael Dennis that there were rumors about shortening pedestrian signal lengths on the east side to increase the flow of traffic. Gustafson responded that nothing to that detail has been discussed or dealt with yet, but that we are looking into signal overrides and more serious circulation plans in areas (relationships between bikes, streetcar, busses, cars, and pedestrians). These studies are being done in the Pearl, Lloyd, OMSI and Burnside/Couch Districts.

Rifer asked about Oregon Ironworks and their Streetcar division United Streetcar and if they are really building the new cars. Gustafson responded that yes they are manufacturing the cars and that the first one will be on the tracks in Portland in December 2008. We will be testing their car here in Portland and it will be different in color and paint design than all other cars because it is the first car manufactured in the United States (and Oregon). There are two bids that United Streetcar will prepare in the coming weeks. The first is that we have been given $20 million by the state for 7 cars for the Loop and they will competitively bid for that. The second is through Shiels Obletz Johnsen for 4 cars for the Dubai Streetcar Project which will be in competition against worldwide companies.
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  #169  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2008, 9:04 AM
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Booya!

Quote:
yes they are manufacturing the cars and that the first one will be on the tracks in Portland in December 2008.
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  #170  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2008, 1:38 PM
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Hey, so I guess they are going to run these new cars on the existing tracks for a while? I don't think the new east side tracks will have even started construction by then. Oh, looks like it's for testing.
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  #171  
Old Posted May 19, 2008, 1:42 AM
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The Boise Neighborhood Association is giving the NW folks a run for their NIMBY money -- this time fighting the Streetcar System Plan process. They have already said no way to a streetcar on either Mississippi or Vancouver/Williams and instead want it (if at all) on MLK, a stance that works for me because I strongly support that option.
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  #172  
Old Posted May 19, 2008, 5:04 AM
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The city should begin penalizing neighborhoods for hindering projects of citywide benefit.
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  #173  
Old Posted May 20, 2008, 2:31 AM
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Well, Boise gets the bike lanes on Vancouver/Williams, so they better use 'em.
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  #174  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2008, 2:24 PM
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Streetcar system planning continues...
Quote:
NW Portland looks at potential streetcar routes
Volunteers spread word that possible new line could connect to Montgomery Park
BY TODD MURPHY
The Portland Tribune, Jun 20, 2008

Do Northwest Portland residents want more streetcar lines in their neighborhood?

And if so, which potential routes do they want?

Those are the primary questions that a group of volunteers working with the city’s Office of Transportation have been asking Northwest Portland residents in recent days.

Volunteers are going door-to-door in the neighborhood talking to people, directing them to an online survey, and to information about three potential new streetcar routes in Northwest Portland.

The Northwest work is actually part of a much larger city effort — to determine possible corridors for new streetcars throughout the city.

The work is separate from the one new streetcar line for the city that is inching toward approval — an inner eastside streetcar loop that is still awaiting federal funding but could have its construction begin by summer of next year.

The surveying and outreach work on other possible streetcar lines is part of the city’s Streetcar System Plan — a project started in June 2007.

And it’s more about someday possibilities than near-future certainties.

“Nothing is proposed. It’s all just potential,” said Patrick Sweeney, the plan’s project manager with the city’s Office of Transportation. “I don’t see any of the street car corridors with the system plan being queued up within the next .. we’re looking five to 15 years before anything in the streetcar system plan could be built.

The largest unanswered question would be funding — both to build the lines and to operate any new streetcars.

But five “district working groups” of volunteers from five broad areas of the city are still talking about ideas — and trying to gauge community reaction. The Northwest working group is the first group that already has identified three potential streetcar lines and begun surveying residents about them.

One proposed option is to build a line from West Burnside Street to Montgomery Park, via 18th and 19th avenues and Thurman and Vaughn streets. Another option is to build a line from Burnside to Montgomery Park via 21st Avenue and Thurman. And the third proposed option is to build a line from Burnside to Montgomery Park via 23rd Avenue and Thurman.

Kim Carlson, a Northwest district resident and chair of the Northwest district working group, said people may prefer some combination of the three ideas, or other routes.

“In doing our outreach, we’re saying, not one of these options is perfect. But between them .. maybe there are components that look really good,” Carlson said.

After each district working group gets reaction from neighborhood residents, they will prepare a final report outlining options that they will deliver to office of transportation officials.
http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/...92446300864900
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  #175  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2008, 9:08 PM
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I'm working on the NE survey process. If anyone in inner N/NE wants to help us survey next week, PM me. I know awhile back there were a few other posters from the area.

From the meetings I've attended, it seems like people are interested in advocating for Broadway/Weidler, 82nd, MLK connecting to Alberta, Killingsworth, and/or Lombard (to St Johns -- the sole focus of the N Working Group). East/west lines would be on Alberta/Killingsworth between Interstate MAX + PCC Cascade and Fox Chase + Concordia U. Oh, and NE Sandy from Hollywood to Parkrose also has support.
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  #176  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2008, 9:42 PM
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Way to go, tworivers. Glad to see people on this forum involved in the projects that are of interest to us all!
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  #177  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2008, 9:57 AM
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I'd like to a hipster line branching from the Interstate MAX up Russell and then Mississippi and then Alberta to 33rd, up to Killingsworth and turn around at New Seasons.
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  #178  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2008, 7:19 PM
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Mississippi is unlikely to move forward due to strong neighborhood opposition. Williams/Vancouver has also seen some pushback -- those streets are perceived as being ideal as a bike route and a connection to Alberta would be difficult due to the stretch over to MLK. There is also a lot of housing on those streets in general.

The neighborhoods along Alberta seem to be very supportive of an Alberta streetcar terminating near Fox Chase/New Seasons/Concordia U. It would seem logical to have that east/west line jog up to Killingsworth on MLK and then go west to PCC and Interstate MAX. I am hoping for an MLK streetcar going north from the Eastside Loop as far as possible, either connecting to Alberta/Killingsworth or all the way to Lombard and the proposed line to St Johns (which is the sole focus of the North PDX Working Group). One of the advantages of MLK is that it would pull people in from the neighborhoods to the east like Irvington, Sabin, etc. Not to mention all the development and LID potential, the "main street" designation, heavy existing transit demand, and the need to tame auto traffic and make the street more viable for businesses and pedestrians.
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  #179  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2008, 2:30 PM
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Blumenauer Small Starts bill...
Quote:
Prospects improve for east-side streetcar
Trib Town • Blumenauer proposal would revamp federal funding formula
BY NICK BUDNICK
The Portland Tribune, Jul 3, 2008

The chances that the Portland streetcar will cross the Willamette River to the central east side just got better.

That’s because on June 30, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., introduced legislation that would override what has been a major obstacle to securing federal funding for the project.

The city of Portland and Metro, the regional planning agency, have asked the Federal Transit Administration for about $75 million to fund half of the construction costs.

The project proposes to run the streetcar from Northwest Portland across the Broadway Bridge and down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Grand Avenue to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It would pass through the Lloyd, Pearl and Central Eastside districts, as well as Eliot, Buckman and Hosford-Abernethy neighborhoods.

Staff members at the FTA, however, have refused to sign off on the project. In essence, they feel it is inefficient as a people-mover, and does not provide enough bang for the buck under an FTA formula that considers speed, distance and ridership.

To combat that, Blumenauer’s legislation would require that the FTA alter its formula to take into account what advocates say are benefits of the streetcar – such as encouraging the construction of taller, denser buildings near streetcar lines, as well as boosting economic development in the areas.

Blumenauer’s bill “would fix the problem” of FTA opposition, said Chris Smith, a neighborhood and transportation activist who sits on the board of the nonprofit Portland Streetcar Inc., which operates the streetcar.

Smith suspects that politics may play a role in FTA’s delay in funding the project. The agency is led by Republican political appointees, and many streetcar proponents, such as Blumenauer, are Democrats.

Smith said under the federal rules for calculating project construction costs, “Every month that we don’t get started we’re losing close to a half-million dollars in inflationary costs,” he said. “So by delaying they’re making the project more expensive, particularly for the local folks.”

Even if Blumenauer’s bill does not become law, its existence will up the pressure on FTA to approve the streetcar construction funds.

Still to be determined is where funding for operating the streetcar, once built, will come from.

Some staff members at TriMet have opposed using TriMet operating funds for the east-side loop, saying that the project has scant transportation benefits and is little more than a subsidy for developers.

Smith, who disagrees, says no decision has been made on where the operational funds will come from.

Proponents “have a couple of years” to figure that out, he said.

nickbudnick@portlandtribune.com
http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/...03561932945800
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  #180  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2008, 9:13 PM
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If Mr. Obama wins the election this fall I hope he considers Rep. Blumenauer for Secretary of Transportation.
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