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Welcome to Portland Streetcar
Track to the Future – A Look at Efficiency Improvements
2015 was a year of growth and change for Portland Streetcar and we are continuing that momentum into 2016. Since first opening service from NW 23rd Avenue to Portland State University in 2001, PBOT and Portland Streetcar, Inc. have worked together to continuously fine tune and improve the efficiency and reliability of Portland Streetcar. Work was done to improve signal timing and sequencing, improve crossings with TriMet MAX, improve scheduling to better align the overlapped service, create a couplet in the Pearl District on Lovejoy and Northrup to reduce congestion in the PM peak, and improve signage related to parking next to the alignment. Throughout the process discussions have been had at many levels about the next phase in improving service, both for the safety concerns and to improve reliability of service.
After opening the Central Loop in 2012, Portland Streetcar started looking at the possibility of stop consolidation, or combining two stops located very close to one another. The conversation began in earnest a year later when a subcommittee of the Citizen Advisory Committee created a list of projects that could reduce travel times and improve reliability. As of December 2015, the majority of the projects on that list have been implemented including: the new added track and signal timing on SW 4th & SW Montgomery allowing streetcars to travel in both directions; new traffic signals at NW Couch on both 10th & 11th Avenues; and the new striping on SW 10th & 11th Avenues converting the right lanes into Streetcar and Right-Turn-Only lanes. The next suggestion on the list is the consolidation of stops.
Several factors were taken into consideration in all of the conversations surrounding the upcoming trial closure. First and foremost was that no stop should be considered at this time without an alternative for riders within two blocks. We also looked at ridership data, collision and near-miss data, reports of delays and firsthand accounts from our operators who are out on the alignment every day. It was after evaluating all of this data that the list of stops narrowed to the five locations closing on a trial basis February 1.
SW 10th & Stark was first placed on the list in 2013 and has remained a candidate throughout all updates. The stations at SW 10th & 11th and Everett were a part of the discussion from the beginning as well but were added to the final list after conversations with the City on coordination of signal timing progressed. The plan is to improve the signal timing to allow a streetcar to leave Couch at a green light and progress all the way to the stop at Glisan. The biggest change on the list was the switch from discussing the closure of the stops located on SW Harrison Roadway between Naito Blvd and Harbor Drive to the stops located on SW 1st & Harrison. This change came after looking at the collision and near-miss data and an extensive survey of the operators. This location is a point of great delays, particularly during the PM peak, with vehicles turning left in front of the streetcar when it is stopped at the platform preventing the streetcars from moving forward to the light at Naito. All 5 locations respectively serve 1% or less of daily riders on Portland Streetcar.
Public comments and feedback will be collected throughout the trial period including at a public hearing in the Portland Building (1120 SW 5th, 2nd Floor, Room B) on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 6:00PM, via email, phone, Twitter and Facebook.
Five Portland Streetcar Stations Slated for Trial Closure
Five Portland Streetcar stations on the West Side are scheduled to close February 1 on a trial basis, as Streetcar staff evaluate whether a consolidation of stations can improve safety and service for riders. The stations are located at points along the streetcar lines that pose collision risks, contribute to the slowing of the streetcar and traffic, or where there are other stops nearby.
The five stations scheduled for closure are:
Three of the five stations pose safety concerns, including a risk of collision with cars or because they are placed on a slope, making it difficult for streetcars to start and stop.
When Portland Streetcar began service in 2001, it was the first of the country’s modern streetcar systems. To serve the needs of passengers at that time, stations were placed every 2-3 blocks. As the system has grown, ridership has grown threefold, making speed and reliability even more important. In addition, much of the feedback from Streetcar riders over the years has centered on the need to increase speed, frequency and reliability.
On newer Streetcar lines, stations are being placed every 3-5 blocks to increase system speed. For the trial station closures, only stations located within two blocks of another station will be closed.
Streetcar staff will be evaluating the station closure impacts on speed, reliability and safety throughout the spring before determining next steps. During the closures, Portlanders have multiple ways to provide feedback, by emailing or calling (503) 222-4200. Feedback can also be provided via social media on Twitter and Facebook.
2015: A Look Back at Stepping Forward
2015, what a year. From improving our data collection to a new logo. From temporary closures to Grand Openings. From updated development data to a little Portlandia love. Below are some of the highlights of 2015.
- Installed new Automatic Passenger Counters, allowing more accurate tracking of ridership on the system.
- Reached 1,000 Facebook followers
- Completed the first test run over the newly constructed Tilikum Crossing.
- Our friend the Blue Heron came for a visit.
- Announced a new logo.
- Participated in the 6th Annual Streetcar Summit in Washington, D.C.
- Welcomed Dallas Streetcar to the club of operating Modern Streetcar Systems.
- Shut down service to 10th & 11th Avenues and experimented with new east side to NW 23rd special service for President Obama's visit.
- Began rolling out new logo on the system, starting with the streetcars.
- First ride with passengers over the Tilikum Crossing
- Released new development report finding that $4.5 Billion in new development had opened within three blocks of the streetcar alignment.
- Broadway Bridge painting project began, requiring closure of the Central Loop (CL) for 8 weeks.
- Welcomed Charlotte Streetcar to the club of operating systems.
- Released new route map with completed Loop alignment. Included announcement of transition from Central Loop (CL) to A & B Loops.
- Began updating all platform and on board signage with new map, new logo, and updated fare machine signage.
- Celebrated the opening of the Tilikum Crossing, the completed A & B Loops, and the Orange Line with over 20,000 boardings on Portland Streetcar.
- Felt the love from Fred Armison.
- Implemented long discussed fare increase for Streetcar Only fares including the addition of new Honored Citizen/Youth Annual & Monthly Passes.
- Restriped SW 10th & 11th Avenues creating right turn only and Streetcar lanes to begin improving the reliability and efficiency of Streetcar.
- 6th Streetcar Musicfest held on the A & B Loops. 15 bands played sets on board Streetcar around the Central City.
- Implemented signal improvements at SW 4th & Harrison allowing Streetcar to travel in both directions through the intersection, further improving the efficiency of Streetcar.
- Flooding on Halloween interrupted Streetcar service.
- Released results from extensive rider survey, giving us the most complete look at who our riders are, and why they ride.
- New Portland Streetcar logo won a national award for Best Visual Identity in the travel & leisure sector from Transform Magazine.
- New traffic signals installed and activated on NW 10th & 11th Avenues at NW Couch, further improving Streetcar efficiency and timing.
2015 was a year of change and growth. Thank you for riding! We look forward to many more adventures in 2016.
New Portland Streetcar Logo Wins Gold at Transform Magazine Awards
Portland Streetcar's new logo won Gold for Best Visual Identity from the travel & leisure sector at the Transform Awards North America. A big thank you to Spoke Branding and everyone else who participated in this effort!
Happy Thanksgiving from Portland Streetcar
In honor of the holiday, we asked our employees what they were thankful for this year. Below are some of the answers.
- "I'm thankful for my grandchildren who make me smile everyday"
- "I'm thankful for my past, present, future and all of the wonderful people and experiences I have been allowed to have. I'm thankful for life."
- "I'm thankful for the opportunity to meet people from all over the world as part of my job"
- "I'm thankful for the helping spirit found in Portland"
- "I'm thankful for my stubborn husband and my spirited daughter. None of us is perfect, but we are perfect together"
- "I'm thankful for great sports teams we can route for"
- "I'm thankful for my daughters both being in town for Thanksgiving"
- "I'm thankful for my health"
- "I'm thankful for lifelong friends"
- "I'm thankful for gloves"
Most of all, we are thankful for you, our riders. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!
Who Rides Portland Streetcar?
In an effort to better answer the question "Who rides Portland Streetcar?", we conducted the most comprehensive evaluation of ridership in the system's 14-year history. The 2015 Streetcar Ridership Survey gathered data from 4,300 riders in Spring 2015 to determine where and why people use the streetcar, the demographics of the users, fare payments, and other information.
The ridership survey was administered as part of a larger report to the U.S. Congress on the lessons learned from the federally funded Portland Streetcar Loop project. The report is being developed by TriMet, in partnership with the City of Portland and Portland Streetcar, Inc. and will be included in the 2016 Federal Transit Administration report to Congress.
New Sponsor Supports School Field Trips on Streetcar
Each year approximately 3,000 students use Portland Streetcar on a field trip. In the past, schools have paid the regular group rate for the day’s outing, but starting this school year, those field trips will now be free of charge thanks to the generosity of new sponsor Next Adventure! Whether it’s cooling off in the fountain at Jamison Park, seeing a performance at the Newmark Theatre, exploring all the Central Library has to offer, or the many other educational and fun destinations along the streetcar alignment, all K-12 students, teachers, and chaperones will now be able to take Portland Streetcar at no additional cost while on a school trip.
Thanks, Next Adventure, for helping the kids enjoy their next adventure!
PREVIEW: From Concept to Reality - The Development of the Modern Streetcar in Portland
In conjunction with the celebration of the opening of the Portland Streetcar Loop over the new Tilikum Crossing: Bridge of the People, Portland Streetcar has recorded interviews with the key players, advocates, and builders involved in the 25+ year endeavor of the planning, development and construction of the first modern streetcar system in the United States after a multi-decade hiatus.
(More interviews are in-process. When completed, the full-length in-depth video will be posted. For now, please enjoy this overview and all the other celebrations surrounding Portland's latest transit achievement.)
New Data Shows Streetcar Provides Boost for Economic Development in Portland
Analysis points to residential growth and over $4.5 billion in real estate development along the Streetcar Corridor
Portland Streetcar, Inc. released new economic development data Thursday, providing insight into the Streetcar’s influence on real estate investment, housing development, and population changes in the Central City. The data analysis was conducted by ECONorthwest and evaluates economic development outcomes since construction began on the first Streetcar line in 1998.
Infographic summarizing economic development data
A positive factor in Central City Development
Since 1998, the Streetcar Corridor (defined as ¼ mile on either side of the tracks) has seen 22.9 million total square feet of real estate development, including 7.7 million square feet of commercial space and nearly 18,000 residential units. The total market value of all that new development (both commercial and residential) is estimated at $4.5 billion. The market value of all property in the corridor (both new and existing has increased by $11.63 billion since 1998.
“While there are plenty of factors that influence investment decisions, we’ve seen that the Streetcar has had a positive impact on economic development in the Central City,” said Dan Bower, executive director of the non-profit Portland Streetcar, Inc. “By providing affordable, accessible, and reliable service, the Streetcar is a key part of what makes Portland such a livable city.”
In their analysis, ECONorthwest found that of the 7.7 million square feet of commercial real estate that has been developed in the Streetcar Corridor since 1998, 35 percent is attributable to proximity to the Streetcar. On the residential side, 41 percent of the approximately 18,000 units that have been built are due to the presence of the Streetcar. In addition, 25 percent of all apartments that have been built in the corridor during that period are subsidized affordable housing units.
For a full copy of EcoNW's report and methodologies, click here.
TABLE: New residential units built along the Streetcar Corridor since 1998
In 2015, the Streetcar continues to be a positive factor in spurring development and investment in the Central City with construction cranes lining either side of the corridor. There are currently nearly 3,500 residential units and over 600,000 square feet of commercial space under construction along the Streetcar Corridor and another 44 residential projects and 18 commercial projects proposed for development. A map of new development projects that are proposed or already under construction is available here.
Growing population while reducing dependence on automobiles
Over time, the residential population living near the Streetcar has grown and those residents have become less reliant on cars for daily transportation. Since 1998, population in the Streetcar Corridor has increased 34.9 percent, while the population of City of Portland as a whole increased 12.4 percent. According to data from 2013, 38.6 percent of households in the Streetcar Corridor do not own a vehicle, compared to 15 percent of households in City of Portland.
Along with system expansion and improvements, the rise in development along the Streetcar Corridor has contributed to increased streetcar ridership. Daily streetcar ridership has increased from about 4,000 users per day in 2001 to the 15,000 that use the system today. As riders begin to use the A/B Loops to travel around the city, ridership is expected to grow to 20,000 riders per day by 2025.
Portland Streetcar Fares as of September 1, 2015
|Streetcar Only (2.5 Hour)||$2.00|
|Streetcar/TriMet All Day||$5.00|
|Streetcar Only Monthly Pass||$40.00|
|Streetcar Only Annual Pass||$440.00|
|Streetcar/TriMet Honored Citizen/Youth (2.5 Hour)||$1.25|
|Streetcar Only Honored Citizen/Youth Monthly Pass||$25.00|
|Streetcar Only Honored Citizen/Youth Annual Pass||$250.00|
New fares will allow Portland Streetcar to provide expanded and improved service, including new service over the Tilikum Crossing and the opening of the new A and B Loops (formerly the Central Loop or CL) beginning September 12, 2015.
With the new fare, Streetcar riders can expect a few changes:
- More service with the A & B Loops (formerly CL) extending to South Waterfront over the Tilikum Crossing.
- Improved Saturday service with streetcars every 15 minutes.
- Added late night service for the A & B Loops to better serve events at the Rose Quarter
- Increased fare enforcement and security
- Transition to an all-electronic fare system (E-Fare) in partnership with TriMet and C-Tran in 2016 and 2017.
- New Honored Citizen/Youth Streetcar Only passes
Streetcar's First Ride Across the Tilikum Crossing
On Wednesday, January 21, 2015 Car 008 made Portland Streetcar's historic first journey across the Tilikum Crossing. This is the first of many steps leading up to the opening of the Completed Central Loop on September 12, 2015.