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120 slides of transportation in the Pacific Northwest

Last year about this time I visited Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver. I prepared a slideshow of transportation photos from the three cities to share with coworkers. It’s essentially a tour of rail, bus, and bike infrastructure within each city. Why not share it here too?

Click the image to download a pdf of the slideshow. It’s about 16 Mb. If you just want to see the photos in flickr without commentary, here they are.

Click to download pdf.

October 16th, 2012 | Permalink | {num}Comments
Tags: bike, boat, BRT, bus, commuterrail, galleries, intercity, lightrail, streetcar, transportation

  • Guest

    having just moved to DC from POrtland, I wnated to point out a few things in your presentation — the streetcar is NOT popular, except amongst tourists! I don’t know a single PDX’er who rode it regularly. Maybe once or twice for fun, but it is RIDICULOUSLY slow, and totally useless. I can walk twice as fast as the streetcar, and the year I spent on crutches, I could *still* crutch faster than the streetcar. Once in a while people would ride it in the Pearl district to and from the very popular PSU farmer’s market, but TriMet got rid of fareless square, and ridership dropped. Also, it’s causing all sorts of problems because they extended the streetcar line to the east-side and removed a bunch of very popular bike lines. PLUS, the streetcar tracks eat bike tires — there have been numerous cases of cyclists crashing because their tires have gotten stuck in the tracks, and there was no way of hitting the tracks at a 90 degree angle to cross over them safely. It’s totally inaccurate to say that the streetcar co-exists with bikes! I’ve had some very close calls with the street car tracks, and to make matters worse, cars don’t like driving over them (they make it hard to steer your car, especially when wet, which is basically ALL THE TIME in Portland, because it rains 9 months out of the year), so driver straddle the tracks. Going over the broadway bridge this turned into a serious problem, because drivers were constantly straddling the tracks, and driving in the bike line. ODOT put in bollars, which were knocked down in less than 2 hours. (More here: http://bikeportland.org/2011/09/01/a-few-ideas-on-how-to-improve-streetcar-track-safety-58408 )nnAlso, having worked at OHSU for several years, I took the arial tram to work every day. Did you happen to look down and see the house whose owner pained “FUCK YOU OHSU” on his roof? Yeah, because the tram was pretty much built roughshod over neighborhood complaints. Not inclusive urban planning if you ask me. nnDon’t get me wrong — I loved living in Portland, and miss it dearly. But it really irks me when people visit, drink the koolaid, and think of it as some urban planning sustainable transit mecca. I was a regular bike commuter, and didn’t even own a car for the first 4 years I lived in Portland so I saw a lot of the good plus a TON of the bad. After 2 months in DC, I would say that the transit infrastructure here in DC is leaps and bounds better than what we had in Portland. nnJust my $0.02.

  • BeyondDC

    I think DC is better in may ways, but it’s not really about being better or worse; it’s about what lessons we can all learn from each other.

  • Guest

    yes. and i think the major lesson to learn here that you missed is that streetcars do not necessarily co-exist with bikes. hearing talk about bringing a streetcar to DC and using the portland as an example is heartbreaking!

  • BeyondDC

    It’s not a coincidence that so many cities around the world, including Portland, simultaneously have great bike and streetcar networks. The big issue is walkability versus driving, and both bikes and streetcars contribute very strongly to more walkable cities. The gains you get against highways/cars are overwhelmingly better than the losses cyclists suffer due to tracks. nnThat doesn’t mean that streetcar tracks can’t sometimes be inconvenient or even dangerous for cyclists. Sure they can. But the big picture benefits streetcars bring to a city regarding increased density and lower car dependence more than offset those increased dangers, because increased density and lower car dependence are also good for cycling.nnAmsterdam is another great example. It has a bike mode share of 38%, one of the highest in the developed world (compared to Portland’s 5% or so), and also has one of the largest streetcar networks in the world. Here’s a map: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Amsterdamtram.png



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