Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Another Tram System: A Headline from the Past and Future

When our Portland city leaders set their hearts on something, it's just a matter of time. Visions can be beat down at first but they reappear like zombies in a horror movie. For example, I was under the impression that the Burnside couplet idea was dead, but I see it's back, and it's alive. So I offer you this Oregonian headline from June 22nd, 2002 for what may await us in 2007 or 8 or 9. It describes the Portland Office of Transportation's vision for a second tram system. The first would connect Marquam Hill to North Macadam - check - and this second one would go from OHSU to Barbur.

It's in the right civic spirit. True political projects in Portland are never done. Streetcars eventually give birth to other streetcars, and therefore, trams must spawn new trams. It is the way of the city. "If it's a good idea, why not do it again?", transforms into, "It must be a good idea, because we're doing it again."

Visions that have been rebuffed are filed away and revisited later. If enough time has passed they will be announced as brand new: "Say, what about a second tram that would connect Marquam Hill with Southwest Barbur Boulevard?"

The idea is presently buried like those machines in War of the Worlds, awaiting the day when a bolt of inspiration hits one of our commissioners. The asphalt will sizzle and crack. A great crater will open, and the notion of a second tram will rise up from it's temporary grave. Then, like a zombie that can never die, it will begin to walk the earth.


At 11:20 AM, Blogger weijie0077 said...

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At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe we can get Gerald Ford or James Brown to dedicate it.....


At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the original plan was to place a stop on the tram at Barbur so the hoi polloi could feel like it was for them as well. I was shocked the first time I looked up the hill and didn't see a stop halfway.

I dunno. I hope it's a success. But I also hope it's the only one.

At 3:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The city looked into having a stop on Barbur, and decided it would be too expensive (insert your own $57m joke here). Putting access on Barbur would have made much more sense, if the tram were actually part of the city's transportation system rather than specifically and only to connect two parts of OHSU. People can get to Barbur on transit much more easily than getting to Pill Hill or SoWa.

A tram between PSU and Pill Hill would also have made more sense, and would have avoided spoiling the Lair Hill National Historic District.


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