This Space for Rent

The i205 trolley line.

Tri-Met has got a nice Quicktime movie showing a trolley running down the proposed i205 trolley line to Clackamas "town center". It looks very pretty, and I'm anxious to see the line built, but there are a few tiny problems with their scheme.

  1. What's with the stations? Almost every single station is set to the north or the south of the street it's supposed to be associated with. And on streets with bus service (and that would be most of them), having to walk several hundred feet north or south to a connecting trolley doesn't exactly cry out "this is a convenient transfer". And most of these stations are located just before an underpass or trolley bridge -- why not put the trolley station on the bridge like rapid transit companies have been doing for approximately the past 100 years? You might have to put in a elevator or a ramp to get wheelchair access, but (a) an elevator would be faster than going several hundred feet up and down a ramp and (b) even if there was a ramp, I'd suspect it would be shorter to double back to a station on the bridge.

  2. Are they really thinking about ripping out the Clackamas mall transit stop and relocating it to a distant corner of the parking lots? Won't that depress the ridership on the bus lines coming into that transit mall even further (not that I'd want to shop by bus out in that hell of big-box stores and shopping malls, but people do use the bus to get out there -- I think I've even done it once or twice -- and having to walk a quarter mile through parking lots will not make one want to do it ever again.)

  3. Why don't they build the station platforms longer so they could run three-car trains if need be? Yes, yes, I know that Portland city ordinances have said forever that you can't run trains longer than a city block downtown, but the trains are full now and if Tri-Met ever wants to push passengers per hour up they're going to have to do something to increase capacity (without converting downtown into a railroad yard; even with trains on the transit mall (a dumb dumb dumb idea, unless more bus lines are moved off the transit mall) there are still going to be a metric shitload of trains downtown when the airport line, the interstate line, the Gresham-Hillsboro interurban, and Clackamas via i205 are all in rush hour mode.

I'm sure that Tri-Met will welcome my comments on the station locations as much as they welcomed my comments about using the Portland Traction ROW from downtown to Sellwood for the S/ side of the S/N trolley line. But I'll still comment on their plans, for whatever good it (won't) do.