Portland’s Milwaukee Light Rail Project – Under Construction, Opening in September 2015

First let’s kick this blog entry off with a few pieces of context, such as:

  • What is the Portland Milwaukee Light Rail Line?
  • Where exactly does it go?
  • How much does it cost and what does that cost actually include?

Answers…

“Opening in 2015, the Portland-Milwaukie light rail transit line will travel 7.3 miles between PSU, inner Southeast Portland, Milwaukie and Oak Grove in north Clackamas County.”

The best place to get information about the Portland Milwaukee Light Rail is to check out the project site. I have a few additional thoughts, pieces of information and other such things here in the post however.

Here’s a quick video intro of what the project is, what it connects and a little more information. It’s a short view.

The other key video to watch, which really gets down into where the line runs in detail and also covers the other things that will be built along with the light rail line.

The total cost of the Portland Milwaukee Light Rail (PMLR) Project is $1,490.35 Million[0]. In a follow up entry I’m going to bring up what exactly we’re getting for this huge chunk of cash. I’ll also do a break out of a few of the light rail stops and what those light rail stops mean to the neighborhoods they’ll serve.

After watching this project progress over the years it still leaves me with a number of questions. Many of these will be answered in due time, but it doesn’t stop me from being extremely curious.

  1. What buses will use the bridge instead of routes like the Ross Island Bridge?
  2. When the buses come across the bridge where do they get on or off on the west side? Will they continue on the new light rail part of the infrastructure on their way to the bus mall?  Will they turn off onto other surface streets in the area and travel in and out of south waterfront that way?
  3. Where’s the best house buying options in the area? Which area will increase in value the quickest? Which values may decrease?

More to come in the near future… cheers, Transit¬†Sleuth.

References
[0] Portland-Milwaukee Light Rail Project Preliminary Engineering Report. Located at FTA: http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/OR_Portland_Milwaukie_LRT_complete_profile.pdf and local store: Portland Milwaukee Light Rail

The Portland Crow Attacks!!

While out biking around and taking care of some errands yesterday, I was attacked! For the third time in a row, a crow has swooped down and whacked me in the back of the head. Fortunately, it’s only been while wearing a helmet. Here’s a layout of the crow attacks. When approaching the Morrison Bridge from the western on-ramp you approach a point where cyclists and pedestrian pathways converge onto the shoulder of the bridge.

Approaches to Morrison Bridge. Click for full size image.

Approaches to Morrison Bridge. Click for full size image.

At the convergence, as shown with the “Crow Attacks” arrow above, is where the crow will swoop in and attack your head. This generally only happens to cyclists, and¬†apparently¬†only to certain cyclists. The bird has narrowed it down to some particular identifying characteristics that triggers it to attack. I’d love to know if you’ve had this experience. I’m curious why a crow is so perturbed about something, and what that something is, that it attacks people. Very strange thing for a bird.

As it hit me, I immediately went forward and got off my bike, grabbed my camera from my camera bag and tried to get some shots of the culprit. Here’s what I got. Nothing super clear, but as with other images, click for the giant full size image!

He's sitting on the light post. Hard to see as I had not had a change to adjust any settings to get the image clearer. Remember, click for full size image.

He’s sitting on the light post. Hard to see as I had not had a change to adjust any settings to get the image clearer. Remember, click for full size image.

The Crow escaping to safety after the dive bomb attack! Click for full size image.

The Crow escaping to safety after the dive bomb attack! Click for full size image.

 

A better shot of him sitting scruffely on the light post. Click for full size image!

A better shot of him sitting scruffely on the light post. Click for full size image!

 

Astoria

Astoria has really turned into “Portland’s Out of Town Escape”. It’s a great small town right at the mouth of the Columbia River. There’s a spectacular, albeit insane, bridge that goes from the Oregon side to the Washington side of the Columbia. The reason I say insane, is that the bridge has no “emergency” side, is ONLY two lanes of minimal width with no divider or anything else to protect cars. So in the end, the bridge does not meet any modern requirements around an effective roadway. It is however a beautiful and¬†magnificent¬†bridge. When built, done so and paid for with tolls. The tolls of course, have since been removed and maintenance is done through general budget funds just as the vast majority of roadways are. That is, when roadways are actually maintained.

Viewing the Astoria Bridge from up on the hill near the Goonies house.

Viewing the Astoria “Megler” Bridge from up on the hill near the Goonies house.

The town of Astoria was the shooting location for the movie Goonies also, which is a little bit of trivia.

Liberty

Liberty

Downtown holds a lot of small jewels too. Almost a frozen in time¬†appearance¬†and downtown. There’s the Liberty Theater. Which is a classic old theater that’s been renovated for special events and other merry making.

Liberty

Liberty

From there my buddy Mike and I walked around town a bit. Checking out various places and eating at the Astoria Coffee House & Bistro. I had a prime rib and Mike ate something, I’ve no idea what. But don’t mistake this little coffee shop for some 2-bit bistro, they’re top notch when it comes to the food. Lots of high quality ingredients done right.

JCPenny Tiling

JCPenny Tiling

From there I snapped a few more photos of things around town. One thing that stood out to me was this completely functional and retro classic JCPenny’s. It was about 3k square feet per floor, 3 floors including the basement and top floor. I was highly impressed. Maybe there’s a little secret sauce that the current JCPenny’s might need to take note of.

A few shots of inside reveal just how classic this business is. It’s like stepping back into the 1950s.

JCPenny Street View

JCPenny Street View

Inside the store.

Inside the store.

A few other observations I made. There are several classic, beautifully restored hotels in town. One of them is the Hotel Elliott. Note there is no “motel” and it is simply adorned with the original line under the sign of “wonderful beds”. Simple, elegant, straight forward and honest advertising.

Hotel Elliott

Hotel Elliott

Another sign of the heavy Portland influence, albeit it becoming a normal thing in the US, is the growing presence of bikes. One might even say, a return of the bicycle to preeminence in US Society. Here’s a shot of two bicycles on a rack besides a 20s style ad wrapped around the trash can. Again, following the classic style that all of Astoria tends to have in downtown.

Classic ad wrapping the trashcan, two bikes racked up.

Classic ad wrapping the trashcan, two bikes racked up.

Streetcar coming down the way towards the docks.

Streetcar coming down the way towards the docks.

A little more strolling about and lo and behold, a Streetcar. It’s during the work week, so this is an interesting thing to see the streetcar plying the docks. The streetcar, a standard electric trolley style, is powered by a diesel engine it tows behind the streetcar itself.

Driver waving to the passerby.

Driver waving to the passerby.

Of course, whenever you combine streetcars and bicycles, you’ve got to have a “fall on your face” sign.

The falling cyclist sign! Ergaderp!

The falling cyclist sign! Ergaderp!

…and for now, that’s it. Enjoy!