Portland transportation officials are trying to get car traffic off the streetcar tracks in Northeast Portland.
Delays on the Portland Streetcar route along Northeast Grand Avenue cost the system $218,000 a year.
That's because the single spot with the longest delays on the streetcar's route results in extra labor costs, Portland Bureau of Transportation and Portland Streetcar officials say.
On average, the loop that runs on Northeast Grand Avenue currently takes 20 minutes longer on average to complete its journey than the loop running the other direction.
It’s the latest spot that PBOT is eyeing for a dedicated lane—for only streetcars, buses and a right turn lane for cars—between East Burnside Street and Northeast Davis Street. Technically, it’s called a Business Access and Transit lane.
“The right lane would become a BAT lane, so vehicle traffic—except for buses and streetcar—would have a right turn only lane, at Burnside and again at Northeast Davis,” says PBOT’s Dylan Rivera.
“This would allow access to local businesses and destinations, with right turns onto Burnside and onto Davis. But it would make sure that through traffic, especially traffic that is heading to the Interstate 84 on-ramp, doesn’t slow down bus and streetcar service.”
Streetcar officials say it would improve service as thousands of units of housing open along the streetcar route.
“It hits on all fronts—ridership, labor, land,” says Dan Bower, executive director of Portland Streetcar, Inc. “The investment has to make sense for everybody.”