Portland Streetcar is poised to extend service to Montgomery Park in Northwest Portland this year.
The extension would provide service to more than 45 acres with redevelopment potential, including 24 acres in the former ESCO industrial site. it would also provide a transit like to Forest Park.
The project was awarded a $1 million transit-oriented development planning grant by the Federal Transit Administration that will fund land use planning, traffic analysis and a rezoning strategy for the area.
Portland Streetcar officials discussed the project with the City Council when the presented their 2018 Annual Report on Wednesday morning.
"With proper planning, Northwest Portland has the potential to welcome new employment opportunities, industrial uses, housing, transportation investments and technologies that improve safety and access for local residents and industrial businesses," said the report.
Portland Streetcar is also planning to purchase three American-built streetcars to meet ridership demand, which is expected to grow to 20,000 riders per day by 2025, the report also said.
Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty expressed surprise that the project was so far along. She has requested information on how low-income people experience the streetcar system, and whether it is used to meet daily needs or for fun.
Hardesty also said the city's needs are more important than the potential profits that property owners along the planned extension will make. The officials replied the property owners would agree with that.
According to the report, since the eastside loop opened in 2012, job growth in areas around new streetcar stations has outpaced the rest of Portland by more than threefold. Employment-based development along the newest Central Eastside alignments continues to grow, delivering on the promise made by the city for a jobs-focused district connected by transit within the central city, the report says.
The passage of the transportation funding package by the 2017 Oregon Legislature funded a new a low-income fare program across the region in 2018 that allows residents living at less than double the federal poverty level to ride the Portland Streetcar and TriMet bus and MAX at a reduced cost, the report says.
You can read the report here.
You can read a previous Portland Tribune story on the extension here.
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