Portland — Eastside Line Hobbled
The Oregonian reported after the opening of the new east side line that several challenges to the success of the line exist:
- Budget cuts by the city and the TriMet transit agency mean that headways will be 18 minutes between trips, instead of teh 15 minutes envisioned. On Saturdays headways will be 17 minutes and on Sundays 20 minutes. Introduction of the eastside line means service on the existing westside line will drop from 12 minute headways to 14 minutes.
- The local firm builidng more streetcars, United Streetcar, is way behind on delivering cars for the line. Until they catch up, service will be maintained only if every one of the 11 streetcars owned by the system can be placed in service every day, with no allowance for accident repairs or serious maintenance issues.
- Adding another car to the line will depend on the eastside line demonstrating its revenue generation potential by year end.
- Completing the loop over the being-built bridge over the Willamette could be delayed if the City can not find $2 million for signal equipment that will protect the streetcars from colliding with the heavier MAX light rail trains that will also operate over the bridge.
Despite these issues, plans for economic development along the new route are continuing. A $250 million development including apartments, ofices, cafes, and retail is planned in the Lloyd District. Many more sites in the corridor served by the streetcar also exist.