Streetcar isnt a sustainable option
You are practicing sustainability if you :
3. Compost. Not enough room? Get a worm box!
4. Grow as much of your own food as possible or support your local CSA.
5. Buy locally and ideally organic.
6. Put on a sweater instead of turning up the heat.
7. Conserve water by landscaping with native plants. Get rid of your lawn.
8. Walk, bicycle, carpool or use public transportation whenever feasible.
9. Are kind to wildlife by not using harmful pesticides and herbicides.
In other words - personally leave as small a carbon footprint as possible. That does not mean buying carbon offsets to assuage your flying to Palm Desert or Bali. Nor does it mean mitigating environmentally harmful public developments onto private residential properties.
That said, let's first take a look at the proposed Lake Oswego to Portland Streetcar and the DEIS Chapter 3 Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences:
1. According to the DEIS, 15 species with federal and/or state status for protection would be negatively impacted. These involve four avian species including bald eagles, peregrine falcons and 10 fish species including coho and chinook salmon, steelhead, green sturgeon, Pacific lamprey, Western brook lamprey and cutthroat trout.
2. The DEIS indicates that areas critical to wildlife breeding, shelter, and foraging would be impacted long term, resulting in the mortality of birds, small mammals, invertebrates and terrestrial organisms.
3. Fisheries would be impacted via permanent stream channel alteration, in stream construction work and permanent loss of riparian vegetation and aquatic habitats.
4. Additionally, several Oregon white oaks would have root zone impact. There are no viable measures for protecting those trees.
Now, let's take a look on page 3-216 of the DEIS summary of Construction Energy Consumption:
1. No Build Bus Alternative has negligible consumption as there would be no changes.
2. The streetcar would consume 11.2 million gallons of gasoline just for construction … coupled with the required maintenance facility that would use .14 million gallons of gasoline. These two add up to 11.34 million gallons of gasoline just to get the streetcar line built. Let alone turn it on.
Finally, turn to page 3-181. Under Net Difference in 2035 Energy Consumption as Compared to the No-Build Alternative:
1. The streetcar will save 59,000 gallons of gas per year. That means it will only take 170 years for the streetcar to break even from the original 11.2 million gallons of gas for construction. Somehow I really don't think this is sustainability.
Meanwhile, by 2205 far more alternative fuel sources will have been developed for buses and automobiles or whatever futuristic vehicles we have by then. Time travel anyone?
Kathe Worsley is a resident of Lake Oswego.